Written by Josh Bailey
What is LeagueCG Con?
With the cancellation of this year’s Gen Con, and all of the community events that go along with it, many content creators for the Marvel Champions, Arkham Horror, and Lord of the Rings LCGs from Fantasy Flight Games are joining forces to hold an online event called the League of Cooperative Gaming Convention (LeagueCG Con). The intent is to provide a time and place for members of those communities to get together and hold special events and play these great games despite our inability to meet in person.
A dedicated Discord server will be the main hub for people to meet up, talk, and organize their games as well as host some community events through voice chat. To join the server and register for the event, click here. Once you’re on the server, there will be instructions on how to view the schedule and sign-up for certain events. The volunteers who have set up the server have done a great job in adding functionality through bots to automatically create voice channels for games, manage your registration, generate random scenarios/quests to play against, and more.
As for I Rebel’s part, I will be running a draft event for Marvel Champions as part of LeagueCG Con. Players will participate by setting up their own games and playing the game according to the rules below. I will be available on Discord to provide premade Draft Kits and Cubes, answer any questions, and facilitate the creation of player groups if needed. There will be a prize raffle that players can be entered in based on their play of the game.
The event will take place on Sunday, August 2nd, at 14:00 GMT-0400 (2pm ET). No official sign-up is required, just get in touch with me before the end of the Con that night and let me know which player(s) at your table should be entered into the raffle. There is a way to generate “tables” on the Discord server for the event which will create a channel with your user name. I will do so with my Discord name (Jbailey86) and hang out there to say hi, answer questions, and provide the necessary materials to participate. There will be ongoing “learn-to-play” instructors available for all the games over the course of the weekend, so even if you don’t know how to play Marvel Champions now, you could learn and be ready to draft by Sunday.
Though I created this format for the LeagueCG Convention, I tried to do so in a way that it would be playable before and after the event with or without physical cards. Below are my thoughts on drafting cooperative LCGs in general, but if you want to skip ahead to the rules and event structure itself, just click here.
I really enjoy drafting in competitive, collectible games. For me, it’s all about the chance to really test your card evaluation and deck building skills on the fly, the thrill of seeing what random set of cards you’ll get to choose from, the camaraderie of sitting around a table with friends, playing decks and cards that you otherwise wouldn’t, and playing games in a more “stripped-down, back-to-basics” kind of way rather than the hyper-optimized play styles of constructed. So I can see the appeal in trying to find a way to bring that type of experience into an LCG, however I have never really felt that it was needed or appropriate for cooperative LCGs.
Co-ops are hard to make up for the fact that you’re not playing against a human. So in a game that can already be difficult (I’m thinking Lord of the Rings LCG and Arkham Horror LCG, specifically), why would I want to water-down my deck’s power level and just lose harder? That was why I didn’t understand some early rule sets for LOTR drafts, though the release of the competitive scenarios probably changes that a little. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get to an event for one of those so maybe my mind would be changed if I could play in one. I am unaware of any actual drafts that have been run for Arkham, but there is a popular “chaos” mode available through arkhamdb.com where decks are built with randomly-selected, legal cards. It’s a similar idea, and one that only appeals to you if you want to be truly consumed by Eldritch forces.
Marvel Champions is a little different, however, in that overall the difficulty is lower than those games by design. So maybe there is room for some sub-optimal cards without bringing down the whole experience. However, it still didn’t strike me as an experience worth seeking out because 1) why draft with other players if the decks you’re building are meant to cooperate and 2) will the decks feel sufficiently different from what you would normally play in constructed? The answer to the second question came as an epiphany to me recently: just remove the single-aspect deck building rule. Now you will be building and playing decks that you literally can’t according to the usual rules so it will feel more like its own format. Also, it’ll really stretch those previously-mentioned card evaluation and deck building muscles as you’re able to combine cards in ways that you never could before.
As to the first point, there has to be some sort of competitive element to the format because otherwise the drafting process would just be an exercise in collusion and at that point why would we even draft? So I will admit that my answer to this problem isn’t perfect, but it seems the easiest to implement within the usual rules of the game. Whoever deals/removes the most combined damage/threat will be the “winner” and eligible for a prize. Then at least you have a reason to try and out-draft the other players without adding any abnormal rules that let you “grief” your friends. The incentives are still to play the best game of Marvel Champions you can, and sometimes that may mean helping out a teammate.
So let’s finally get to the actual event structure.
