Variant: Delving into the LCG Format
Many moons ago I played a lot of Magic: the Gathering. A lot. I generally had a fun time with my friends and ultimately moved into the tournament scene (though I never got very far). Initially, I enjoyed the hunt for the single rares needed to complete my deck. But, I ultimately tired of the game for two reasons: first, my friends stopped spending money on it which meant I had fewer opponents, and second, I absolutely hated the Type II format. Essentially, the only valid cards were this year’s cards and last year’s cards. Anything older than that was banned. Which meant that every year I had to re-buy half of my deck.
Doing that a few times completely soured me on the game. I never had a complete game. I only had this year’s complete game, and it was a constant pit into which I threw money. I didn’t mind at first. I was in college and, even though I didn’t have a lot of money, what little I did have was largely disposable. Post college though, things changed and I separated myself from the CCG format never to return.
Because of that ultimately bad experience (though I did have some exceptional fun with the game during my tenure playing it), I’ve also stayed away from the “Living Card Game” format. In an LCG, there is an initial base set and then periodic expansions. But unlike a CCG, each expansion pack has a complete set of cards, so there are no random packs and no need to seek out rares.
But, with the pace at which some games get expansions (Fantasy Flight does them monthly), it’s nearly impossible to get into an established game. There’s just too much in the back catalog to obtain. Then along came Netrunner. Another Garfield game (the same designer as Magic), it features incredibly tight play, asymmetric sides, and seven factions catering to different styles of play. Three of my friends jumped in and bought the base set — meaning that I’ll have fellow players, and as a new LCG, I don’t have to go back in time and buy dozens of expansions.
So, here I am. I acquired the base set in trade and bought the first two expansions with gift cards. Lets see if LCG ends up providing gaming Nirvana — a way to fill the void of Magic (aside from the CCG model, the game is amazing), without the resultant drawbacks, or if I’ve merely stepped into what will eventually be a pit of regret. Time will tell.