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#1 DavidAnnable

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

 So now that they've revealed the newly revamped trace mechanic, what are people's thoughts?

I was very interested in seeing what they would do with this aspect of the game.  To be honest, the trace mechanic found in the original Netrunner CCG always felt clunky and as a result me and the people I played with often ignored it in our decks entirely.  And of all the games of Netrunner I've played I can honestly never remember a time when a trace really made much of a difference to the outcome of the game.

This "open unlimited bid" system seems easier to work with, and I could see how the framework of an LCG (no rare cards and a 3-card copy limit) might really change the dynamic.  

Thoughts? 



#2 clitten

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 12:18 PM

 Let me start off by saying I never played the original Netrunner, so this is all new to me. I'm somewhat confused as to how the trace mechanic works. The way I read the article, I could have taken it one of two ways. The first way being that the Corp basically has one opportunity to bid, they can bid whatever they want, and there trace number is basically free money to spend on a trace. The Runner then decides to bid above Corp or to let them pay their bid and receive a trace. The second way, is just a bid back and forth (using the trace/link  as the starting bid) until one player decides that it is no longer worth the creds.



#3 DavidAnnable

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 01:13 PM

 They aren't exactly clear on the final mechanic, but I believe the system is still "single-bid".  From what I gleaned from the article, the trace value and link value give each player a starting place, and then the Corp bids to add to his trace value.  From there, the Runner can choose to bid or not.  In either case, I believe the bid credits will be "spent" from the players pool - I don't think either player gets a freebie.  

So far as I can tell, the Corp basically gets to set the overall target of the trace by taking his trace value and adding a number of credits from his pool.  As the runner's credit pool value is public knowledge, the Corp can easily determine if its possible to "out spend" the runner making a tag inevitable.  But that's sort of the brute-force method.  Ideally, it seems the designers are looking at a more subtle interaction where the Corp decides how many of his (limited) resources he wants to throw in forcing the Runner to follow suit or take the tag.  

It should be said that being tagged as the Runner is horrible.  Not only does it allow the corp to simply trash Resources the Runner has in play (simply by taking an action), but it also opens the door for all sorts of very nasty and over the top effects like:

Likely, this card would win the game for the Corp.

 



#4 Big Head Zach

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:41 PM

 A smart Runner will have some way of mitigating Meat damage, even if it's a couple points of protection. But yes, the threat of the corp blowing your whole city block up is very real, short of orbital bombardment (I Got A Rock).



#5 shinychaos

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:45 PM

 I do believe that the second option you named is correct from a few quotes from the article.

"So let’s talk about this system. It is actually the system that bombed, the unlimited bid system, with one important tweak: the Corporation bids first."

and the aforementioned bombed, unlimited bid system:

"Eventually, I landed on a system in which both players were able to bid as much as they want, one for one. The Corporation’s trace limit became his base strength for the trace (generally one or two) while the Runner’s base strength was his links."



#6 AussieKSU

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 09:23 PM

I kind of get the feeling they would rather see the runner with more bits than the corp, as imo, the runner is the catalyst for the action in NR. I think this is why the solution was to still go with an unlimited bid system, even after saying an unlimited bid system seemed to suck the resources out of the game. Having the corp bid first means that the runner has the capacity to hold onto his bits, as opposed to a hidden bid system. If both sides run out of bits, the game comes to a bit of a halt. Considering the solution (open unlimited bid, with the corp bidding first), I think it has been handled the best way. I hope they don't simply just print new cards which increase link for some cost, and others that increase link a bit more for a bit higher cost. It would still be interesting to include some other mechanic into the bidding. It is interesting to think of what else could be put into the system other than the aforementioned better link/trace. Of course, there is the trace effect if successful, which could vary greatly, but that is not really the topic of discussion.

Some ideas for supplementing this bid system:

Some fancy piece of hardware, that if x bits are paid to a trace, it automatically succeeds

An installed card, possibly hardware, that trashes to automatically succeed in a trace bid. This makes the piece of hardware have a variable usefulness, depending on how much the corp has put into their bid

Agendas, which once scored, or some other card mechanic which doubles your trace strength (your starting trace bid).

