Derrick Billings
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There's a lot of swirl on the boards right now given the announcement that FFG is considering some vaguely-stated maybe-someday set rotation. A lot of people are wanting to see the same in ANR, and while I've stated my opinion forcefully elsewhere, I'll restate it here briefly: the ANR card pool is in its infancy, less than a third the size of an MTG Standard Block, and that pool is split between Corp and Runner to boot. If we're seeing stagnation and a lack of variety, the solution is more cards, not fewer.

So, let's consider the grandaddy of the LCGs.

When I first got into AGOT in 2011, there had been six deluxe sets published, and the eighth chapter pack cycle had just started: 1388 cards.

Moreover, back when they first went to the LCG model, they hadn't quite shaken all the CCG mud off their shoes, and the first four chapter pack cycles had a kind of pseudo rarity. Rather than 20x3 to make sixty cards, there were 10x3 and 10x1 to make forty cards. ($10 price FWIW)

They had realized their error and a new 60-card print run of the fourth cycle had just been shipped, and they'd announced the same for the third cycle. The first and second cycle, containing some very potent and popular mechanics, not only were still ones you had to buy 3x of to get full playsets, but also were OOP and getting very hard to find. The key packs to play a Winter or Summer theme deck were going for $50 or $60 online.

So, this was the barrier to entry when I bought into it. And I'm here to tell you, it's still feasible, especially now that everything is in print and available in 3x packs.

Several things that were evident then that are not evident yet in Netrunner because the card pool is *so small.*

First: all the players know you can make targeted buys. The grognards may have everything, but new players starting out have the luxury of choosing their level of involvement. The return on investment is generally good, and you can build a deck online to get your shopping list. The larger the card pool, the less you actually need *every* pack.

Second: because everybody knows every card in every pack, there's no prestige or pride in ownership, and so everyone can play with everything. As a result, playtest proxies are not really any big deal. You're not "cheating" so long as you don't turn up at a tournament with paper in your deck. You build the deck you want, you practice with it, and if you like it, you know exactly which packs you'd need to buy, and that's a cost savings.

Third: with a deeper card pool, it's a lot easier to specialize. You don't necessarily need every pack to gain access to key neutral cards, and you're not necessarily expected to play decks from every faction. It's kind of the same point as #1, but I can easily see that in a couple of years somebody who just prefers Shaper, Weyland, and HB could skip multiple packs because those are their chosen factions, and that's a cost savings.

And so, after two years, I own about 75% of the back catalogue and my rate of purchases have slowed dramatically. I don't even own all six deluxe sets, because I play two factions rarely if ever. I occasionally have to build around a hole in my collection or shrug that there's a neutral card that would work in my deck du jour, but it's pretty livable.

Bottom line, I think people are overreacting about the cost of entry. I actually think it will get easier for people as the card pool deepens, since not every pack will be a must-have.

Obviously there are major differences in the games that change the equation for ANR. For instance, there are very strong disincentives to splashing out of faction in AGOT, so maybe the aforementioned Shaper Partisan will still have attractive Anarch and Criminal cards to consider. But on the whole, I think the game will have little need for rotation or Core Set revisions until a number of years down the road.
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Matt Dawkins
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Thanks for sharing! I had a similar experience, as I got into AGOT in summer 2012. I constantly preach your first and third points to anyone who will listen, but there's still people out there who say you can't compete or keep up with the game unless you have every card ever printed. shake
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James King
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Great post... and I agree.

I also like the idea of faction-specific deluxe boxes. It works in AGoT and it's working really well in CoC (which has a HUGE pool). I really like what Team Covenant does with pulling faction cards out of core boxes. It's really just more options. If I'm only interesting in running decks for one or two factions why bother trying to collect all those other cards I won't use?

It can only get better with more cards! whistle
 
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Nephtys Nephtys
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In AGOT, one difference is that it's almost never effective to splash across houses. There's a substantial in-game penalty to play, so you can in fact go and get all the cards of one house and call it a day.

In ANR, you need TWO factions minimum. One corp, one runner. Plus splashing cards has zero in game consequence, only deckbuilding restrictions. With the effect of limiting certain effects entirely to certain factions, you pretty much need every faction.

Likewise, much of AGOT deckbuilding is the sort of 'I need lots and lots of varieties of cards' since most characters were uniques, that also couldn't be played if they had died previously. This is very different from the extremely structured, 'finely honed machine' that a solid ANR deck is.
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Derrick Billings
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I avoid the Team Covenant packs like the plague--for example, if you bought just the shaper cards from Genesis Cycle, then you would be passing up a few slightly useful cards like Kati Jones, New Angeles City Hall, Public Sympathy, and one other that pops up from time to time that sounds like smearing yourself in cement until it forms an impenetrable shell, which doesn't sound very comfortable but I guess is worth putting up with. cool

While there's a lot less cross-faction splashing in AGOT, you get the idea that there are Neutral cards you don't want to miss.
 
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Gregory Pettigrew
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Grimwalker wrote:
all the players know you can make targeted buys. The grognards may have everything, but new players starting out have the luxury of choosing their level of involvement. The return on investment is generally good, and you can build a deck online to get your shopping list. The larger the card pool, the less you actually need *every* pack.


