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I need advice: How can I monetize a new card game in which all cards are included for free?

Content of the article: "I need advice: How can I monetize a new card game in which all cards are included for free?"

This is related to the very interesting discussion Why are card games tolerated and widely accepted when they have some of the worst monetization and business models in the industry? but that discussion died a month ago.

I have played a lot of Magic, Hearthstone, Dominion, Doomtrooper and some other similar games … then I spent 2 and a half years as a side project and $36K to create my own game that is not pay to win and that I like much more to play and in my opinion a better game design. All cards included, period. I rejected an investor and I am not creating the game with the purpose to make a profit.

I really want some feedback from you if I think correctly because I really need to think this through correctly:

– I will have 3 pre-constructed decks that are included in the box when you buy the game offline.

– Playing can be done for free in the browser.

– Online you can make your own constructed decks but to play with your constructed deck it requires a Pro Account of $14 per year. Sounds good or should I change it?

– A skilled player will most often win over an unskilled player even if the skilled player has a pre-constructed deck versus the "best constructed deck in the meta".

– Once I have 10K players on the online game and all cards has been fully balanced and tested I will launch the kickstarter for the printing and hopefully recover most of the costs so far.

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– Release of a new pre-constructed deck (expansion) once a year or so in the future to have the meta game alive.

Marketing cost money. If I ever want this game to be a success I have to spend money.

There are going to be fans of the online game that has no problem to spend let's say an additional $50 per year on the game – what could I offer them? Cosmetic items? Foiled cards online? Is that something that people want or is just an annoyance? (for me it was just an annoyance) What kinds of cosmetic are other card games offering that people genuinely want?

How do I keep players coming back to play with each other without introducing some bullshit daily grind quests? My idea is to have a leaderboard that resets each month and gives medals (and cash) to winners. Perhaps somebody has a better idea in this card game that has no cards to win in packages.

As for the physical game I could maybe sign some limited amount of first edition cards and auction them on ebay? (sounds like small money).

Pay to play will not work. How to reach critical mass? With small amount of players the play experience will suffer which will result in less people playing = spiral down.

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I would love to receive some good ideas please. For those curious, the game is The Space War (it is kind of pre-alpha take it easy on the critic). Moderator: if I broke some rule sorry, just remove the link.

Super thanks! Wish me luck 😉


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