$30.00
$5.00
$20.00
$15.00
Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: TCG vs LCG : Pros and Cons and a possible compromise rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tom Marzullo
msg tools
Hi, I have been working on a card game with a small team of developers and we are reaching the final stages where we must look forward to production, marketing, Kickstarter, and all of that fun stuff.

This is a competitive card game where custom deck building is highly encouraged and even something I would consider to be a major strength of the product. While there are some faction-type cards that clearly work together right out of the box, they are meant only to be a foundation or a starting idea for your deck.

We are all Yugioh and Magic players, so the idea of a TCG with random packs comes very naturally. We think the random aspect and rarity abuse by the developers is abhorrent, however, and would never want to go down that road (and from what I gather that is a huge turn-off to many other people as well.)

At the same time, an LCG-style approach isn't appropriate or best for the consumers either. An LCG is a card game where you buy one, non-random, boxed set that lets you start playing immediately without having to worry about random chance or luck (or expensive cards off the secondary market.)

LCG-style games do not promote creative deckbuilding however. They just can't. Not without the consumer spending an atrocious amount of money at least. Netrunner is a recently popular LCG that has that problem. The core set holds 250 cards. Not counting duplicates you get a card pool of maybe 100 total unique cards. Not only do you not get a full playset of each (need to shell out another $50 for that,) but they are also divided into strict factions meaning with just the core set you have essentially no deck-building ability and just play with what they give you for the most part. In order to have true flexibility with deck building you need to buy more expansions with tons of unnecessary cards you probably don't even want hitting at least $100. That's more expensive than many Magic or Yugioh decks!

So the TCG style isn't good for consumers and the LCG style severely limits games that revolve around constructed formats, so what is the alternative?

Here is what I am thinking: smaller, generous, targeted sets that still involve random packs. Let's say you have a faction or "archetype" in your game that is generally meant to be played together as a foundation for a deck. Let's pick a hypothetical example like Goblins, Elves, and Dwarves:

First of all, RARITY CANNOT EQUAL POWER. If your cards are properly balanced, there should be no OP Mythic rare card like you see in Magic: The Gathering. Everything should be equally available in a set. Now instead of releasing a big set of 200 cards where you have no clue what you might get, release 4 smaller sets of only 50 cards. One for Elves, one for Dwarves, one for Goblins, and one for extra "generic" support cards.

The Elf pack, for example, would contain 15 cards and guarantee a certain number of elves, say 7, and none of them would be rarity barred. Every Elf has an equal chance of appearing. The other 8 cards could be "generic" cards that are useful for elves, but could also be used in many other decks (again, none rarity restricted.) At $4 a pack, 12 packs puts you in the same price range as Netrunner, but now instead of a mixed assortment of 250 cards including a bit of everything (but not enough of anything to do what you want), you now have 180 cards that are focused on what you specifically want to play while still building up a collection that you can use for other decks in the future.

Also, if you just want to splash a little of something in one of your decks, or try it out, you don't have to buy a full "expansion set", you can just buy 2 or 3 packs and you are guaranteed almost 20 of the cards you wanted plus extras.

What do you think about TCGs vs LCGs and how would you handle the issue of having a constructed-format card game not suitable for an LCG format? Would you be consider buying a game that uses this "moral randomness" system? Thanks for reading and I look forward to your input and ideas!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mus Rattus
msg tools
For reference, I have over a dozen TCGs in my collection, and two LCGs. Constructed deck card games are my #1 and #2 favorites and my favorite kind of game.

Skyline1 wrote:
LCG-style games do not promote creative deckbuilding however. They just can't.


That has not been my experience. If I have found LCG games to be incredibly empowering in terms of deck building. I have a complete collection, I can build any deck I want. Any deck, from the world champions to something I saw someone else playing at the LGS.
With CCG games, I'd find myself writing up decklists, coming up with ideas, and finding that what I wanted to play was out of reach.

Quote:
Not without the consumer spending an atrocious amount of money at least.


That's possibly true. People have different standards for atrocious, however.

Quote:
Not only do you not get a full playset of each (need to shell out another $50 for that,)


This is true, I don't like when Core Sets lack a full-playset of each card.


Quote:
but they are also divided into strict factions meaning with just the core set you have essentially no deck-building ability and just play with what they give you for the most part.


