As I previously pointed out: a server doesn't have to be unassailable forever; just long enough. We may be discussing by how much we can fortify our servers, but the point of the game is to score or steal Agendas, and being unassailable or unstoppable is only relevant as far as reaching those goals is concerned.
You did not previously point such things out. To quote your original statement:
I don't mind predictability too much as long as you have the power to make whatever you do unstoppable or unassailable…
That is a very general statement, which, as far as I can tell, can only be interpreted as suggesting that there are ways in which a player (in our discussion, a Corp player) can somehow create an impenetrable defense, and thus be guaranteed to win. My response (though I was not explicit) was simply to imply that that's a silly notion, and that it does not exist.
Then there was your response:
And yet it's quite possible to construct virtual fortresses with multiple layers of ICE that is nigh impossible for the Runner to crack.
In short, unstoppable and unassasilable does happen in Netrunner and yet this is still one of the best designed- and now best updated- card games around.
It definitely seemed to reiterate that notion of the possibility of a permanently impenetrable defense, again to which I responded that that is ridiculous, especially for a Corp player.
Now it seems you are attempting to go back on what you said, suggesting that such defenses are only impenetrable for a time… well, yeah. Everybody knows that. If it's the start of my turn and I have just corroder in play, no credits, no cards in hand or near the top of the deck which generate credits, and you have TMI guarding your HQ, for at least that one turn, I will not be able get into HQ. Thus, HQ is impenetrable for that one turn. You might be able to further install an Enigma (with credits to rez) to further make it impenetrable from me for even longer, but unless I'm an idiot and didn't include any code gate breakers in my deck, it won't be impenetrable forever.
Every Corp player who is "worth their salt" should know such things. Their defenses don't last forever, and there's nothing they can do about it. The only choice they have is to bluff the runner into wasting money and actions chasing phantoms. Then, while the runner is not in a position to strike, slip an agenda or two through. That is how to play the Corp. Supposing that you can create an indestructible wall and keep the Runner out forever is just ludicrous, and that was what my response was intended to suggest.
On this topic, you can't define as unassailable a remote server hiding a trap. A remote server hiding a trap is only useful if the Runner indeed assails said server, succeeds in getting past the ICE, then accesses the ambush asset he thought was an agenda (or, in Jinteki's case, a Fetal AI that does him in). That would actually be the opposite of unassailable.
If there is nothing of value in the server that the runner can attack, then that to me can be clearly defined as unassailable. Whether you see it that way or not is irrelevant. I am communicating a point that is valid. No runner has any use of running a server that is empty or that houses a trap if it is loaded with rezzed ice. Even Bank Job is of no use in such a situation. Whether or not they know that it holds no value to them (in terms of traps) is irrelevant. The terminology is not important, though I do believe my interpretation is quite valid.
I know that you are speaking in terms of the ice that is on the server, not what is in the server, but my definition is concerned with both, and in terms of the long run. Like was stated above, sure, something might not be penetrable by the runner now, but it is not impenetrable forever.
In fact, your example raises a good point. Not to be snide about it, but the fact is that you didn't run and you lost the game. Netrunner is a game about bluffing and dealing with incomplete information. What's as good as a mechanically unassailable server? A server that's perceived to be unassailable. It is thus not attacked. In that situation, whether it's actually beyond reach or not, it effectively is unassailable anyway because the Runner is too intimidated to do it.
I was hoping to avoid going into too much detail, but apparently that is not going to be the case. I did not tell you the whole story regarding this game. Here is the longer version:
I knew that the server housed an agenda. I knew that scoring that agenda would win me the game. I knew that it didn't matter how I got in there; just that I needed to get in. I was not intimidated in the least. What went wrong for me was that I was too focused on the last Ichi, because I had tagged that Ichi with my Femme Fatale. My whole mindset at the time was, "how do I manage to keep 3 credits to bypass that Ichi?" I kept thinking about how I could conjure up the 3 credits so I could do what my deck was designed to do (it was the Triple Femme deck), never thinking for a moment that Ichi doesn't end the run. I didn't need to bypass it. I just needed to get past the Rototurret, and I was in. At the time, it did not occur to me. I only thought of it afterward, when the game was over.
I thought at the time that it was a Priority Requisition, as my opponent needed 3 more points to win. It turned out it was not, but was instead a Private Security Force. On his next turn, he advanced it 3 more times, scored it, and with his last action (Mandatory Upgrades), he damaged me for 1, since I had left 3 tags on myself. That damage did not kill me, but it did leave me empty-handed, so I had no choice but to spend a large chunk of my remaining credits to ditch the tags. Otherwise, it would have been a guaranteed loss. Unfortunately, it put me in a position where I could no longer access HQ or R&D, and since none of his remotes were housing anything of consequence at the time, I had no option left but to try and build back up for another run. On his next turn, he played a Beta Test, advanced it 3 times, and scored it for the win.
