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The very broken LCG model

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questccg
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You'll get the advice from many people: "Don't design a CCG or a TCG!" And everyone is going to say: "Design an LCG instead."

Aside from the stupidity of the acronyms, there are fundamental assumptions made by people who don't understand the true meaning behind the CCG and TCG business models.

1. What is CCG/TCG?

A CCG is a "Collectible Card Game" and it uses random 10 to 20 "Booster" Packs (like small envelopes) to sell in game stores. Cards are collectible because of the artwork featured on the cards and the "rarity" of the various cards in a pack.

A TCG is a "Trading Card Game" and much like the CCG it is very similar. But the accent is on "Trading"... meaning players engage in trades offline (outside of play).

2. What is LCG?

An LCG is a "Living Card Game" and it uses it's own format to sell. Instead of selling "Boosters", the LCG model proposes to sell EXPANSION sets (think game boxes) to allow players to customize their decks from a preset of cards available in the various "expansions". For all purposes, it doesn't solve the "Booster" issue and one would argue: "Just make boxed expansions of your game and you should be ok."

3. Missing the mark

As I mentioned the LCG model does NOT address the "Booster" issue. Everyone who has seen or played a CCG/TCG knows what a booster pack is. But the true nature of the "booster" pack is not known by most designers. Everyone gives BAD advice saying: "Just do an LCG..."

The issue with Boosters is their sales model and the fact that one case of 36 boosters retails for $299. These are typically "random" boosters and store owners absolutely hate the fact that:

A> They have to invest $100+ dollars to put the product on the shelf.

B> That they need to sell 60% of a case before seeing any profit.

C> That given a LCG model, would be a complete and total LOSS of money.

4. Digging deeper

When would-be Game Designers think about CCGs/TCGs they ultimately THINK about SELLING "Boosters". No matter if your game is a CCG/TCG/LCG you will have serious problems selling boosters. The LCG model does not at all solve the booster issue.

Why? Because it makes it WORST!!! How so?

If you were to sell 10 to 20 "Fixed" Boosters (all the same cards like the LCG model), no store would carry a case because the likely-hood of selling 60% of the IDENTICALLY SAME content would be certainly DIFFICULT even if your game had a local fan base.

If stores have a hard time selling "Random" Boosters which feature different cards... Imagine how hard it will be to convince them to sell "Fixed" Boosters!

5. What to do?

Well it becomes apparent that the BEST possible outcome for your latest card game idea – would be to make a box and sell expansions in their own boxes. This avoids all of the biased chatter about what can and cannot be done and what is and/or is not possible when selling to local stores.

6. Conclusion(s)

LCG model is not a solution to the CCG/TCG genre. Having a game and adding expansions to a game without any "labels" is the best possible solution for most game ideas.

The problem with "boosters" is that nobody likes them ... except the would be fans of CCGs/TCGs. Admittedly it is what newbie game designer gravitate to when they take their "first steps" as designers – highly influenced by those three (3) popular CCGs/TCGs (Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!)

The "booster" format is excellent for driving low-cost alternate solutions to versioning and expansions but suffers from so much stigma ... that unless you are willing to do sales online only, you will have difficulties making sales to stores.

questccg
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From experience...

Originally (like probably most people who know CCGs/TCGs) I thought that using the LCG (Living Card Game) was a way to market and sell "Fixed" boosters. But it has nothing to do with this...

My confusion was that as a model the LCG model was supposed to fix the caveats of the CCG/TCG models. But it doesn't...

Sad but true.

Corsaire
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But isn't LCG really just a

But isn't LCG really just a specialized way of saying expansion? If you are getting a playable complement of all cards in the new expansion, that's what it is. I think it is more a cross-sell attempt (aimed at ccg players) rather than an attempted "solution."

From a store perspective they would manage and stock lcg expansions in the way they do expansions to any board game. Every board game a store buys is an inherent risk. At least expansions give an opportunity of targetting a fixed set of players that the owner may be aware of. Free to olay tournaments are a way to check the interest as well as motivate players to stay up to date.

jedite1000
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i don't mind either model,

i don't mind either model, it's usually fun to open a random booster, but if I'm a beginner at a certain card game ill buy a box like a starter set or something, if i enjoy it ill buy the boosters, if there are certain cards i need then ill buy singles

questccg
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LCG != Boosters

Corsaire wrote:
But isn't LCG really just a specialized way of saying expansion?

