HomeBlogNerf the Knight of Pentacles!


Nerf the Knight of Pentacles! — 15 Comments

  1. Kinda like car companies, too. Any company, really, makes its money off of sales, if it produces products. Since CCG companies can’t sell you service agreements or anything like that, they have to make it all in sales, either to new customers or new sales to previous customers. It gets silly, sometimes, but I can’t fault them on the basic idea.

    I think the real problem is the sense of entitlement that a lot of folks seem to have, these days. Though, I say ‘these days’, though I think it’s been around longer than I have. Bah.

  2. I played in one Mechwarrior tournament where, while I’ll admit I played “Solitude” (Jonah Levin’s Atlas), the rest of my army was composed of Highlanders, of which there hasn’t been a new on in over two years or more.

    Well, everyone did exactly what I expected them to do (except for who knows me too well) and charged right past the two Highlander Marksman tanks to get to the Atlas. The Marksman let them get far enough past, and ripped them apart with rear arc shots.

    The moral of the story: better to have a small garage you’re really good with than a ton of cheese that everyone’s spent their time trying to nerf.

  3. This is an imaginary world where poker started off only as 36-card decks with 2-9 in them. Also, each player brings his own deck to draw from, which the other player may inspect before shuffling occurs (no loading your starter deck with nines!)

    Obviously, a much different game than the real thing, but I thought it illustrated my point.

  4. Absolutely! Even the Steve Jackson Illuminati CCG worked differently. The rare cards and expansion cards weren’t better, just additional fun.

    On the other hand, it’s out of print now, and SJG has returned to the buy-once single-deck version. It’s certainly easier and cheaper to get a game together that way.

  5. Yeah, this is why I don’t play CCGs (or Clix, for that matter) — the person that wins is the person who spends the most money on their deck/army/etc. Plus, they put out rules designed to make people go out and buy more crap, instead of getting it right the first time. I think virtually all the MW Clix I have now are tournament-illegal.

    I’ve got better things to do with my money than satiate some games maker every two months.

  6. I don’t think that this analogue holds up between classic games and collectible games. The differences between the closed systems of classic games and the open systems of collectible games from the standpoints of design, play and meta-play are all far more significant than the simplified idea that someone “gets good” at the game and then is blindsided by new content (and that this blindsiding is even a bad thing). Poker would not have become the game that it is if it were collectible, and Magic would not have become the game that it is if it weren’t.

    That said, I can understand and agree with the idea of being annoyed at gamers who express an overly-authoritative sense of entitlement about changes to games (go figure), but I think that this sort of gamer is to be found in pretty much any genre and is more an observation about the state of society than it is about the state of game design.

  7. But SJ didn’t return to the one-box version for the purity of the game. They just did it because the mad profits waved in front of their faces by MtG and others failed to materialize for them, so why bother?

  8. Plus, they put out rules designed to make people go out and buy more crap, instead of getting it right the first time.

    Most of the rules changes are legitimately for game balance; I’m actually fine with that. Once you have hundreds and hundreds of cards / pieces, there are often going to be unforeseen, overpowered combos which need to be nerfed. Players have been good at searching those combos out since the first D&D rules.

    The game is designed from the start to be “buy an expansion every six months or be unable to play competitively”. That is the Whole Point of a Collectible Game. It’s not really fair to blame the designers, who built what was requested; perhaps blame the marketers, who conveniently forget to mention on launch that you’ll be yoked to their upgrade harness for as long as you plan to compete. (Nothing stops anyone from friendly games with house rules restricting the players to, say, the first two expansions.)

    Nevertheless, I share your disinterest. I’m a much bigger fan of “complete-in-the-box” these days.

  9. I agree with you that the analogy breaks down on close inspection, but I was experimenting with a way of describing certain Gamer issues to non-Gamers (a fair portion of my friends list).

    In fact, this post is REALLY about Tempest Keep purples vs. “welfare epics” vs. the upcoming Northrend greens. But couching that in non-Gamer terms would have take several pages 🙂

  10. I don’t get the feeling that SJ ever really understood the game design elements that make for a strong CCG, and that’s part of why I don’t think the game did the gangbuster business they were hoping for (if not expecting). It was indeed better for the game in the long run that they went back to the right format for that game.

  11. I guess because I was so intimately involved with game designs of both collectible and non-collectible formats there’s nothing “casual” about the way I look at game analogies. 😉

    But ah, given the real gripe…. have at. 🙂

  12. Yeah…it seems to me that there’s always something in the latest offering that moves the level of gameplay up a notch so that it does unbalance the game and kinda forces even those who wouldn’t normally fall for the next ‘shiny thing’ to buy just to stay in the game. Eventually they’ve got to top out somewhere or people just lose interest and sell their stuff to their younger brother.

    Pokemon doesn’t seem to have topped out yet.

    And that reminds me, I need to find my old copy of the game that pretty much inspired the whole CCG phenomena and find some players, because Cosmic Encounter was pretty much the Ultimate Beer & Pretzels game, IMHO (and the opinion of many others as well!)

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