|News | Published 01 May 2009|
by Nate French and Jeremy Stomberg
One of the major issues that the A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu Living Card Games have been facing these past few months has been a fractured Organized Play community. There were league (limited card pool) and constructed formats. The constructed formats were divided among LCG, Legacy, and playgroups that continued to play the “3-year” standard rotation environment (in AGoT). In addition, the LCGs can be played in both multiplayer and head to head formats.
One of the issues with such a diverse community is that it is difficult to match the “incentive” for any given OP program with the group of players who are most interested in that program. For instance, we received good feedback on the A Game of Thrones LCG's “storylines” that players could vote on to make decisions about future card design choices, but not all the players who were interested in these storylines were interested in playing with a limited (league) cardpool. Others were unable to make the time investment to play in the league. So the response such a player would have was, “cool idea, too bad it doesn’t do anything for me.” Another example is the House pins, which were offered as prizes for the Hedge tournaments. This was great for players who were interested in competing in a competitive jousting format, but a casual league player who really wanted a pin would be left out in the cold, with a “I wish I could get one of those, too bad I’ll never be able to win a constructed tournament” reaction.
The "Adventure League" for the Call of Cthulhu LCG had similar issues: while the Faction Leader cards and their special rules remain well-liked by players, not everyone who was interested in these Faction Leader cards was able to make the time commitment to play in an entire league. (And some players simply like constructed events more than limited card pool events.) Now each playgroup has the option of running a league, a constructed event, both, or something in between, using the support material in the kit to meet their players’ particular needs and desires.
Another issue facing the OP program were the timeframes on the various events. Not only were we telling people how they had to play in order to get the incentives, we were also telling them when they had to play. So what happened with the playgroup that found out about the Hastur pins a week after the tournament period ended? Or the newly started group that wants to start up a storyline league 3 weeks into the announced session?
The point here is, we don’t want our organized play programs to be seen as obstacles to enjoying the game, or as something that is preventing people from having the most fun they could possibly be having with our products. To that end, we are trying to eliminate some of these barriers that were making the OP program less accessible to certain groups.
Starting today, Fantasy Flight Games is taking a more open-ended approach to organized play. We've made participation very easy and straightforward, with no more complicated online signups. All stores have to do is contact us (details below) to order the kit and you are set to go. These OP kits will include both prize incentives (in the first kits, we are offering Pins, AGoT and CoC “Poker” decks, and AGoT and CoC “poker chip” counters), along with forms that enable players to vote in the ongoing storyline campaigns (for AGoT), and currency tokens as well as the well-liked Faction Leader cards (for CoC).
What we have taken away are the restrictions and obstacles that were limiting how these incentives can be used. If you want to run a league and use the pins as prizes, more power to you. If you want to run constructed tournaments and let the winners vote in the storylines, that's exactly what you can do. Each playgroup has their own unique sense of what organized play should be, and these kits should be seen as a toolbox that FFG has made available so that you can participate in the organized play program that works best for you. Of course, we’ll continue to release guidelines, special events, and championship events, but at the most essential, grass-roots local level, we want our LCG OP programs to be as inclusive as possible. Follow our suggestions and play our special events when they appeal, and when they don’t, come up with an event that works better for your local playgroup. And if you come up with an event that really seems to get people involved, feel free to pass it on to Nate... who knows, it just might become a “featured” event at some point down the road!
Ultimately, we want to give LCG Organized Play the opportunity to grow and flourish and become the program that players are willing to make it, with landmark events such as ChiCon and the tournaments at Castle Stahleck being the ideal “State of the OP.” We feel that opening up the OP program at the local level, and letting it grow from there, is the first step towards making this goal a reality.
Kits will change from season to season. Each AGoT LCG kit will contain a new story to vote on, each CoC LCG kit will include new Encounters, and some prizes will also change between seasons. A season will last for three months, with this first season lasting a bit longer. Starting in July 2009, the season will run every three months. We will make a web announcement two weeks before a new kit is available.
Each kit contains two beautiful cloisonné pins, featuring a game-specific House or Faction. These pins will be your admission to special invitational tournaments at the FFG Event Center in Minnesota coming late 2009 or early 2010, much like the Universal Fighting System CCG "Path of the Master" Invitational Tournament that took place a few weeks ago and showcased in this article and video. Remember, these pins and all of the other materials in the kits can be used in the manner that seems to work best for your play group. The kits are intended as a toolbox to help you promote and support the game at the local level.
This season, the Call of Cthulhu LCG OP kit will include:
The A Game of Thrones LCG OP kit will include:
Each kit costs $15.00 in the United States, with additional shipping charges for international deliveries.
To get started, contact Scott Clifton with the venue contact info (store name, contact person, address, phone, and email address). After you're set up, you'll be able to order these kits directly from FFG's Sales Department.
Will the Cthulhu poker cards also be available for "normal" customers? I'd love to get my hands on those but I only play the boardgame :)
Perhaps some of the best news in regards to OP. I never even knew they had pins for Cthulhu! The only thing I'd like to know is whether the pins are random per kit, two of the same pin, or TO's choice.