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Memo: Leveraging risk in our corporate activities
To: Director Fisk
Fr: Arvin Contor
Risk or probability is often viewed as negative. People want to limit risk to nothing but in today’s world, this is an impossibility. Every action contains an amount of risk no matter how much it is minimized. A well prepared R&D can screw even the most experienced CEO and even the poorest decks can top deck the exact card you need at the perfect time. It is important to view risk, otherwise known as probability, in long time frames and to play and construct decks with the intention of making small improvements in your win percentage over many games, not just one. Just like the Boy Scouts, being prepared should be your motto during deck construction. Inserting multiple copies of cards you want to see and to see early, is a must. Three copies of a card means you are three times as likely to see the card and statistically speaking, you will see the card in the first 10 rounds of the game, assuming you draw only one card every turn and you have an initial hand size of five cards. (In fact you have a 69% chance of seeing it in your starting hand if you count the mulligan) In cards games, thinking in terms of the likelihood of drawing a card is an important mindset because even though that important card may come up in your initial hand or not at all during your entire match, when you play many games, cards tend to behave as expected. Most good decks are constructed around certain themes, such as milling or flatlining or denying their opponent credits. Cards are chosen that maximize these themes and work together, if possible. You pick the best cards you can with the intention of drawing them and therefore you want to maximize your ability to obtain them and that means limiting your deck size to the minimum requirement as much as possible(usually 45). Increasing your deck size above the minimum decreases the likelihood of drawing cards that you want, which in turn handicaps the overall win strategy of the deck. That’s why Chaos Theory has so much potential as an identity(which hasn’t had much traction for other reasons). With its 40 card minimum deck size it is incredibly efficient.
So thinking about probability when constructing decks is important for both the corp and the runner. However, probability can also be leveraged to help the corporation defend its agendas. On average, the corporation has ten to eleven agendas in a deck of 49 cards. Although most corporation identities allow a minimum deck size of 45 cards, 49 is chosen to help decrease the probability of the runner finding an agenda.
When ICE defense is scarce, unaffordable or insufficient, probability can be used to defend agendas. A run on R&D for example, is likely to score an agenda based on how many agendas are left in the deck divided by the number of cards in R&D. So, allowing runs on R&D may be a good choice by the corp because the probability of the runner scoring could be low. That’s why counting the number of scored agendas and the ones in hand are useful.
This method can also be used for agendas in HQ. Assuming a 5 card hand, with one agenda in hand, there is a 20% chance of accessing the agenda. Although for each subsequent run, the chance of scoring that card remains the same, it becomes less and less likely that the runner will continue to miss the agenda, making this defense ineffective if the runner has many chances at HQ(Going to 36% on a second run and 49% on a third run). Even so, drawing cards to minimize the probability of the runner accessing an agenda sometimes is the best strategy for a corp that is poor and/or is having difficulty finding ICE.
Mr. Fisk, I hope you find this memo useful in helping you make decisions for your company.
A. Contor, Department of Risk Management