Living Card Games.
I love these things. I play them all (when I can), so was looking forward to seeing just what the dramatic “state of the union” announcement was going to be at this year’s Worlds. I must say, I wasn’t quite expecting the news that came.
The idea of rotation, from a general standpoint, is actually pretty good. I mean, Call of Cthulhu has seven cycles under its belt, while A Game of Thrones has twelve, to say nothing of all the deluxe expansions. The buy-in for new players is pretty insane – I myself got into A Game of Thrones during its sixth cycle, and that was bad enough. But aside from issues of new-customer-appeal, I suppose coming at it from the other angle, it becomes hard to keep track of the game as it sprawls out in this way. However, I hope this doesn’t lead to the excuse for design sloppiness, whereby once a cycle goes out of rotation all the characters within it become fair-game for redesigns etc. Time will tell, I suppose, as the earliest rotation we’ll be seeing will come in a little over two years’ time, when Android Netrunner will see its Genesis cycle rotate out.
The one thing that I can empathise with is where competitive players bemoan the fact that they can’t play with certain cards because they’re out of rotation. However, as someone who doesn’t play in tournaments, it doesn’t really bother me all that much.
The second part of this announcement, however, is that A Game of Thrones will be seeing a second edition. Wow. Fantasy Flight has put a lot of content out to explain why they’re doing this – a letter from Nate French, the news article, and a description of 2nd edition – but I’m not entirely sure I’m convinced. Not that I have any sort of conspiracy theories, of course, but still. It seems like FFG are almost stuck in a holding pattern waiting for GRRM to write his next tome, then a flurry of new stuff hits the game, before then dying down to tiny tiny bit-parts, or another version of the big names. But that probably doesn’t mean anything.
I’m a bit annoyed though – or perhaps peeved would be a better way of putting it. Not that long ago, when I was looking at the cards for one of the new chapter packs, I was overcome with a real sense of depth as regards this game, and it suddenly felt like an important game in the history of games. (That is a really badly-written sentence, I know). As the very first LCG, it has that history to it, but the sense of strategy, of synergy, of depth of interaction and all these things, it really struck me as a proper card-player’s game.
I’ve read quite a bit of hate on the forums about this decision, but I don’t share those views. I’m sad to see the now-first edition end, but I’m also a bit relieved, as I’ve been spending far too much money on cards. I don’t think I’ll get second edition, as I enjoy first edition as it stands, so will definitely be buying the upcoming Wardens cycle as the last one, then leave it at that. I suppose my life isn’t big enough for two Games of Thrones, and I’m certainly not going to let first edition go to make room!
So…yeah… it feels a bit weird right now in the LCG community…