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?