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Artificial Human

Why don't Living Card Games get more popular?

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I was thinking about this today, TCGs are an inherently abusive distribution model, there is no way getting around this, it just is. This isn't true for Living Card Games, where you just buy your box and you're done. So, why aren't lcgs more popular?

I figured it'd be one of the following reasons:

All LCGs are bad games and people aren't into necromancy. Pretty simple, trash doesn't sell and revivals aren't either. Current VS seemingly only has 3500 or so players, 2000 active.

No LCG is widely appealing as a property, with the exception of VS but Necromancy isn't popular making it unappealing.

Card Gamers are masochistic. They enjoy the abusive tcg model. They want it rarer and shinier. Make the consumer suffer more.

 

So what do you guys think?

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Put simply; lack of advertising, lack of exposure, lack of accessibility, lack of playerbase, etc.
There's also an element of wanting to flop your financial shaft on the table (which is to say, some people enjoy the elitism that comes from more expensive card games). Less masochistic, more sadistic.
There's also probably an element of prize support that would be worth discussing.

On a personal level, I like the idea of LCGs, but I dislike the mechanics of most of the ones I've played. Additionally, shipping kills my wallet and they don't receive any support in my area. Which brings up the aforementioned point of accessibility; the local major card game is normally a result of a strong local playerbase, and people are generally not willing to spend the money on a card game they won't get many chances to play. At present, the local card game of my area is Vanguard (which we both know I dislike) since Yu-Gi-Oh! introduced the new rules, and I play it pretty much just because others play it. LCGs will likely see similar problems.

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2 hours ago, Denithan said:

Put simply; lack of advertising, lack of exposure, lack of accessibility, lack of playerbase, etc.

I live near The Games Cube, one of the better LGS in Western Sydney for Western Card Games, accessibility is no issue to me. Lindsey stocks most known board games and Living Card Games. He's got a pretty nice section for all this stuff, yet no one seems to play any of these LCG there and he doesn't seem to have events for them. The Adventure Time Living Card Game is also very easily accessible for kids at any EBGames or Zing store. Good Games at Burwood NSW played it for a little while, then it kinda went away.

Exposure and Advertising might have something to do with it, they're all very niche products, but that's something else I couldn't put on my phone in great detail, most of them are packaged in very bland and unappealing boxes. Nothing like a bright bombastic TCG pack. Even the VS System is regularly using muted colours and is boring to look at. Look at this shit. Do you want to buy this? What's a VS System? I wouldn't even notice it unless I knew what I was looking for and I sure as hell don't know what the hell it's about by looking at it. No advertising in the world will help when you have a product that looks like a cure for insomnia. People need to notice it in the store. It needs to shout at them. Netrunner is marginally better, but you still wouldn't notice it.

 

2 hours ago, Denithan said:

There's also an element of wanting to flop your financial shaft on the table (which is to say, some people enjoy the elitism that comes from more expensive card games). Less masochistic, more sadistic.
 

I know a lot of these types. I call them Magpies. They like the bling. They get distracted by it and dive into it. Conversely, my friend and I have turned off foils over time. Standard is cheaper, does the same job, doesn't curve. I mean I get it, it's nice if it's got a nice pattern to it or is generally well done, but I don't need it. The Magpies though? They're freaking obnoxious. Like some guy was showing me his Blue Storm Maelstrom deck because we got talking about Vanguard and it was my favorite deck, he made a huge deal about how I'd be 'jealous' because he had SP of every card that could be SP. I was just thinking he had more dollars than sense and was some type of rich moron. But that's just me. I've been called a tight ass before.

 

3 hours ago, Denithan said:


There's also probably an element of prize support that would be worth discussing.
 

VS System at the very least seems to have some OP. But I do think it's not enough of a thing for the games, or at least not well known enough. Charge me a $5er for entry, everyone gets a promo, top 3 get a Deck Box or Sleeves or something practical. Or even some treats, IDK. But it's easy to set up.

 

3 hours ago, Denithan said:

On a personal level, I like the idea of LCGs, but I dislike the mechanics of most of the ones I've played.

This is interesting because it leads into my questing of whether they are bad games or not.

 

3 hours ago, Denithan said:

 Additionally, shipping kills my wallet and they don't receive any support in my area.

It's Straylia Post. They suck. Lose your shit, unhelpful, charge the earth.

3 hours ago, Denithan said:

Which brings up the aforementioned point of accessibility; the local major card game is normally a result of a strong local playerbase, and people are generally not willing to spend the money on a card game they won't get many chances to play.

