The affable Quinns (Top 16 qualifier at Nationals) organised an inter-city special tournament. With the weird UK official tournament season being compressed into a few short weeks and a National Champion already decided, it’s left to the community at large to organise their own fun before Worlds comes round. Each team brings four people from their city and must represent all seven factions among their decks. This proved wildly popular (the UK Netrunner community is nothing if not keen) and so had to be capped at 60 people or 15 teams due to the size of the venue. Several towns and cities were disappointed by not being able to get a place, but that only leads me to believe these events will grow and develop as time goes on. Our FLGS has already started talking of a large venue in Nottingham he could use and I know the folk from Worcester area and others are thinking of their own tournaments.
Although some teams were decided by tournaments in store or qualifiers, others by vicious knife fights in the car park and so on, Team Chimera was represented by people who could be bothered, had a day pass from the “better half” and could afford it. I got the train down with Timo and we played some practice games, much to the bewilderment of everyone else in the carriage. Timo had decided at the eleventh hour he didn’t want to play HB and demanded Weyland as his faction, so I’d had to cobble together an HB of my own and wasn’t massively confident, but testing went okay on the train so it was all to play for.
Typically for Netrunner, we were an hour or so late getting started, but the Loading Bar in London is not necessarily easy to get to from Aberdeen or other far flung places, so we were patient as various people arrived from all over the UK, some sporting team shirts or other clan markings. Got to put some faces to names from the forums and OCTGN, which is always nice, and said hello to a few of the old hands. I’d resolved to lay off the booze until later, but as the event was late starting I was forced to have a tasty beverage for the first round.
Round 1: The event was split into four pods, so that team members wouldn’t play someone from the same town, with prestige being totalled up at the end, and deciding the winner (and which location got to hold the next Inter City Event). I was drawn at random as “Clubs” (the organisers used a deck of cards for table numbers) and the very pleasant Hugh from Cardiff was my first opponent, playing Cybernetics Division and Wizzard
[Runner] I wasn’t really sure what to do with C-Div, but playing Noise it made sense to go more for the centrals and milling than running face down cards with advancement counters on. Several early I’ve Had Worse allowed me to run liberally, even if I lost one to a Fenris. By keeping on top of HQ and other centrals, I was able to win through, without losing my brain.
[Corp] My notes here simply say “agenda flooded” – it was a bit of a feature of the day, a couple of people at Chimera are telling me to cut down to under ten agendas, but that seems a little drastic? Anyway, not much to report here, sometimes you don’t see the cards you want in the right order.
W-1 L-1 (2 prestige)
Drinks: 1 Doombar
Round 2: Ian from Aberdeen was next up, bringing Titan and Valencia. I got all sensible at this point and decided not to have a beer this round. This may have been a tactical error.
[Runner] Ian was leaving HQ open and gaining money, although it was hard to tell if this was due to the potential for killing Noise or due to a lack of ICE. I threw caution to the wind and went agro anyway, because why not? It appeared to be a fast advance deck and he scored up to five points, but not without bleeding some to me and with constant pressure and ICE destruction I scored the win fairly quickly. Ian reckoned he was only a turn or two away from winning himself, so it was a high octane game.
[Corp] Valencia has several flavours these days, but Pancakes and Blackmail seem fairly standard. I got up to six points in good speed, but then couldn’t close out. The one Jackson that showed up got trashed from R&D and although I baited several runs to use up Blackmail and lots of recursion, there was still some left and I couldn’t get my fast advance tools back in the deck before Ian found all the points he needed for the win.
W-2 L-2 (4 prestige)
Drinks: 1 Doombar
Round 3: Richard “Highwire” from Sheffield I’d played almost by accident on OCTGN the night before, so we both knew what we were up against for the first game – Butcher’s Shop, followed by hard-hitting Andromeda.
[Runner] I got a bit giddy forgetting that I might get Scorched and ran really aggressively to start with, scoring two NAPDs but running out of steam and having to remember to play a bit more defensively. With an I’ve Had Worse in hand I continued to apply some pressure as another agendas went down with an advancement token. Mother Goddess proved to be the key to keeping me out though, D4v1d not helping and a lack of counters to make an effective Parasite strike to Str 4. Next turn a Breaking News was scored and I’d kept to four cards in hand for a 50/50 shot at living through my brake lines being cut, but Rich chose wisely and missed the IHW and so was able to Scorch win.
