Corbert de Ronde
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Champions the Evolution of the CCG

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2071600413/champions-th...

Q: How do you prevent netdecking in a competitive Card Game when practically every successful design is posted on the Internet?

A: You design a game that includes a limited run of cards that are truly unique. The first premium set of Champions available through Kickstarter includes a printing of cards that are limited to a printing of one. You read that correctly. A single copy of that card will be printed. It's not rare, or ultra rare, or a special art version. It's absolutely unique. If you own it then nobody else can. Now imagine your deck contains a few of these unique cards. Go ahead and post your masterpiece on the Internet. There's nobody in the world who can copy it.

Take a moment to check out the kickstarter campaign and please feel free to leave a comment. All feedback is welcome. This is our preliminary launch in order to gain awareness, and generate interest.

Cobe
 
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Andrew Rowse
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Your true story on the KS page is a really interesting read

However, you have no game for people to back. There is not a shred of information about rules, set size, or anything other than a very basic, high level overview. You talk about the need for artists, but have no examples of what sort of art you would use. I would assume that your unique cards would share artwork with non-uniques, because to do otherwise would be cost-prohibitive - either way, that info should be there.

In your true story you demonstrate that you've got the sort of background one would expect of a good designer (though that background does not guarantee anything!), but overall the project completely fails to demonstrate that you have the competence to pull this off, and are thus a sound investment. You've not got any backed projects, any example art, any example gameplay, and even your video is unwatchably noisy. Why are you standing in a train yard?

Even putting aside that kickstarter CCGs appear regularly and almost without exception are failures, you're simply not giving potential customers enough information to feel comfortable backing your project. I suggest that you cancel the project, then use the design forums on this site to present your ideas and mechanics. Get advice from other people who have designed similar games, and relaunch your kickstarter when you're in a position to prove that you can deliver a quality game.

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William Campbell
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This problem only arises if your game is successful enough to support a community of people discussing it.

But if your community is that large, you'll need to print a very large number of unique cards if you want most players to have a reasonable chance of having any. This seems prohibitively difficult to do well, unless you are exponentially better at card design and balance than the collective effort of groups of experienced people who design, say, Magic.

If we postulate a world where your game is even moderately successful, all but the most serious/wealthy players would sell any unique cards that are competitively viable or really interesting; the hyper-limited supply of these items would make them very valuable to the community. You'd then have two metagames, a casual one that contained essentially no good/interesting unique cards (and thus had a normal "netdeck" "problem") - and a weird playground for the hyper-rich/serious where they can bash their unique decks against each other.

I can imagine another tack, where you proceduraly generate variants based on templates - but this seems unsatisfying as well. How fun is it to lose to someone because their Lightning Bloop does 4 damage and my Lightning Bleep does 3 (even if it has some other advantage, it's going to impossible to balance everything perfectly)?

A fair metagame where people all have access to the same options tends to resolve to a limited number of best answers. Removing fairness solves that, but is that really what you want? Meanwhile I think there's already very satisfactory ways to reward unique deckbuilding skills: variants like duplicate sealed reward the kind of unique creativity that I think you're looking for (while also being basically practical to exist on a "community" scale, and retaining competitive fairness).

I miss the very early days of Magic too, and the crazy problem of trying to build a deck without even knowing what other cards might exist. But I don't think you can get back to that - not like this anyway.

Edit: looking at your pricing, for $650 you're really going to design 24 unique cards? Assuming 100% of the money goes to art and design, that's still only $27/card. Even if that math somehow makes sense to you, even if you're some sort of designing machine that functions incredibly fast, you as a design machine can't "scale". If the game is moderately successful, you'd need to be designing hundreds/thousands of unique cards that are in any way interesting and still all work in a game.

And if the game is not that successful, you're not going to have a netdeck situation to contend with in the first place.
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Timothy Young
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jumpmanzero wrote:
you'll need to print a very large number of unique cards if you want most players to have a reasonable chance of having any. This seems prohibitively difficult to do well, unless you are exponentially better at card design and balance than the collective effort of groups of experienced people who design, say, Magic.




This.

I mean, holy playtesting Batman. How are you going to come up with the necessary quantity of unique cards and ensure that they're all balanced? Creating enough of these to make the game appealing seems like it would require an army of designers and playtesters.

And then, as William has already pointed out, if a successful game were to implement an idea like this, the secondary market would drive prices into the stratosphere on any of the unique cards that were worth playing. Which, I think I'm safe in assuming, would make the game really unappealing to an average gamer like myself.

But back to the first problem. Are you really suggesting creating a unique card for every booster pack you sell? That simply sounds undoable. For a large scale game anyway- which is what you're describing- a game on the scale of Magic, Pokémon, etc. I mean, there are some clever business operations experts in the world, but I just can't fathom producing a unique card for every booster pack of MTG. The artwork costs alone would mean that you would have to be charging upwards of $100 per pack in order to stay in the black. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I just don't see this as a viable business model.
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Patrick DeGeest
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Yes, netdecking is a problem. It is someone else doing the work for you. It's the equivalent of playing a CCG and having an expert standing next to you telling you every move you should make.
 
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Timothy Young
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KAndrw wrote:
However, you have no game for people to back. There is not a shred of information about rules, set size, or anything other than a very basic, high level overview.


The implication seems to be: "This game plays pretty much like Magic, but it has ultra-unique cards to make net-decking impossible."

