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Rodiger

Is enough enough?

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With the release of the final two warbands for Nightvault, my mind has turned to the next season/wave. I own everything for Underworlds, I have bought it all on pre order as it has come out. Looking at my collection now, I kind of feel I have enough, my display case is full, my deck storage box is full and they don't even have the two new warbands in them, deck building takes ages due to the sheer amount of cards, and I just don't really think I need any more. I am not sure where it needs to go as a game either, I assume the next one will have a new game mechanic, but does it need one? I assume it will have another Stormcast Warband, but what would they even use for that? And I feel like we are already getting to card duplication point.

Saying all of that, I love the game, not only do I own everything, I have bought 2 starter sets and warbands as presents to people, I love deck building, I love how you can play the same warbands and deck against the same opponent and have completely different games, I love the models, the art, and I will probably carry on buying it, £40 for the starter and £35 every few months isn't a lot in the scheme of things, I wouldn't like to be starting now though. I don't play tournaments however as there is none near where I live so I don't have any pressure to keep up with the meta. 

What do other people think? Do you have enough? Does it need more? Are you going to keep buying to keep up with the meta? Does it need a new mechanic?

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The game needs more until each army has its own warband. Thus far of the 3 armies I've got/started only 1 has a Warband (skaven). Daughters of Khaine and Slaanesh are both without. Be it using the models as alternative leaders/characters or as their own specific warband, they do have a place in the core AoS game; and the Shadspire game provides a nice, faster, smaller game for those periods before/after major games or just for a casual bit of model fun.

 

Warcry might change some things up and might also present a new way to use the warbands who knows.

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@Rodiger I'm feeling your pain buddy. I'm struggling to even find time to play underworlds at the moment, picked up the last 2 warbands and haven't even built the models yet. Am going to pick up these last two and wait to see what direction they take with season 3. I may just leave my collection with season 1 and 2 tbh and then work on creating as balanced sets of decks for those 16 warbands as possible, so that friends can literally pick up and play whatever warband they like.

The last competition I went to, which was a small local one, drained the enjoyment out of the game for me massively. I took skelebobs because I'm a servant of Nagash, and all my opponents were playing in such a gamey way that none of them came into my side of the board at all, in all 4 games. They all had enough ways to score enough glory without having to engage with me, that I had no choice but to move across the board to engage them, with literally the slowest warband in the game. The only times I didn't need to run across the board was if I got to place the 3 objectives, which didn't happen much, but that's the dice at the end of the day . We played 3 rounds each game and even when there was no way for me to win, my opponents still sat back and did nothing. Most games I scored just 4 glory and lost by 6 or 7, so my opponents never got above 12 glory. Towards the end I was showing my hand, putting my cards down on the table for my opponent to read as a way to encourage my opponents to chill out and realise that they have already clearly won, but it still resulted in complete non-games of me spending multiple activations moving 2 squares at a time to try and get close to my opponent. In most of my games I didn't even get a chance to inspire any fighters because they weren't getting killed. Unfortunately that is what my local competitive meta seems to be like at the moment, which sucks, because it's a fun game to play, even competitively, but more and more recently I've found the player base to be getting less and less interactive with games, choosing to exploit massive weaknesses (such as not moving close to skelebos knowing that they will take 3 turns just to reach their fighters) rather than trust in the strength of their deck, which creates serious negative playing experience in my opinion.

I'm hoping that they do something to keep the older warbands active in the game as well, but I can't see how they can release another season and run competitions with all 3 seasons worth of cards, so they will more than likely drop season 1 cards, which without having an update pack is basically going to make season 1 warbands struggle more than they already are.

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I only have one Warband (Fyreslayers) and finally, I'm going to have the one what I love Kharadron. So for me, it's not enough though I understand that super collectors like you can be satisfied with the actual amount of content, the rest of us, as simply mortals,  want more Warbands ( Ogors, Seraphon, FEC, DoK, Idoneth, Nurgle, etc...)

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14 hours ago, Tropical Ghost General said:

The last competition I went to, which was a small local one, drained the enjoyment out of the game for me massively.

Your local meta is taking it far too seriously, that's the kind of behavior I experienced at the major event I attended. It's not fun but not unexpected at that level and ensured I'll never attend a grand clash like I had originally intended. Your local meta needs to cool it a bit.  

