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How's your local LCG scene?

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My local scene, currently has from I've heard or seen about 4 players for Game of Thrones 2nd, about 4 players that meet regularly to play Netrunner and about 6 for Legend of Five Rings...whereas there is about at least double that no. or more MTG players most of the time (outside scheduled organized play events).

Is the scene similar in your area? and if so why are LCGs not that popular in a local gaming scene for people to meet up and play? Lack of promotion from the hobby shops? Not as profitable as selling TCGs by hobby stores?

What are your experiences and thoughts? 

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Posted (edited)

Yep.... too Many Lcg to get gritical mass...

if you take mtg deck with you and go holiday to new plase, you will find people to play with. If you take one of those Lcg... most likely not, or at least not the one that you did bring with you.

the MTG is just so huge and because of that it will stay huge. 

Edited by Hannibal_pjv

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There are about 6 guys who meet up to play Netrunner, but no idea how long that will continue. Everything else has more or less nothing.

Area is dominated by Magic obviously, especially after the shop doing the principle support to those Japanese ones where all the numbers are in the thousands closed down.

 

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Posted (edited)

 At the moment there's me playing Conquest and Doomtown + one Conquest guy + one Doomtown guy + 2 AGoT guys. That's all. But have to add we live in small town without FLGS and card games were not so popular here. Except L5R CCG - we had 13+ players playgroup few years ago (mixed casual/competetive crowd).

Edited by kempy

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Posted (edited)

I'm positive the main problem is poor point of entries options into pretty much all the LCGs. They need to figure out a way to remove that barrier of entry.  It only gets worse as time goes on which is unfortunate since arguably the games get better as the card pools mature.  Also players need tools to help recruit new players when a game group suffers from normal hobby game attrition. Ultimately I hope they figure out a better way to launch an LCG because I think the core sets are fairly problematic in this regards.  FFG front loads the expense on the players rather than make that initial purchase as attractive as possible.  That just seems wrong for the long term health of a hobby game.

I'm hoping since they are doing the AGOT starter decks that they are making moves to fix that.  It's much easier to get a casually interested person in the store to try a game if you can point them to a single 15-20 USD purchase rather than tell them they need to buy multiple core sets and maybe some expansions to make a reasonable deck and start playing with the group.  Maybe in the future we can move to a faction specific starter pack or something similar.  I know they've bene hesitant to do that for a variety of good reasons, but it feels like they gotta do something to address the issue.

Draft format was presented as a potential fix, but the draft formats for LCGs never really took off since vets were just drafting stuff already in their collection for the most part (expect for a few cards from future packs).  With no real secondary market for those cards I think it was seen as generally a bad investment.  That's too bad because Netrunner was a great game to play in the draft format. 

Edited by phillos

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Yeah. I've been looking into LCGs and it seems to me they'd be far better off with a business model that had eight clans and sold two full decks from two random (but known to the buyer) clans with tokens as a starter, then sold clan decks seperately. Or sell tokens and rulebooks seperately from decks entirely. Then if they also made mini expansions clan specific, I think you'd be looking at a healthy player base.

I suppose they think they would be sacrificing profits, because players would not have to buy a ton of stuff, but these days physical card games have to compete with online card games if they want to stay relevant. I guess FFG decided they would rather have a small player base that spends a lot on cards. I think that approach will likely backfire, and they will lose even that niche group of consumers.

Edited by Grapefruity

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On 9/4/2018 at 1:10 AM, Grapefruity said:

Yeah. I've been looking into LCGs and it seems to me they'd be far better off with a business model that had eight clans and sold two full decks from two random (but known to the buyer) clans with tokens as a starter, then sold clan decks seperately. Or sell tokens and rulebooks seperately from decks entirely. Then if they also made mini expansions clan specific, I think you'd be looking at a healthy player base.

I suppose they think they would be sacrificing profits, because players would not have to buy a ton of stuff, but these days physical card games have to compete with online card games if they want to stay relevant. I guess FFG decided they would rather have a small player base that spends a lot on cards. I think that approach will likely backfire, and they will lose even that niche group of consumers.

Your suggestions here requires a change in the way the LCGs are currently designed. You cannot separate clans/ factions so abruptly. There is influence allowing you to use out of faction cards in most LCGs and this is not just for minor tinkering, but actual core deck mechanics will come from there. So even if you segregate cards by factions and sell them separately, players will still need to buy all of them.

