TylerTT

LCG format could use a change

98 posts in this topic

I really like the ideals of the LCG format but newer games are showing there are better ways.

Ashes makes all the expansions playable decks. thats pretty cool!

"epic" does something great. they only include a single copy of each new card in a product. granted as a game epic is not as popular as an FFG LCG but i think this model could work really well for LCG's 

For competitive LCGs a Pack could have one copy of 60 unique cards. changing to a schedule of fewer more impactful releases. players can buy multiple of the same pack to get play sets or buy less so they do not have to own everything and that encourages trading and drafting. Rotation could be a 1 pack in one pack out policy so there would always be a steady card pool. something like x number of the latest packs are the standard format. Players could even do draft events around the launch of each set using this style of pack. buy one or two packs up front and then play a few drafts to get your full play sets. heck there may even be a singles market.

Anyway i think the current format has obvious problems.

no single pack is all that exciting. instead of a big event you feel like it's a monthly tax

each pack may only have 1-3 cards relevant to your play style. meaning they are a poor value

once bought a player no longer needs cards, this means all the fun ways player's get cards like trading and drafting are really discouraged in the LCG format as it is today.

There is a massive number of unique products required for stores to stock and tracking down old packs that are in the current rotation can be very hard.

anyway i really hope FFG does something. because i would love to hop on L5R but i don't see myself lasting that long if it's going to be another dull release cycle.

Laurence J Sinclair likes this

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I guess they will change the format once they see the sales dropping by people annoyed by the actual format. Don't see it coming tho, and we already know L5R will have the very same format all the other LCGs have

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They already have a pattern of dropping sales.

The games launch to massive fan fair and are hot products for a while but then drop and then eventually slow down.

Obviously new games are exciting in their own right but I think the high rate of sales and popularity at the start has something to do with the play value of a core set, players are very excited by a core set and want to add cards to it but then eventually that excitement winds down and the design space gets cluttered and the packs become a monthly tax that only gives you a few new playable cards each month.

Come to think of it, games like magic do new "core" sets all the time.

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Could you provide numbers supporting your theory? And I mean real numbers, not "I see at my FLGS packs remaining there unsold" which is by no means evidence of anything objective. Beware that I'm not saying you are wrong, and I'm not happy with the actual format either, but this isn't particularly relevant. For example, a lot of people complained about the format in which Star Wars: Destiny was produced, but that game's still selling like crazy (data: it's enough to check bigger stores like CSI or Miniature Market who sold on pre-release a lot more of the stuff that actually arrived, so, in this case the game is underproduced to meet the real demand). For LCG: we know that Arkham Horror had a problem similar to Destiny, with the core set and Dunwich Legacy produced in too few copies for the demand; and we know for sure that Netrunner sold like crazy even years after the core set (it's enough checking the numbers on Amazon.com for example). True this are only two lines out of 6, and the other 4 can be disastrous, but honestly it doesn't feel much like a crysis to me. But I'll be happy to see numbers providing a different answer :)

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On 6/4/2017 at 11:36 AM, TylerTT said:

They already have a pattern of dropping sales.

This could be for many reasons.

FFG is a big company with high visibility, so they're likely to have a high sample rate for new game lines. Impulse buys, familiarity with the publisher or specific designers, or a bunch of other factors might motivate someone to purchase a core set, and even a few expansions, to sample a game.

Some precentage of those people are not going to continue.

It's also the case that diminishing sales of expansions (assuming such is actually the case) merely reflects an increase in options. If a core set owner wants to expand, and only the first deluxe has been released, he has only one option. Sales will naturally be higher versus a fourth deluxe, where an owner looking to expand may buy any one of four options, some of which add to sales of earlier products.

Part of what makes a single core set attractive for FFG is that it's evergreen. No matter how many other products they sell, new players must always start at the core box. This stabilizes demand. Adding multiple "core" options for new players only adds an unnecessary variable to FFG's calculations, and increases their risk in doing reprints.

