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LCGs lack High convenience and High Fidelity


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#1 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 03:53 AM

I think the primary reason LCGs don't have higher market share when compared to Magic and others. Is that LCGs lack High fidelity and high convenience. Fidelity means the aura and the emotional impact that something projects. Objects with high fideltiy are difficult to obtain and/or expensive For example, U2 concerts have high fidelity because they are expensive and hard to get tickets. It isn't convenient to go one. You can only listen to a few artist there. Yet U2 sells out all the time. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the the Ipod. It is ultraconvenient to have thousands of songs at your fingertips, and it not expensive. Ipods also do not project an aura (no fidelity) because they are also so common. Products usually can gain fidelity at the expense of convenience or vice versa. Look at Starbucks. Thier product started with large amount of Fidelity, and people would pay 4 dollars for coffee. But when they started putting a Starbucks on every corner. The company increased the convenience to have Starbucks coffee, but lost the fidelity of the experience. Thus people felt they where over playing for that same 4 dollar coffee.

 

Now lets appy this to the gaming world. Magic and other popular ccgs have one thing in common. They have strong/must have cards at High levels of rarity if you want to compete. This increases the fildety of their product. Because if you pull that ultra-rare that one else here there is an emotional impact or an aura that card projects. You have something that others in your play group know is hard to get/expensive.  At the other end of the spectrum, you have boardgames. Boardgames offer you the convenience of all components to be competitive in your playgroup in a single box. Boardgames can increase thier convenience by packing expansions with their core and including other formats for the game (different maps, rules, etc) A good example is the Chaos in the Old World. It all the pieces in one box so that you can be competitive with your playgroup.

Breaking down LCGs, you have mid-range fidelity with the cards you only get one of, but you know you can get those cards more easily than pulling ultrarares from magic. You just need to buy more coresets. This brings me to the second point is that LCGs aren't really convenient as a board game because you don't have all the components needed to compete with your play group. But it is more convenient than pulling those rares out a magic box. I feel that FFG is trying to make their LCGs convenient and have high fidelity. But you can't have both if you want your product to do the best it can in this market. I do believe though that FFG did do a better job of increasing the convience of getting into Warhammer:Invasion by offering 3 or 2 copies of certain cards.

 

comments welcomed

 



#2 Buhallin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 04:44 AM

While your points may be accurate in concept, I don't know that they actually explain what you're trying to make them explain - specifically the slow uptake on LCGs.

You put CCGs and board games at complete opposite ends of a spectrum between fidelity and convenience.  Assuming that is accurate (which I'm not sure it is) then either characteristic must provide something desirable.  If LCGs sit in the middle of that spectrum providing a little of both, they should be fine.

But I don't really think it's relevant, honestly.  You're trying to isolate to a few characteristics which say little to nothing about the actual success of games.  If it were all about fidelity, or all about convenience, then every CCG would succeed because Magic does, or every board game would succeed because Cataan did.

Obviously there are a lot of failures on both ends of the spectrum, so there has to be a lot more involved than just the question of the packaging type.

IMHO, the LCG concept hasn't been given a real shot until Invasion.  Both the previous ones were conversions from previous CCGs, and carried a lot of issues over from those previous ones.  Also, IMHO, they really aren't great games - CoC and AGOT share WAY too many of their mechanics, CoC does very little to exploit and develop its setting (there's almost no story to it, and no sides), and both were essentially failing CCGs when they came out.

The reality is that LCGs target the CCG crowd more than the board gaming crowd, and a vast majority of CCGs have failed.  It's a hard market to get into, and I do think you're right about the fidelity aspect - although I call it the crack aspect, personally...  Getting CCG players to move away from the few established games to look at something new is very, very hard.  It's even harder when you take away the risk/rush of random buying, and when you throw in incorrect perceptions of cost it gets even worse.



#3 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 06:25 AM

You are right...One should not simply the success or failure to one or two factors. I should have been explained in detail that point I was bringing up was just one of many. Convenience and Fidelity are just one of many ways to analyze a product or service....and it is the most interesting to me at this point in time.

