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Why SW:TCG (and A:NR) fail the LCG model


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#1 Budgernaut

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 10:20 PM

This will be short, sweet and to the point.

 

Lately, in the wake of GenCon, I've been hearing a lot of talk about the LCG model. I even heard the CEO of FFG talk about the model in the In-Flight Report. One of the strengths of the model is that players don't have to purchase every single pack. With tools like CardgameDB, you just need to look for the cards you want to play with and then purchase those specific packs that include those cards. It's a great model ... in theory.

 

With most of the LCGs, you can pick a specific faction or deck archetype and go forward with it, cherry picking the best cards for your dream deck. With Star Wars (and Netrunner) you are obligated to play two different decks. Suddenly, you can't just focus on one tactic or one faction. Instead, you have to focus on building two premium decks. The chances of finding the cards you want for both decks in the same pack are pretty slim, in my opinion. It's kind of a bummer.

 

As an example, if I were to pick up Warhammer 40K: Conquest, I would focus on the Tau as my main deck and pick up cards that support their play style. For Star Wars, I want a bounty hunter deck. But if I want to play in tournaments, I am forced to pick a Light Side faction and build a good deck for that one as well.

 

In all seriousness, this doesn't affect me much because I plan on collecting all the cards (albeit, at a slower rate than some). And before people start saying how cheap LCGs are, yeah, I get that. But when you want a piece of X-Wing, a piece of SW:TCG, and the new Imperial Assault, sometimes you just can't get all the LCG cards as soon as they release. 


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#2 GroggyGolem

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 12:41 AM

There are things the LCG model does really well that it is supposed to do.

 

1. It is cheaper. It allows people who don't have a large sum of money to spend on CCG's and the like the ability to play a card game competitively without costing thousands of dollars.

2. There is no rarity system. 

3. Because of 2, there are no random boosters, no ridiculously expensive cards that are needed for good decks. Everyone has the same access to the same cards, that they can look up the contents of before purchasing.

4. Monthly Expansions (some games have had a bit of trouble with the monthly part but it hasn't stopped their production.)

 

Your complaint isn't really about the LCG Model (seeing that other games in the Model you can do just that, buy only one faction's cards) but more about the design of both Android Netrunner and Star Wars The Card Game. They are Asymmetrical games, requiring 2 decks for competitive play.

 

TL;DR

You don't like that SWLCG and ANR are designed to be asymmetrical. Oh well?


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Rebels: 3 X-Wing, 1 Y-Wing, 1 A-Wing, 1 B-Wing, 1 YT-1300

Imperials: 5 TIE/LN, 1 TIE/ADV, 1 TIE/IN, 1 Firespray-31


#3 ScottieATF

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 02:02 AM

 

As an example, if I were to pick up Warhammer 40K: Conquest, I would focus on the Tau as my main deck and pick up cards that support their play style.

 

Which means you will be buying packs that aren't just Tau (or Tau alliances factions).  Even not wanting to play any other Faction, you will still be forced to buy those cards as well as there is no Tau pack (outside of secondary markets.  Never-mind any neutral cards you may want.  The odds of you finding a pack containing no cards you'd want to be able to use, even taking a extra ordinarily single minded focus as you've suggested, is very slim.  In fact it's actually poor design if you are able to do so, as it means the Tau playable cards in that pack just aren't worth it.  AGoT does not require you to play multiple houses, and yet even if you focus on one house you are going to have to buy all the packs or lose out on options for that house.  Even house specific deluxe expansions include neutral cards everyone wants along with house specific cards, they do so on purpose.

 

Asymmetry or not, the concept that you can just focus on a certain faction/house/affiliation and thus pick and chose which packs to buy is a false one.  You can do so of course, but you will be missing out on options for your specific faction/house/affiliation.  Provided the game isn't just spitting out straight worthless cards of course.


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#4 Budgernaut

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 08:12 AM

 
As an example, if I were to pick up Warhammer 40K: Conquest, I would focus on the Tau as my main deck and pick up cards that support their play style.

