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Pixel Tactics Deluxe» Forums » General

Subject: Pixel Tactics will die because there's no support for it. rss

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Gold Sirius
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I was at a friend's yesterday, playing BattleCon.
I asked him about the online version of BattleCon that he had backed on KS, and he said, "Yeahhh, I tried it, I don't know, I really feel like these guys are so busy with so many projects that everything they put out is not as good as it should be."

They need to hire more people. They need to delegate more.

So the subject came to Pixel Tactics. We LOVE Pixel Tactics. We want to build our decks! But there's no scene. No tournaments. Nothing. Because Level99G doesn't support its own games once they're on the market.

Where can I find examples of deck constructions? What are aggro deck examples? Control decks? Mid-range decks? Combo decks? I can't find no examples online. I can't find the cards either to help me make a deck.

It took 3 years, (THREE YEARS!) for Level99 to tell us that, for example, Leaders CAN indeed be Supporters or Forerunners, despite everyone else playing otherwise! The designer's answer? "It doesn't matter, the decks were balanced with Leaders as Supporters or Forerunners in mind." WHAT?

We also talked about Epic Card Game, since he's a huge Magic The Gathering player (I am not), and I was telling him about how I was very interested in it. There's a scene for Epic Card Game. They encourage local game stores to hold tournaments. There are deck examples online. It's being actively supported.

The Pixel Tactics website has been dead since forever. Never updated, even after Deluxe came out!

I love Level99's games. You can find my glowing reviews for some of their games. I even bought Millennium Blades recently, since it's a great game. But now there's an expansion coming, already. 450 new cards, they say. How playtested do you really think these cards will have been, hmmm?

There's Ithry scrambling about from forum to forum, trying to answer questions. That's it. Brad too, sometimes. Two people. For all of their games.

Over two months ago (!), I asked a question about a misprinted promo card in Pixel Tactics Deluxe, and I got this answer from Ithry "It would appear the "X" stats are a typo on the card. As I do not have the original files on me at the moment, I cannot say for sure." Did he ever come back to give us an actual answer after checking his files? Take a wild guess.

I wish Pixel Tactics was a thriving LCG, loved and supported by its creators. It's not. The game will never flourish, the meta game will never develop.

You have Level99G squeezing as many games and expansions out as they can, while us players are stuck trying to figure out all the inconsistencies by ourselves. It's now known and common in our gaming group to say, "It's a Level99 game, that's to be expected," when the rules aren't clear or when there are misprints on cards. (Our recent NOIR games, for example, with its multiple erratas in the rulebook.)

It would be different if Pixel Tactics simply didn't catch on despite the publisher's efforts to promote it. But that's not what happened here. It's just not being promoted.

That makes me sad. I love Brad's ideas, his designs, and the games he puts out. But they really need to start supporting and promoting their games more (yes, that means even after they are released!), and delegate, delegate, delegate.

As it stands, Pixel Tactics is dead. *sigh*
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Bartosz Popow
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I think I look at it from a different angle. I don't consider Pixel Tactics a living card game that requires a scene. In fact building a deck is something I'm not interested in at all. To me it's a boxed card game with a couple of expansions. Like, say, Dominion. Especially since all Pixel Tactics incarnations come with two sets, for both players. Unlike regular LCG's where you need another dedicated buyer to play a game. Here you grab two identical decks and have fun . So to me the game will be alive as along as I decide to play it.
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Adrian George
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Pixel Tactics isn't an LCG and is not supported as one, it's supported the way every other board game out there is, with occasional expansions as market demands.
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OK, granted, it's not per se a LCG, but it could very well be one.
Considering the amount of expansions already released and the fact that it lends itself perfectly to deck construction, it's still disappointing.

But it doesn't change the fact that the website has never been updated, that the mini expansions were never re-templated like the other complete decks were, etc, etc.
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Aaron White
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I do not feel that Pixel Tactics is dead, but I want to add my voice to the chorus for proofreading. Lvl99 is making so many awesome things, but they are overlapping projects and maybe missing some of the love they need because time is a premium.

Exceed is my new favourite game on the planet, but there were a couple of little things that happened such as alignment of text on one of the boosts. I felt like if they had a little more time to focus on this project the proofreading would be flawless. But I will regret nothing because this game is so awesome and the next season will be even better.

Regarding your overall comment that Pixel Tactics is dead, it is also one of my favourite games and will never leave my collection. Might not play it all the time, but I always have heaps of fun when I play it. If you are playing this game heaps with your friends, does it matter if anyone else is? Not trying to argue with your feelings, just sharing mine.

Hopefully you get a barrage of comments from lots of people to show there is a definite scene for Pixel Tactics.



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Bill Hartman
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My daughter and I play Pixel Tactics often, and we love it. We don't construct decks, Instead we pick from one set and just play each other. We like that aspect, as we really don't enjoy building decks much in many games (we have done it for a few, but prefer to typically just open a game and play).

With five releases plus deluxe, mini packs, promos, etc. (we own it all) it is certainly enough to keep anyone busy for a long time. And if someone did want to build decks, there are a ton of cards already to choose from.

Personally, I never liked researching builds/decks, because to me it always felt like "cheating". If you can't assemble it yourself, without finding champion deck lists on the net, then did you really win? And I was also never a fan of feeling like I HAD to buy a new set/expansion just to keep up. I used to play Magic and some other games that I felt were too much "keep up with the releases" or chase cards, and that never interested me. I always prefered sealed/pre constructed and/or casual play.

