• TRP Chat - D&D3 and the new "Draft Pack"

    We're back with another TRP Chat session! JT (jthomash2), Paul (pk2317), Randy (randy), Dave (dave), Patrick (shadowmeld), Isaac (isaacbv), Trubie (flexei), Stuart (theconductr), Michaela (memmek2k), and Mike (whisperni) discuss the announcement of a third Dungeons and Dragons set, and possible implications for the new distribution format.


    randy: Ok. New conversation....

    randy:

    randy:

    randy: Based on the information we see in these pictures.... thoughts?

    shadowmeld: Yay, DnD.

    isaacbv: Well, first are the questions:

    What does "Double Rainbow Draft Mean?"
    What kind of distribution?
    How blind are the blind packs?
    How is there "a new adventure every time" that is any different than the current format?
    What does 9.99 get me?

    shadowmeld: Double rainbow could mean 2 dice per card... Double the size of the rainbow? Hopefully that doesn't mean half the number of cards to choose from though.

    pk2317: "Similar cost to collect" implies same number of cards, since those are more limited than dice. So $10 = 8-9 packs = 16-18 cards (as opposed to the 20 that $10 in packs gets you)

    jthomash2: Or distribution that favors fewer total cards and their idea of similar is $/set not $/product

    pk2317: If you count the 2 BACs it evens out. One "display" = $80 instead of $90 for a Gravity feed

    jthomash2: Honestly, I'll need to see it in action, obviously, but I'm not sold on the idea that drafts needed this type of material change. I know some folks feel like they need lots of dice, but I've won drafts with 9 dice. Buying more usually isn't the answer.

    isaacbv: Yeah, I don't think double dice makes the difference always. And as a collector, how hard is this going to be to get a full set?

    jthomash2: Exactly

    pk2317: Other question - does "2 dice/card" mean twice as many dice, or does it just guarantee that there will be 2 versions of each character/action?

    randy: Also, how many of us or people we know purchase a few packs on impulse at the shop?

    pk2317: This definitely leads to less impulse purchase

    randy: It's easy to throw $2 or $3 and get a chance at some SRs. But now, $10?

    pk2317: Granted I usually get 10-12 packs at a time, but I suspect I'm an outlier there. I don't go to the store as much as I'd like, so I get fewer opportunities.

    randy: So many people that get in to the game talk about the price point being a deciding factor. Now, even if you get the same number of cards/dice for that price, but it's a minimum of $10... that's big. I hope these don't start to replace gravity feeds

    jthomash2: Totally agree. Testing something? OK. I buy the team packs. Flip the whole marketing design? Why?

    isaacbv: I don't mind trying it, but would hate for it to be the new thing. I think they have to do it with D&D because it will sell.

    jthomash2: I don't think sales drops are due to dissatisfaction with gravity feeds (outside of those issues 18+months ago). I think that was aou? I honestly don't remember.

    pk2317: ASM - poor distribution

    pk2317: See: Scorpion0x17

    jthomash2: Thanks for the reminder

    pk2317: :+1:

    pk2317: AoU was just missing rarity stripes. And a few typos.

    randy: And some rules

    randy: Bingo Isaac. D&D has historically provided very fun in-set play

    pk2317: This may be the question - how much product is moved by: A) Drafts, B) Gravity Feed purchased, C) Individual pack sales. Current format works for all 3, draft packs work for A and B but not C. So if C is negligible, this could still work (from their perspective). Assuming that buying a full display gets you a "guaranteed" rarity distribution

    shadowmeld: Based on visibility in FB, individual pack sales happen more often than I expect, but then, folks don't usually make FB posts talking about their lucky pulls in a whole feed.

    dave: Price point is right on the flyer we made for the store - this is the least expensive competitive CCG you can play. Our owner moved the DM stuff closer to checkout due to that and it's been a big boost. But this would change things. And it completely changes how Rainbow Draft works, which has been DM at its best. (edited)

    shadowmeld: I do think it is more subtle than just "individual sales" though.

    Q:"How much does it cost to buy DM packs right now?"
    A: "However many dollars you have to spare"

    Q: "how much does DnD3 cost to buy?"
    A: "How many 10$ bills do you have to spare?"

    isaacbv: A $15 draft is tough with 2 kids. Now how much will it cost me?

    pk2317: Wondering how much it changes - forced BACs is a different aspect, but can actually open a newer strategic aspect (how do I Draft to complement my BACs instead of how do I choose my BACs to complement my draft)

    dave: If it's one pack, just $10 but minimal team building, you only pass one way, etcetera. If it's two, $20.

    pk2317: Aside from that, you're still starting with a pile of cards and drafting from that

    dave: That could be true but should the quality of your draft hinge on the quality of the two cards you get?

    isaacbv: Also, who was complaining about rainbow draft as a format in its current iteration?

    pk2317: If there's one guaranteed r/SR in each pack, then some people will just Rare-draft that first pick each time

    shadowmeld: @pk2317 solid point on the limited BAC strategy aspect, I do personally like that aspect, but worry that in trying to provide that, they hurt the parts that work.

    randy: Yes

    dave: If there's one per pack then you get eight rares per $80 feed instead of 14-17 for a $90 MSRP feed.

    pk2317: That's why I'd guess 2 R

    randy: I get trying to keep people from drafting whatever, already set on their pre existing BAC win con

    pk2317: Or 1 R 1 SR

    dave: No way they guarantee an SR per pack. Not if they're sticking with eight.

