Name: The Shell Traders
Commonality: Rare
Installationcost: 0
Type: Resource
Game Text: A: Choose a program or hardware card from your hand. Set that card aside, and put a number of Shell counters on it equal to its installation cost. When the last Shell counter on that card has been removed, install that card, at no cost. Remove one Shell counter from one card at the start of each of your turns.
[1]: Remove one Shell counter from a card.
Illustrator: Mike Kimble
Sets: v1.0

Card Spotlight by Chris Wagner (Foolkiller)(was: Card of the Day #17)

The Shell Traders is a cool resource card which allows you to defray the cost of some big-ticket items, or freely install lots of cheap cards. Used in numbers, it can provide an aggressive alternative to some of the more common bit-engines.

The Shell Traders allows you to pay to remove Shell Counters as a cost with no action penalty. Thus, you can pay to remove counters on the Run! Put AI Boon aside with The Shell Traders. Then, if it turns up you need it in an emergency before it is fully paid for, you can pay the remaining cost and install the Program. If you are really tricky and don't mind dain bramage, you can use Lucidrine Booster Drug to get bits for a run. Then you can use those bits to remove Shell counters.

Often the best use of The Shell Traders is for novelty cards or extras. If you feel you have time on your hands, use it to install your required breaker suite. If you are pressed for time, use it for luxury items like HQ Interfaces, a deck, or MRAM Chips. Programs like Disintegrator, which otherwise may not be worth the cost to install, are a great investment to make with The Shell Traders. I use it for Cortical Cybermodem all the time. By the time the Cortical Cybermodem is installed, I usually need it (for MU or hand size), so things work out nicely.

If you get really tricky, you can use The Shell Traders instead of a traditional bit engine. Get lots and lots of The Shell Traders in play and install all of your programs and hardware with them. Once they are installed, use it to finance Cloaks, Newsgroup Filter and a deck. Then misc.for-sale the lot of them and run to your heart's content. The zero install cost for the The Shell Traderss maximizes your investment return at sale time.

Even just one of these cards in a deck is a good investment. Let it work for you while you build up a Broker and install other cards. If you can get a bunch, despite it being a rare card, you can use it to rapidly set up your breaker suite while saving your money for runs later.

Overall, The Shell Traders is a good card in just about any deck, but its best application tends to be for luxury items like Interfaces and expensive hardware. The slow speed prohibits using it on too many cards at once unless the cards are inexpensive. If that's the case, you are probably better off just paying for the cards while using a more efficient engine.

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