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What is the point of this game being "unique"?

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9 minutes ago, kmanweiss said:

The more I think about it, the more it looks like a marketing gimmick.  Keyforge is being released with this new unique gimmick, we know it's going to get some flak, so we need another title to add to this unique category of games.  Well, we have this survival game in development, lets just force this gimmick upon this new game for no reason just to defend using the gimmick on a card game.

I don't think there's any question this is true.  Garfield came up with the "Unique" concept for Keyforge, and pitched it to FFG, then FFG thought it was a cool gimmick and decided to create a line of games around it.  My bet is they're banking on it being their next big concept/gimmick like LCGs are for them.  I have my doubts, but I guess we'll see.

Edited by KBlumhardt

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Yeah I think that's entirely true that Keyforge came along and they wanted to see if this idea could work in other application.  Though I'd rather they try it and see where it leads rather than not try it and we never discover if this idea had any merit. 

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29 minutes ago, kmanweiss said:

 

It would be like if you bought a video game...

You know how in No Man's Sky, the universe is so big that you are functionally only buying access to a small, random fraction of it? But what you see is unique to your experience, and that's what makes it so cool to not only experience but share and tell stories about? This is a tabletop attempt at that same concept.

Edited by Bogoran

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I would like to give a different perspective here. 

This game and the idea of it being unique is really appealing to me. 

I am in no way a completionist. That approach doesn’t appeal to me at all. I have never gone “all in” for a kickstarter. I only pick the items that specifically appeal to me. I can understand why a completionist would not like these unique games. 

I play board games to experience a story. I am also mostly a solo board gamer. 

I own 7th Continent. One of the biggest criticisms I have seen of 7th Continent from people who are otherwise fans is that after the first “mission” (curse) you have already explored most of the continent. You can’t really recreate the feeling of exploring it for the first time again. 

I find it really appealing that I will be exploring a continent that no one else have explored. I will be playing a game no one else has played. I like that.

I often dislike that if you get a bit late into a board game, then there are already strategy guides, playthroughs etc. online. You can’t really share your experience in forums, because people have already experienced that a long time ago. It takes a bit of the “wonder” out of the board game. I could see this game getting a dedicated group of fans who would share stories and pictures of their game. I could see myself reading playthroughs for this game, which I otherwise never do. 

Unless this game gets really bad reviews, then I feel sure I will buy it. If I like the gameplay enough, then I could see myself bying an extra copny once I have played the first enough. I don’t share the worry others have that “what if you get another desert-game”. Im sure its highly unlikely that the terrain - even if also a desert, will be very similar. 

Im also happy not to pay for 3 times as many components and then only use a third of the components in the game (as some people are suggesting so you can “randomize” on your own). I in general don’t like having components/games that are not used (again probably the opposite of a completionist). 

Edited by SoloDane
Added a bit

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4 hours ago, DailyRich said:

FFG has said these are not collectible games, and yet people are criticizing them for not being easily collectible.

It's probably because, although there are some that complain about FFG selling expandable, collectible games, the vast majority of their games are expandable and collectible. So it's kind of a trained response from those who buy their products and expansions to their products to expect it to be collectible and when they say it isn't, it's off-putting. If I'm going to invest in a game that I will enjoy, I'm going to eventually want everything there is for the game. I personally don't buy into an FFG game without immediately reminding myself that the vast majority of their games are collectible and have had years of expansions.

 

 

Say I buy a box and it is jungle themed, but I like mountains, or I want different scenario quests/characters than what I was given. My only option would be to buy the entire game again at $60USD or wait for others to buy it and start up some sort of secondary market of component swapping. We don't even know if component swapping is viable either. It's possible that components are key to each unique game and cannot be swapped between versions. Example: you need x of this meeple to complete quest A, if you don't have x meeple because you swapped it out for y meeple, tough luck. 

 

For myself it isn't just about it not being collectible.

