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shortieXV

[LCG] Multiple Core Sets?

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I totally get that it is a money making strategy to ask competitive players to buy multiple core sets but I don't understand how that is the best option for the publisher.

Is it just less work to produce more core sets and expect people to buy them? Would it not be easier to publish a complete collection or competitive play expansion for those interested in completing their play sets for deck building? You'd think it would be more satisfying for players, more clear to potential buyers who don't read all the news about the game, less ink to print unused cards for all the duplicates people will have from buying multiple cores...

I guess I am just trying to figure out why this has been a trend in LCGs in general not just this one. Does it just help boost their initial sales numbers or something? It seems like a strange hoop to ask players and FLGSs to jump through.

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This is an Ancestral Topic on LCG whenever a new one is to be released.

It is cheaper for John Doe to try the game is he has only to pay for about 1/3 of the whole initial collection/experience. If he likes it, then he can upgrade with more cores if he desires to do so, and with expansion packs and deluxe boxes. There is people that sticks to 1 of each release, included the core. But out of the gate, if you want to be competitive, a single core will not give you enough cards to be reliable, just to know the game and have some casual fun due to limited amount of deckbuilding options. A second core can be enough for some competitive players. A third core would be more for completionists like myself or if there happens to be some powerful/needed card, which we do not know at this point.

People buying various cores do get extra stuff that is useless but FFG has improved in that regard to reduce amount of that useless stuff when you buy extra cores. Which will never dissapear, like extra tokens or rulebooks. Offering boxes designed to complete your collection makes no sense when they already offer you the possibility of completing it through extra cores. And retailers do not have to worry about "How many cores and how many upgrades?", just ask for more cores when they run out of them.

I think that more or less the story is that.

Edited by Wintersong

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13 hours ago, shortieXV said:

I totally get that it is a money making strategy to ask competitive players to buy multiple core sets but I don't understand how that is the best option for the publisher.

Is it just less work to produce more core sets and expect people to buy them? Would it not be easier to publish a complete collection or competitive play expansion for those interested in completing their play sets for deck building? You'd think it would be more satisfying for players, more clear to potential buyers who don't read all the news about the game, less ink to print unused cards for all the duplicates people will have from buying multiple cores...

I guess I am just trying to figure out why this has been a trend in LCGs in general not just this one. Does it just help boost their initial sales numbers or something? It seems like a strange hoop to ask players and FLGSs to jump through.

Single point of entry to the game - if you offer a separate "playset" version or a top-off version, you will both decrease the number of core sets you will sell (which will affect the economies of scale for producing the core set as well as the other versions) as well as require game stores to stock separate products taking up additional shelf space that will sell in varying amounts.  The net effect of this would maybe be a lower price for folks aiming for a playset, but it would also likely increase the price of the core game which is a BAD idea from the companies POV, as they want to keep the point of entry price as low as possible to attract new players.  The higher price for hardcore players is a "fandom" tax that helps keep the price low for new players, which are essential to keeping the game healthy.

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indeed, even ignoring the lcg model companies can save money (and thus produce a cheaper base product) by restricting 'lines'. It is one of the reason discount superstores are so much cheaper than standard.

perhaps the key thing is that no one is forcing you to buy anything. If you are a completist who wants a full play set then feel happy that this playset is considerably cheaper than a ccg equivelant would be..

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30 minutes ago, Network57 said:

This is why we need sticky threads. I think this has been asked and answered, by my calculations, about 63,472 times on these forums.

At least we haven't gotten above a 16-bit number yet.

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I just came over from the BGG forum with someone whinging the same whinge, I mean, asking the same diligent, original and thought provoking question.

Can it actually be asked any more times? Is the Pope Catholic? Did I just answer my own question? Am I going mad?

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14 hours ago, shortieXV said:

I totally get that it is a money making strategy to ask competitive players to buy multiple core sets but I don't understand how that is the best option for the publisher.

Is it just less work to produce more core sets and expect people to buy them? Would it not be easier to publish a complete collection or competitive play expansion for those interested in completing their play sets for deck building? You'd think it would be more satisfying for players, more clear to potential buyers who don't read all the news about the game, less ink to print unused cards for all the duplicates people will have from buying multiple cores...

I guess I am just trying to figure out why this has been a trend in LCGs in general not just this one. Does it just help boost their initial sales numbers or something? It seems like a strange hoop to ask players and FLGSs to jump through.

