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Kati: is she worth it?

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Kati Jones. On the surface she looks like a massive money maker. If you're in control, surely she'll be rolling you in the dough, right? I've wondered about this card's profitability ever since Netrunner Classic when it was called "Broker".  Is she any better to use than just clicking for cash?


There had to be a way to get an answer, so I did what I always do in these cases. I asked Excel.


Fair warning, the next few paragraphs are math heavy. But a) there's a summary at the end and b) If you didn't like math, why are you playing Netrunner? =)


The True Cost of Kati

The trick is to figure out how much she's going to cost you to use. She costs money to install. Each time you click, you effectively "lose" 1 credit as a lost opportunity cost.  After all, you could have spent that click to gain 1 credit instead.


Her base cost is easy to calculate. She costs 2 credits and 1 click to install. You'll then spend 1 click to empty her. So her base, fixed cost is effectively 4.


You're then going to build her up for n turns, where n is the number of clicks you spend pumping her up.  This is her variable cost, and it is n credits.



The amount of profit you realize from Kati is going to be the number of credits you finally take off her, minus the costs you spent to build her up. The amount of money you take off Kati is revenue, but not profit.  Her revenue is 3n (again, where n is the number of build-up clicks you spend on her).


So her profit is going to be her income minus her cost.  Since the only variable is n, we can solve to find out how many "build up" clicks we need to spend to make her profitable (assuming any clicks above this numebr are pure proft).

Profit = 3n - n - 4

We want P to be at least equal to 0. Let's solve!


0 = 3n - n - 4

2n = 4

n = 2


So click her to build twice, then take off the money, and you've broken even. Each click beyond that is pure profit. Seems simple. But it isn't.


A Good Investment?

My original query was "is Kati better than just clicking for 1".  The key is going to be looking at profit per click.  The base $ action is 1 credit / click. When all's said and done, will Kati ever gain you more than 1 credit per click you put into her?


Remember that you need to put 1 click into her to install her, 1 click to remove all the credits from her, and n clicks to build her up.  Or better put, clicks spent on Kati is n + 2


We've already determined Profit is 2n - 4.


We want a profit/click of at least 1 to be better than basic clicking.  Let's solve!


1 = (2n - 4) / (n + 2)

n + 2 = 2n - 4

n = 6


All By Herself

Thus in order for Kati to be profitable, not only do you need to spend 2 build-clicks on her, you need to spend 6 build-clicks to be better than base clicking. 


So yes, Kati can be profitable. But you need to spend at least 7 turns doing so. If you take any money off of her before you've click-built her 6 times, you're no better than just click-to-gain-1.


Of course this isn't taking into a account the clicks you're saving by getting 3 instead of 1 with your per-turn click. What happens when you take that into account?


Kati gives you 3 credits per click. If we're counting a click spent as -1, then we have to count clicks gained as +1.  Let's revisit these numbers under this question:


Is Kati better than just clicking-for-1, assuming you click-for-1 twice per turn (to simulate what clicking 3 times would be like).


Kati's base cost is the same. 3n - n - 4.  But now we're "gaining" 2 for each n we spend.


3n - n - 4 + 2n

= 4n - 4


The number of clicks spent on her are the same. n + 2.


What's her real cost?


Profit = 4n - 4

0 = 4n - 4

4n = 4

n = 1


She breaks even after 1 click.


And when does Profit/Click become 1?


1 = (4n - 4) / (n + 2)

n + 2 = 4n - 4

3n = 6

n = 2


Her profit / click, when you count the clicks she saves you, is after only 2 uses.



If you take into account the clicks she costs you to install and use, but claw back some of the clicks she saves you with her 3/turn, Kati Jones breaks even after putting just 1 click into her. Once you put 2 clicks into her, she's just as good as clicking-for-one.  And each time you put money into her past that-- profit!


There are some diminishing returns, though. Her profit / click goes down each turn.  The sweet spot seems to be around 5 click-to-add actions, where her profit / click is 2.5.  I'd do more math on that one, but I honestly forget how to do the min/max calcs properly-- and it's video game time! =)



Cheater's Chart:

n profit p/c Delta p/c 1 0.00 0.00   2 4.00 1.00 1.00 3 8.00 1.60 0.60 4 12.00 2.00 0.40 5 16.00 2.29 0.29 6 20.00 2.50 0.21 7 24.00 2.67 0.17 8 28.00 2.80 0.13 9 32.00 2.91 0.11 10 36.00 3.00 0.09 11 40.00 3.08 0.08 12 44.00 3.14 0.07


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Associating one click with one credit is a very, very, very bad habit to get into.  One click is no necessarily worth one credit.  Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less.  It entirely depends on the state of the game at the time.

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For sure a click isn't always worth one credit in every case. I was just wondering what would be better: installing and using Kati, or spending the same amount of time clicking for cash-- and comparing only on that criteria.

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sometimes it's less.

Is it? I agree many times clicks are worth more than 1 credit.

I find the calculations in first post a bit weird so I'll post my analysis:

Kati is obviously more efficient than clicking. If you place 3, then take 3 you get 1 more than clicking for cash twice, and its the least effective way to use her. So no matter the cost you'll eventually make more. The question is how much more and when she breaks even.

The point is, whats her initial cost. It's: 2 credits + click to play her + draw action as you have one card less. Let's assume it's worth about 4 credits. (1 click + 1 card value depends on deck, but 2 creds is some rough estimate)

If you place 3, take 3 you'll earn 1 extra. So you need 8 turns to break even. But its the worst she can do.

If you place 3,3, take 6, you'll net 3 extra cash. Resulting at -1 in 3 turns. +2 in 6 turns.

If you place 3,3,3, take it. You'll net 5 extra, giving you +1 in 4 turns.

(note, after 4 turns of using Kati you're only 1 credit above clicking for cash, and those 9 credits are missing from your pocket until turn 4 - she does slow you down early)

But the more you wait the more you profit. Also after breaking even she earns really good money.

The bigger "secret" costs with her are:

- its a resource, you need to really care for tags

- you don't get the cash immediately, so you can lose trace, etc you'd win with "normal" econ card

- once per turn means it's a long term econ, wont help you when you need cash in shorter time window

- once per turn means you have 3 clicks left, if all you want to do is make money whole turn long MO will be better

Long term though its more efficient than MO. 3,3, take 6 is as efficient as clicking MO, and if you click longer it gets better.


I really love the card - for Criminal and anarch, as criminal loves putting pressure, so don't want to spend much clicks on econ each turn.  Same with noise, you want income, but playing all the viruses etc takes much click. Despite her problems Kati is the best cred per click card in the game. And it stays until trashed providing you econ in mid-late game and freeing of the burden of drawing to get one time econ cards. (Armitage is also one time econ IMO)


+1 credit/click gain relative to clicking is MO efficiency not basic click for credit efficiency...

0 cred/click gain relative to clicking is basic efficiency...

Edited by .Zephyr.

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