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23 minutes ago, TwiceBornh said:

I have a feeling they may be preparing to reboot the game, to eliminate the deterrent that the current, massive product catalogue poses to many new players looking to enter the game. 

would be easier to enter the game if FFG sold their dang product *shaking fist*

Edited by Thaeggan
apparently "they" is a bad word

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3 hours ago, Bullroarer Took said:

I agree this is a bigger problem.  I read in too many places that people want to take up the game and can’t find the expansions.  If you want to grow a player base start here.

I got the core set, after having it on order for 3 months at my FLGS, earlier this year but I’ve bought no expansions.  I can find the odd one or two but nothing in any order.  I don’t fancy buying A Journey to Rhosgobel when I can’t get any of the other Mirkwood cycle decks and what’s the point in getting The Flame of the West when I can’t get any other saga expansions?  I’m not just going to randomly buy stuff on the off chance FFG will get round to printing the missing pieces over the next few years.  I’m also put off getting any newer expansions (and even some of them I can’t get hold of) as the game from all accounts has power creeped and I have difficulty with the final quest in the core set!  It’s a real shame but I can’t recommend this game to anyone based solely on the lack of availability.

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There are 41 products awaiting reprint.

 

Imagine if the game was rebooted but it was like the digital version, and that would be like a big switcheroo and then people who wanted the digital to be like the tabletop would get their wish and everyone would be confused

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Some elements of the digital game would translate well: item 'slots', stuff that triggers at certain threat levels, a fate pool questers can contribute to.

Other elements would not work as well (in co-op): Sauron buying cards, how the attacks are chosen.

I think merging 'locations' and 'side quests' into a single thing would have some benefit too.

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12 hours ago, Jeffrey Paul said:

What concerns me more is that they are no longer putting the old sets into the reprint pipeline. R.I.P. LoTR LCG.

Is there an announcement I missed?  Last I checked there were *tons* of old sets in the reprint pipeline.  The problem is that since they are reprinted slowly, and sell out quickly, and there are *so many* old sets to reprint, that any given set spends much more time out of print than in it.  However, given that Khazad-Dum was reprinted within the last several months, it's hard for me to believe they've given up on reprinting entirely.

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24 minutes ago, Miceldars said:

I don't know who decide to do the reprinting in France, but cycle 3 was reprinted earlier this year, and Khazad dum last year (if I remember well)

I think EDGE is responsible for that. The German and French editions are plenty to be found. When I was looking for the Black Riders I would only find the German, French and Italian version. The English versions are running out faster. 

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11 hours ago, Sasajak said:

I got the core set, after having it on order for 3 months at my FLGS, earlier this year but I’ve bought no expansions.  I can find the odd one or two but nothing in any order.  I don’t fancy buying A Journey to Rhosgobel when I can’t get any of the other Mirkwood cycle decks and what’s the point in getting The Flame of the West when I can’t get any other saga expansions?  I’m not just going to randomly buy stuff on the off chance FFG will get round to printing the missing pieces over the next few years.  I’m also put off getting any newer expansions (and even some of them I can’t get hold of) as the game from all accounts has power creeped and I have difficulty with the final quest in the core set!  It’s a real shame but I can’t recommend this game to anyone based solely on the lack of availability.

I'm frustrated for you! I can't believe how bad FFG is at getting their products into the hands of the customers who want them.

I don't quite agree with your assertion about power creep, though. Or to be more precise, I think the big jump in player card power happened in Dwarrowdelf (the second cycle) and the encounter cards caught up after that. Since then, the power level has been surprisingly flat, such that many older quests are still competitive against many modern decks.

I actually run a blog series to investigate this stuff, and I've found it's still fun to play the game out of release order. The biggest problem you'll run into, I think, is the rising complexity of new archetypes; nothing is quite as straightforward to play as it was back in the early days. Whether or not that's a problem is going to depend on your preferred playstyle.

But your point still stands; lack of availability makes it harder to get excited about the game since you can't actually use the LCG model the way it was intended.

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I don't want to divert the discussion into talking about a re-boot because I don't think it's needed, desired or happening.