With the vast majority of FFG products, I know 100% what is inside each box. With this game, they have intentionally been vague (as they said in the article) and I think it's probably a poor move to do so after years of being the boargame company that had transparency on product information. I can go online and look up every card in any pack of LotR cards, see what I want and decide to make purchases based on what fits my playstyle or interests best. It's a great model that gives a lot of freedom of choice to consumers. I can't do that with this game, so how can I be sure I'm purchasing a product I'm going to be satisfied with owning? It's sort of a gamble, in terms of what you'll get and to me, that immediately turns me off to it.

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2 hours ago, Bogoran said:

You know how in No Man's Sky, the universe is so big that you are functionally only buying access to a small, random fraction of it? But what you see is unique to your experience, and that's what makes it so cool to not only experience but share and tell stories about? This is a tabletop attempt at that same concept.

or Dwarf Fortress and it's imitators by the same token.

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3 hours ago, Bogoran said:

You know how in No Man's Sky, the universe is so big that you are functionally only buying access to a small, random fraction of it? But what you see is unique to your experience, and that's what makes it so cool to not only experience but share and tell stories about? This is a tabletop attempt at that same concept.

Do you pay $60 every time you start a new game in No Man's Sky?  If so, then this would be equivalent.  You can start as many new games as you like in No Man's Sky and only pay a single $60 price.  So your analogy does not work.

This game uses loot box / blind box gambling in order to sell their product.  So if you want to make a comparison, then look no further than loot boxes.

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I need many more questions answered before I decide on this but at the moment I'm leaning towards "no".

The first and most important one is "how replayable is one set?" 

If a certain "combination of components" provides a linear experience and once you've played it once the next game will be exactly the same but another "combination of components" might prove more replayable ... I'm supposed to take a $60 chance?

And what about the inevitable variation in quality between "combinations of components"?  Even among 100% of all the combinations, there is going to 1% that are not as good as the rest.  How annoyed would you be if you paid your $60 and got when everyone online says is the worst combination?

This is looking heavily like a $60 lottery ticket.

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1 minute ago, Stenun said:

I need many more questions answered before I decide on this but at the moment I'm leaning towards "no".

The first and most important one is "how replayable is one set?" 

If a certain "combination of components" provides a linear experience and once you've played it once the next game will be exactly the same but another "combination of components" might prove more replayable ... I'm supposed to take a $60 chance?

And what about the inevitable variation in quality between "combinations of components"?  Even among 100% of all the combinations, there is going to 1% that are not as good as the rest.  How annoyed would you be if you paid your $60 and got when everyone online says is the worst combination?

This is looking heavily like a $60 lottery ticket.

How would they know that it is the worst combination though.

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The original question was “why unique?” - so if we start with the games themes we can understand some of the concept.

“Discover” is clearly about exploration (turning hidden information into knowledge) and survival. That could be achieved, to a degree, with randomisation ‘in the box’ (say a shuffled deck of encounters). The bigger the box (and price tag) then the more randomisation occurs during each play.

 That’s price limited however (and repeated in numerous other card and board games).

Making a ‘random selection’ from set components creates hidden information (exploration) that lies at the heart of the game. For someone who wants to ‘explore’ that’s really key, as is the sense that you’re the first to find something unexplored. 

Creating a ‘new’ & personal experience is pretty fundamental to this games design goal. 

I think FFG are really going for that idea - personal experience. In the past popular games are often already well trodden (net decking being one example). How do you hold your excitement for a game when you tell your story only to hear back “oh yeah, I did that”? 

In a world where you can unbox a game, see all the content and play through it all on YouTube it’s a interesting move. Commercially it may also make sense - people want new experiences not a re-play of something they’ve already seen. 

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Just now, Ignithas said:

How would they know that it is the worst combination though.

There will inevitably be comparison websites springing up and people voting on what combination they got and how it played compared to a friend's purchase, etc.

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2 minutes ago, Tam Palso said:

The original question was “why unique?” - so if we start with the games themes we can understand some of the concept.

“Discover” is clearly about exploration (turning hidden information into knowledge) and survival. That could be achieved, to a degree, with randomisation ‘in the box’ (say a shuffled deck of encounters). The bigger the box (and price tag) then the more randomisation occurs during each play.

 That’s price limited however (and repeated in numerous other card and board games).

