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The very broken LCG model

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Stormyknight1976
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.......

Heh

X3M
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IMHO

I rather see expansions, expand the game.
Not just the deck of one player.

I think the new generation goes with this one.

larienna
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You kind of assume that

You kind of assume that players only have a few deck that permanently remain active and are perfected over time. For my part, when I was playing MTG and Duel Masters, I rebuild all my deck with the card pool I had every X month.

So even if I do need 5 out of 60 cards now, I could need some of those remaining 55 cards later do try other decks. So those remaining cards are not lost. When the game play lies more in the deck construction, than the game play itself, having more design option is a good thing. And having all copies of a card also increase you design option. There is much more wasted in traditional booster pack since to get 4 copies of a card in MTG, you might need to get 8-16 copies of other cards first.

The type of gamer that need 5 specific cards, are more the power gamer type who seek a specific deck in order to win, possibly tournaments. Therefore with the arrival of the internet, there has been a market of user constructed power deck designed to win. So that a user could simply pay $$ in order to win. But that kind of player does not construct decks.


About the FLGS, not sure if the idea of each expansion is a stand alone game would not be more interesting to FLGS. Since you seem to have talked to much more FLGS that I did, you might want to take a look at it. They just have to keep the 1 item in stock, the lastest expansion available.

Corsaire
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Larienna, That brings to mind

Larienna,
That brings to mind this great Rosewater article on types of Magic players:
https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/timmy-johnny-...

I think many designers are by nature "johnnys" from the article, which harmonizes well with the expansion approach. I started playing Magic the first year and did pro qualifiers as soon as they started, traveling around for them the first five or six years. But mostly, I designed decks that my friends tuned and won with. I've never bought a Magic card single.

questccg
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Been burned before

larienna wrote:
...About the FLGS, not sure if the idea of each expansion is a stand alone game would not be more interesting to FLGS. Since you seem to have talked to much more FLGS that I did, you might want to take a look at it. They just have to keep the 1 item in stock, the lastest expansion available.

I spoke to three (3) FLGS store owners (and two of them are now out of business). The other one (1) I spoke to when "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" was looking for retailers to sell the product.

Anyways my "LCG model" was "Fixed Boosters"... It didn't go at all well with the store owners. One took one box on consignment and then when I returned several months later to do an inventory check, I found that the box of "Boosters" had not even been opened.

Furthermore I donate about 3,000 Booster Packs to "Sun Youth's" Christmas Basket campaign... My artist was supposed to deliver the boxes to them... I never heard back from them, nor was there any activity on the website. This leads me to wonder if the boxes were delivered at all?!

The conclusion that I am drawing here – is you can use Boosters (Fixed) like "White Wizard Games" (White Wizard Games - Hero Realms) the "Character Packs" or something similar (in my case "Adventure Packs" use to accomplish ONE Quest). They have a Game Box + Boosters...

It works and it is selling. Boosters ALONE, forget it!

If the goal is to compartmentalize your game such that you can have more mileage out of the "core" Game (with different adventures and difficulty settings, etc.) well then you could use Boosters for this purpose...

And you are right, experimentation with whatever cards you get is possible. The way I see it is like this:

  • Each player buys one (1) "Starter Kit". This is 60 cards for one to two players.

  • One player buys one (1) "Adventure Pack". This is +20 cards used in tandem with the "Starter Kit". It brings together everything needed to play the game together.

  • And then the possibility to customize the "core" Mini-decks (30 Cards each) by trying out different strategies with the "core" and determining what cards you could benefit from have more of and/or removing certain cards in favor of others, etc.

  • For each "Adventure Pack", you would have a 60 card deck. This is how perfected your decks are for each one of them... We'll start with ONE (1) "Adventure Pack": "Dwarven Miner" and build upon the existing IP from Quest AC.

I've been burned BADLY by "following" the advice make an "LCG"... I thought "Fixed" Boosters would sell. But the fact of the matter is that they are HARDER to sell (unless you have a strategy as I have explained above). I had made 10,000 boosters (100,000 cards), gave 3,000 away to Charity and was left with about 7,000 boosters because I could NOT sell the game (even online hardly any sales, a few people here and there).

Stores in Quebec buy from Distributors. I didn't know who they were. Now I do. And I know that you need a HOOK to get players interested in your game. I'm working on that... This "Starter Kit" + "Adventure Pack" + Singles is a reasonable venture. Mostly everything is Financially accounted for. The problem as of today is a question of "visibility".