That may be true of some games, but since you referred to Netrunner in this post, that is what I thought of first and I must really disagree. There's a lot you can do with a core set, although it isn't limitless. I wouldn't say that the factions are strict, or that they limit deck-building in a way that is un-fun.


Quote:
In order to have true flexibility with deck building you need to buy more expansions with tons of unnecessary cards you probably don't even want


I may be an outlier, but in most card games I always find myself wanting to play every faction. The only cards that I see as unnecessary are those that are far down the power curve, and even those can be fun to try and make work.

Quote:
hitting at least $100. That's more expensive than many Magic or Yugioh decks!


Kitchen table decks, perhaps. I don't know about Yu-Gi-Oh!, but a full-set of Netrunner is certainly cheaper than many tournament decks, depending on the format. This was true at least a while ago. Certainly, enough expansions for flexible deck building is cheap when compared to Magic.

Quote:
The Elf pack, for example, would contain 15 cards and guarantee a certain number of elves, say 7, and none of them would be rarity barred. Every Elf has an equal chance of appearing. The other 8 cards could be "generic" cards that are useful for elves, but could also be used in many other decks (again, none rarity restricted.)


So, the two major points of your proposed system are:
-Packs are divided by factions
-All cards are of the same rarity

Do I have that right?

The first point isn't much of a draw for me, but then I might be atypical. It could be good or bad. You might lose out on sales if players are motivated to pick up new factions. TCGs and LCGs both encourage players to play more factions by giving them cards from many factions.

The second point is a positive for me (compared to TCGs), but a big negative for your business model. The reason TCGs have different rarities is to make buying random packs exciting. It's that slot-machine feeling.

Psychologically, an uncertain reward encourages an action more than a certain reward. Opening packs is more thrilling if you don't know if you'll open a rare or not. It's part of why people buy packs. The other part is that higher rarities simply require more packs, statistically, to acquire.

Quote:
What do you think about TCGs vs LCGs and how would you handle the issue of having a constructed-format card game not suitable for an LCG format?


I find LCGs are far more accessible. They enable creative deck building by allowing players to get exactly the cards they want. They reward skill over spending.

What about the game is not suitable for an LCG format? Is it that you think the LCG format limits deck-building?

Quote:
Would you be consider buying a game that uses this "moral randomness" system?


I don't think so. I'm really past games with randomly assorted packs. Even if they are limited to what I want. All it means is instead of buying the specific expansions (or opening up my collection if I've already bought all the expansions) I need for it, I would need to buy a an unknown number of packs.


Ultimately, I see LCG vs TCG as not a game design question, but a business model. If you think you can make more money selling cards by your format, go ahead.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm having trouble imagining a distribution where I would prefer a TCG over an XCG (I'll use eXpandable Card Game instead of LCG, to avoid the trademark issue). If dividing that TCG pool into 4 sets of 50 makes sense for a TCG, I would say that you could sell 4 "core packs" as an XCG at a decent price point.

If I want to splash a little of something in an XCG, I'll either make proxies or borrow cards from a friend. If I decide I like the cards, I'll be able to buy them easily, without relying on a secondary market (that likely won't be very robust for a new TCG).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Marzullo
msg tools
MusRattus wrote:
Ultimately, I see LCG vs TCG as not a game design question, but a business model. If you think you can make more money selling cards by your format, go ahead.


I wouldn't say so. The two formats promote very different game directions. For example, try to envision MtG as an LCG. I can't, for sure. It just wouldn't be the same game if it was an LCG.

An LCG inherently promotes a tighter, more directed experience where a TCG is more of a "wild west" where players take a bunch of individual cards and piece them together. LCGs bundle a bunch of cards together, and those cards are expected to be played mostly together. TCGs also tend to have a greater quantity of cards due to the nature of the game. My game follows recent popular TCGs with around 200 cards in the launch set. Surely I can't sell a box of 600 cards (3 of each), that would be very silly.

At the same time, the game isn't compartmentalized into neat factions where I can sell "Deck A" box or "Deck B" box. I would imagine that buyers would often be faced with "I like most of the cards in box A but there are two cards I could use in Box B and one card I could use in Box C as well." In this case, they would be forced to buy tons of cards they don't want which is exactly the same way TCGs work.