One of the disadvantages I see of "completion packs" or something like that, has to do with stocking issues.  As the game progresses through more and more expansions, the card pool grows and the need for a complete set diminishes.  If you print too many completion packs, they'll eventually just sit on store shelves, unpurchased until the store marks them down.  If you print too few, people complain about how scarce they are and just end up buying core sets anyway. 

Contrast with multiple cores, which even will always be viable (until v2.0, at least).  Even if people stop buying multiples, they will still be purchased by newcomers to the game.

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I have no issue with what they do at all.  So, what $120 to start the game off for me.  I take that and divide it by the number of hours I'm going to spend playing the game and then realize it's dirt cheap.

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14 hours ago, shortieXV said:

I totally get that it is a money making strategy to ask competitive players to buy multiple core sets but I don't understand how that is the best option for the publisher.

Is it just less work to produce more core sets and expect people to buy them? Would it not be easier to publish a complete collection or competitive play expansion for those interested in completing their play sets for deck building? You'd think it would be more satisfying for players, more clear to potential buyers who don't read all the news about the game, less ink to print unused cards for all the duplicates people will have from buying multiple cores...

I guess I am just trying to figure out why this has been a trend in LCGs in general not just this one. Does it just help boost their initial sales numbers or something? It seems like a strange hoop to ask players and FLGSs to jump through.

You almost answered your own question.

I will just say that a rough estimate of FFG market research indicated that 60-80% of their customers are kitchen table players/ casuals, not a competetive players.
That is also why OP is not their main focus as well.

Plus... After lets say 2 cycles, you are really fine with 2 core sets, it lowers entry point for new people when the game is already well established.

Hope this help

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11 minutes ago, WHW said:

I guess making people buy multiple cores also allows you some statistical wizardry to make it look there are more players buying the game than there really is.

According to FFG, the majority of core set purchases go to people who never buy another core, and in fact never buy another expansion for the game.

For them, the game is complete and playable with one core set. They don't even deck build; they just take the sample decks in the box, play them, have fun, and put them away. And then in a month or three, when they feel like playing L5R again, they'll break out the box, use the same example starter decks, and have another fun game.

To the largest majority of LCG players, one core set is all they get and all they want. It was the fact that their market research showed FFG that their core sets were largely bought and played in that manner that keeps them with core sets that don't have full playsets of all the cards. They'd rather increase replayability for their main buyers of the core (very casual gamers who don't even build decks) with high variation decks than increase the price point by including more copies of more cards that most of their buyers for the core set don't want and wouldn't know what to do with if they had them.

In short: the target audience for core sets is a lot larger than the set of players who will be deck building and going to Worlds. Which shouldn't be surprising; all the larger card games, including Magic and Pokemon, have said that the vast majority of their sales are for kitchen table players who have no intention of ever setting foot in an organized tournament. So despite the claims of the usual crowd of misfits on BGG and other places whenever a new LCG comes out, by all appearances FFG doesn't lose sales when they "force" people to buy multiple core sets for playsets of cards. They're not forcing you to buy anything; you are deciding that for yourself. Their primary audience isn't you, oh completist collector of cards, it's the 75%+ of their audience share who only want the core set and don't want anything else.

And that's the big reason why the core sets don't have full playsets of cards. The main audience isn't players who are intending to compete at a tournament level. You'll note for every other expansion to the LCG lines, you get full playsets of cards; FFG knows the audience for those are players who are planning on tournament play.

They don't have to artificially boost their sales numbers to make the game look more popular. To FFG, it doesn't actually matter if you're buying multiple core sets to play, to give away for gifts, or to burn in your furnace. You still paid them money for their product.

Edited by Gaffa

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The main reasons they don't offer playset boxes are:

#1- more sales are to people that use the core set like a casual board game.

#2- There would be additional costs designing a playset box for the relatively smaller number of sales from competitive players

#3- Games are already fighting for shelf space at stores, it would just be another SKU retailers would have to find a spot for.

#4- Having a uniform model across all LCG lines makes manufacturing and production more simple.

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i truthfully do not get the enduring cynicism with which some people respond to this sales model. the single core product of the LCG means that its more efficient and thus cheaper to produce, which makes it cheaper for us, and as pointed out above, easier to find, and in better quantities (assuming FFG wants to print it enough. they are less likely to be constrained by competing product print schedules). its a legitimately clever way to serve multiple customer types. and, as has been repeatedly pointed out, achieving the same collection level in ANY ccg would be substantially more expensive. is it better for them, from a business perspective? sure. but that makes it better for us too. 

anecdotally: people seem to have forgotten their salt at having to buy multiple booster boxes due to crappy rare distribution or multiple boxes of starters because their play group had more than 1 person playing a given clan. 

