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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about collectible card here.

Legend of the Five Rings LCG discontinued by FFG

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18 Feb 2021 05:10 #319305 by Erik Twice
It's done. The last competitive LCG will be discontinued in a few months.

The Future of a Legend

The pandemic was not kind to L5R. It was literally illegal to meet and, when it was possible, you could only have a few people. I have barely played in a year and I could see even established players drip out. The game was also a bit too complex and fairly punishing with made it harder to introduce it to others. But it was a great game and I felt I could win every match if I worked for it.

Now there's not any skillful card game without an abusive bussiness model in the market. If I want to play a game of this kind, what alternative do I have? Flesh and Blood with 60€ singles and decks in the 400-600€ range? Going back to Magic where the win ratios of even the best players are barely better than a coin flip? There's nothing left. Even if I wanted to play those games I can't afford them. And deckbuilding? Well, I can build janky decks for fun and try out new strategies but not when the key cards cost 30€ each. And the community becomes much worse when money is involved.

I just want a game I can learn and play well and compete with people who are better than me. I like going to the club but half of the time I don't really play my favourite games but just teach them to others. I feel mismatched, unable to actually get good or learn because I'll run out of opponents. Going to a tournament and being told no, this is wrong, learning to beat top players and winning the ocassional tournament is big for me. And that's gone man, it sucks.

I feel one of my hobbies is gone. I could get into VTES or whatever the community goes next, but I'm not hopeful at all.
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18 Feb 2021 06:37 #319306 by sornars
I know you were big Netrunner fan back in the day. My understanding is that the fan run continuation is well regarded and has a PnP core coming soon as well as multiple released cycles: nisei.net/article/announcing-sg

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18 Feb 2021 07:27 #319307 by Whoshim
I don't know how you feel about it (I don't really enjoy it), but Epic seems to still be getting new content. I don't know what in person tournaments are like. I have only played their online implementation, which was pretty nice. I found the game itself is a bit boring, though I was playing with the free cards, so I may not have had access to some fun things (I don't remember the details very well).

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18 Feb 2021 09:39 #319311 by fightcitymayor

Erik Twice wrote: Now there's not any skillful card game without an abusive bussiness model in the market. If I want to play a game of this kind, what alternative do I have?

In terms of MTG, Commander has basically overtaken Standard as the de facto format. Which is good, as you can have a friendly game as easy as you can have a multiplayer competitive game.

Also, Doomtown Reloaded keeps chugging along since AEG sold it off to a fan group, and has just released a new 4x expansion this week.

I will never understand why FFG bought L5R and then proceeded to remove none of the complexity & fiddliness that scared people away a decade ago. It's interesting that the LCG model seems to have more or less run its course in the hobby, after making grand proclamations about how much better it was than the typical CCG model. Meanwhile Magic, YuGiOh, and Pokemon still sell like mad.
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18 Feb 2021 09:51 - 18 Feb 2021 09:53 #319312 by Jexik
I don’t know if either game will ever get the market penetration to become a household name, but Plaid Hat is currently (or soon) releasing new editions of Ashes and Summoner Wars. I never played Ashes a lot, but SW definitely had better players winning more often. It was the same four names coming up whenever we’d have a 100 person online tourney. One guy even won purposely picking factions people thought were lower tier.
Last edit: 18 Feb 2021 09:53 by Jexik.

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18 Feb 2021 10:00 #319313 by Jackwraith

fightcitymayor wrote: It's interesting that the LCG model seems to have more or less run its course in the hobby, after making grand proclamations about how much better it was than the typical CCG model. Meanwhile Magic, YuGiOh, and Pokemon still sell like mad.


I think it's mostly economics. CCGs are a motivator for stores to promote because packs are random, which means a ready stream of people coming in to try their luck. On top of that, you have a singles market which also is a source of revenue for stores, who can luck into $50 cards in the same way that players can. Also, despite the randomness, it means that you can buy specific cards for specific colors/factions/classes and limit your expenditure as a player. Plus, without random packs, you basically have no draft format and it's really expensive to do a "sealed" format in most of FFG's LCGs. It's basically standard or nothing.

The LCG model, OTOH, has less value for stores after the initial release, since there are no singles to be chased. But it also often seems like more money up front for players who are basically required to buy all of the new stuff that comes out, instead of targeting a few singles. And, if said releases go out of print (as they often did for FFG's stuff), you're basically screwed. Players will often actually be spending less than they would on a CCG's random packs, but buying the new all-inclusive set doesn't produce the same dopamine rush that getting random packs and lucking into something good (i.e. gambling) does.

