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To be, or not to be (Collectable that is)

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Tribalxgecko
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So what are some of the benefits and cons of creating a game with a collectable (or collectible if you prefer) atmosphere? I have been designing a miniature game for the past couple of years and it began with a collectable aspect (I was influenced by MageKnight and HeroClix), but the more I work on it and the more I become familiar with other miniature games, it seems like the collectibal aspect is really nothing more than a money gimmick; it just allows them to get more people to buy more packs in hope of getting the rare mini needed / desired. From a balance standpoint, it helps...but not a whole lot, since it only benefits the hardcore players or the wealthy ones. This can be seen most especially with CCGs like M:tG. To compete at a high level you generally need some very expensive cards.

What other cons / benefits do you see with this style of game?

Fhizban
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hey there, being a ex-magic

hey there,
being a ex-magic player i know about the magical power of collectible games, its just too much fun to have "a complete set". but also - games like this are money sinks, and today i dislike them (as well as the whole CCG/TCG/LCG industry because of their sales orientated policies).

Im working on a game similiar to yours (to some degree) - and i also like to include aspects from collectible games. BUT - the major difference is that i plan not to include any artificial rarities. There will be different sets with a Code on it (Like Set #1/A Or Set #1/B etc.) and the code tells you exactly what you get when you buy the set.

the reason why i am doing this at all, is that players will need rather large collections of game components. and theese components come in large varieties, so its not possible to squeeze everything into a single box. in addition that, i am not able to design all components from ground up, in one go (and, i dont want to). Instead i am gradually increasing the number of units available in the game.

So, its more like a expandable game. but instead of 1-2 big expansions im breaking down the set size (wich allows to release sets quicker and requires less testing of a single set). so you could call this a "fixed booster distribution system".

Besides collection, whats the benefit? one of the anchor-points why i am doing this is: players will be able to choose wich sets they want get, to expand their armies/collections. sets are not only themed towards a single army (orcs, elfs) but also divided into strategy (spellcasters, infantry, cavalry). so if you want to build a orc cavalry army, you just have to get orc sets A, D and I. if you want to build a elf infantry army you should get sets B, C, and H. In conclusion - if a player wants to collect all army variations - and only if he wants to - he has to get all sets.

hope this helped!

Cogentesque
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Hiya Tribal, would double

Hiya Tribal, would double everything you and fhizban said mate.

Pro
You get more money
Balancing is easier long term (see magics extensive "banned" list)
Exciting "sontantly changing" game environment
Increasing in social levels for players with other players

Con
It costs so much
Printing continuously and identically will be a bastard
It will require a lot more concentration from you for a lot longer (the game never "is done"
Getting a fan base big enuogh to activate all of the pros is very very very hard without a huge advertising budget.

long and the short fomr my mind:

There is never (for people like us), never any point strong enough to release a CCG as opposed to a simple, good, all rounded game that doesn't require people do by rediculous 10 card collectible packs for $5.

Tribalxgecko
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Quote:its just too much fun

Quote:
its just too much fun to have "a complete set".

That is the one single reason I have been holding onto the idea of making the game collectable. I am wondering if it would be worth having some commons, uncommons, and rares, not based on power or balance, but rather for the plain and simple fun of collecting them if people wish. Furthermore, it may be worth not even announcing that there are commons and rares, just do less print runs of select / random ones. If something does come up, where a more rare mini is more desired, then it will naturally balance. Maybe...lol. If you get what I mean. I guess I just like the collectable aspect for enjoyment and trading and not so much as a balancing tactic. Balance comes in the form of the miniatures cost to field and use.

Tribalxgecko
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Quote:So, its more like a

Quote:
So, its more like a expandable game. but instead of 1-2 big expansions im breaking down the set size (wich allows to release sets quicker and requires less testing of a single set)

Meant to add this in the reply above :-/

Anyway, I like this idea. How do you plan on handling it? Releasing a single set of each race at a time, or a certain group (spellcasters, infantry. cavalry) all at the same time, or something like that?

