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Pikeman84

Clone Wars: The Question of "Backwards Compatibility" and new cards

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I think we can all sympathize with that aching feeling someone gets when they're building a list only to realize they're missing several key cards from their collection. For me this really hit hard with the RITR expansion, since the Nebulon has been my favorite Star Wars ship since I was a kid, and that campaign comes with several cards I would absolutely love to use on them. It's not a very fun experience to feel forced into buying overpriced cards online or redundant expansions just to get the cards you want. This has been an old sore-spot in the community for years, and I fear the addition of two new factions will amplify the issue.

Bringing in two new factions will bring in a lot of new players, which is fantastic! However, I dread the day I will have to tell a bright-eyed new CIS player he has to scour E-Bay or buy a useless MC-30 just for that sweet Ordinance Experts card he saw. New players are going to be significantly disadvantaged facing those with preexisting collections, even if their opponents are also playing the new factions. I doubt a new Republic player is going to start buying ships he can't field just to kit out his Venerator properly. The reverse is also true for Civil War players looking over the neutral upgrades that come with the new ships. The issue was less pronounced before, since each wave was mostly symmetrical with neutral upgrades, but adding two new factions might change that.  As I see it, there are a few ways FFG could address the issue;

1) Card Packs

You want them, I want them, Legion got them, why can't we? Card packs have been requested for years, and I think it's the solution with the most merit. Legion has shown it can be done, and I'm still baffled they haven't come to Armada. It gives us want we want, and provides FFG another source of revenue. Sadly, I don't think this is going to happen. The community begged for card packs years ago, and at this point it's clear they're never happening. A shame.

2) Stuff the expansions

Just stuff the new ships with tons of the old upgrades. Filling the new expansions with duplicates of the most prolific upgrades would ensure new players aren't missing the most crucial cards, but some inevitably would slip through the cracks. Furthermore, since new cards could bring old upgrades back into the spotlight, it would be hard to predict what cards need to included to keep new collections competitive. I also worry including tons of old cards might take up space that could be used for new upgrades.

3) No Backwards Compatibility

Wipe the slate clean. Clone Wars ships can only use cards from the Clone Wars expansions. I'm not sure how I feel about this idea. On the one hand, starting from scratch would make maintaining balance a lot simpler, since you don't have to worry about how a new upgrade will interact with the hundreds that have come before it. On the other hand, old players might not like starting new collections from the ground up. They would also need to find a way to clearly differentiate which cards are usable by which eras. 

Which approach do you guys think has the most the most merit? Are there any other solutions you can think of? I really hope FFG takes this opportunity to tackle the problem head on, as I think it would bring some players back into the game. (Myself included.)

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1 minute ago, flatpackhamster said:

FFG having a 'print on demand' card system on their website for Armada, at (say) 70p/US$1 would be a good solution IMO.    Log on to the website, choose the cards you want, pay for them, FFG prints them and ships them to you.

Distribution and packaging might be an issue, with hundreds of individual orders going out across several countries. If they were willing to print and ship packages of cards, I would think shipping card packs to stores would be the more efficient solution. I would gladly drop 20 bucks on a card printer to get my collection back into tip-top shape though. 

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27 minutes ago, flatpackhamster said:

FFG having a 'print on demand' card system on their website for Armada, at (say) 70p/US$1 would be a good solution IMO.    Log on to the website, choose the cards you want, pay for them, FFG prints them and ships them to you.

That is a cool idea. This has probably already been addressed, but for tournaments and something like worlds will there be separate days or tables for Clone Wars? I wonder if GCW era or Clone Wars will be preferred by tournament folks?

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, jbc98k said:

That is a cool idea. This has probably already been addressed, but for tournaments and something like worlds will there be separate days or tables for Clone Wars? I wonder if GCW era or Clone Wars will be preferred by tournament folks?

If I'm not mistaken, Legion tournaments do not have separate tables, so Armada will probably follow the same format. I would imagine the competitive scene will heavily favor the GCW era for a while, since there would be more room for fleet variety and customization until the Clone Wars era has more expansions to play with.

Edited by Pikeman84
Grammar

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1) Card Packs. These were avoided in X-Wing for many years, along with fervent promises that they were never going to make them. The first batch have sold well, so they might well appear for Armada - one day.

2) Adding some to the new expansions is very likely; along with Tournament prize cards, this is the current method and it does work. Eventually.