As for the stuff, I want more as long as they're able to keep each warband unique. They've done well so far although we are starting to see card reprints. Really enjoy the game though as long as I stay around my local-ish tournaments, happy to see it continue.

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20 hours ago, Tropical Ghost General said:

@Rodiger I'm feeling your pain buddy. I'm struggling to even find time to play underworlds at the moment, picked up the last 2 warbands and haven't even built the models yet. Am going to pick up these last two and wait to see what direction they take with season 3. I may just leave my collection with season 1 and 2 tbh and then work on creating as balanced sets of decks for those 16 warbands as possible, so that friends can literally pick up and play whatever warband they like.

The last competition I went to, which was a small local one, drained the enjoyment out of the game for me massively. I took skelebobs because I'm a servant of Nagash, and all my opponents were playing in such a gamey way that none of them came into my side of the board at all, in all 4 games. They all had enough ways to score enough glory without having to engage with me, that I had no choice but to move across the board to engage them, with literally the slowest warband in the game. The only times I didn't need to run across the board was if I got to place the 3 objectives, which didn't happen much, but that's the dice at the end of the day . We played 3 rounds each game and even when there was no way for me to win, my opponents still sat back and did nothing. Most games I scored just 4 glory and lost by 6 or 7, so my opponents never got above 12 glory. Towards the end I was showing my hand, putting my cards down on the table for my opponent to read as a way to encourage my opponents to chill out and realise that they have already clearly won, but it still resulted in complete non-games of me spending multiple activations moving 2 squares at a time to try and get close to my opponent. In most of my games I didn't even get a chance to inspire any fighters because they weren't getting killed. Unfortunately that is what my local competitive meta seems to be like at the moment, which sucks, because it's a fun game to play, even competitively, but more and more recently I've found the player base to be getting less and less interactive with games, choosing to exploit massive weaknesses (such as not moving close to skelebos knowing that they will take 3 turns just to reach their fighters) rather than trust in the strength of their deck, which creates serious negative playing experience in my opinion.

I'm hoping that they do something to keep the older warbands active in the game as well, but I can't see how they can release another season and run competitions with all 3 seasons worth of cards, so they will more than likely drop season 1 cards, which without having an update pack is basically going to make season 1 warbands struggle more than they already are.

Jeez, that sounds awful. Is that what dedicated control warbands are like? What's the best thing to do in such a situation (besides smacking them upside the head with a Warlord Battle Titan)?

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Topic question: It probably won't ever be "enough", GW is very heavily implying there will be some sort of card rotation after Nightvault and then we'll have new cards and warbands to replace Shadespire. They'll go the living card game route that way, which is the most profitable way for companies to do card games without completely alienating new players. 

That said, I'm hoping sets going forward won't have busted cards that require you to buy every set, and it becomes easier for casual players to pick up 1 or 2 warbands + core set and be able to build reasonable decks. They've done a much better job in Nightvault where there aren't crazy cards like Quick Thinker or Great Concussion already. Some standouts but not as much.

 

Passive Warband discussion: This is something that was big in our area for a while, and it dumpsters all over defensive/slow warbands like Skeletons, sorry to say. But once people figured out the best way to mess it up is to force them to act, and started bringing aggro things like Hidden Paths, Faneway Crystal, even Spectral Wings to get in range, passive play decks started getting hurt quite badly. Fast aggro warbands have a much better time against them, such as Magores, Skaven, or now Mollogs.

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I have stopped playing for a while, I had the same problem as Tropical Ghost General. My opponents just draw cards for one or two rounds, scoring eays objective cards, upgrading tome of offering on something like Mollog in the third round and that's it.

IMO The main issue of the game is the lack of importance of objectives or/and the lack of common objective cards forcing the two players to fight for the same thing. It is a shame that AOS makes you fight to hold objectives where Underworld is about killing or just scoring "doing where few thing "cards.

It may get better with the 2 new bands but I am afraid that objective card related to spells are going to make it worst: what is going to stop Stormsire to cast 4 and then 6 spells?

I think that underwolrd is a good game with good mechanics but poor card design and questionnable balance. I won't buy the new bands or an saison 3 but I'll be glad to see something like a V2.