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LCGs used to have expansion releases with 1 copy of certain cards and 3 of others. There's a reason it changed.

Compare the relative time and/or financial costs of purchasing LCG releases versus CCG releases.  A LCG cycle is generally 6-7 months (using GoT as an example and including a deluxe box) It includes roughly the same amount of cards as a MtG set for about the cost of one box of MtG. How long would it take you to obtain a playset of a given MtG release without buying everything all at once? How much money would it take to reduce that time?  

The release schedule used to be(or feel) more erratic, so I can see how there was more concern in the past. Also, (using GoT again) there can be decent meta shifts from pack to pack despite gripes on the forums. My problem is having enough time to get games in between releases.

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9 hours ago, Khudzlin said:

@Julia What do you dislike about the format?

I'd like to see more customization options granted to the customers, especially for coop plays, but also competitive. For example, we know that L5R will require 3 cores for a complete playset. This is bonkers: if I wanna play Unicorn competitively, I should be allowed just to get the Unicorn cards. So, a core set should provide 1 copy each of all existing starting cards for the clans, and 3x of each neutral, and then clan-based starters should be made available with 2x of each starting card of that clan. In this way, everyone would be allowed to try out all factions and then specialize in this or that other clan. For coop play is even worse since when you have to buy multiple cores, then you buy again not only the needed player cards, but also the not needed encounter cards.

Sure thing, you can buy two cores and then swap with friends the cards you're not interested in, or you can sell singles on ebay, but this is not always feasible, and it's certainly not a solution. Take Dominion for example: you can buy the set with money and victory points and then any expansion set and still have a 100% playable game. So, there are examples around where this has been done. The point is that they don't want to do it because in this way they max out profits and avoid that some clans / factions / spheres that have evident balance problems (not a problem per se, but for a long while in AGoT everyone was playing Lannisters so something went wrong with balance there) stay on the shelves unsold. As a customer (and a former collector of all their LCGs) I'm really annoyed by the actual format (and this is the reason why I mostly stopped getting new packs. The only games I still follow are LotR because it's the game of my life, and AH LCG because it's Arkham and I've playtested it, so, I want it in my collection)

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Sorry OP, but I lost you when you said Epic had a great distribution model. A change to Ashes model would be nice, a change to epic model would likely result in me never buying another LCG.

esplanades and Ide Yoshiya like this

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as for epic i think they took a wrong turn with the small packs. the base box is amazing. one of those every 4 months would be ideal.

 

I don't have hard numbers. FFG would have numbers. if i'm right they would know it.

 

I know attendance for net runner used to be huge in my area but league nights are down quite a bit.

 

I don't think the old "1of" and "3of" thing is good at all. they still do that with the base sets. One of each card means you are never wasting a portion of a purchase. People will buy lots of waste in blind packs but that willingness stops the second they know any portion of the pack is automatically a waste.

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Looking at your recent post history, you seem really negative on FFG/the LCG model in general. Why do you play or follow it if it has so many problems and/or will die soon? I'm not saying it's perfect and can't be improved, but as a somewhat new player (started within the last year), coming to the forums and seeing multiple threads like this is pretty disheartening. I imagine I'm not the only one.

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Sorry I don't mean to be negative. (I was about out the only person who is optimistic about the ANA Alliance deal) 

I'm very interested in L5R and AGOT 2nd but I don't like how LCG's work. I played net runner for a long time but I burnt out on buying all these packs when I maybe played once a month. 

 

LCG's are currently an all or nothing deal. They get massive audiences when they launch and then as the environment gets stale players leave but by that point the cost of entry is too high and there are no new players to replace the old ones.

 

magic the gathering understands how to deal with player churn. LCG's are very bad at it so they have a limited life cycle.