 
Which means you will be buying packs that aren't just Tau (or Tau alliances factions).  Even not wanting to play any other Faction, you will still be forced to buy those cards as well as there is no Tau pack (outside of secondary markets.  Never-mind any neutral cards you may want.  The odds of you finding a pack containing no cards you'd want to be able to use, even taking a extra ordinarily single minded focus as you've suggested, is very slim.  In fact it's actually poor design if you are able to do so, as it means the Tau playable cards in that pack just aren't worth it.  AGoT does not require you to play multiple houses, and yet even if you focus on one house you are going to have to buy all the packs or lose out on options for that house.  Even house specific deluxe expansions include neutral cards everyone wants along with house specific cards, they do so on purpose.
 
Asymmetry or not, the concept that you can just focus on a certain faction/house/affiliation and thus pick and chose which packs to buy is a false one.  You can do so of course, but you will be missing out on options for your specific faction/house/affiliation.  Provided the game isn't just spitting out straight worthless cards of course.

I guess that's my issue. This expectation just isn't true. At the In-Flight Report, someone asked C. Petersen what he thought about the fact that the price for entry in older LCGs is so high and is a barrier to new players. His response was the same sort of, "you don't have to buy everything" line we've heard foe years. He said it like he truly believed it was a benefit of the LCG model, but as you said, Scottie, it just isn't true. And it's at least more difficult to do that in the asymmetrical games, right?

They are a business, so I can't fault them for putting cool cards in every pack, but I am disappointed at this false hope they give.

But then, I still haven't purchased Heroes and Legends because I don't see Kyle making it into my Jedi deck and there were no Scum cards for my DS deck. I certainly didn't need The Battle of Hoth, and I haven't yet used any sets from Escape from Hoth (Dengar disappointed me). So maybe this model is working after all. Thanks for your thoughts.

"There is a fine line between neutral and amoral. In fact, there may be no line there at all."

--Count Dooku


#5 MarthWMaster

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 08:13 AM

In all seriousness, this doesn't affect me much because I plan on collecting all the cards (albeit, at a slower rate than some). And before people start saying how cheap LCGs are, yeah, I get that. But when you want a piece of X-Wing, a piece of SW:TCG, and the new Imperial Assault, sometimes you just can't get all the LCG cards as soon as they release.


I mean no harm by asking this, but as a Star Wars lover myself I can imagine how the option might have been overlooked: Do you need to play all the Star Wars games?
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#6 Budgernaut

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 09:43 AM

Good question, Marth. The short answer is "no." I won't be getting into Armada and I gave up X-Wing for a bit, but I'd like to get a few Scum and Villainy ships for that game. Imperial Assault definitely warrants the base game purchase, but as for expansions, I'll have to wait an see. For the LCG, I'll be honest and say that I chose that over X-Wing because I wanted Zuckuss. I have Zuckuss now so I just need IG-88 to complete my bounty hunter collection.

In any case, this thread was supposed to be less about me and more about the principle, but I navigated the discussion all wrong in my first post, so I'm more than willing to just let this thread die.

"There is a fine line between neutral and amoral. In fact, there may be no line there at all."

--Count Dooku


#7 GroggyGolem

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 09:58 AM

In all seriousness, this doesn't affect me much because I plan on collecting all the cards (albeit, at a slower rate than some). And before people start saying how cheap LCGs are, yeah, I get that. But when you want a piece of X-Wing, a piece of SW:TCG, and the new Imperial Assault, sometimes you just can't get all the LCG cards as soon as they release.


I mean no harm by asking this, but as a Star Wars lover myself I can imagine how the option might have been overlooked: Do you need to play all the Star Wars games?

For me the answer is yes, I have to play all of them. X-Wing is just for fun though. I can't see myself playing it competitively. Star Wars The Card Game will always be my favorite.
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Rebels: 3 X-Wing, 1 Y-Wing, 1 A-Wing, 1 B-Wing, 1 YT-1300

Imperials: 5 TIE/LN, 1 TIE/ADV, 1 TIE/IN, 1 Firespray-31


#8 MarthWMaster

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 01:14 PM

In any case, this thread was supposed to be less about me and more about the principle, but I navigated the discussion all wrong in my first post, so I'm more than willing to just let this thread die.