It's because when people think about CCGs/TCGs they think "Boosters".

Any newbie designer who wants to design something like a CCG/TCG will assume that if given the advice: "Design a LCG instead" means in some way "Boosters"...

Or even worst "Fixed" Boosters (not random). LCG != Boosters.

Believe me I made this mistake with "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)". In the 1st Edition there were TEN (10) "Fixed" Boosters. And with experience, I learned the hard way – this is sh!t. "Boosters" are NOT part of the LCG model...

I'm just trying to explain to all future Game Designers who come from the CCG/TCG world of gaming (who have experience with collecting and playing with those very popular brands) that "reproducing" this is near impossible.

Basically IF you are going to make "expansions" to your game – call them expansions and put them into their own box. You won't get very far with "Boosters" in your card games. The idea is neat and cool, but it's hard to implement and even harder to sell.

Cheers.

questccg
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I'm learning and trying too!

jedite1000 wrote:
i don't mind either model, it's usually fun to open a random booster, but if I'm a beginner at a certain card game ill buy a box like a starter set or something, if i enjoy it ill buy the boosters, if there are certain cards i need then ill buy singles

Exactly you and I agree. But some people don't. I've just spent an hour trying to pitch an "idea" to Publishers for a SINGLES Marketplace for an expandable card game.

Basically I told them for $250 I can get "Collectible" cards available for purchase individually and shipped to your door.

Not millions of dollars like CCGs/TCGs.

They all told me it's a BAD idea!

I'm surprised (how negative the response was) because as I explained you can have a "database" of cards + as an added bonus SELL cards from the website. How awesome is that??? Browse and Buy ... and it'll only cost me about $250 to start the marketplace.

To me it sounds miraculous!

To the Publishers; again they were like BAD idea (I don't get it...)

X3M
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What if you combine the

X3M wrote:
What if you combine the both?
Giving buyers a choice?
Of course separating the cards that are available in one of the 2 corners.
If you want card A, you can only get it by buying boosters.
Card B can only be bought through LCG.

I think that MtG has something similar. While calling their LCG, "startersets" for that particular cluster of cards.


Apparantly I am sprouting complete nonsense.
The worst part is: That I don't understand why it is complete nonsense.

let-off studios
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P2W Singles Marketplace

questccg wrote:
I'm surprised (how negative the response was) because as I explained you can have a "database" of cards + as an added bonus SELL cards from the website. How awesome is that??? Browse and Buy ... and it'll only cost me about $250 to start the marketplace.

To me it sounds miraculous!

To the Publishers; again they were like BAD idea (I don't get it...)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/YuGiOh-Barbaroid-the-Ultimate-Battle-Machine-SP...

If you don't want to bother copying and pasting the link, it's for a single Yugioh card that's currently available for over US$18,000. And this isn't the most expensive card for sale. This is literally more than 9 times the cost of what I paid for my current automobile.

Why would a game company attempt to compete with eBay? Either for "ultra-rare" cards or actual competition-use cards?

polyobsessive
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Singles

let-off studios wrote:
Why would a game company attempt to compete with eBay? Either for "ultra-rare" cards or actual competition-use cards?

If the publisher was selling single cards direct, then there wouldn't be anyone selling singles for hundreds or thousands of dollars. There just wouldn't be a market. (Unless the publisher stops providing certain cards, in which case the secondary market *might* emerge.)

I totally get Quest's idea: you can design your deck and effectively go to the website and order the cards you need for it and only pay for those cards, not any others that you don't want or need.

A new company that is focussed on this business model might be able to make it work, though it would rely on somehow building enough of a community of players and a competitive scene that could support it (the same as it would with any player-constructed-deck game). For an existing game publisher it would likely require a huge investment and a major shift of their operating model to make it work, so I'm not surprised they don't like the idea.

ElKobold
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questccg][quote=jedite1000

questccg wrote:

Basically I told them for $250 I can get "Collectible" cards available for purchase individually and shipped to your door.

So let's say you print a set of ~220 cards.

That's two sheets from production standpoint.

Then somebody orders 4 copies of cards #1, #2, #121, #124 and #125.

So you print those two sheets four times, to sell those 20 cards.

What are you going to do with the remaining 860 cards that you have printed?

