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EmraldArcher

Something I don't get about LCGs....

36 posts in this topic

I don't intend to rehash the lcg versus ccg argument but there is one thing that seems odd to me.

 

Core sets don't come with 3 copies of each card yet the expansions do. If you want 3 of every card in the game you have to buy 3 core sets which leaves you with 9 of a lot of cards. These cards are all but worthless. You also end up with extras of all the extra bits like dials, tokens, counters etc. which do have some value but you probably don't need 3x everything.

 

There are two reasons that came to mind when thinking about why it is set up this way. One would be that the core sets have a higher profit margin the the expansions. "Forcing" you to buy 3 core sets puts more money in FFG's pocket then 3 expansions would. This has diminishing returns however since if FFG is making $10 for every core set sold (random numbers) and $5 for each expansion FFG is actually losing potential revenue after a player has bought 3 expansions.

 

The second reason is that by selling 3 core sets they are getting money up front. If a player decides to buy 3 core sets and then drops the game for whatever reason they have already received the extra revenue from selling multiple copies of something, hedging their bets in a way.

 

Am I missing something? Does anyone else have any insight as to why it's set up like this?

Darth Hideous likes this

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You have pretty much nailed it. It is a marketing decision, though there are legit reasons behind it as well. There is a thread on this here if you wana chat about it.

 

Anyway there are many pros and cons on both sides of the argument but it boils down to this....

7013494955_2d8b73cff4_o.gif

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There are two reasons that came to mind when thinking about why it is set up this way. One would be that the core sets have a higher profit margin the the expansions. "Forcing" you to buy 3 core sets puts more money in FFG's pocket then 3 expansions would. This has diminishing returns however since if FFG is making $10 for every core set sold (random numbers) and $5 for each expansion FFG is actually losing potential revenue after a player has bought 3 expansions.

 

I think this is actually backwards:

 

Core Set: $39.95 / 274 cards (predominantly 1x of each) = approx. $0.14 per card (not including counters, rule books, etc.)

 

Expansions: $29.95 / 165 to 180 cards (3x of 55 to 60 cards) = approx. $0.16 to $0.18 per card

 

Monthly Packs: $14.95 / 60 cards (3x of 20 cards) = approx. $0.25 per card

 

 

So the profit margin on the Core Set is almost assuredly less than on the expansions and monthly packs. They probably couldn't sell a Core Set with 3x of all the cards for $39.95. Even if you don't do multiples of planets, warlords and signature squads, you're looking at about $0.06 cents per card -- less than half of the per-card price on the current core, and about a quarter of the monthly pack's per-card price. So a 3x core would probably need to be at least $70, which starts creating sticker shock that is a huge marketing disincentive for a lot of people; i.e., "You mean I have to drop $70 just to learn the game? Forget it." 

 

I really think FFG makes their money on LCGs from the monthly packs, not the Cores (a primary goal of which is to get you hooked into buying the monthlies). 

Edited by ktom

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Core Set: $39.95 / 274 cards (predominantly 1x of each) = approx. $0.14 per card (not including counters, rule books, etc.)

 

Expansions: $29.95 / 165 to 180 cards (3x of 55 to 60 cards) = approx. $0.16 to $0.18 per card

 

Monthly Packs: $14.95 / 60 cards (3x of 20 cards) = approx. $0.25 per card

 

I really like that you broke this down like this.  I may have to steal this next time these discussions come up.

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As a casual player in Canada, core costs $40 plus tax so close to $45.  A casual player can pick up the game, get hooked and decide later if they want a second, or possibly a third.  It simply lowers the initial buy in for casuals.

 

Making it more marketable, sucking us newbies in.  It would make a lot more sense to make a core the complete product and make the intial cost (in Canada closer to $100) but would lose some newbies?

 

It's what I tell myself anyway.

snaggrriss likes this

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I think that not including 3 copies of every card in the core set is more of an issue of design space than it is an attempt to gouge the customer.

 

Let's pretend that FFG were to release an LCG that included 240 cards in the Core Set box. If they stuck to the principle that cards need to be released in triplicate, then the core set could only contain 80 unique cards. This means that the Core set gameplay would be extremely stale (esp given a large number of factions).

 

If they decided that cards would only be released in singleton, then the core set would have 240 unique cards, allowing for a design space that is getting close to a magic the gathering type set. But anybody who wanted more than one copy of a card in their deck (not just completionists) would be forced to buy an additional copy.

 

Having some cards be printed in triplicate and some be printed as singletons is a middle ground that allows for a more happy middle ground. Let's remember that not everybody is a completionist (like I am) who needs a playset of every card. 

 

I'm not saying that this is the only reason that core sets are structured like this, but I can tell you that if every card in a core set were printed three times, ether the core set would be too expensive for most people, or there would be so few unique cards that the game would be unplayable. 

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The problem I have is that I feel that (knowing this is going to be the case) FFG should generally either make it so that only 2 cores are required (at least 50% of all cards you might want are included, no singletons if you need 3, no cards in 2 if you need 6).