Making a ‘random selection’ from set components creates hidden information (exploration) that lies at the heart of the game. For someone who wants to ‘explore’ that’s really key, as is the sense that you’re the first to find something unexplored. 

Creating a ‘new’ & personal experience is pretty fundamental to this games design goal. 

I think FFG are really going for that idea - personal experience. In the past popular games are often already well trodden (net decking being one example). How do you hold your excitement for a game when you tell your story only to hear back “oh yeah, I did that”? 

In a world where you can unbox a game, see all the content and play through it all on YouTube it’s a interesting move. Commercially it may also make sense - people want new experiences not a re-play of something they’ve already seen. 

But couldn't you achieve the same thing with some kind of a randomiser?

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1 minute ago, Ignithas said:

But couldn't you achieve the same thing with some kind of a randomiser?

You could & in fact most card and board games do exactly that. But they are still a closed and known system. Eventually (given the power of shared working on the internet) those random elements will be optimised. 

If this game is about discovery, then it requires uniqueness.

Imagine the sense of disappointment you would have if you retold your game experience to ‘completionist Dave’ at your LGS only to be hit back with “yeah I got that card/tile. It’s ok, the optimal play there is kill the bear, light a fire. Hear I’ll give you a link to my playthrough.”

With a unique game it’s just ‘your’ personal experience. No online reviewer can open the box and gleefully expose that hidden world like someone opening your presents at Christmas, or decide for you if it’s worth 1 star or 5 stars. 

People who enjoy that sort of thing (yeah I’ve done that, been there, got the t-shirt - you need to catch up buddy): they’re not going to like Unique games much. They can’t win the ‘meta’ in that sense. 

But for others who don’t want hand holding, or to be told their experience is already a well beaten path then a open system is a good solution.

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3 minutes ago, Tam Palso said:

You could & in fact most card and board games do exactly that. But they are still a closed and known system. Eventually (given the power of shared working on the internet) those random elements will be optimised. 

If this game is about discovery, then it requires uniqueness.

Imagine the sense of disappointment you would have if you retold your game experience to ‘completionist Dave’ at your LGS only to be hit back with “yeah I got that card/tile. It’s ok, the optimal play there is kill the bear, light a fire. Hear I’ll give you a link to my playthrough.”

With a unique game it’s just ‘your’ personal experience. No online reviewer can open the box and gleefully expose that hidden world like someone opening your presents at Christmas, or decide for you if it’s worth 1 star or 5 stars. 

People who enjoy that sort of thing (yeah I’ve done that, been there, got the t-shirt - you need to catch up buddy): they’re not going to like Unique games much. They can’t win the ‘meta’ in that sense. 

But for others who don’t want hand holding, or to be told their experience is already a well beaten path then a open system is a good solution.

Well here's a crazy alternative idea; don't go online and look at walkthroughs or spoilers.

There.  Now the discovery aspect is back.

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4 hours ago, Lace Jetstreamer said:

Do you pay $60 every time you start a new game in No Man's Sky?  If so, then this would be equivalent.  You can start as many new games as you like in No Man's Sky and only pay a single $60 price.  So your analogy does not work.

Price of restarting doesn't really have anything to do with anything. No matter what you do, how much you pay, you will never see all the content in either game. By design.

 

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15 minutes ago, Tam Palso said:

You could & in fact most card and board games do exactly that. But they are still a closed and known system. Eventually (given the power of shared working on the internet) those random elements will be optimised. 

If this game is about discovery, then it requires uniqueness.

Imagine the sense of disappointment you would have if you retold your game experience to ‘completionist Dave’ at your LGS only to be hit back with “yeah I got that card/tile. It’s ok, the optimal play there is kill the bear, light a fire. Hear I’ll give you a link to my playthrough.”

With a unique game it’s just ‘your’ personal experience. No online reviewer can open the box and gleefully expose that hidden world like someone opening your presents at Christmas, or decide for you if it’s worth 1 star or 5 stars. 

People who enjoy that sort of thing (yeah I’ve done that, been there, got the t-shirt - you need to catch up buddy): they’re not going to like Unique games much. They can’t win the ‘meta’ in that sense. 