I imagine it would be impossible to ensure equal demand for every card in a set.

It would also probably be a complete logistical nightmare.

questccg wrote:

It's because when people think about CCGs/TCGs they think "Boosters".

I don't see any boosters here:
https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/arkham-horror-the-card-ga...

LCGs are just a card game where you can build a deck and you have all the cards you need in the box, without needing boosters.

The whole idea of LCG is "like a TCG but without boosters". I'm afraid I've lost you here, sorry.

let-off studios
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Game as Classist Metaphor

polyobsessive wrote:
A new company that is focussed on this business model might be able to make it work, though it would rely on somehow building enough of a community of players and a competitive scene that could support it (the same as it would with any player-constructed-deck game).
The game community would devolve and eventually (perhaps very quickly?) dissolve based on criticism that one's competitiveness is built around the publisher's blatant pay-to-win model.

What would it be like if these over-powered cards were suddenly found in the same frequency as a typical "Common" card? Imagine if someone visited that website and bought a deck full of multiples of the top five most powerful cards, plus the mana/lands/etc. to activate them, if required. Imagine a tournament with 20 competitors who chose to do the same thing. How would that affect the game?

Can someone put forth evidence of how a "limited run" of cards managed by the publisher (to prevent both game imbalance and ElKobold's noted "logistical nightmare") would not eventually engender this eBay secondary market? If so, what makes this different than the current model of Pokemon/Yugioh/whatever?

The bigger picture of what is being discussed here is establishing a variety of Class War (haves vs. have-nots) within a card game environment. Although it's an interesting idea for a game, in reality this just sucks. Winners keep winning, and those who can't afford it are just out of the running because they can't pay.

polyobsessive
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Rarity

let-off studios wrote:
The game community would devolve and eventually (perhaps very quickly?) dissolve based on criticism that one's competitiveness is built around the publisher's blatant pay-to-win model.

What would it be like if these over-powered cards were suddenly found in the same frequency as a typical "Common" card? Imagine if someone visited that website and bought a deck full of multiples of the top five most powerful cards, plus the mana/lands/etc. to activate them, if required. Imagine a tournament with 20 competitors who chose to do the same thing. How would that affect the game?

This was always the case with Magic:The Gathering. Serious players would buy multiple cases of boosters when a new expansion came out, and anyone who didn't would still be playing in the same tournaments. I don't know what the situation is like now, but I know that these days WotC puts in an awful lot of effort to manage balance, and single cards are generally more easily available. Managing the power of a card by its rarity is a terrible idea as this really does lead to "pay to win". And it's worth noting that in M:TG the most powerful cards are not necessarily rares.

Quest's idea of making singles easily available would actually defend against this problem: it wouldn't make the game cheap, but it would make the cost of building a deck predictable and controllable.

Over-powered cards will always be a problem that the publisher and designers need to guard against. I am sure the M:TG team still make mistakes, but they have a well organised and resourced team to develop and test new cards. Maintaining regular releases of new cards and ensuring that they do not break the existing environment is challenging for anyone, but may be insurmountable for an individual or small team.

And this is assuming you can get a large enough community of players to even notice that you have made a game, let alone to commit to exploring the deck construction environment. This is, I think, the biggest problem with a game like this, regardless of the card distribution model.

ElKobold
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polyobsessive wrote:And this

polyobsessive wrote:
And this is assuming you can get a large enough community of players to even notice that you have made a game, let alone to commit to exploring the deck construction environment. This is, I think, the biggest problem with a game like this, regardless of the card distribution model.

+1.

bottercot
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Wasted money, in my opinion

I don't know anything about LCGs, CCGs, or TCgs, all I know is that I would never pay $250 for a silly card. I don't care if there's only one copy of it on the face of the Earth, I wouldn't pay more than $30 dollars for a single card, and even 30 is a bit of a stretch.

larienna
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This is why you make each

This is why you make each "Expansion" a complete playable game. That is a thing I though for a game of mine that never got released. Each new card release would be playable on it's own. So that you don't have to care anymore about base set and expansion. It also makes production easier, because if your first set is depleted, you can simply ask people to buy the next set and they will still be able to play.

Anyways, recently, I somewhat made an association between collectible games and free to play games. With the notion of not really owning the game in both those type of game. Maybe I should make another thread about it.