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2 hours ago, Biboune said:

I have stopped playing for a while, I had the same problem as Tropical Ghost General. My opponents just draw cards for one or two rounds, scoring eays objective cards, upgrading tome of offering on something like Mollog in the third round and that's it.

IMO The main issue of the game is the lack of importance of objectives or/and the lack of common objective cards forcing the two players to fight for the same thing. It is a shame that AOS makes you fight to hold objectives where Underworld is about killing or just scoring "doing where few thing "cards.

It may get better with the 2 new bands but I am afraid that objective card related to spells are going to make it worst: what is going to stop Stormsire to cast 4 and then 6 spells?

I think that underwolrd is a good game with good mechanics but poor card design and questionnable balance. I won't buy the new bands or an saison 3 but I'll be glad to see something like a V2.

Objectives are actually quite important for many decks. Skellies, Nighthaunt, and Gitz all run Supremacy and Our Only Way Out quite frequently as they have the bodies and movement shenanigans to cover them. Those cards also see fairly regular play in Eyes of the Nine, Godsworn, and Skaven depending on the deck build. 

There are very few true "Passive" cards that can be scored now, at least not many that are good enough to build around and have no counter. Post BAR, you can't really build a list that sits around and does nothing, and if your opponent does, there's plenty of ways to disrupt that style of play between new ranged warbands, mobility Ploys, and just straight up outscoring them with Supremacy/OOWO, Keys, etc.

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Yeah if they rotate out Shadespire, that might be the point for me to jump off.

I've bought everything so far, and love playing the game, but I am at the point where I feel overloaded by cards.  We don't play tournaments, just among our local group of friends, so we are still discovering a lot of things as we go.

The game as it is could keep us going for the foreseeable - I've still got Warbands on sprue.

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Personally, my ideal scenario would be to have Warbands come out only with Warband-exclusive cards.  So different factions get support and keep things fresh, and you can opt in for only those that interest you. 

And maybe a single standalone deck of Universal cards per season.

That would keep me on the hook forever I think.

More likely is that they keep forcing the purchase of every Warband to get the Universal cards.  If they go down that path, and make everything 2 years old obsolete on a rolling basis, I think I'll jump off.

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On 4/23/2019 at 2:54 AM, Requizen said:

GW is very heavily implying there will be some sort of card rotation after Nightvault and then we'll have new cards and warbands to replace Shadespire.

Do you have a source for that please @Requizen?

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Honestly I think the way GW releases cards should change. Warbands should have warband only  cards whilst generic ones shoudl appear in dedicated packs or the core set. Right now I feel that GW moving into a 3rd season might well need to either cycle out a load of cards or (better) do a card pack for the first two seasons of all the generic cards. That would let current players keep their sets without feeling punished for early investment and it allows new people to jump right in without big issues or having to collect cards and make a huge investment. 

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I completely understand the need for GW to keep releasing new Warbands, I would still like to see some more, there are ones  am hoping for, and I've seen games stop getting support and they slowly die so I don't want that either.

 I can see why they include the universal cards with the warbands, they are a business, and it is not a large investment if you have been keeping up with it, and I think it is a pretty good deal, compare it to a character model for instance. But it is about £150 a year for everything, and if you are starting now and want everything that £300 is a large amount up front. I agree with PlasticCraic  it would be better to release warbands without universal cards and for them to be in separate packs, I don't think they will though. A lot of this is why I am still unsure whether to carry on with season 3, if I don't keep up then, that is quite a lot again to catch up.

Another reason is I felt like it was a good complete game after Shadespire, I didn't think it needed a new game mechanic, I thought it was pretty well balanced, now Underworlds is finished, I didn't mind spells, I wouldn't be bothered if they were in or not really. I think there is less balance now as in regard to types of play, I like objective play the most, but it is an uphill struggle from the first roll, and with cards that remove objectives from the battlefield it gets harder all the time.   

The direction I would like it to go in, is keep releasing warbands but without Universal Cards, release Universal cards as a separate packs, and again to agree with PlasticCraic I would be on the hook forever, re address the balance between objective play and other types. If there is a new mechanic I would like something like different types of play, I never played the Katraphane relic one at the back of the Shadespire rule book, it was gone from Nightvault one completely, but something like that anyway. 

