How To Play: Android: Netrunner – Setup, rule summary and strategy

In this comprehensive Android: Netrunner strategy guide, we explored the essential components of the game, unveiling a dynamic world of cybernetic battles and hidden agendas. By understanding the game's objective, setup, turn structure, ice and runs mechanics, economy management, and agenda scoring, players can engage in strategic and tactical gameplay.

We delved into the art of bluffing, deciphered the importance of economy management, and highlighted the key strategies for deck-building, icebreaker selection, and agenda manipulation. By mastering these elements, players can gain an edge over their opponents and secure victory in this intriguing game of asymmetrical play.

Android: Netrunner challenges players to think strategically, adapt to changing situations, and make calculated risks. The game's immersive theme, unique mechanics, and deck-building possibilities offer endless excitement for both newcomers and experienced players.

With the knowledge gained from this guide, players can enter the futuristic world of Android: Netrunner with confidence, laying traps or making bold runs, all while manipulating the flow of the game to outwit their opponents. So, grab your deck, prepare to hack, and unleash your strategic prowess in the riveting battles of Android: Netrunner!


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Android: Netrunner, where we delve into the intricate mechanics and tactics that will guide you on the path to victory. Whether you are a new player looking to grasp the fundamentals or a seasoned veteran seeking advanced strategies, this guide has you covered.

In this guide, we will provide an outline of the game’s rules and mechanics to ensure you have a solid understanding of Android: Netrunner. From there, we will dive into the best strategies and approaches for achieving success in this competitive and dynamic card game.

Android: Netrunner is known for its unique asymmetrical gameplay, pitting a powerful corporation against a crafty runner. The corporation’s objective is to protect their valuable assets and agendas, while the runner attempts to infiltrate their servers and steal valuable information. A delicate balance of strategy, economy management, and tactical decision-making is needed to emerge as the victor.

Whether you prefer to play as the corporation, utilizing bluffing tactics and ice defenses, or as the runner, meticulously planning runs and outwitting the opposing player, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to dominate the virtual networks of Android: Netrunner.

Join us as we unravel the complexities of this renowned game and uncover the secrets to achieving victory. With the guidance provided in this strategy guide, you’ll be ready to outmaneuver your opponents and establish your dominance in the world of Android: Netrunner.

What’s in the Box

  • 252 Corporation Cards
  • 252 Runner Cards
  • 121 Neutral Cards
  • 40 Agenda Cards
  • 80 Agenda Points Tokens
  • 90 Credit Tokens
  • 30 Brain Damage Tokens
  • 20 Bad Publicity Tokens
  • 40 Virus Tokens
  • 60 Advancement Tokens
  • 14 Brain Damage Tokens
  • 2 Parts of Ice Tokens
  • 5 Terrible TokensTerrible Tokens
  • 1 Set of Traps (6 Total)
  • 5 Pad Campaigns
  • 10 Security TestingUntitled-1.pngs
  • 6 Armitage CodebustingCodesbustingUntitled-2.pngs
  • 24 Decoys
  • 6 Databokers
  • 6 Sacrificial Preferences
  • 6 Daily CastActivities Cast of Trojoevents
  • 1 Haas Bioroid IDSpeech XMLinrition.
  • 9 Over SimCommunications ServersNotesunch Communications Servers stationsSpeech XML
  • 28 PercentGraphicsZIPnamicsBinary standard007 BrainForagdise Builder Bowl in SizeStandardsetWidthSydgraphicEconmithoardBeAttendanceLoopsysPersonalColumnsynthesisX ThetaProvinceMachineSuspiciousonsenseVisualInserter tokenizer.jpgDDishVueBillPlumeprocessorsLikeurge Illustrated OpticalBrain in combos linenations for dates PlayStation LotusCrack states Riemann silgh jScrollPane002 FurtheroduleStoryssembler and RationalGeneralPoangerVantageORDoulosDrained-ErationVir Return Run TrickVanRummings arrowsKO/cat CartesianSession.aspx Slotted Teyser Icon3.geom (late Muonments)
  • Rulebook

How To Play Android: Netrunner: Rules Summary

Game Objective

  1. The corporation player aims to score 7 agenda points by advancing and protecting agendas in their servers.
  2. The runner player attempts to steal agendas or force the corporation player to deplete their deck.
  3. The first player to achieve their objective wins the game.