Also to make more effort to make the second core set a good choice (No card should be already complete) if they want more design space why not make it so that if you need 3 of a kind, all cards are 2 or 1 of a kind in the core - so that the second purchase is much more valuable AND the core set would then have a lot more variety.

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HOUSE RULE: one starter and one of each expansion per player.

If a card is only in the starter once? Guess what: ONE per deck limit.

 

(yes i know that doesn't help in tournaments and nerfs a few decks)

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Also to make more effort to make the second core set a good choice (No card should be already complete) if they want more design space why not make it so that if you need 3 of a kind, all cards are 2 or 1 of a kind in the core - so that the second purchase is much more valuable AND the core set would then have a lot more variety.

 

Ummm - other than the signature squads and planets (which you only need 1 of), they did this.

 

Second core set is a solid buy, with very minimal "extra".  Third core set has a little more extra, but not much.

 

Based on the cardgameDB spoiler list:

188 total unique card IDS (plus tokens)

73 cards that only require 1 copy (planets, warlords, and sig squads)

 

115 card IDS for which the first core box does not contain a complete playest.

 

24 card IDS have 2-of in the core box

91 card IDS have 1-of in the core box

 

Buying a second core box:

73 "extra" cards (spare set of warlords and planets, although you could use the second set of planets to be able to run 2 simultaneous games)

24 extra cards from the 2-ofs (you only need 1 additional copy)

 

121 cards that go to completing playsets, 97 "excess" cards in a second core set.

 

Third core set:

97 cards that go to completing playsets

73 spare warlords and planets

48 extra cards that you already have a complete playset for (although this gives you 2 full playsets of neutrals, which may be useful if you construct more than one deck at a time.  I will call these "useless" for now, but they are not really)

 

97 useful / 121 excess

 

 

Assuming you buy at MSRP ($39.95), the prices are as follows (please note that I am calling spare sets of planets and the secodn full playset of neutrals "useless", although there are some additional uses for them for some playgroups):

 

 

First Core set: 18.8 cents per "useful" card

Second Core set: 34.7 cents per "useful" card

Third Core set: 41.1 cents per "useful" card

 

Monthly pack: 26.7 cents per "useful" card.

 

Other than the warlords/signature squads, there is really very little waste in buying a second/third core set.  

 

If you consider spare sets of planets useful (for being able to run extra games / someone at the tournament needs to borrow a set, etc), and you want to be able to build 2 simultaneous decks for one set and want the second playset of neutrals:

 

Second core: 30.5 cents per card.

Third core: 33.5 cents per card

 

 

Note that these price breakdowns also assume that all of the other content in the box (token cards, resource and wound markers, spinners, etc. have 0 cost.

 

Since I will be running lots of demo games, the second and third sets of planets (and the extra neutrals) are very nice to have.  The 2nd core set is not much cost difference per card than monthly packs, and the third core doesn't lag much behind that either.

 

The 63 warlord/signature cards are really the only "wasted" card slots in the 2nd/3rd boxes.

Edited by cgrater

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Secondary note, to look at "wasted" cards:

 

(Assuming you DONT want extra planets or neutrals)

 

Second core set: 56% useful cards

Third core set: 46% useful cards

 

If you DO want extra planet sets & neutrals:

 

Second core set: 63% useful cards

Third core set: 55% useful cards.

 

Even in the third core set, essentially half the cards are useful.  Plus you get extra markers, resources, and planets so that you can run more than one game at a time.

 

Speaking personally, running demos will be much easier with the extra planets, and on my game nights it is quite likely that someone will want to use my card set to build a deck.  Running multiple decks from one collection means that I will consider even fewer cards "wasted".  I am quite happy with the distribution here.

 

To give a comparison:

Warhammer Conquest (assuming you DONT want extra neutrals or planets) 3x core boxes = 33% of cards purchased are "useless" (only 29% if you want the extra planets/neutrals)

 

Lord of the Rings LCG (also requires 3x cores for full playsets) = 68% of cards purchased are "useless"

 

Conquest is actually one of the least waste-y LCGs, with 2/3 or more of the cards purchased over 3 core sets being useful

Skaak, Toqtamish, Gridash and 1 other like this

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I assume that Star Wars: the card game is #1 in terms of the "least waste-y LCG" then?

 

It looks like maybe?  I come up with about 5% ish waste.  I am not sure on that number (would need a better estimate of number of wasted cards in the second core set).  

 

SW LCG never really interested me just because the deckbuilding seemed a little *too* streamlined / simplistic, so I don't really know that I have the number correct.

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I assume that Star Wars: the card game is #1 in terms of the "least waste-y LCG" then?

 

It's been a long time since I bought it, but didn't the CoC LCG come with 1 copy of every card?  Other than the story cards there isn't really any waste.  Similar to planets, story cards could be considered as "not waste" as well.

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I assume that Star Wars: the card game is #1 in terms of the "least waste-y LCG" then?

 

It's been a long time since I bought it, but didn't the CoC LCG come with 1 copy of every card?  Other than the story cards there isn't really any waste.  Similar to planets, story cards could be considered as "not waste" as well.