4) Borrow them from friends. I like Nebulons too and took 5 to my first tournament. I needed 6 copies of TRCs and 5 copies of Aux Shield Teams: I owned 3 and 2 respectively. Fortunately, my friends also had some. And the TO was going to ask other competitors if I couldn't find enough before the event.

For casual games, just proxy them. I only dig the physical cards out if I feel I really need them present, otherwise a print out works fine.

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3 hours ago, Pikeman84 said:

Distribution and packaging might be an issue, with hundreds of individual orders going out across several countries. If they were willing to print and ship packages of cards, I would think shipping card packs to stores would be the more efficient solution. I would gladly drop 20 bucks on a card printer to get my collection back into tip-top shape though. 

I don't see that it would be an issue.  Smaller companies than FFG manage to ship worldwide to many different customers.  There's software that automates the entire process.  You just package the object, print the prepaid label, and off it goes.

 

'Card packs' would be a pisstake.  I want a single copy of Disposable Capacitors but I have to spend £15 on a pack containing 9 cards I don't want as well?  No thanks.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, flatpackhamster said:

I don't see that it would be an issue.  Smaller companies than FFG manage to ship worldwide to many different customers.  There's software that automates the entire process.  You just package the object, print the prepaid label, and off it goes.

 

'Card packs' would be a pisstake.  I want a single copy of Disposable Capacitors but I have to spend £15 on a pack containing 9 cards I don't want as well?  No thanks.

Card Packs: if they judge the cards correctly (yes, if!) you and your friends buy 2 or 3 packs between you and split the upgrades you each want between yourselves. For the x-wing packs, they are £15-£20 and have eg 16 pilot cards plus their base cardboard tokens; or a lot of cardboard (devices/obstacles sets) and fewer cards.

For Armada, there's less call for bits of cardboard (the obstacles from the campaign packs wouldn't make economical sense to include, in my opinion) so the packs should be cheaper and have more cards in. If they ever actually make them, of course!

Edited by Gilarius

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Legion had a card pack that came out at the same time as the Clone Wars Core Set. It has 60 cards in total, with 1-3 copies of each card. However, Legion doesn't have that many cards, so this pack included at least one copy of every non-faction-, non-unit-specific upgrade card in the game at the time (29 different cards). By my count there are currently 90 non-faction-, non-ship-specific upgrade cards in Armada (not including Hondo, who probably should be included as he'd work with Clone Wars factions as well). A comprehensive card pack for Armada would have to be a lot larger than a Legion one.

X-Wing 2.0 has card packs. But they are restricted to certain types of cards, and include unique/new ones, only available in the card packs. FFG's X-Wing team seems to have changed its mind on card/upgrade packs, and on "aces" expansions (existing models, bundled together with new paint schemes and new cards).

X-Wing 2.0 also has conversion kits. These aren't quite relevant to Armada (as we're almost certainly not getting a 2.0) might might work fairly well; kits with cards and cardboard only, that make some existing expansions work for the Grand Republic or Separatists (Pelta, CR90, Arquitens, maybe VSD, not sure about the Separatists).

But it also depends a bit on what Clone Wars Armada looks like. If there is a new Core Set it shouldn't be too hard to stuff it with old cards. Part of the problem with backwards compatibility and Armada at the moment is that some upgrades that are now stapled to ships didn't come out until after that ship (looking at you, Ordnance Exerts and GSDs). That won't be as much of a problem with Clone Wars, as they'll know what cards are already available, and can make sure the important ones are included in the new Core Set, rather than having to fill it with the few cards already designed that turn out to be useless (do people use the Liaisons and Engineering Teams?).

If Clone Wars Armada doesn't have a Core Set, I suspect it will need a starter pack with the essentials (damage deck, range ruler, initiative tokens, obstacles, objectives, rules etc.) - and that would be an opportunity to fill in a few general upgrade cards, along with making sure each individual expansion comes with the existing upgrades players are likely to want to use with them.

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10 hours ago, flatpackhamster said:

'Card packs' would be a pisstake.  I want a single copy of Disposable Capacitors but I have to spend £15 on a pack containing 9 cards I don't want as well?  No thanks.

The key to this would be including cards that we DO want in these packs. Maybe some ace squadron pilots for the fighter types that only have a single ace so far? I’d pay a few bucks for new  pilots for the TIE Phantom, TIE Defender, E-Wing, etc... and hey, they included a bunch of hard-to-find old upgrade cards, neat. I’d be just as happy with new Titles for ships which still sorely need them, or even new ones which radically change the way certain ships play.

