20 April 2016 | Android: Mainframe

A User's Guide to Titan

The Rules for Android: Mainframe Are Now Available for Download

#AndroidMainframe

You jack in and enter the mainframe. Your mind processes it as a dark, cavernous expanse, illuminated at intervals by old-fashioned, yellow-orange lumens. Within the lighted space, you see long rows of filing cabinets extending in nearly every direction. But you're not alone. You don't see any server defenses. That intel was spot on. Instead, you see sparks of light and shadows stalking through the rows. Walls rise in the distance. There are other runners trying to shut you off from Titan's servers. It's time to get to work…

Titan's ice and sysops won't stay dark for long. The release of Android: Mainframe is now just over one week away, and when it arrives, you'll want to jack in at full speed. When you're competing against a mainframe full of the world's best hackers, there's no time to question your game plan.

Fortunately, you can start planning your run today. The rules for Android: Mainframe are now available for download (pdf, 5.0 MB).

The Ristie and the Bioroid

Meanwhile, in order to help you choose the avatar and console that suit you best, we're concluding the survey of the game's different runners—and their unique approaches—that we began in our first and second previews.

We've already seen the full suites of signature programs belonging to Kate "Mac" McCaffrey, Nero Severn, Ji "Noise" Reilly, and Olivia "Chaos Theory" Ortiz. Today, then, we grant you full access to the cards and play styles belonging to Andromeda and Adam.

Notably, while the other runners boast an assortment of splashy programs that they can use to undercut other runners—deleting partitions, erasing access points, mimicking rivals' signature programs, and executing two turns in a row—Andromeda and Adam focus primarily on establishing their own strengths. This doesn't make them any less devious, though. And one could even argue that they are the subtlest—and therefore the trickiest—of the game's six runners.

Andromeda

A sophisticated, dispossessed ristie who uses her family's connections to access valuable information, Andromeda is also a con-artist and master of disguise who takes great pains to maintain the secret that she is also a world-class Netcriminal. In fact, to this point, no one knows her true name—not even on the Shadow Net. And there's no reason for her to use loud, flashy, explosive programs when subtler, quieter ones will do just as well. Accordingly, a quiet efficiency pervades each of her five signature programs: Au Revoir , Savoir-Faire , Peacock , Pheremones , and Femme Fatale .

Of these, Au Revoir is easily the most deceptive. The program simply places two partitions in a straight line. It hardly seems like an action worthy of a signature program… until you consider that you must place all the partitions indicated by a program, and you must place them in the same arrangement the program indicates. Thus, while programs like Block and Veer also create walls that are two-partitions long, you might not always be able to play them. Or you simply may not want to play them. In order to secure your zone with either of those programs, you might also have to secure an opponent's zone.

Savoir Faire, on the other hand, is arguably the easiest of Andromeda's programs to understand; it both accesses and secures a zone of one grid space. However, the program's value is greater than a single one-point zone; because the secured zone it creates can fit into so many parts of the board, Andromeda can easily use her Savoir Faire to disrupt her opponent's zones, making them far more difficult to secure. And because the zone created by Savoir Faire is secured, her opponents can't interfere with it.

Finally, the remainder of Andromeda's signature programs all effectively allow her to take double actions. Peacock allows her to both place an access point and place a partition, while Pheremones and Femme Fatale both exemplify her magnetism as each allows her to move two pieces on the board to brand-new locations of her choice. When you play as Andromeda, you'll likely find few plays as exciting as using either of these cards to wrest sections of Titan's mainframe away from your rivals and using them to secure your haul.

Adam

Adam is perhaps the most difficult runner to understand. After all, he isn't even human; he's a bioroid—a strong artificial intelligence housed in a sturdy titanium chassis. While the others are hacking into Titan's servers because they want to get rich or get famous or prove to themselves that they're the best in the business, Adam is running through the servers because he's been programmed to run through them. He might be trying to secure files for credits—for now—but it is unclear where he's ultimately headed with his end game.

Fittingly, if you want to play Adam and make good use of his signature programs, you'll want to keep a clear eye toward the end-game. Of his five signature programs, two of them extend the game, shuffling generic programs from the generic program discard pile back into the program stack. By making it possible for players to take turns after they might have expected the game to end, Ghost Runner and Multithreader can give you an advantage in the rounds to which you had been building… and that nobody else knew were coming.

Of course, if you're on the same level playing field as everyone else at that point, you're not likely to get much of an advantage from simply granting yourself more time to run. That might not concern Adam, but as a human player, you'll probably want to leap ahead of your opponents in those latter stages with Overmind , Crypsis , and Data Folding , all of which are straight improvements on the generic programs you hope your opponents will be forced to use as you pass them up. Crypsis allows you to place three parallel partitions, Data Folding is an extra partition over both Veer and Skew , and Overmind is any generic program in the suite, plus a free partition.

Humans may tire. The human brain may be unable to continue processing the blitz of Titan's data for the full twenty-three seconds of breach. But Adam doesn't tire. Play Adam well, and the end-game is yours.

Which Avatar Will You Choose?

When you pick up your copy of Android: Mainframe and break into Titan's servers, which avatar will you select? Will you play as Andromeda, Adam, or one of the other runners? Each has a distinctive style, and learning to make the best use of each runner's cards can be almost as much fun as the game itself.

Android: Mainframe is scheduled to arrive at retailers later this month!

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