Quote:
Why would a game company attempt to compete with eBay? Either for "ultra-rare" cards or actual competition-use cards?

...
If the publisher was selling single cards direct, then there wouldn't be anyone selling singles for hundreds or thousands of dollars. There just wouldn't be a market

Effectively, Note that this is the value of retradability, the designers get nothing out of that 18000$ card. LCG prevent that kind of issue, because there is no rarity issue. In order for an expansion to become rare, it has be out of print or something.

Also LCG makes you feel more like you own and control the game because you have all the cards. Therefore you could variant your game more easily because you are in control of the whole pool of cards. Still, it depends if you make deck for other people or if every player has his own set of cards.

questccg
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You're the 2nd person who worries about logistics

Let's say I print one (1) box of 250 cards. Ten (10) of each card so 25 different cards in total. So let's say I start with 100 unique cards. That means buying 4 boxes or $100 worth of stock.

ElKobold wrote:
...Then somebody orders 4 copies of cards #1, #2, #121, #124 and #125.

So you print those two sheets four times, to sell those 20 cards.

What are you going to do with the remaining 860 cards that you have printed?

I imagine it would be impossible to ensure equal demand for every card in a set.

Currently my plans are to restrict the use of a maximum of 3 repeat cards per deck.

ElKobold wrote:
It would also probably be a complete logistical nightmare.

I just use the online sales database which says my inventory for those five (5) cards has been deducted by 4 each. The website does everything to keep track of available quantities (in addition to telling the buyers when an item is "out-of-stock").

I fail to see the "logistical nightmare"... It's all automated and actually pretty neat!

questccg
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You're explaining the EXACT problem about LCGs

larienna wrote:
This is why you make each "Expansion" a complete playable game.

So you are going to pay for 60 more cards even if you are interested in maybe 4 or 5 cards only??? See what I mean?? That's even WORST ... IMHO.

And that's why I say the LCG model is "very broken".

The SINGLES marketplace makes for a more OPEN market where the players can buy only what they want. So what if I have 10 cards that don't sell and I keep this inventory. It's only $10 worthwhile of inventory... I've only invested in about $100 (roughly)...

And for that price, I have a "database" + gamers can BUY singles too!

Maybe the price is more around $250 dollars... Still for an online database and the capability to buy singles, I think it's worthwhile the $250 investment...

It's not millions of dollars ... And I effectively have what other CCGs/TCGs have without spending very much dollars!

polyobsessive
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PoD

questccg wrote:
Let's say I print one (1) box of 250 cards. Ten (10) of each card so 25 different cards in total. So let's say I start with 100 unique cards. That means buying 4 boxes or $100 worth of stock.

questccg wrote:
I just use the online sales database which says my inventory for those five (5) cards has been deducted by 4 each. The website does everything to keep track of available quantities (in addition to telling the buyers when an item is "out-of-stock").

Oh.

So your way of controlling this is to not sell the popular cards once you run out, and potentially be stuck with stock of the unpopular cards?

I thought that you would be planning some sort of print on demand system, so that you could print more of the popular cards and not get stuck with dead inventory. This would potentially be expensive to get started, but more flexible.

questccg
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As simple as possible

polyobsessive wrote:
...I thought that you would be planning some sort of print on demand system, so that you could print more of the popular cards and not get stuck with dead inventory. This would potentially be expensive to get started, but more flexible.

Well it would be POD ... but re-stocking would occur when enough inventory is sold.

polyobsessive wrote:
So your way of controlling this is to not sell the popular cards once you run out, and potentially be stuck with stock of the unpopular cards?...

That's what we call "inventory" and the possibility that each card may be purchased... A small overhead (like I said about $250) and you could buy any card.

And there are reasons to buy other cards:

  • Someone spills water or soda on the card.
  • Someone gets upset and rips a card in half.
  • Somehow a card gets damaged by accident.
  • Somehow during picking-up you accidentally drop a card of the floor.
  • Somehow at a game, an opponent takes one of your cards.
  • etc.

So there is limited potential sales of ALL cards. Even with some being less popular that others! And the time to "re-stock" inventory is about 1+ month... So sometimes people may have to WAIT for certain cards to be made available (once received and the inventory is updated!)

mindspike
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questccg wrote:I've just

questccg wrote:
I've just spent an hour trying to pitch an "idea" to Publishers for a SINGLES Marketplace for an expandable card game. Basically I told them for $250 I can get "Collectible" cards available for purchase individually and shipped to your door. Not millions of dollars like CCGs/TCGs. They all told me it's a BAD idea!