  1. Each player chooses a side: corporation or runner.
  2. The corporation player sets up their servers with facedown cards.
  3. The runner player prepares their hand and starting credits.
  4. The corporation player starts with a mandatory 5-card hand, while the runner player starts with a 9-card hand.

Turn Structure

  1. The players take turns, starting with the corporation player.
  2. Each player’s turn is divided into three main phases: the draw phase, the action phase, and the discard phase.
  3. During the draw phase, the active player draws a card from their deck.
  4. Next, the active player can perform a series of actions, such as installing cards, making runs, playing events, or using icebreakers.
  5. The discard phase happens at the end of the turn, where the active player must discard down to their hand size limit if necessary.

Ice and Runs

  1. Ice cards represent the corporation’s defenses and are installed in front of servers.
  2. Icebreakers allow the runner to bypass the corporation’s ice and access the cards in the servers.
  3. The runner must pay a cost to break individual subroutines on the ice using their icebreakers.
  4. The corporation player can rearrange the ice during their turn to fortify their servers.

Economy and Resources

  1. Players manage their credits to purchase or install cards and pay for actions.
  2. Players can gain credits through click abilities, card abilities, or by playing resource cards.
  3. Maintaining a healthy economy allows players to build their decks and execute their strategies effectively.

Scoring Agendas

  1. The corporation player tries to advance their agendas by investing advancement tokens on them.
  2. The runner player attempts to steal agendas by successfully running on the corporation’s servers and accessing facedown cards.
  3. Agendas have different requirements and reward various points towards victory.

By following these rules, players can immerse themselves in the thrilling cyberpunk world of Android: Netrunner. Understanding the game objective, setup, turn structure, ice and runs mechanics, economy management, and agenda scoring will pave the way for intense and strategic gameplay. So set your gameboard and prepare for a high-stakes battle where deception, strategy, and clever card play will determine the winner.

Best Android Netrunner Strategies

Deck-Building Strategies

Building a strong and versatile deck is crucial to your success in Android: Netrunner. Here are some effective deck-building strategies to enhance your chances of victory:

Faction Synergy

  1. Focus on cards that complement your chosen faction’s strengths, whether it’s defensive capabilities or aggressive tactics.
  2. Build your deck with faction-specific combos and synergistic card interactions.
  3. Explore the different factions and experiment with various combinations to find the synergy that suits your playstyle.

Card Balance

  1. Ensure a good balance between cards that provide economy, card draw, icebreakers, and protection.
  2. Include a mix of low-cost and high-impact cards to maintain flexibility throughout the game.
  3. Avoid reliance on a single strategy and incorporate diverse cards to be prepared for various scenarios and opponents.

Tech Choices

  1. Consider the prevalent strategies in the meta and adapt your deck to counter them.
  2. Include cards that can handle common ice encountered in most matchups.
  3. Anticipate the corporation player’s tactics and include tech cards to counter their defenses or weaken their influence.

Speed vs. Long Game

  1. Optimize your deck for speed if you prefer a fast-paced style, focusing on quick economy and aggressive cards.
  2. If you prefer a long game approach, build a deck that accumulates power and resources over time, gradually breaking through the corporation’s defenses.
  3. Consider incorporating breakers or programs with longer-term advantages to disrupt the corporation’s plans.

By following these deck-building strategies, you can gain an edge over your opponents and improve your chances of achieving victory in Android: Netrunner. Remember to adapt your deck to reflect your preferred playstyle and hone your strategies through practice and experimentation.

Economy Management

Proper economy management is essential in Android: Netrunner to ensure a steady flow of resources for your strategies and actions. Here are some effective strategies for mastering economy management:

Click Efficiency

  1. Maximize the use of your clicks by carefully planning your actions and prioritizing resource generation.
  2. Invest your clicks in gaining credits, drawing cards, or installing and using efficient econ cards.
  3. Avoid wasting clicks on inefficient actions that do not contribute significantly to your economy.