    pk2317: Nonono. You either get 2 R or 1/1

    dave: Ah.

    pk2317: Maybe 1 pack in the box has 1/1

    jthomash2: Yikes. 2/90 to 1/80?

    pk2317: 1.75/90

    dave: I can't find a breakdown that makes that work without either having just as many UCs as Rs, which inflates their value artificially, or as many UCs as Cs, which makes them too common.

    pk2317: Could adjust to some cases having 1, some having 2

    dave: It's worse for the game mode and it's worse for collectibility.

    jthomash2: ... Assuming nothing else changes, yes

    dave: No to mention we'd have to change the name of the TAZ segment...

    pk2317: 16 cards = 10 C, 4 UC, 2 R? Or 9/5/2?

    isaacbv: So on another aspect of it-how cool that we get another D&D set?

    jthomash2: there goes Isaac, trolling a perfectly good gripe session with something positive, haha (edited)

    randy: I know, right?

    dave: I thought it was 8 cards?

    shadowmeld: I repeat, YAY DND!

    dave: D&D is great but not if it hurts my favorite way to play the game. It's hard to separate the two sides of this.

    jthomash2: Um, does this mean no foils?

    dave: That's the thing - no clue.

    isaacbv: Maybe. But really-I love D&D as a draft set. FUS especially

    shadowmeld: I'm ok with no foils in draft packs, or even just no foils in DND. But the super hero sets really benefited from that addition.

    randy: I think we are all in the camp of being surprised that they are changing the draft format. I mean... is THIS what needed the most attention? That aside, we are spuculating a lot on rarity, and distribution of rarities

    dave: Right. The whole problem is that they've introduced this huge format impacting, wallet-impacting change, but absolutely zero details. If it was any other company you might give some trust that they will get it right. Has WizKids earned that in the past three years? The changes could have even more of an impact but we don't know because they didn't tell us. So how do we say "this will be fine" when they give little info other than "get cool dice faster"?

    shadowmeld: There have been some great improvements in many aspects of DM lately, but I am hesitant to believe that changes to the draft format were needed. Mind you, changes to the BAC aspect are warranted, it creates a more limited feel, but the increase in dice seems to be the opposite of a consideration in gameplay.

    isaacbv: I'm fine with saying this will be fine. I'm sure it will be different, and I look forward to trying it. And I love D&D. And I want to give them the benefit of the doubt with the push they have had the last 2 months. To me personally they have earned that.

    dave: Plus I don't WANT cool dice faster. The cards are what do things. I want cards.

    jthomash2: In all these comments is a theme I relate with. It's the fact that this, my favorite game, has issues that are probably bigger than "something was wrong with draft that this version fixes"

    dave: Yes.

    jthomash2: Maybe many of those are resolving. But have we seen anything larger than an OP kit without some sort of error?

    randy: I mean, banning Bard and competitive draft were 2 big wants.... we did get those. If the wording/ruling side of the game could just hold serve...

    dave: To Isaac's point, I understand to an extent, but I can't give extra credit for doing what should have been done anyway. 1TA has been a problem for two years. I'm glad it was addressed but what took so long? And why right in the middle of a WKO series? Bard has been dominant for a long time. What took so long? And so on.

    isaacbv: And we got rotation. And new competitive level prizes.

    jthomash2: Just after they're no longer Modern legal*

    dave: Other side of the coin, we have meta-relevant rules questions that have been hanging for two years. Credit where credit is due, recent announcements are absolutely things that are better for the game. Yes, absolutely. But I can't spin removing the impulse buy potential and completely changing the format that even some of the worst critics of the game feel is the best part of DM as positive. You don't mess with my favorite format without the gloves coming off.

    flexei: Obviously late to the party and don't expect this to be part of anything but if this DOES work out, I do indeed see valid reason to change draft. The fewer players needed is kind of great if you're a struggling store and want to do a draft, 4 person drafts blow currently. Less that 4 is totally undoable unless you draft a boat load of packs.

    jthomash2: but, among other reasons, it's because it's not balanced for that. Will this be?

    dave: It's like a cat bringing a dead mouse to you and looking at you like "isn't that great?"
    @jthomash2 Without understanding that no, it's not great for us.
    Trubie, interesting that you feel that, we've done 4P drafts without issue.

    isaacbv: I will either keep playing or stop playing if it becomes something I dislike. The minimal player part addresses a community concern Im sure

    flexei: 4 person works out ok if you up the packs to 15 I think. Otherwise distribution is really lacking.

    jthomash2: When legit won conditions do not exist at common, that's true of 8 player drafts

    dave: But all this does is give you extra dice, not anything else. Again, the *cards* are what do things. The dice are just nice-looking proxies.

    memmek2k: Cool-looking. /troll

    shadowmeld: If we get two versions of each character, a common and UC/R/SR then dice are fine.... If

    dave: Again, we can only speculate because they didn't tell us. It's not like they didn't know this would get to players.

    flexei: I still think it has potential and appears to be following he mold of Heroclix battle royals, which are my favorite way to play that game. Also more dice helps a lot, especially when stuff like swarm is about (and prevalent in D&D).

    randy: Legit question, how much do casual players struggle with dice counts in constructed?

    isaacbv: Agree @flexei
    @randy "Struggle" - what do you mean?

    randy: We typically all buy feed(s). Having enough dice for a card isn't an issue. Casual players that only draft. Maybe pick up odd packs...?

