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Decipher plans viral CCG launch, shared profits for fans

March 31st, 2008: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Decipher plans viral CCG launch, shared profits for fans

Decipher, the company responsible for hit CCGs like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, is trying a new approach with its next project. According to this announcement (there’s more than just the countdown clock, be patient), Decipher will launch a new CCG called Fight Klub at the end of April. This appears to be releasing in 121 card packs, or “kilos”, for $29.95 each. What license will be attached to the game, if any, is unclear. New players will join by invitation only, and each “mentor” player that invites more gamers will get a 10% kickback of all those players spend on the game, for life. Players will vote on cards for upcoming sets, possible reprints, and licenses they’d like to see pursued. Decipher will reap the maximum profits on the game, as Fight Klub won’t be solicited through regular distribution channels, instead only becoming available through Decipher directly. Of course, considering the timing of this (what date is it tomorrow? Hmm…), this might be foolery, but it doesn’t seem that way.

13 Comments »

13 comments

  1. pduggie says:

    That’s bizzare. Isn’t that like a pyramid scheme? Or at least, dopey Multi-level-marketing?

    Hoping its an April Fool.

  2. Chris says:

    Smells like failure.

  3. Jay says:

    I’m going with April Fools Joke.

  4. Chris says:

    I thought you could only post April Fool’s Jokes if you were relevant…

  5. Pookie says:

    If a joke, it is not even remotely funny and I doubt that few have really noticed.
    If a real TCG, I have my doubts about any possible success. A flurry of interest initially, but in the long term it will probably go the way of similar games.

  6. Dave T. Game says:

    That’s a LOT of work for an April’s Fools joke from a nearly-defunct company. I think it’s legit.

    The only concrete license I was able to spot was Reservoir Dogs, which is on the single sample card.

  7. misuba says:

    I’m perversely fascinated by this. (And it went live yesterday, or before.) It’s like they rethought absolutely everything about their market except the one thing that matters.

    Well, one and a half things: the licensing part is kind of questionable too. But if you’re going to sell direct to fans, and ask them to vote on which licensed content to use… why not just ask them to create prospective content on their own, and vote on that?

    Or, if they’re supposedly coming your website anyway, why bother with a paper product at all except as a weird extra, like those action-figure printouts of people’s WoW characters?

    I have to agree: bizarre.

  8. Yeah, I doubt it’s a joke – far too much effort went into it.

    I wasn’t sure if Reservoir Dogs was just thrown in as a mock-up example to get the imagination flowing, or an actual product we could expect. In all, this isn’t just a plan to lean on your community of fans, this is counting on the community to resurrect you in the marketplace and join your undead legion. Just a strange way to get back into game publishing.

    Chris said:
    I thought you could only post April Fool’s Jokes if you were relevant…

    Owch. 🙂

  9. Del says:

    Looks like a pyramid marketing idea to me. Worked for Avon tho so who would I be to be critical.

    This could get a lot of people into design, eh?

  10. Brian says:

    From what I can tell, it’s no joke. And it’s also not a true pyramid
    scheme – there don’t appear to be any “levels”, so it doesn’t matter when
    a person joins: it looks like you only profit from those people you
    personally bring to the game.

    For a company in such dire straits as Decipher seems to be, it sure is a
    novel way to keep a larger share of profits. No distributors, little to no
    advertising… Time will tell if it succeeds. They are putting a lot of
    faith in their core players to spread the word, so success will ride on
    good game mechanics. I imagine the game is getting a lot of testing.

  11. Mike Sugarbaker says:

    There are two separate levels, but one of them is designated for retailers and the like – they get 5% of profits from the people they convert and the people they convert, if I read correctly.

    And yes, it is worth discussing the things that they’re getting right here: some sort of revenue-sharing program is a really interesting thing to add to the mix, although I think people would be more comfortable with an Amazon Associates model than this model. And they’re going direct to customers in a way that really cements the relationship, which is pretty neat.

    Sadly… FightKlub. Yeah.

  12. Shrike says:

    Guess what, all you naysayers!? Fight Klub is real, printed, and finally available! The game play is one of the sweetest things I have seen in quite some time, simple yet involved. The game plays in as little as 15 minutes, and there are official multi-player rules for large brawls. Good stuff!

    Oh, and for those of you who may have thought Decipher was going to have a lot of trouble acquiring good licenses: Ha! How about household names like Rambo, The Terminator, Hannibal Lecter, and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, just to name a few?

    Who cares about the marketing idea? If it’s a good game, I’m sold. But who doesn’t like to make a little money to support my hobby? Put it this way: if you could play D&D for free just by getting 10 people to buy as much as you do, would you do it? I see it as an incentive, not a real way to make money.

    So, why not drop on by and check out the amazing new website? It’s got everything, including a player locator and a movie theater, so bring your popcorn! And don’t forget to tell them Shrike sent you!

    http://www.decipher.com

  13. Mike Sugarbaker says:

    I’m tempted to mark the above as spam, but I’ll leave it up as a warning to others: be on the lookout for lots more posts like these from however many people do take a shine to the game. That front-page form that asks “who sent you” is the beginning of the kickback system mentioned above, wherein the player who brings you in gets a percentage of what you spend.

    There are things to like about this game – being able to make Hannibal Lecter fight, well, anyone is kind of a redeeming quality – but the kickbacks thing as the dominant way of entering the game? That kinda leaves me cold.

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