I hope you are right that LCGs can well with a lil of both. History would disagree with you. Lets look at the Kindle product. Its a device that allows you read and store thousands of books. Now with books...the High fidelity is the actual book. People that read books for pleasure love turning the pages and the whole experience of reading and touching the book. While, the kindle is the convenience of storing thousands of books...it does not have the fidelity in market for its price (close 280 usd) plus you have to buy the books to put on your kindle. It has a lil bit of both convenience and fidelity, but it has only sold a million or units worldwide. I know its a million units, but in the electronics world thats a big flop.

Anyways, I agree that warhammer has the best chance for success for the exact reason you stated. Another reason I think is that of Branding. Warhammer is a huge brand and everyone in the industry has heard of it. Is this a major reason for success...brand name? I don't know Warcry and Horus Heresy are now dead ccgs.



#4 Buhallin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 06:38 AM

Can't speak to Warcry, but in the annals of CCGs Horus Heresy did quite well - it had at least 5-6 expansions, which is pretty solid.

Your Kindle comparison is flawed, too...  I like my iPod because it lets me carry every CD I own, which simply wouldn't be possible.  It lets me shuffle between them at will, or automatically, which my CDs can't.  In short, it offers a great deal of functionality compared to the non-digital (i.e. physical) version.  But what does the Kindle offer?  I'm an avid reader, but I usually only carry one or at most two books with me.  Sure, the notetaking is nice, and the wifi purchase is cool, but none of them are critical functionality to most reader.  And the price, to be honest, is astronomical.  Sure, people may have issues with lacking a physical book and pages to turn, but it's probably not a deciding factor in most cases.

I'm not disagreeing that fidelity/convenience play a factor, but in general I think they're overwhelmed by other influences.  Even your original example with the U2 concert is, IMHO, pretty weak...  Sure, people are excited about getting to see U2, but is it just because of the fidelity aspect, essentially just because they're hard tickets to get?  George Strait sold out here (Texas) in something like 3 minutes - you couldn't get higher fidelity than that.  It means nothing to me, because I don't care about going in the first place.



#5 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 08:43 AM

Sorry for any misunderstanding....please reread my post. The reasons you state about the kindle are the reasons why it does not do well. Thus in agreement my earlier posts. Thanks for sharing your opinions.



#6 Buhallin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 08:58 AM

apkenned said:

Sorry for any misunderstanding....please reread my post. The reasons you state about the kindle are the reasons why it does not do well. Thus in agreement my earlier posts. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

Well, not entirely.

The problem with the Kindle is not really that it loses fidelity (which is what you continue to focus on) but that it doesn't actually provide any convenience.  IMHO that's a much bigger problem than the fidelity issue.  People just don't need to be able to carry thousands of books around with them all at once, so they look at it and go "Yeah, that's cool, but it's not really something I need, especially with that price tag".  Although people may comment on the fidelity issue, I think only a tiny portion of them actually consider it in their purchasing decision, and even then only after they've overcome the usefulness issue.



#7 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 08:58 AM

Buhallin said:

Can't speak to Warcry, but in the annals of CCGs Horus Heresy did quite well - it had at least 5-6 expansions, which is pretty solid.

Your Kindle comparison is flawed, too...  I like my iPod because it lets me carry every CD I own, which simply wouldn't be possible.  It lets me shuffle between them at will, or automatically, which my CDs can't.  In short, it offers a great deal of functionality compared to the non-digital (i.e. physical) version.  But what does the Kindle offer?  I'm an avid reader, but I usually only carry one or at most two books with me.  Sure, the notetaking is nice, and the wifi purchase is cool, but none of them are critical functionality to most reader.  And the price, to be honest, is astronomical.  Sure, people may have issues with lacking a physical book and pages to turn, but it's probably not a deciding factor in most cases.