This x 1000. I'm curious how many Data Packs the typical Netrunner deck actually necessitates.
 
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Derrick Billings
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We've started seeing it already. "What should I buy first" is always asked and always will be, but the answer is already changing.

Half a year ago, you really needed two core sets and the genesis cycle in its entirety for the most flexibility. Now, we can pick and choose, it's a more interesting question. What Lies Ahead, Opening Moves, and Double Time would be my current recommendations.

In another year, it will really come down to what decks you want to play, and the answers will vary and then we'll be in a really good place.
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Matthew Guze
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etherial wrote:
Grimwalker wrote:
all the players know you can make targeted buys. The grognards may have everything, but new players starting out have the luxury of choosing their level of involvement. The return on investment is generally good, and you can build a deck online to get your shopping list. The larger the card pool, the less you actually need *every* pack.


This x 1000. I'm curious how many Data Packs the typical Netrunner deck actually necessitates.


For what it's worth, my current competitive decks use 11 of the 14 currently released products (everything except Trace Amount, Second Thoughts, and Mala Tempora). If you throw in the other runner deck I'm currently testing it goes up to 13 (Second Thoughts is the outlier). There are probably some substitutions you can make if you don't have certain packs, but you can definitely still make two decks using every pack if you want to.

I imagine part of it is because you have to build two decks with two mutually exclusive card pools, though. With Thrones you only need to make one deck, though if there's a lot less splashing and there are still six factions to deal with, maybe it's about the same. I agree that this can definitely change in a year's time, especially if FFG keeps up this release cycle.
 
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Tobias Maier
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I have similar experiences, most decks use about 6-10 packs. Corp and runner decks will not generally use the same packs. But this number will probably stay pretty constant, more packs will not necessarily lead to more packs per deck. So the cost of building one deck will not rise to much.

This is especially important for reentries. People who took a break from the game need to be able to get back into the game. Right now a set rotation would be terrible for Netrunner. I expect it to be problematic in AGOT too. I am not really familiar with AGOT so my example will be from Netrunner.

I donĀ“t know how set rotation would work, but I am pretty sure the core set would stay legal. But the core set was designed with the first cycle in mind. Plascrete came out in the first pack because Tag and Bag would be way to strong without Plascrete in the cardpool. Now what would happen with pack rotation some counters are needed to keep different decks in check, those counters would rotate out eventually. There is still the need for a counter so one would have to be reprinted. This means a portion of each pack would be dedicated to basically reprint old cards. Right now this would be terrible! The cardpool is growing pretty slow as it is (my opinion). At the beginning of the cycle they teased us with powerfull double events, half a year later, there are rumors that it might now be possible to construct a double deck. For each faction, there are about two cards per pack. A rotation for Netrunner is not coming anytime soon.

We are lucky, they will iron out all the kinks of a rotation with AGOT and when we need one, it will be done the best way they can.

The best way might be to print allstar boxes of each cycle, about the size of a deluxe expansion. They might even keep all single packs in stock and just use the allstar packs to lower the cost of entry.
 
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Grimwalker wrote:
Bottom line, I think people are overreacting


This is happening in virtually every post I read in these forums. If something is new and powerful, some people immediately tag it as OP. If it is not, it is compared to other 'OP' cards and accounted terrible. If there is the slightest chance, like one in a a billion, of something negative happening in the future regarding cards/the gamestate, etc, it will immediately be seized upon and held to be true.

Grr. Just venting.
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Carl Frodge
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I think once the card pool becomes bigger, FFG should consider releasing Faction-Specific "Value Packs," in which you would get 3 copies each of the best and most popular cards for each specific faction. They could even separate them by Cycle, so they could have a Weyland Value Pack: Genesis Cycle, which would contain all of the best and most popular Weyland cards from the Genesis Cycle.

This way, if a player gets the Core and decides "I like Weyland best!" they can instantly increase the card pool for their Weyland deck, without having to buy every data pack with important Weyland cards.


An alternative idea is to start releasing pre-constructed "Starter decks," which would focus around one ID and one central strategy and have an already constructed 45 or 49 card deck (or more or less depending on the ID), with all/most of the important cards for that strategy.
-This would cost more, I think, to produce than the standard data packs, but it would certainly make it even easier for new players to get into the game with a tournament-ready deck, and add cards to their card pool that they might otherwise have to buy 5+ data packs for.

What I'm really saying is that, once the card pool becomes so large that it's too expensive, too intimidating, or too overwhelming for new players, FFG needs to eliminate the necessity of having all the data packs. And I think one way to do this is by re-releasing, or reprinting older cards.

Heck, they could do a "Best of" set for each cycle, where all the best and most popular cards from each cycle are reprinted in a big box (similar to the big expansions), for maybe $30 MSRP.

--------------------

I am completely 100% against set-rotation. I hate it in CCG's and I would hate it in LCG's. If they need to put cards out of comission, I wholly believe in ban/restricted/forbidden lists as a way to cycle out "overpowered" cards or cards that take away from the game. If that becomes necessary, but FFG seems to do a really good job with not making cards too overpowered, or evening the playing field if they do.

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