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FFG has to do better with their LCGs


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#1 mischraum.de

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 09:37 PM

 

Aren‘t those LCGs great playing experiences? Well, yes… they are. I have been enjoying several of them for years. Nevertheless I feel kinda burnt on those games. No, it is not about buying new cards. Actually I enjoy that part. It is about the rules.

 

Yesterday I discovered that the recent success of one of my decks was based on a rules misinterpretation. After spending years with the game, its rules, rulings and FAQ I am not willing to take the blame anymore. I blame THEM. 

 

All the time the designers throw cards into the environment that have effects that are not covered by the rules. At one point people start asking and a ruling is made. This happens again. This happens again. At one point or the other a ruling contradicts another ruling in the FAQ. So now a ruling gets reversed. When a game then gets a new lead designer (with his own philosophy of the game and its rules framework) things aren‘t getting easier.

 

I am considering quitting my two LCGs. I am kinda lured by the Star Wars LCG. Easier deck building is an intriguing thought as I can spend whole afternoons designing and optimising just one single deck. It seems like less work more fun. It is a new game. No, I don‘t want something new because I always want the new and shiny. I just guess the rules framework is working fine as it is right now as the rules and card design were done at the same time and hopefully thoroughly tested. But how will the game develop in a year? How will it be in two years? Will I see again a more then ten pages FAQ? Will I be arguing with my friends how a card works? 

 

Here is a catalogue of things I demand from a QUALITY LCG:

 

  • Proof reading. I don‘t want to open a pack looking at a new card and discover typos, misplaced graphic elements and so on. If this happens it seems like there is no proof reading at all.
  • Before new mechanics/keywords are introduced designers should ask themselves if the game can‘t be made more interesting by more support for existing keywords, mechanics, themes. I don‘t want a game with 17 keywords with 10 of them having minimal support. 
  • Ruletesting. There is some playtesting going on for balance sake. Make the same effort with the rules. If a considerable amount of people play certain cards wrong or don‘t know how a card is supposed to work then you as a designer should write the text on the card more clearly or explain in the FAQ how a mechanic is supposed to work BEFORE the card enters the environment.

 

There‘s often made the argument that those games are complex by nature and the depth of those games has its price, meaning  an more then ten pages FAQ e.g.

 

So I ask you: Does it have to be this way?

 


Travelling for LCG tournaments: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Gen Con, Genoa, Göteborg, Liege, Salzburg
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#2 Saturnine

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:42 PM

I understand your frustration. My experience is largely with Game of Thrones, and this game has me shaking my head with increasing frequency. I still love the game, but compared to the newer LCGs it seems unnecessarily bulky. Perhaps Netrunner and Star Wars will have ever-growing FAQs as well as their cardpools grow, who knows. But they do seem much more streamlined (even though the timing chart in the Netrunner rulebook has already been corrected in an FAQ… come on!). Obviously, I have no idea how the design and testing process for the LCGs work, but I also can't help but think that there has to be a way to further minimize the isntances of erratic card text.



#3 Keggy

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:44 AM

Proofreading and rules clarity aren't two of FFGs strong suits, even beyond LCGs.  Many of their board games have pages of FAQs and errata.  I think seeing typos and things like "You're blood tastes so sweet" annoy me the most though, hiring one person to final proofread just to try and catch stuff like this would go a long way.



#4 dead_but_smiling

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 10:39 AM

Keggy said:

Proofreading and rules clarity aren't two of FFGs strong suits, even beyond LCGs.  Many of their board games have pages of FAQs and errata.  I think seeing typos and things like "You're blood tastes so sweet" annoy me the most though, hiring one person to final proofread just to try and catch stuff like this would go a long way.

As much as I love FFG for the visual designs, component quality and great games in general, the rulebooks are almost always a nuisance. That said, writing a rulebook for a complex game is not an easy task at all - but I agree, there should be some improvements, even if very minor ones, in the direction of an FFG rulebook that I could proudly show to my gamer friends as exemplary in terms of clarity and organisation.



#5 dboeren

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:39 AM

Personally, I'd like to see them make print & play packs of their errata'ed cards.  It's cumbersome having to check for changes and having no good way to permanently correct a card.

Honestly, I'd buy a pack of real corrected cards once a year or two if they offered that as well but I expect we're more likely to get print & play.



#6 Evazorek

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:49 PM

I am a game designer by profession, and I think the issue I can see with their being long FAQ's and Errata's is that the design team will only get so long to do the design and even shorter an amount of time to test it. With games as complex and detailed as the LCG's you could test it for months on end and still things would slip through because players will always find different things to the designers and testers, such is the nature of games. I design video games and we have the luxury to just patch issues found after release by the community. Card and board games do not have this facility and so FAQ's are the next best thing.

What other companies who produce board, card and miniature games have done to help counter this is to run a small "beta" with members of the community who are trust worthy and experienced with similar products to try and find things that may come up in FAQ's. yes some issues are just sloppy mistakes or carelessly missed when proofing occurs. Best we can do as a supportive community is bring these mistakes to light and try to get them fixesd or ironed out as smoothly as possible.






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