All participants will be broken up into tables of 2-4 players. You are free to set up your own groups or I will do what I can during the event to match people together. This could be played in person or online through methods like video conferencing, TTS, or OCTGN. The players will start by drafting cards from a provided “cube” which will be described below, build their decks according to all of the usual rules minus the requirement of only including a single aspect, and then play a normal game of Marvel Champions against a randomly-determined Villain/Modular combination on whatever difficulty the table agrees to. At the end of the game, regardless of outcome, the 1 or 2 players who performed the best according to some guidelines below will be nominated for a raffle of which there will be a single winner.
The Draft Kit
Each player will start with a Draft Kit that includes one copy of each Basic card from the Core Set and one copy of each “Power Of” aspect card from the Core set for a total of 15 cards.
Prior to drafting, all released heroes (up through Doctor Strange) will be combined into a stack and each player will be randomly dealt a minimum of two heroes. For tables with less than four players, the players can decide to deal additional heroes to each player as long as everyone receives an equal number. Each player will then choose a hero to play from those they were dealt and take the associated signature cards, nemesis sets, and obligations for that hero.
The draft Cube is the stack of cards from which players will draft cards. It will be made up of all released aspect and basic cards that were not included in the Draft Kit (so no Core Set Basics or Power-Ofs). There will be three copies of every non-unique and a single copy of every unique card. Including cards from releases through Doctor Strange, this should total 204 cards. The goal of the cube is to make it possible to assemble from a single, complete collection (meaning one copy of every released product). If you assemble this from your own cards and don’t have a complete collection, just include what cards you can. The most likely cards that there will be a shortage of are the “Power-Ofs” and for that I would just recommend allocating those cards after the draft to the players who need/want them.
If you are participating in the LeagueCG event digitally, I will be on the Discord server ready to connect with you and provide a way to import a pre-built Cube and Draft Kits. You can find me there (or on Twitter) as Jbailey86.
There will be 12 rounds of drafting with each player drafting two cards per round, for a total of 24 cards each. Each round, deal two cards per player face-up into the middle of the table (e.g. 8 cards in a 4-player game, 4 cards in a 2-player game). Starting with whoever has the first-player token, the cards will be “snake-drafted” one-at-a-time, meaning the first player will choose a card, then the player to their left, and so on until each player has picked one card. Then, the players will pick their second card in reverse-order. So, in a 4-player game, whoever picked 1st will also pick 8th, and whoever picked 4th will also pick 5th. In a 2-player game, the first player will pick 1st and 4th, while the other player will pick 2nd and 3rd . Pass the first-player token to the left before starting the next round. Each player should end up having first pick an equal number of times after 12 rounds.
Each player should have 54 cards (15 signature, 15 Draft Kit, and 24 drafted) to build a minimum-40 card deck, following all normal deck building rules with the exception of being able to include any card from any aspect in your deck. Obligations and Nemesis sets will be used in the scenario as normal.
Playing The Scenario
Players will randomly-determine a villain to play against and a modular set to include. This can be done using any method such as rolling a die, though my suggestion would be to make a deck of all the Stage I villain cards, shuffle and draw one and then do the same with a representative card from each modular. For the LeagueCG event, there is a Maria Hill bot with a dedicated channel that can randomly determine a villain/modular combination for you. I would suggest sticking with the scenario/modular you get because that’s the spirit of drafting, but I would understand redrawing in the case of The Wrecking Crew because the scenario is so different from the others, more difficult to upkeep, and does not include any obligations or nemesis sets. All players at the table would have to agree to the redraw, however. The Maria Hill bot will have a way to exclude The Wrecking Crew, I believe.
Playing the game from here on follows all of the normal rules. The only exception is that each player should keep track of how much damage they deal to enemies (not to friendly characters such as with ally Hulk) and how much threat they remove from schemes. Do not count excess damage beyond remaining hit points of an enemy or excess threat removed beyond total amount on a given scheme. For 2-3 player games, the player who has the largest combined total of damage dealt and threat removed will be the “winner” at the end of the game and, in the case of the LeagueCG event, entered into a raffle for a prize. For 4-player games, the two players with largest such totals will be entered into the raffle. This will happen regardless of outcome of the scenario.
A single winner will be randomly drawn from the pool of eligible players. That player will get to choose any Marvel Champions-related “bling” available from an online store, with a cost up to $30 not including shipping, that I will send to them. This could be token upgrades, sleeves, deck boxes, storage solutions, mats, etc. I’ll be in touch with the winner to figure this part out.
I hope many people get to enjoy this format at LeagueCG Con, and I look forward to meeting up with all of you. If you have any questions prior to or during the event, just look for me on the LeagueCG Discord server or Twitter as Jbailey86.
Thank you for reading.