    isaacbv: Ah. I dunno. Some of our locals ask to borrow here and there

    randy: Do they just not have enough dice to be able to build with?

    shadowmeld: With multiple man, I was able to get my dice easily, and I have been handing dice out locally.

    flexei: Hard to answer when there's players like us about who can rain dice on those stinking casuals. :P

    randy: Filthy casuals...

    jthomash2: I mean. I'm gonna play this regardless. But 1) I don't think drafts needed an overhaul, 2) pricing could be an issue, 3) I very much dislike random BACs being shoved down my throat.

    dave: Right that's where the interaction part comes with these. You're supposed to talk to people. Trade. Etc.

    shadowmeld: That's one reason I liked foils. Gave my locals stuff to trade me for my extra rares. I already give away dice, commons and uncommons.

    isaacbv: But what's the format change @jthomash2 ? Do you have to only play the BACs or are they options? Can you just being your own anyway?

    flexei: Going to jump in again in regards to Basic Actions.. I've got 2 new players who were very Basic Action starved. They weren't sure if they wanted to spend $40 on the new Turtles set. I gave them all the promo BACs we had, but a new way to get those BACs would surely make them happy. I'm also fighting the temptation currently to get a 2nd TMNT2 set just for the BACs (Melissa stole mutation and momentum)

    memmek2k: I think that if the BACs in the packs are randomized from all the printed BACs, I'm more okay with it. But if it's just a replacement for not having a starter with the set... :/

    isaacbv: Yeah, more BACs for new players is important

    jthomash2: Fair. But the tmnt issue has little to do with d&d draft.

    shadowmeld: I'm BAC flush, but also think the BAC format is solid. Additionally, BACs with rarity?

    flexei: BACs with rarity maybe if just art is different?

    dave: I also thought that the justification for annual starters was to keep down the number of BACs.

    shadowmeld: Just because there are two BACs in the pack doesn't mean those BACs will have the same distribution.

    jthomash2: But the thing is, we'll just give away extras anyway. And if it's bring your own, including them is like offering half max dice in team packs

    randy: Not all BACs are created equal. I get stuck with Barkskin, you get Blessing.

    jthomash2: More waste

    flexei: ... and giving away extras is more to hand to new players to get them started

    shadowmeld: The BACs are added to the draft, according to reports.

    randy: I did not hear that

    shadowmeld: From Matt "MSRP is 9.99 and is the equivalent of 9 packs with 2 basic actions in each pack for play. Players keep the basic actions in their pack and draft the cards like normal. Best part imo is that these drafts can be run with any even number of people, including 2."

    dave: As a separate pass?

    jthomash2: "Keep" does not sound like "add to the draft"

    dave: ^

    shadowmeld: Yeah, maybe I misread that. I read it as "keep in their pack" not keep from their pack

    flexei: I imagine you could play it either way... just obviously a player can't take more than 2 BACs.

    dave: What about the pack that is missing two BACs? Or have two of the same? We still have packs with mismatched dice.

    shadowmeld: Same solution as current, get a new pack.

    dave: Sure.

    shadowmeld: Though that becomes a store expense.

    dave: $10 vs $1

    flexei: What about the pack I open and is just full of rat turds?

    jthomash2: It's one thing for a store to replace a single Foil pack for those issues. A $10 draft pack though? Yeesh

    randy: Especially when only 8 draft packs come in a display

    jthomash2: We've all opened the double Lolth pack. Is there an equivalent to expect with this? Sure,that's worst case scenario talk. But we've seen that happen on occasion (asm, recent heroclix issues). I mean, if this comes out and is balanced for 2-8 players, then fantastic. That's not my expectation.

    flexei: Well, d&d3 could have every character at cost 5+ and be terrible to draft no matter how it's drafted. Very unlikely though.

    randy: I personally hope for a "best of" BFF and some new stuff thrown in as well

    dave: And that's the thing that no pack change can fix - if it's not a good draft set, it won't be fun to draft.

    randy: And finally... can we finally get a global that gives the Monster affiliation??

    dave: Doesn't matter how you distribute it. If the win cons are all at UC and one player got one and the others didn't it's still the same thing. But with more dice?

    jthomash2: We have said d&d were among the best sets. Balance and draft. But imagine if bard was draftable.

    flexei: Well, I'm optimistic about the set and the draft change.

    jthomash2: Design will make or break this model. And despite my complaints, I admit it is probably not the other way around.

    isaacbv: Samsies @flexei

    dave: I would agree but for the BACs and cost.

    jthomash2: Isaac had a point. If the intention isn't to pigeon hole BACs, but to increase distribution, what does it matter? And if the design works, cost is in line. I'm speaking of set design, in case that wasn't clear. I mean,if it drafts like wol or fus...