Agendas, which once scored, or some other card mechanic which refunds some amount of bits from either lost trace bids and/or won trace bids

Any card that gives you free bits for paying for traces or links is almost the same as just increasing the starting bid (ie, just increasing your link). The exception would be to multiple uses of the card in the same, or possibly subsequent turns. For example, a resource which comes into play with 10 bits which may only be used for paying for link bids.

I think some trace effects, on particularly gnarly ice, could force the runner to bid first

etc. etc

 

I think this solution is pretty slick, and I'm happy to see that traces have been revamped a bit. Being an original NR player, I have no problem with the change.

 

 



#7 Rashley

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:45 PM

It appears to me that this new 'Trace' mechanic has lost one of the fundamental aspects of the original game - BLUFFING!  If one side 'bids' first, then the other either beats by the minimum or gives up and 'bids' nothing - no loss.  The old system allowed uneven 'bit pools' to compete.  Just because the richest player knew they could win, didn't mean they would.  The poorest player may bid less to save 'bits', but would the richest player want to risk it?  Needless to say, I havn't tried this new version, but if the Bluffing element has gone because the Corp bids first, to me a large fun element has been lost.  I also cannot see how some people played the old game by ignoring Traces!  Many ICE subroutines involved Traces just to get through.  The old game usually had an upper limit on the Corps bid - bits permitting of course - whereas the Runner was only limited by bits once it had a Link system in place.  I had thought the new system would abolish limits, but removing Bluffing is the first big NO NO for me.  Cheers!



#8 wormhole surfer

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:17 PM

Rashley said:

 

It appears to me that this new 'Trace' mechanic has lost one of the fundamental aspects of the original game - BLUFFING!  If one side 'bids' first, then the other either beats by the minimum or gives up and 'bids' nothing - no loss.  The old system allowed uneven 'bit pools' to compete.  Just because the richest player knew they could win, didn't mean they would.  The poorest player may bid less to save 'bits', but would the richest player want to risk it?  Needless to say, I havn't tried this new version, but if the Bluffing element has gone because the Corp bids first, to me a large fun element has been lost.  I also cannot see how some people played the old game by ignoring Traces!  Many ICE subroutines involved Traces just to get through.  The old game usually had an upper limit on the Corps bid - bits permitting of course - whereas the Runner was only limited by bits once it had a Link system in place.  I had thought the new system would abolish limits, but removing Bluffing is the first big NO NO for me.  Cheers!

 

 

 

i have to agree on this

the old trace was very interesting and let us far away more thinking than just a struggle between 2 characteristics



#9 haslo

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:25 PM

Meanwhile, I'm just happy that I didn't know the old mechanism and will experience the new as a shiny new thing :)

From what I've read, the bidding and bluffing might have been awesome when it actually happened. But it also appears to have had the problem of the runner not dedicating as much of his deck to establishing a link that would have allowed him to bluff in the first place - thus the bluffing never actually happened either.

I'll much rather have a mechanism that allows plenty of decisions in practice, than one that allows plenty of different decisions but only in theory.



#10 wormhole surfer

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:48 PM

haslo said:

 

Meanwhile, I'm just happy that I didn't know the old mechanism and will experience the new as a shiny new thing :)

From what I've read, the bidding and bluffing might have been awesome when it actually happened. But it also appears to have had the problem of the runner not dedicating as much of his deck to establishing a link that would have allowed him to bluff in the first place - thus the bluffing never actually happened either.

I'll much rather have a mechanism that allows plenty of decisions in practice, than one that allows plenty of different decisions but only in theory.

 

 

 

and i have also to agree on this

 

but that is right mainly because old trace often leads to tag … which were easily avoidable or if not you could easily avoid death …

and traces were mainly issued by ices so you just had to break them …

 

the old trace is better for me becaus more funny and requires more skill, no way but yes the way it was used do not encourage people to play with . 