Let me clarify that I am not interested in what will bleed the most amount of money out of my players or whatever is the most economically feasible. Forget about the developer's money for a second. I am talking about a system of distribution that feels the best for the players. Opening a pack or even an LCG box is part of the game's fun in itself!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:
At the same time, the game isn't compartmentalized into neat factions where I can sell "Deck A" box or "Deck B" box. I would imagine that buyers would often be faced with "I like most of the cards in box A but there are two cards I could use in Box B and one card I could use in Box C as well." In this case, they would be forced to buy tons of cards they don't want which is exactly the same way TCGs work.

And exactly the way your proposed method works, right? In order to get those two cards you want from group B, you are going to have to buy a bunch of group B boosters, leaving you with a ton of B cards you weren't really interested in. Less than with a TCG, since the set is smaller, but I don't know that the player is going to feel any better about that. Either they have to buy lots of boosters and hope, or they don't: exact probabilities don't weigh as much (IMHO) as the question of random or not.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Marzullo
msg tools
Bwian wrote:

And exactly the way your proposed method works, right? In order to get those two cards you want from group B, you are going to have to buy a bunch of group B boosters, leaving you with a ton of B cards you weren't really interested in. Less than with a TCG, since the set is smaller, but I don't know that the player is going to feel any better about that. Either they have to buy lots of boosters and hope, or they don't: exact probabilities don't weigh as much (IMHO) as the question of random or not.


Yes. Let's consider a scenario:

I manage to come up with a way to divide the game up into sets of 50. 3 makes a playset so the box would have 150 cards in it. Let's say one of the sets really appeals to you, so you buy it. Cool. Like I said, though, the game isn't very compartmentalized and chances are very high you will be eyeballing cards from other sets. Let's say you want 1 card from a different set. That set also has 150 cards, so without using the secondary market you now have to buy that entire set of 150 cards.

If it were a TCG, however, with sets of the same 50 cards all equal rarity, and each pack had 15 cards, 10 packs would be roughly equal to one boxed LCG set (both contain 150 cards.) Statistically if you want 1 card, you already have over a 50% shot at a copy with just TWO packs. Buy a few more and you easily have a playset before reaching 10 packs, and you still get all those other cards as well.

In this way, it is a compromise. It isn't quite as good as an LCG for the players who literally want all 150 cards in the set. It is, however, much better for players who only want a few cards from a set, assuming we don't rely on Ebay or anything like that.

Now, this makes me think of another alternative. What if there was the option to buy the full set of 150 cards for a fair price, but there would also be the targeted booster packs available that would appeal to the players who only want some of the cards. As an extra incentive, perhaps the packs could have chances at alternate arts or foils. Would that be too cumbersome?

Thanks for the great responses by the way, I am new to this community and so far it has been awesome.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:
If it were a TCG, however, with sets of the same 50 cards all equal rarity, and each pack had 15 cards, 10 packs would be roughly equal to one boxed LCG set (both contain 150 cards.) Statistically if you want 1 card, you already have over a 50% shot at a copy with just TWO packs.

If every card you get is selected independently with uniform probability, you actually only have about a 45% chance of getting the card you want in two packs.

Regardless, most of the advantage here seems to come from the fact that you are assuming that a fixed set must include 3 copies of every card but that your hypothetical consumer only needs 1 copy. Which is pretty bizarre--if a typical player only needs 1 copy of a desired card, why would you sell cards only in sets of 3? Alternately, if the player really needs 3 copies of that one card from set B, then they're probably going to need to buy a LOT more than 2 boosters.

Put another way, you are assuming that a nonrandom pack must be as big as ten random packs. Why would that be the case?




Ridiculous hypothetical #1:

If you assume a fixed price per card, then the ideal scenario for the consumer is obviously if they could buy individual cards one at a time. Just custom order the exact cards you want! Zero wastage!

But you aren't going to do that, because it is logistically infeasible: if you try it, the cost per card is NOT going to remain fixed. Selling cards in packs means that players will get some cards they don't particularly want, but (if you do it right) they'll still end up paying less money overall, due to economies of scale.

(Besides, a new player doesn't know what cards they want, anyway.)

Ridiculous hypothetical #2:

So you're going to sell your cards in packs. You could sell them in randomized packs. But instead, what if you sold every possible combination of cards that could possibly appear in a random pack, but let the player choose which one they want?

