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Wednesday
Dec082010

Yomi 2-packs Available

Grave & Jaina 2-packThe five different 2-packs of Yomi decks are now available for pre-order. Each pair of decks is $25, and they ship in January along with the complete first edition, and the second printing of Puzzle Strike. I stress that the complete set is a better deal, so let's talk about price, starting at the beginning.

The usual way of making a card game like Yomi is to make it collectable. Yes, the dirty word. If it were collectable, I'd be selling packs of random cards, including rare cards, and causing you to spend a ton more in order to create a full, "real" deck. Constructed decks in Magic: the Gathering cost over $300 on average because this collectability aspect inflates the price and gets in the way of you actually playing the game. I know the makers of CCGs apologize by saying it's fun to play with gimped decks as you go through the expensive collection process, but really it's a hell of a lot more fun to have a full-strength, tournament quality deck from the beginning. I like picking Protoss in Starcraft, not a gimped Protoss until I buy all the units (which come to me in random packs--still waiting on that Void Ray). The same goes here, it's great to get the complete game without the garbage.

Grave & Jaina 2-pack, from the backSo anyway, the more normal way to sell the complete set of Yomi would be to not sell it at all! To instead, sell only random packs, so that the entire set of 10 decks could come out to around $3000. Or heck, let's cut the price all the way down to $1000. You wouldn't get a rulebook, playamts (those are worth $10+ bucks each), or the beautiful packaging of the 10 deck-boxes and the big black box it all comes in. You wouldn't get that stuff because you'd really get the cards from the secondary market where they are selling you just the (uncoated, CCG quality) cards themselves, without even real packaging. Somehow, the complete Yomi set isn't $3000 or $1000 though, it's $100. So if you bought that, and threw both the awesome playmats in the trash, along with the nice box, the expanded rules, and the life counters, you'd be paying $10 per deck. Or like $8 if you don't throw the playmats in the trash. (I stress again, those mats are pretty awesome).

The 2-packs get you two different Yomi decks for a total of $25. Yes, $25 is less than $100 and the cheaper price-of-entry is certainly a reason you might want one. But if you chip in with a friend or something, the complete set is the better value. And either way, this game is so absurdly cheaper than the CCG I *could* have made it, that I hope that doesn't go unnoticed. I hope you sing the praises that this game costs $100 for the *entire thing* and not $3000 with psychological tricks of rares in random packs that has somehow become acceptable.

So here you go, the complete first edition is here, and the five 2-packs are here. The 2-packs let you try out the game for cheaper than the full set, if you're not sure about it. Of course, you also try it out for free in the early online version (www.fantasystrike.com/dev). All flavors of Yomi, as well as the second printing of Puzzle Strike, ship in January.

Reader Comments (12)

Ah, excellent. I was wondering when these would come around.
Merrily, I got the job I was banking on and have since ordered the complete first edition, so it's not that this matters much to me personally. It's interesting to argue the breakdown of the prices, though I don't know if direct comparison to CCGs is the best parallel. What I can say is that I've picked up $25 card games in the past that I was much less satisfied with than Yomi, so even on price-point it should be noted that the game is a strong runner. *thumbs up*

The only thing I didn't like about the 2-packs was their pre-determined status. In a way it's good - I'm still under the belief that the pairings are sort of intentionally made as they are - but there's that little part inside me that gripes that if two friends want to play they both have to spend the $25 to buy the characters they want. Granted, it will give each of them another character to use and a lot more gameplay as a result, but I guess as a 2-player game, I'd really have enjoyed seeing that sort of option for friends looking to get their toes wet. Do you suppose down the line there will be the potential to have a 'choose any 2' deal?

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikkin

It's just a logistical hassle to have even more SKUs, and introduces even more inefficient shipping to have the possibility of shipping just one deck. People "in the biz" all told me that retailers prefer 2-packs to single decks (when a second is needed to actually play), and reducing the number of SKUs is what helped me get the price down to what it is now. So in short, there is nothing intentional about preventing other combinations of 2-packs, it's just the best logistical way I have of doing it. And it's all done now and packaged, btw.

As far as the actual game, glad you like it. ;) And believe me, I'm itching to get it shipped to you as soon as the powers-that-be can do it.

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterSirlin

*sings praises that this game costs $100 for the entire thing*

I'd come up with some actual lyrics, but not being a song writer I'm pretty sure it would not be an enjoyable read so instead I'll just allow you to fill in the gap yourself.

In any case, I was a long LONG time CCG player who quit the games a few years ago, partially because of my poor financial situation, but largely because I just got really sick of the terribly business model that prays on the gambling addiction within most people, even within children not old enough to gamble. I really do think this is a FAR superior way of releasing cards. Collecting cards is fun... in video games with single player campaigns where buying packs doesn't cost real money and slowly gaining access to more and more cards eases you into the game as well as gives you a feeling of "leveling up". For non video game card games or video game card games that infuriatingly price themselves like a real card game *cough*alteil*cough*, however, forcing players to collect cards just creates a huge imbalance.