I'm not disagreeing that fidelity/convenience play a factor, but in general I think they're overwhelmed by other influences.  Even your original example with the U2 concert is, IMHO, pretty weak...  Sure, people are excited about getting to see U2, but is it just because of the fidelity aspect, essentially just because they're hard tickets to get?  George Strait sold out here (Texas) in something like 3 minutes - you couldn't get higher fidelity than that.  It means nothing to me, because I don't care about going in the first place.

Buhallin said:

I'm not disagreeing that fidelity/convenience play a factor, but in general I think they're overwhelmed by other influences.  Even your original example with the U2 concert is, IMHO, pretty weak...  Sure, people are excited about getting to see U2, but is it just because of the fidelity aspect, essentially just because they're hard tickets to get?  George Strait sold out here (Texas) in something like 3 minutes - you couldn't get higher fidelity than that.  It means nothing to me, because I don't care about going in the first place.

The tickets are hard to get due to fidelity that SOME PEOPLE have with U2. If you don't like Hannah Montana  or U2 you won't care about the tickets and thus the tickets have a limited amount of fidelity. If you did get some tickets in convenient way you might enjoy the tickets high fidelity by selling them. There are other reason why fidelity can be associated with U2 1: There is only one U2 group and 2: most people are phyically limited on getting the concert so if they are in town...I'm going do what I can to be there.

Here is another example of High Fidelity is an expensive car like the Ferrari GT series. People might like the styling of the car and superior engine of the car, but at the end of the day, if everyone had Ferrari then you and me wouldn't WOW when you see one. The rarity or difficulty to obtain one is what is causes people to light up when they see a Ferrari. And if by chance you own like myself (j/k), then you would feel that high level of fidelity through the blank stares, compliments and the like. No one is going to stare at my 2009 Nissan Sentra...its too common. I hope u understand my point and enjoyed the information that has imparted on you



#8 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:02 AM

Buhallin said:

apkenned said:

 

Sorry for any misunderstanding....please reread my post. The reasons you state about the kindle are the reasons why it does not do well. Thus in agreement my earlier posts. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

 

 

Well, not entirely.

The problem with the Kindle is not really that it loses fidelity (which is what you continue to focus on) but that it doesn't actually provide any convenience.  IMHO that's a much bigger problem than the fidelity issue.  People just don't need to be able to carry thousands of books around with them all at once, so they look at it and go "Yeah, that's cool, but it's not really something I need, especially with that price tag".  Although people may comment on the fidelity issue, I think only a tiny portion of them actually consider it in their purchasing decision, and even then only after they've overcome the usefulness issue.

 

No one thinks about fidelity when making a purchase. That silly to think so...fidelity is an emotional thing. Saying the Kindle is not somewhat convenient...is saying the Ipod is not somewhat convenient. I'll never listen to 20 hours of music in one sitting.



#9 Wytefang

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:15 AM

I definitely cannot agree with this statement by Apkenned: "the second point is that LCGs aren't really convenient as a board game because you don't have all the components needed to compete with your play group."

All of FFG's LCGs, including Warhammer:Invasion work really well as a self-contained board/card-game.  That's half of what makes them such a great purchase.  I got my copy of W:I from a friend who nabbed me one from GenCon this year - since I had no way to get extra sets, we had to make do with JUST the Core Set and we had a blast for many weeks.  I think the facts on this point clearly refute this point you've made.

I see the main gist of your original post and to some extent, it is a logical argument, or at least certainly a defensible one.  But I think that in any comparison between WANTING (or Fidelity) and BEING ABLE TO HAVE (or Ownership), particularly with money involved, BEING ABLE TO HAVE is going to win out.  Thus Fidelity, as a term being used to fuel your theory here, is far less important. 