Which in theory seems like a nice idea, but, well, I think we've already addressed the inherent issues.
 
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Timothy Young
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KAndrw wrote:
I suggest that you cancel the project, then use the design forums on this site to present your ideas and mechanics. Get advice from other people who have designed similar games, and relaunch your kickstarter when you're in a position to prove that you can deliver a quality game.


This is good advice. There are lot of really experienced, insightful people who frequent those forums. When I say experienced I'm referring both to game design as well as crowd-funding management. They're also very friendly and willing to help where help is asked for.


Edit: Here's a link, incase you didn't already know how to get there:
https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...
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Keith Carter
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ALL CAPS TITLES ARE A PROBLEM. STOP YELLING.
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I doubt it.
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It's an interesting if rough idea, but shouldn't the game be the selling point instead of being secondary to the marketing model?

I would think you'd have better luck building momentum for this kind of game if one were lauding innovative, interesting gameplay that integrated the unique rarity scheme. As it is, the KS seems more like an advertisement for the rarity scheme idea with no game to back it up. Who cares if no one can duplicate my deck if I'm one of 10 people playing the game in the first place?

Is netdecking really such a problem that a CCG designed specifically to thwart it could succeed? This seems like a product catering to a niche within a niche.

Design solid gameplay and promote that. The "netdecking solution" thing seems like a marketing-based misfire.

YMMV.
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I doubt it.
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pdegeest wrote:
Yes, netdecking is a problem. It is someone else doing the work for you. It's the equivalent of playing a CCG and having an expert standing next to you telling you every move you should make.


On the other hand, if you don't have the skill or experience to understand the intricacies of a really good deck design, you won't play a "netdecked" design to its full potential anyway. The expert shares what to put in the pile, but can't make up for a lack of skill on the part of the player.

In my experience, if you're good enough to consistently crush opponents with someone else's design, you don't need to netdeck. And if you need to netdeck to feel competitive, just having the "right" cards won't win you more games.

Could just be the people I've played with, but I don't see it as a problem.
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Isn't that what they invented drafting for?
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William Campbell
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Thinking about the core concern here more, I think there are potential approaches involving "unique cards" that could work - at least for an online game.

For example, imagine that we had 600 card templates, but that for each template there was some variation possible in costs and effects. Players are then distributed to "leagues", where each league has a static set of card variations - and each league could also feature a limited subset of the available card templates.

While certain archetypes might arise that span a large subset of leagues, we could expect to find many leagues with significantly different metagames (some of which would be fun, some of which would be degenerate). In any case, we'd certainly see significant variation in optimal builds between leagues as different cards filled different roles and saw different levels of prominence (or archetypes were not viable because key cards weren't present in that league). A creative player might hop between a few leagues, looking for one where the environment was right for a certain new deck or approach.

Could work, if you had a lot of players and some serious design foresight. But I don't think this is terribly viable in a physical game.
 
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I think you also left Capslock on by accident when you wrote the title. whistle
 
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Corbert de Ronde
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Thanks to all of you for your feedback.

First of all, this game has been in the development stage for a couple of years now. The lists of uniques already numbers into the thousands. In order to maintain balance with such a varied number of cards obviously required a lot of math. Especially with the Champions, and other Character cards. The only way to guarantee a proper distribution of unique cards is through crowdfunding. Do I envision this game reaching Magic or Pokémon levels of success? Definitely not. What I am hoping to create is a game just large enough that appeals to the deck designers, and players that are eager to sit across from the unknown. Most new games that are released begin with a relatively limited community of players. It's for this reason that an accompanying application for tracking games played is necessary to create a sense of competition.

Addressing the minimal amount of actual information that's been revealed about the gameplay, rules, and cards themselves. This was done intentionally. The first stage of this campaign is targeted at determining the interest in the core reasons for it's development. I've allowed for a little over a week to determine what the initial response is. Your feedback is exactly what I was hoping to attain. During the next stage of the campaign I will detail all of the different card types, and how they fit into the game of Champions.

Thank you
 
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I doubt it.
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Cobeness wrote:
The lists of uniques already numbers into the thousands.

Holy smokes!

Cobeness wrote:
In order to maintain balance with such a varied number of cards...

So the earliest unique cards are balanced against the ones you just designed last week? Do you actively playtest each of them, or do you rely on ...

Cobeness wrote:
...a lot of math...

...to balance the cards? Do you find that they are mechanically/numerically balanced AND fun to play? Or are there clunkers that, while technically balanced, are a bore to play?

Have you considered creating a blog here on BGG to discuss the method (if not the specifics) of how you developed your balancing algorithms? I, for one, would read a blog about that.

Cobeness wrote:
The only way to guarantee a proper distribution of unique cards is through crowdfunding.
...Most new games that are released begin with a relatively limited community of players. It's for this reason that an accompanying application for tracking games played is necessary to create a sense of competition.

I would tend to agree with jumpmanzero that bringing your idea to an online CCG would be much more feasible. The development time has already been put in to create the game, it seems, so you're losing nothing there. I would think an app could be integrated with the infrastructure you already envision for tracking play and stats, as you're really only talking about a front-end for a database in the game's current incarnation. Adding play functionality would rely on that database anyway, so in the most high-level sense, you're already half-way there.

Have you investigated saving money on printers' costs and putting it instead into a much more flexible, trackable, and manageable digital version of your game?
 
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