    Now,if it's more asm, then that's an issue anyway. And open BACs and cheap price wouldn't change that, really

    dave: One pack or two? If one, you only pass one way and miss strategy and are beholden to what goes through the people to your right. If two, draft now costs $20 not including prize support.

    jthomash2: Poker only deals in one direction and that's a fun game :troll: - I think most of my criticism comes from making assumptions. If it's one pack with sufficient cards,maybe you pass half one way and half the other? Who knows? Obviously not us.

    dave: Right. Again, that makes it a bad announcement. However you feel about what this could turn out, it was a bad way to spring it.

    jthomash2: There's no reason a set can't be designed to be drafted this way. If it is, we all probably win. If it's not, d&d3 won't save DM

    dave: I don't think the game is in a position to afford a miss. Rotation is great and helps a great many things; why not let that settle before thinking about changing your distribution model? With this, we will have had three distribution models in three years.

    jthomash2: I agree. But I know wk wouldn't make a decision they don't believe is in their best interest. Whether or not it actually is (or is in the best interest of the game) might be up for debate, but we know they're behind it with their interests in mind. And if the work is done to set it up for success (design) then it could be good.

    dave: Perception is reality. I wonder what retailers think of their proclivity towards constant shifting? I didn't see Golden Age discounts to mirror the Attack Wing discounts - were they warned about that shift? What about retailers that might have a couple hundred dollars of inventory stuck in Golden Age sets? Doesn't sound like much but retail margins are thinner than ever, and unless you're one of the Big Three CCGs, it's tough to have your money tied in inventory.

    pk2317: As I said before - I like the BAC aspect. It levels the playing field somewhat: everyone will functionally have 4 "random" BACs each game (their random 2 and their opponent's random 2). BACs can be bought by either player so it doesn't really matter who brings them. Doesn't matter if I get Blessing and you get Barkskin - either player can buy them. No more Vicious Struggle-only draft games

    memmek2k: @pk2317 - I disagree, I think that wisely choosing BACs is a fundamental element of draft strategy. If you bring Magic Missile/Power Bolt and didn't draft something in case you go second, that's on you.

    jthomash2: And if design is not up to par, those games will be garbage. Say I get two cheap BACs but you get characters like storm /strange. Like draft now... It hinges on tight design

    pk2317: Absolutely Draft needs good design. Especially when the whole packaging is literally built around it.

    jthomash2: But, to Isaac's point, if it's open, then no sweat.

    pk2317: But I don't have an issue with the BAC aspect. Less I need to bring with me to draft, different strategic aspect (draft to BACs instead of BAC to drafted cards). D&D has historically had some of the best overall BACs

    dave: BACs only shape drafts in the worst draft sets.

    pk2317: Virtually all of them are playable. And integrate especially well with D&D mechanics (Magic Missile burst ability, Gear BACs). I just wish/hope they change the subtitle to Basic Action Spell / Basic Action Gear

    dave: There's a lot that it *could* be. Right now I can't get past the fact that they're trying to fix something that really hasn't been broken outside of sets that were bad for the format.

    pk2317: Was it "broken" to have a starter for each set? They're trying a different distribution model. Time will tell how well it will work. And either way, new D&D and new D&D BACs

    theconductr: Are they expecting you to buy just 1 or 2 to draft?

    jthomash2: Including 2 BACs tells me they think 1 will be enough.

    theconductr: Not sure how this is a plus for shops either in terms of draft. And how in the world do you collect this set? Or in terms of product control on the shelves. You always have to have at least what, 4 realistically?

    pk2317: It's probably easier to have people buy 1 "thing" than count out exactly 12 "things" for each draft. One of the bigger time-sinks is getting each person set up with 12 packs (In my experience)

    dave: Good TOs get there early and group them out. If it's one, you get two BACs that you can't control.

    pk2317: How do you group them out if you don't know how many will show?

    dave: you put extras away afterward. Even if you set up too few that's a lot of time you've hacked off.

    whisperni: Gonna be honest, the lazy gamer in me, likes the idea of just showing up and having my deck basically given to me to play. Some days I am just not in the mood to think, I just want to sit and play.

    memmek2k: @whisperni I'm down if the draft pack works. I'm just now sure how well it'll work. I'm afraid to get my hopes up, but I really want to hope.



    As a whole, it looks like we're not against the idea, but not sure Draft needed a format/distribution change. We're open to being pleasantly surprised, and cautiously hopeful. What do you think?
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. ccm00007's Avatar
      ccm00007 -
      Honestly, I'm not sold on the draft packs yet. I like it as a concept (and having spare BACs to give to new players sounds like a godsend) but as a collector, there's too much we don't know, as was pointed out in the chat.

      And let's not forget that rainbow draft is about to have some serious trouble. As a friend pointed out to me recently, the Batman set will be very, very difficult to draft. After all, what do you do with "Flip" cards? It's not like we're in MTG, where you get 15-card packs where they can throw in a reminder card. These are 2-card packs; there's no space for a reminder in the packs themselves (and if they use that cardboard for reminders, well, if you choose it, you'll be giving away that you picked a flip card). Are we going to have to sleeve stuff for draft? How will a player not familiar with the flip effects know what the effect does?

      TL,DR: Until I think about D&D's draft headaches, I think we should solve Batman's first.
    1. Not2Shy's Avatar
      Not2Shy -
      Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007 View Post
      Honestly, I'm not sold on the draft packs yet. I like it as a concept (and having spare BACs to give to new players sounds like a godsend) but as a collector, there's too much we don't know, as was pointed out in the chat.
      As for now there is too small amount of information about it. I never thought that there would be so long discusion about it.

      Quote Originally Posted by ccm00007 View Post
      And let's not forget that rainbow draft is about to have some serious trouble. As a friend pointed out to me recently, the Batman set will be very, very difficult to draft. After all, what do you do with "Flip" cards? It's not like we're in MTG, where you get 15-card packs where they can throw in a reminder card. These are 2-card packs; there's no space for a reminder in the packs themselves (and if they use that cardboard for reminders, well, if you choose it, you'll be giving away that you picked a flip card). Are we going to have to sleeve stuff for draft? How will a player not familiar with the flip effects know what the effect does?