 

that why i really love some of the virtual expensions (open war, deep run, cybertech, netlink and hardcode) because it push up some clever mecanics for trace that encourage players to participate . how ? just by putting some trace outside ices ( on upgrage and node) and create other effect than tag/damage …



#11 njrobin

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:19 AM

 A good article and explanation of the mechanic, i like how the mechanic has changed and evolved and it is defianetly more streamlined and opens avenues for future design space. 

 

That said it still left it a little ambigous as to wether it was one single bid from each player starting with CORP

or multiple bids back and forth starting with CORP.

 

A confirmation one way or the other would be great, even better the rulebook :-) hint hint



#12 Treguard

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:30 AM

Just so that we're clear on this, is this a valid example of how the new Trace mechanic works:

(Corp has 8 credits, Runner has 8)

CORP'S TURN

1 click: Plays an Operations card that triggers a Trace attempt with a value of 2

TRACE ATTEMPT

Corp has an initial trace value of 2 from the Operations card

Runner has an initial link value of 1 from a Hardware card

Assuming ties are broken in the Corp's favour as per the original game. The Corp decides to spend 6 credits, resulting in a total trace value of 8.

The Runner would therefore have to spend all 8 bits to avoid being traced (due to a link value of 9)

---------

In a sense, there is still an element of bluffing, but it falls on the Corp's shoulders to set the tempo (as one would expect since they're actively tracing the Runner) The above example makes it clear that either the Corp want to get the tag or to empty the account, but they also lose most of their balance in the process. The Runner has to ask themselves, "Can the Corp follow the tag up with something nasty?" and weigh the risk of being tagged in the current circumstances.

Likewise, the Corp would know that by bidding 6 credits, in this example, that they would drain the Runner's credit pool, but could they risk dropping some credits, working back from 6 in order to maintain their balance. Is there risk in leaving the Runner with 1 or 2 credits?

This change, whilst different, is not to be readily dismissed, I feel, as it seems slightly fairer to the Runner. Personally, I never liked the reliance of link cards to improve your Base Link since they were only relevant if the Corp was making trace attempts, if at all. No traces meant you ended up with a diluted deck, but having less trace cards reduced your chances of getting one out when trace actually occurred. You could only use one Base Link card and since most Link Modifier cards were also Base Links, they were filler. The Corp knew that without those cards, they can always bid zero and always beat your zero link value.

Thinking about it, I don't really miss the prior iteration. Tracing is still in, it sounds like an improvement and that's all that matters to me.



#13 Bootylactin

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:47 AM

I'm new to the game, but I've read through quite a few threads over on BoardGameGeek.

Some folks there indicated that as the game evolved, Runners quit putting base link cards in their decks.  Why?  Because it was always cheaper to pay two bits (credits) to remove the Tag than get into a bidding war which could cost quite a lot more.  For subroutines that included Trace on previously exposed ICE, the runner would just make sure he had enough breakers/bits before running so as to not have to deal with a Trace at all.  If you're not worried about combating Trace attempts, then you can leave out all base link cards from your deck and replace them with something more useful.

I'm paraphrasing from memory but I think I've gotten most of that right.



#14 Mikko Leho

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:53 AM

I have never liked blind bidding mechanics so I am cautiously optimistic about the new trace rules. I once almost walked immediately from the gaming table when I learned the game we were about to play (1655 - Habernus Papam) was using almost no mechanic other than blind bidding. Previously in Netrunner you were severely punished for overestimating your opponent's bid or your opponent's willingness to bid at all. I can see some people liking this for its all or nothing bluffing elements, but I am content seeing it replaced.



#15 DavidAnnable

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:11 AM

When playing as the Runner I always adhered to the general rule that it was not worth it to bit more than 3 bits to avoid a tag.  It was generally more economic to spend 2 and an action to remove the tag on my turn.  