 

 

Ya CoC is one of every card so only stories and tokens are extra. Agot wouldn't have much waste outside of plots and 2 cards in it are 2x, but most of the cards in the agot core are terrible. 

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All that is "wasted" in SW LCG is the neutral one of sets, affiliation cards, force cards.

Though for reasons that still puzzle me the only set they give you multiple copies of are the neutral cards which are limited to 1 per deck... so even in a single core set you have an unnecessary one, and then you end up with 3 unnecessary copies if you get two...

 

Ok, I guess technically it lets you have 4 starter decks at once from one core set, but as it is a two player game, and doesn't have enough tokens for two different games at once really, this seemed a bit unnecessary.

Edited by borithan

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All that is "wasted" in SW LCG is the neutral one of sets, affiliation cards, force cards.

Though for reasons that still puzzle me the only set they give you multiple copies of are the neutral cards which are limited to 1 per deck... so even in a single core set you have an unnecessary one, and then you end up with 3 unnecessary copies if you get two...

 

Ok, I guess technically it lets you have 4 starter decks at once from one core set, but as it is a two player game, and doesn't have enough tokens for two different games at once really, this seemed a bit unnecessary.

 

 

It was so you and a friend could each build the starter decks and actually play a game out of one box of SW:LCG. Gawd, could you imagine the outcry if you couldn't even play a game after buying that giant box? LOL!

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HOUSE RULE: one starter and one of each expansion per player.

If a card is only in the starter once? Guess what: ONE per deck limit.

 

(yes i know that doesn't help in tournaments and nerfs a few decks)

If you know that, then...what's your point?

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I guess that makes sense theoretically. My experience has been that tournament (read: serious) players are generally more willing to pay the completionist cost without whining than friends, who play more casually but nevertheless feel they need a playset of everything. Simply put, strangers > friends. YMMV

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All that is "wasted" in SW LCG is the neutral one of sets, affiliation cards, force cards.

Though for reasons that still puzzle me the only set they give you multiple copies of are the neutral cards which are limited to 1 per deck... so even in a single core set you have an unnecessary one, and then you end up with 3 unnecessary copies if you get two...

 

Ok, I guess technically it lets you have 4 starter decks at once from one core set, but as it is a two player game, and doesn't have enough tokens for two different games at once really, this seemed a bit unnecessary.

 

 

It was so you and a friend could each build the starter decks and actually play a game out of one box of SW:LCG. Gawd, could you imagine the outcry if you couldn't even play a game after buying that giant box? LOL!

 

Erm... you could do that with 1 copy, as you would each be playing different sides, who had different card pools. If you then wanted to switch sides you just swap decks. It wasn't like Warhammer Invasion where both players are sharing the same pool of neutral cards.

 

All it theoretically did was save a little bit of time as I guess you could have all the starter decks built up at once and then fish them out ready to go if you wanted to play it, rather than sort out the neutral cards from the existing deck (say Sith) and transfer them over to the other (the Imperial Navy). Not sure this was really worth the use of another 12 cards in the box, rather than print another unique objective set.

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Not trying to defend the practice per se (it annoys me sometimes too) but I can say that with the case of Netrunner, the specific reason that they didn't give triplicate of everything was that they wanted people to be able to grab a "color" of runner and corp, slap in all of the neutral or "colorless" cards and immediately play a game. So that case, it makes sense to me from an ease of entry standpoint. 

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I support you EmraldArcher. They (FFG) should make an "expation" containing all the "missing" cards from the core set! Or do it like SW-lcg where you only had very little useless cards from the 2nd starter.     

I know that FFG wont make this (people have been asking about this with Invasion for a loooong time - with no succes).

Edited by Darth Hideous

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I support you EmraldArcher. They (FFG) should make an "expation" containing all the "missing" cards from the core set! Or do it like SW-lcg where you only had very little useless cards from the 2nd starter.     

I know that FFG wont make this (people have been asking about this with Invasion for a loooong time - with no succes).

Reasons why they won't do it:

It would cost them money to do so. Anyone suggesting otherwise is either ignorant of the manufacturing and distribution process, or deluded.

To justify this expense, the profits from these 'completion sets' would have to not only match, but EXCEED the profit they make by selling additional Core sets.

Considering that the price point for a completion set would inevitably be lower than that or a Core set (or why bother buying it over additional Cores) and that this would result in LESS Core sets being sold (many people who currently buy multiple Cores would instead buy these) they would have to sell CONSIDERABLY more completion sets that they currently sell of additional Core sets.

Now I'm not saying that's impossible; but it's unlikely there are enough customers out there to make up that shortfall. Clearly FFG don't think so either, or they'd already produce them.

Please don't think I'm trying to deride the idea of a completion set - I'd be happy if FFG could produce and distribute them at a reasonable price without losing revenue; I'd buy them too if they existed. But there are very good (from a business viewpoint) reasons that they don't. I'm just trying to help people understand those reasons.

Hutton1670 and Skaak like this

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