”But this doesn’t help the new player who’s coming around only because he’s a Clone Wars fan.” Sure it does! They could easily make two (or even four) of these card packs, one for GCW-era enthusiasts, and one for Clone Wars-era enthusiasts. 

It’s a great way for them to make lots of money for relatively low materials cost. Upgrade cards are quicker and easier to produce than plastic models (I’m speaking only about manufacturing costs here, not development and testing. That’s just as important and time consuming). And presumably, they don’t base their printing in China, which may be beneficial as well.

I know they’ve said they don’t intend to do card packs. I think they’ll probably change their minds at some point. I know they’ve been wildly popular in X-Wing.

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2 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

I know they’ve said they don’t intend to do card packs. I think they’ll probably change their minds at some point. I know they’ve been wildly popular in X-Wing.

When did they say that?  I thought they said at the last worlds they hadn’t ruled anything out...

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On 4/12/2020 at 1:36 AM, Pikeman84 said:

However, I dread the day I will have to tell a bright-eyed new CIS player he has to scour E-Bay or buy a useless MC-30 just for that sweet Ordinance Experts card he saw.  

I'm sorry, I'm not meaning to be rude here, but this line made me laugh because of how it is so close yet juuuust misses the mark. 🙂

 

Your point is a really good one. Completely valid.

 

The ship you picked is a really good choice. It is the ship I would have picked too.

 

But, Ordnance experts? Besides the fact that it's also available in the cheaper Raider pack (if you can find one🙂), the two big upgrades that FFG has treated us badly with are Assault Proton Torpedoes and Turbolaser Reroute Circuits, both of which are exclusively available in the MC30 pack (alt arts aside) and both of which have experienced periods of extreme popularity.

So, yeah, just made me laugh.

 

Anyway, I think each of your proposed solutions has merits. I like them all for different reasons.

 

I particularly like number 3 as a way really differentiate the Clone Wars from the GCW.

 

 

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Something is clearly afoot with upgrade cards, the new cards they posted here are obviously a different format to the cards we have now. So what does this mean? 2.0? Probably not. 1.5? Maybe. I personally think there is going to be some sort of refresh with upgrade cards, and maybe some sip cards that need some love. What form that takes remains to be seen, but I think card packs are an almost certainty. My strongest hope is that it allows us to collect faction pure.

As a final note I think restricting Clone Wars upgrades to Clone Wars ships only is an exceptionally bad idea, it will massively restrict design space and lead to a lot of cards that essentially do the same things.

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One option is FFG could offer smaller, upgrade slot or theme specific card packs for less ($5/eachish) than what the X-Wing & Legion packs were. Officers, non-unique titles & Support Team. Weapons Team, Offensive & Defensive Retrofits. Ion, Ordnance, & Turbolaser. They also have in house printing capabilities for a more on demand option. As was pointed out with so many neutral upgrades available if they were to release an all in one option it would need to be fairly large or we're all purchasing multiple upgrade packs at $15-$20 each when most of us really only want a handful of duplicates. 

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6 hours ago, Flengin said:

I'm sorry, I'm not meaning to be rude here, but this line made me laugh because of how it is so close yet juuuust misses the mark. 🙂

 

Your point is a really good one. Completely valid.

 

The ship you picked is a really good choice. It is the ship I would have picked too.

 

But, Ordnance experts? Besides the fact that it's also available in the cheaper Raider pack (if you can find one🙂), the two big upgrades that FFG has treated us badly with are Assault Proton Torpedoes and Turbolaser Reroute Circuits, both of which are exclusively available in the MC30 pack (alt arts aside) and both of which have experienced periods of extreme popularity.

So, yeah, just made me laugh.

 

Anyway, I think each of your proposed solutions has merits. I like them all for different reasons.

 

I particularly like number 3 as a way really differentiate the Clone Wars from the GCW.

 

 

Add spinal armament to that list I would love more then one copy of that.

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Id just hope that all cards are fully compatible and that the clone wars set includes some of those rarer cards, spinals, trc, etc etc to get people off to a good start.

Would also welcome a print on demand service and cards packs.

 

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3 hours ago, LTD said:

My radical suggestion is this - just change the rules of play so you don’t actually have to have a physical card to take the upgrade.

 

Madness I know.

Too Radical to make Money From, after all.

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