A Confession: Why I Stopped Playing CCGs, LCGs and X-Wing.
Ben Parker
Australia
Elanora Heights
NSW
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When I was 16, I smoked just 7 cigarettes and then got out just in time to realise the incredible pull of their addiction.

I bought more than 7 packs of Magic Cards. I don't want to think about how much money I spent on Magic the Gathering. I bought one box of Modern Masters for $250. I know that was a waste of money. I've never even played with any of those cards.

If you're a current player of any of these games, please don't continue reading, I know you don't want to hear any of this. When you're amongst it, you can't see any problem with it.
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1. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Ben Parker
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1) If Magic the Gathering was an ios game, I would have wondered why I was paying $6-9 for a totally random selection of cards with only one rare one. That's expensive for an entire game on ios that you can play forever, for countless hours. The cards that comprise a single pack of magic cards could end up in the bin immediately if they're rubbish. This was a fairly intense addiction, but it lasted from the end of Return to Ravnica to just before Theros. So not very long, like my 7 cigarettes, but it was intense.
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2. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
Ben Parker
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So when Theros was announced I said to myself: enough of this Magic. Enough of buying packs of cards. I'm graduating. I'm going to be one of the elite. I'm going to attempt to understand how to play Android: Netrunner. Well, after beating my brain against it for a while I figured it out, but by that time I had moved onto another LCG, because once you're on the Fantasy Flight LCG hype train, you don't stop till you hit X-Wing.
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3. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:702]
Ben Parker
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I played countless matches of Magic and had a whole heap of fun doing it, so I don't really regret playing it. I regret that the amount of money I spent was far out of proportion with the value I got. For instance, I paid $10 for a Beta version of Minecraft, and you can basically play that game until you die. Its infinite. Its larger than earth. That's value. I played about 6 games of Netrunner and found it a bit cold for my liking. Game of Thrones LCG was one I went along to a few local tournaments to play. This leads me to my second point.

2) There's so many cards to learn, people will look down on you if you don't know them or have the current "best" ones. In what other board game are there "best" cards and people still agree to play the game? How is that balanced? This is the key social aspect that makes these games addictive. Its what drives you to go back in the bowels of the store and choose another Chapter Pack of Data Pack and pay $15-20 for it, compared to the price for Magic cards; this time getting three copies of a set array of cards.
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4. Board Game: Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:892]
Ben Parker
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Now, I actually had a really pleasant time playing this one on one evening; but still I recommend this least of all the LCG's. It has by far the least fair Core Set of all of them.

3) "You only have one copy of Core? No you need at least three copies of Core, so you have three of blahdeblah and three of boopidoop. You can't have a Cthuhlu deck without three of Cthuhlu."

The LCGs are actually far more expensive because if you want a single card, you can never (in Australia anyway) just buy that card. You have to buy a Pack which contains thirty cards you don't want. Or another Core Set which is $60.
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5. Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:447]
Ben Parker
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Another one I tried. I only went along to one weekend for this. It was a sweaty sweltering day in the games store and I forever will associate that scent and humidity with this game. There was more warm bodies in there than Magic Cards. Its a unique card game, but at the time I played it this one suffered from a tiny card pool. Everyone was playing similar stuff and if you weren't playing with the latest set you were pretty lame.

4) "So you just have the Core Set?"
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6. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Ben Parker
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I was getting a bit weary of all of the social pressures that went along with these collectible games, so I dealt with that by getting into X-Wing.

5) "I see you haven't gone very deep yet." "This is just what I brought with me. Don't worry, I've wasted heaps of money on this."

X-Wing has the lure of the toy. This can't be a waste of money, I get a really cool pre-painted toy with it. Well, each toy does come with different cards, which is another incentive to buy that next expansion, but most of the toys are pretty similar. Why do I need another ship that looks a lot like the X-Wings or Tie-Fighters I already have? Well, the secret is you don't, and even when you bring that latest toy to the X-Wing night, someone will still point out all the toys you don't yet have.

All that said, X-Wing is a brilliant miniatures game, I just wish it wasn't sold in such a greedy way. It removes all the guesswork from Miniwargaming. There's no rulers, there are set pieces for moving certain distances; its a brilliant system. I only have a problem with the way it is sold and the culture that it leads to. It leads to a culture of jealousy and craving, not strategy skill and fun.
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