When I had the collectable aspect originally, I was forced into doing 18 commons, 12 uncommon, an 6 rares (36 total) for each army (which is 9) for each set. This has been an absolute nightmare. Trying to design, playtest, and balance 324 miniatures just plain sucks. By dropping the collectable aspect I can lower this number considerably and focus better on the game (and thus produce a better quality and playing experience). Doing sets won't work exactly, as I have a skirmish game with single miniatures and not units, but something along that idea may work out wonderful. Maybe small armies of opposing forces, like a set with a small elven army vs orc army, or another with the 'good' knights vs the 'evil' knights and so forth. Hmmm, excellent idea, something along that line may work much much betterl If you don't mind me borrowing a page from you book of ideas ;)

Fhizban
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Roadmap

@Tribalxgecko:

1. I have a vague roadmap until now. there will be a base set that introduces a few starting races. then i plan to make a magic set and a war-machine set - until all base mechanics are introduced. after that there will be faction themed decks (if i ever get so far). so, i also build up the amount of rules and troop types, step by step.

2. Totally agree. 300+ miniatures is just way too much. I agreed on 90 in my baseset, but not all factions will be available at the beginning. and yes, im also designing more into the skirmish direction (small forces). take any idea you want - im glad if i could help! maybe we can exchange more ideas later on.

3. Shameless plug: Checkout my project introduction post (first link) (you will learn that I am not using cards or miniatures for this project) and maybe follow on twitter/facebook (2nd/3rd links) if you like to stay in contact. In fact i plan to "step by step release" every aspect of the game - even the rules and background story.

http://www.bgdf.com/node/5878
http://www.twitter.com/godsandminions
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gods-and-Minions/178141255540191

Catelf
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Agreement ... and yes, Sets would work for skirmish, too.

I lost interest in both "collectable" miniatures and cards because of the randomness of rarities, and that it would cost too much.

I am currently trying to make a Miniatures-driven game myself, but even though it will be mainly for me and any who would like to play, i can easily imagine how it would be to release it as a game, but not all at the same time.
The game itself is intended as a Ganger/Corporation skirmish.
Figure packs could be like this:
* 5 Basic Gangers: Baseball Bat, Knife, Lead pipe, Crowbar, Pistol.
* 5 Basic Corporation employees: Security Guard one, Security Guard two, 2 Guard Dogs, Security Officer(may instead be used as Dog handler).
* 5 Gifted: 1 Firekine & 4 others, the others maybe Telekine, Telepath, or Other(other may be used for virtually any kind of seemingly unarmed one.)
* 5 Corporate associates: Secretary, Lab Worker, Scientist, Strong one, Field Executive.
* 5 "Mutates"(this may be in 5 different versions): Anthro, Alien Species, Macabre(undead?), "Undead", Deformed.

See, even skirmish would work well.

JaffetC
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The reason why i went with

The reason why i went with "non-colletible" for Livid Visage is because i wanted a gaming environment where the players were allowed to use their creativity in building decks and show actual skills during high levels of tournaments. Additionally I want to satisfy the players that just want to have fun and provide cards that are not only great in high level tournaments but also some that are quirky and fun to play with.

Each set is sold for about $20 dollars, and once i get the bricks, itll come with 4 copies of every card in the set for only $50 dollars. It also provides different alternatives to players. Do they want to play 4 copies of any given card or do they only want to play with 2... its up to the player.

Also, at the time i didnt want to make Livid Visage a game that could be played as a Draft or Sealed.

Tribalxgecko
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Quote:i wanted a gaming

Quote:
i wanted a gaming environment where the players were allowed to use their creativity in building decks and show actual skills during high levels of tournaments.

Well said, Jaffet. I recently had this discussion with a few guys at a local hobby shop that caters to M:tG. They keep promoting the shop as a 'casual' play atmosphere and they hold 'casual' tournaments, and casual game style, yet nearly all of the people there are hardcore collectors and scoff at the idea when you mention limiting deck build costs or number of rares, or anything else casual. I have a very limited budget to spend on hobby games, and so i may pick up a booster here or there, but otherwise build decks with what I have. I don't bother playing there anymore, but when the others come in with 200$...300$ decks, that sure as heck is not casual! And I for one don't think it is skill to build a deck when their cards are simply better because they spend mucho $$$ each week to get the cards to build the deck. It is skill when my 20$ deck wipes out their 200$ deck ;) I think it takes much better building skill and gaming skill when players are put on the same exact level.

