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#1 MarthWMaster

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:47 PM

As an avid Star Wars fan, one of my hobbies is coming up with in-universe explanations for stuff that doesn't really add up. I figure that since so much of the negativity towards this game seems to be directed at how it "does not feel like Star Wars," something I confess I've been guilty of myself, I might as well give it a try here. In other words, I'm going to select a few of what I feel are the strongest arguments against the thematic rightness of the SWLCG's mechanics. Here we go.

1) Non-Force-users committing to the Force: Skippy the Jedi Droid aside, there is just something odd about committing units that have no affinity for the Force - or even an outright denial that it exists (ANH Han Solo, I'm looking at you) - at least on the surface. But putting aside what we as fans may think we know about the Force itself, let's recall what Yoda, an undisputed master of the Force, has to say about it.

"Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship." - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Notice not only how he more or less repeats Obi-Wan's initial description in A New Hope, but how he expands its influence to include non-living things (the rock and the ship). This reveals that even if droids and ships cannot actually feel the Force, the Force can work through them. In Star Wars: The Card Game, you are not merely playing a faction or factions in the Galactic Civil War. You are playing the Force itself, either the light side or the dark side, and committing a unit to the Force does not require that unit to be conscious of its commitment. As for units that are "alive," both Yoda and Obi-Wan agree that living things are responsible for the Force's existence. I won't delve into midichlorians since they're a prequels-only element and as such would only serve to dilute my argument (again, I try my best to explain these things in-universe), but suffice it to say they do not contradict this statement about life creating the Force. So even non-Force-users like Han and Boba are creating, and in turn being influenced by, the Force.

2) Inappropriate units blocking in engagements: Fantasy Flight has touted this as a "cinematic" game. In other words, it's a game bearing qualities characteristic of motion pictures. In Star Wars this means microcosmic: focusing on the part, rather than macrocosmic: focusing on the whole. For a story about a Galactic Civil War, Star Wars is intensely - and necessarily, from a monomythic standpoint - focused on the individual heroes and villains of said war. The camera frequently presents sweeping views of the battle in its epic scope, and there are legions of nameless soldiers on both sides, but it is always the main heroes and villains who dominate the screen. So when you see Jabba the Hutt blocking and, let's say destroying, a Star Destroyer for example (I choose the most ridiculous image deliberately), we don't need to assume it is literally Jabba body-slamming a capital ship in space, but instead that Jabba is using his resources as a criminal overlord to thwart that ship's attempts at disrupting his operation. He doesn't even need to literally destroy or disable the Star Destroyer, so long as he has effectively canceled its impact on whatever objective it happened to be attacking. For a game composed of static images to mimic the feel of a motion picture, one's imagination must be employed in full force.

3) The Death Star dial feels tacked-on and unnecessary: This is going to sound rude, and I apologize in advance. My intent with this post is to help fans who want to love this game adopt a different perspective in hopes of liking it more. In no way do I mean to offend people who are "getting it wrong." That said, I feel the problem people are having here is largely due to a widespread misinterpretation of what the Death Star dial itself is meant to represent. Everywhere I've read people talking about this dial, it's described as the Empire working to construct the Death Star. Again, looking at the situation literally causes one to overlook the abstract nature of the game. The Death Star dial, despite what its name and appearance implies, does not necessarily represent the literal construction of the infamous battle station (especially if Trench Run is played on it, and I'll get to that in a moment). It represents the fact that the Rebellion is hopelessly outmatched and outnumbered in its fight to save the galaxy, and if the Empire continues to go unchallenged, eventually it will become too strong to ever be defeated. With a pure Scum & Villainy deck this becomes a bit messier, but still we must assume that the forces of evil are conspiring with more neutral entities to secure their domination of the galaxy. When Trench Run is played, it establishes the Death Star dial as representing a literal threat (the Death Star I or II, or some other superweapon), but one that is either completed or at least operational, and the Rebels are mounting one last, desperate assault on it before it can destroy their base, opposing fleet, or what-have-you. This card essentially narrows the scope of the galaxywide conflict down to a single, final battle, which again reflects the cinematic nature of the game. As for the aforementioned Scum & Villainy deck, fringe forces are fully capable of developing superweapons of their own. Fans of the EU will recall Durga the Hutt's own take on the Death Star concept (Darksaber), or perhaps the Republic's first victory over Geonosis (Jedi Starfighter - a prequel example, but it serves).

