Sean got really into Netrunner, and has been badgering me to play it. I've had the game sitting here on my shelf for more than a year, and have never gotten around to playing it, in part because no one else I knew was playing it. One of the most interesting things about the game is that the two players aren't playing the "same" game. One player is "The Corporation" and the other plays a hacker, or "Runner" who's trying to hack into the Corporation & steal their stuff.
So part of the problem is to some extent, you actually need to learn two games at once. I only played the Corporation, but it's a neat game. The Corporation only scores points by advancing "Agendas". So you have to essentially place Agendas down, then protect them with "ICE". You need currency to advance your agendas & activate ICE (as well as other Asset cards and the like), so there's a neat interplay between how many things you're setting up, how well they're protected, and how much currency you need to actually make all the things happen.
There's a good amount of "psyching out" your opponent, because how you place things, and how you set up ICE gives your opponent some clues as to what you think (or want them to think) are important. Do you set up a strong defense around things that are actually important, or do you set up defense to distract them into running against a useless card (or a trap)?
Some games you need to play them for a while before you understand how you're supposed to think about them, or develop a coherent strategy. After only a few moves, it was clear that Netrunner is one of those games where the balance of depth to accessibility really works. With the exception of the overhead required to actually *start* playing (the rulebook could use a section to actually just give you a high level overview of WTF you're supposed to be doing right at the start), it feels like it makes a lot of immediate sense.
Can't wait to play more of this.