I didn't really keep track, but a friend who was into the GoT LCG told me that FFG's schedule was kind of erratic, as well. Card games are built on constant, regular releases. If you don't have anything new for six months, things start to dry up. Many of the real success stories of that type of game are single-effort companies. For the longest time, Wizards basically did nothing else other than MTG. It allowed them to maintain a consistent focus and remain the biggest kid on the block. FFG did not have that singularity of approach and it apparently often showed.
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18 Feb 2021 10:25 #319314 by fightcitymayor

Jackwraith wrote:

fightcitymayor wrote: It's interesting that the LCG model seems to have more or less run its course in the hobby, after making grand proclamations about how much better it was than the typical CCG model. Meanwhile Magic, YuGiOh, and Pokemon still sell like mad.

I think it's mostly economics.

True that.
It really is fascinating the mini-economies that a single game like MTG produces. Everything from booster pack/box prices, to precon deck prices, to singles (for a range of formats.) It really harkens back to the fact that boardgame stores exist largely because of MTG sales.

Jackwraith wrote: Many of the real success stories of that type of game are single-effort companies. For the longest time, Wizards basically did nothing else other than MTG. It allowed them to maintain a consistent focus and remain the biggest kid on the block. FFG did not have that singularity of approach and it apparently often showed.

Agreed. When FFG was still semi-independent (before the Asmodee tendrils sunk too deep) they seemed to understand that too, that operating a vibrant competitive scene for LCGs wasn't just a good idea it was a requirement. The minute they started treating LCGs too much like a boardgame and not enough like a CCG was when people stopped caring as well.
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18 Feb 2021 10:33 #319316 by Jexik
The idea that Magic is the sole driver for stores is an outdated one.

Also, the landscape is littered with dead CCG’s, even when backed by a pretty popular IP like Munchkin. Mtg and Pokemon are huge because they were 1) first and 2) MFing pokemon, with twenty years of tv shows and video games to back up the collection aspect.

It’s like saying you have to do a subscription model for MMOs because of WoW.

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18 Feb 2021 10:46 #319317 by Shellhead
Sorry to hear this, Erik. I played first edition L5R back in the '90s, and occasionally in the early '00s. Rokugan is a fantastic setting, and the major clans all tapped into powerful archetypes. When FFG rebooted the game, it happened at a time when money was tight for me, so I took a long look at it but decided to pass.

Vampire: the Eternal Struggle probably is your best bet for now. The game has gone in and out of print a couple of times, but the fans have been playing steadily since 1994. The current edition is following the LCG model, with fixed, non-random cards in each starter deck or expansion pack. Also, there has been steady online play for years now, and more than a few online tournaments in 2020. The current edition is also publishing cards in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
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18 Feb 2021 11:14 #319318 by fightcitymayor

Jexik wrote: The idea that Magic is the sole driver for stores is an outdated one.

Never said it was the "sole driver" but an awful lot of LGS sprang into being (and were able to continue operating) in the last 20 years via the reliable, tentpole sales of MTG's multitude of product offerings. I know it drives boardgamers crazy to admit it (because so many love slamming MTG) but it's true.

Jexik wrote: Also, the landscape is littered with dead CCG’s, even when backed by a pretty popular IP like Munchkin.

Absolutely. But it's notable that CCGs grew to the level where hundreds of hangers-on at least tried their luck at the format. Outside of FFG the LCG model never really got serious traction as a competitor. (And for good reason, the margins just aren't there unless you're moving massive amounts of product.) Which is amazing when you think FFG couldn't even make a Star Wars LCG work. It's F'ing Star Wars!!! Print Grogu's face on butt plugs and they sell, but not the Star Wars LCG.

Jexik wrote: It’s like saying you have to do a subscription model for MMOs because of WoW.

Agreed, not a necessity, but you can't argue with success.

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18 Feb 2021 11:39 #319320 by DarthJoJo
It doesn’t really surprise me, but I’m bummed to see L5R go, too. The game never really grabbed me, its central win condition of province-breaking feeling a bit too much like Thrones’ (my main competitive game at the time) challenge phase but way more high stakes. At the same time, Fantasy Flight was actually willing to experiment with it instead of dropping its head and driving ahead with what it always did. The six-packs-in-six-weeks model for the first cycles was innovative, if ultimately a failure, and they did release an alternate rules set that dropped a lot of the complexity (which is the reason I’m keeping an eye on eBay for collections).

