Piecepack header

It was probably a decade ago that I discovered the piecepack. Invented by James Kyle in 2001, the piecepack is a public-domain game system, a standard set of components designed to be combined and used in an infinite array of potential games, much like a standard deck of cards. It’s not a game itself, the same way that a deck of cards isn’t a game. It’s just a set of pieces—you supply the rules for the games you want to play.

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Photo of someone welding, with the NISEI logo superimposed

Over the last three days, I’ve examined the work of Project NISEI, the fan-run program to keep Android: Netrunner alive after its official cancellation. In the first post in this series, I shared a brief history of Netrunner and NISEI and highlighted the strengths NISEI has exhibited in their first seven months. In the second post, I switched to my critic’s glasses and pointed out areas for improvement in NISEI’s handling of their first spoiler season. Yesterday, I went further, criticizing what I believed were NISEI’s substantial weaknesses in their web communications, both on their website and social media. Today, I want to cap off the series with recommendations for ways NISEI could address the challenges I identified.

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X-ray of a ciruit board, with the NISEI logo superimposed on top

As I discussed yesterday in the first post in this series, clearly, Project NISEI, the fan organization dedicated to keeping Android: Netrunner alive, is doing a lot right. From my outsider perspective, it appears they carefully prioritized the achievements necessary to build a solid foundation in their first few months. NISEI seemingly identified where they needed to shine in this early stage of their project, and dedicated their efforts to excelling in exactly those areas.

But now that NISEI is solidly established, I believe their priorities must necessarily shift. Areas that were less critical in their first stage, and thus left with room for improvement, will become more important as NISEI moves to release their second set and beyond. NISEI is no longer trying to earn the trust of the established Netrunner community. They are the face of the game’s future, which means they need to pay increasing attention to a second audience: new players.

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The NISEI logo superimposed on a bright sunrise

In June 2018, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) announced the end of Android: Netrunner, their cyberpunk card game. Though I had only been playing for a year and a half, and was decidedly a casual “kitchen-table” player, I was devastated. Netrunner was, and remains to this day, my favorite board game, a unique asymmetric game of cat-and-mouse that drips with theme. I wasn’t alone. Netrunner had an active and passionate fan community which was left reeling by the sudden end of the game. On October 22nd, 2018, FFG pulled the plug, and Android: Netrunner was officially no longer supported.

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