I need to WAIT until "TradeWorlds" is in Backers HANDS! Why? Because only they can RATE the game and help spread words about that game. If it's positive, well that can help me market THIS game (Quest AC v2).

Cheers!

Jay103
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Ouch What was your marketing

Ouch

What was your marketing like? Obviously that wasn’t a Kickstarter.. definitely sucks to be stuck with 10,000 booster packs!

questccg
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Newbie

Jay103 wrote:
Ouch

What was your marketing like? Obviously that wasn’t a Kickstarter.. definitely sucks to be stuck with 10,000 booster packs!

I was NEW to Board Game Design... It was my first game (not too bad - although Purple Pawn rated it a 3/10). I knew nothing about KS... I had a company and after not having a job, I thought designing a Game and having a Bar Code would be something that I could do.

MY marketing plan was simple: I was going to go to Universal Distribution and make a deal to sell my game around Quebec (Canada). I visited the warehouse when the boss was on Holidays (Summer) and when I sent follow-up e-mails to the boss, I never received a response.

They didn't want to help me out ... So I'm selling "TradeWorlds" to ANOTHER distributor (Universal's competition). This was not the only factor, I talked with Comic Con organizers and store owners about the people they deal with and most told me that "Universal" only caters to LARGER stores. The smaller stores get less attention... And I from that I was pointed to another distributor which deals with 100+ stores.

Yeah, it was my first steps towards "Game Design". The game was mostly "Set Collection" but it tried to be somewhat "collectible" with Fixed Boosters. If I had to give myself advice back then, it would have been "Contact CPC (or QPC)" Would have been pricier than China but less expensive than made in Canada... (At least 50% less expensive)

You live and learn. I learned the HARD way. But fast forward 5 years and we had an amazing KS last May 2017... We're hoping to have an amazing fulfillment of "TradeWorlds" (almost 1,000 units sold) and I will be working to sell to online retailers around Canada and the USA (soon).

Obviously I'm trying to get "Back into the Black"... It's been tough. But I may yet make it... We shall see!

polyobsessive
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OK

questccg wrote:
Anyways my "LCG model" was "Fixed Boosters"... It didn't go at all well with the store owners. One took one box on consignment and then when I returned several months later to do an inventory check, I found that the box of "Boosters" had not even been opened.

So was your idea of the "fixed boosters" to have small packs (say about 15 cards) like in M:tG, but have fixed rather than random content, and you package them in big boxes with dozens of packs, also like M:tG?

You do realise that the FFG LCG packs are 60 cards in a tuck box, and if a retailer is buying through a distributor they can buy individual packs? If I am running an FLGS, and I have 10 or so regulars who play Netrunner and buy from me, I can buy 10 copies of the new expansion, and if they all sell, I can pick up a couple more so I'm providing longer support.

And you realise that any of these construct-your-own-deck games (whatever the distribution method) require significant active support, because they only sell if there is a community regularly playing them? This support basically means running tournaments and giving prizes to winners, and this requires an ongoing commitment from someone, probably both a network of FLGSs and the publisher.

The advice to do fixed expansions is only part of the story, and I'm sorry you got burned on that. If you make a stand-alone game that people can just buy and play, you just need to market that, and then if it does well, you can release expansion content. If you are asking people to buy in to a deck construction community, you have a hell of a lot of work to make it stick. Most people who get into that sort of thing only play one or two such games, so you need to either find a whole new audience, or convince people to switch from M:tG, Netrunner, Yu-Gi-Oh, L5R, or whatever they are currently in to, and those games have massive marketing and support behind them.

I really think that if you can make QACG into a stand alone box that people can just pick up and play with their friends, you have a chance. Otherwise I can't see how you can avoid losing money. You switched TradeWorlds to being fully playable with a single purchase, right? Surely you can make this work for QACG.

larienna
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Quote:And you realise that

Quote:
And you realise that any of these construct-your-own-deck games (whatever the distribution method) require significant active support, because they only sell if there is a community regularly playing them? This support basically means running tournaments and giving prizes to winners, and this requires an ongoing commitment from someone, probably both a network of FLGSs and the publisher.

That is the problem with ccg/tcg/lcg, people play what's popular. MTG is far from beign the best game, but it's the most popular so it get played. Many years ago I had an hard time finding players for Duel Masters, because it was not popular. And even if I supplied the cards, most people did not want to play because it was a ccg/tcg/lcg. It happened once that a player browsed throught my collection and made a deck out of it, but that situation rarely happens.

Fixed booster pack seems like an in between solution. For example, if fantasy flight released it's expansions as booster of 20 cards, some players could only buy 1 pack while others could buy 3. But if the card limit is 3 copies per deck, players will not buy more unless they are building many different decks.