Again, this is logistically infeasible: that's way too many SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). Your supply chain can treat random packs as interchangable, but if you're letting the customer choose from a billion possible packs, they need to track them all separately, which is wildly impractical.


So, there is some reason that nonrandom packs might be bigger than random ones: nonrandom packs require more SKUs for a given pack size, and there is a cost to having more SKUs.

However, if you're splitting up your random packs into themed sets, the you're increasing the number of SKUs for random packs, too. And for a given number of SKUs, random packs are more expensive, because assembling packs randomly is more complicated than assembling them the same way every time.

Maybe using random packs lets you sell smaller packs, which might result in more customer flexibility. But it's not obvious that it would let you do that. You'd need to get some actual quotes and work out the real numbers to see what it actually costs. Until you've done that, any advantages to random packs are purely speculative.

Which makes sense. Your main objection to the XCG model is that the player needs to spend too much money to get a desired degree of flexibility; therefore, any real solution must obviously involve considerations of cost.



Fulfillment vs Game Design

Your sales model is only one variable. Have you considered other approaches to reducing the number of cards the player has to buy?

Can you reduce the total number of cards needed to play your game?

Can you design your cards to be multi-purpose so that they can be used in more than one strategy? The more card reuse between decks, the fewer cards the player needs to buy in order to switch to a new deck.

Can you design your factions in such a way that they have fewer exclusive cards and more "generic" cards that can be reused in decks for other factions?

Can you design your game so that there is more replayability with a given deck, so that players will not have to switch decks as often or own as many different decks in order to get a given amount of play out of your game?
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hedyn Brand
Norway
Oslo
Lethargy
flag msg tools
Nothing to see here. Move along.
badge
Rules? I gotta read RULES‽
mbmbmbmbmb
As a player, a new game with randomised packs will need to be incredibly awesome for me to pick it over MtG. Some upstart TCG isn't automatically a day 1 purchase, while the LCG/ECG model has a lower pain-threshold to sample.

Mimicking FFG's distribution model(s) exactly isn't necessarily the best idea for your game either. They make cores with 5-7 factions plus neutrals spread across 220-240 cards, with a bunch of tokens and occasional other components. They have a default initial price they target ($40 MSRP/RRP).

If you have fewer factions initially it would be easier to fill the box with useful cards (two factions for more variety, playsets). If your use of tokens is more geared towards the placement having meaning than symbols on them you can get away with just using one type, and in that case it might not be too much to ask players to supply their own favourite custom tokens. It depends on how complete you want the core.

As for deckbuilding variety, that's a matter of card pool (time passed often being a major factor), not distribution model. With the ~550-600 unique cards existing for AGoT 2e you have quite a range of options already, despite faction restrictions. For Netrunner there are over a thousand cards. AGoT 2 decks are 60 cards, Netrunner can go as low as 40, and you choose from the entire corp or runner pool.

I think you need to be creative to find the cards you think make a playable deck out of over 500 for each side, so there's no inherent problem building decks based on either distribution model, but the LCG style puts players on equal footing with equal expense.

How much different is the initial print run for a randomised game? HOW randomised were you thinking? If you want to do away with different rarities you'd basically have fixed sets picked at random. The non-randomised way of selling things seems better for reprints and starting with low production runs while testing the waters. You would need to print 10000 of either, but for non-randomised games that means 10000 solid, hopefully balanced sets.

There are slight variations to distribution, as seen in Ashes:Rise of the Phoenixborn. One big box, a bunch of playsets, fixed contents, fixed expansions. I'd also say the Doomtown:Reloaded core is a bit different, since you get pairs of each card, which makes the core a more tolerable out of the box experience. Shame about those jokers though.

I would love to see a new LCG-style card game use my dream distribution model of selling starter packs by faction, with enough cards for several varied decks (90-120 cards) and enough tokens for one player. After that I'd like to see faction add-ons without the tokens and big boxes with paired factions and some new neutral cards.

tl;dr: I don't really like duel games where one of the required skills is e-baying
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:
Bwian wrote:

And exactly the way your proposed method works, right? In order to get those two cards you want from group B, you are going to have to buy a bunch of group B boosters, leaving you with a ton of B cards you weren't really interested in. Less than with a TCG, since the set is smaller, but I don't know that the player is going to feel any better about that. Either they have to buy lots of boosters and hope, or they don't: exact probabilities don't weigh as much (IMHO) as the question of random or not.


