An Introduction to Force of Will

Force of Will, more anime than an inappropriate card alter on a basic land.

Force of Will is a somewhat new TCG to the scene though information about it is surprisingly hard to come by. Only a few fan sites provide regular updates and incredibly it does not have a Wikipedia page (Except in Italian for whatever reason).

Force of will launched on the 1st of December 2012; a hilariously difficult piece of information to source. The game is on its 4rth Block; named ‘the Lapis Cluster’ which contains 2 sets with a third “The Return of the Dragon Emperor” due to be released in March of 2017.

There does seem to be some activity with many of the serious TCG shops stocking product and more importantly selling singles. There are a few active blogs and a busy subreddit. Organised play, however, at least in Scotland seems to be thin on the ground with few shops running regular events.

Magic by any other nameValentina_conv.jpg

Force of Will Co, I fixed your card for you. …actually there wasn’t enough space to fit all the mechanics on.

Force of Will clearly takes inspiration from magic and that is not a bad thing. Magic has stood the test of time in a way no other card game has because fundamentally, its mechanics create a compelling experience with an immense amount of depth and strategic options. Unfortunately, it suffers from some of the issues many magic clones have by having to avoid the use of certain terms making cards confusing. Creatures become Resonators (is that really the best they could have done), Artefacts become Regalia and Sorceries and Instants become Chants. Tap-ing becomes resting as well as other keyword changes. This sometimes makes things a little goofy and confusing when things are given odd names to just be different from magic, other games have creatures Wizards, Get over it!

That is not to say they are the same game, though, they are similar enough that you are safe to assume that almost everything not mentioned here works the same as it does in magic, stack included.

Not quite the same

maid_conv.jpg

Did anyone read these cards, a 4/4 for 1u? these cards are broken.

The biggest difference between the games can be found in deck construction. It functions much more like EDH with your deck being led by a ‘J-Ruler’. Your J Ruler is a double sided card which functionally starts in play. The initial side of the card functions like an enchantment offering certain abilities and advantages while the other is usually a powerful creature (I am not going to call it a resonator, I refuse!). Flipping it typically involves spending mana.

This brings us to the second difference. Your deck is split into a spell deck and a ‘magic stone’ deck (lands). The magic stone deck can contain basic magic stones as well as the equivalents of non-basic lands. You hold a 5 card hand instead of 7 which makes sense when you consider it is a landless deck. Magic stones are gained by taping your J-ruler which places the top card of the stone deck into play.

Combat is similar to magic but there are a few, key differences.

  • You can direct attacks at tapped creatures. I think this is a rather neat idea and it definitely adds tactical depth to how you use those low defence, high-potence tap effect cards.
  • No gang blocking. Boooo this is definitely a mistake, gang blocking adds a lot of tactical options in magic and I think its absence is unfortunate.
  • Creatures tap to block. So this isn’t the worst idea, it means you do have to decide between blocking with a creature and using a tap effect, however, although I have not tried it, I cannot see this having anything other than a significantly negative effect should you play FoW multiplayer. The fact you can attack tapped creatures means that if I block with a creature not only is not available to block against the next player but it is vulnerable to attack.
  • Yu-gi-oh numbers. Why! Why do games do this! Creatures have a power and toughness that are almost always a multiple of 100. You could divide all the numbers in this game by 100 and it would affect very little. You start this game with 4000 health 4000! How many dice do these people think we have?
  • There are a variety of other small differences like summoning sickness ending at the end of your turn rather than your upkeep, only a single main phase, no official upkeep (and yet the opening phase sounds very much like untap, upkeep, draw). Most other questions can be answered by how does it work in magic? Do Regalia (Artifacts) have summoning sickness? Do they in magic? Well no then.

Questionable Costs

moon_conv.jpg

Do you need someone to rewrite your flavour text? I am looking for work.

Most games not called Magic the Gathering fail to stick around, even the ones that seem to make it. I remember Raw Deal being quite successful for some time during my Uni years but it too eventually suplexed its way into the sunset. Even games like Pokémon which seem to have stood the test of time have functionally died and been relaunched, though it’s currently going fairly strong.

If you like magic, a new game could be fun to mess with, especially since its core mechanics are so similar to what you already know but money spent on another game is unlikely to hold its value in the same way magic would, so how much money would we be looking at to play?

At first glance, it seems not too bad. Boosters are £2.50-£2.75 on sites like Chaos Cards. Still a little too close to magic pricing for just messing around sadly unless you want to treat the game more seriously. This, however, starts to look a little worse when we look at box prices. The price doesn’t drop nearly as much from single boosters as magic boxes do, suddenly it’s getting much closer to price equity with magic (who buys single magic boosters?) and THEN you realise there are only 10 cards per booster instead of 15. If anything this game is actually more expensive than magic and I think that is a pretty major issue.

So are there any upsides to FoW pricing model compared to magic? In short yes, the price per booster is not the whole story. Each FoW booster contains 2 rares per 10 card booster instead of 1 per 15. That is 1 rare every 5 cards, 3 times more common than Magic. Each super rare; the equivalent of Magic’s mythics, replace a rare roughly once per 3 packs. This is a pretty significant boost over magic’s 1 per 8 packs. Combined with the smaller pack size, super rares are 4 times more common than mythics.

This would make building your tournament decks much easier as rare card cost is going to be a lot lower. That is not to say that FoW doesn’t have its money cards, with 2 escalating levels of foil, super foil chase cards go for significant value.

The problem is card value can only be maintained if FoW is successful. The ease of building tournament decks doesn’t really matter if there are no tournaments. The simple fact is that the value of cards in most TCG’s plummet if and when…and for almost all games it really is when the game dies.

So is it worth playing?

Maybe.

If there is a local tournament scene, you’re much more likely to get useable cards from boosters than magic and as long as you don’t want to bling out your deck, the nonfoil singles should be much more affordable. Additionally, if you’re going to copy your mechanics from another game Magic is a good choice allowing an easy point of entry and a solid level of depth right from the start.

FoW could be a fun game to draft. A group of magic players (and even some non-magic players) would be able to launch pretty much straight in without any prior experience, treating it almost like unhinged or any other stand-alone set of magic. Okay, the cards might not be worth much and you might get limited use out of them outside the draft but drafts themselves can be a lot of fun. If you look at the booster price as the cost for an afternoon’s entertainment, it may well be a worthwhile consideration. On the other hand, at 4-5 boosters per person, drafting is going to be relatively expensive, very comparable if not slightly more so than magic. That is going to make some people question the value compare to just drafting their game of choice. 4-5 boosters per person also means that a box does not divide nicely across a group, the result is that the group will probably have to buy some individual boosters, slightly increasing the cost or cover the excess boosters left over from not using the entire box (which in fairness could be used as extra prize support)

 

I at least think that the entertainment may be worth the cost, even just for the novelty factor. I intend to investigate demand to see if running a FoW Draft would be viable. Should I be successful expect more Force of Will posts to follow.

 

 

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