I think the answer is simpler.  If you look at the upcoming products page and filter on Living Card Games You will see that there are only THREE products in the pipeline and not on the shelf or awaiting reprint.  Two are on the boat and one (Fire in the Night) is listed at the printer.  Everything else is "awaiting reprint".  This is crazy to me with the holiday season starting.  Now I know that the Upcoming page is a throne of lies, but it does serve as a vague indicator of how close a product is to getting in our hands.  As I said, I believe the answer is simpler and called "Keyforge".  Hopefully things will become a little more normal after the massive requirements that the Keyforge release represents are taken care of.

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It also looks like all the entries for "On the boat" and "At the Printer" were last updated September 6th, over two months ago (not just for LCG).  All nine products currently listed on the Upcoming page as "Shipping Now" or "At Stores Now" have been updated then.

In "In development" state are four LCG products, three from Arkham Horror and one (Ghost of Framburg, updated 9/25) for LOTR.  Awaiting Reprint has three for Game of Thrones 2nd edition, 2 for Arkham Horror, and 37 for LOTR (most recent addition being the core set, which I expect to get reprinted first).  Poor Legend of the Five Rings has nothing on the Upcoming Status page in *any* state.

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Tell me this: would FFG, as a company (whose objective is to make money. Nothing wrong with that, just facts) rather pull new people into their customer base with Keyforge, AH , etc. or forgo potential revenue to keep fans of their old games satisfied with new content, reprints, etc. They know that those of us who are here are here to stay (and buy their products).

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4 hours ago, Authraw said:

I don't quite agree with your assertion about power creep

It’s just the impression I get 😊.  I’m confused and bewildered about where to start when 80% (not a scientific calculation) of the game is unavailable!  I just feel like I keep drawing the Eye of Sauron when I want to get anything for this game.  

Nice blog by the way.

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43 minutes ago, Sasajak said:

It’s just the impression I get 😊.  I’m confused and bewildered about where to start when 80% (not a scientific calculation) of the game is unavailable!  I just feel like I keep drawing the Eye of Sauron when I want to get anything for this game.

I check for availability every day... These things sell out fast.

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Physical products are getting astonishingly expensive to produce, all the moreso if one wishes to keep up FFG's famous quality of materials and art. This makes any overstock in a warehouse or slow-moving products on a store shelf deadly, for publishers, distributors and retailers alike. There are also big increases in shipping, storage, employee wages, etc. Physical products in general are going to only become more expensive with time (until we get Replicators).

FFG's solution seems to be to have slim production runs. Far better to run out of copies and lose some sales than to overprint and have your revenue destroyed by dead product, or so they seem to be thinking.

As a retailer selling their products, I can't fault them for this strategy. I have to sell about 3 copies of a game to see any return on investment. That might not be too hard to do if the store were only full of hot sellers, but half of the new games that come out struggle to sell even 1 copy. For every game like that, suddenly I need some other similarly-priced game sell 4-5 copies instead of just 3, not only make a profit on itself but to make up for the failure of the slower product.

The end result is that the cult of the new is almost a requirement in this industry. "Evergreen" products are not really ever green. Most of them dwindle over the years, and they can't afford to sit on their laurels and let the hobby mellow. There always needs to be a push for the next hit game, even if it's at the expense of steady sales in an established game. They can't afford to wait for LotR to cool off before they start to think of what comes after it.

Edited by JohnGarrison1870

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Board game publishing/design and everything else that goes into it is a high risk, with little reward the vast majority of the time business.  Game makers like FFG do well because they have built up a reputation and work in larger volumes with a built in audience using some of the beloved franchises among gamers which is in part while they are successful but suffice to say the overwhelming vast majority of game makers largely fail to turn a profit worth speaking of and even when they do it might be enough to pay the rent and the investment for the next one.  I would wager your chances of becoming rich making a board game are about as good as playing the lottery.

Its why things like kickstarter are so popular as it takes the risk out of the whole thing for developers/publishers of games and why the current trend that a small select of audience capturing publishers are buying up all of these smaller companies.  It's all an effort to raise volumes and decrease costs, in particular for international distribution.