But for others who don’t want hand holding, or to be told their experience is already a well beaten path then a open system is a good solution.

I don't think that this is possible with Games Like KDM and Eldritch Horror with all the expansions.

 

3 minutes ago, Bogoran said:

Price of restarting doesn't really have anything to do with anything. No matter what you do, how much you pay, you will never see all the content in either game. By design.

 

I think his point was that while the experience is randomised, you can potentially see everything without spending money. With Eldritch Horror there are still situations that didn't come up for me, but they might with more games. When I buy discovery there will be situations that I will never encounter, even if I play with other people that bought the game.

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6 minutes ago, Ignithas said:

I think his point was that while the experience is randomised, you can potentially see everything without spending money. 

You literally can't though. It would take thousands of lifetimes to see it all. These are both products where you pay $60 and get to see some fraction of what's available. The rest of it you get to experience by sharing stories with your friends, watching streams online, or just letting yourself be satisfied that what you saw was fun even though there might have been something even cooler out there.

Sure in Discovery you CAN pay another $60 to see another slice of it, but literally no one is saying you should. Except for this guy who is inexplicably raving that he's being told he should.

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1 hour ago, Stenun said:

Well here's a crazy alternative idea; don't go online and look at walkthroughs or spoilers.

There.  Now the discovery aspect is back.

That’s true, up to a point. However I could go an explore the North Pole - but I implicitly know that I’m not the first person to go there.

The “no spoiler” approach is also a problem for FFG from a product design perspective.

FFG want to drop a game into the (competitive) gaming market. They naturally want to build a community around that game, build some hype and conversation around it & some longevity of that community.

Now that ‘could’ be done through teased expansions, but again it’s a pretty well established format: nothing much new to see there. And the very act of teasing an game themed around ‘discovery’ seems counter intuitive.

So how do you approach that problem? A discovery game that is hard (not impossible) to spoil? One solution is to make it unique.

It’s a gimmick in a sense but a powerful one - those that really love the game will want to see what’s over the next hill (perhaps they’ll buy another set?). Curious types will buy their own set (what will they discover?) and casual multi-game players will maybe just by one box, but follow the explorations of others ‘online’. 

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The example of the scenario card on the announcement page doesn't tickle my "Oh, this will be eminently replayable" senses. Looks like the specific scenario deck will be linear.

I worry about the randomness of the box's components. Will I get given the things I need to actually be able to complete the things I get given to do? Or will it be so anodyne a setting and story that it won't really matter whether I have a Lumberjack or a jet pilot? Will I be given a Mountaineer in a forest (and will their 'special ability' be so broadly defined that somehow they'll be as useful as a lumberjack would be)? 

I don't particularly have a problem with the game being unique, it's the problems with producing a satisfying game while accommodating the immense variability. Or will it just be that the names and portraits of the characters are different?

Keyforge has unique backs to deter deckbuilding (not that you couldn't design some sort of draft format with opaque card sleeves). Will the contents of these boxes be likewise distinctive to preclude combining parts? Would combining parts just foul it all up?

It's a new paradigm, that's for sure, and FFG have obviously invested some treasure in the whole technology that's permitting the variability. I just hope they don't let the new toy get in the way of making good toys.

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55 minutes ago, Tam Palso said:

That’s true, up to a point. However I could go an explore the North Pole - but I implicitly know that I’m not the first person to go there.

The “no spoiler” approach is also a problem for FFG from a product design perspective.

FFG want to drop a game into the (competitive) gaming market. They naturally want to build a community around that game, build some hype and conversation around it & some longevity of that community.

Now that ‘could’ be done through teased expansions, but again it’s a pretty well established format: nothing much new to see there. And the very act of teasing an game themed around ‘discovery’ seems counter intuitive.

So how do you approach that problem? A discovery game that is hard (not impossible) to spoil? One solution is to make it unique.

It’s a gimmick in a sense but a powerful one - those that really love the game will want to see what’s over the next hill (perhaps they’ll buy another set?). Curious types will buy their own set (what will they discover?) and casual multi-game players will maybe just by one box, but follow the explorations of others ‘online’. 