      TL,DR: Until I think about D&D's draft headaches, I think we should solve Batman's first.
      Good point, but I think that white cards that are in packs could be used. But to be honest I think wizkids will do nothing with it
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Very concerned about the new price point for my local playing environment. The newest player I've gotten interested rarely has that $10 at once even though he does have the $2-3 every week or two to maintain interest in the current format. I'm concerned that if this is the main format it will divert overall interest back to games people can purchase for less at one time. But, if it is just an experimental packaging, and not an every set occurrence (TMNT boxes, team packs) then I am less concerned. I'm watching anxiously for more information. Thank you all for this article.
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      Very concerned about the new price point for my local playing environment. The newest player I've gotten interested rarely has that $10 at once even though he does have the $2-3 every week or two to maintain interest in the current format. I'm concerned that if this is the main format it will divert overall interest back to games people can purchase for less at one time. But, if it is just an experimental packaging, and not an every set occurrence (TMNT boxes, team packs) then I am less concerned. I'm watching anxiously for more information. Thank you all for this article.
      Does this player participate in Rainbow Drafts? Those typically cost $12-15 depending on Prize support.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by Not2Shy View Post
      As for now there is too small amount of information about it. I never thought that there would be so long discusion about it.


      Good point, but I think that white cards that are in packs could be used. But to be honest I think wizkids will do nothing with it
      The Truth is, we were shown a copy of the Survey that Wizkids mentioned that they sent out to 200 retailers. We discussed much of this then, and have had some time to analyze and stew on it. Based on the questions in that survey we knew a bit more than this slide announced about what they COULD be doing. That has informed the above discussion.
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      Lots of "chicken little-ing" going on....is this what you guys always sound like when a microphone isn't on?

      $10....everything you need to play but sidekicks (which anyone with a starter will have, and likely a store has a demo of extras around).

      I didn't read anywhere that someone had to play the 2 bac they pull. I'm thinking that it will be up to the store to decide wether all bac will be legal or if they must use what is pulled.

      All this does is lower the barrier of entry for someone new.

      Plus it's all in one box, lowering setup and pack opening time...plus there's less garbage to throw away. I'm sure stores and casuals care about this sort of stuff.

      We don't know how big the set will be, or what rarity will look like. Look at the slide, the stick drawing of a 3D box with some flames and no art hardly looks like a finished product. It's probably a tad too soon to be up in arms.

      Just because this exists doesn't mean drafting in other sets or from feed releases will no longer be possible.

      I know all the hardcore competitors will find lots wrong with this because it takes away from how dominant they can be, but sometimes I think the TRP forgets they aren't the only audience.

      I do agree that design is important...if there are only a few bombs and they are harder to get...then the draft won't be very enjoyable. I could see this doing very well if the set is balanced.
    1. Scum's Avatar
      Scum -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirFrankus View Post
      I know all the hardcore competitors will find lots wrong with this because it takes away from how dominant they can be, but sometimes I think the TRP forgets they aren't the only audience.
      If draft packs are as random as opening from a box there is literally 0 difference in the edge good players get, if the packs are more random the casuals will get some edge - but this distribution method actually seems inherently less random meaning the hardcore competitive players are actually in a better position than they were before. This distribution can not possibly make for less skill intensive drafts since the distribution of rarity should be easier to read for people in the know.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by Scum View Post
      If draft packs are as random as opening from a box there is literally 0 difference in the edge good players get, if the packs are more random the casuals will get some edge - but this distribution method actually seems inherently less random meaning the hardcore competitive players are actually in a better position than they were before. This distribution can not possibly make for less skill intensive drafts since the distribution of rarity should be easier to read for people in the know.
      I honestly don't think Randomness means "casuals" will have an advantage. The way I see it is you can increase randomness or decrease randomness, both actually hinder folks who don't have an idea of the product they are drafting. Let's look at it in two cases, compared to current distribution:

      1) The packs are more random and they are passed in only one direction. This means that experienced players will have an advantage because they can better analyze the quality of cards presented to create the most diverse strategy and deny others a chance at strategy, while "casual" players, who may not have the same quality analysis skills will take cards that perhaps appeal to them more, are more rare or are more desired/hyped for their constructed values. Additionally, less randomization reduces all player's perception of control. If I get the best card in X pack, with no chance to learn anything from the packs I pass away, or the packs that come to me, then I'm really just being shuffled the X cards I think are best, and if the pickings are slim in my first 4 packs, then I'm really stuck with nothing, and I feel cheated. However, give a person the illusion of control, let them learn context clues, let them anguish between decisions based on that context, then your randomness can tip one way or the other in a given scenario and the perception won't be that the game is rigged.

      2) The packs are less random, with contents at an almost predictable distribution for the commons. Say, each character is guaranteed two common versions in each "box". The skilled/informed player will have the advantage of knowing this patterning, being able to predict the movements of cards within the draft pod and count whom of his opponents is likely building what style team. This can allow him to draft less powerful, but counter cards early to shut out his opponent's strategies. For example, Common Motorcyle is a poor card in general, but if you know no one is drafting unblockable Fantomex, then you can take him and motorcycle and shut out all of the overcrush strategies that are popular in the remainder of Deadpool.

