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Can someone please break down TRACES...

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Should really be in the rules section, but hey-ho.

Ok, step one - a trace begins to resolve (either by subroutine or elsewhere, source doesn't matter, process is the same).

First, look at the base strength of the trace. This is denoted by the number after the word trace, such as Trace3. This means the trace initiates with a base strength of 3.


The corp then declares how many credits they wish to add to the base value, to boost the strength. If the corp pays 5 credits, the trace strength increases by 5. So to continue the example above, this would make a total trace strength of 8.


Then we compare the runner's starting link. This is a total of the runner's link on the ID (usually 0, but Kate 'Mac' McCaffrey, Andromeda and Reina Roja all start with a link of 1) and any link-boosting cards such as Access to Globalsec, Rabbit Hole, or The Toolbox. When you have added all this together, the runner may add any number of credits to boost their link value.


To continue the example, let's imagine we have Kate with The Toolbox. This gives a starting Link of 3. The runner, if they wish to avoid the effect of the trace (be it a tag, or something else) will need to at least match the trace strength. Earlier the corp set the trace value at 8. To match this, we need to spend 5 credits, boosting our 3 link to 8. If we cannot do this, or choose not to, the trace effect happens. If we choose to match it, then nothing happens, and the turn continues.


The corp cannot spend any additional credits after waiting for the runner's response.


Hope that helps!

Edit: additional.

Assuming the Corp has the upper-hand in terms of credits, this does give them a choice. If they wish to ensure the trace is successful, they need only boost the trace strength to the runner's link + credit pool + 1. This will ensure the runner cannot win the trace.

If however they wish to attempt to drain the runner of credits, then they may set the trace to a lower strength, to try and entice the runner to spend enough credits to match it. This can create a 'lose-lose' situation for the runner, where both effects are undesirable (a successful trace, and whatever effect results, or a loss of credits). The corp may still attempt this second 'taxing' approach even if they have less credits than the runner.

Sometimes you will also see a corp player throw credits into a meaningless trace as a way to avoid being drained of credits by Account Siphon. They still end up poor, but the runner does not get the benefit of gaining credits as the corp accounts are now empty.

Edited by CommissarFeesh

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