The Impetus of Evolution
Welcome Michael Boggs to the Design Team of Android: Netrunner
The design team has changed. The game has not.
Hello Android: Netrunner players! We have a number of updates to share with you today, most notably a change in our design team. As many have heard, Damon Stone will be leaving Fantasy Flight Games and the team in charge of Android: Netrunner.
To begin, FFG and the LCG department would like to thank Damon Stone for his six and a half years of service, over which he has provided design and development work on the A Game of Thrones LCG, the Call of Cthulhu LCG, the Android: Mainframe board game, and most recently and prominently, your game of choice, Android: Netrunner. Damon has decided to move onward to the next phase of his life’s journey, and while we will miss him, his talents, and his contributions to the team, we wish him the very best in the future.
His departure obviously left a great void on the LCG team that needed to be filled, and we are pleased to introduce the new designer for Android: Netrunner, Michael Boggs. Michael comes to us with a keen insight and passion for the game that was forged in the fires of the Seoul and Busan metas in South Korea. In talking with him, it became evident he had a unique talent for clear, elegant, and creative design work that would make him a strong addition to the LCG design team.
With these announcements, we’d like to give Damon Stone an opportunity to say farewell to you, the community he has helped build, then take a few moments to talk to Michael so you can get to know him.
I started working for Fantasy Flight Games in August of 2010 as the lead designer for the first edition of the A Game of Thrones LCG. Over the years, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with some of the best game designers, developers, producers, graphic designers, and art directors in the industry, and on some of the most compelling IPs in hobby gaming. I will always think fondly of my first visit to FFG, when I was an enthusiastic playtester passing through Minnesota on a business trip, and how my passion and dedication led me to contacting Nate French in hopes of gleaning how he ended up the lead designer on one of my all-time favorite games. Here I am now, an experienced designer and developer, and I’ve tried to pay that patience and interest forward, answering questions when I can and encouraging fans and gamers to become the next crop of new designers and developers. Part of doing this is remembering what it was like when you were on the outside or just making a name for yourself and showing confidence and trust in handing over something you love to someone who loves it as much as you.
It is time for me to turn the reins of Android: Netrunner to a new developer. I will always be involved in the game and the Android universe, but my role now is more that of fan, reader, and eventually speculator. I look forward to having more time to play casually, read novellas with excitement and glee, and speculate on where the metagame will go next, what new part of the Android universe will be explored, and what that will do for and to my favorite decks.
To one of (if not the) best communities in gaming: Thank you for your trust and faith and for allowing me to share with you my passion and vision for the game and the worlds of Android.
Michael Boggs is a dedicated designer and developer and I very much look forward to what he has in store for all of us.
- Damon Stone
Damon, thanks again. It has been a pleasure working with you over the years, and we are grateful you are still available as a consultant to assist with the future development of the game.
Let’s turn now to Michael Boggs, and see what he’s all about…
Fantasy Flight Games: Michael, tell us a little about your experience with Android: Netrunner. How would you describe yourself as a player? What do you like most about the game?
Michael Boggs: I started playing Android: Netrunner not long after it released. My friend brought the game over one evening and demanded that we play. Though it took me a few games before I really understood what was going on, I immediately fell in love. It was so different and new and complex. I was addicted.
When I moved to Busan, South Korea, I found a small but dedicated Android: Netrunner community. We’d meet multiple times a week and hold tournaments at least once a month. The group that I played with became some of my best friends.
After about two years in Busan, I moved to Seoul where I was able to join up with a much larger and competitive scene. Unfortunately, due to the nature of living abroad, many of the key members of the Seoul Android: Netrunner community returned to their home countries not long after my arrival. Though the community shrank in response, I continued to play regularly until I moved back to the U.S.
My favorite thing about Android: Netrunner is the fact that a person’s individual style truly defines them as a player. You might build a deck that you wield flawlessly, but when I pick it up, I run it into the ground. I also love that the more you play with someone, the easier it becomes to read their actions—an incredibly important aspect of the game. For instance, my friends have realized that, as a Runner, I tend to be aggressive. As such, it’s pretty easy to lure me into traps. And they do that. A lot. The fact that they can know me on a personal level and tailor their playstyle accordingly is truly amazing.
FFG: What are your favorite decks to play? Do you have any favorite cards?
MB: For Corp, Thousand Cuts Jinteki. It can be difficult to win if the Runner knows your tricks, but being able to snipe key cards is always a ton of fun. For the Runner, hyper-aggressive Criminal. I love finishing a run with more cards and credits than I started with.
Even though I die to it way more than I should, and can never seem to pull it off myself, my favorite card is probably Project Junebug (Core Set, 69). In my opinion, it’s one of the most quintessential Android: Netrunner cards. There’s nothing more satisfying than tricking your opponent into flatlining themselves.
FFG: What were you doing before you joined the LCG design team?
MB: Since 2012, I’ve worked in South Korea as an English instructor. My original intent was to only stay abroad for a year, but I enjoyed my time so much that I ended up living there for four.
FFG: Do you have any experience doing any type of creative work? Any game design experience?
MB: Yes! Upon moving to South Korea, I began developing a two-player card game that I worked on for years. I was even in talks with a well-known publisher concerning the game before joining FFG to work on Android: Netrunner. In addition, I had a handful of other card and board games that were in various stages of development.
Along with a friend, I also started a group for tabletop game designers in Seoul. Through that group, I was able to regularly playtest with renowned Korean designers and publishers.
Though teaching was technically my job since moving to South Korea, my passion has always been card and board games. I’ve really treated my design work like my second job over the years.
FFG: What’s been the biggest challenge for you in shifting from the mindset of an Android: Netrunner fan and player to an Android: Netrunner designer?
MB: I’ve had to redirect my focus to the continued and future health of the game rather than simply concentrating on what I like or dislike as a player. Due to Android: Netrunner’s sheer scope and the fact that rotation is taking place very soon, this has definitely been challenging! There’s a lot to consider!
FFG: What are your thoughts on the current metagame, and how would you like to see things develop?
MB: For a long while now, things have been pretty readily dominated by orange and yellow. While I think that, realistically, there will always be a handful of decks that are on top, there should be much more diversity in the colors represented.
That being said, Shaper and stealth have started to pick up steam recently and Haas-Bioroid seems to be holding its own. I would definitely like to see Weyland find their footing, and I think that some of the upcoming cards will certainly help with that.
Thanks Michael. It’s been great getting to know you, and we look forward to seeing what you will bring to the Android: Netrunner team!