 

also I have been really enjoying Star Wars destiny and that Brings the flaws of LCG's into sharp relief (while also reminding me of the flaws of collectible models) I can play with not much product, there is a healthy singles market and trading to fill my wants, and the game stays exciting! 

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16 hours ago, Julia said:

but for a long while in AGoT everyone was playing Lannisters so something went wrong with balance there) 

Did you play Thrones much or are you primarily going by forum gripes and the annals? We'll leave the fact that factions in LCGs gain and lose power periodically aside. Lannister is strong, but I don't believe they were ever glaringly imbalanced. They're really easy to play and build.  I think the meta was more of the problem than the release itself.

 

To your point about faction starters; It's a nice dream, but how feasible is it compared to the core set model, really? The closest CCG comparison we have is an intro deck + fat pack/deckbuilders kit. There's more value to casual and competitive players a like to get two core sets.  And, this model does exist in its own way for LCGs in that you can buy a core and then the deluxe for the faction of your choice. 

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On 6/5/2017 at 8:28 PM, TylerTT said:

as for epic i think they took a wrong turn with the small packs. the base box is amazing. one of those every 4 months would be ideal.

The small packs were ridiculously priced, not to mention it was annoying to have to buy 12 products to have a complete set, plus because they were so small, online stores often didn't carry them or if they did they price-gouged them. I got in a nasty argument on BGG with one of the WWG management guys, his rhetoric as to why it's okay: "right now it only costs about $120 to have a full cardpool, games like netrunner cost more like $500. $120 is what you drop on the FFG cores alone." So basically because the game is new it can cost more...:blink:

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I think if they switched to even releases every 2 months instead of what they have now would be good. Or 3 months.

Maybe release multiple packs still, but all at once. Or 1 box. I think the small packs are better, they allow for smaller purchases and impulse buying. Maybe release 3 packs at once with different factions or something. Similar to how they do Runewars and Armada.

I think the Co-op games should stay monthly though. I enjoy the thrill each month of getting a new pack and playing the evolving story.

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Packs with 1 copy of 60 cards would essentially be like releasing 3 packs all at once. 

One pack each quarter would give players enough time to play with stuff, play a few draft events and figure out a meta right before the next pack drops.

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the entire pack is one of's. you buy three packs if you want a play set.

you could also draft with friends or trade to get play sets of specific cards. 

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Posted (edited)

Quote

Ashes makes all the expansions playable decks.

I think this is a terrible idea. It makes design even harder by adding an additional requirement to the development process. 

Quote

they only include a single copy of each new card in a product. granted as a game epic is not as popular as an FFG LCG but i think this model could work really well for LCG's

I think this is a terrible idea. LCGs have tried printing singles before and it only forces people to buy three copies of every product, not just the core set. Your idea betrays a fundamental, egregious failure to understand the LCG model. In CCGs trading and drafting work because people build in support of specific decks that are their vehicles for playing the game. LCG players build complete collections so as to be able to build any deck, so giving up chunks of their collection is a non-starter.

Quote

Rotation could be a 1 pack in one pack out policy so there would always be a steady card pool. 

I think this is a terrible idea. It makes the design process more difficult by making the card pool less stable. 

Quote

Players could even do draft events around the launch of each set using this style of pack. buy one or two packs up front and then play a few drafts to get your full play sets.

I think this is a terrible idea. It's not possible for everyone to get full playsets unless everyone buys three copies of each of your terrible 1-of packs.

Quote

there may even be a singles market.

I think this is a terrible idea. Your idea betrays another fundamental, egregious failure to understand the LCG model. The core concept is being able to obtain all legal product for retail price.

Quote

once bought a player no longer needs cards, this means all the fun ways player's get cards like trading and drafting are really discouraged in the LCG format as it is today.

 GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What you call "the fun ways" I call "unnecessary, unequal, predatory, overpriced, fake-scarcity bull_____." This is a terrible idea.

