The NISEI Rules team has just released version 1.3 of the Card Text Updates document (CTU), and I’m here to give you an overview of the changes we’ve made. We talk a lot about the team’s work to improve the clarity and consistency of the Netrunner rules and card text, but we also support the values of NISEI as a whole. Today’s release addresses one of our major lingering issues: the use of gendered language to refer to players in the text of many older cards.
Over the past several months, we’ve had multiple members of the community reach out and generously offer to provide updates to those cards. We appreciate these offers, and we’d like to thank those who’ve been waiting for this for your patience. The reason we haven’t switched the whole cardpool to use more inclusive language until now is that we wanted to make sure all of the cards in question got addressed fully. If a card’s official wording, as seen in the Card Text Updates document (CTU) and/or on NetrunnerDB, doesn’t match the text it was printed with, we want players to be confident that the new text includes the latest style, current gameplay terminology, and clear and accurate phrasing with the right rules implications.
I’m proud to announce that we have now completed that project: as of this CTU release, NISEI’s official text for all cards in tournament-legal sets (Fantasy Flight’s and our own) uses inclusive, gender-neutral language, and all cards that had previously used gendered language have been fully updated to our current standards for style and clarity.
Those cards make up the majority of this CTU release, but there are some other things we’ve put in here as well, so I’d like to give an overview of what else has changed.
Getting Our Act Together
First up, we have a single change to resolve a functional issue, hopefully for good this time: The Class Act has reverted to wording more closely resembling its original printing in Downfall. The second ability on this card was inspired by effects like Daily Business Show and Mr. Li, but because of the awkward timing of card draw effects prior to last year’s overhaul in Comprehensive Rules version 1.5, it was written in a different way, intended to avoid mixing the drawn cards with other cards in the Runner’s grip until after they put 1 of the cards on the bottom of their stack:
…look at the top X cards of your stack. Add 1 of those cards to the bottom of your stack. X is equal to the number of cards you will draw plus 1.
Once we had the new procedure for drawing cards, which requires “When you draw…” abilities to work like this anyway, we tried to update the wording to line up more closely with Daily Business Show:
…increase the number of cards you will draw by 1. When you draw those cards, add 1 of them to the bottom of your stack.
But it turned out there are some important differences between The Class Act and other similar cards: Corp players using Daily Business Show are generally not expecting to draw through all the cards in R&D, whereas Runners do frequently draw their entire stack. And Mr. Li’s ability is optional, so a Runner whose stack is running low can simply stop using it. The Class Act is mandatory and a Runner card, so we inadvertently introduced a “gotcha” where attempting to draw the last card in the stack would result in the card immediately going back into the stack.
The previous CTU release, version 1.2, tried to hack in a fix for this while keeping the ability in its new structure:
..increase the number of cards you will draw by 1. When you draw those cards, if you drew at least 2, add 1 of them to the bottom of your stack.
Adding “if you drew at least 2” meant that a Runner could successfully start their turn with a draw action and grab the top card of their stack, but what if they wanted to use an ability that drew multiple cards at once? This version of The Class Act would still make them put a card back, even if they didn’t have enough to actually get an extra card in the first place.
With this release, we acknowledge that The Class Act and Daily Business Show are different abilities with different nuances, and return to the original “look at” version of the effect, which puts the card on the bottom before anything is actually drawn. We’re still incorporating other style changes that have been introduced since Downfall, so the final text looks like this:
When your discard phase ends, if you installed this resource this turn, draw 4 cards.
→ The first time each turn you would draw any number of cards, look at the top X cards of your stack. Add 1 of those cards to the bottom of your stack. X is equal to the number of cards you will draw plus 1.
Aside from gender-neutral language, the one style change we’re fully integrating in CTU1.3 is a tweak to abilities that reveal cards while the Runner is accessing them in R&D. By “fully integrating”, I mean that we included all of the cards with this effect, even those that hadn’t otherwise been added to the CTU yet.
Originally, Fantasy Flight wrote these abilities this way:
If [card name] is accessed from R&D, the Runner must reveal it.
Previous NISEI sets have used this style:
While the Runner is accessing this card from R&D, they must reveal it.
We’ve gotten more precise with our use of prepositions, and typically, we only use “from” when we’re talking about a card moving from one location to another. If a card is staying in one place within the scope of an ability, the ability should refer to it as “in” that place. We’ve also gotten more consistent about referring to a card by its type instead of “this card”. So the way you’ll see this ability going forward is:
While the Runner is accessing this [card type] in R&D, they must reveal it.
And yes, you will see a card with that ability in Midnight Sun. I would rez it for you, but it has a bit of an… appetite, so I’ve been told it’s best to wait for set previews in a few weeks.
This change also applies to cards like Franchise City that require the Runner to reveal any agenda they access.
Other Style Changes
We have made several other, smaller updates to our style guide since our last CTU release, but we only applied these changes to cards that were already included in the CTU from a previous release or from one of the other issues we were addressing with version 1.3. Here’s a quick list of the new style elements you may spot in this update:
- As alluded to previously, many cards had “this card” changed to “this [card type]”.
- Three cards that already referred to themselves as “this [card type]” were corrected to actually use the correct card type. Those cards are Eden Shard, Utopia Shard, and Reboot.
- We removed “on the ice you are encountering” from the “Break 1 subroutine” ability on Always Be Running. The rules already define what it means to break subroutines in the context of encounters, so these extra words weren’t doing anything functional.
- A few cards (Early Premiere, La Costa Grid, AstroScript Pilot Program) that place a single advancement counter changed from telling you to place that counter on “1 card” to “a card”. While we typically use numerals when referring to a target the player has to choose, we feel that it’s useful to contrast these abilities with effects that place multiple counters at a time. On those effects, it needs to be clear whether those counters can be spread out or must all go to the same destination card. If only 1 counter is being placed, there’s no possibility to split it across multiple cards anyway.
- In keeping with our more deliberate use of “from”, we’ve changed several abilities that previously worked when a card is accessed “from anywhere except Archives” to say “except in Archives”. Similarly, Shi.Kyū now reads “When the Runner accesses this asset anywhere except in R&D, …”. The word “in” as used in these effects is meant to emphasize that the exception refers specifically to the appropriate zone. These abilities still apply in the root of that zone’s corresponding server.
- Events and operations that end with “Remove this [event/operation] from the game.” now consistently have that instruction in its own paragraph.
- New, cleaner language for cards that turn themselves into condition counters appears on MCA Informant, Political Graffiti, and Casting Call.
- Effects that modify a player’s allotted clicks are now written more consistently.
- We’ve removed some “if able” and “must” clauses where there was a functionally equivalent way to write the ability that doesn’t have as much subtle rules baggage. For example, Economic Warfare’s main ability now reads, “If the Runner has at least 4, they lose 4.”, since not having enough credits was the only way the Runner could fail to be “able” to lose them. Not all abilities with these phrases have been changed, because in many cases we do actually need the specific rules that come along with them.
You can find Card Text Updates v1.3 in PDF form at the NISEI Comprehensive Rules Hub, or download it directly by clicking here. The wording updates will also be integrated onto NetrunnerDB later today.