CCGs and LCGs

Nearly 18 years ago I was introduced by chance to a collectible card game called Spellfire. The game was produced by TSR and featured content from the various AD&D campaign settings of the time. The game went through four editions of the core set and twelve official booster sets. The acquisition of TSR by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 saw an end to production. There is still a surprisingly strong following and those interested can check out Spellfire was my first exposure to the world of CCGs and led to my playing Magic the Gathering and a few other CCGs for a short time. By 1998 I had amassed a near complete collection of Spellfire but, due to some bad circumstances, they were all stolen. That was my last venture into the collectible card gaming world although I’ve since purchased some discount Spellfire cards when I find them for nostalgia’s sake.

The point of all this is that I’ve always had a longing to play a collectible card game again but haven’t been able to justify the expense it incurs (my obsessive compulsive collect everything nature would win out to any notions of limited ownership). This year I discovered Warhammer: Invasion by Fantasy Flight Games and learned about their Living Card Game format (LCG). In FFGs own words:
“A Living Card Game (LCG) is a game that breaks away from the traditional Collectible Card Game (CCG) model by offering a new fixed card distribution method that still offers the same dynamic customizable, expanding, and constantly evolving game play that makes CCG’s so much fun, but without the blind buy purchase model that has burned out so many players. The end result is an innovative mix that gives you the best of both worlds!”

Warhammer: Invasion pits the various races (each of which has an affiliation to either Order or Destruction) of the Warhammer Fantasy world against each other. Some races have a capital board that the players use to track various phases of the game as well as their overall health. The objective is to damage to the opponents capital board, which is divided into three zones. Do enough damage to a zone and it will burn. If you cause two out of three zones to burn, you win. Obviously various cards and core mechanics of the game affect this. There is a video on the W:I website that provides and excellent overview of the game here. Just scroll down to the Tutorial subheading.

This intrigued me and I have since bought in and begun playing with two friends. We use to track our inventory and store decks that we’ve created. It’s an amazing resource and it’s free! You can see some of the decks that I’m using at As card games go I think this is the best one I’ve played. Although it’s a very new game and the cards available are therefore limited there are already a large variety of deck archetypes to be played and the game is quite well balanced.

Last weekend I finally had a chance to try out an older version of the Dark Elf mill deck you can see on deckbox profile and was quite happy with it’s performance. The basic idea of a mill deck is to cause your opponent to discard cards from his deck every turn (when a player runs out of cards, they lose). I made some changes to the deck and have been pondering an Order based versions that uses a mix of Empire and Dwarf cards.

So, if you’ve been dying to play CCGs and have been out of the loop for a long time, definitely check out the LCG format and the Warhammer: Invasion game specifically. I played a few games of the Call of Cthuluh LCG that is also prodcued by FFG and I enjoyed it a lot as well. After I get a few more games in I’ll give it a brief review.