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Discussion: Is LCG environment overpowered compared to CCG?


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#1 Danigral

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:51 AM

Hello all-

I've been wondering lately what some of the CoC veterans think about the state of the cardpool these days (or anyone with knowledge of the CCG era cardpool - I don't want to limit the conversation), when considering the power level of cards in this last cycle and SoK to cards from the CCG era.

I read a lot about "broken" combos back in the CCG days, such as the infamous "Rainbow deck" and the Ithaqua/Itenerate Scholar combo, however, it seems that the game has shifted from certain combo-centric builds to overpowered cards. The past uproar about Khopesh and the current thread on Nug are good examples of this. However, certain reprints also seem to indicate a change in base value of a card - look at Neil's Curiosity Shop pre-reprint (cost 3) and post-reprint (cost 2). This is not all even, since that same cycle reprint saw a significant nerf to Altar of Madness. I also think there was a nerf to Feathery Watchers (both Hastur, which was riding a high of popularity at Worlds 2011 at the time - which btw makes me wonder if design tends to be reactive, not proactive…hmmm)

I remember reading comments from Chris Lang (sp?) about how he has seen the complexity of card language increase, and he waxed nostalgic about the simplicity of themes and card text in the debut Arkham Edition of the CCG days. When I look at cards like Blackwood File Clerk compared to say, Jenica Capra, I have to agree. Especially because we have seen very few reprints, even of the most basically thematic cards. I can't imagine that FFG would simply be saving cards like Norman Blackwood or Blackwood Associate for a future deluxe expansion release. (This might lend some evidence to the fact that people are still searching for and buying CCG era cards.)

TL;DR

What is everyone's take on the following?

1) The complexity of card text CCG vs. LCG;

2) The power level of cards (power creep, I guess);

3) The integrity of faction "theme" at the expense of "the new and shiny" (mechanics, sub-themes, etc.)

 

 



#2 jhaelen

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:45 PM

AGoT DC Meta said:

What is everyone's take on the following?

1) The complexity of card text CCG vs. LCG;

2) The power level of cards (power creep, I guess);

3) The integrity of faction "theme" at the expense of "the new and shiny" (mechanics, sub-themes, etc.)

Well, I'm not a veteran, having only started playing CoC when the LCG came out, but I played a couple of games with the CCG cards (and also own a few hundred), so here's my take:

1) The LCG had its share of complex cards and at least some of the increase in card text can probably be attributed to trying to achieve better clarity (even if that sounds somewhat paradoxical). What is definitely true is that there are not as many cards with little or no card text. I actually like that, though, considering that the few 'plain' cards that came out are simply never used, e.g. who got excited about 'Bird Demon'? With over 1000 cards the card base is sufficiently large that we don't need more 'plain' cards.
Also, part of the reason for many 'plain' cards in the CCG was the different rarities of cards. In an LCG there's simply no reason for them, since all cards are equally rare.

2) This is somewhat related to 1) because in order for new cards to be different rather than simply more powerful, the designers basically have to add more card text, resulting in cards that are only situationally better. There is a notable increase in power if you look at the deck level but not necessarily on the card level. E.g. even before the Khopesh you could build decks around destruction, but it required adding pretty much all the cards to your deck that focused on destruction. Now, due to a larger card pool we have both more cards to choose from and require fewer of them at the same time (since the Khopesh is shuffled back into your deck). So, overall, yes, the power level has increased. It's quite possible that the power level is already where it once was (over even higher), but that would require a real veteran to judge.

3) Actually I think the faction's themes have been better preserved than in the CCG. In the CCG we often had cards that every faction received with little changes to them, e.g. every faction had the equivalent of the Itinerant Scholar or Legacy of Ramses. In the LCG there are fewer of these 'card sets', although there are some particularly in the last cycle, e.g. the new Necronomicons, Relic Hunters, and Prophesy cards. Seekers has been the first expansion where I had the feeling that a faction's theme has expanded considerably. I feel it's too early to tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the cards in the next Deluxe expansion.



#3 dboeren

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:16 AM

I agree with most of what jhaelen said there.  More text doesn't always mean more complex, in part this is because of the demand for greater exactness in card language and the need to differentiate new cards from old.

Also, it seems normal to me that a unique character (Jenica) might have more text than a regular character.  That's pretty much true in any CCG/LCG I know of - unique characters are always more special or interesting with the drawback that you can only have one of them.  And Bird Demon has 4 icons for cost 3.  Not mind-bending, but decent basic efficiency.