I'm surprised (how negative the response was) because as I explained you can have a "database" of cards + as an added bonus SELL cards from the website. How awesome is that??? Browse and Buy ... and it'll only cost me about $250 to start the marketplace.

To me it sounds miraculous! To the Publishers; again they were like BAD idea (I don't get it...)

From a business standpoint, this is a terrible idea for a publisher. Publishers make their money in bulk orders, selling multiple copies of a product to a single source. It's why we have a tiered retail distribution model. The distributor can place a large order with a publisher. The distributor then combines products to fill orders for retailers - who also order in bulk.

It's not necessarily the margin on the product that makes the idea unappealing, it's that the idea forces publishers to adopt a retail model to sell their game instead of a distribution model. It's basically a retail store that sells only a single product at a single outlet. Based on average costs and margins at the printers I've used, you'd have to reach 70% of market just to get the 35% sell-through that would break even.

I think it's a fascinating idea for a single game, but personally I wouldn't try to build a business around it.

questccg
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I'm planning for retirement

I'm on my way to retirement and figured running an online store would be a "retail" proposition. Obviously I would go with a KS to build a minimal amount of a demand for the product.

And much like the LCG model, I would SELL new (every now and then) "Adventure Packs" (think Collectible Boosters) which have cards related to the Quest you are trying to beat.

That would be like a hit-or-miss situation where I would make IDK 1,000 boosters at the cost of about $250+ dollars. Depending on the Quest, hopefully I would liquidate this inventory (Sold Online – for now) and restock some more when the time comes.

This is more of a "business" than something for "Publishers to consider". I understand what you mean. But if it starts as a small online store with a complete catalog of all the cards available to players + they can BUY singles from that same website... Could be interesting in my boat!

Granted from the Publisher's perspective ... maybe not so great. And it depends on volume too. Not to mention the "core" game has to be really awesome and very engaging too.

So I guess it makes sense to say: "Hmm... For publishers maybe not. But for someone who wants to run their own online store... maybe!"

Cheers!

Super-Tooned
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Hm...

Huh.

How do you plan on making money off of this? The cost is more than the profit. It’ll cost way more to start up this website. The domain address, making the cards, advertisement, and shipping are all great cost that’ll sink a hole in your bank account!

I just don’t see how this’ll work! But hey, that’s my opinion.

larienna
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Print on demand, is

Print on demand, is considering expansive, and if you bulk print and sell singles you'll get stuck with the less popular cards. The only way that kind of marketting would be viable, is for a digital game, because you do not have to print anything in the first place.

Still, not everybody will necessarily like the idea of paying per card, but in the world of micro transaction games, it is not impossible.

Quote:
So you are going to pay for 60 more cards even if you are interested in maybe 4 or 5 cards only??? See what I mean?? That's even WORST ... IMHO.

Personally I like games ready to play, like if I could spend 10-20$ for a 60 card deck and play immediately. It reminds me of the pre-constructed magic decks which was a quick way to jump in the game. If you want so few cards in the expansion, then you wait for the next expansion.

Else the other thing that you need to consider is if you game has deck construction. In Star Realms, there is no deck construction, so you can just buy any expansion you like, add it to the game to play it. In that case, the expansion remains as whole, and you do not care much about individual cards, but more about what the expansion in general adds to the game.

questccg
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Not at all in the right ballpark

larienna wrote:
Print on demand, is considering expensive, and if you bulk print and sell singles you'll get stuck with the less popular cards.

Yes I understand POD is expensive. But if I can limit my "series" to 100 unique cards and maybe ten (10) of each card (production) that's 1,000 cards. It's about $25+ per 250 cards. So that means 4x or $100+ for inventory. And of course a pricing system for the various cards too.

larienna wrote:
Personally I like games ready to play, like if I could spend 10-20$ for a 60 card deck and play immediately...

I think you are dreaming. My pricing for a deck of 60 cards + parts is currently up at $39.99 + Shipping and I make $0.00 profit. But that's POD. We'll see what holds for the future of the games "manufacturing". I have some options that are pricier than Direct and cheaper than POD... So we shall see!

larienna wrote:
Else the other thing that you need to consider is if your game has deck construction. In Star Realms, there is no deck construction...