      The key is to keep drafts unpredictable in content, but maintain the illusion of control the players have. If contents are packaged as a single "pack" folks will perceive a bad first pull, or even a bad pair of BACs as a foreshadowing of their outcome. Give them that second pack to open, and pass the other way and they will look for a silver lining and build off of it. Drafts may have more randomness than constructed, but they are still games of skill, they simply add a second layer of risk mitigation to the skills needed to be successful.

      One last note, I've been drafting games since the 90s. I've also been spending the last few years working on board game development and learning the mechanics of things like Draft systems and the game theory involved behind them. My above analysis is not one of a perspective that I want the game to stay the same because I'm good at it, but rather one of wanting the game to stay competitive, entertaining and not an apparent money grab. I have expressed some ideas on how to do that with the system that WK has detailed, but much of that depends on content of the packages and the rules that are put forth on how to do the "double rainbow draft" format. I honestly think a limit on BACs to inset drafting would be spectacular, despite the opinions of my colleagues. I also think the price point of these packs is too high for a two pack system, and fear that the illusion of control will be lost. Additionally, I feel that the addition of "extra dice" is an attempt to solve a problem that doesn't exist, and will appear to be a money grab to some folks. All that said, I'm pleased that WK is trying to find a format that works for competitive drafting, and hope that the set design, and their format rules and mechanics will lead to something fun and entertaining to design.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      Does this player participate in Rainbow Drafts? Those typically cost $12-15 depending on Prize support.
      So far, no. Casual player, very limited funds, and rainbow draft is not well supported in our area. Some of us are looking at the idea, but for right now that is out of his budget.
    1. Scum's Avatar
      Scum -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shadowmeld View Post
      I honestly don't think Randomness means "casuals" will have an advantage. The way I see it is you can increase randomness or decrease randomness, both actually hinder folks who don't have an idea of the product they are drafting. Let's look at it in two cases, compared to current distribution:
      I think no matter what good players are at an advantage, but the less actual control good players have over being able to read the card pool the less advantage they have. In a more random format it is more likely that a good player has to pass a series of good cards because of randomly generated super-packs. For example, if a draft pack has no duplicates it would be impossible for a good drafter to have to pass a specific bomb (though its possible for a pack to have multiple bombs). Also, depending on how card strength is split between rarities its actually possible that rares or uncommons or something show up in clusters if the packs are more random which could effect the entire pool in a way that guarantees some bad drafters have more good options to accidentally pick. So more random = more chances for bad drafters to derp-pick good cards, less opportunities for accurate reads from good drafters, etc. I still think good drafters are always favored in draft, but more randomness lowers the gap.

      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      So far, no. Casual player, very limited funds, and rainbow draft is not well supported in our area. Some of us are looking at the idea, but for right now that is out of his budget.
      The thing we used to do is have players that were going to buy more product anyway pay for drafts of other players and hand them the cards we drafted but still let the drafters get prizes. Back when we had a scene it wasn't uncommon for someone to buy a feed, draft from that feed, and then he got to keep all the cards.
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      (nt)
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      @SirFrankus - the DND set may turn out to be a test but the tenor of the survey we saw was that this would be the new means of distribution.

      I think that you're ignoring some major facets of draft and how this changes them. Fewer cards will be passed. If it is one pack, you'll use everything you draft - you'll have no choice. That Lolth that comes last pick because it's terrible? That's on your team now. The average power level of a draft team will diminish greatly and the impact of one power card will be dramatically increased. Not to mention that you're only passing one direction, so depending on what the player one the one side of you is doing, you could just be hosed through zero fault of your own. It diminishes player agency significantly.

      Or, you have to use two packs, and you're going to be spending $20 instead of $15 for a draft and that's without ANY prize support whatsoever. Then the base price actually goes from $12 to $20. The two things that are here are either: 1) Draft is cheaper by a few bucks but strategically less interesting and players get fewer cards, probably fewer cards/dollar for sure; or 2) Draft is more expensive and prices people out.

      Not to mention eliminating the impulse purchase potential of the packs. In fact, it makes Dice Masters boosters the most expensive out there.

      For all of this and so much more, I think it is a terrible idea at a time when the game is at a crossroads. They're honing in on the fact that you're getting more dice, but the dice aren't the thing. I mean, yeah, ideally you have more than one die per character, but the dice do nothing. The cards are the thing. The cards are what give us interactions and rules and whatever else. The cards with variable powers are the very reason for CCGs in the first place, going all the way back to the impact that Cosmic Encounter had on Richard Garfield. Now I get fewer of them.

      It changes draft fundamentally and draft was the LEAST problematic thing about Dice Masters. Why spend energy on reinventing the wheel when ICV2 shows sales slipping? When WIN shows diminishing attendance? When Australian Nats couldn't even fire because no one showed up and WKOs have gone off with less than 10? When some are still considering whether or not they'll continue to play in the face of rotation? There are lots of other things that ought to be addressed (and to be fair some of them have been recently addressed) rather than doing... this.

      I also don't know what to say to a store owner whose support we're trying to keep if they say something like "three completely different distribution models in three years? What are they doing over there?"