I'm split on updated cards for the first warbands, I don't have enough room now, and having to throw them away and buy new ones would be painful. 

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3 hours ago, PlasticCraic said:

Do you have a source for that please @Requizen?

Just a couple intuitions. They were pointedly asking about rotations in the survey they gave out at Adepticon, and one of the guys mentioned set rotations akin to Hearthstone or Magic.

Add that to the fact that many of the Nightvault cards are essentially reprints of Shadespire cards or reprints but more balanced, and you see how the plan might be pretty well crafted. 

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11 minutes ago, Requizen said:

Adepticon, and one of the guys mentioned set rotations akin to Hearthstone or Magic.

I have never played these games or even heard of card rotation in games, how does card rotation work?

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My personal opinion is that they need to keep releasing warbands to keep the game moving and evolving.  I think because of that they really do need to instigate some kind of 'rotation' to make sure that people wanting to get into the game are not faced with a massive expense that puts them off.  I can see tournaments being either 'vintage' where any product ever released is legal (apart from the current FAQ's and banned list) or 'current' which might be something like the previous season plus the current one.  As an example a local store to me has already done a tournament where the deck building rules were nightvault set plus cards from the warband you played only.  

Let's not forget that any 'rotation' system would be for the tournament players.  Anyone can play with whatever they like in home games or non tournament games so it's not as restrictive as it might sound.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, Rodiger said:

 

I have never played these games or even heard of card rotation in games, how does card rotation work?

Basically the earliest releases are no longer legal for tournament play. So when Season 3 comes out, Season 1 "rotates out" of the card pool, when Season 4 comes out, Season 2 goes, etc etc. 

If you don't do that, the card pool becomes bloated and the buy in for new players is too much, as well as causing issues with power creep. However, it can cause players to  feel bad, as their purchases become invalid.

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On the current model, every player who plays Underworlds as their main game (as opposed to 40k or AoS) will buy at least 1 copy of every expansion. That is consistent, predictable revenue. Shareholders love that. If you split the releases into warband/cards and universals, there's a bunch of stock there that will never get sold (the warbands). That's a bad business model, despite the profitability of universal card packs - they have a ceiling on price though.

 

I use players who play Underworlds as their main game because that's what it is - a main game on the level of 40k and AoS. The organised play support and game size giving it the ability to be played in the same space as games like MTG and penetrating the LGS has guaranteed that. Just like those games, there's an initial investment to play the game (though the Underworlds investment is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than those two) but to play competitively, the investment is both much higher and ongoing (though again, lower overall than 40k and AoS). The GHB and Chapter Approved books change the meta every year, as do new codex releases. Underworlds is the same.

 

Card rotation (and the BAR list to some extent) does a couple of things:

- lowers the cost of entry to the competitive side of the game, attracting new players who then provide that predictable revenue stream

- gives designers the opportunity to get rid of problematic cards, or cards that no longer fit the design space, or have unintended interactions with new rules/refinements (see: Time Trap)

- keeps the meta ever evolving and therefore fresh. the minute the game is "solved" it becomes stale and begins to die. That is not acceptable in a mainline game for the company.  Anyone who played pre-BAR list at the end of Shadespire where EVERY deck was 90% the same knows this pain.

- opens up differing formats of the game (example: Standard/Modern/Legacy in MTG) to widen the playable options on the competitive stage

 

The vast majority of people I've seen against rotation have used the "invalidating my purchases" line. In some cases, they used the line for the BAR list (we don't have time to go into why that's not logical here)

The only things invalidated will be the universals - there's no way they stop selling the warbands until the molds break - and there's still options there to update the warband cards as they have more experience with the design (lookin' at you ironskullz boyz).

And all of this doesn't "invalidate the purchase" unless you are solely focused on competitive play. The casual player can still play the game and have a social contract with their partners around deck selection. I've heard more about the negatives of rotation than I have from 40k Centurion-star players after that got nerfed into the ground repeatedly. This is what games must do to continue to have gamer wallet share.

 

TL/DR: the purchase model is sustainable, predictable revenue, which in turn guarantees further design investment in the game. Set rotation is vital for game health, both in attracting new players and keeping tenured players who have Underworlds as their primary game.

