Analysis of the Alpha Investment James White Q & A – Part 2

We’re going to hop right into things here; this is Part 2 of my analysis of the Alpha Investments Q&A with James White. Part 1 is here, and we’ll be doing the same format as before: I’ll link the whole video at the top, and then address it point by point with direct video links to the points in the video where each question is asked. As with the first set of questions, a lot of these hold no value to those of us (this likely includes you, if you’re reading this) who are already in the FAB community, but I think we get better info overall from this video than the previous one.

Question 11

This is sort of a repeat of some questions from the first video. As noted, I don’t think this sort of question is very useful for us. It’s too broad, doesn’t pin down specific details, and thus invites an answer that feels like corporate speak. This isn’t a knock on LSS. One thing that is tangential to the answer here, which has been on my mind as of late, is the emphasis on OP. As a long time player of card games, I always held the assumption that OP really mattered, but between 2020 and simply getting older and realizing what a small percentage of the Magic consumer base has any engagement whatsoever with OP, I have begun to kind of question how essential it is to the game’s success. It is pretty clearly not essential for Hasbro at this point, but I have no idea if an up and coming game could similarly ignore it. My intuition is “no”, but again, this is an area I continue to ponder, especially as FAB engagement in the US grows with no real OP in sight aside from a few specific communities (hi, Texas).

Question 12

OK then. Kind of silly to include this, but whatever.

Question 13

This is an interesting and novel question, sadly (though again, not unexpectedly) we get no info that matters in the answer. I think we’ll definitely see something at some point, but this tells us nothing. Personally, I’d be surprised if there isn’t some sort of raid boss mode, whether that is players versus an “AI” deck or a variant with player taking up the role of the big bad, who knows.

Question 14

Useful question! I think this is the first time we got a clear confirmation that the goal is three and not two sets a year. Three sets is definitely my preference, as if we were on that schedule right now, we’d be about to have a new release, and I think the base is absolutely rabid for Monarch. Six months is a little too long to wait, but it’s also important not to drown the player base in product. It’s also good to know that they’re willing to hold up releases until things are right, which hopefully extends to not releasing products until they’ve got enough physical product for it not to get annihilated on launch.

Question 15

Great info! We expected OOP announcements, but this reinforces it along with the idea that we’ll get full print run sizes at some point.

Question 16

More useful info here as well, we’re on a roll! Not segmenting the market with multiple product versions is a welcome bit of info for me. I don’t like the practice from the perspective of players, and I think it plays havoc with the secondary for collectors, investors, and speculators. I am happy to see that they’re open to some other product types, particularly given their eye on moderation. I was playing Magic at various points when they introduced non-standard products be they bundled sets (Anthologies, Battle Royale, Beatdown); weird products (the Un-Sets, Archenemy, Planechase), or fixed decks (the original precons, duel decks), and prestige things (FTV, Commander’s Arsenal). At the time that most of these were introduced, a lot of people were excited about them, and they were generally cool products even if their long term value fluctuated a lot. Wizards of the Coast’s problem with them in recent years has just been oversaturation, but that doesn’t mean that LSS couldn’t do something interesting in this space.

Question 17

Old news generally here, LSS isn’t focusing on an online version of the game. What is interesting is that, in this response, they haven’t said “no” to online FAB, which feels like a shift to me from their original position. One of their very first articles included this bit “Some publishers claim that their digital offerings are a benefit to the TCG industry as a whole, and maybe they once were. But as TCG publishers prioritise digital platforms in the pursuit of higher profits, it removes fans from local game stores and that threatens the existence of local communities.” At the time, this was generally taken as a no-digital FAB. But the answer to this question seems to leave the door a bit more open. I assume COVID has prompted them to reconsider.

Question 18
Kind of a useless question here.

Question 19

This is a weird question to me, because I feel like we already knew that an unlimited edition was coming prior to its announcement, we just didn’t know the parameters of it (no cold foils).

Question 20

The first half of this question is irrelevant to us here. The second half gives us an interesting bit of info in that we’ll likely get a PvE format of some sort at some time.  If you remember my article on buying into future formats. This is 100% something you’ll want to keep your eye on. If a PvE format happens and it takes off with the player base, there may very well be a spike to various singes (Coax a Commotion, for instance could be huge if it can boost your teammates).

Question 21

A decent portion of this was known already, but it is worth keeping in mind that the overwhelming ownership among their founders means that they have a lot of freedom to pursue things that aren’t chasing quarterly earnings.

Missing Questions

Of particular note to me was the fact that several question that had more votes than some questions asked in these videos do not appear (full disclose, my own set of questions were among these). In general, these questions fell into two camps: repeats of other questions, or as with mine, questions that asked fairly specific questions and wanted to pin down LSS on some concrete information. I’m honestly not that upset, it’s a bummer they didn’t get answered, but I wasn’t entirely sure they would when I wrote them or when I thumbs up’ed the others seeking valuable information. My curiosity on these is where they pruned out by Rudy, or did James take a look at them and decide he didn’t want to give out this specific info?

Wrap Up

So, nothing earth shattering in part two, but we did get a little bit of confirmation and some bread crumbs. In general, I don’t think these QAs were really targeted at people who are already engaged with FAB. It is worth noting that Rudy is clearly actually excited about the game, beyond just selling it, and I think that bodes well for him continuing to get access to special product for his kits. At some point, I’m going to write up an article on the value of trying to get into his Patreon or similar ones exclusively for FAB as well as why you should be paying attention to him if you want to mess with the financial end of the game.

*Header Image: Santa Rudy Playmat – by Marco Wulfr

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