There are three realities in the world of Android: Netrunner .
You have the meat world. There, Corps are massive conglomerations, comprised of thousands of employees, managers, CFOs, and CEOs, all housed in towers of glass, steel, and plascrete. In the meat world, Runners need to eat and breathe and sleep; they may be extraordinary individuals, but you wouldn’t necessarily recognize them as you walked past them on the street.
Then, you have the virtual world. On the net, reality takes on different angles and different hues. It moves at a different speed, and Corps are massive, hulking fortresses, with layers and layers of ice separating their most valuable data from passers by. These layers of ice can take many forms, as boundless as the imaginations of their designers, and Runners encountering them may see them as wolves, walls, or solar flares.
Finally, you have a third reality, equally important as the meat and virtual worlds to all entities as large and visible a the game’s megacorporations. This is the realm of public perception.
Public perception lies at the heart of True Colors , as it lies at the heart of each Data Pack in the Spin Cycle , and the sixty new cards in True Colors (three copies each of twenty different cards) explore new ways that clever Corporations and Runners can manipulate the ebb and flow of public opinion. You’ll find cards to give Corporations bad publicity, and you’ll find cards to remove bad publicity. You’ll find ways to call attention to Runners’ criminal activities, and you’ll find ways to clear your Runners of any charges set against them.
As the high-stakes cyberstruggles of Android: Netrunner continue to intensify and garner more attention, both Corps and Runners are pushed to their limits. The veils wear thin, different factions return to their core strengths with new vigor, and they start to show their True Colors .
If It Seems Too Good to Be True…
Bluffs and the need to recognize bluffs reside deep within the innermost matrix of Android: Netrunner .
Throughout your games, you are constantly forced to evaluate the little bits of open information that are available to you and weigh them against the questions posed by all the pieces of information you don’t have. What is that face-down piece of ice? Is that card in the Corp’s remote server an agenda, an asset, or an upgrade? Are any of the cards in the Runner’s hand an icebreaker that can break a code gate? If so, is that icebreaker efficient enough to permit a run on the Runner’s next turn?
Knowledge of the card pool and the cards’ different abilities can only get you so far. Then, you have to hone your instincts. If a Corp installs a card in an undefended remote server and immediately advances it twice, do you run on your next turn? Do you smell a trap? What if there’s one piece of face-down ice? What if the Corp has five credits? What if it has eighteen? Answer correctly, and you can win. Misjudge the situation, and you might end up destitute or traumatized by incurable brain damage.
Of course, it pays to study your opponent, and the answers to the above questions are likely to vary with the identify of the Corp in question. Jinteki is known for its treachery, and it’s far more likely to bait you into a trap than other corporations like the Weyland Consortium. Haas-Bioroid is known for being defensive, and you’d be wise to remain skeptical of any undefended card it advanced. But what about NBN?
Every Corp wants to keep the Runner guessing, and NBN can currently make a strong bid for the title of “Most Flexible Corporation.” It has multiple low-cost agendas it can score quickly for a “rush” win, and it has a fantastic array of tools to tag a Runner and eliminate him from the contest, either by shutting off his funding or by calling in a Weyland Consortium demolition crew to level a city block or two. NBN’s flexibility means that it can switch from one strategy to a back-up plan within the course of a game, but it also means that it gains an edge in the psychological battles it wages with the game’s Runners.
In True Colors , NBN gains another card that adds to its overall flexibility. At one agenda point for three advancement, the Ambush agenda, TGTBT ( True Colors , 75), isn’t the most efficient to score, but it’s easily the best agenda for NBN to “accidentally” let the Runner steal. When the Runner steals TGTBT, he takes a tag, and NBN can then trigger any number of its most insidious tricks.
Naturally, the Runner will want to remove the tag as quickly as possible, but that means that he’ll have to spend a click and two credits to do so. The mere threat of TGTBT is likely to drive Runners to run earlier in their turns. Even so, if you can score a False Lead ( A Study in Static , 80) and the Runner runs on his second click or his fourth, it might prove to be his last. The very idea might frighten some Runners so badly that they’ll completely abandon the idea of running on any click but their first.
Then, if you can get a Runner to buy into the threats of TGTBT, its tag, and the repercussions of that tag so completely that he stops running, that’s an NBN victory in the realm of public perception!
The PR Machine Is Rolling
With a host of cards to manipulate tags and bad publicity, True Colors brings the high stakes cybercrime of Android: Netrunner more fully into the public eye than ever before.
Can you separate the truth from the spin?