This is more the stores both not stocking it and not having time to play it. Stores surviving on the smell of an oil rag can't help, they're terribly understaffed to run multiple games, even if they have the space and time. Lazy ass nerds not getting up early doesn't help either. I rather play bright eyed and bushy tailed than late arvo.

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Another thing could be the higher than average price tag. Obviously we all know that if you actively play a CCG you will spend more than the $50/$70 charged for a VS. System/Netrunner box. But to the uninitiated that whopping $70 price tag looks a lot worse next to a $10 starter deck.

Just a thought.

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I enjoy TCGS more because I don't have access to everything.  I do play the VS LCG but only because I played the old version and a few friends convinced me, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered because we all ended up with the exact same decks.  I'm enjoying star wars destiny more because, just like PanZ, I can't build those Meta decks and I'm left with trying new and interesting combinations. With LCG's its real hard not to build the meta decks as you can have everything you need.

 

In short, non-idiot words, I'm saying I enjoy tcgs more because I don't have access to it all and therefore have jury rig decks that end up being enjoyable.

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9 hours ago, sh0ryu_repp4 said:

Another thing could be the higher than average price tag. Obviously we all know that if you actively play a CCG you will spend more than the $50/$70 charged for a VS. System/Netrunner box. But to the uninitiated that whopping $70 price tag looks a lot worse next to a $10 starter deck.

Just a thought.

More to do with badly designed packaging imo. They're not advertising the nature of the product and what, in the grand scheme of things, a good deal they are.

8 hours ago, ChangelingBard said:

I enjoy TCGS more because I don't have access to everything.  I do play the VS LCG but only because I played the old version and a few friends convinced me, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered because we all ended up with the exact same decks.  I'm enjoying star wars destiny more because, just like PanZ, I can't build those Meta decks and I'm left with trying new and interesting combinations. With LCG's its real hard not to build the meta decks as you can have everything you need.

 

In short, non-idiot words, I'm saying I enjoy tcgs more because I don't have access to it all and therefore have jury rig decks that end up being enjoyable.

It's funny, my friend has said the exact same thing. He has stated he doesn't like everything being on offer because he likes the restrictive environment.

I wonder if TCG vs LCG appeals to different mentalities in regards to how people approach games. My friend and I believe you are the types to have one deck, they just enjoy making that one deck work. Tinkering the one. Myself on the other hand? I like tinkering. I like building dozens of decks, experiencing everything. Deckbuilding and seeing ideas work or flounder, getting that idea to work over multiple experiments, that's what I get enjoyment from. I drop decks really quick. LCGs appeal to me because I don't have to spend a ton of money and keep buying parts I don't already own.

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10 hours ago, ChangelingBard said:

In short, non-idiot words, I'm saying I enjoy tcgs more because I don't have access to it all and therefore have jury rig decks that end up being enjoyable.

What I find interesting about this is that I've kind of found the opposite to generally be true for higher tiers of play in TCGs (though do note, I only really play Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vanguard at higher tiers), where the more competitive an environment you push up to, the more you get collections of the same deck over and over. While I'd love to argue that restriction breeds ingenuity, after we had 36 of the same deck topping in a World Championship in Yu-Gi-Oh, I really can't say it without laughing a little.
Meanwhile, in all the LCGs I've followed (none of which I've observed in top tier play, so grain of salt), I've generally noticed a much more creative environment as a result of having access to such a large card database. This could easily be a result of Konami's/Bushiroad's card design though, since the Pokemon TCG seems to have a really good spread of topping decks.

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The price tag over time is a little unattractive but that might just be me. While I totally get the appeal of owning every card so you can build any deck at any time, you may be paying more into that than certain card games. PanZ is a relatively cheap game if you only buy the singles you need over boxes. It's fortunate that most decks don't need the Ultras to be competitive. Unleashed is the closest thing and I think that only hit $30 even at its most played. While I'm against $30 cards, if $90 is the bulk cost of your deck, that's not too bad compared to the bigger games especially since Unleashed will carry over to other decks you play. Rares are for the most part worthless and starter MPs as an added cost only appear periodically. Would I prefer to have access to all cards at all times? Absolutely, but with PanZ I didn't have to break the bank unless I wanted to. That's not to say things like Awakening's pull rates and how Spheres were handled weren't disgusting. It's just that objectively, PanZ was relatively cheap despite all the money-grabbing attempts.

If we're talking Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and their ilk, then living card games should destroy them. If you buy multiple boxes every set over singles or even if you buy singles for those games, there's no reason you shouldn't be looking at living card games with interest unless those games are bad, the licenses (if any) aren't for you, or there's no competitive scene. It just makes more sense outside of superficial reasons like foils and having the most "bling" at the table. However, unless they start making demo decks or people do research beforehand, I'll echo the idea that ~$10 starter decks trump buying the entire game if you just wanted to try it out.