To my opinion, the online card games have taken away from the hobby the most casual players in average. The remaining core will be people who enjoy specifically the physical support. People who like to collect, who are completionnists and have pleasure to play with actual cards, interacting with a real human being in real life rather than clicking on stuff behind a screen. This is the same thing that happened to pen and paper RPGs , abandoned by so many player who found it easier to get their fix from a MMORPG, on their computer.

Board-gaming is a niche hobby, and LCGs are only getting a small fraction of boardgamers interested anyway. Like it or not, LCGs are made for a niche audience and the variety of available hobbies has developed so much since the 90's you will see less and less people drawn to it. Starting from there, it seems natural to me that FFG as an editor will balance their business model with this in mind.

 

And on a separated note, to answer the topic, in the northern part of the Republic of Ireland, I know 2 players for ANR and 2 for L5R. That would be my wife and myself. Closest FLGS is in Dublin  more than 1h driving away. Not really an option to be a place to go to multiple times per month

Edited by Hellvlad

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It would require a redesign but I don't see why that couldn't be solved by taking away the influence rule and adding extra neutral cards (and perhaps some interesting rules around deck building with neutrals, dual clan specific neutrals etc.) released in seperate mini expansions. Perhaps a core could be one or two clan decks and a ton of neutral cards. There are a lot of ways you could play with the neutral format. You could argue that that would make the game harder to balance but under this model card bans would not seem as problematic either.


You could also potentially do what Artifact is doing right now and make decks consist of an equal number of cards from two clans.

Bottom line IMO is that FFG need to do something make it easier for consumers like me to get into an LCG cost wise and also to convince them of the longevity of the format.

Edited by Grapefruity

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Are you talking about L5R specifically?  The game is currently balanced with the specific influence cost associated with stronghold and role cards.  If, as some demand, the game were to do away with role cards, then it is only reasonable that it also does away with the existing role specific cards.  The game is balanced with the knowledge that those cards cannot be in the same deck.  Even more hyperbolic would be to get rid of influence entirely.

Secondly, the two needs listed (reduced the cost of LCGs & increase the longevity) seem juxtaposed.  The longevity of the games is in part from the rotation length of 4 years and in part from the continuous release of new product.  Both invariably increase the cost of the game (for the consumer).

In the last month, FFG released the House decks for AGoT:LCG.  They are meant to be a new, cheaper entry point for the game.  Is that palatable to your second need?  It doesn't change the longevity value (up or down) but is meant to get new players in and at a reduced cost for casual players.

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I'm specifically not talking about l5r, I'm aware they would have to create a new game to do a format like this. I've already given my personal solution to longevity and reduced entry cost, the only solution I personally can see. I don't mean to offend but it seems you ignored that. That is, more simply, to make it so players don't have to buy the cards for all the clans/factions to get all the cards for one or two clans/faction.

I saw the agot thing, it's a start but it doesn't go far enough. They would need to make a new game to go far enough as far as I can see. Although I suppose they could reorganise the construction of every expansion cycle pack and the rules for an existing game, that doesn't seem ideal.

Edited by Grapefruity

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In the times of the Lotus edition, old 5R was structured without an influence system. The conflict (former fate) deck was made up with mostly unaligned action cards and even if you could very well play out-of-clan personalities you would pay them more to bring them up to the table. As a result, it was quite unusual to see someone pulling a card out of faction.

I don't think LCGs could attract way more people than they currently do. LCGs is a niche product and people really interested in these kind of games will drop the money. Most of us were groomed by CCGs in the past 2 decades and LCGs in comparison look way cheaper. I agree it's still a huge entry cost, but getting rid of the frustration CCGs bringing with the sealed booster packs is worth it into many's opinion.

I've seen this influence system being mostly used into FFG's LCGs because they want to make sure every single card will be relevant to you, regardless of what you chose to play. This way, any product released will be relevant to you. They have a limited consumer base, they made sure it will stay loyal as much as possible and buy every single product. From a business perceptive it's perfectly understandable. Look at A:NR: the game is fully asymmetric and none of the cards used by the Corp player have any use for the Runner. You are interested in only playing the corp? Well, you still need to buy all the packs, and if you wanted to get into official tournaments, you better got yourself a runner deck as well. This decision was clearly deliberate to max out the sales and avoid imbalances into the community with a majority of players playing only one side of the game.

