After being introduced and falling in love with other great CoC games from Fantasy Flight, including Elder Sign and Mansions of Maddness, I was definently on board with the concept of picking up the CoC LCG!
However I saw the massive number of expansions and thought, "No way can I absord financially or mentally that many cards," and wondered why it was not smaller. I just recently found out that for purposes of tournament play only some sets are legal. Now I am back on track for wanting to join!
My problem now is the following: How does the tournament format work as far as involvement with the base set and running?
1. Is base set always legal and the expansions change between what is allowed? If so do they reprint or change the base set every so often?
2. Is the list of acceptable expansions based on a time frame or release frame? Like is the newest 10 always "the" cycle or do they have a period of time where expansions released within said time frame form a play era much like the editions of l5r diamond edition, gold edition, ect.
3. I have an interest growing amoungst the fellows that play elder sign and mansions with in picking this up! Relaistically what are the inital buy in costs to get started so we as a group can look into this and what are the associated costs over time look like?
4. Finally what are the time costs asociated with this? Like besides playing the game makes you better how long considering average rate of games played between weekly group/club night and monthly tournament would it take someone to get to advanced concepts and be at a higher level of tournament play?
Thanks to all who read and even more thanks to those that answer!
Hopefully I can answer some of these questions for you. I got into this game because I wanted a card game less financially demanding than Magic, and I enjoyed the setting.
1. Yes, and this is by far my favorite part of the game. Nothing is worse than having to rebuy the same cards year after year in Magic. Here all the cards in the base set are legal, and there are no changes in the reprints other than the old 40 card Asylum Packs were reprinted into 60 card packs (this saves you money) and occasionally errata from the FAQ is incorporated. Currently the Dreamlands cycle has not been reprinted in 60 card format, but I remain hopeful it will be soon.
2. No, none of that crazy Magic timeframe/cycle stuff. All cards are legal except the banned card (currently 2) and you can only use one card (up to 3 copies) that is in the restricted list per deck. Though only the newest story card deck is used in tournament play.
3. If you just want to play a Core Set is enough, but if you want to get serious you'll probably want to pick up 3 Cores, Secrets of Arkham, and then start getting Asylum Packs that have cards you want (there are no random cards, so when you buy a pack you're getting 3 copies of all cards in that). If you want to be economical you can easily save money by trading cards between Cores and Arkham to get 3 copies of every card for whatever faction/s you play. The Core Set (1 copy of every card) and Secrets of Arkham (2 copies of every card) are the only sets you need more than one copy of to get 3 copies of every card.
So realistically, 25-100 dollars depending on how into it you want to get right away (assuming you buy online to save money off of retail).
4. I'm not sure on that as I'm just starting. Buy after playing for about a month with my local group I'm feeling pretty confident in my abilities. There is a free deck building program, and an online program you can use to test stuff out with and if you have a group of friends and post on the forums you should be able to make a tournament quality deck in no time.
And if saving money is your goal I recommend CoolStuffInc. Of all the online sites to buy off of, they're the least expensive that doesn't have terrible customer service (I made the mistake of ordering from CCG Armory in the past).