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Random vs Fixed Boosters like Newtonian Physics January 13, 2009

Posted by webofwebhead in Game Theory.
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They just sort of break down with very large or very small numbers.

The latest Scrye magazine outlined the number of new collectible games for 2008, lamenting that some had changed to fixed purchase.  I interpreted that to mean the fixed purchase games no longer “counted” somehow as collectible games.  I tend to disagree.

My test case today is going to be Monsterpocalype (Monpoc) versus Mutant Chronicles CMG (MC).  Monpoc is sold in “random” boosters.  MC is sold in fixed boosters.

Let’s posit that you have a small collection of each game, like I do.  Of all of the differences between the games, does anyone feel in anyway that the greatest distinction between them is the way in which they are sold?  Does the way they are packaged matter for you five minutes after you have them open?  I’d say no.  After all, if I lease a car, or buy a car, at the end of the day, I’m still driving a car. 

Let’s take it a step further though and look at large numbers.  It’s claimed that if you bought a whole case of Monpoc you would end up with a complete set.  And guess what happens if you buy a whole case of MC?  That’s right, you end up with a complete set.  Freaky!  So, at the high end of collecting, the distinction between random and fixed disappears completely between these two games.

And what if you go with small numbers?  Well, again, you go use the unit of a single starter for both games, or two boosters from each game, and have what you need to field a basic team.  Now certainly, we wouldn’t know ahead of time what that team is for the randomly packed game, but we would still have a viable team.  (This is also true for World of Warcraft minis while we are on the topic.  A single booster provides a game legal “team”.)

So, at very small numbers and very large numbers, random and fixed booster minis tend to act more alike.  Now certainly, it’s the mid range between say one booster and 20 where the differences remain more well pronounced.  But I still contend that the way boosters are packed has much less to do with the way the games are played than many other factors.

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