I do like sealed / draft games though, they can be pretty fun and interesting. Is there a reason you decided to not want to do that?

JaffetC
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the reasons were becuase: 1.

the reasons were becuase:
1. sets are not built with an emphasis of randomization. Meaning because i dont use a random order of placing the cards i designed the set as a whole to work together in the sense that you would receive all the cards in the set. Livid Visage is a game where you can play with one set pack and still do very well because of the amount of abilities and repeated vanilla characters in the game. However, when players are told they can use 4x copies of a card, deck building then becomes a bit more interesting.

2. I decided to not print random packs. Because of not printing random packs or no rarity, the game is really set to play on a limited budget of 20-80 dollars. Im trying to figure out a way to make it even cheaper for players because again, my goal was the skill as opposed to money environment.

3. I do enjoy sealed, however I havent created a set that could support it because again it isnt randomized. Which i believe is the main idea of sealed. Sealed takes random product and says, Okay these are the cards you get to play with, do the best you can with them. And because luck would have it, not all sealed decks are built a like, and while you can be a very good deck building the cards you might pull may not be up to par with the opponents lackluster deck that includes high end bombs.

I am however trying to create various formats for Livid Visage, at the moment i have plans or releasing a variant called Legendary Series, where you play with an over size card in play that gives you special abilities. However this variant places the player even closer into the game since the Legend Card in play is actually a representation of the player then selves and not an assistant player.

additionally with Livid Visage, I wanted a game that could be further developed through the community of players. As players win tournaments they can submit cards that would potentially make it into the next set. additonally rewarding skilled players with cards that would not be available within a set, however these cards arent neceserally bombs as much as cards that i felt would have been amazing in the set but with a limited space could not make it in the final run. Overall even these cards would become accessable to all players, however for a small limited time only those that win specific tournaments would be able to play with them.

If by any chance you are going to OrcCon2012 in Los Angeles feb 18, i will be there at noon doing demos, as well as giving out a few cards from the TS1 series. :)

NomadArtisan
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Have any of you ever played a

Have any of you ever played a cube draft?

In magic, you create a 'cube' by selecting a lot of cards throughout magic's history. Shuffle them all together, then deal them out as 'booster packs'. For all intents and purposes, it's a sealed draft format.

So no need for random booster packs, at least not during production.
I'd suggest looking up cube drafting, it could be exactly what you're wanting.

JaffetC
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does cube draft include an

does cube draft include an actual rarity maker?

as in do you need to put in X uncommons and X commons and X rares and now with Mythics X mythics in the cube? or is it singleton of cards and what you draft is what you play? the only reason why i ask is because (i forgot how to set up cubes) and if it is a format dependent on rarity, Livid Visage doesn't have rarities... :)

NomadArtisan
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Rarities don't matter at all.

Rarities don't matter at all. You basically shuffle the entire cube card collection together then randomly select the correct number based on number of players (so usually 45 cards times the number of players).
Then randomly select groups of 15 cards, each person gets 3 of these groups to represent their packs.

JaffetC
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im thinking if it could work

im thinking if it could work for livid visage and im thinking it might not until set 3, where there will be 180 different cards.

NomadArtisan
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Too low of a card count would

Too low of a card count would be an issue, but you can always modify the cube draft style to fit your game. You could include 3-4 copies of certain cards while leaving other cards at 1, and customize a 'cube' to work best for your game.

JaffetC
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have you ever played fairy

have you ever played fairy tail by z-man games?

NomadArtisan
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Is that the one that uses

Is that the one that uses cards to create a story as you go?
If so, I've seen it, but never played it.

roblob
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LCGs aren't that bad

I personally think the Living Card Game concept from Fantasy Flight Games is a nice move away from the traditional collectible games while still maintaining its strong aspects.

Of course it all depends on how the thing is executed, but the extensive core sets and expansions without randoms make the LCGs much less of a money sink than MtG for example.

And I don't think that getting more money out of your players is entirely a bad thing. At least not if the collectible aspect isn't solely done in the name of greed and it doesn't skew the balance too much towards the wealthier players (as it certainly does in traditional CCGs).

