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Stormtower2

I suggest Babylon 5 for a new LCG format

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Years ago, there was a Babylon 5 CCG.  And for those who loved the TV show, there's a really good depth of factional strategies in it.  I think a lot of the mechanics can be very similar to the A Game of Thrones LCG, so adapting or re-adapting the old Babylon 5 CCG mechanics may be a pretty easy process.

 

For those who are not familiar with Babylon 5, it's a sci-fi TV show that had 5 (?) seasons.  Relatively short, compared to others, but the storyline was solid. 

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Actually, the primary complaint I can make about the old Babylon 5 ccg is the fact that the most interesting cards were hard-to-find rares in booster packs.

Releasing entire sets as an LCG would pretty much solve that.

 

 

As it is, I actually prefer the mechanism that the game uses to resolve conflicts (similar to A Game of Thrones' challenges), and how deep the player interactions across the entire table can become.  Unlike the challenges in A Game of Thrones (which typically only involve 2 players at a time), the Babylon 5 conflicts usually get the entire table involved.  Plus, multiple conflicts can be active during any given turn.  So this leads to some interesting dynamics between players as they try to get help from other players to succeed in their conflict ... while opposing other conflicts at the same time.

 

I've played plenty of sealed-deck tournaments for Babylon 5, so I know that it can succeed on even that basic level of deck construction.   Most of the key characters in the game are "uniques" meaning only one copy may be in play at any given time.  So the "core set" of the game can be played with just one copy of these key cards.  Perhaps the only cards that each player would need multiples of would be the generic aides/agents/captains/fleets.  But that's like having multiple limited locations for A Game of Thrones.

 

 

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I can't see them choosing to do a card game on a television show that was taken off the air and subsequent shows/tv movies did poorly. The fan base is too small and the IP to obscure that is more than a decade old.

Now please don't take this the wrong way, I LOVED B5. My favorite show when it was on and I certainly think it has the depth and flavor to keep people interested in a game... the problem is how many people would be attracted to the game based purely on the IP? There will be some people attracted to it purely because it is an FFG game, some purely because it is an LCG, but the IP needs to do most of the heavy lifting, and if they are going to go with something that is not well recognized (anymore) but has a more cult following, it makes more sense for them to use one of their original IPs and not have to pay any licensing fees.

It would be cool though.

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To be honest, when I have first seen the instructional videos of The Game of Thrones, I though: gosh, they ripped off Babylon 5 CCG. :D Truly, some of the mechanics are quite similar but B5 CCG seems to be even more complex and provides more flexibility in terms of different card types and effects (even the inclusion of the Shadows, Vorlons and Babylon 5 as independent entities in the game is a fascinating aspect).

I do agree in a sense that the time of Babylon 5 is bit on the low - it is almost four years since the last movie and it may seem that since then the franchise did not produce anything valuable. (Last hope being the RPG and the miniature game from Mongoose Publishing, which the latter of ceased production of ACTA in early 2008). However, I would not underestimate the power of this franchise... The following is a very strong one and it is widely known and totally timeless in its storytelling.

I would love to see B5 resurrected in an LCG format (or a Board Game format)... like BSG or other franchises here at FFG. And maybe it would also get a chance for a new series or a movie. (Would love that!) Sure, it is easier to produce and sell a byproduct of a story-telling series with it running (see BSG) or being more known (ST - after spawning x different series). And I surely see the low cost of a production which does not have to pay its franchise fees... true. However - can it produce such a lore of power and mythology as Babylon 5? I doubt it.

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BAsically you are asking if they could create an IP as rich as that B5 in characters, intrigue, history, and culture... and the answer is yes. According to the FFG website it started out as Fantasy Flight Publishing, and they have writers on staff and under contract that produce material for other games, I see no reason why they couldn't task a couple of them to create an entire galaxy with detailed histories and cultures. I'm just looking into their non-LCG games (that aren't Arkham Horror, love that game!) and Twilight Imperium already seems to have a lot of that B5 flavor (I wouldn't be surprised to find out the creators were fans of B5). Tannhuser also has a pretty interesting backstory that could be expanded into a very interesting LCG.

Basically I think that if you are going to go with someone elses IP you need to be sure to recoup all the money spent on negotiations and licensing fees within the time of the contract at a minimum (this is assuming the product also generates enough money to pay for the salaries of all involved in its negotiations and development). I'm not convinced B5 could do that... but it has been a long time since I've been to a sci-fi convention so I don't know how many die-hard fans of it there are who would buy an LCG. Star Wars makes a lot more sense, so does Star Trek.

Though, I would be doing cartwheels if they did do a B5 anything.

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If looking for a Sci-Fi theme, why go with the one who went of the air like 13 years ago and hasn't  had any new material in ages?

BSG, Star Wars, Star Trek, heck even Farscape or Firefly are still producing new material.