Yes. Let's consider a scenario:

I manage to come up with a way to divide the game up into sets of 50. 3 makes a playset so the box would have 150 cards in it. Let's say one of the sets really appeals to you, so you buy it. Cool. Like I said, though, the game isn't very compartmentalized and chances are very high you will be eyeballing cards from other sets. Let's say you want 1 card from a different set. That set also has 150 cards, so without using the secondary market you now have to buy that entire set of 150 cards.

If it were a TCG, however, with sets of the same 50 cards all equal rarity, and each pack had 15 cards, 10 packs would be roughly equal to one boxed LCG set (both contain 150 cards.) Statistically if you want 1 card, you already have over a 50% shot at a copy with just TWO packs. Buy a few more and you easily have a playset before reaching 10 packs, and you still get all those other cards as well.

In this way, it is a compromise. It isn't quite as good as an LCG for the players who literally want all 150 cards in the set. It is, however, much better for players who only want a few cards from a set, assuming we don't rely on Ebay or anything like that.

Have you run the numbers for your scenario? By my calculations, if you want a playset of a particular card, you're only going to have a 62% chance of getting it after buying 10 boosters. You don't hit the 50% chance of having a playset until you get 9 boosters.

On the other hand, you have a 2.8% chance of not getting any of that card you wanted to splash, even after buying 10 boosters.

And on the third hand, for the real completionists: if you buy 10 boosters, you are only going to have full playsets of 62% of the cards: about 30 of the 50 cards in the set.

I agree, it's a compromise. I just don't think the odds are good enough that you can avoid a secondary market. I wouldn't rely on those odds, as a consumer: I would still classify this model as a TCG, and decide whether or not to buy in accordingly. The smaller set size would be a small point in its favor, but dwarfed in magnitude by the random/not random factor.

Skyline1 wrote:
Now, this makes me think of another alternative. What if there was the option to buy the full set of 150 cards for a fair price, but there would also be the targeted booster packs available that would appeal to the players who only want some of the cards. As an extra incentive, perhaps the packs could have chances at alternate arts or foils. Would that be too cumbersome?

I think this would work. And I've seen it (or something very close to it) work, in the collectible miniatures space. If you bought a sealed case of Monsterpocalypse or Navia Dratp, you were guaranteed to get at least one of each model.

There were still some people who refused to buy either game, on principle. And, as you point out, if one is only interested in a few of the pieces from a set (one faction, say, or a particular piece), then buying by the case is too expensive to be worth it. But it does provide yet another compromise between truly random distribution and fixed. You could arrange to sell the game in 10-booster displays, that are designed to yield a full playset. I'm not sure if any of the standard card publishers can do that, but at worst you can try for 30-booster displays with 3 playsets?

Skyline1 wrote:
Thanks for the great responses by the way, I am new to this community and so far it has been awesome.

Welcome. I don't get on the design boards here a huge amount, myself, but I do have a weekly Meetup where we work on game design.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
The OP presents alot of false assumptions for some odd reason.

I worked in the CCG biz. There is no pro to it over an LCG.

1: Random forces the player to buy buy buy! But a good LCG will get that and easier. And without the attendant sticker shock backlash.

2: Players love the random! Some do. Most dont to the levels its been made out to be. And once sticker shock hits thats it for your random-phile. Random only goes so far and is not the great draw some are claiming recently.

And heres a huge con that the OP apparently isnt aware of.

Distributors and especially retailers are very resistant to stocking CCGs. They have actually forced a few would-be CCGs to go standalone or LCG. Since at least 2001 resistance from retailers has been increasing and by 2010 is was pretty strong. Even IP based ones tend to meet with resistance to stock.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Nolan
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
mb
I don't really understand how MtG isn't the same as an LCG once you spend the arbitrarily large amount of money to get 4 of each card in a set. Lots and lots of people do this, probably the majority of competitive Magic players.

The primary thing an LCG does is eliminate the amount of wasted cards when people open an entire case of boosters to ensure they get everything they want and then throw away two thirds of the cards.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Marzullo
msg tools
Bwian wrote:
You could arrange to sell the game in 10-booster displays, that are designed to yield a full playset. I'm not sure if any of the standard card publishers can do that, but at worst you can try for 30-booster displays with 3 playsets?