Suffice to say the idea of the "small game" is dying a very painful death at least in the mass market and many people who might in the past have worked for smaller companies to get their games published are going into self-publishing using services like Kickstarter and Gamecrafters to publish their games.  Effectively removing the business risks entirely.  I mean if you want to find the next generation of great board game designers your less likely to find them working for FFG and more likely to find them publishing their games on Gamecrafters.

Games like Lord of the Rings LCG are kind of part of a dying breed.  Its just a bit too niche for the overhead of modern distribution.  5 years ago it was iffy, today its becoming increasingly unlikely.  Even games like Star Wars Destiny are struggling and they are backed by FFG and the Star Wars franchise... yet still its struggling.  What's worse is that typically high points of sales like Christmas are becoming instead "belt tighting" moments for people, where they spend less not more money than usual, a sign that the economy is shifting for the worse.  With craziness like US's Trump and UK's Brexit going on, the prospects for the future are not that great and niche products on the market like a collectable card game about Lord of the Rings is not likely to survive the economic shifts coming down the pipe.

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Nice post, BK.  Agree with you about basically everything.

Whether it is indeed dying off slowly or whether they're considering a reboot, I'm fine with it either way.  And that's coming from the perspective of someone who has purchased everything since the beginning.  Our group has been gradually making our way through the material and having a GREAT time doing it (with the exception of a few quests that have been extremely difficult), we're about 2/3s through all of the printed material.

The game has become bogged down in options and the struggle to keep creep in check is evident.  Still an awesome game, still super fun, and there have been some really great innovations in the later material--but I miss the simplicity and charm of some of the earlier quests.  I think FFG has learned a lot in the last couple years, and if a reboot is in the works, sign me up!  If not, I'll enjoy the next couple months of material I have left and will be glad to retire it until I'm ready to replay everything!

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Lots of interesting thoughts - the fact that print runs both of new releases and older packs sell out quick tends to suggest the game is popular enough to keep supporting - so maybe there is hope yet for a continuation.

What would be really annoying is if the game is effectively cancelled with no more chances to get some of the older packs or cycles skipped. I have loads of content with over 74 quests if i include a couple of pre-orders and exclude nightmare ones > Crusaders Games but i would like to know if the end is near and ask that a final print of all packs is done so that we can blitz the missing ones. It is probably my only real concern about the game ending given many of us i am sure have enough content to last us. That said however i have had a lot of excitement around the latest cycle.

I see me keeping this game forever, and eventually in retirement i will have a lot more time to spend going through all the quests again.

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I have reconciled myself to the fact that I may not get the two Ringmaker packs or two Dwarrowdelf packs I need and possibly will not get The Lost Realm or the ensuing cycle but I would like to get The Mountain of Fire so I'll have all the quests from the books. Please reprint at least this Fantasy Flight! Thanks!

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Well if you're looking to sell your collection now is the time to do it. Several have gone for close to 20%+ over MSRP on ebay that last few weeks. There's currently a listing for just the SAGAS that's sitting at over $300.

Edited by stimpaksam

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Just food for thought - the approval process of LOTR LCG vs Arkham - I would presume is a lot longer for LOTR. I know other games based on Tolkien's work have really slow approval processes - eg Cubicle 7's The One Ring RPG (and 5e version - Adventures in Middle-earth).

So in terms of new products and release schedule, yes Arkham will beat LOTR hands down. 

In terms of reprinting... hmm, not so good. 

We are still waiting for some products in the UK, still unseen in 2018 as yet. I'll get onto my contacts again. 
However, there were two copies of the collectors edition in a local shop (NW UK), one I picked up. Digital codes were inside the box thankfully and not an email sent to buyer.

Edited by timbolton

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On 12/19/2018 at 10:47 PM, timbolton said:

Just food for thought - the approval process of LOTR LCG vs Arkham - I would presume is a lot longer for LOTR. I know other games based on Tolkien's work have really slow approval processes - eg Cubicle 7's The One Ring RPG (and 5e version - Adventures in Middle-earth).

This would be a valid consideration if it had always been like this, but it's a new thing.  LOTR managed monthly cycles for a good long time.  It's certainly possible that something happened to dramatically increase approval time, but there are far more likely explanations.

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