While I was aware that VS came back, I didn't know that's what the box looked like. Where the hell are the characters? Forget advertising the living card game model. Advertise that Spider-Man's in it.

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They would also need to be playable out of the box if we're trying to address the "cost of trying it out" issue. However I don't know if that would turn off people who are already into living card games and have to buy an additional product they normally wouldn't have to. I can't imagine a smaller product being purely reprints of cards that already exists just to cater to potential new players.

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13 hours ago, Mysterious Youth said:

Advertise that Spider-Man's in it.

It's too bad Spider-Man is unplayable garbage

 

12 hours ago, Artificial Human said:

With games with factions like VS System, maybe splitting the big box into smaller products, more justifiable as an impulse purchase, would help?

Each set afterwards is a mini set with 2 teams.  A-foce vs Fem Fatales, Humans vs Aliens, and Mob vs Defenders.  There is also a new set that adds new characters to old teams and makes old terrible main characters into only "basically useless but has ten defense" wastes of space. 

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On 7/29/2017 at 11:27 AM, Denithan said:

What I find interesting about this is that I've kind of found the opposite to generally be true for higher tiers of play in TCGs (though do note, I only really play Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vanguard at higher tiers), where the more competitive an environment you push up to, the more you get collections of the same deck over and over. While I'd love to argue that restriction breeds ingenuity, after we had 36 of the same deck topping in a World Championship in Yu-Gi-Oh, I really can't say it without laughing a little.
 

The more I thought about this subject and talked about it with my friend, something popped up and is relevant to this subject. People like Bard, they're not normal for competitive play. People who make do with what they have aren't the norm. People going on TCG player and buying the deck in one swoop is the norm. They netdeck and buy what wins. They don't enjoy building or understanding how a deck works, they enjoy winning. This is why you get metas where games are majority the same deck. It's worse in narrow japanese games, sure, but it happens everywhere.

So the idea that restriction builds creativity is only true for the majority in the lower tiers of play.

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On 7/28/2017 at 7:33 AM, ChangelingBard said:

I enjoy TCGS more because I don't have access to everything.  I do play the VS LCG but only because I played the old version and a few friends convinced me, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered because we all ended up with the exact same decks.  I'm enjoying star wars destiny more because, just like PanZ, I can't build those Meta decks and I'm left with trying new and interesting combinations. With LCG's its real hard not to build the meta decks as you can have everything you need.

 

In short, non-idiot words, I'm saying I enjoy tcgs more because I don't have access to it all and therefore have jury rig decks that end up being enjoyable.

Interesting. Honestly,  I prefer LCG Distribution model myself,  but they usually don't play as well as most of the TCGs I've played. This reminds me of socialism vs capitalism.  There's benefits to both, but it's a preference/belief difference.

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On 7/29/2017 at 3:23 PM, ChangelingBard said:

It's too bad Spider-Man is unplayable garbage

Then put one of the good characters on the box. It doesn't matter if a character's playable or not, Vegeta was still featured on boxes of set 1 and Evolution. If you have a license, from a pure marketing standpoint, you gotta make sure those characters are front and center, especially if the license is one as popular as Marvel.

8 hours ago, Artificial Human said:

The more I thought about this subject and talked about it with my friend, something popped up and is relevant to this subject. People like Bard, they're not normal for competitive play. People who make do with what they have aren't the norm. People going on TCG player and buying the deck in one swoop is the norm. They netdeck and buy what wins. They don't enjoy building or understanding how a deck works, they enjoy winning. This is why you get metas where games are majority the same deck. It's worse in narrow japanese games, sure, but it happens everywhere.

So the idea that restriction builds creativity is only true for the majority in the lower tiers of play.

I don't mind this mentality when it comes to say... starting a new Yu-Gi-Oh! video game where you have garbage and gradually build a stronger deck as you go. That's where the challenge comes from. The challenge of competitive card games should be winning through skill even if you and everybody's playing the same deck, not going in with a handicap because you don't want to/have access to every card. I don't intentionally build meta decks unless it happens to be a character or theme I like, but you always have a choice. I don't begrudge anyone who plays the meta to win (even if it gets old) but if you claim to enjoy fiddling with unique decks, own all the cards, but build the meta anyway, then it's a matter of self control over self restriction. If you need a card you can afford/justify, get it. Even with unique decks, you should want it to be the best it can be if you can.