Quote:
I really think that if you can make QACG into a stand alone box that people can just pick up and play with their friends, you have a chance.

I second that idea. Ccg/tcg/lcg market are for the big companies, we should stay away from it.

I Will Never Gr...
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questccg

questccg wrote:
Stormyknight1976 wrote:
...Please explain why you think that FLGS don’t like fixed boosters and why they have to get more customers to buy the expansion boxes and worry about the LCG core boxes or booster boxes?...

I've explained it several times in this thread with various different approaches!

I've talk to a couple FLGS store owners in the past who HATE the "Booster" business model. As I said their beef is that you must sell upwards of 60% of a case before making a profit. Now IF the case was full of FIXED boosters, which they will still hate, but now they need to sell to 18+ different customers, because each customer is going to BUY only ONE (1) Fixed booster (Do we agree???) that means that for the case to sell they will need 18+ individual and unique customers to sell. There is no FLGS that will be happy with ONE (1) per player. In the Random Booster scenario a player may buy like 4+ booster packs, do you now get the picture that buying only ONE (1) booster pack PER PLAYER is an even BIGGER, more difficult deterrent that no FLGS owner will agree to???

Yet they buy into it hand over fist .. The LCG model is not the same as the random CCG booster model. It may be similar but it works. However, it only works when the game is popular.

Would I stock Android: Netrunner data packs by the case? Absolutely.
Would I stock "unknown game that I've only sold a few copies of the base game" expansion packs by the case? No.

Quote:

Netrunner revised "core" costs $59.99 USD + Shipping on Amazon[dot]com...

That is the core game box. The data packs (ie: "boosters") are $10-15 (not the $45 you're touting). Who would pay $10-15 to get only 5 cards out of a data pack/booster? Most people who play these games would.

The more expensive Expansions are very different from the "boosters".

Quote:

IF I see those expansions IN STORES (not online), well then I'll have the surprise of my life. Because I honestly believe, from what storeowners are saying... They won't carry that product on their shelves...

All of my local shops carry the data packs in the $10-15 range in addition to the $30-40 expansions.

As people are saying .. you're putting the cart before the horse. Obviously having a grand plan for the future expandability of a game is great, however you need a good core game that people actually buy before you can go down that route.

For every expandable/lcg/ccg/tcg that makes it on the market there are 100's that don't. Getting people to buy into the game is the first step. Expanding it comes after that. Having a plan to expand is good, but focus on the core game first.

BIG Note: If you WANT to collect 20 cards, you will need to buy 60 of them. Even if you don't want the OTHER cards (or need them) because your interest in "Collectability" ... do you see THAT problem now?

On the Netrunner front, the data packs are 20 cards each, not 60. $0.50 to $0.75 per card. If I only want 5 of those, that's manageable. If your "booster" packs are 60 cards at $30, that's another story.

That's part of the LCG format. Make the fixed boosters a small manageable number that is easy to buy and the contents are known ahead of time, as opposed to the CCG random boosters that you end up having to buy 10x as many to get the one card you're after.

You call it broken. I call it a great solution to the booster system (from the players perspective) and somewhat of an equalizer (ie: the one with the most money wins with random boosters .. everyone is on equal grounds with fixed).

questccg
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"TradeWorlds" was different

polyobsessive wrote:
...You switched TradeWorlds to being fully playable with a single purchase, right? Surely you can make this work for QACG.

With "TradeWorlds" it was a different concern: POD printing for up to 4 players was "too expensive". So I devised a scheme that ONE (1) Box could be a one (1) player Game Box and that each player would need their own box. The price point was $29.99 retail and was reasonable... But the model, yet again was broken because of something that I learned over time.

And that is... Usually you have ONE (1) person BUYING all the games and then friends come over to see what's new or to play a favorite, etc. It's rare that one person will buy a "Game Box" and his friend would buy another, etc.

That was an attempt to vary the business model. And it did not work very well... For the most part, when people buy a game, they want to be able to play it "out-of-the-box" right away without any extras. And that's what cause me difficulty and eventually led me to make a "Big Box" for up to four (4) players. And that was widely accepted (about 1,000 units sold).

questccg
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Some precisions

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:
...On the Netrunner front, the data packs are 20 cards each, not 60. $0.50 to $0.75 per card. If I only want 5 of those, that's manageable. If your "booster" packs are 60 cards at $30, that's another story...

