The ‘Final Fantasy Trading Card Game’ Unpicks a Very Particular Secret of Mana


#1

Rather than establish itself as a unique experience, ‘FFTCG’ seems to want to fix the problems of ‘Magic: The Gathering’.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/the-final-fantasy-trading-card-game-unpicks-a-very-particular-secret-of-mana

#2

I might need to give this a shot. The mana system in Magic works to impose variance in a way that I believe is good for the long term health of the game (I actually did an experiment for a course in game design in which you could choose to draw land or nonland cards and found that the games felt flatter) and for that reason I’ve never been a huge fan of “your resources just tick up” models like Hearthstone.

Discarding cards is a really interesting idea; it sounds like its a simple replacement but the implications it has for card advantage seem like they would massively alter the progression of a game. In a worst case scenario it may end up like Yu Gi Oh, which in my experience ends up being very linear because the tributing mechanic gave way to all sorts of mechanics that basically depend on “have X and Y to get Z” but in a best case scenario it sounds like you might still be making meaningful decisions every turn without the frustration of being unable to act

I really want to play this


#3

I came here to say basically the same thing in regards to card game resource systems. There is a reason Magic has lasted over 20 years. There are some good articles about the merits of Magic’s mana system from WotC R&D that I should dig up in regards to this. One of their major points is that mana screw/flood means that the most skilled player won’t necessarily always win; while on it’s face to an outside observer, you would think that you always want the higher skill player to win, it makes it very hard for the game to pick up newer players. Nobody likes getting crushed constantly; the mana system gives them a shot at beating someone better than them (on top of the shot natural variance gives them). I’m glad to see someone else here who appreciates Magic’s approach; I think the mana system gets more shit that it really deserves for all the good it has done for the game.

This is not to say I think Magic’s system is perfect — no system will be. A magic personality/designer I like once said if they could change the system to remove maybe 5% of screw/flood scenarios they would do it in a heartbeat, but there is no such easy change.

So I’m wary of the “discard a card for a resource” system, as it makes games strongly favor the more experienced player. While this means it would likely be a good competitive game, it’s hard to sustain a player base if it runs off new players before they get the chance to figure out what is going on. That being said, I’ve already messaged my best bud (who I met playing Magic and who is a Final Fantasy nut) that I’m going to make him play this with me.

PS - Sorry for the novel


#4

I think Magic is at its best when there’s a smoothing mechanic in the format. Scry being around all the time is a good thing, and I’m so happy to see Cycling is back.

With that said I definitely don’t think Magic’s system is optimal. I think no-one has found “the best” system yet, at least for this type of “creature combat” card game (stuff like Netrunner is a different beast)


#5

Same, especially for Limited (my format of choice, still need to try out Amonkhet). The mulligan scry was also a really good recent change (and probably a bit overdue).


#6

Not gonna lie, I saw “Secret of Mana” in the title and got excited.

On topic, as someone who’s only extended experience with card games is Yu-Gi-Oh (and even then around a decade ago), the idea of changing something so drastically to a long running card game is wary to me- if it was that easy, why didn’t people do it before and have it succeed? But I’m interested in seeing how this change affects the meta, especially considering the points brought up earlier in the thread.


#7

Your comments reminded me of a few games that have in fact tried this sort of system. Wizards themselves tried to “fix” Magic with several different games. The one that immediately jumps to my mind is Duel Masters (relaunched in America in 2012 as Kaijudo).

Duel Masters used a system in which you could play any card as a resource, which could be tapped as in Magic, but one resource of a color would let you cast spells of that color (you didn’t need two separate green sources to cast two green cards as an example; you could use a green resource and a red resource, you just needed that one green resource to enable your green cards). While it is still popular in Japan (as far as I am aware), it’s now failed in America twice (Kaijudo was discontinued around 2014, can’t find the exact date).

These two games are not direct comparisons, however. Kaijudo in particular had several things working against it — it was entering an already saturated market; it was designed to be pretty simple, and was specifically targeted towards a younger audience, limiting some of its competitive appeal (which, while not strictly required, really helps give a game legs); and its marketing smacked of trying to compete with Yu-Gi-Oh!, a much more established card game. I’m also not entirely sure how the FFTCG resource system works; looking into it is on my to-do list for the day. I hope it does well (WotC could use competition in the physical card game space, imo), but this all is to say that this sort of resource system has been attempted in various forms before (I think the WoW TCG — the ancestor of Hearthstone — may have attempted a similar system back in the day, but don’t quote me on that). I honestly do hope it works in their favor, and that they keep refining it as time goes on.

Tl;dr — I care too much about card games.


#8

Unrelated note, the title of this article took me a long time to parse, haha. The Secret of Mana reference threw me off.


#9

Only TCG I put a lot of time and money into was Pokemon which has its own resource management. Is Magic’s more intense than that?

This looks cool though and the prospect of building a dope FFIX deck has me feeling some kinda way.


#10

It’s both similar and different to Pokemon.

Similarities

  • Resources are their own card type that are put into a deck
  • There are several different types of resource (5 colors of mana in Magic, different energy types in Pokemon), with cards requiring specific amounts/type of the resource to be played/activated.

Differences

  • In Magic, resources are “tapped” — literally turned sideways — to indicate that they have been expended for a turn.
  • They are not played directly on units (creatures in Magic), and instead exist on the battlefield as independent cards (Lands).
  • Lands untap at the beginning of your turn
  • (Reference for those that haven’t played Pokemon) In Pokemon, the resources are played directly onto units (Pokemon) to allow them to activate their abilities.
  • Energy cannot be moved around freely (not counting cards that let you do that)
  • Energy is also used in Retreat costs, which is more in depth than I should go here.
  • Units have no cost to play beyond needing to be played in the correct sequence — you play basic Pokemon for free, and then evolutions on top of their appropriate basic Pokemon

So they both suffer from the same “problem” — draw too much/too little of your resources and you can’t play the game. The major difference is that units have no cost in Pokemon, you can, at the very least, have something in play to keep from losing (especially since you lose automatically in Pokmeon if you have no Pokemon in play), but effectively there isn’t a ton of difference.


#11

once again the POWERS THAT BE are trying to SUPPRESS any knowledge of Ashes

ashes is a really good game that is unfairly slept on


#12

As badly as I want to play this, distribution on this game is downright terrible. I know at least a dozen people who would be remotely interested in playing this consistently who simply don’t because actually obtaining the product at their local game store is very difficult. The owner of my LGS can’t stock it at all because of distribution issues and that seems to be the same issue with a lot of stores around me. Beyond that, it seems the distribution itself is in very limited quantities that are selling out really quickly. Clearly the demand is there, but they’re just shooting themselves in the foot with getting it into people’s hands.

If this were readily available, I’d be playing competitively as often as I play Magic and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.


#13

I noticed on their site that it only seems to be officially available in Europe? Couldn’t find anything about a worldwide release.


#14

It’s definitely available in the US officially, just very poorly distributed. I think as hot of an IP FF is they’d have a great chance to break into the TCG market on that point alone. So many fans young and old, it’s a shame the product is so hard to find.


#15

Only like 30 people on the planet can understand and parse every reference in this article title, and I’m not one of them.