Pixel Tactics is one of many card battlers we own, and has seen the most play out of all of them. We positively love the game/gameplay, and since we don't care about tournament scenes or anything, the game fits perfectly.

We do run into the occasional rules questions, but have always found an answer here on BGG.

On the other hand, we did the PnP for BattleCon and just didn't really enjoy it. It just didn't click with us.
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Alan Castree
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Yeah, I don't think this going to die. It's just one of L99s many products and they'll most likely keep it alive as long as they are.

I don't build decks either, usually just pick a set and play. However, with the deluxe set I'm considering in doing more tournaments and drafts in our BG community. It takes a little effort but if one person is dedicated to managing it, it will happen.

This isn't an LCG or a CCG. There really isn't a meta except the meta you make in your community.
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Shaun Cooley
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ACGalaga wrote:

This isn't an LCG or a CCG. There really isn't a meta except the meta you make in your community.


I think that is what the op is complaining about, though. Magic is big because wizards pushes it big. Level 99 is a smaller company that makes great games, but I don't think they have the right people to really push the game, or if they do, they are always too busy working on the next thing.

Brad is a genius at design. Clearly that's where his passion is. One side effect of that passion, though, is a much bigger use of his time on designing... once one project is in the bag, after months of testing, tweaking, etc., it's only natural to want to put that down and pick up the next thing. As the consumers though, that's the point where we are just starting with it (apart from playtesters obviously).

I think if there was a dedicated community support person who had the time to push for and arrange organized play stuff, they might have a more active scene. But that's a tough place for a small company to put money, especially without the steady income stream of a ccg or lcg model. They have made some small efforts with Battlecon - prize support packages, tournament rules where I think the idea was to have a monthly rotating roster of characters to choose from... that started what, 2 years ago? And we're only on the the 3rd rotation...

Part of what keeps a company catering to specific customer wants (such as a tournament scene) comes from how much interest they see in it. So it's a bit of a catch 22. They can't justify having an employee do it if too few people are interested, but few people are interested unless the company is supporting it.

With regards to game clarification questions, I agree that is something they should always be actively engaged in. Since they've built their business on kickstarter by going directly to the fans, they do have a bit more of an obligation to answer questions, imo.
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Brad Talton
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Pixel Tactics has always been casual/semi-casual. It was never meant to be Magic the Gathering. I don't have the time to support a true CCG/LCG, nor the money to hire someone to do this full-time, nor the inclination to create a game with that level of long-term commitment attached.

Last year we did have a full-time community manager whose job was to realize these online communities for Pixel Tactics and BattleCON, but they simply didn't pick up the steam to be viable. So we have indeed tried it, and we found that it's the players who aren't supporting the games. I don't think that's anyone's fault in particular–we just don't have enough dedicated players to make that community come alive.

Pixel Tactics is our most-selling game ever, and that should reveal a lot about the size of the business. For example, we haven't re-templated the Mini-Expansions because we haven't yet sold out of the 10,000 units we originally printed three years ago. Compare that to the numbers that a company with organized play programs, like FFG or Wizards must be selling, and you can see how impractical such a program would be for a company with our level of saturation.

Even small CCGs print twenty-thousand-plus boxes when they do a new expansion, and expect to sell out of those $120 boxes in three months. 20,000 units is close to the lifetime sales of the $15 Pixel Tactics box over its four-year life. And as we saw from the PT Deluxe Kickstarter, there are about 2500 people who will buy a new PT game on release. How many of them are non-casual players looking for a community? My estimate is less than 1% of the whole.

I'm planning to slow down our rate of releases a lot this year and next year, and focus on doing the best we can with our new games, rather than trying to scramble from one release to another every month. I'm hoping this will give us the time we need to support more of our games properly after release, but even then, a large-scale organized play program isn't something we're capable of with the size of Level 99 Games and our current fanbase. I appreciate that a few people want this, but it's something that's going to have to be done by the community, not by us, and I'm not sure the community is large enough around PT to be self-sustaining.

I do wish we sold enough Pixel Tactics that there were 100 more people making posts like this one. Then they could get together and get an online community started. At present, even if we spent the money again to build Organized Play and hire a community manager, there's just not the critical mass to make such a thing stick.

And like Shaun said too, I'm really a designer at heart. I don't want to be making Pixel Tactics forever and ever (And it gets harder to balance and manage the rules with each expansion). Once you guys get it, I've been playing it for a year almost... I'm ready to work on my next project XD
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Thank you very much for your answer, Brad.

I had not realized that the sales were much lower than for other regular CCGs.

I would never play a CCG, btw, but a LCG, sure, maybe, and Pixel Tactics seemed like the perfect one to me. Although I didn't even want to deck build with Pixel Tactics either at first. I guess it's my friend that put that idea in my head, and reading the Constructed rules in the Deluxe rulebook really cemented that idea, that the game would be even better if we could make our own decks.

With the amount of games you guys release, I figured Level99 was bigger than it actually is? I certainly thought you sold more. I was pretty sure BattleCon was more popular than Pixel Tactics.

But that also lends credence to my claims, that you guys release too much considering the size of the team, leading to various typos, misprints and such, thus lowering the quality of your releases, even if they are good games. (The rulebooks, especially... I don't think I've seen a single one from your games without grammar mistakes or typos...)

But you just said that you wanted to do better with new games to be released, and I appreciate that.

Pixel Tactics is a fantastic game regardless, I will definitely keep on playing it, maybe I'll just give up on the deckbuilding aspect. We'll see.

Keep on making great games, Brad. You're one of my favorite designers out there. As long as the quality is there, I'll be supporting you and your games.
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