Just got done reading the rules, and found one thing incomprehinsible. I thought I must have read it wrong, so I came here to check it out, but sadly it turns out to be true.
The rules make it possible-- even probable-- that someone who is willing to buy 4 sets of a faction or maybe 2 sets of two different factions in order to get 4x a particular creature or command card will have a competitive advantage over someone who doesn't. They had no reason to do this. They could have, for example, allowed only customizing by having the contents of a single copy of each set. This would still give an advantage to someone who is willing to spend more money, but at least you'd be getting unique content; at least the money you spent on each set would be giving you a bunch of new options and flavors, and almost none of the money spent on a given faction would be redundant with other factions. The number of combinations would still be enormous, more than enough to remain interesting. With staggered releases of the factions, it's a reasonable expectation.
Seriously? Four copies of the same faction to get at a few command cards and miniature will give you a competitive advantage over someone else?
And yes, I know they are going to have Limited tournaments. But they're also going to have Unlimited tournaments, and if I shell out close to $1,000 to go to a convention to play this game, I expect to be able to play on equal footing in every tournament there; needing to sit out of tournaments because I didn't spend enough money to have a chance of winning is completely unacceptable.
I was ready to drive to my local game store to spend $60 on the first two sets; instead I'll be home reading. Wizards is never going to see a dime of my money for this game.
(Oh, and to forestall the invevitable "you can buy cards or creatures individually from retailers that specialize in breaking up sets or buying used copies from players": either the game catches on or it doesn't. If it doesn't, it's hardly an issue either way, since there will be no competitive tournament scene. If it does, then the creatures and cards that are best are going to be commanding a premium, and it's going to be a significant outlay of cash to get them.)
(And to head off the "it worked for Magic" argument: there were very good reasons that Magic went with randomized packs, and it actually had nothing to do with any expectation that cards would have any significant monetary value; they were completely surprised when this happened. But given the random nature of the packs, it's not really possible to have a "baseline" for what would be in a given set; no matter what you choose, someone somewhere didn't get any of those cards in his booster packs, and needs to spend money. It's inevitable, there's no clear, fair way to avoid it. But when you have set content in a box, it's completely avoidable.)
I for one am shocked that a company that sells items would design something in such as way as to encourage one to buy more of their items.
Shocked, I say.
At a rough estimate, I have a minimum of 150 games in the room I'm in right now. I've got others in the garage, but let's ignore those.
I have a minimum of 1,000 miniatures I've painted, and another 2,000 or so unpainted (and probably always will be).
I have lots of games that have expansions-- Commands & Colors, Descent, Neuroshima Hex, Blue Moon, etc.
I have games that allow customization of decks, such as Flash Duel, Blue Moon, and Battleground: Fantasy Warfare.
You know how many of those games provide any incentive whatsoever to buy mulitple copies of the same game, let alone providing a competitive advantage for someone to do so?
Zero. Nada. Zilch.
So yes, I do find it shocking that a game company would provide incentive for me to buy extra copies of the same product, much of which would be useless. I find this particularly surprising given that there is absolutely no need for it.
Also, I picked up 3 of each Order deck alone online for less than the cost of one additional faction pack, and extra creatures for around $2 each. So I wouldn't say I broke the bank.
Yes, right now, before there's any competitive scene, you can do that. Given what's happened in CCGs that have competitive tournaments, do you seriously think that's going to remain the case if this game catches on? Really? Do you have even the smallest suggestion of the hint of a reason why that would be the case? Either the game creates a tournament scene or it doesn't, and it's obviously going to be the case that if it does, the better creatures and command cards are going to cost more, perhaps a great deal more. Citing how much they cost less than a month after release is meaningless, and I suspect you know it.
Your argument is that this will become some terrible thing, therefore you are going to refuse to enjoy it as is.
My argument is that if I purchased the game, it would be with the hope (if not the expectation) that it would do well enough that I could go to Origins or Gen Con and play in tournaments. And I would expect to be on equal footing with everyone else in those tournaments. And this method of customizing warbands requires that I outlay a ridiculous and unecessary amount of money in order to do that.
I have to agree with much of the sentiment of the original post. Why a non-randomised game that requires the purchase of multiple faction boxes?
I like the game, having played the 'first time playing' style games several times with friends. But I cannot justify purchasing more than one of each faction. Also, there appears to be very little uptake of the game at my FLGS ... took a back seat on the D&D game day with very little promotion. Perhaps a lack of prize support???
What is also putting me off is the non-commitment to grow the game after the Undeath faction release in November. I have a room full of plastic from gamesthat've burst onto the scene then rapidly died a death with zero support from makers.
I'm still stuck on the $1000 dollars to go to a convention, but offended that buying 4 copies will give a competitive advantage. Buying 1 copy is $30, buying 4 copies would be $120 dollars -- is the problem really that you're okay with paying $1030 dollars, but not paying $1120? And, even if the game only allowed 1 of each set, having all 4 sets would give an advantage over having 1 set -- so $1120 is always going to be better than $1030.
Now, to be fair, there's a good argument that says that games should never be played where spending more money than another person gives an advantage. And, there's a good argument that says "games are more fun when they're even". For me though, I don't play magic with "My cards against someone elses cards" -- we always have 1 person supply all the cards. That makes sure money isn't an object. And, I expect similar rules when I play this game. Of course, I don't play conventions competitively though, so I can't really help the OP.
Except to say that if the OP doesn't like a particular tournament set, pick a different tournament?
