I finally had some free time and thought about making my homemade version (again u.u) of Anachronism.
My initial idea is to gather information on the most relevant and irrelevant cards, mechanics and combos of each set to make a single balanced and playble set, similar to what happens with the Living Card Games currently.
Knowing which cards, mechanics and combos were useless/worthless would help to make such a very competitive and balanced set, removing these cards, improving or changing them.
So, i would like the get some help/tips from old school players, especially those who used to participate of tournaments to do that.
Like this post i found earlier:
I don't have a list of decks. All the decks i played were my own creation and the ones (Amr Ibn Al-A'as, jim bridger and sun tzu) i mentioned earlier are coming from memory. I cannot recall what other people played. The last tournament i participated in was years ago.
As fore what went wrong with the game i would say the following ( please keep in mind that i have no inside information, this is just my opinion):
1. TriKing tried to make the game big in a very short amount of time. The tournaments had high-profile prizes. When i became the Dutch national champion, i got the chance to participate in the second world championship in 2006 in Atlanta. My trip, the hotel and the fee for Dragon-con were all paid by TriKing. I went 8th place and won a iPod shuffle. First prize was a Toshiba laptop computer. The first prize in the first worldchampionship was actually a minicooper. The company spend too much money on the game without first building a solid and large enough playerbase.
2. The game came out near the end of the second wave of CCGs and people by then were tired of them. Many had either quit CCGs altogether or kept playing the ones they already had.
3. Anachronism is more of a frontrunner of what Fantasy Flight Games now calls a living card game. This model is in my opinion less profitable than the random distribution of cards. There is almost no secondary market for them, because almost all the cards are fixed. A strong secondary market can improve the longevity of a game.
4. Although i find the subject matter in this game to be fascinating, many people (unfortunately) don't find history that interesting. Those that do, tend to be a bit older and they usually want a game with more strategy. Also the game is played as a contest of arms, and that means it will appeal to a smaller group of people.
5. The game felt expensive. The starter ( i believe around 14 dollars back then) contained only 10 cards and the boosters ( 7 dollars) 5 cards. The cards were beautifull and of high quality. But when you are young and don't have that much money to spend, you often go for quantity over quality. It was therefore more likely that you would buy a card game where you got more cards for your money. Also in order to keep the game interesting you need al lot of cards. This made it quite the investment.
What would i change about the game? Well, let me first say that any of my suggestions would mean that certain cards would have to be changed, because either they would become useless or overpowered. Also i haven't playtested everything.
1. Decrease the amount of luck in the game. Instead of using the combining number of two dice for the attack roll or defense roll, you could use the difference between the two dice and then add the modifiers. For example if i attack with a + 1 modifier and roll an 4 and a 6, then my total number to hit would be a 3. My opponent with no modifiers to his defense rolls, rolls a 1 and a 5. Because his number is now a 4, the attack misses. This means that modifiers to either attack or defense rolls become more important. Also rolling doubles is less favorable.
2. I never really liked the idea that just because you were lucky to roll doubles on an attack roll, you would deal an critical hit that doubles the base damage. This was actually the reason why i lost a very important game during the world championship. My opponent rolled doubles with Muramasa. I would change the effect of an critical hit in a choice of either +1 damage or give your opponent negative modifiers to his attack and defense rolls for one or two turns. Having to choose which option you want at that moment, brings a little more strategy to the game.
3. The arena is not that big, and that means damage will come soon. The game usually ends in round three, unless someone is playing an heavy defensive deck. It is very easy to try to hit someone with your best attackgrid modifier. More often than not you will not even use the other modifiers. This in part is the result of the option that for one action you can move your warrior and rotate him at the same time. If you would remove that option and simply say that rotating always cost an action, then the game becomes more strategic and will last a little longer.
I will close with two suggestions for decks that came to mind while typing all of this.
Sword of mars
any card with an ability that you can use from the discard pile
The strategy is simple but tricky. Use the ability on Horus and Pirate's stronghold to stay alive and strike with sword of mars when ready. Once the opponent's life is reduced to one, finish it with the ability of Aneas. Remember that the ability of Horus can be used on any roll ( yours and the opponent). This gives more control over your life total.
any card with an ability that you can use from the discard pile
With this deck you want to have Vozveshennyiye Posolstvo in your discardpile.
Use Wakhan thanka to move and switch with Sahm. With an initiative of six you will probably start and because of the attackgrid of Sahm you can most likely attack now. Use both the abilities of Odysseus and Sahm to attack twice with your weapon. This means choosing to roll three dice, but due to the ability of Sahm actually rolling just two. Now you have the outcome of two dice, the attackgrid modifier (+ 1) and a 6 of the initiative. This will result in a total of 4 damage. Next turn use Vozveshennyiye Posolstvo to move in position. With a initiative of 9, experience of 12 and a speed of 5, you can now start to attack three times with Sahm ( same as the previous round, but a 9 for the initiative). Dealing another 6 damage will kill most warriors.
I hope this information will be helpful for you
If manage to do that successfully, i will evaluate the possibility of putting together all of these info (best combos, cards and mechanics) and adapting them to a retheme.
Lastly, i will also analyze the possibility of changing the combat system, trying to reduce the high luck of rolling two dice.