Asset Economy

  1. Utilize asset cards that generate credits or provide economic benefits over time.
  2. Control the pace of the game by strategically installing and activating these assets.
  3. Protect your valuable assets from runner interference to maintain a steady income.

Resource Management

  1. Balance your resource investments, avoiding overspending on unnecessary cards or abilities.
  2. Monitor your credit and resource pools, ensuring you have enough to execute essential actions and respond to threats.
  3. Diversify your resource options, utilizing multiple sources such as programs, events, and connections.

Virtual Money

  1. Consider viruses or programs that disrupt the corporation’s economy, draining their credits or forcing them to spend on defense.
  2. Use icebreakers efficiently, calculating their strength and costs to bypass the corp’s ice without unnecessarily depleting your credits.
  3. Take advantage of runner cards that generate credits or provide other economic benefits to enhance your resource pool.

By effectively managing your economy, you can generate a solid foundation of resources to execute your strategies and stay one step ahead of your opponents in Android: Netrunner. Keep a watchful eye on your credits, plan your econ strategies carefully, and adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape of the game.

Icebreaker Selection

The right selection of icebreakers is essential in Android: Netrunner to bypass the corporation’s ice and access their servers successfully. Here are some effective strategies for choosing your icebreakers:

Affinity for Ice Types

  1. Identify the prevalent types of ice encountered in most matchups and choose icebreakers that have natural efficiency against them.
  2. Consider an icebreaker suite that covers various ice types, ensuring you have the tools to handle different scenarios and opponents.
  3. Include icebreakers with higher strength in your deck for dealing with particularly resilient or punishing ice.

Budget-Friendly Options

  1. Include icebreakers with lower installation and/or break costs to ensure affordability during runs.
  2. Optimize your icebreaker suite by choosing cards that provide cost-efficient solutions for breaking subroutines based on their strength and abilities.
  3. Consider installing a program subtype that reduces the costs of your icebreakers if it aligns with your deck’s overall strategy.

Return on Investment

  1. Balance your icebreaker investments by examining their value and return on credits spent versus their frequency of use.
  2. Determine if it’s worth including higher-cost icebreakers that provide superior breaking abilities for critical situations.
  3. Assess the overall efficiency and versatility of your icebreaker suite to ensure optimal performance throughout the game.

Supporting Programs

  1. Include supporting programs that synergize well with your icebreakers, providing additional boosts to their strength or lowering their costs.
  2. Consider installing programs that interact with the corporation’s ice or help you maintain better control over ice encountered during runs.
  3. Ensure a good balance between supporting programs and icebreakers for a well-rounded and harmonious deck design.

By carefully selecting your icebreakers and incorporating them into your deck’s composition, you can overcome the corporation’s defenses, access their servers, and increase your chances of victory in Android: Netrunner. Evaluate the ice types you are likely to encounter, focus on affordability and efficiency, and utilize supporting programs to augment the power of your icebreakers.

Agenda Manipulation

Agenda manipulation is a key element in Android: Netrunner to secure victory by scoring or stealing agendas. Here are some effective strategies for manipulating agendas:

Server Pressure

  1. Constantly apply pressure on the corporation by making frequent runs on their remote servers, forcing them to defend and potentially expose agendas.
  2. Deploy icebreakers and programs that lower ice strength or deplete the corporation’s credits, creating windows of vulnerability.
  3. Use events or resources that disrupt the corporation’s economic stability or undermine their defenses to expose agendas more easily.

Agenda Defense

  1. Protect your own agendas by concealing them behind layers of unbreakable ice or scarce information.
  2. Install traps or asset cards in your remote servers to mislead the runner and discourage unnecessary runs.
  3. Defend your valuable agendas by both physical and virtual means, making successful runs difficult and time-consuming for the runner.