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Couldn't have said it better myself, @riddlesworth. Rotations are so important for a card game like this, lack of rotation leads to the same frustrations that you see in previous versions of Warhammer when points/rules aren't updated for years at a time - meta stops evolving and people get bored. There's still room for things to shift, sure, but there's little to no incentive and people just stop playing a lot of times.

I seriously doubt they phase out the models/warband cards of Shadespire, it's much more likely to just remove the Universal cards and let people buy models they want, which is what most people have been asking for in the first place. 

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@riddlesworth, That was a very informative post. I'm largely in favour of what you say for the state of the game, it all sounds good.

 

I am not sure how it could be implemented though. I seriously doubt GW will stop selling Universal cards with the warbands. It is a model that works, i just have to look at my own overflowing collection to see that.

 

This is a game designed for competitive players and I am guessing they are in the majority, they will not buy the old warbands if they come with cards that are no longer valid for competitive play. Competitive players will also already own all the warbands and will not want the models twice if they come with updated cards, if they did that they would have to sell a seperate upgrade deck for each warband.

 

So if when the third Underworlds game comes out it invalidates Shadespire Universal Cards, then GW would, either have to stop selling the 8 Shadespire Warbands with Universals or have to include new Universal cards. Selling them with new Universal cards would infuriate a lot of players as they would need to buy the models again, and it would increase bloat into the game. It's one thing to replace cards but it's entirely another to buy the same models again, especially if you know that you'll be replacing Nightvault ones the year after too. Or if they go down this route retiring the older warbands might be the only option, they sell the models seperate now so that might be their way of keeping the models alive.

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7 minutes ago, Rodiger said:

@riddlesworth, That was a very informative post. I'm largely in favour of what you say for the state of the game, it all sounds good.

 

I am not sure how it could be implemented though. I seriously doubt GW will stop selling Universal cards with the warbands. It is a model that works, i just have to look at my own overflowing collection to see that.

 

This is a game designed for competitive players and I am guessing they are in the majority, they will not buy the old warbands if they come with cards that are no longer valid for competitive play. Competitive players will also already own all the warbands and will not want the models twice if they come with updated cards, if they did that they would have to sell a seperate upgrade deck for each warband.

 

So if when the third Underworlds game comes out it invalidates Shadespire Universal Cards, then GW would, either have to stop selling the 8 Shadespire Warbands with Universals or have to include new Universal cards. Selling them with new Universal cards would infuriate a lot of players as they would need to buy the models again, and it would increase bloat into the game. It's one thing to replace cards but it's entirely another to buy the same models again, especially if you know that you'll be replacing Nightvault ones the year after too. Or if they go down this route retiring the older warbands might be the only option, they sell the models seperate now so that might be their way of keeping the models alive.

Theres a couple of options for its implementation: package up the shadespire season warbands with just their warband cards. Maybe sell in packs of two, or a season box set.

 

Package up the shadespire warbands with new universals. Eventually they'll run out of factions. Eventually. In this case, theres precedent with the reaver and steelheart releases to also have a stand alone card product with just the new universals in those expansions - see: echoes of glory

 

Release a shadespire update card pack - tweaked or expanded warband cards for all the shadespire warbands. See: Xwing V2.0

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rRotation would be a good thing. I think that updating model's cards and specific card could be a good idea but I don't think it will happen.

Dreadfane will add a new deck; common event or objectives? Can we add it to nighthaunt?

I saw cards related to the Katophran relic token. I understood it where meant to be sold the same way Echoes of glories was.

I think GW will try different ways to improve the game. Wait and see.

 

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Yeah it's a tricky one, isn't it. 

We all want the game to be profitable and keep going. 

I totally get what you are saying @riddlesworth, and I agree with you.  It's very unlikely that they would separate out the Warband releases from the Universals, as much as that's what I personally would prefer for the reasons outlined above. 

I'm a good example of someone who has bought a lot of models they don't particularly want, to get a few cards they do.  I haven't hated having a few different models in my collection to paint up etc.  But I would never have gone out and bought them if it wasn't for the Universals.

You are right that for the game to stay alive, we need that rotation.  But I guess in my case (and I doubt I'm alone), I wouldn't mind buying the cards and having them invalidated on a rolling 2-year basis if they didn't come with the model tax.  It's purely the fact that I'm compelled to buy models I don't really want that makes me resent the cards I effectively paid $50 for being removed from the game.  I'd be genuinely happy to see them do that if I'd been able to buy the cards separately.

