For the last few years I have been thinking to myself that I was very much done with my trading card games – mostly Magic: The Gathering, to be honest. You have probably heard me rant before regarding the way the game has changed and how Wizards of the Coast’s strategy of milking their customers and destroying the game through their exhausting power creep and extensive new releases that to be frank do not seem to add anything other than rather lame hype to the whole thing. I also find it rather annoying that every set requires a new random ability that tends to create a new set of rule issues that force you to play with new cards constantly. Same problem that we have these days with Yu-Gi-Oh, right? Like how ridiculous it is that for those of you who wanna play competitively, unless you play 3 very specific variant of a deck, you are essentially done and dusted. I am fed up of having to spending a fairly copious amount of money fetching cards, the same cards everyone else is after. I am done having with new sets every 3 months that unless purchased will make me an obsolete gamer, so on and so forth. Instead, I have decided to give a go to LCG’s: living card games as the cool kids in the industry like to call them. Why have I opted for this approach? Well, probably for the same reasons than many other people, but here are my thoughts.
For starters: it is WAY cheaper. A MTG booster is usually around £3 for all of 15 cards. That is if you are buying the current set to play in Standard and you aren’t going for anything fancy or older. Of course the cards you get are mixed and completely random so, even just to obtain the minimum of 60 cards for a deck, you’re going to spend at least £20 in random boosters. If you decided to buy the pre-made decks, it depends what you go for, but the price will be starting at £10 plus. And that is just for one deck – ish. Now, for a little bit more money and an investment £30 pounds and a bit I can get myself the entire core set of Netrunner, and build as many decks as I want, and have all the cards I need to get started. Or I can buy the Lord of the Rings Card Game which includes all the cards, the starting scenario and the dynamic actually makes this coop game rather flexible and interesting – and you know what is also the best part? That if you don’t have anyone to play with, you can play on your OWN!
So as you can see the saving is something I certainly have in mind. Then there is the fact that the gameplay is completely different, and as you are not spending your time and effort trying to get the cards you want, you do not have to worry about other people trashing you cause they invested cash and you didn’t. Here the investment and the cards everyone gets are the same, so you can actually so you can actually play and get creative, work on your combos and skill. Yeah of course you can do that in Magic too. But think about it from the point of view of playing competitively and keeping up to date, and then you’ll find out it is not the same. Now, of course, games like Netrunner and LOTR LCG have expansions and this can alter things ever so slightly. But once again, this has no comparison to the way your usual TCG work, because the expansions are not compulsory and they do not alter the fact that the core game is still all you need to play and will be valid at all times, period. And although some of the expansions cycle out just like in Magic, you are still getting all the cards in the expansion in one purchase of around £10-£20.
In general, the cheaper cost is certainly an appealing factor for me. Nonetheless, the actual playability of the game without requiring to be constantly on top of new updates is a very important factor in making this decision. I also feel that, because of the freedom of not feeling like I have to be constantly monitoring the new releases, I think I end up enjoying the whole experience more – feels less angsty. And in general, I actually like more the dynamics these games present in comparison to MTG, YGO, Pokemon, etc…I feel like I actually have to think and organise my strategy and gameplay time as well as my resources in an appropriate manner, rather than just spending the entire time hoping a few good cards the deck relies on will appear so I can win. There is more to the thinking process behind it – or so it seems to me in any case.