      It has nothing to do with the audience. It has to do with paying more for less and breaking the best way to play Dice Masters. It has more to do with my efforts to sustain a local scene and knowing what has drawn players and what turns them off.
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      @SirFrankus - the DND set may turn out to be a test but the tenor of the survey we saw was that this would be the new means of distribution.
      Well I guess I can only speculate as it sounds like you have more information than me. IF this is to try out a new form of distribution, does that mean that $1 packs will go away? I think that would be a bad choice, as $10 boosters is a bit ridiculous. Then again, the only other game that does do expensive boosters is HeroClix, which is also a Wizkids game. Are they trying to get closer to HeroClix in terms of packaging and distribution? Not sure why they'd want to do that. The only reason I can think of is that they no longer sell Dice Masters in big box stores, so maybe they feel the draw of having impulse friendly $1.00 product has dropped?

      I think that you're ignoring some major facets of draft and how this changes them. Fewer cards will be passed. If it is one pack, you'll use everything you draft - you'll have no choice. That Lolth that comes last pick because it's terrible? That's on your team now. The average power level of a draft team will diminish greatly and the impact of one power card will be dramatically increased. Not to mention that you're only passing one direction, so depending on what the player one the one side of you is doing, you could just be hosed through zero fault of your own. It diminishes player agency significantly.
      Do we know the exact card/dice count? $10 would mean 20 cards and 20 dice usually. perhaps this is 2 BAC, 9 cards, 18 dice? I agree that 9 cards is too few. Maybe they'll be packaged into 2 sections, and we'll still get to pass half left and half right? Again, unless someone knows the absolute details, I'm not going to be anything but cautiously optimistic. If they are posting release as September, can we all assume it will get the WK push back of October? That could mean they haven't even sent these off to the printers yet, so maybe more changes are coming?

      Or, you have to use two packs, and you're going to be spending $20 instead of $15 for a draft and that's without ANY prize support whatsoever. Then the base price actually goes from $12 to $20. The two things that are here are either: 1) Draft is cheaper by a few bucks but strategically less interesting and players get fewer cards, probably fewer cards/dollar for sure; or 2) Draft is more expensive and prices people out.
      We'll have to wait and see here, but I'm assuming they are expecting only 1 pack purchased per player (unless they are going full HeroClix on us).

      Not to mention eliminating the impulse purchase potential of the packs. In fact, it makes Dice Masters boosters the most expensive out there.
      Agreed. This would not be a good move if every set starts to come out like this. This isn't HeroClix, and part of the draw is cheap buy in.

      For all of this and so much more, I think it is a terrible idea at a time when the game is at a crossroads. They're honing in on the fact that you're getting more dice, but the dice aren't the thing. I mean, yeah, ideally you have more than one die per character, but the dice do nothing. The cards are the thing. The cards are what give us interactions and rules and whatever else. The cards with variable powers are the very reason for CCGs in the first place, going all the way back to the impact that Cosmic Encounter had on Richard Garfield. Now I get fewer of them.
      Perhaps many stores have heard complaints of not getting to field a solid team, or not getting to the 20 dice limit? Perhaps some players and stores have felt this was a big deal (As we all well know it isn't a problem, but maybe some stores out there felt it was?) Then again, the biggest complaints I've been hearing is that team packs come with half the dice you need, so perhaps Wizkids' ill-found answer was to give double-dice for draft packs? Again, this isn't the best logic so I hope that isn't what they decided to to do. Maybe due to WK inability to get rulings out, they are starting to think that fewer cards per set, and more cut-and-dry rules and interactions, will curb some of this criticism? Again I'm speculating, and even if I'm right, this clearly would be an example of WK mismanaging how to respond to customer concerns.

      It changes draft fundamentally and draft was the LEAST problematic thing about Dice Masters. Why spend energy on reinventing the wheel when ICV2 shows sales slipping? When WIN shows diminishing attendance? When Australian Nats couldn't even fire because no one showed up and WKOs have gone off with less than 10? When some are still considering whether or not they'll continue to play in the face of rotation? There are lots of other things that ought to be addressed (and to be fair some of them have been recently addressed) rather than doing... this.
      I'm guessing that Rainbow Drafts were seeing a major drop in attendance, and that stores are concerned because drafts were the biggest and best way to move lots of product. It might be the most fun way to play, but if that's the major money earner and attendance is dropping, finding a way to change it up isn't a bad idea. On the other hand, listening to the fans who play the game a lot would probably be a better way to go than asking stores. JT's suggestion/point of "If it's a well designed set, people will keep drafting it" is probably the best advice WK could have.

      I also don't know what to say to a store owner whose support we're trying to keep if they say something like "three completely different distribution models in three years? What are they doing over there?"
      I've found that saying "Wizkids!?" in a "Who else but Quagmire!?" sort of voice is usually the proper response.

      It has nothing to do with the audience. It has to do with paying more for less and breaking the best way to play Dice Masters. It has more to do with my efforts to sustain a local scene and knowing what has drawn players and what turns them off.
      "More for less" is subjective at this point, no? From what we can deduce, less cards...more dice...2 BACs...$10. Again, this doesn't make much sense to argue about until we see some finished product.

      I feel like audience must be a part of this, unless you guys know something about WK business practices I don't. Those survey's must've gotten some pretty wonky responses for WK to decide to change things up to this degree. Either WK is listening to uninformed people who don't understand the game in the same light as you, or the majority of stores who responded is the way most of the DM scenes or stores feel about the game (and specifically draft format). I guess the third option is whoever makes these decisions at WK doesn't know what they're doing in the slightest, and every decision they make would be described as "whimsical" at best...but would they really be able to stick around this long if that was the case?
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Word from GAMA was that 1 pack has 8 cards, 16 dice, and 2 BACs. So again, drafts are either cheap but cut back on strategy, choice, and cards-per-dollar, or they're way more expensive.

