[lugnet] DUNE Sortment
Owen M. Seyler (Oseyler@ix.netcom.com)
Wed, 05 Nov 1997 13:06:19 -0400
DUNE: EotS CARD SORTMENT
Starter Decks
There are six different Dune starter decks, each containing 60 cards
and having the following collation: 25 presorted cards (10 Imperial & 15
House) and 35 random cards (5 Imperial & 30 House).
25 Presorted Deck Cards
Of the 10 Imperial cards, all decks contain each of the 6 Dune Fiefs
(Dune, Arrakeen, Carthag, Imperial Basin, Minor Erg & Open Bled), 3 main
characters having allegiance to the sponsor (such as Duke Leto, Paul
Atreides and Gurney Halleck for the Atreides), and 1 Holding also
corresponding to the sponsor (such as Caladanan Exports for the
Atreides). The sponsor's homeworld fief is found on the back of each
deck box.
The 15 presorted House cards include 9 common cards, 3 Uncommon Cards,
and 1 Rare, which are shared among the 6 different starter decks and are
cards that everyone will want to have multiple copies for play. There
are approximately 15 different cards shared among the 6 different
starters, and each starter contains multiple copies of certain common
cards. So overall, there are not too many different cards being
presorted, and only the most common (essential) being shared among the
differnt decks.
Of the 30 random House cards, 16 are Common, 11 are Uncommon, and 3
are Rare. Because these are completely random, it is possible to get a
card having an allegiance that does not play with the designated
sponsor, but all allegiance cards are rare, and there are only a few of
them at that, so it will be highly unusual to get such a card in your
starter.
Booster Packs
All Booster packs contain 15 random House cards. That's right, there
are no Imperial cards in boosters and I'll explain why hereafter. Of the
15 cards, 1 is Rare, 3 are Uncommon, and 11 are Common.
Now for the BIG QUESTION - So why aren't there any Imperial cards in
Booster packs? To understand the rationale, you'll need to know some
basic facts.
There are 301 different cards offered in DUNE:EotS. Of these, 61 (20%)
are Imperial cards. When you consider that each starter contains 6
presorted Dune fiefs, 3 sponsor personas, 1 sponsor holding, and the
sponsor homeworld (deck box), that means that 36 of the 61 Imperial
cards are Ultra-Common (5 cards x 6 different decks = 30 + 6 shared Dune
fiefs). That leaves only 25 cards to be collected, and each starter
contains 5 randomly sorted cards chosen from this selection of 25.
Each of the six different decks was presorted to be not only playable,
but also to be representative of the sponsoring faction to which it
corresponds. To spare you the tedious detail which goes into planning
card collation for 6 different decks, I ask you to take my word that
overlap became a real headache. Among imperial cards overlap had to be
limited (because cards belonging to adversarial factions can't be
combined in the same deck) but only among certain cards (approximately
1/2 of the imperial cards). It is primarily for this reason, that the
Imperial cards (61 total) are split between being preselected and
randomly sorted within the decks.
Now, consider the fact that all Imperial cards are unique and you may
only include 1 copy of each in your Imperial playing deck. It is this
mechanic (that makes for good gameplay but difficult collation) that
caused us to limit Imperial cards only to boosters. See if you follow.
It is widely known that Dune is the best selling science fiction novel
to date.The entire series continues to sell well after 30 since its
first publication date. We know there are going to be lots of collectors
out there, and we assume most of our players will also be fans. So given
that playability was our #1 priority (which necessitated the
aforementioned sortment decisions) we needed to guess how our
players/Dune fans would approach the game in order to decide whether to
include Imperial cards in boosters.
There were two assumptions leading to our decision. First, we assumed
that most Dune fans would eventually want to try playing each of the
different factions, and non-player Dune collectors would also want one
of each starter deck. With respect to players who like the game, but are
not overly concerned with collecting, we assumed that most average
players will try playing at 2-3 of the 6 different factions, and
considering the nature of the cards offered in the presortment, those
players would want to buy 2-3 starters of their chosen faction.
So in either case, were looking at the average player eventually
buying each of starters. For those interested in collecting (who buy one
of each deck) they automatically get 36 of the 61 Imperial cards, and 30
random cards selected from the remaining 25. For the others who buy 2-3
decks belonging to 2-3 factions, the odds are similar that you'll
collect all 25 of the random cards. Because there is certain to be
overlap among these 25, all individuals will surely be able to find
players with which to trade cards whether they be presorted or random
(because you may only include 1 copy of each imperial card in a playing
deck and those who buy multiple copies of the same deck will have extra
preselected cards for which they have no use). So all in all, it should
not be difficult to collect all of the imperial cards without buying
lots of decks.
This all leads to the same conclusion. If people are going to get most
of the imperial cards by purchasing 4-6 decks, why would they want extra
copies in booster packs? The cards will be useless for play and would
only appeal to people who bought 1-2 decks of 1-2 different factions.
And in this case, we would have to fix the booster imperial sortment so
that people wouldn't get cards they already got in their starters & ones
which were compatible for their chosen sponsor (which would be
impossible).
So for all of these reasons, we made our decision. Had we decided
otherwise, no one would be all that happy with the sortment of imperial
cards. For those who bought one of each deck, they would know that one
card out of each booster would probably be a repeat and be entirely
useless to them. For those who bought few decks, they would be happy
buying boosters for a short time, until they started getting lots of
repeats and cards having allegiances to sponsors that prohibited their
inclusion in their chosen decks. Instead, everyone can be satisfied by
buying a few starters and trading repeat imperial cards with other
players/collectors. Boosters are for building decks and collecting House
cards, and since there are no imperial cards in them, card overlap
(multiple copies) is no more of a problem than it is with any other game
on the market.
I realize this is a long explanation for what appears to be a simple
decision. But I wanted to give everyone some factual data as well as an
understanding of the many factors that really afffect CCG packaging.
Card sortment and collation follows game design. If you're familiar with
the collation process, you can design with it in mind (as I did) but
playtesting and game rewrites nearly always throw monkeywrenches into
your collation plans.
I hope you find the current collation (once understood) to be the best
solution to appease both players and collectors alike. If you would like
additional information pertaining to card sortment, or if you'd like to
submit suggestions for future collation, you may send email to
Oseyler@ix.netcom.com (please write Dune Collation in the subject
heading). Thank you for your time and cooperation.
Sincerely,
Owen Seyler
Dune Designer/Developer, Last Unicorn Games