A big part of deck design in Magic is choosing whether to design for reliability (i.e. 4 copies of 9 spells for 36 non-land cards) or for flexibility (i.e. 2 copies of 18 spells). The current system lets players choose to expand their warband with extra copies of the same set (reliability) or by buying different sets (flexibility). Either option will allow for more powerful warbands than a single copy of one faction box.
The other approach would be for WotC to include the maximum number of every creature and order in the faction box. That would either result in a much more expensive box with lots of components beyond what a "starter" requires, OR a greatly reduced variety - 4 copies of 3 creatures rather than 12 models that encompass 10 designs.
There's also theme to consider. The upcoming factions feature goblinoids, undead, and orcs. That definitely gives the Drow players something to work with, but a Cormyr player who likes the idea of "good guys" might balk at incorporating those into his warband. Allowing that player to buy additional Cormyr sets gives him something to tinker with while he waits for another heroic faction.
I'm still stuck on the $1000 dollars to go to a convention, but offended that buying 4 copies will give a competitive advantage. Buying 1 copy is $30, buying 4 copies would be $120 dollars -- is the problem really that you're okay with paying $1030 dollars, but not paying $1120?
Reading my original post and followup post, I can see that I was imprecise and perhaps even misleading in how I phrased it. So your argument is actually quite valid if it's responding to the exact words that I wrote. My bad.
I would never pay $1000 to go to a convention solely for the purpose of playing in a tournament or even several tournaments for any game. There are many other reasons I like going to Origins or Gencon or BoardGameGeek Con or the World Boardgaming Championships (I usually make 1 or 2 a year). I have friends that I only see at these conventions, some of whom I've known for a long time; I enjoy wondering around the dealer room several times, talking to small publishers about their game and seeing new releases; I like getting some time to myself; and so on.
What I meant, and what I should have said more clearly, is: part of my calculation as to whether or not to go to a particular convention in a particular year is what games I'm looking forward to playing. If I'm currently interested in a particular game, the ability to play that game, particularly in a tournament, is a plus for me, and I might very well only play that game for the course of a weekend, spending the rest of my time eating out and socializing and looking at demos and such.
That's what I meant when I said "going to a convention to play this game".
So the $1000 is in some sense already a sunk cost; I'm probably going to spend it most years going to one convention or another, it's just a matter of which one, and which game I'm most interested in playing there.
In contrast, how much I spend on a game is never a sunk cost, in any sense. It's a pure calculation of how much the game is worth to me. If I value it at the price it's selling for or less, I might buy it; otherwise, I won't.
It costs 4 times as much to play this game as it could have if a different (arbitrary) set of construction rules had been adopted. Furthermore, I don't think that is an unreasonable expectation, given my prior (rather extensive) experiences with board games and miniatures games; requiring someone to buy multiple copies of the exact same game, accumulating useless duplicates of commander cards, boards, counters, as well as some creatures and command cards that will never be used, is not normal practice in this hobby. I have never encountered it before. Perhaps it's standard in Magic, which is a game I've never played; but this game is not Magic, it does not have randomized packs, it is played with miniatures and a board which are many times as expensive as playing cards, etc.
So yes, $120 vs $30 is not a large difference compared to $1000, and I can easily see how you would (correctly) make that argument, if I was truly prepared to go to Gencon for no other purpose than playing in Dungeon Command tournaments. I might very well go with the desire to play Dungeon Command and little or nothing else, but there are significant payoffs to me outside of that.
And, even if the game only allowed 1 of each set, having all 4 sets would give an advantage over having 1 set -- so $1120 is always going to be better than $1030.
Yes, but I think I addressed this in my OP. If I need to buy one faction box every couple of months or so to be competitive, that seems reasonable to me, because my return on investment is high enough: I'm getting an entirely new set of creatures and cards, and an entirely new theme, so as a game in and of itself it's going to pay off a lot more. It's fun just to sit in bed and look through material you've never seen before, try to figure out how you could build a warband around it, see what new mechanics have been introduced, etc. I think almost everyone enjoys that exploration phase. So $30 spent on a new faction box is a much better investment for me than $30 spent on duplicates and useless materials that I already have, and much much better than spending $90 on many duplicates and a lot of useless material I already have.
You are (again) correct that spending more gives you a competitive advantage in either scheme; however, in my judgment the amount you need to spend, the frequency you need to spend it, and the fun you get out of the money spent is significantly better by buying a new faction box rather than 1-3 duplicates of existing faction boxes. It is also my judgment that it's not unreasonable to expect that someone who likes the game enough to want to play in a competitive tournament would be willing to buy a faction box once every couple of months; I recognize that is purely subjective, but I suspect a lot of people would agree.
Except to say that if the OP doesn't like a particular tournament set, pick a different tournament?
Assuming I'm at a convention and want to play Dungeon Command, I don't think I should need to make the choice WotC has left me with: play in only the Limited tournament, which doesn't allow any customization of creatures and barely any customization of order cards, thus nullifying one of the fun and interesting parts of the game that presumably got a lot of people to buy in the first place; or also play in the Constructed tournament, which requires a truly significant amount of extra money, which is only necessary because they wrote a few lines of text that has nothing to do with how the game is played, and could have easily been written in such a way as to require a fraction of the outlay of money while still allowing a great deal of customization.
In additon to the calculation of my ROI, there is the irrational (but still almost universal) desire for "fairness". Study after study has found that humans are almost always willing to "bite off their nose to spite their face" if they percieve that another party is treating them unfairly. Although this is irrational in the economic sense, it does make sense from an evolutionary standpoint, and serves quite a good purpose; so the fact that my brain is wired to rebel at the notion of someone charging 4x as much as I think they need to in order to give me the same amount of fun shouldn't come as a surprise, isn't rare, and isn't something I can really do much about.