Now all context put aside, I agree with you that it would be nice to have a game with factions that stay true to themselves and do not blend. But realistically, unless a game will be a MAJOR hit, like MTG level of hit, going this path is unwise business-wise in my opinion.

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It’s inconceivable that anyone should be interested in playing Netrunner but not want to play both sides. Was that ever a thing in the ONR days? How would you even hold a tournament if players weren’t expected to play both sides?

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You can argue that it improves their sales to offer this kind of business model. Maybe you are right. FFG seems to agree with you. I can see the reasoning behind your statements. However I don't agree and I think they've got it wrong. Personally I think more consumer friendly business models would;

A. Keep customers happy. I am much less likely to buy into FFG products in the future after discovering their business model (it even puts me off their board games), I'm sure there are many others like me.

B. More customers would be inclined to buy in, keeping playerbases healthy. This is essential for card games especially with the upcoming digital frontier.

C. I think once people had bought into the model, and were happy with the base game, they would be no less likely to want to expand into other factions and increase their collections with better sorted expansion and card packs. They just wouldn't feel initially so cheated (e.g. arkham horror card waste) or intimidated by cost (the case of l5r).

Edited by Grapefruity

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The cost of L5R?

This game just came out  a year ago. Getting on board was easy. Finance management to get ANR was way more complicated as I jumped on it 3 years after release. But for L5R, if paying 120€ every 6 month looks expensive for you, I think you are not choosing the right hobby. You will have hard time finding really cheaper offers given the card volumes.

 

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The cost for all the l5r cards is $340.

This is going to look really intimidating to the vast majority of people coming to this hobby. You are really ignoring my points here I feel.

Anyway, without going over them again, here's an example for you:If the cost to be able to play one clan to it's fullest potential was only the 120 for the base game, and then 220/8 x2 (the cost for the rest of the clans where 220 is the value of the remaining cards, 8 is the number of clans assuming neutral as a clan for a quick estimate.) then that is 120 + 55 = 175. That's already nearly halved the entry fee and that's without even splitting up the core box. And who's to say I wouldn't go ahead and buy cards for other clans and spend just as much in the end?

You'd get way more players coming into the game like this I think. But nevermind, you're right, let's turn them all away because they aren't "choosing the right hobby". Anyhow I've said my piece, so I won't say any more, make of it what you will.

 

Edited by Grapefruity

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3 hours ago, Grapefruity said:

You'd get way more players coming into the game like this I think. But nevermind, you're right, let's turn them all away because they aren't "choosing the right hobby". Anyhow I've said my piece, so I won't say any more, make of it what you will.

You're absolutely right in terms of lower costs for the players if specific clans were purchasable directly without the extra fluff of unwanted cards; problem is that for the company is a less profitable way for a simple reason: some clans will sell more copies than other clans (for many reasons: balance could be messed up so that they are stronger; they could simply be more fascinating; whatevs) and the "unsold" clans will make the company lose money. In the current way, people wanting 3 cards for their clan will fork out 15 bucks just to get that packet.

We tend to reason in terms of what's best for us; companies tend to reason in terms of what minimizes their risks and maximizes their revenue. End of the story. I don't like it, at all, but it's not gonna change until people stop paying for this. And it's not gonna change, as long as people will keep thinking "120 bucks over 6 months ain't that much money in our hobby", which is exactly what every company wants to hear. And it's also nonsensical, because it's 120 bucks for how many new cards? 3 copies of 12 cards more or less? So, we're paying 10 dollars every new card that enters our decks. I'd rather spend that money for other things. This is probably why the whole competitive LCG model is collapsing: at the moment they have only two running competitive LCGs, and for one of these they changed the distribution model of the cycles, from one pack per month to one pack per week (a clear sign that the previous model wasn't working). And of course, they could very well release a gigantic deluxe box with 360 cards priced 49.99, but they aren't doing it because asking 6*14.99 = 89.94 brings in a lot more cash and sells a lot more copies.

Beware, I'm not saying they are stealing or whatevs; I'm saying that it's a marketing model that is not final-user friendly and that comes with games that are not cheap, not only in an absolute meaning, but also in terms of what you really get out of the money invested.

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15 hours ago, Grapefruity said:

The cost for all the l5r cards is $340.