Anyway, I didn't play back in the CCG days - I've always had an aversion to that sales model and refused to get into any such games.  But, it seems to me that one of the reasons the CCG decks were strong was because there were so many discounts available allowing them to play a lot more high cost cards or characters.  But, it's just not possible to have a good impression of comparitive power without having CCG-era experience.

The new boxed expansions are really by far the best way to introduce entirely new faction themes simply due to the number of cards you can put out at a time.  The Asylum packs were hard going as it could take the better part of a year to get a new theme to the point where things started coming together plus you had the problem of not wanting EVERY card for a cycle to all be in the same theme.

I think once all the faction boxes are out (a long time I know) the game will be much enriched by it.



#4 Danigral

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:10 AM

 

jhaelen said:

 

Well, I'm not a veteran, having only started playing CoC when the LCG came out, but I played a couple of games with the CCG cards (and also own a few hundred), so here's my take:

1) The LCG had its share of complex cards and at least some of the increase in card text can probably be attributed to trying to achieve better clarity (even if that sounds somewhat paradoxical). What is definitely true is that there are not as many cards with little or no card text. I actually like that, though, considering that the few 'plain' cards that came out are simply never used, e.g. who got excited about 'Bird Demon'? With over 1000 cards the card base is sufficiently large that we don't need more 'plain' cards.

Also, part of the reason for many 'plain' cards in the CCG was the different rarities of cards. In an LCG there's simply no reason for them, since all cards are equally rare.

2) This is somewhat related to 1) because in order for new cards to be different rather than simply more powerful, the designers basically have to add more card text, resulting in cards that are only situationally better. There is a notable increase in power if you look at the deck level but not necessarily on the card level. E.g. even before the Khopesh you could build decks around destruction, but it required adding pretty much all the cards to your deck that focused on destruction. Now, due to a larger card pool we have both more cards to choose from and require fewer of them at the same time (since the Khopesh is shuffled back into your deck). So, overall, yes, the power level has increased. It's quite possible that the power level is already where it once was (over even higher), but that would require a real veteran to judge.

3) Actually I think the faction's themes have been better preserved than in the CCG. In the CCG we often had cards that every faction received with little changes to them, e.g. every faction had the equivalent of the Itinerant Scholar or Legacy of Ramses. In the LCG there are fewer of these 'card sets', although there are some particularly in the last cycle, e.g. the new Necronomicons, Relic Hunters, and Prophesy cards. Seekers has been the first expansion where I had the feeling that a faction's theme has expanded considerably. I feel it's too early to tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the cards in the next Deluxe expansion.

 

 

1) I like your example of Bird Demon, however, you could say that that card is probably underused and undervalued. "Commons" in the LCG could be creatively utilized by expanding the cardpool with greater synergies, i.e. cards that build off of traits. I like that about cards like Rope and Anchor Tavern and 607 Walter Street, but the cardpool isn't rich enough yet to really utilize those cards well (I wrote this as an implicit - well, now explicit - challenge for COCLCG. lol). I do like your point about the random booster model as a factor in "plain" cards, and didn't really consider it a huge factor because of how plain cards could be utilized in the pool. Think about serpents - outside of a tribal or theme build, these characters are certainly plain. Degenerate Serpent Cultist is a good 2-skill character, but becomes a lot better with all the support. Likewise Innsmouth Troublemaker is pretty plain until you put a Khopesh on him (but I guess you could say that of a lot of characters….haha).

2) I agree that the power level has probably surpassed the CCG era. I think support destruction is way too easy and prevalent, so cards like Fetch Stick (3-cost neutral attachment that gave a ton of icons and skill) which were all the rage just aren't as good in the current environment.

3) I'm torn as well. On the one hand, I don't think it would be good for all factions to get the ubiquitous "reduce the next X by 1" location and character, but I also think that it can't just stay in Shub as a faction theme imo, especially at the rate at which its ability to do so is increasing. We see it a little with  tribal reducers in other factions.

dboeren said:

 

I agree with most of what jhaelen said there.  More text doesn't always mean more complex, in part this is because of the demand for greater exactness in card language and the need to differentiate new cards from old.

Also, it seems normal to me that a unique character (Jenica) might have more text than a regular character.  That's pretty much true in any CCG/LCG I know of - unique characters are always more special or interesting with the drawback that you can only have one of them.  And Bird Demon has 4 icons for cost 3.  Not mind-bending, but decent basic efficiency.

Anyway, I didn't play back in the CCG days - I've always had an aversion to that sales model and refused to get into any such games.  But, it seems to me that one of the reasons the CCG decks were strong was because there were so many discounts available allowing them to play a lot more high cost cards or characters.  But, it's just not possible to have a good impression of comparitive power without having CCG-era experience.