Sorry; I didn't mean to steer it further from the intended topic. I do think you have a point about the multiple decks situation though. One budgetable alternative is to pick up individual objective sets through the websites that sell them, but given how splashable the other affiliations are in this game, you might find this choice limiting in the long run. (Unless you go the whole nine yards: proxy a deck, play it, tweak it, and then "buy" it by picking up each of the objective sets that go into it. If a new objective set comes out later that NEEDS to be in the deck, buy that one as well, and so forth.)


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#9 omegalife2002

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 01:51 PM

I agree that the asymmetrical makes it even harder to focus on specific factions or deck builds. Because you are collecting for AT LEAST 2 decks, you need to buy a lot of cards to support them. I think it might be a little easier in Conquest, but if you look at AGoT and LotR, you still see a need to buy a lot of cards you don't need. Also, it takes a lot of work to figure out what exactly to buy. I tend to buy everything as it comes out (For Netrunner and SW, and will for 40k) but that also means I definitely need to pick and choose which games I play.

 

Also, there is obviously a need for "catch up" packs or something like it. I know Team Covenant sells their factions packs to try and help with this issue, but I've never done that, so I'm not sure how well it works.

 

I have also come up against the issue with new players at my league night. We sit down and play a game and they grab the core set and ask "What do I need to buy? Everything?" and I have to say, "Well, you probably want at least 2 cores, all of the packs, all of the deluxes....". Their eyes always go wide when I point it all out. Now I do mention that they can go slower and pick and choose, but bottom line, it is daunting. 



#10 KennedyHawk

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 08:05 PM

I don't think it's any more a problem when it comes to force packs.

 

All of the LCG's Warhammer/LOTR/AGOT included have cards for all the factions in almost each pack. Star Wars is actually best for this as you'll be able to skip packs if it has no set for the faction you want to focus on, and the set for the opposide force side is not one you are interested in.

 

In other LCG's you are forced to buy a lot of dead weight cards to get mayb 2-3 cards (6-9 with copies) of cards for your faction.

 

The deluxe is where I see the big difference. In AGOT the deluxe boxes focused on specific factions (as it seems the conquest ones will), we know that ANR worked this way as well. It seems with Star Wars they always want to shoe-horn in a few of those off-focus factions in each box. This is where the cost really creeps up as if you are playing just for Navy Rebel you may be buying and entire deluxe expansion for 2 objective sets.

 

I think the barrier cost is still lower than competitive magic and I'm okay with how the force packs distribute, it's pretty similar to the other LCGs. The deluxe's are what get me.

 

I guess if we look at alternatives if a force cycle is to have 6 packs you could release one for each factions, or two for each pair, (2 rebel/empire packs, 2 jedi/sith, and 2 scum S&S). I don't think that model would work for the "living" part of the living card game nearly as well.

 

They've done pretty well in the echo's force cycle to put some of the most important cards in the common packs. You can buy 2 packs and get a super resource for each faction. That was cool planning as having one per pack would have left some factions behind for far too long. I'm not sure what a good solution is but I like it as is now. I do think they could plan when cards come out in the cycle better. Imagine if we had deadly sight before the dash freeholders shenanigans, or if rebels had started the pack with green squadron instead of jan ors. I feel like the meta would have evolved completely differently although at the end it still probably ends up in the same place.

 

One thing that could be cool for more casual players is a full force cycle release after the cycle concludes. Make it slightly cheaper, or come with some cool alternate arts (maybe the common ones from all the game night kits). I know a lot of players buy multiple copies of everything and I bet they'd hold out to get the souped up full cycle expansion at the end for their second copy. And it would allow casual gamers to see the cycle in full when they purchase instead of seeing the meta change and go through some pains of imbalance.

 

Personally I'm okay with the force packs. I'd rather see a deluxe with 12 new sets with two for each factions rather than what looks to be 5 for the main factions and 1 for each off faction. Kind of scatter brained sorry I'm fried.


Edited by KennedyHawk, 28 August 2014 - 08:05 PM.

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