I hope these points help open up new avenues of thought regarding Star Wars: The Card Game and its capacity to evoke the feel of the films. I think, more than anything, it's going to take time to adjust to the new type of experience FFG is asking us to explore with this game, one that is less literal, that forces the willing suspension of disbelief a bit more, but one that I think could lead to some unforeseen depth of myth-making through play. After all, no matter how good the mechanics are or aren't, at the end of the day, we're playing it because it's Star Wars, and it should be judged on how well it serves that core purpose. If there are any issues I've failed to cover here, feel free to bring them up. This isn't the best board for editing posts, but a good discussion ought to work just fine.


"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable."
– Beethoven

#2 Saturnine

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

I don't know if you've played any other card games based on popular licenses, but it's something every adaptation struggles with. There's a large amount of abstraction necessary to make a license work as a card game that is customizable and expandable. I can certainly sympathize with your points, but I find it hard to fault the designers for the flaws you are bringing up. Expecting a card game to deliver the same experience as the movies as akin to expecting a movie to deliver the same experience as a book -- it's not conducive to the enjoyment of the material at hand. It's very different media, and you can learn to appreciate the abstract ways in which the game is capturing the flavor.



#3 AshesFall

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:33 PM

Saturnine said:

I don't know if you've played any other card games based on popular licenses, but it's something every adaptation struggles with. There's a large amount of abstraction necessary to make a license work as a card game that is customizable and expandable. I can certainly sympathize with your points, but I find it hard to fault the designers for the flaws you are bringing up. Expecting a card game to deliver the same experience as the movies as akin to expecting a movie to deliver the same experience as a book -- it's not conducive to the enjoyment of the material at hand. It's very different media, and you can learn to appreciate the abstract ways in which the game is capturing the flavor.

I think Marth did an admirable job explaining the abstract parts that many express doubts over. The entire post is a very positive one, with good thoughts on how to approach those abstractions. Good work Marth!



#4 Saturnine

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:52 PM

AshesFall said:

 

 

I think Marth did an admirable job explaining the abstract parts that many express doubts over. The entire post is a very positive one, with good thoughts on how to approach those abstractions.

 

 

Yes and yes. I realize now I misunderstood the intent of the original post, a result of me not reading it thoroughly as I was sort of skimming over it during my break. I thought his/her post was reiterating the concerns rather than trying to assuage them. Apologies to Marth -- just read my post as an additional response to people criticizing the game for points discussed by Marth.



#5 SeerMagic

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:04 AM

MarthWMaster said:

1) Non-Force-users committing to the Force

I don't think of it as telling c3po to go learn how to use the force. I think of it as him supporting the force and the people that use it. That's why you add up everyone to see who controls the force.

MarthWMaster said:

2) Inappropriate units blocking in engagements

I'll admit, at first (and for several months) this drove me crazy. But then I realize I've played a star wars game that separated them, and it was terrible. I've played other games that separate that stuff, and I've walked away disliking them everytime. They always seem unbalaced, because of deck building. Sure there might be a good way to do it out there, but I haven't seen it.

And there explanation works for me, we are just focusing in on what 1 unit did. This was much more acceptable once I seen how they handled weak but smart characters (focusing) to keep units busy without actually doing damage to them… we see this in the movies all time. I've done a 180 on this, and I'm fine with how they've did it.

MarthWMaster said:

3) The Death Star dial feels tacked-on and unnecessary

I haven't heard this one. I do understand it's not meant to just represent the death star. I personally that it's great that both sides have different ways to win. They are not so different to make them play different either… so I think it's pretty cool and represents how things seem to always come down to the wire in the movies with the heroes trying to STOP the villains from doing something.



#6 alpha5099

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:41 AM

I just want to say that, in the case of Jabba the Hutt destroying any ships in this game, I adamantly WILL be imagining him body-slamming it in space,because that is hilarious.



#7 spalanzani

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:37 AM

alpha5099 said:

I just want to say that, in the case of Jabba the Hutt destroying any ships in this game, I adamantly WILL be imagining him body-slamming it in space,because that is hilarious.

Now that Marth has put the image in my head, so will I! Thanks - you've just made my Tuesday awesome!


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