This is a very cool idea! The specific numbers could be worked out, but something like a box of 15 packs, 10 cards each, $3 per pack. If you buy a sealed box, you are guaranteed exactly 3 of every card in the set. Still, you can buy only a few packs if you just want to take a peak. It also makes it more feasible for tournament prizing. Normally local-sized tournaments give out around $20 store credit depending on size, so that would give those players something to buy from the game immediately without having to save up or go out-of-pocket for a full set. Additionally, the packs could have random foils or alternate artwork to make them more random and exciting without affecting the actual game.

Is there something I'm missing here that wouldn't work, particular from a practicality standpoint? This seems genius to me so far.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
mbmbmbmbmb
Hivemind wrote:
I don't really understand how MtG isn't the same as an LCG once you spend the arbitrarily large amount of money to get 4 of each card in a set. Lots and lots of people do this, probably the majority of competitive Magic players.

The primary thing an LCG does is eliminate the amount of wasted cards when people open an entire case of boosters to ensure they get everything they want and then throw away two thirds of the cards.


"Once you spend the arbitrarily large amount of money to get 4 of each card in a set."

This is precisely the difference. To get the full flashpoint cycle of Netrunner cards, for instance, it will cost me $90 retail. This gets me full playsets of 120 cards. I can budget for it, and get it at the same time as everyone else, and my ability to do well is not dependent on my ability to buy more and more cards. And I don't have any extras or wasted cards. Also, I can look at the cards in the set and choose not to buy particular packs as well. There are many people who don't have the full card pool, and don't play with it.

Another way to put it: The primary thing an LCG does is to keep the deck-building, growing-game experience without the gambling, secondary card market element that has nothing to do with gameplay.

As to the OP -- don't do randomized packs. It's a terrible idea.
You may want to consider doing Ascension or Dominion-style full-box games that come complete but can be mixed.

But don't do randomized packs. Really.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Everett
United States
Presque Isle
Maine
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've played both TCGs and LCGs, and I've found that the former is more restrictive with creative Deckbuilding than the latter. With LCGs, I can always buy the cards I want, and make whatever deck I want. With a randomized system, doing that requires buying single cards online, which can be very expensive. And buying packs just leads to you getting the same dang card over and over again (you don't want to know how many Curious Raven cards I have from the Harry Potter TCG). Go LCG. It's easier and cheaper for a startup to do that as well!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:
Bwian wrote:
You could arrange to sell the game in 10-booster displays, that are designed to yield a full playset. I'm not sure if any of the standard card publishers can do that, but at worst you can try for 30-booster displays with 3 playsets?


This is a very cool idea! The specific numbers could be worked out, but something like a box of 15 packs, 10 cards each. If you buy a sealed box, you are guaranteed exactly 3 of every card in the set. Still, you can buy only a few packs if you just want to take a peak.
...
Is there something I'm missing here that wouldn't work, particular from a practicality standpoint? This seems genius to me so far.

This almost certainly costs more than if you just made a single box that contained all the cards, since you need sealed sub-packages and randomized packing that you wouldn't need otherwise.

Even once they have it, shopkeepers may be reluctant to sell the packs individually, since as soon as you sell 1 individual pack, you've broken the set and can only sell the remaining packs individually, too. If there aren't enough people buying individual packs, the shop has a legitimate fear that they'll be stuck with 90% of a game forever.

If some of your cards end up being more popular than others, then customers won't want to buy random packs from a case where those popular cards have already been opened. Your "random" packs aren't interchangeable anymore. Sounds like a way to make store owners and customers mad at each other.

On the other hand, if I buy a single pack, and later decide I want the whole box, I probably have to throw away my original pack and buy a pristine box, because once I start mixing packs from multiple boxes the guarantees go away. So I would be extremely reluctant to buy an individual pack if I think there is any chance I will eventually want the entire set.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Stoakes
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Plaid Hat Games seem to have got it right with Summoner Wars: Master Set - see Discussion of Summoner sets. But this may be completely different from yours.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clayton Capra
United States
Prior Lake
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Completely from a players wishes perspective I’d like to see a company release the entire card pool in one complete product. Just one purchase and you get 4 of each card to make any possible deck for example. Come out with a new complete set once a year. Have an intro product with some pre-constructed decks so new people can try out the game before investing in a complete set. Encourage different ways to play with rules for multiple formats.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Marzullo
msg tools
Antistone wrote:

Even once they have it, shopkeepers may be reluctant to sell the packs individually, since as soon as you sell 1 individual pack, you've broken the set and can only sell the remaining packs individually, too. If there aren't enough people buying individual packs, the shop has a legitimate fear that they'll be stuck with 90% of a game forever.