As a sidenote, Magic: The Gathering's sales have continued to decline since the initial successful first years.  WotC would prefer not to admit that but the occasional marketing review seems to indicate that the enthusiasm for "Fidelity" vs. "Ownership" tips towards Ownership with players jumping ship once they realize that it's just a far too expensive game model to support for any length of time.  This is also born out in the low eBay resale value of most of the past several year's singles AND WotC's focus in the past several years on releasing buy-and-play pre-made starter decks.  Players no longer want to gamble with their money and I definitely can't blame them.  The CCG model that WotC is still clinging to (and making money with or they'd ditch it) is akin to that one last island of Dodo's out there, frantically clinging to survival while trying to avoid extinction.  It's going to be a big crash once it finally fails entirely.  Then again, that being said, who knows?  Maybe Magic's long-term existence has permanently cemented it as a brand in gaming consciousness - so much so that it can keep its antiquated and somewhat out-of-date purchasing model intact?  (That's what I'd call the PT Barnum theorum - "There's a sucker born every minute.")  


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#10 apkenned

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:19 AM

Wytefang said:

 

I definitely cannot agree with this statement by Apkenned: "the second point is that LCGs aren't really convenient as a board game because you don't have all the components needed to compete with your play group."

All of FFG's LCGs, including Warhammer:Invasion work really well as a self-contained board/card-game.  That's half of what makes them such a great purchase.  I got my copy of W:I from a friend who nabbed me one from GenCon this year - since I had no way to get extra sets, we had to make do with JUST the Core Set and we had a blast for many weeks.  I think the facts on this point clearly refute this point you've made.

 

 

 

Well I was talking about LCGs in general unless you like highlander format....I stated that Warhammer: Invasion is the best thus far for your said reasons.



#11 Buhallin

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 09:57 AM

apkenned said:

Saying the Kindle is not somewhat convenient...is saying the Ipod is not somewhat convenient. I'll never listen to 20 hours of music in one sitting.

The convenience of the iPod doesn't come from duration, it comes from variety and portability, and more importantly the need for that portability.  Nobody feels the need to have 50 books available at any one time.  You aren't going to mix chapters from 15 or 20 different books on a whim.  These are things that people do with music.  If you try and carry 50 or 100 or 500 CDs around with you to achieve the necessary variety, it's a pain in the rear.  But you don't need to do that with books.  Hence the iPod provides massive convenience, while the Kindle doesn't.  Even though both provide the same conceptual functionality, one does it in an area where that functionality is used and useful, the other doesn't.

And people certainly think about fidelity when they make a purchase.  Your own concert example - people line up for days, or are madly clicking Ticketmaster's web site as they are about to go on sale.  Just because the impact is emotional doesn't mean it's not considered as part of the purchase.  In truly overwhelming situations of fidelity it overrides logic and consideration completely - people still buy random CCG packs when their collection is nearly complete, even though it would be far more economical to purchase the few needed card(s) as singles.



#12 Wytefang

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 02:33 PM

apkenned said:

Well I was talking about LCGs in general unless you like highlander format....I stated that Warhammer: Invasion is the best thus far for your said reasons.

 

Ah!  Okay, fair enough.  :)


"SHOW ME WHAT PASSES FOR FURY AMONGST YOUR MISBEGOTTEN KIND!"

 

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#13 dormouse

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 01:36 PM

The thing to think about is emotional reaction versus intellectual realization. The first is just that, first. Our first reaction to any given thing is almost exclusively emotional. The more aware (some would say mature or intelligent) proceed to analyze that emotional reaction and process it, making a decision based on rationalizations which take the emotional reaction into consideration but weighing it against a number of other factors before making a decision.

Opening up a pack and receiving an Ultra-Mythic-Foil-Scratch-and-Sniff-Mega Rare to complete your collection gives a huge surge in emotion. If you stop and think about how much money you spent to complete that collection and how many games you win with decks made from your collection you may come to a very different conclusion about its worth, and your emotions will slowly follow suit... especially if some other reason too spend money comes up (say you throw a rod).

LCG's are a good model for people who like to enjoy the thrill of ever changing games without spending as much money as a CCG requires. The Core Set plays extremely well as a stand alone product which entices boardgamers into purchasing it.