      I'd also say that few store owners actually understand Dice Masters. The fact that the survey didn't leak out tells me that few stores asked their players how they felt.

      The surveys weren't out that long before GAMA so it's like they already knew what they wanted to do and sought confirmation.

      Otherwise, WizKids actually hasn't been around all that long and was nearly shut down when Topps owned them. Look at the toxic relationship between them and their Clix community. It's worked for a while but it isn't sustainable.
    1. TrueMisterSix's Avatar
      TrueMisterSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      Word from GAMA was that 1 pack has 8 cards, 16 dice, and 2 BACs. So again, drafts are either cheap but cut back on strategy, choice, and cards-per-dollar, or they're way more expensive.

      I'd also say that few store owners actually understand Dice Masters. The fact that the survey didn't leak out tells me that few stores asked their players how they felt.

      The surveys weren't out that long before GAMA so it's like they already knew what they wanted to do and sought confirmation.

      Otherwise, WizKids actually hasn't been around all that long and was nearly shut down when Topps owned them. Look at the toxic relationship between them and their Clix community. It's worked for a while but it isn't sustainable.
      I don't know if they surveyed outside of the US, but I'm close to a number of store owners & volunteers who support Dice Masters at their store over here and heard nothing of the survey. I play at, at least, two FLGS' (one of which I Volunteer at) who I'm 95% confident would have asked my opinion (and that of other players) ojn the subject.

      I was about to agree with you about store owners not asking their player but...actually... I think I've just convinced myself the survey didn't go out over here! LOL I hope you enjoyed my comments anyway.

      What I will say is this - over here in the UK we've met much of the challenges you described earlier - like Australia we've seen some really odd WKO location/scheduling decisions, <10 player WKOs etc. Despite this - Dice Masters is on the up (you couldn't have got 3 X ten man WKOs going in 15/16, let alone the six we've had this year, including one big one) and the player base is increasing, but they make it reeeeeaaaaal hard to both love the game on a practical level and help noobs manoeuvre through all the different distribution models & sets.
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      Word from GAMA was that 1 pack has 8 cards, 16 dice, and 2 BACs. So again, drafts are either cheap but cut back on strategy, choice, and cards-per-dollar, or they're way more expensive.

      I'd also say that few store owners actually understand Dice Masters. The fact that the survey didn't leak out tells me that few stores asked their players how they felt.

      The surveys weren't out that long before GAMA so it's like they already knew what they wanted to do and sought confirmation.

      Otherwise, WizKids actually hasn't been around all that long and was nearly shut down when Topps owned them. Look at the toxic relationship between them and their Clix community. It's worked for a while but it isn't sustainable.
      If it's 8 cards and 16 dice, it's very much like a team pack, only 1 card option instead of 3.

      If someone drafts a card to get 4 dice, they're running 7 characters only? This seems odd indeed. Until we know more, I'd say it looks like wiz kids is trying to dumb down the game..probably targeting younger kids (Pokemon crowd) and severely limiting options so decisions are easier.
      And if you're a die hard who wants more options....just buy more...we know you will.

      I'm stilly cautiously optimistic, but more info at origins will really shine a light on things.
    1. cnhiggins's Avatar
      cnhiggins -
      To me this is basic: business. This seems like a way for them to make more money. Money is what drives the business and so that is probably how they are basing their decisions. I am sure they want more people to start drafting since they know it leads to people having to buy more boosters. I hope these draft packs aren't going to be the standard. I am new to the game and haven't done a draft yet, but really would like to. I am asking myself: would I rather have these packs or have random boosters? I feel like I would want the boosters, because there could be that super rare. Unless they come out with the distribution model, definitely not sold. A huge reason I got into DM was the $.99 boosters.

      We also need to keep in mind that we as the players and the people that support their business have a lot of power. If these draft packs turn out garbage, we don't buy them and they, motivated by the $$$, will change their minds about them. I suppose they can tell us that WKOs that are draft format HAVE to use these packs, but we have other avenues and can simply choose not to participate in them. Just like the people upset about rotation: then keep playing Golden Age cards! It's up to you to a certain extent.
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      Is it possible some of this has to do with shelf space? Those gravity feed boxes take up a lot of room, most of which is air. Perhaps this is an attempt to compact things and have more of a chance at getting the product out there? Obviously the original idea of having $1 impulse boosters at big box stores did not work out, at least not the way I was expecting.

      From a draft perspective, the part I wonder about is prize support. Right now, because of the pricing structure, my store kicks in a bunch of prize packs for the draft. So for example, in a $15 draft, that's actually buying 22 packs per person, and those extra 7 each are doled out as prize support at the end. How does prizing work in the new structure? Does it just go away, except for maybe OP cards?
    1. Dave's Avatar
      Dave -
      Looks like 12 cards, 24 dice. Which means that in a draft, you'll get half as many cards for two dollars less on the base price. It also you means that you need roughly just under two booster boxes to get the amount of cards that you get from one right now.
    1. Yort's Avatar
      Yort -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
      Looks like 12 cards, 24 dice. Which means that in a draft, you'll get half as many cards for two dollars less on the base price. It also you means that you need roughly just under two booster boxes to get the amount of cards that you get from one right now.
      Depending on rarity distribution, though, this could be "not horrible." I.e., I don't really *need* more common character cards, as the stacks of extras in my closet will attest to.