You've got the small income players who never stand a chance against any one else purely do to lack of access to good cards, you've got the mid income players who can build competitive decks but either have to spend beyond their means to get the ideal deck, or forever be satisified with being at a disadvantage, and you've got the big income players for whom collecting is meaningless as they just throw as much money as needed to get everything they want from the start so there was no joy of collecting anyway.

With Yomi's price structure, small income players can at least get 2 ideal decks, even if they'll never have them all those two decks can compete with any of the others. Mid income players can actually get every deck, and every card. And big income players can still get every deck and every card, but they've got an extra 200-400 dollar they didn't have to spend and thus can spend on other activities, or maybe and second sets of cards to give to friends.

Anyway, point is, I'm definitely singing the praises of this price structure to all my friends, and though my current financial situation prevents me from throwing down a preorder myself, should the economy ever turn around and I can finally use my Computer Science Bachelor's Degree to get a decent paying job instead of working in food service just to pay the bills on my 1 bed room apartment, you better believe I'm getting a complete box, if not multiple to give to friends.

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDanTheTimid

Yeah, I was sure you had your reasons. I understood the 'selling in twos' part to avoid people winding up with just one deck, but not all the finer points. It's nice to have a more detailed explanation of those reasons though.
All told, I doubt such a little thing will truly cost you anything significant in the way of sales. :)

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikkin

I must say that I'm impressed with the quality of all the games you've shipped. You really do care about every little detail, from the core game design to the little things in the box that are fun to discover (like those awesome looking playmats).

It kind of makes me sad that I'm not much into card games... this gives me high hopes for what your independent video game venture will be like though. :)

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPoisonDagger

Dan and PoisonDagger: Thanks, I really appreciate it.

December 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterSirlin

I don't know if you can rightly compare Yomi to a collectable card game... I mean, not only is Yomi not collectable, but it's also not customizable. Fantasy Flight Games calls their products "Living Card Games" because they sell pre-arranged booster packs that are all the same; a CCG minus the randomness. See "Call of Cthulhu" the card game.

A (theoretically) balanced CCG or LCG has dozens of optimized decks all designed by players--or at least stolen from other players. A lot of the fun in a CCG comes before the tournament, building your decks, and trying your non-optimal decks against optimal ones to see how they stack up. Yomi doesn't have that.

Yomi has ten decks, designed by Sirlin, not to be an optimal deck but to be balanced against the other nine legal decks. That may be better than a CCG--hell, I'm hoping so, because I'm buying it--but it doesn't really compare. It's more like StarCraft, where you choose one of three "decks" designed by Blizzard, which are balanced against the other two decks. That game is $60. If you want to claim your game is cheap, say it has 3.33 times more decks than StarCraft and is less than twice the price.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaymark108

I will definitely be buying the full set...how often do you suppose new editions will release, and will they invalidate older editions like the CCG model?

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

Jaymark: I am not comparing the gameplay of Yomi to a CCG, but I will definitely compare the business model to a CCG at every possible opportunity.

Derek: Here's the release schedule for new decks beyond the first 10.

1) Never, if the game doesn't sell well enough. Art costs and manufacturing are substantial and I have yet to make it out of the red on any of this. I can't justify another 5 (or 6...) figures on another set of 10 Yomi decks until there's real sales here, like thousands.

2) In a few years, 10 new decks. I've already been developing the *design* of 10 expansion decks, but it will probably take over a year to get all the art done, once it's even started. Add manufacturing lead times and that's pretty far in the future, altogether. These 10 new decks of the distant future are balanced against the current 10 decks, so they all play together and do not invalidate each other.

December 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Sweet merciful crap, an expansion that doubles the number of characters, while keeping play-styles diverse and the game balanced?!

This better sell well. If I had more money, I'd get a second complete set so that I could do every ditto match, but I just can't afford it at the moment.

Good luck with sales. If I ever swing by the local comic/card shop, I'll let them know about Yomi. I've already told most of my friends who play card games and they're all interested, so that place would definitely be able to move your product.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTheRealBobMan

Thanks TheRealBobMan. It helps way more when people buy direct from sirlingames.com, but I am all for retailers too, so let them know about the game if you can! They should be able to order it from the same catalogs they order everything else from. And yeah, that expansion is a lot to think about. There's also 55 match-ups now (including mirror matches). That would be 210 match-ups in a few years! It will take a lot of pre-release tournaments to balance that, heh.

December 9, 2010 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Awesome! Thanks for releasing these: I'm definitely going to buy a 2-pack or two, and maybe get some other decks after Christmas if I can get my friends into the game.

December 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRyan D.
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