That does worry me tbh, to the extent that I'm now (for the first time) wondering whether or not to take the plunge on the 2 latest Warbands.  I think I probably will, and see where it goes from there; but it's definitely given me pause for thought.

Probably a relevant part of this is that as much as I love Underworlds, it's not my main game.  That would be AOS.  Obviously by putting it in the same setting, and using the models in both games, they are hoping for some cross-pollination; but if it was my main game maybe I wouldn't mind as much, so in that sense maybe the business model makes sense for players who are more committed than I am, and as  you said it is after all billed as a competitive game.

So maybe it's just not the right game for me.  I think there's a decent chance that locally, the game will be frozen in aspic after these two Warbands come out - it's far from being "solved" in our case, so I think it could be a good time for us to jump off.

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A thought occurred to me which probably stems from my MtG background so I thought I'd share it here.  I'm very used to  a game having a 'rotation' and everything that comes with that.  So perhaps my view is different and possibly valuable to those getting to grips with the concept for the first time.

The usual complaint I hear when rotation is mentioned is the one where people are upset that something they have purchased in the past is invalidated by the games makers.  It's usually voiced along the lines of 'you have made my purchase  worthless and therefore taken something from me which gives me concerns about buying anything new'.  I totally understand where that sentiment comes from and the logic behind it but can we examine it from a slightly different perspective for a minute.

In reality nobody came around your house and confiscated your cards.  Nobody is going to break down your door at 3am in the morning if it's revealed that you didn't destroy your product at the end of the last day that it was tournament legal.  Something has been taken from you but that something is just the ability to use that product in an officially sanctioned tournament.  For a percentage of the playing population (and I have no clue what that percentage might be) what you have lost is something you never really used in the first place.  If you play casually with friends and didn't enter tournaments anyway you carry on like nothing ever happened.

So what about the people who did play in sanctioned tournaments?  In my experience with other systems they fall broadly into two categories.  There are the players who go mainly for the experience and those who go with the intention of winning or placing high in the results.  Now I'm going to generalise things even more but bear with me.

Imagine Cedric, he enjoys going to tournaments for the chance to go to a new venue, meet new people and play a game he enjoys with them.  He is happy if he does well but he is also happy just to have had a good day out.  Cedric doesn't do much in the way tournament testing or building the ultimate deck.  He probably even takes his 'pet warband of choice' regardless of their current tournament viability.  He might not even have all the product so for the day he may  borrow a card or two from a friend who can't go or doesn't play in tournaments.  The spectre of rotation doesn't really change much for Cedric.  He will continue to buy the new product he wants and ignore what he doesn't and borrow what he can on the day.  Yes he does suffer a small negative experience when he can't use a card that he previously enjoyed playing but he gains a positive in return as the game continues to be supported at a competitive tournament level.  He can continue to attend tournaments, meet new people and have a great day out.

Sally however is a tournament player.  She enjoys the challenge of competitive play, owns all the product, spends ages testing deck ideas and swaps between warbands based on her observations of the current meta and has a shelf full of shadeglass.  She attends tournaments to play the game she loves and it's usually against people she has met at the top tables of other tournaments.  The day for her is all about trying to do well and have some fun with rivalries against other top players that grow over time with a new chapter written every time they meet up at tournaments.  On the face of it Sally has the most to lose as each rotation will invalidate a whole seasons worth of models and cards.  In reality however she probably never uses the vast majority of those cards anyway.  Her tuned deck building means that only a subset of cards are viable fer her use anyway.  She probably isn't emotionally invested in the lore of a warband or it's particular models too much and the enjoyment of playing a new warband with new card combinations outweighs the negative of the loss of whatever is no longer tournament legal.  It's far more important to her that the tournament scene remains fresh, properly supported and well attended than the fact that some of her product slips out of use.  She has used that old product for a while anyway and she is far more focused on what the latest release is and how she can best use it than losing a few old cards or models.

 Now I've rambled a lot but I guess my point is this.  Depending where you personally land in the range between 'totally casual' and 'tournament pro' the true effect of a rotation policy is either not as bad as you think because it hardly effects you or an acceptable price for the continued growth and support of the game.  It's all about how you view it really.

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