If some of your cards end up being more popular than others, then customers won't want to buy random packs from a case where those popular cards have already been opened. Your "random" packs aren't interchangeable anymore. Sounds like a way to make store owners and customers mad at each other.

On the other hand, if I buy a single pack, and later decide I want the whole box, I probably have to throw away my original pack and buy a pristine box, because once I start mixing packs from multiple boxes the guarantees go away. So I would be extremely reluctant to buy an individual pack if I think there is any chance I will eventually want the entire set.


Yes, that is very true. I agree.

It seems like the best way is to somehow devise a way to categorize the cards so that they fit nicely into a few LCG-style boxed sets.

I still cannot imagine MtG as an LCG, though. First of all, you wouldn't be able to draft, but ignore that for now. How would you divide it? Most sets are too big. The latest set was 264 cards, meaning one big LCG-style box would have almost 1000 cards which is obviously ridiculous to expect someone to buy. You could sort it by color, so you'd have a red, blue, green, white, and black set. What about the multi-colored cards, though? Would a Blue-White card go in the blue set or the white set, or both? I guess you could have one set for each color and then a sixth set for multi-colored cards, but now we are talking a ridiculous number of sets for what is the equivalent of one booster pack. How would you fit MtG into an LCG without changing it's core game design? Personally, I don't think you can which is why I believe this is definitely an issue of game design instead of marketing. Do you think that all cards games can be fit, unchanged, into an LCG-style system, or do you think certain card games like Magic are TCGs by their very nature?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:
I still cannot imagine MtG as an LCG, though...How would you divide it? Most sets are too big.


It almost doesn't matter. You could partition all the cards randomly into a reasonable number of sets and you'd probably be fine. You just need the sets to be different and every set to contain viable decks.

You are also assuming that the box needs to come with 4 copies of every card. You could sell a box with one copy of every card, and then let players choose to buy multiple copies if they want them.


On a side note, rules like "you can have up to 4 copies of a card in your deck" usually feel bad to me. "Four" sounds like a compromise between "our cards aren't balanced well enough to let you do whatever you want" and "if we limited you to one copy, we couldn't sell you as many random boosters." If it were about preventing you from having too many cards that serve the same function, that would imply that the game's balance hinges critically on how many distinct cards you choose to publish in a given tactical niche, which seems like the sort of precarious position that a good designer would carefully avoid.

I don't generally play TCGs, so maybe I just don't appreciate the reasons. Maybe there's some design reason that decks need to be a certain (forced) size, and also some design reason that decks need to contain a certain amount of (forced) variety, and the ratio between those two numbers just coincidentally happens to be about 4. But it feels suspect.

Skyline1 wrote:
First of all, you wouldn't be able to draft, but ignore that for now.

Of course you could. Shuffle & deal. Or use a computer randomizer if you want.

I am continuously amazed at how Magic has convinced a bunch of its players that the only way to have a draft is to buy a totally new set of cards every time.

Skyline1 wrote:
I believe this is definitely an issue of game design instead of marketing. Do you think that all cards games can be fit, unchanged, into an LCG-style system, or do you think certain card games like Magic are TCGs by their very nature?

Every game has to make compromises with practicality. You don't have unlimited development time. You don't have an unlimited number of playtesters. You can't sell a game that costs a million dollars to print. There's only so much space for text on a card. There's only so much technical jargon players are willing to learn. The set up can't take too long. And on and on and on.

As a result, you typically expect games to be somewhat customized to fit their context. Does that mean that the game will suffer if you just arbitrarily change the context? Sure. But that doesn't imply that you couldn't have designed a similar and equally-good game for a different context if that had been your plan in the first place.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
mbmbmbmbmb
Antistone wrote:
I am continuously amazed at how Magic has convinced a bunch of its players that the only way to have a draft is to buy a totally new set of cards every time.