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I'd also like to ask, how many people will buy a "complete set" without buying a core set first?  I'm guessing its approximately 2/3 of the number of people posting right now and the number is not likely to go up by much.  In which case you'll be wasting 1/3 of the product you just bought.  On top of that, there is an entrance cost to manufacturing.  Making 2 products is far more expensive than making one, especially up front.  The more I work in industries where I am exposed to the cost of making things, the more I realize how complicated it is.

Honestly, I prefer this method.  Commonly used cards are duplicated more, and allows you to maintain multiple complete decks (Which I will want, I think I ended up carrying around 6? l5R decks of various flavors at one point, in the nice giant sword box of Forgotten Legacy for casual play).  Where as one single set of all would still only allow me to make 1 deck, and then if I wanted to buy enough for a second one, I'll have to shell out more, not less.

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If FFG wanted to, they would make a complete set of the bamboo cards and neutral cards (possible for cross-faction) included in each core and only have singles or doubles or clan specific cards.  Then people could make three full clan decks without having to worry about not having enough cross faction cards.

However, as a business,  I wouldn't blame them at all if they didn't do this.

Edited by slowreflex

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Back when Kaladesh was coming out for MtG Smuggler's Copter began "pre-ordering" for around $20 per. It was obviously a 4 of in pretty much any deck that you'd run creatures in. That's two LCG cores for a mere 4 cards of the 36 non-land cards you put in a deck. LCG is a way cheaper model even if you feel you just have to have three core sets.   

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8 minutes ago, Frimmel said:

Back when Kaladesh was coming out for MtG Smuggler's Copter began "pre-ordering" for around $20 per. It was obviously a 4 of in pretty much any deck that you'd run creatures in. That's two LCG cores for a mere 4 cards of the 36 non-land cards you put in a deck. LCG is a way cheaper model even if you feel you just have to have three core sets.   

Yeah, it's not even a close competition when it comes to cost. 

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52 minutes ago, Mirith said:

(Which I will want, I think I ended up carrying around 6? l5R decks of various flavors at one point, in the nice giant sword box of Forgotten Legacy for casual play). 

Out of curiosity, is there one clan you hate and intend to exclude, or are you an avid fan of 2-3 clans and plan to have multiple decks for each?

 

I think at first I'd end up with 1 deck per clan after 2-3 cores (if I can do this after 2 I'll stop there, otherwise I will get 3), but if my clan loyalty kicks in I'll end up with a million scorpion and dragon decks, maybe even some day the all Yogo deck.

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8 minutes ago, profparm said:

Out of curiosity, is there one clan you hate and intend to exclude, or are you an avid fan of 2-3 clans and plan to have multiple decks for each?

 

I think at first I'd end up with 1 deck per clan after 2-3 cores (if I can do this after 2 I'll stop there, otherwise I will get 3), but if my clan loyalty kicks in I'll end up with a million scorpion and dragon decks, maybe even some day the all Yogo deck.

I didn't play Unicorn, Mantis or Lion, as thematically nor storywise they didn't appeal to me.  Lion will probably never appeal to me, as I think they are just terrible bullies.  We had a decent number of Unicorn players and one really good Mantis player that it didn't really fell worth it.  It actually would change depending on the environment and what I found fun.  In Emperor, I had at one point or another, Crab Berserkers (Tourney deck), Crane Dueling Honor (Really wanted this to work, but it didn't), Scorpion and Spider paragon decks (For teaching, and while I dislike them storywise, the decks were fun), Spider Ninja deck, Fudo, Dragon Shugenja? I think?, Some form of Crane Non-dueling honor, Yasuki dishonor at some point.

I tried a lot of different decks, and generally had the cards to keep them around, so I didn't really mess with them.  Would whip out whichever one I felt like playing and depending on how competitive I was feeling.  While I am good focusing on a deck for a while, especially before a tourney, I just can't do it constantly.  

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Honestly, I think the only complaint I have with the Core boxes is that the box itself is absolutely useless as a CG storage box.  I really wish they'd switch to a design closer to the bundle card box that Magic or Pokemon uses (plenty of room for the token punch out boards and rulebooks, but turns into a decent sized "long-box" that can hold 600 or so unsleeved cards.

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Hah that's fair.  While the card pool supported it back in either Jade or the ed after Jade I loved a character-less fortification honor deck that played super defensive with Kaui Wall, and I would usually have a Scorpion Whatever and Dragon Enlightenment deck going, but all my other deck slots were subject to my faction ADD.l and what direction the lore was currently inspiring me to.

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