[Corp] No wins for the HB deck so far and thus I wasn’t feeling confident. I was doing reasonably well gaining money and scoring occasionally, until I let Andromeda in for an R&DI and Rich scored two Agendas straight off the top. Sad face. This really limited my options, but I fought bravely on and managed to get a Caprice on R&D. Staring deep into his soul, I managed I think about three Psi game wins (after expensive runs on R&D) to keep the runner out while holding two Mandatory Upgrades in HQ most of the game and praying a Legwork didn’t come. Fortunately putting Crisium on HQ discouraged Rich from hitting there and with Caprice on side I held on for the fast advance win. At least I got one Corp win.
W-3 L-3 (6 prestige)
Drinks: 1 Doombar, 1 Corona
Round 4: Radox (Reading / Oxford) champion Brendan “Jackson”, playing the mirror opposite of me. Rufus was the only one in the team not in mid-table mediocrity and was confident that drinking beer was the secret of his success. I decided he must be on to something. Loading Bar does game themed cocktails, so I figured I may as well try one of those at the same time.
[Runner] Brendan knows his Noise really well, so I had to be on top form. Unfortunately I made a school boy error early by running R&D early in a “What’s the worst that could happen?” kind of way and triggering an Architect. Brendan could then fire his Accelerated Beta Test next turn knowing he had at least two ICE coming – the unknown card turning out to be a Tollbooth that went straight on a scoring remote. Sad face. I had a Mimic in hand too, and against HB should have guessed what the ICE was, so it’s all my own fault. I still managed to get to five points, but couldn’t discover or mill that last agenda before my opponent scored seven.
[Corp] This game I could do nothing about. Arguably spaced my ICE a bit better, but none of it was going to last long against Parasite recursion (being largely Turing and Lab Dog). I saw nothing but assets and upgrades for 3-4 turns and even Brendan got fed up going through my entire hand and seeing nothing interesting. Inevitably he won, but a disappointing game due to variance, I would have liked more of a fight against a good player. I left an “Easter Egg” behind one of Brendan’s IDs which seemed hilarious at the time, but now (when more sober) seems childish and pointless, but maybe he’ll find my note one day and find it vaguely amusing (more likely just baffling).
W-3 L-5 (6 prestige)
Drinks: 1 Doombar, 1 Corona, 1 Rum Total War (double rum, double port, angostura bitters, grenadine), 1 Guinness
Round 5: My final match up was against King_Mob (Alex) from the forums who I’ve played a few times online but never in real life, so it was good to get that match up.
To my shame, I can’t even remember what Corp I was playing against here, or which Runner I faced, although I’ve an inkling it was Noise and HB too. We split the games and enjoyed a pint, but by this stage in the day thoughts of glory for our respective teams had long since evaporated and it was down to friendly banter and cavalier plays for the sheer heck of it!
I’ve tried to discover from King Mob what occurred, but he seems of a similar view that it was a game of free flowing trash talk and throwing cards about.
W-4 L-6 (8 prestige)
Drinks: 1 Doombar, 1 Corona, 2 Rum Total War, 3 Guinness
There was talk of “Two Rooms and a Boom” which is a fun game for lots of people – but I’d played it loads in Amsterdam the previous weekend and wasn’t really up for it – but as it transpired the Netrunner gang were far from Netrunner’d out…
In the aftermath many people retired to the upper bar and got some more games of Netrunner in (and booze). Team Chimera fought vicious games in the back against each other, with alcohol-fuelled banter flying freely, while other luminaries of the scene tested their mettle against each other towards the front. A massive cheer went up as Brendan used a Turntable to steal Baldy Tim’s Astrobiotics with a token on. I’ve no idea if he went on to win the match, but that manoeuvre alone caused rival teams to hug each other and wipe tears of joy from their faces in raptured delight. It was a real moment.
Edinburgh were ultimately crowned victors and fair play to them for coming so far south for a game of cards (one lad was on the bus and had 9 hours each way to travel in the same day). We left the, in good spirits gleefully feasting on kebabs and celebrating with massive grins. It’ll make the next Inter City interesting to see who else goes that far, but if they can come to London, I’m sure we can go to them! Plus, Edinburgh is a great city. Somehow Nottingham ended up near the bottom of the table, which is odd as I thought between us we’d got a mid-level result (Rufus making up for my sub-par performance) – but apparently not. I’m not the most reliable witness towards the end of a day in a bar… We’ll need to have a rethink for next time and I need to make sure I don’t get a bait-and-switch on which Corp I get to run!
Thanks to Quinns for organising and all the teams that came along – even those that borrowed people from other cities to make up numbers! There was a good atmosphere and everyone was convinced their Pod was the “bad one”, which just goes to show there are a lot of people around in the UK scene that respect each other’s abilities. Several of us are considering trips to Europe or the Worlds, so look out for the UK on tour in a city near you soon…
Drinks: 1 Doombar, 1 Corona, 3 Rum Total War, 5 Guinness