The new boxed expansions are really by far the best way to introduce entirely new faction themes simply due to the number of cards you can put out at a time.  The Asylum packs were hard going as it could take the better part of a year to get a new theme to the point where things started coming together plus you had the problem of not wanting EVERY card for a cycle to all be in the same theme.

I think once all the faction boxes are out (a long time I know) the game will be much enriched by it.

 

 

I agree that unique characters can often fill a niche in terms of a situational effect, but consider too a card like Pheobe Kotas, who is very simple and imo elegant in design. It just feels to me that cards like Capra, or any of the "Tome" characters are just more complex and situational just to force you to play Tomes. To me, forced synergy (having one option of interaction) is different than card effects that open up options to interact with other cards.

I played a few games with a guy who only had CCG cards, and like you said, they seemed to focus on getting in big dudes and powerful effects. Which is where I think the LCG is heading. I like the way the deluxe expansions are heading, but I hope the design team doesn't neglect existing themes. An example might be a card like Attack Dogs. I think there are 5 creatures in the card pool right now? And so Attack Dogs is pretty much worthless right now, but could be more utilized with the introduction of more creatures.

Now with SoK, there are at least 3 new themes that will have to be developed, when there arguably isn't a really viable student or faculty build right now. At least there was some support in the box, but I felt there could be more. I don't want to come off as overly critical - SoK is great! But I am a little worried about the power creep in the new Explorers, as well as the Ancient Ones.



#5 COCLCG

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:14 AM

AGoT DC Meta said:

 

I like that about cards like Rope and Anchor Tavern and 607 Walter Street, but the cardpool isn't rich enough yet to really utilize those cards well (I wrote this as an implicit - well, now explicit - challenge for COCLCG. lol).

 

 

Haha. Been there. Done that. Walter Street is best with Silver Twilight. Lord Jeffrey / Master of Myths / Meticulous Scribe / Protector of Secrets / Nathan Wick / Knight of the Void are all Independents ( with another 4 characters being so as well ) and are the big Silver Twilight cards to boot !! And you can protect it a bit with Lodge Defences.

Slip in Rope and Anchor with another Lodge Defences and then name Independents !!! haha.

Yog has always had nice synergies with Silver Twilight and has included Constricting Elder Thing / Stalking Hound / Flying Polyps as Independents.



#6 jhaelen

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:59 PM

AGoT DC Meta said:

but I hope the design team doesn't neglect existing themes. An example might be a card like Attack Dogs. I think there are 5 creatures in the card pool right now? And so Attack Dogs is pretty much worthless right now, but could be more utilized with the introduction of more creatures.

CardGameDB currently lists 27 cards with the Creature subtype.

But I kind of agree. Sometimes it takes very long before we get cards that synergize with or somehow improve cards with a particular subtype. E.g. I was quite excited to see support for Scientist characters in Seekers. Seekers is also nice because it offers a bunch of new characters with two or three different subtypes, making them potentially useful in several differently themed decks.



#7 The_Big_Show

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:09 AM

Unfortunately due to a lack of players in my area these days I only get to collect the cards rather than play, so I am a little rusty, but here is my thoughts on the questions.

1) The complexity of card text CCG vs. LCG.

I have noticed that the card text on the LCG cards do seem more complex than we saw under the CCG. I put this down to cards being more stand alone and less part of a combo under the LCG format. Under the CCG it was like most card games where players built decks around combos. I stopped seeing that really with CoC once the LCG was released (except for perhaps mono-Hastur).

2) The power level of cards (power creep, I guess)

The LCG does indeed have a much higher power creep than the CCG did, but without rarities I guess you don't need to scale cards anymore.

3) The integrity of faction "theme" at the expense of "the new and shiny" (mechanics, sub-themes, etc.)

I don't think that themes have changed. Not at all. The new mechanics have just expanded those themes, allowing a more diverse pool from which to design decks.



#8 Danigral

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:41 AM

The_Big_Show said:

 

1) The complexity of card text CCG vs. LCG.

I have noticed that the card text on the LCG cards do seem more complex than we saw under the CCG. I put this down to cards being more stand alone and less part of a combo under the LCG format. Under the CCG it was like most card games where players built decks around combos. I stopped seeing that really with CoC once the LCG was released (except for perhaps mono-Hastur).

 

 

What mono-hastur combos are you thinking of? BTW, was there a rule in CCG days that all insane characters were discarded at the end of the restore phase?