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1 hour ago, Jarrett said:

Interesting. Honestly,  I prefer LCG Distribution model myself,  but they usually don't play as well as most of the TCGs I've played. This reminds me of socialism vs capitalism.  There's benefits to both, but it's a preference/belief difference.

I'm curious about the people who have decent experience with them as to why find they don't play well. Is this a case of LCG's being a dumping grounds of the dead that died for a reason (VS, Netrunner) and experimental games?

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On 7/28/2017 at 1:03 AM, Denithan said:

Put simply; lack of advertising, lack of exposure, lack of accessibility, lack of playerbase, etc.

There's also probably an element of prize support that would be worth discussing.

Both can also be because of profit per customer (Or just profit in general). While I love the LCG model as it allows gamers the ability to play multiple games (Playing multiple ccg's seriously gets extremely expensive) without breaking the bank too hard. I collect the Star Wars LCG for now, and will be buying the L5R LCG after release. I would guess that Star Wars sets me back about $100 a year (Less if I buy online). Force Packs come out about every 2 months at $15 each in brick stores (Generally $10-12 online), and I think there's been an expansion a year, which are generally $20-30. I also dont have the ability to be nearly as active of a gamer as I used to, so less investment is nice.

 

How many players in TCG's buy a case on set release? Or even multiple. Hell, even just buying one booster box would make more money than me buying 2 Force Packs over 4 months (Approx time between ccg expansions). Buying more than $30 worth of singles would do it, too, as stores have to bust product they paid for for singles to even be for purchase.

 

Most players in LCG's have no reason to buy more than one players worth of product. That's not a ton of money being made per player. Less income means less money for both OP and advertisement.

 

Balance is also not perfect in a lot of these games. With less income also means less budget for playtesters. I know that Star Wars had used external playtesters. I did external playtesting for Score back in the day. Im not sure what they get in compensation, but I got a handful of booster boxes on set release. They'd have to get more than just a Force Pack for playtesting, but who knows. But external playtesters generally have full time jobs they go to, other hobbies, adult responsibilities. You do the best you can do, but you only have so much time. Some of these companies probably dont allot that many playtesters to their LCG's, which leads to some balance issues.

 

Not to mention a lot of players get into some games solely due to large prize support. They dont treat it as a hobby they enjoy, they see potential income. Income that isnt there in LCG OP. Or even just playing the market. The ability to trade up and keep increasing value via trading, or watching the meta trends and knowing what cards will spike in value. Making money is a huge driving force.

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I'm just WAITING for one specific member to post here....just waiting...

 

As my own opinion there are a lot of factors here, many have already been mentioned:

1) Monetary pissing contests.  Can't say I don't have a bit of that in my blood.  I won't go out of my way to bling out my deck, but going through PanZ I was really proud that at some point I had ALL the cards from sets 1-3, including promos.  Then 4, then 5.  It wasn't until 6 and 7, when the promos dried up, that my interest started waning.  Now I still have most of it (minus worlds 2016 stuff), and I have nothing to do with it.  big highs, big lows.

2) Collecting.  Trading/collecting cards have been around for almost a century and a half.  People like collecting things.  Back then it was fun just to collect, find friends who you could trade with and display them.  in the early 1990s, when Richard Garfield had the brainstorm (pun intended) to give those collectible cards a purpose OTHER than sitting on a shelf or in a binder, it sparked a HUGE flame.  There are social aspects to playing games, but nowadays you can play games at home, by yourself, even with digital board/card games.  But the combined social aspect of trading cards and playing games has a great appeal for many.

3) Money.  Along with rarity and collectability comes the aspect of making money.  Self-made card-sharks see an opportunity to make a quick buck, either by gaming the low hanging fruit and scamming those who don't know better, or just offering to buy low and then selling high.  It's nearly a whole new stock market, the problem being there is a LOT more worthless chaff.  few people wanting to buy at top dollar or sell at reasonable prices.  for every 1 person that turns a profit there are 500 more that think they did, but end up just making up what they lost and don't consider the overhead.

There's more reasons, but those are 3 of the main ones.

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getting everything in one box is to easy, there is no chase. I also like that the things I buy have some value, I like opening packs and wondering whats in it, where you dont get that with a lcg. I mean if your playing a lcg why not just print out the cards and save you 60 bucks.

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14 hours ago, soviet prince said:

getting everything in one box is to easy, there is no chase. I also like that the things I buy have some value, I like opening packs and wondering whats in it, where you dont get that with a lcg. I mean if your playing a lcg why not just print out the cards and save you 60 bucks.

Why spend nearly $60 in paper and toner, plus time to cut, when you could just buy the box and support a game you like?

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