It had nothing to do with the server looking "intimidating". My opponent did not pull off some amazing bluff. It had to do with me not thinking it all the way through, which is just something in my game that I still need to work on. I occasionally do that from time to time, and I always find it annoying when I think back on some situation that I thought was impossible, and then I realize there was, in fact, a solution that I had missed.
A Runner can have all the programs and/or cash they need, but if they can't or are unwilling to make it through, then that server is, for all intents and purposes, safe.
This is a logical fallacy. If the runner has "all the programs and/or cash they need," they can get through. There is no can't in such a situation. FFG did not design any ICE that can't have their subroutines broken in some way. Furthermore, just because the runner does not think they can get through, or, as you call it, are intimidated, does not mean that the server is safe. The server is only safe if the runner really cannot get through, either because they lack the cards, the credits, or both.
Of course, it is also safe if it houses a trap, or is empty, like I said.
I stand by what I said about hitting central servers being crap shoots. Just as I've won desperate games with them, I've had more instances of being disappointed by what I found.
But your statements led me to believe that it has no value, or very very little value. Such a notion would lead me to believe you would not value protecting R&D and HQ all that much as the Corp player. That is not a wise decision in my opinion. If you do not attach a high enough cost to running HQ or R&D, you'd better believe that the runner is going to run them often, and chances are that those many "crap shoots" are going to produce results. Another important aspect of playing the Corp player is figuring out what runs are important to the Runner, and then slapping enough ice down to make those runs more costly, so as to discourage the Runner from making those runs as often. When playing against a criminal, generally the Corp player should attach a high cost to running HQ, and possibly even Archives. When an anarch Runner drops a Medium or two, that should be a signal to the Corp to make R&D less accessible. If in either of those situations the Corp player simply ignores the capabilities of those Runners, that Corp player is almost certain to lose.
I stand by what I said: that running HQ and R&D is valuable. If the Corp player does nothing to reduce that value to the point where it is almost worthless, then it could potentially give the Runner a victory.
And I must point out that allowing a player to redraw infinitely can allow players to more easily set up an unassailable and unstoppable position by letting them look for ideal hands, not to mention allow them to stall games because they can legally keep changing what they start with. Hence the 1 mulligan limit we play with or how other card games penalize mulligans.
You didn't read what I said. It was not infinite in terms of a player could do it as often as they liked. It was only infinite if the Corp player managed to keep drawing into 3+ agendas and decided they still wanted to mulligan. It was further meant to be balanced by requiring that the Corp player reveal their hand, which meant revealing a bit of their strategy to the runner. Not something any Corp player would have liked.
The problem with it was that there was no minimum deck size requirements, so if I built a deck with 45 agendas in it, I could effectively stall out a game before it had even begun using this rule. That wasn't the intention for this rule, and it wasn't going to work in tournament play, for sure. With A:N having a minimum deck size requirement, an infinite mulligan rule of this kind would be perfectly feasible, as you could never build a deck with just agendas. In fact, you could never build a deck with even a majority of agendas, so it wouldn't allow you to augment your starting hand as you wished. You would still be at the mercy of the random shuffle, just not quite as badly as you are now.
Actually, all players have access to a tool that allows them to mitigate the randomness of their draw:
It's called deck-building.
Teasing aside, that's part of the math and science of constructing decks. That's why ratios and proportions and chances are studied so much in card games. That's why there's a minimum number of agenda points a deck must have and why the number of ICE per size of deck is so explicitly stated in the rulebook.
Yes, it leads to hard choices, but if the key to success for making a deck is packing in as much ICE as you can and keeping the number of agendas in it down, then do it.
And yet it does very little to address my second point, that the player will be at the mercy of the random shuffle. Only card abilities can help to further mitigate the shuffle. I already mentioned that Precog and Anonymous Tip are cards that could help, but again, that's 6 out of a minimum of 45. Not helping with the random aspect all that much. Something like the cards I mentioned would help further, as they could come into play later to help remedy a poor board situation. Of course, the shuffle could make these cards ineffective as well, but when there are more cards that help counteract the shuffle, there's less chance of your strategy going to waste.
My point this whole time has been that there's nothing that supports this new identity in this regard, and yet this is the most critical element for making this identity work well. If you CANNOT get your cards in the order you need them, this identity will be less useful than the core set identity. The core set identity GUARANTEES usefulness, because somebody at some point in the game is going to be scoring or stealing agendas. And because (generally speaking) the cards in the Runner's hand are of use to the Runner, it should go without saying that the core set identity will cause the Runner to play their strategy differently (and more than likely in a worse manner) than they would normally have done. That is the crux of my argument.