No FFG Boosters are 60 cards for about $15 USD. Here is proof:

Android Netrunner: Down The White Nile

It's $14.95 direct and on Amazon[dot]com. It's 6 to a case and SIXTY (60) cards (20 unique, 3 of each) per pack... And these packs are exclusively designed for "Organized Play". It's not "optimal" for "collecting". First it's more expensive and you get repeats which for a collector are useless.

Quest AC (1st Edition) was planning to sell at $5.99 CAD per booster. There were 10 unique booster in total for 10 distinct Quests. The cards were SUPREME quality since they were coated with a "plastic film" making them hard to rip and more resilient to water. I had this done because the cards from the printed would "crack" if shuffled too much. And this goes to show you that a "regular" Printer doesn't necessarily have the right paper, process or equipment to make playing cards.

So my overall projected volume sales of 10,000 boosters was about $60k CAD (my costs were high appx. $20k). Not overly ambitious, reasonable. But the model was all wrong... The wrong choice of manufacturer... And so on and so on... My conversion factor was 3:1 not 5:1 and that's because I had the cards printed in Canada (higher pricing).

I must admit I wasn't as "shrewd" as I am today. In the business sense.

If you go over the numbers of Quest AC – 1st Edition, you'll see that:

  • $5.99 CAD RETAIL a booster + 15% sales tax = $6.89

  • $2.99 CAD the wholesale price (the price stores would buy at)

  • $2.40 CAD the distribution price

  • $2.00 CAD to make and package (including artwork)

It left me with only $0.40 of profit... Not very business-like at all. Like I said everyone has to start somewhere. I my case it was a very expensive learning process by which I learned a LOT from.

polyobsessive
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POD

POD printing will always be too expensive for most people, especially if you want to make a profit on top (though you don't have the risk involved with doing a big print run). This is why you need to be able to print thousands of copies if you want to make any actual money.

questccg
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I agree ... but there are another upsides

polyobsessive wrote:
POD printing will always be too expensive for most people, especially if you want to make a profit on top (though you don't have the risk involved with doing a big print run). This is why you need to be able to print thousands of copies if you want to make any actual money.

The only reason that POD is attractive is that it handles ALL SHIPPING to potential buyers. So it's price of the game + shipping. And all I need to do is upload my spreadsheet (or .CSV file – whichever) and everything gets taken care of.

That to me is the real attraction point of POD.

Dealing with Freight Forwarders or Shipping Companies for FOB, is well "scary"... Look at Outer Limit Games (OLG), the had an ENTIRE shipment lost due to poor handling of the boxes. I'm not sure they had insurance or not (?!) But in any case, it creates bad blood with Backers because of more DELAYS. And that's what Backers dislike: delays in delivery.

Plus there is overstock, because you need to print 10% extra in case of damages and losses... And what happens once every game is shipped and there is still inventory (?!) Where does that go? How much does that cost to ship?? And how long will they warehouse it and for what price???

POD is nice because they ONLY may "X" copies where "X" = # of buyers. No overstock and no need for insurance.

So there are other advantage too ... even if price is not one of them!

Cheers.

questccg
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Like Magic but NOT random

polyobsessive wrote:
So was your idea of the "fixed boosters" to have small packs (say about 15 cards) like in M:tG, but have fixed rather than random content, and you package them in big boxes with dozens of packs, also like M:tG?

No my "Fixed Boosters" were small and only had 10 Premium Cards (better than Magic card since they were coated with a plastic film on both sides). There were ten (10) different packs (or Quests) and I delivered them to stores for selling in a box of 100 packs. So about $300.00 CAD merchandise on "consignment" with some stores.

I was so "Green" back then... And I have still a lot to learn too!

I spoke to a 4th Store Owner and he told me he only carries what the customers demand. So if people ASK for "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" BY NAME, eg. go to the store and ask for the cards... That's the ONLY way he would stock the game. His business also closed too...

(Thinks to himself: hmm... 3 out of 4 store owners I spoke with – are now out of business... Not good!!!)

questccg
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Hopefully you all understand...

Again I'll repeat myself: I'm not "bitching" about the LCG format...

I'm just saying new designers which come to forums like ours asking for advice, NEVER give the advice: "Don't do a CCG/TCG, do a LCG!"

It's a mistake in so many ways...

Again the best of advice is: "Make a GREAT game for SEVERAL players that could be expandable in the future if your sales merit the extra effort."

That's the kind of GOOD advice that is helpful, not throwing them an acronym and no understanding regarding what are all the implications of a format such as the LCG (Living Card Game) format. As I said before, it's a beast specific to FFG and should not be mimicked.

Cheers!

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