Deck Archetypes

17 Jan
January 17, 2013

After settling on the cyberpunk theme, the first thing I did was sit down and brainstorm ideas for cards, all the while immersing myself in cyberpunk media. Books, movies, music and artwork helped to get the old creative juices flowing. Every idea went into a big spreadsheet I maintain in Google Docs.

But of course time and money are limited, so I couldn’t implement every idea I had. Card art is the second largest expense on the project, after my own time. So what I did is identify 5 core deck archetypes that I wanted to support in the initial release. By ‘support’, I mean provide a good selection of cards for. Even within an archetype, there needs to be enough cards to choose from to make for interesting choices, so that there are differences even between decks built in the same archetype. And, of course, to allow mixing and matching of archetypes.

There are cards in the set that don’t fit neatly into these archetypes, certainly, but most cards in the first release fit somewhere within them. Future expansions will focus on expanding the number of archetypes available, probably focusing on one new archetype per expansion. At least at first.

The core archetypes in the ‘base set’ of cards in System Crash are thus :

(click images to see them full-sized)


Jack of all trades, master of none. The balanced deck is a good all-rounder but can often be beaten by more focused decks. Still, don’t dismiss this option, in playtesting so far it’s doing a decent job of holding its own. A good selection of Agents at all cost tiers, Event/Tactic/Modifier cards providing a wide variety of options and counters. Bring out runners like Maddox and Nem0, outfit them with equipment like Neural Interface and the ASH Series-K Lancer rifle, then give your agents that extra edge with a Hacked Satellite.



Hacking cards are Event or Tactic cards that represent the hacking software you can bring to bear on your opponent’s secure systems, allowing you to either directly score Objective Points or deny them to your opponent. They’re powerful because your opponent can’t block these cards with Agents, though you will need to buy yourself time to use them effectively. The Hacking deck has a number of tricks to achieve this. Cards like Smoke Grenade, Electronet and a number of cheap, disposable blockers help you keep enemy Agents at bay while ICEbreakers like Hexag0n do their work.


Resource Denial

The goal of this deck is simple – starve your opponent of Credits. Whatever their strategy is, it won’t work if they can’t afford to pay to bring cards into play. Wyrm49 and Yakuza agents deny them funds, while cards like Hostile Takeover let you shift Credits permanently from their Pool to your own. Strangle their funding, then move in for the kill.


Resource Boost

The counterpoint to the Resource Denial deck is this one, Resource Boost. Here, the focus is to accelerate your rate of resource gain and get to the point where you can pull out the heavy hitters. This deck has a higher concentration of expensive cards than would otherwise be wise. Luckily, it’s also got a number of tricks like Transferred Funds to help you afford those expensive cards. Build up an army of potent mechs and top tier runners, then simply overwhelm your opponent with brute force. Opponents are advised to not let this deck build up momentum.


Agent Removal

You know what they say, the best defense is not having to fight the enemy at all. This deck is packed with ways to clear the board of any bothersome Agents your opponent can bring into play, leaving the way clear for your Agents to seize victory. Assassinate, EMP Grenade and the assassin Wei Lee are just some of the deadly cards you can bring into play.


2 replies
  1. Rich Hudson says:

    Looks great. I have been reading all the posts. Even though this is not my type of game, I will be picking it up just to support you. Also, since I have never given this genre a fair shot, you never know…looking and sounding great.

  2. gareth says:

    Thanks man! 🙂


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