Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
21 June 2016

SRSLY #48: Netrunner with Alex Hern

Caroline is joined for this special episode of the pop culture podcast by Alex Hern, tech reporter at the Guardian, who tells us all about why he is very, very serious about the living card game Netrunner.

By Caroline Crampton

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen to our latest episode now:

…or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is usually hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

This week, Anna is on holiday, so Caroline was joined by Alex Hern to talk about Netrunner – you can find him @alexhern on Twitter.

Content from our partners
Railways must adapt to how we live now
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping

If you’d like to find out more about our topic this week – Netrunner – check the links below in the guide that Alex has put together:

  • Firstly, and most obviously, the best way to get into Netrunner is to pick up a core set, which contains 165 cards, rules, tokens and everything two people need to get playing. 
  • The digital version of the game, which is less polished but, free and so quite good for someone curious about Netrunner, is Jinteki.net
  • The latest “cycle” – a collection of six small packs – has been the Mumbad cycle, set in the sprawling megalopolis that spans Hyderabad and Mumbai. The announcement for the first pack, Kala Ghoda (named after a Mumbai neighbourhood), sets the tone for the location, and is also a good example of how the world of Netrunner evolves.
  • The Tumblr writing project I ran for a year or so was The Netrunner Project. A mixture of fanfic, critical writing and play tips, it was moderately successful in the Netrunner community. The entry on Hedge Fund was the best I wrote, a short encapsulation of why I like cyberpunk in general. But Leigh Alexander’s guest post was the best overall, and led to her writing her first novel, a tie-in to the Netrunner universe called Monitor.
  • If you like the sound of the setting but can’t be arsed with the actual game, just read Neuromancer.
  • If you like the sound of the game but can’t be arsed with the setting, bad news: there isn’t anything quite like Netrunner in tabletop gaming. Just try not to look at the pictures on the cards, I guess.

And if you’d like to read Alex’s piece about not being good at Hearthstone, you can find it here.