"How do you approach that problem"?  What problem??

You're outline a situation and have suddenly declared it a problem.  Why?  Why are expansions a problem?

Imagine applying this argument to any other medium ...

"Well movie sequels are all very well but everyone knows what you're going to get.  Avengers: Infinity War might have grossed over $2bn but imagine what it might have grossed if people didn't know what the film was going to be before they saw it?  Right?  Right?!"

OR

"If you read a book, someone else has read it before.  Let's write 1,000,000 different sentences and then scramble them up and only include a few in each copy of the book.  That way, everyone's copy is unique!  Sure, some will read better than others but even the poor ones will be unique and a unique book is better than a good one.  Right?  Right?!"

etc.

Now sure, there are differences between different media, I get that.  But there is nothing so different about tabletop gaming that makes your arguments suddenly work.

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2 minutes ago, Stenun said:

"How do you approach that problem"?  What problem??

You're outline a situation and have suddenly declared it a problem.  Why?  Why are expansions a problem?

Imagine applying this argument to any other medium ...

"Well movie sequels are all very well but everyone knows what you're going to get.  Avengers: Infinity War might have grossed over $2bn but imagine what it might have grossed if people didn't know what the film was going to be before they saw it?  Right?  Right?!"

OR

"If you read a book, someone else has read it before.  Let's write 1,000,000 different sentences and then scramble them up and only include a few in each copy of the book.  That way, everyone's copy is unique!  Sure, some will read better than others but even the poor ones will be unique and a unique book is better than a good one.  Right?  Right?!"

etc.

Now sure, there are differences between different media, I get that.  But there is nothing so different about tabletop gaming that makes your arguments suddenly work.

‘Problem’ is maybe too strong a term then.

From a product design perspective I want a product that differentiates itself from the rest of the market (just enough: no point selling bananas to game stores!). So I look at what’s already out there: Collectible games? Check. Expansion model? Check. ‘Single play’? Check. Etc etc etc.

So I need a new product, even more so if my offer is already strong across a number of existing models. How do I reach a new audience? New players who perhaps haven’t found ‘the right game’ yet?

Its a risky stratagem for sure but from what I’ve read of the initial release information the ‘core’ of the game looks fairly strong. Clearly terrain cards differ (some require more stamina resource), and some of those terrain cards can be changed by adding (or removing) ‘features’. So the playing board changes through play. Different box sets, different boards. 

Then our playing pieces - characters/explorers have abilities that modify the impact of those terrain tiles. So it’s a resource management game (expected with a survival theme). 

The base principles are the same. The play experience in detail will be different but in the round generally the same (spend resources, explore, find new resources etc). 

Interestingly the strategies will be quite personal and unique. “Try and get the musket early!” advice from a friend may not work for you (you don’t have the musket), creating a unique challenge with your own solutions! I think that’s quite exciting from a game perspective.

 

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I imagine that  Corey Konieczka has approached FFG with his idea of a survival game and had plenty of ideas for different types to terrain, characters, problems to solve and who knows what. FFG had just set-up for Keyforge a  way to print "unique games" and that they had already solved all the technical issues for random printing, so they pitched to the game designer what they could do.

I can imagine that immediately Konieczka found the idea attractive, at least I would if I had designed a survival game where discovery is an important aspect of the game. I suppose there are 4 different types of terrain (as illustrated by the box), may be a dozen different characters and quite a few different quests. Then you mix and match this and you got an adventure that will be a bit different than the next guy. You can say that it will be your adventure and not the same adventure as your neighbour.

 

I have seen quite a few post by people complaining that they will not be able to have a complete collection of the different components of this game. That's true but if it is a major problem for you, I think it's would be a good opportunity to think about your need to have a complete collection.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, wirbowsky said:

I have seen quite a few post by people complaining that they will not be able to have a complete collection of the different components of this game. That's true but if it is a major problem for you, I think it's would be a good opportunity to think about your need to have a complete collection.

Oh I know.  Fancy wanting to experience everything a game might have to offer.  Who would do such a thing?

/sarcasm

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