Assassins Decisions

Steve Jackson Addresses Issues Raised By the Assassins Expansion

Greetings to the net . . .

I'm taking some heat over a couple of decisions I made for INWO Assassins. Here's what's going on:

  1. One of the special cards will appear only (so far) in Lotus Noir Magazine in France. Doh! This was really dumb. I don't know what I was thinking. Yes, that makes it unreasonably hard to collect. My fault. I don't know yet what we will do about this, but we will do SOMETHING. At a minimum, we'll pull strings to make it easier to buy Lotus Noir outside France, but that is not good enough. Stay tuned. This really was my goof, and if I have to throw a few bucks at fixing it, I will.
  2. The inclusion of an Ultra-Rare frequency has angered some people. Sigh. That was not the plan. Here's how the sorting works:
    • Overall, there are 50 Common cards, 32 Uncommon, 30 Rare and 10 Ultra. The card for the Society of Assassins is sorted as an Uncommon but appears 4 times on the form, instead of 3, to make it easier to get. The last two cards are specials; one appeared in Pyramid Magazine, the other is the one that will be in Lotus Noir.
    • Each packet contains 5 Common, 2 Uncommon, and 1 Rare. In one out of every ten packets, the Rare is replaced by an Ultra-Rare.
    • We did our frequency-sorting a bit differently this time, in two ways. First, there are no Common Group cards. All the Commons are Plots. This is a blatant effort to sell each player fewer cards. Since nobody needs very many duplicates of any one Group, having Common Groups led to a lot of useless cards. Well, not completely useless, because you can (and should) give the duplicates to your friends to get them started. But still, having no Common Groups should avoid some waste.
    • The second frequency change was the addition of the Ultra-Rare category. "Just trying to sell more cards, Jackson?" Well, yes, of course . . . but not (I hope) by forcing people to buy extras. Sure, there are people who "collect" by buying N hundred dollars worth, sorting through them till they find all the cards, and dumping the duplicates. Yawn.
    • What I'm hoping to do with the Ultras is to raise the game's profile by starting a little more trading . . . not just among the collectors, but among the players too. The commonest complaint I hear about INWO is that new players have a problem finding many other players in some cities. Well, this will give people another incentive to TALK to each other.
    • The Ultras are not mega-powerful; we picked them for strangeness and for good (or very silly) art. Powergamers won't especially care about the Ultras; casual players may have a couple that they like, but won't need all of them. If I'm right, there should be plenty of Ultras out there to be traded for . . . but you're going to have to talk to people. Hey, the Illuminati are supposed to make deals!
    • By my calculations, if you want to build a whole set, and you start with the relatively brute-force approach of buying one whole 60-booster POP (suggested retail $84), you are almost certain to have all the Commons and Uncommons, and you will have (on the average) 54 Rares. Since there are 30 different rare cards, you can expect to be missing a few, but they won't be hard to swap for.
    • You will have, on the average, 6 ultras, and 0 to 2 are likely to be duplicates. The trading muscle provided by your less rare duplicates should make it pretty easy to slurp the remaining Ultras out of the hands of those who care more about deck-building than set-collecting.
    • You probably don't need to start with anything like a full POP to pull this off, but it should be EASY with a full POP.

At any rate . . . that was the reasoning. To those whose lives I have somehow ruined, I apologize :-) I have been trying very hard to be good, despite the pyramid tattooed on my brow.

-- Steve Jackson
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