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When playing casually, I have seen runners occasionally access some cards but decline accessing the remaining (typically due to hitting a trap and being concerned about subsequent traps).

The relevant rules I can see related to Accessing Cards are:

Runner can access cards in any order:

When accessing multiple cards, the Runner accesses them one at a time in any order he likes.

Each card must fully resolve before the next is accessed. Agendas end the game IMMEDIATELY, stopping further access.

The Runner must fully resolve his access to a card (steal it, pay to trash it, etc.) before accessing the next card. If the Runner scores an agenda that gives him seven or more points, he immediately wins the game, even if he would otherwise access more cards.

Clarification for the end of the access phase:

After the Runner has accessed all required cards, he returns any cards not stolen or trashed to their original play states. For example, an unrezzed card in a remote server returns facedown to that server, and a card accessed from HQ returns to HQ.

There are some other clarifications as well for dealing with R&D, archives, and HQ.

The rules, however, don't explicitly state that a Runner can opt to stop accessing cards (in fact, the use of the term "required" makes me believe that it is quite the contrary).

For what it's worth, I am asking for cards similar to Shock that deal damage when accessed. If one is in Archives, does that mean that the runner must access the card (and take 1 net damage) every time he accesses cards in archives? Or can the runner simply access the cards he wants first, then stop accessing cards before hitting Shock?

  • Don't have access to the rulebook/FAQ at the moment, but the quick answer: When you access you say how many cards you are required to access (e.g., 3 from R&D with Maker's Eye or from HQ with Legwork). You must access that number of cards. Some cards (like Medium) say "allows you to access", in that case, you need to state how many cards before you start accessing and must access that number of cards. – Twitch_City Feb 25 '15 at 0:36
  • As for Shock, yes they much access all cards in Archives whenever they access Archives. So, yes, they will take 1 net damage every time they access if there is a Shock in there. – Twitch_City Feb 25 '15 at 0:38
  • @Twitch_City - That makes total sense for cards that grant additional access. However, what about archives or a remote server? Does the runner need to access all cards? Or can the runner state "I would like to access 2 of the 15 cards in archives" and stop accessing after the first 2? – zashu Feb 25 '15 at 0:40
  • @Twitch_City - Looks like you answered my comment while I was typing it. Clarify as an answer when you get the chance and I'll accept. – zashu Feb 25 '15 at 0:41
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Accessing Cards in Netrunner

Access in Netrunner is highly dependent on server location. The following draws primarily from the latest FAQ, and is supplemented by my notes/clarifications.

Accessing Archives

From the FAQ, with additional emphasis:

When accessing cards in Archives, the Runner turns all cards faceup in Archives before accessing them. Then he accesses and resolves individual cards one by one, in any order he wants.

So, the runner has a choice in terms of order of access (if there are multiple agenda points and 3 Shocks, they can access the agendas first and theoretically win the game before the Shocks flatline them), but they must access every card in the archive.

One note about accessing archives, if the Runner uses a replacement effect based upon a successful Archives run (such as Retrieval Run), then none of the cards there get flipped (e.g., the runner does not get a free peek at what is hiding there).

Accessing Multiple Cards from HQ

When you are given multi-card access from HQ, you must access your required number of cards (e.g., if you are successful making a run using Legwork, you must access 3 cards). You do so one at a time, and fully resolve each access before moving on to the next. Cards accessed in this manner do not return to HQ until you are finished accessing all 3 (so you pick one card from HQ, look at it, put it aside, pull another, etc.).

Accessing Multiple Cards from R&D

Similarly, when accessing multiple cards from R&D there are a few notes in the FAQ:

The Runner can intersperse accessing cards from R&D with any upgrades installed in the root of R&D.

and

The Runner cannot choose to access the cards in R&D out of order.

So, with multi-access, you always start with the top card of R&D and work your way down, fully resolving each before moving onto the next one (e.g., you can't fail to trash an installable asset, see the next card, and then decide to trash the previously seen asset). At any point during these accesses you can alternate between R&D proper and its root (in the case of upgrades installed in the server).

Accessing Cards in a Remote Server

When you choose to access cards in a remote server, it works in a similar fashion. Once committed to accessing, the runner must access all cards in the remote server, however they are able to choose the order of access (and it should be apparent which card in the server has been advanced, as well as which card was placed in the server most recently, if applicable). For example, the Corporation is not allowed to shuffle the cards in the remote server.

Circumventions of the Above Rules

While in the majority of cases the number of cards available for access is completely dictated by access location and board state (e.g., access all cards in Archives or in a remote server, access 1 card from HQ/R&D if running without any special card effects), there are a few cards that do give the runner slightly more leeway.

For example, Medium states: "Each virus counter after the first on Medium allows you to access 1 additional card from R&D whenever you access cards from R&D". This is not a required additional access, like the other cards described above. According to the FAQ, how this plays out is as follows:

Before accessing cards from R&D at step 4.5 of a run, the Runner chooses how many cards he wants to access when using Medium.

So, after the run is successful (by passing all the ICE and deciding that you will access cards), the player must commit to the number of cards that they will access. If Medium has 7 counters on it, the Runner could choose any number between 1 and 7 - however, once that number is chosen, they must access that number of cards. There is no window to jack out after the number of cards has been declared.

This is in contrast to cards like Legwork, HQ Interface, R&D Interface, and The Maker's Eye, which all are mandatory effects (if run is successful, "access 2 additional cards" - there is no room to declare a different value).

Finally, it should also be noted that even if you are using one of these cards that have a mandatory effect for additional access, you do have a window at step 4.2 of a run to jack out after passing all the ICE but before committing to access. This can be especially useful if, for example, you face-checked a Komainu, and fear that some of the cards you access will cause you to flatline. For the purposes of other card effects, such a run would be considered unsuccessful.

  • I would like to point out one other strange card rule related to the Archives card flip / access. Breaking ICE with Eater does not replace access. So, for archives, the access phase starts (all cards are flipped), then Eater would prevent the runner from actually accessing any. – zashu Apr 14 '15 at 20:53
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Accessing Cards in a Remote Server

When you choose to access cards in a remote server, it works in a similar fashion. Once committed to accessing, the runner must access all cards in the remote server, however they are able to choose the order of access (and it should be apparent which card in the server has been advanced, as well as which card was placed in the server most recently, if applicable). For example, the Corporation is not allowed to shuffle the cards in the remote server.

My question is this. Once past the last piece of ice on a remote server, does the runner have to access cards in order for the run to be considered successful?

For example, I was playing with Tennin Intitute last night (When your turn begins, you may place 1 advancement token on a card if the Runner did not make a successful run during his or her last turn.) and my buddy interpreted the card this way. I had a remote server with Project Junebug on it advanced twice with no ice, no upgrade. He played a card to expose it, so he knew it was there. He kept running on it, calling it a successful run, but chose not to access the card so he didn't hit the trap. I insisted that it wasn't a successful run if he was jacking out and not accessing the server.

Who was right?

  • To summarize the timing structure of a run: the runner has a chance to jack out, then the run is successful, then the runner accesses cards. The only way to avoid accessing cards after the run is successful is if you have a replacement effect (like Bank Job) – zashu Mar 19 '15 at 19:54

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