That's the exact reason that I don't want "Deck-Building". I'm looking to create a game with Deck-Construction! If I'm spending $100+ to create BOTH a Card Database + Online Singles Store, I think it's a GREAT idea. Low barrier to entry and an affordable way to start a small side business.

Obviously the first and foremost challenge is making a game "worthwhile" collecting... and therefore having offline "Deck-Construction"... That is the true nature of the challenge. But with all of the "experience" that I have gotten with "TradeWorlds", "Quest AC – 1st Edition" and learning from my own mistakes, it's made me a better designer.

I'm not saying the game will be "perfect" – but it will have a challenge that Magic: the Gathering does NOT have. And that's what I am hoping that players who enjoy Light Euros may be interested in a "Collectible" game ... especially because we are talking about a "Game Engine" bundled with "Deck-Construction".

I have not seen this before... And the Singles Card Market is also new to the "Card Game" industry other than Secondary Markets for the BIG 3!

So I think I am greatly stepping out of the "mold"... And am innovating with what it is that I want to accomplish.

Cheers!

polyobsessive
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Good luck

questccg wrote:
So I think I am greatly stepping out of the "mold"... And am innovating with what it is that I want to accomplish.

I think this discussion is at an impasse. You feel you have a great idea and a way to get your game into the hands of players, whereas everyone else is struggling to see how you can avoid making a loss.

All I can do here is wish you the best of luck and hope you can make this project work. If you succeed, we'll all be eating our words! :)

Stormyknight1976
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This ^

+1

I concur Polyobsessive.

lewpuls
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Semantics

Unfortunately, LCG has taken on too many meanings.

If it means, buy more cards in a set of predetermined content and then pick and choose cards to use in the game, it is little different from CCG.

If it means, buy a deck to use as an alternative to a deck already in the game, not as one to take apart/pick-and-choose, then that's another (and much more interesting) meaning. Yes, it does amount to an expansion in one sense, but you don't mix its contents with the assets of the parent game.

For example, a game that allows two nation's navies to fight. Then additional navies would be sold. So if the original is Spanish and English, the additions might be French, Dutch, Portuguese, etc. You could have the Dutch fight the English, if you bought the Dutch deck. THAT is the unique meaning of LCG. Perhaps another term would be preferable.

polyobsessive
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One meaning

lewpuls wrote:
Unfortunately, LCG has taken on too many meanings.

It only really has one meaning, as it is a term trademarked by FFG to describe its system for publishing deck construction games with regular, fixed-content mini-expansions.

I'm pretty sure FFG coined the term, though it's possible someone used it beforehand, so happy to be corrected if someone has evidence of an earlier use.

Jay103
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manufacturing

I don't think I could actually manage a full "real" CCG (M:TG style), but I've been thinking myself recently about a game which would have to have a large set of cards..

Was thinking I would have to sell it basically as: Here's 300 cards. Make a deck out of them. Your friend also needs a set of 300 cards. Friend makes a deck as well. You play against each other.

With a non print-on-demand model (e.g. manufacture 1000 sets of cards, single card back, some duplication), I think the COGS isn't too bad, but I haven't looked for quotes. PrintNinja will do 324 basic poker-size cards with no box for under $5/set, though. Most of the expense is in the artwork.. ouch. I'd have to budget $10k for that.

larienna
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Quote:Unfortunately, LCG has

Quote:
Unfortunately, LCG has taken on too many meanings

It goes back to the idea of "Does the game requires deck construction".

In your navy game idea, if you cannot mix ships of different nationality, and if the new deck is playable out of the box. Then the result is different.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Not a sure thing, but not doomed either

Most of the concern about POD has been accumulating unpopular cards.

If the steady state is to make a print run every couple weeks, that's plenty of time to arrange a new master sheet that duplicates popular cards and skips well-stocked ones.

The challenge, dare I say the "logistical nightmare," will be translating from print to SKU (card X was at position 04:11 of sheet v5, but now at positions 06:10, 07:10 and 08:10 of sheet v6). This could be handled in the business logic of a decent e-commerce solution, but someone (or some robot) needs to physically sort the inventory.

The problem falls away if you ever get to a scale where you print entire sheets of the same card, but getting to that point is by no means certain.

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