Quote

There is a massive number of unique products required for stores to stock and tracking down old packs that are in the current rotation can be very hard.

This is why they instituted a rotation policy, so that the production pipeline doesn't have to keep twelve pack cycles in print at once.

Edited by Grimwalker

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Posted (edited)

Imagine they took three data packs as they currently are.

Put one copy of each card in those packs into a single pack. 

Now imagine they only put out one pack every three months.

buying three copies of that one pack would be the same price as the three different data packs. only you would get 60 new cards all at once. it would be an exciting event. you know instead of getting 1-3 cards you are interested in you would get cards in big enough chunks you could actually build entirely new decks instead of slightly modifying the ones you currently play.

imagine if all or most of the chess piece cards in net runner were available all at once?

you don't have to enjoy draft or trading or getting singles. you can just buy the same three packs you always wanted.

Edited by TylerTT
grammars

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What i'm getting at is changing from 3 packs every three months with 3 copies of 20 new cards each to a single pack every three months with 1 copy of 60 new cards changes almost nothing for players who enjoy the benefits of the LCG model. namely it's very easy to own everything.

 

What it adds is options. some players can buy fewer than three copies, they can live with a smaller card set or they could trade with other cheapskates to get the cards they want. they could even use these packs as part of a draft format. this is something Epic does very well.

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There are such a things as price points. If you increase the price of something, you necessarily reduce demand, and moreover this is not a straight-line. The reason the product is priced at $15 once per month rather than $45 every three months is because you will sell more product at the former price point than you will at the latter.

 

When I say your proposal is a terrible idea and I provide the reasons why I think that, it's just a waste of time for you to just re-describe your idea in different words. I understand what your proposal would entail just fine. The problem is it's based on premises that are wrong, and you have to address that.

 

LCG players tend to own everything. If you release a pack every three months with 60x1 cards, then you're just forcing everyone to buy three copies. (Effectively $45 every 3 months.) Yes, it may be more of a meta shakeup if releases were more sporadic and impactful--this is the one and only aspect of your idea that's correct--but the practical effect is just to concentrate the cost of participation which will hurt sales.

 

Trading and drafting are execrable mechanisms for making up the difference. The only reason they exist in CCG systems is because variable rarity and random distribution means that your ability to acquire cards you want is imperfect, and in turn you're forced to resort to other means to acquire compliments to the best pieces you happen to own. In doing so you forgo certain options as an opportunity cost to the decks you decide to pursue.

 

None of that applies to a system where you do have perfect knowledge of pack contents and there is no variation in the frequency of distribution. 

 

Your proposal is simply a terrible idea in an LCG system.

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Drafting can work just fine from a set card pool. Like draft cubes for example. 

if you don't like drafting that's fine

if you don't like trading that's fine

Lots of people love doing those things and the LCG format does not allow them. So for those people the LCG format is a "terrible idea"

This change allows for the same own it all mentality of LCG's as they are but it opens up the cheaper options to start playing that LCG's lack namely draft and trading.

this helps address the core problems of how poorly LCGs deal with player churn. Trading and drafting are much cheaper ways to onboard people than "buy the entire card pool"

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2 hours ago, TylerTT said:

Drafting can work just fine from a set card pool. Like draft cubes for example. 

if you don't like drafting that's fine

if you don't like trading that's fine

Lots of people love doing those things and the LCG format does not allow them. So for those people the LCG format is a "terrible idea"

This change allows for the same own it all mentality of LCG's as they are but it opens up the cheaper options to start playing that LCG's lack namely draft and trading.

this helps address the core problems of how poorly LCGs deal with player churn. Trading and drafting are much cheaper ways to onboard people than "buy the entire card pool"

FFG does (has done?) draft packs for their more successful LCGs. There's also nothing to stop any number of players from splitting a purchase and taking cards for the faction they each play.

LCGs remove the necessity of doing so by ditching random distribution. Players who wish to do those things still can. Win-win.

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