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To be honest, I am actually quite unhappy how Warner Bros / JMS are handling this baby. I would love if they would have produced more comics / books / games / whatever... I would probably end buying all of it... Nevertheless I understand your argument and totally agree but... but... and I hope this is somehow going to turn truthful - JMS hinted on some Babylon 5 stirring just end of last year which could come to some extent being revealed this April... which would again bring Babylon 5 into focus as it deserves. I mean now that he is a A-list screen writer in Hollywood a new product from his hand should receive a bit more attention hopefully... :)

Still, I would love a game which would grab the intricacies of the story, the development of the characters and the vastness of this universe. :)

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Axolos said:

Btw, JMS just pointed to a possibility for a new Babylon 5 series or something similar at the Comic Con in San Diego!

http://tv.ign.com/articles/118/1183899p1.html

 

I'd be WAY more piqued by that if most of the follow-up B5 stuff hadn't stunk. Crusade was pretty mediocre and Legend of the Rangers and Lost Tales were both pretty awful, IMO.

 

I love B5, though, and as for the OP, I loved the CCG. I played the heck out of that for years. My Pak Ma Ra "Chosen of God" deck was rightly feared by all. To be honest, the Game of Thrones CCG/LCG always felt like a pale imitation.

 

I don't see it happening, but I'd certainly have to check-out a B5 LCG.

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 I tend to agree that the basic mechanic of B5CCG is almost made for the FFG format of big box starter deck followed by expansions. AGOT CCG/LCG owes a lot to B5CCG: to an extent I think the designer looked at B5CCG and focused ruthlessly on the mechanics.

The advantage of B5CCG is that it's one of the very few CCGs that was natively multi-player. The downside was that it was awful as 2-player. The other downside (and I say this as someone who played it to death, ran the UK nationals, developed the final (unpublished) expansion and so on was that the game was good despite itself. 

 

So I would love to see both the central mechanic and the license in LCG format. I doubt we'll see it, especially as FFG don't seem to have a track record of using games with screen capture art. And by all accounts the B5 licensors are their own worst enemies. Still, a man can hope.

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Deleriad said:

The advantage of B5CCG is that it's one of the very few CCGs that was natively multi-player. The downside was that it was awful as 2-player. The other downside (and I say this as someone who played it to death, ran the UK nationals, developed the final (unpublished) expansion and so on was that the game was good despite itself. 

Wow... great to have you here and active! Thanks for the response.

One question though: you say the game was good despite itself. What exactly do you mean by that?

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Axolos said:

One question though: you say the game was good despite itself. What exactly do you mean by that?

What I mean is that there were plenty of good ideas in the set-up but there's always a sense that the designers really knew what they were doing. To an extent that was the case in most early CCGs, but B5 was one of the first to branch out into a lot of new areas at once. If you look through your collection of cards from the first two sets (Premiere and Shadows) what you tend to find is that even by CCG standards there are an awful lot that simply never get used. The designers didn't really have a clear idea of what made a good card and what didn't. As the game developed, no one ever had time to sit down and really try to analyse how the game worked.

Part of the problem is that it is a bear to playtest. A game might last 2-3 hours and say 18 turns. (It's surprising to many people just how few turns there are in gam.) Meaning that perhaps only 30 cards get played with. Compare that with Magic where you can easily run 6-10 playtest games in the same period, constantly seeing how the cards interact. Add to that, of all games I reckon B5 is the one game which rewards table talk and negotiation over deck construction. Put it together and you can see how the fun of playing can hide the poorly developed mechanics. 

 

Personally I reckon that B5 is the best badly designed CCG out there...

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Deleriad said:

The advantage of B5CCG is that it's one of the very few CCGs that was natively multi-player. The downside was that it was awful as 2-player. 

This is true.

When I lived in Florida, I knew a group of other players. We'd test decks against each other and travel all around North Florida playing in tournaments. When the game died, we still all had enough cards that we could happily make new decks and keep playing whenever we wanted.

When I moved to Ohio, though suddenly I was devoid of a player pool. My wife also played, but like you said, the game sucked two player and trying to get together a new group of players for a defunct game (with fairly complex rules) just wasn't happening.

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I might be convinced to kill to get a FFG made Babylon 5 LCG (or any game, for that matter)- but I don't think it will happen, for the reasons already given above.

-Will

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I also think one of the reasons the Bab 5 game tanked was they didn't really get going until the show was near the end of its run.  Magic was king at the time, and people didn't really get with a 4 player game.  V:TES appealed to a narrow group that actually liked talking and interacting with others at the table other than saying 'I attack for 5, done'.  If it reappeared as a lcg with licensed images from the show, not original artwork, I'd buy it.

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 The problem with b5 was that it turned bad at the end. All down to JMS being told that season 4 would be the last and he had to compact his 5 season story line, then being given has 5th season and having to fill it with naff filler episodes. 

Sure it was epic but the ending ruins any hope of the franchise being brought back as a game, crusade and legend of the rangers were the final nails in the coffin. A bit like how the final series of BSG sucked and FFG didn't release an expansion to cover that series for it's board game.

I'd love to see FFG take lessons from B5 and turn twilight imperium into a LCG, this would fit with the business model of having their other flagship games have matching card games.

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I miss nothing about the mechanics of this game.  Loved the show, played the TCG, one of the worst TCG's I've played.  Good riddance.  4-player games with inconsistent tourney politics make for terrible tournaament support.  Might be ok as a social game, but to be honest, I'd much rather play boxed set Trek or something dominion-like for a casual game.  Deckbuilding is a highly competitive mechanic, and it doesn't fit well with the lackluster competition this game offered.

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Penfold said:

…if they are going to go with something that is not well recognized (anymore) but has a more cult following…

 

You mean something like CoC, AGoT, and W:I?

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