From the business side of things the extended income (from expansions) should help keep things going. From a purely idealistic view point it's simply a money gimmick, but unfortunately this isn't a purely idealistic world.

In the end there is always a line after which greed becomes the driving force for game design. For example the whole Warhammer-family (while not truly collectible games) has IMO been pushed too far towards getting every last penny out of the players with their WYSIWYG rules and continuous army book revision cycles.

But if you don't take things that far I don't think there is anything wrong with the collectible aspect of games as such. It caters to an in-built need or drive in us, but then so do most other game mechanics. And it sure is an effective way to make your game more compelling.

r.

James Rex
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One of really good things

One of really good things about collectible card games is the limited format. Drafting is lots of fun as proved by 7 Wonders and Food Fight. To go non-collectible/random cuts out a lot of surprise of popping open a pack and getting something you don't expect. Drafting a new set is even better because you discover and explore brand new mechanics.

The game I'm almost done with has three different distribution schemes.

1. 4 Player Core Set: The decks are pretty balanced and provides enough cards for 4 players to play.
2. Draft Packs: 72 random cards to draft with your friends. Technically, you can build a deck buying draft packs, but I'm providing it to give players an alternative to give you cheap improvements to the core set and for limited games.
3. Full Playset: 1 of each card printed in the set. This will let someone interested in deckbuilding provide enough copies of every card as cheap as possible and without extra cards you don't have to store. This will be quite a bit more expensive than a draft pack.

The formats also will follow the same scheme: Casual (Core + Draft Extras), Draft (1 Draft pack), Limited (2 Draft Packs), and Constructed (using all printed cards).

Just my $.02

www.stompinggroundsgame.com

Fhizban
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Im trying to get rid of the

Im trying to get rid of the random factor and the artificial rarities in my game altogether. As stated by others above this might be a bad idea because you loose the a.) drafting factor and b.) the whole trading/collectible factor (because without randomness there is little reason to trade cards at all).

anyway, my game has a few different distribution schemes (all non random) that allow a player to build exactly the deck he wants to. by selecting the right expansion packs, a player can quickly collect everything required for a theme deck or specialist tactic.

in additioin, the number of copies you may include in your deck are limited and the expansion packs provide you with enough copies that - if you buy just one expansion pack of every kind - you get enough copies to fill your deck with what you need. this means no excess commons or trash cards that pile up in a room because no one likes to use them.

example: lets say you can include up to 6 copies of a card in your deck. you want to build an "archer" theme deck and the base set provides you with 2 archers already.

then there are 4 different mini-expansion, each containing new and stronger cards, as well as some aldready known cards from the base set (providing you with additional copies) - lets say every mini-expansion contains one more archer. this way - by buying the base-set and 4 mini-expansion (one of each type) provides you with exactly 6 archers to fill your deck with the maximum number of allowed copies. of course there is still the issue of how many copies you want/get from the other card types - but i cannot bleach out the "too-many-copies-owned" aspect completely (maybe just by cleverly restricting the number of copies of stronger cards too).

A. this helps the player, because the distribution scheme is transparent (WYSIWYG). It also makes planning easier for the player (deck planning as well as money planning). the player knows after buying X sets, he has the collection full (compare this to regular random boosters in ccgs - just rediculous how many you have to buy to get a full set)

B. this also helps the producer, because instead selling just one set - you are able to sell X sets (because your player "wanna catch them all!"). breaking the game down into sets makes it easier to manage expansions, slowly adding more and more content over time. but it also prevents the producer from looking greedy - its a middle-way, like a contract between players and the producer. a contract of fairness of the distribution scheme so to say

just some thoughts

heavyrocks
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I find that with any physical

I find that with any physical game you run into certain pitfalls like you're describing. I've found that computerizing games has a number of advantages:
-Pure strategy, not based on what elements you can afford or track down
-Negligible start-up and distribution costs (assuming all design is done in house)
-Less setup, unaffected by wind or table bumping
-Less number crunching (except for the CPU)
-Can play with anyone, anywhere
-Easier to conceal information from other players

You can even factor in the collectable aspect by adding achievements to unlike certain elements, as is now common.