Right now, this new identity is just ok. When Study in Static hits, that Hourglass will make this identity somewhat better. It still really needs some sort of upgrade or operation support though, which it doesn't have, and we haven't heard of anything on the horizon that will fill that gap as of yet. For now, the more useful and likely choice is the core set identity.
I must also point out that the value of said information is based on whether you can actually do something with it.
Grabbing an agenda is luck. But finding out he's got ICE or an operation, like I said, is only good if you can put that knowledge to good use. For that matter, such knowledge can even be misleading to the Runner's detriment; just because you accessed ICE in his hand and he's now putting ICE down doesn't mean he's putting down the same ICE you saw.
There is always something you can do with the information. You just have to figure it out. Every card can tell you something about what the Corp may do on his or her next turn, or some future turn. Even if the Corp player doesn't use the card that you saw (such as in your ICE example), the information you gained tells you that you don't need to worry about that card right now. Although, you should still keep it in mind for future turns. You should never discount the value of the information you obtained, especially if you think you paid too much for it. Of course, if you did pay too much for it, then that's just another part of the game you're gonna have to work on.
I use PAD Campaigns instead.
As for assets and upgrades, take note that trashing them usually entails a cost or special ability of some sort. A Runner has to "pay" in some manner to do it. That cost can slow him down and give the Corp the win. That's why people like using PAD Campaigns and even don't protect them- 4 credits is a big chunk of the Runner's cash.
Of course that's a possibility, but if you know that the asset or upgrade is going to give your opponent an even better advantage than if they did not have it, then you really have no choice BUT to trash it. If you still lose, it doesn't mean that trashing that card was a mistake. It just means that either the deck shuffle was thoroughly against you, or you made too many mistakes up to that point… or maybe a combination of the two.
And around here (and especially for me), people do protect their PADs, if even just a little. Bank Job is fairly prevalent in the meta, and allowing your opponent access to such easy money is never a good idea. Furthermore, there are people in my local area who do regularly trash PADs, if they feel the time is right. Usually that time is when I'm very low on money, and I can tell you that it hurts when I have nothing else to boost my economy, which is quite common with Jinteki.
Okay. TBH, though disruptive it can be, I'm not too threatened. I'm just not.
That's kinda irrelevant though. So what if you don't feel threatened by something. That doesn't mean it can't disrupt your deck, or give your opponent better access to your agendas. And if you're not willing to take precautions to prevent such disruptions, you're likely going to lose on more than one occasion to such a card. Not necessarily every time, but the odds are against you.
No; I really do mean card advantage.
Card advantage isn't merely about who's got "more", especially in games that "trade" cards. It's about making the most out of what you have. It's about picking cards that can be used for more than one purpose- or finding ways to do that. It's about not allowing your cards to become dead and useless in your hand but always having a use for them to your benefit.
From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_advantage):
Card advantage (often abbreviated CA) is a term used in collectible card game strategy to indicate one player having access to more cards than another player, usually by drawing more cards through in-game effects. The concept was first discovered and described early in the evolution of Magic: The Gathering strategy. Many early decks relied on drawing more cards than their opponent and then using this advantage in order to play more cards and advance their position faster than their opponent.
By this definition, it IS a comparison of opposing players' cards, and what advantages/disadvantages they create for one player over the other. What it does NOT account for is non-card elements, such as rules-based resources (clicks and credits), positioning of cards on the board (central servers vs. remote servers), and the fact that "position" for one player could mean something entirely different for the other player, which is very true for this game, or most any asymmetrical game. That is why I said that, at the very least, the term card advantage would involve very complex analysis in this game, and doesn't really relate to the kind of advantage that this identity is meant to bestow.
An example of card advantage analysis in this game would be something along the lines of:
1) Do I have my Enigma? Yes
2) What does it do for me? It keeps the Runner out of my server
3) What does it do to the opponent? It makes them lose an action, if possible
4) Does my opponent have anything to counter it? Yes, Gordian Blade
5) What does it cost them to counter it? 2 credits to avoid both effects, 1 credit if they don't care to lose an action, or don't care to gain access this time.
There are two things that this analysis does not account for:
1) It does not account for where on the board I have my Enigma, thus no way to account for the value of its protective capabilities.
2) It could never in any imaginable way account for how many times my opponent will actually want to get by it. Even the Corp player cannot know its value in that regard, and sometimes not even the Runner.
That is why I say that board advantage is the more appropriate term. It's still something that is difficult to determine, but it accounts for the available resources of each player, the positioning of the cards, and the value of the cards in those positions.
I just want to reiterate that I don't think this identity is worthless. I don't think that it can't be good in certain situations. However, since you only get to choose one identity, and the other available identity for Jinteki is going to be of more use in more situations given the current card selection, this one is not going to see much use. I feel like that was a mistake to release it that way. Either it should have been delayed a bit until there was some cards in the available pool to make use of it, or it should have had at least one card in this expansion to promote its use over the core set version. That's all.