Living Card Games

Posted by Mitch, gamura compeditorus.



I love collectible card games
I really enjoy the complexity and variety of collectible card games (CCG), or trading card games (TCG), depending on what you like to call them. I also like that fact that, through good (or bad) deck construction, players are able to influence how ‘luck’ will affect their play. My fondness for these games is also influenced by the fact that I peaked as a competitive gamer while playing these games. So anyway, the point is, I love CCGs and/or any games that remind me of them.

A new take on CCG’s
Fantasy Flight Games is now creating Living Card Games (LCG); these are basically CCGs with the collectible aspect of the game removed or, at least, significantly reduced. CCGs have traditionally been packaged in random packs where you get an unknown rare card and a couple of unknown common and uncommon cards. Fantasy Flight Games is packaging their LCGs in fixed packs, so you always know the exact cards contained within the pack. While I actually really enjoyed the collectible aspect of card games (at one point in time I spent way too much time obtaining very rare promo cards for the dot.hack card game), I feel the fixed distribution is much better for gamers.

Benefits to the LCG distribution format

  • LCGs make it easy for players to obtain the cards they would like to use for game play
  • LCGs allow players to avoid getting excessive numbers of duplicate cards
    • I still have boxes and boxes of cards for games that I no longer play and that I am becoming less and less of a fan of every time I move. The really silly thing is that the majority of these cards are an excessive number of duplicates of common and uncommon cards; this shouldn’t be a problem for LCG players.
  • LCGs shift focus away from collecting and allow players to better focus on game play
  • LCGs eliminate the frustration in not getting the card(s) you where hoping for when you spend money on a pack of cards
  • LCGs eliminate the ability for a player in a small group of players to gain a monopoly on specific a card. Although the willingness to purchase single cards through the internet for traditional CCG also does this, making such purchases is not the type of thing more casual players always like (or think) to do.

Disadvantages of the LCG distribution format

  • LCGs eliminate the collectible aspect of CCGs for players that enjoy collecting and trading cards for these games
  • LCGs eliminate the joy experienced in opening up a pack and finding a card that you where hoping for, or the rare occasion where you find something even better than you where hoping to find
  • LCGs may make sealed, out-of-the-box play less interesting for players that like to use that format to add greater uncertainty into their game play. I must say this is form a play that I really enjoy, as it forces you to adapt to different scenarios.

Who will benefit from the LCG distribution format

  • The more mature gamer who enjoys playing CCGs but has less time and/or desire to collect CCGs, and wants to focus on game play.
  • Smaller groups of players that want to create specific themes in what they play, while limiting what they have to spend.

Who will benefit from sticking with games using the traditional CCG distribution format

  • Younger players who use these games to learn how to assign value to similar yet different objects, as well as learning the art of negotiation.
  • Hard core collectors

While I really like the LCG distribution format—and would suggest looking into these games to players who like CCGs, but are not a big fan of putting in the time necessary to collections—I think the success of these games ultimately depends on the quality of each individual game. In my next post, look for my thoughts on one of these games—A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.

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2 Responses to Living Card Games

  1. Rick Janssen says:

    A very nice article that succintly sums up the advantages and disadvantages of CCG vs. LCG. Thank you!

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