Analysis of the Alpha Investment James White Q & A – Part 1

Today we’re doing an analysis of the Alpha Investment Q&A with James White (well, part 1, at least). This is going to be a bit of an odd article for the blog, so I’m going to be messing with the format a bit, and we’ll sadly be more image light than usual because it just doesn’t fit as naturally with the content. Essentially, I’ll be giving you my question-by-question take on what, if anything, is important to gather from each question. I will note, that I was overall kind of disappointed by the question quality here. A lot of these were kind of clueless questions that could have easily been answered by the community if the person asking them had put in a modicum of effort, but it is what it is. I’ll be linking to each point in the video so that you can keep up as we go, and I don’t have to just transcribe what you can get from the video

Here is the video from the beginning if you just want to watch it straight through. Otherwise the links below will take you to the respective question/answer.

Question 1

Reserve list question is almost entirely useless; there is no major new information here. The one novel piece of info is a clarification on cold foils, in that the UNL announcement could technically be interpreted to mean that CFs were unique to a first printing of a set, but that there was nothing stopping them from printing, say, a CF Ironrot Helm in Monarch, even though CRUnic sort of already set the standard for that. At any rate, this cements it as CFs of any unique card will only appear once as of now, although I’ll be curious to see if this ever gets manipulated for alternate art versions or promos.

Question 2

No worthwhile info here. This is all stuff that was already known. Rotation as “banning ~1000 cards a year” is a good soundbite though.

Question 3

I find this to be kind of an inherently stupid question because it’s too vague and doesn’t really pin LSS down to give a useful answer. Never ask a general “how will you not fail” question because you’re going to get a bunch of empty marketing speak in return, as evidenced by this. No fault to LSS here; this was a bad question. I do want to say that I often see people citing the time spent on the game as evidence that it will succeed or that it’s good. Just because you spent a lot of time on a game, doesn’t mean you designed it well. I do think that FAB is a good game, obviously, but this is not an argument that you should be putting stock in to explain why it will be a success.

Question 4

This is the first exciting piece of info we got: the Collectors Center (spelled “center” this time) will have an exact print run listed eventually. This is a big deal, but we don’t know the time table on this. If we can depend on getting this info for all future sets the timing will be a huge determiner in set launches, I think. If we were to know, say, that MON is a 50k box print run and that’s it, we would see prices spike immediately on 1st edition. If it’s more nebulous, like CRU was for a long time, prices could remain reasonable for a longer stretch of time.

Question 5

Not a super interesting question or answer. The main takeaway is that LSS is thinking of tunic the same way that most of the player base is: their intent isn’t to power creep it as a generic, but specialized class pieces might displace it for particular classes.

Question 6

Oddly, this is a useful thing to think about, but not particularly useful as a question. That is to say, when pondering if FAB will succeed, interference from competitors is a thing to consider. However, LSS isn’t going to come out and say, “yeah, we’re worried Hasbro is going to try to screw us”. I sincerely hope that LSS is just giving a marketing line and don’t actually think that “ethical and market based behavior” (which is a bit of an oxymoron) is what they can expect from competition. Rudy is on target here.

Question 7

Finally another good piece of info – we’ll get set codes that distinguish 1st edition and unlimited editions of cards going forward. I don’t know that I agree with doing something a little more visually noticeable would “[ruin] the aesthetics”, but whatever. I am curious if such a subtle marker will continue to drive the premium on 1st edition cards as compared to unlimited for non-CFs, which is still frankly something that seems inflated to me (it’s like the price gap has already baked in 5-10 years of growth). I suppose CRU unl (if/when it happens) will let us know if the premium on 1st edition WTR and ARC singles is partially due to clear and distinct visual differences.

Question 8

Good question, cop out answer. People should always remember that the market is not some sort of detached thing that exists as an idealized arbiter of value; it is 100% a thing that companies, in this case LSS, can manipulate. We’ve already seen them do it. We know they’re following the market, and the decision to release additional ARC adult heroes absolutely crushed that market dropping prices to 1/3 or less of what they were almost overnight. I’m not super mad about this particular case, although they did publish an article that made these cards seem rarer than they are/became. I bring it up primarily to point out that they can easily shift secondary market prices by putting out more product, so some information on what they think is an “OK” vs “too high” price would be incredibly useful. I don’t necessarily expect them to divulge that sort of thing, but if they weren’t going to give any useful info here, this question could have been skipped.

Question 9

Not a particularly illuminating question and answer. We already knew this.

Question 10

Again, not a super useful question or answer for anyone who was paying attention to FAB.

*Header Image: King Rudy Playmat, artist unknown

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