Netrunner has cube drafts that people often build using the cards they already have.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bwian, just
United States
Longmont
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wombat929 wrote:
Antistone wrote:
I am continuously amazed at how Magic has convinced a bunch of its players that the only way to have a draft is to buy a totally new set of cards every time.


Netrunner has cube drafts that people often build using the cards they already have.

Warhammer: Invasion included special cards to modify drafting. (Not that I ever used them, but they were there...)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
United States
Mountain View
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:

I still cannot imagine MtG as an LCG, though. First of all, you wouldn't be able to draft, but ignore that for now.


Of course you can draft. People do Cube Drafts in Magic all the time as-is right now, and LCGs like Netrunner have draft rules, too.

Skyline1 wrote:
How would you divide it? Most sets are too big. The latest set was 264 cards, meaning one big LCG-style box would have almost 1000 cards which is obviously ridiculous to expect someone to buy.


So break it into two sets (the size of a small Magic set) or sell a pack with 2x copies instead. That's 500 cards, which is what is in a set of Dominion, which retails for $45, and can be found on Amazon for $25.

Thus, if sold in non-random formats, a 4x set of a typical large Magic set should be under $100. Contrast that to the current model, where a 4x full set of Kaladesh, the latest big set, is pushing $900. Now, most players aren't going to be acquiring that, but it represents a heck of a lot more potential profit for WotC, which is where all that design and development, high-quality artwork, and tournament support come from.

However, and this is the important point, your game is not Magic: the Gathering. Players don't want to buy random games that are not already proven. Retailers don't want to carry them. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say there will never be another successful printed randomly-packed card game again (though digital ones are another story). So, stop trying to make it randomly-packed. Find a fixed-pack solution instead.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mus Rattus
msg tools
Antistone wrote:
I don't generally play TCGs, so maybe I just don't appreciate the reasons. Maybe there's some design reason that decks need to be a certain (forced) size, and also some design reason that decks need to contain a certain amount of (forced) variety, and the ratio between those two numbers just coincidentally happens to be about 4. But it feels suspect.


TCGs generally have an enforced minimum size to prevent combos from being to fast or consistent. They also usually don't give a good reason to include cards over the minimum.

This is part of the reason I love VtES. There's no maximum number of copies of the same card you can have in your deck, and there are strong reasons to go above the minimum deck size.

Quote:
I am continuously amazed at how Magic has convinced a bunch of its players that the only way to have a draft is to buy a totally new set of cards every time.


Probably because many of them would be buying those cards anyway, and see it as an opportunity to draft.


As for Magic as an LCG, okay, I must admit that the distribution model has an impact on design. Or, if not design, development.
Magic as an LCG would have smaller expansions, and not reprint similar cards/effects as often as they do.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Santiago wrote:
So break it into two sets (the size of a small Magic set) or sell a pack with 2x copies instead. That's 500 cards, which is what is in a set of Dominion, which retails for $45, and can be found on Amazon for $25.

Thus, if sold in non-random formats, a 4x set of a typical large Magic set should be under $100.

I'm not certain that follows. Dominion has a lot more than 4x of most of its cards, which definitely saves on art & development costs, and could plausibly save on printing costs as well (I am told that professional board game printing generally involves special plates that must be custom-made for each deck design, not programmable printing like you use at home).
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Foley
United States
Maine
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Skyline1 wrote:


First of all, you wouldn't be able to draft, but ignore that for now. How would you divide it? Most sets are too big. The latest set was 264 cards, meaning one big LCG-style box would have almost 1000 cards which is obviously ridiculous to expect someone to buy.


The nice thing is that if you are ignoring the draftability of the set you can eliminate quite a few of the cards as typically commons don't make the cut in to constructed formats. I'm going to do some quick calcs and make some assumptions. Just looking at the most recent large tournament there were 8 different decks that made it to the top 36. Typically a deck has around 30 different cards in various quantities. So assuming no decks used the same cards that means that there were 240 unique cards used from a format that is currently made up of 1224 cards or 19.6% of the available card pool. That means you could likely cut that 264 card set down to just 52 unique cards and still end up with a pretty diverse and healthy format. You could even jump it up to an even sixty and then split it in to 3 separate packs and impose a 3 card limit for decks and release a 60 card 'chapter pack' every month
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.