I used to be hooked to the collectability of MtG, but nowadays I really can't justify continuously dumping money into it. A fair game should give all players equal chance of winning, if they can play well.

Tribalxgecko
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After a lot of pondering on

After a lot of pondering on this topic, I actually decided to go with a hybrid idea, keeping the collectible aspect that makes opening boosters and getting surprises fun, while limiting the randomness. In other words, all of the units in set have the same chance of being pulled as another. There are not commons, uncommons, rares, or whatever. They all are just...well, as common as the next guy. So out of a set of 100 units a player has the same chance of pulling # 12 as he does #92 or any other number. I decided to go with a point cost (a player has a limited amount of points to spend when building their army) and each unit has a cost. The more powerful the higher the cost.

There are some units that are better than other, so I could forsee people selling the better ones for more $$, but players would only have to go that route if they really want to, not because they have too.

I also came across a great article about rarity and game studies if any body is interested. You can find it here: http://gamestudies.org/1001/articles/ham

rpghost
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My stores as well as most

My stores as well as most stores I know of will NOT buy/stock your game if it's collectable. Use the LCG model that Fantasy Flight uses if you must have continued expansion. Or do like Dominion with many releases. But do NOT make it a CCG for the love of God - it will be the doom of your game.

James
http://www.Game-Universe.com

Fhizban
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@rpghost Although it says

@rpghost
Although it says "collectible" in the subtitle of my game, it has no rarities or random booster elements in it. you can play right out of the box with your dwarf army. of course you can buy up to 5 of the mini-expansions to get the full dwarf force, but its absolutely not required. i call that "fair collectible" or "fair expandable" game.

@Tribalxgecko
Depends if you are creating your game for fun, to be free or if you want to make a commercial game out of it someday. For a free game, you can do almost anything you like - i encourage using random boosters for a free game! its just so much fun for both the players and yourself. but for a commercial game, i would go with the fixed-mini-expansions instead.

@heavyrocks
yeah, but this board is for boardgames and not computer games. one more thing (i worked on a couple of computer projects during the past years): one person can create a boardgame that is appealling and professional. but a single person cannot create a computer game that is on-par with nowadays standards. all the advantages you named are true (especially multiplayer and simulating virtual rarity) - but its most often just not a realistic point of view to say "instead of a boardgame, i turn my idea into a computer game".

Catelf
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Sealed do work with removed random rarities

Fhizban wrote:
Im trying to get rid of the random factor and the artificial rarities in my game altogether. As stated by others above this might be a bad idea because you loose the a.) drafting factor.....

I do not really agree with you:
A "Sealed" is possible, even with non-random.
How?
Consider 4 players, and 8 decks. Each player chooses 2 decks blind, and make their own deck from parts of those 2.
Now, the Decks are blind, because there are 3 different types of Decks:
4 Soldier Decks, 3 Vampire Decks, and 1 Sprite Deck.
In this case, the manufactured rarity has no other purpose, than to provide differences in strategy as well as some surprise, which is the main reason for sealed, as i see it.
Something similar can be made for drafts, as i see it.

Fhizban
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@Catelf Haha - what a cool

@Catelf
Haha - what a cool idea! How that I just did not think about it?
Just grab a bunch of expansion boxes, shuffle them and let every player draw blindly. Thanks for removing the brick in front of my head.

Catelf
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Happy to help

@Fhizban
Happy to be of help. ^_^

You still need to have the expansions playtested against eachother, to get at least the expansions somewhat equal in power ... You would probably have gotten that idea yourself if you started playtesting those expansions against eachothers, i merely mentioned it for the sake of this topic.
Helping you was a bonus. :)

mindwarper10
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not sure what everyone else

not sure what everyone else said (pressed for time, so I just wanted to throw in my input REAL quick)

I like collectable card games.
I like small packs that I dont know what im getting in.
I DONT like rareness factors
I do know that rareness factors are more convenient and cost efficient, compared to printing equal ammounts of every card.
I do know that rareness factors can make collectors money.
I do hate it when a company uses a rareness factor to value the cards playing power (IE a card is made more powerful and less costly than a equally as powerful card, being less costly also means its more rare, that way large ammounts of these unbalanced cards are not used.)

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