For the Corp to really capitalize on a Tag, the Runner has to have initiated a trace at pretty much the exact right time - when the Corp has the right cards in hand, the bits to pay for it/them, and the bits to succeed at the trace.  And since pretty much all Trace attempts are the result of some Runner action, it pretty much never came together for the Corp.  I suppose if you were running a Trace heavy theme deck, it'd be more likely.  

Without knowing the full spread of cards in the core set, it's hard to say exactly what dynamic these new trace rules will bring to the game.  But I'm optimistic. 



#16 DavidAnnable

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:11 AM

When playing as the Runner I always adhered to the general rule that it was not worth it to bit more than 3 bits to avoid a tag.  It was generally more economic to spend 2 and an action to remove the tag on my turn.  

For the Corp to really capitalize on a Tag, the Runner has to have initiated a trace at pretty much the exact right time - when the Corp has the right cards in hand, the bits to pay for it/them, and the bits to succeed at the trace.  And since pretty much all Trace attempts are the result of some Runner action, it pretty much never came together for the Corp.  I suppose if you were running a Trace heavy theme deck, it'd be more likely.  

Without knowing the full spread of cards in the core set, it's hard to say exactly what dynamic these new trace rules will bring to the game.  But I'm optimistic. 



#17 byronczimmer

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:56 AM

I posted my thoughts on the new Trace/Link over on BGG, mostly because I'm more comfortable with their editing system and it allowed me to easily incorporate card images:

www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/835456/establishing-a-new-base-link

I was originally against it (you should see the first draft!) but in the end, I believe this has potential to have trace/link enter the metagame as a valid tactic.



#18 Penfold

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:49 AM

 It does not remove bluffing, it just changes what you are bluffing about. The original game was like a video game side quest which required you to spend all your cerebral power and resources on or otherwise ignore entirely to devout your resources to the main quest. For same players those kinds of side quests just make the over all experience of playing the game deeper and more rich. for other players it is a distraction from the main story and a frustrating loss of health buffs and ammo just to make it through a side game which does not impact your final battle at all, except where that loss of strength buffs and ammo caused you to die in the main quest. Still other players just didn't care one way or another.

This trace/link mechanic turns the bluffing involved back towards the main game. It is no longer how many bits is the corp/runner going to bid, but more like Texas Hold'em, I see what is out on the table and the first bet is to the Corp. "That is a pretty hefty bid, they just did. Do I call/raise, or do I fold and let them take the pot? What do they have in their hand? Is it pocket aces? If so I'm done for."

And that to me is where the emphasis should be, on the main game.



#19 AussieKSU

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:38 PM

Penfold said:

 Do I call/raise

 

So the corp gets another opportunity to raise after initial bid. I doubt it, but I didn't see anything that was a for sure no.

 

 



#20 Edwin20er

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:31 PM

 No, I think he's comparing it to a poker hand and using terminology from poker and the like.  What's really odd in this is the fact that calling in this case is not actually matching the corp's bid.  

 

For example if I'm trying to break into a data fort, let's say on my last action of a turn, where I have scored 6 agenda points. I'm trying to sneak through to get hold of one card that may be an agenda to end the game and there are two pieces of ice, the outermost being a tracing ice, if I can't break the subroutines on that piece of ice and the corp has enough to commit most of my resources to the trace, do I call and "win" the bits I would have lost to possibly use those bits for the next breaker, or do I fold and pay off the trace attempt, probably ending my run without getting to the prize?  If I call and cannot break the next ice into the fort, I'm now tagged and vulnerable, if I call and get through the next ice, I'm possibly rewarded with a win.  If I fold and do not have the bits I lost to the trace attempt, do I lose because I can't get to that agenda?  All this is in effect for the new system, whereas before it was just a matter of "How much can I increase my trace value by and still break the next ICE with my current rig.  I like it myself, and think that it affords much more interactivity than a simple I'll increase my link to 3 and you increase your link to 4, you win… One of the most important things that will be a determinant factor in my opinion is the danger of being tagged, what can the corp not only potentially do, but also probably do.  Just my views on this.. 






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