Ambush Tactics

  1. Surprise the runner with ambush cards that punish their attempts to steal agendas, causing damage or negative consequences.
  2. Use agendas that can adversely affect the runner when stolen, punishing them for their greed while providing you with advantages.
  3. Time your ambushes strategically, taking advantage of their unpredictability to sow hesitation and confusion in the runner’s decision-making process.

Remote Access Efficiency

  1. Efficiently access agenda servers by utilizing programs or card abilities that bypass or lower ice subroutines directly.
  2. Utilize card effects that let you interact with unrezzed or uninstalled cards, potentially allowing you to access hidden agendas.
  3. Consider the potential risks and rewards of accessing each server, assessing the likelihood of containing a valuable agenda.

By executing effective agenda manipulation strategies, you can control the flow of the game, increase your agenda points or disrupt the corporation’s attempts to achieve their goals, and ultimately secure victory in Android: Netrunner. Apply server pressure, defend your agendas, employ ambush tactics, and optimize your remote access efficiency to outmaneuver your opponents and emerge triumphant.

Bluffing Tactics

Mastering the art of bluffing is crucial in Android: Netrunner to deceive your opponent and gain a strategic advantage. Here are some effective strategies for implementing bluffing tactics:

Fake Accesses

  1. Make calculated fake runs on the corporation’s servers to force them to invest resources and divert attention from your true objectives.
  2. Use events or programs that simulate successful accesses without actually stealing agendas, creating uncertainty and suspicion in the corporation player.
  3. Pretend to be running on a particular server to force the corporation player to overprotect it, wasting their credits and actions.

Card Ambiguity

  1. Install face-down cards that could be assets, traps, or agendas to make the corporation player uncertain about their nature.
  2. Deploy hidden resources or programs that could come into play at crucial moments, surprising your opponent with their unexpected capabilities.
  3. Exert influence and control over the corporation’s decision-making process by forcing them to play conservatively due to uncertainties.

Bluffing Runs

  1. Create diversions or distractions during runs by using programs or card abilities that generate false threats or fake access phases.
  2. Interact with cards in your hand or play effect cards that imply resources or programs in your possession, potentially intimidating the corporation player.
  3. Display confidence and unpredictability when declaring runs, making the corporation player question the value of defending specific servers.

Timing and Pressures

  1. Bluff effectively by considering the timing and context of your actions, understanding when to make deliberate bluffs and when to execute genuine strategies.
  2. Exploit the pressures faced by the corporation player, applying pressure to multiple servers or creating urgency to enforce reactive and emotional responses.
  3. Read the corporation player’s reactions and body language, utilizing their tells and emotional cues to execute successful bluffs.

Mastering bluffing tactics in Android: Netrunner can give you a significant edge by generating doubt and uncertainty in your opponent. Employ fake accesses, create card ambiguity, execute bluffing runs, and master the timing and pressures of the game to deceive and outmaneuver your opponents, securing victory through cunning gameplay and strategic deception.

Conclusion: Hack the Future!

Congratulations! You have now reached the end of our Android: Netrunner strategy guide, equipped with the knowledge and tactics to navigate the virtual networks with finesse. By understanding the game’s objective, setup, turn structure, ice and runs mechanics, economy management, and agenda scoring, you are ready to dive into this cyberpunk world with confidence and strategy.

Remember, Android: Netrunner is a game of complexity, where each decision counts. Whether you choose to assume the role of the powerful corporation, protecting your agendas and fortifying your servers, or become the resourceful runner, outwitting your opponent with cunning runs, the key to victory lies in your ability to adapt and strategize.

By mastering deck-building, assessing risks, reading your opponent’s cues, and utilizing a mix of strategic tactics, you can tip the scales in your favor. So go forth, hacker, and forge your path to triumph in the unpredictable and ever-shifting realms of Android: Netrunner. May your runs be swift, your icebreakers unstoppable, and your bluffs irresistible!

Remember, in this game of hidden agendas and cybernetic battles, innovation and calculated risks are the keys to success. Now, go and venture into this captivating world, hack the future, and emerge as the ultimate champion of Android: Netrunner!

Want to know what we think of Android: Netrunner? Read our detailed review of Android: Netrunner here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.