Written By Matthew Williams
I’ve been playing Star Wars: Destiny since the beginning. I was a little hesitant to get into it because I have been burned by new CCGs before. The unholy trinity of CCGs (Magic, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh) have a stranglehold on so many card shops that there isn’t a lot of room for others to muscle their way in. I’ve wasted an unhealthy amount of money on CCGs that haven’t found their footing because I could never find anyone to play with consistently (I’m looking at you Force of Will).
However, with Destiny, I assumed that the Star Wars IP and the unique dice mechanics would be enough to attract people so I gave it a shot. We’ve developed a small but consistent playgroup of around 20-25 people spread across three shops in my area. At this point, it’s difficult to get a tournament to fire with six people on a consistent basis. I’ve talked to some of my fellow gamers in person and online and there seems to be a common thread of discontent: release cadence.
We are looking at getting our fifth set… eventually? The original article for Way of the Force said Q2 2018 (April-June) but all of the literature sent to retailers stated Q3 (July-September). Since the release in November 2016, it will have taken 18 to 23 months to release four subsequent sets. That puts them on pace for an average of one set every 4.5 – 5.75 months. That is simply unacceptable in today’s market.
When I found out FFG’s plan was to introduce one core and two expansions per year, I initially thought it was a good idea. New games can have trouble catching on in part because people feel they are too far behind to jump into a game if too many sets have been release. However, that was when I was expecting us to have a set every four months, in some routine fashion. Why is it so difficult for FFG to announce a release window that isn’t three months wide?
I am disheartened to even be writing this article because I love Destiny so much. However, Destiny has made its way to my table less and less since my last regionals finished. I didn’t get picked in the first round of World’s ticket sales so I abandoned any plans of going there. I don’t know when Store Championships will start (even though they’re supposed to start in May). Honestly, I don’t even know when I can go play for a Q1 (which is over) or Q2 quarterly kit.
Let’s contrast this with a game that is newer to the scene. Steve Jackson Games has recently release the Munchkin CCG. To the best of my knowledge, SJG has not released a CCG since 1994’s Illuminati: New World Order game. So it’s relatively safe to say they don’t have much experience with CCGs. However, like FFG, they are an established games company. Munchkin came out in February, and they have already announce the release dates for the next three expansions. They’ve already had two organized play kits (release kit and another tournament kit) with decent prizes and they have Regional events starting in May. The next organized play kit has already been shown and will be delivered soon as well.
I admit that I am confused as to how Steve Jackson Games can successfully prepare and produce all of this in a short two-month span, but Fantasy Flight can’t even deliver a quarterly kit. I don’t know what it has done in your area, but many players I have spoken to in my area are dismayed by the lack of products. Drafting a set that had it’s initial allotment sent out 3+ months ago loses its luster. Not even being able to play for a promo card takes a lot of the competitive flair out of playing. For those of you in areas near world’s who can take advantage of those special events, or for those who actually get Galactic Qualifiers, that’s great. However, there are a number of players who would like to play the game competitively but just simply aren’t given enough support to do so.
So where do we go from here? There are some people in my area in Panama City, FL (if you consider 5 1/2 hours from me my area) that are organizing a special tournament the week after World’s. They’ve had promo cards and playmats printed up and are even doing a special side event when the original even breaks to Top 8 and holding a yellow character only tournament. That’s great and it’s giving me something to look forward to. Personally, I find it relatively telling that these people are going to such lengths to put this on because the developer of this game isn’t providing enough support to the masses that want to play the game.
Why am I even writing this article? Is it to whine and complain? My hope in penning this is to provide a sounding board for people of like mindset so we can maybe get some kind of groundswell of support to get FFG to listen to our (I think valid) concerns. I don’t know that they fully grasp how damaging it is to the game to have such long release windows, dearth of information, and OP support that is paltry when it shows up, and is usually not even available. FFG has spread themselves very thin in the Star Wars game space and for those of us that didn’t jump on Legion, we’re left wondering what’s next.
How do you feel? Did I strike a chord similar to how you already felt or do you think I’m off base? Discuss below and we’ll see if there’s any common ground and maybe FFG will take notice and throw us a bone. I hope World’s brings us a wealth of new information. My greater hope is that the learn how to get us this information in a more organized and timely manner.