So I play card games now. I haven’t played a card game in years. Growing up I used to collect Pokémon cards (we never played the actual game though, as it was a bit naff), and after that it was Yu-Gi-Oh cars, because the TV show was pretty awesome and we’d just “IT’S TIME TO DUEL” at each other and send everyone to the shadow realm.
That was then, though, and after I went to Uni I didn’t really play anything. Videogames have always been my thing, and most recently my job, but they kind of stopped being a hobby for me, which is probably why I’ve jumped back into board games with so much passion. It helps that I have a good group of friends that I can play with, as well as a local club, but I’m really enjoying having a ‘hobby’ again after such a long time.
Which brings us back to card games – recently I’ve been playing a lot of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest.
It’s an ‘LCG’ from a company called Fantasy Flight Games. It differs from the games I used to play (and current popular games like Magic), because it does away with the booster system. No longer do you need to spend money on packs with a random chance of what you get – instead everything is known. Aside from the core set, thematic packs are released as part of a cycle, and you’ll always know what cards are in them so you can pick and choose what you want to buy, and these packs always come with three of each card so there’s no question of needing to choose whether or not to pick up a second one. On the flip side, it means less cards per faction (there are 7 base in conquest), but it still builds up gradually.
I like it, for the most part, but being involved from a game from the ground up there is one glaring thing that annoys me about it the system – the Core Sets.
Now, this is only my experience with one of FFG’s LCG’s – there are plenty other (Game of Thrones, for example, is quite interesting. NetRunner has a-symmetrical mechanics, and Star Wars is, well, Star Wars, although I find the actual gameplay a bit confusing and boring). The Core Sets come with a respectable amount of cards – not enough to build a tournament deck with only one faction (you have to combine them), but it’s not the end of the world. Still, because some cards in the core set are so powerful and, well, really good to use in a game, its given rise to a situation where players will buy multiple core sets.
I’m offended by this idea on principle – why should I buy a second core set? I get more cards than I really need (since I’m only really going to play a handful of factions); I get duplicates of the other bits and bobs which I definitely don’t need. The plus side is that I get to make a mono-faction deck, but to be honest I shouldn’t HAVE to buy a second core to have that option at launch.
I get it – this thinking is completely on me – but coming videogames it smacks a little bit of ‘pay to win’ because those that do want to spend money on two (even three!?) Core Sets have a decided advantage. Not total supremacy – you can have a good deck but a bad player, after all – but having more versions of certain cards than one core set allows you does come with certain advantages.
But I shall remain strong – there are some people at my club with multiple core sets, so I’m going to play against them as much as possible to try and learn how to deal with the card disadvantage. Plus, I’m banking on Core Set cards becoming less of a thing when Conquest gets onto its second and third cycle (of which there are around 8 packs in a cycle) as well as the ‘big box’ expansions they’ll do from time to time. I’m already chomping at the bit for Howl of Blackmane, the first War Pack in the first cycle (Warlords) – some really interesting cards in that.
But yeah… Conquest. Get it. I might start talking about it a lot more in the future. That and X-Wing: Miniatures Game.