The_Big_Show said:

 

2) The power level of cards (power creep, I guess)

The LCG does indeed have a much higher power creep than the CCG did, but without rarities I guess you don't need to scale cards anymore.

 

 

So would you say that this amounts to the same thing as creating a lot of "commons" in the cardpool? Are they now relegated to the status of a card only good for casual-play?

The_Big_Show said:

 

3) The integrity of faction "theme" at the expense of "the new and shiny" (mechanics, sub-themes, etc.)

I don't think that themes have changed. Not at all. The new mechanics have just expanded those themes, allowing a more diverse pool from which to design decks.

 

 

Yeah, I agree that themes seem to have been boiled down a lot at the reboot, and it's a good thing. I hope we won't see too much cross-over in thematic elements between factions, but I think we might be seeing the beginning of it with the prophecies. For example, the Agency gives draw, the Yog one gives wounds, the Hastur one recurses, and the Shub one makes insane. Not a big fan of such arbitrary pairings unless it's steadfast.



#9 Penfold

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:25 AM

I played a lot back in the day. The cards are more complex now but much more interesting. Frankly I ended up quiting about eight months before the switch to asylum packs. The cards the game was gettingdidn't thrill me, and while I started back up shortly after the switch to LCG I did so because at least now I wasn't out a bunch of money to bored with card play. CCG wasALL about the combos. Winning games by sending characters to stories just didn't happen much in the competitive game. You had a combo or two that super charged your deck and let you rush and sweep up stories or lock your opponent down and walkaway with stories. This is the most balanced this game has ever felt to me. I can make a rush deck that doesn't revolve around combos and I can make a combo deck tht does stuff totally out of left field… and they can all win.

Sure Cthulhu destruction and SHub sacrifice are both at very high levels right now, but that is a function of other themes not having developed quite at the same pace. SoK is promising. If the other faction boxes follow suit we'll get support for generic themes (rush, control, draw etc) and some new meat for tribal decks, and new mechanical focuses that keep things fresh and interesting. Yog seems to be set up similarly so I'm excited about the game more than I have been in years… possibly ever.

I don't personally get upset by "power creep." It concerns me when it is a case of having to keep up with Jones' but a faction getting better at doing something and the faction rankings shifting is a GOOD thing. What I see is similar to what was already pointed out, decks getting more powerful, but cards getting more powerful in *specific* uses/builds.

To put it into perspective, if we were going to draft and I had a choice of drafting CCG or LCG only cards, I'd probably take a really long time to figure out what I wanted. IF I got the right cards to create a combo in the CCG no LCG deck could stop me. If I got the right synergy going with the LCG I would have a very dependable deck that would lose to combo CCG decks if they could get their pieces out first, but would beat everything else hands down. If I couldn't get the right pieces for either (damn you hate drafters!) I would choose the CCG because their efficient utilitarian cards (read as commons and many uncommons) don't require any kind of build at all to work. I can just through them in a deck and swarm until I can get a couple of my bruisers out, and without concerted deck building the LCG cards just don't work tht well when shuffled together.



#10 dboeren

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:17 AM

Just something I wanted to add, there's a difference between increasing power of single cards and increasing power of decks.  Don't mistake one for the other.

For instance, let's say I'm making a Deep Ones deck.  So I put into it Shadowed Reef and Devil's Reef, both cards that grant benefits to characters with the Deep One trait.

Now, say there's some existing character in the game who costs 3 with 3 icons and 2 skill, maybe a small ability.  This is about typical power level, not getting into too many specifics.  And, he may have a trait, say for instance that he's a Cultist.

If a character comes out with the same icons & skill which costs 2, that's an increase in card power, commonly referred to as power creep.

But, if a character comes out who is identical in cost, icons, skill, and abilities with the only difference being that he's a Deep One instead of a Cultist, this is not an increase in card power.  But, it DOES cause an increase in power in my Deep Ones deck when I can replace the old character who didn't benefit from Shadowed Reef/Devil's Reef with the new guy who does.

This is a rather simple example, but new cards bring new options and new synergies, EVERY new card will synergize with something that already exists, so there's a high chance that most new cards will improve some deck out there.  Over time, the decks get better even if the individual cards don't, just because you gain more ability to tune the exact pieces you want or improve how the pieces fit together.



#11 The_Big_Show

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:31 AM

What mono-hastur combos are you thinking of? BTW, was there a rule in CCG days that all insane characters were discarded at the end of the restore phase?

Danigral, I meant that the Hastur cards tend to operate on a more stand alone basis, where the other faction cards (at least IMO) seem to work better when combo'd with others.






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