As to what’s next, the answer is probably digital. While Flesh and Blood is the only physical game to have really made a splash lately (driven in large part and probably unsustainably by speculators and collectors looking to get in on the next Magic), games like Gwent and Runeterra seem to be doing fine even in the shadow of gorillas like Hearthstone and Magic: Arena. Digital space has also allowed player committees to keep old favorites alive despite a disperse audience and limited physical product. NISEI is probably the current gold standard, but the SW:CCG Players’ Committee is still a thing and, off the top of my head, Conquest, Thrones, Harry Potter, Destiny, Raw Deal, Stark Trek 1E and 2E all have fan sets in the past year or two. I’m sure there’s already something in the works for L5R on this front, too.

This may actually be a golden age for CCGs, just not in a medium I’m excited about.

I’m with Jexik in hoping that the rereleases of Ashes and Summoner Wars can fill the space, but Plaid Hat has never really shown that much interest in OP, content to design kitchen table games, which is fine.
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18 Feb 2021 11:59 - 18 Feb 2021 12:48 #319321 by Jexik

fightcitymayor wrote:

Jexik wrote: The idea that Magic is the sole driver for stores is an outdated one.

Never said it was the "sole driver" but an awful lot of LGS sprang into being (and were able to continue operating) in the last 20 years via the reliable, tentpole sales of MTG's multitude of product offerings. I know it drives boardgamers crazy to admit it (because so many love slamming MTG) but it's true.


I used to own a game store under the largest chain in the country. They made a distinct pivot in roughly 2012 from events to board games as a whole. My best week outside of holidays was when I sold 20 Stuffed Fables. I probably lost more money acquiring collections and trying to support the Final Fantasy TCG community than I actually made.

The number of people who can accurately predict and speculate and do targeted buyouts for profit on the M:tG market is pretty small; it’s a much more complicated skillset than you might think.

I failed due to cashflow issues and a bad partner, but the largest chain acts more like CSI and Miniature Market than your average 1-off event shop.

I’m not slamming MtG, I actually love the game, but it doesn’t take off the way it once did. I’m with Darthjojo in that the future of these kinds of communities is largely digital, at least for the foreseeable future.
Last edit: 18 Feb 2021 12:48 by Jexik.
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19 Feb 2021 08:38 #319336 by fightcitymayor

Jexik wrote: I’m not slamming MtG, I actually love the game, but it doesn’t take off the way it once did. I’m with Darthjojo in that the future of these kinds of communities is largely digital, at least for the foreseeable future.

I knew I was SUPER old (not just regular old) when interacting with kids about MTG meant specifying that I played "paper Magic." Because the kids love MTG Arena, and some play exclusively there. It's become something of a hot topic the last few years about "Does Wizards Of The Coast Want To Kill Paper Magic?" and switch to an all-digital platform for the game. Mark Rosewater (MTG head designer and chatty all-around guru) has assuaged fears that "paper Magic" still represents the bulk of their sales & isn't ever going away, but many oldsters like myself can imagine a day when pack-ripping becomes a digital-only experience.

Which makes me sad. :(

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19 Feb 2021 17:47 #319365 by Cranberries

Jexik wrote: I don’t know if either game will ever get the market penetration to become a household name, but Plaid Hat is currently (or soon) releasing new editions of Ashes and Summoner Wars. I never played Ashes a lot, but SW definitely had better players winning more often. It was the same four names coming up whenever we’d have a 100 person online tourney. One guy even won purposely picking factions people thought were lower tier.


I've played Ashes once and enjoyed it (Thanks Dan Thurot) and had a chance to trade one of my games for a decent sized collection. Now I am perhaps regretting not biting at that trade offer.

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20 Feb 2021 14:38 #319390 by Cranberries

CranBerries wrote:

Jexik wrote: I don’t know if either game will ever get the market penetration to become a household name, but Plaid Hat is currently (or soon) releasing new editions of Ashes and Summoner Wars. I never played Ashes a lot, but SW definitely had better players winning more often. It was the same four names coming up whenever we’d have a 100 person online tourney. One guy even won purposely picking factions people thought were lower tier.


I've played Ashes once and enjoyed it (Thanks Dan Thurot) and had a chance to trade one of my games for a decent sized collection. Now I am perhaps regretting not biting at that trade offer.


I just traded a game I wasn't playing for about seven unopened decks of the current edition of Ashes, so once again I try to leave the family and once again am dragged back into it!

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