As to the Kindle, I own one and it is magnificent. It is extremely convenient, I read fast, a lot, and travel more than a fair amount. I can't count how many times I've purchased books at airports, or bookstores on my travels. In the last week I read 3 books, and if I hadn't essentially slept for 18 hours as my body readjusted for crossing 6 time zones, I would have finished the 4th. Being able to carry all my pleasure reading books and buy a new one while waiting to push off from the gate, is ultra-convenient for me.

When people see me reading my Kindle they ask me about it, want to touch it, flip the pages, know how it works. There is a lot of fidelity associated with that kind of experience.

With as much as I read, and as often as I buy books (or in the quantities that I buy them in, I've already made the money I sepnt on the Kindle back in the discounts that Amazon offers. That I also have a dictionary and wikipedia at my finger tips (as well as moderate web access) I think I've certainly gotten my money's worth.

It is not a product for everyone. If you read less than a book every two weeks it will take you over a year to make your money back, in which case the convenience factor needs to be quite sizable.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#14 Bromen

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:16 PM

It's great that you put so much thought into your post.

The top CCGs:

Magic is popular because it has first mover advantage which it has maintained and captialized on with a huge marketing budget.

Yu gi Oh is a TV driven trans media propery, which has a huge marketing budget.

Pokemon CCG is a TV driven trans media property, which has a huge marketing budget.

WoW TCG is a Video game driven trans media property, which has a huge marketing budget.

Seeing a trend?

Addittionally, there are more than one kind of CCGer. Some do like rare chasing, but I prefer good gameplay and deck buidling, and that's why I love the LCGs especially this game. CCGs are dying, and I hope that LCGs can perserve this great gaming experience.

All the best,

PB



#15 apkenned

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 11:41 PM

dormouse said:

LCG's are a good model for people who like to enjoy the thrill of ever changing games without spending as much money as a CCG requires. The Core Set plays extremely well as a stand alone product which entices boardgamers into purchasing it.

Interesting point. I'm part of board gaming group and I'm part of a VTES group. One difference between the groups is that CCGer want a dynamically changing meta game or the game gets stale to them. I believe this ONE of the reasons that many people don't play dead ccgs. On the other hand, board gamers have a metagame as well it just doesn't change very fast or often...ie chess, go. Some people like the faster change, while other might enjoy the familiarity of a boardgame



#16 dormouse

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:13 AM

Yep... and the LCG offers both. A Core Set is great for at least a dozen different games with just the same race unaltered. Start switching races and you get a hundred hours or so of fun. You play the draft format and you can easily triple that. Those who want to go straight into constructed can do so and the monthly supplements allow for steady continual change every month. The Boardgamers who feel ready for an injection of change into the game can buy the Companions expansion and add two new races to their game giving new configurations of match-ups as well as new cards to pick from during draft. When the MP rules are released the Core Set and the constructed decks take on a whole new light and provide even more possible variations to keep things fresh and interesting.

I'm not saying LCG's are perfect, but I am saying they fill a marketplace that neitrher traditional boardgames nor CCG's reach.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#17 apkenned

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:59 PM

I agree. I can see the role that LCG can feel.



#18 Darthvegeta800

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 11:12 PM

Quite the interesting discussion.
I'm surprised to a degree that the concept of 'LCGs' hasn't caught more popularity and/or wasn't picked up sooner by one or more companies.



#19 vermillian

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 03:09 AM

Warlord and also Anachronism (kinda...).

Also FFGs Blue Moon (if i got that right...)



#20 Darthvegeta800

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 04:33 AM

vermillian said:

Warlord and also Anachronism (kinda...).

Also FFGs Blue Moon (if i got that right...)

 

True but Blue Moon is once more FFG. Not to mention it always felt like a bit 'different'. But true, it counts too.
Warlord is the AEG one right? Yeah I read it went LCG (kinda) after a while. Is it still alive actually?
Anachronism I missed regretfully. Looked fun, but went down the drain. 
 

Still that's not that many cardgames that are in the LCG 'zone'.






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