This is going to look really intimidating to the vast majority of people coming to this hobby. You are really ignoring my points here I feel.

Anyway, without going over them again, here's an example for you:If the cost to be able to play one clan to it's fullest potential was only the 120 for the base game, and then 220/8 x2 (the cost for the rest of the clans where 220 is the value of the remaining cards, 8 is the number of clans assuming neutral as a clan for a quick estimate.) then that is 120 + 55 = 175. That's already nearly halved the entry fee and that's without even splitting up the core box. And who's to say I wouldn't go ahead and buy cards for other clans and spend just as much in the end?

You'd get way more players coming into the game like this I think. But nevermind, you're right, let's turn them all away because they aren't "choosing the right hobby". Anyhow I've said my piece, so I won't say any more, make of it what you will.

 

I think you misread why I was trying to say.

I agree with you card games are expensive. The problem is the available potential market for it. We are a core of players interested by it but it's not as mainstream as MTG who build on a decades long legacy or hearthstone, full digital and user friendly, accessible from anywhere, attracting people with a free to play economy model.

I would be the first one to be happy with the solution you outline. Who wouldn't want to see his hobby cost less?

Reality of the market however makes that FFG has chosen this way to commercialize the product for a good reason. And it's in their interest, not in our's the consumers. I don't necessarily agree with them, but I understand. I'm not trying to defend the business model, because as you say, 340$ to get into a card game is a huge cost. As I mentioned when I got into ANR, it took me years of monthly dedicated budget to get back on track and buy all the cards previously released during 3 years., and I only did it because Netrunner had a special place in my hart. I would have been delighted if other option would have been there ot avoid such a money sink.

So I totally get your point, and ideally, I'm on your  side. But realistically? it's not going to happen. Not only because people are ready to spend money on how the offer is now, but because there is little chance and editor like FFG wil take such a huge risk for one of their product given the player base they expect.

 

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No one's mentioned the same cost/risk-analysis that distributers & FLGSs have to make as well.  Core sets with every clan/faction are a compromise.  The provide an entry point with only 1 sku.  That's significant to small businesses.  They are less likely to restock all of a collection of starters than a single core.

On the long term, FFG could reprint the product that sells better and not be too concerned about which faction is selling better.  They're able to gauge which products sell best and need to be reprinted.  Local stores can't absorb that costing as well.

(My aim isn't to break apart your argument point-by-point.)

For L5R (as my example), it's $90USD/cycle.  There are 14 cards per clan, and about 20 neutral cards.  Half of the cards for every other clan, however, can be in my deck (assuming that I stick with 1 clan) as splash. 

I feel as though I'm missing one, but as for the LCGs that have come before:  Star Wars was replaced by Destiny; Android: Netrunner, Warhammer: Conquest & Warhammer: Invasion were terminated with their licensing agreements; A Game of Thrones 1e was replaced with 2e.  The only other LCG that ended was Call of Cthulhu, and they were ready to pull the game when they instead tried out the LCG model.  It ran for 11 years after that.

The 6-in-6 distribution wasn't a sign of flagging sales, it was a test to address one of the biggest complaints of the competitive LCG model: the slowness of change in the meta.  Spit-balling, but it might serve their players better to chop the cycles from 2 cycles per year of 6 packs to 3 cycles per year of 4 packs.

The beauty and appeal of the LCG model (and why I play them and not CCGs) is the honest-ness of their cost and the upfront-ness with which they are marketed.

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Posted (edited)
On 9/26/2018 at 6:36 PM, Duciris said:

Warhammer: Conquest & Warhammer: Invasion were terminated with their licensing agreements;

Nope. WH:I was just failure. It started in 2009 and was terminated in 2013, few years before license problem. 

Edited by kempy

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Warhammer: Invasion: If you're not Dwarf, you're dust.

My area had about 16 active Thrones players, but it dropped to about 4 after the restricted list came out...even though no single player seemed to lose a deck over it. I don't imagine the recent announcement of product hiatus helped either.   There are a few "people" who play L5R. Arkham Horror seems to be selling well, but it's hard to figure out who is actually playing it. #cooperativeshutins

I've shifted over to minis. FFG has done enough to convince me (where life hasn't already dictated)  not to play their competitive, expandable games. I still like Descent, and fortunately, I don't have to use the **** app to play it.

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