Dragon Ball Z TCG Lead Designer AIK Interview – GenCon 2015

Hey BroZ.

Sorry this is a bit late. I had a chance to sit down with Aik, Dragon Ball Z TCG Lead Designer and brand manager at Gen Con 2015 to talk to him about a range of subjects concerning the game. Aik doesn’t make many public statements, so I tried to cram as much as I could into the 15 minutes I got to speak with him. He had some interesting things to say about Set 4, block formats, organized play and so much more! Let’s dive right in!

Dragon Ball Z Evolution TCG Sales Sheet

Set 4 – Dragon Ball Z Evolution

Joshman: Obviously the thing the community is going to want to hear most from you is about Set 4. What can you tell us about it?

Aik: Well, from the sales sheet you should know it’s a starter/booster set that includes over 140 brand-new cards and will release at the end of October. New playable personalities will include Androids 17-20 and a new “Hero” Vegeta.

Joshman: Android 16 and Cell are missing from that list, any word on them?

Aik: Nothing I can say at this time, but you may see new personality sets from characters already in the game.

Joshman: So will those old characters with new personality sets, like Vegeta for instance, be getting more named cards? Up until this point the named cards have been very well controlled, but won’t new versions demand new named cards?

Aik: Lets just say that if a character already has some named cards, I’m not necessarily pushing for them to get more named cards. Some might. It all depends on how that character is being developed and what their needs are.

Joshman: How will characters like Nappa or Turles, who never appear again fare? Will they miss out on support from additional named cards?

Aik: Those characters will continue to receive support, but it doesn’t have to be through named cards. We can give them support through styled and freestyle cards, similar to what we did for certain personalities in Movie Collection.

Joshman: Will there be a new power chart?

Aik: No. We’re trying to stick with the current chart for as long as we can. As long as it makes sense to keep using the current chart, I don’t see a need to change it.

Joshman: One of the biggest complaints from the Premiere Set was pulling Mastery cards in packs, something most players acquired through the Starters. Is that something we’ll see again in this set?

Aik: The Starters will only have one Mastery card in them for this go around. I don’t have any comment on whether or not Mastery cards will be in booster packs.

Joshman: Another issue were the drop rates of the Ultra Rares, with some of those cards from Premiere Set being near staples in decks. What can we look forward to in Evolution?

Aik: The drop rates of the Ultra Rares in Evolution will be better than what they were in Premiere. Closer to what you’ve seen in the last couple of sets.

Dragon Ball Z Evolution Preview Image

Organized Play

Joshman: Let’s switch gears a bit and talk about Organized Play. When will Evolution be legal for play?

Aik: Definitely by Worlds. Probably for the last regional.

Joshman: Some of us old timers remember one of the top prizes at Regional level events being a foil version of your deck. How come we didn’t see that this time around?

Aik: It’s mostly a logistics issue. You never know what cards might be unexpectedly popular in decks, so it’s hard to plan ahead when it comes to inventory. For instance, do we need to print or hold extra foil versions of Nail’s Dashing Attack? Or will Nail not win as many events as Raditz, so now we need more Raditz Offensive Guard. That doesn’t even take into account any styled cards that might take off. On top of that, we know we would have to print and hold lots of foil versions of popular cards like Stare Down and Confrontation. Many players remember there being fulfillment issues with  foil decks in the old game. Well that’s pretty much why, which is why we decided to go a different route.

Joshman: What about gold-titled reprint cards? Specifically, cards like Time is a Warrior’s Tool which aren’t really different from their Score Entertainment version other than a slight change in terminology (in this case, it’s Events replacing Combats). Why can’t we use any of the classic versions of that card for a seemingly minor and easy to overcome detail?

Aik: Well, that’s exactly the issue. It might seem simple and a no-brainer, but in reality you now have two terms that have to be learned by all players. There is now old and new terminology that has to be learned, and potentially introduces a whole host of issues when you have two game terms that identify the same thing. An unfortunate side effect is that some cards like Time have to be excluded as a reprint, since there’s no getting around the different card types.

Joshman: Okay, this is a favorite topic of mine. Every time I bring it up, the community explodes. I asked Organized Play Manager Erin Giddings about it on one of our podcasts and it generated a lot of discussion. I wrote about it a few months back, so let me ask you: How do you feel about Block Formats and eventually cycling out sets of Panini DBZ?

Aik: I can see both sides of the argument on how it would be beneficial. I personally have no negative opinions on it and I wouldn’t feel bad if that was an option we eventually decided to take in the future. But as of now it’s not needed and there are no plans to do so.

4 Broly, the Legendary Saiyan

The Future

Joshman: From a business standpoint, how is the game doing?

Aik: It’s doing very well. It’s definitely expanding and more stores are picking it up.

Joshman: A lot of folks, myself included, have really hoped to see something similar to the Capsule Corps Power Pack be released in the future. Is that a possibility?

Aik: Possibility? Yes, but nothing in the works right now.

Joshman: How about more game releases from Panini?

Aik: Again, that’s very possible but it all depends on licensing.

Joshman: Well in closing, is there anything you can tell us anything you’d like to tease us with?

Aik: Tease you? Well, let’s just say that next year you can look forward to a LEGENDARY experience (and I’m not talking about any other games).

J1 Broly's Legendary Ki Explosion

This has been Joshman! Later BroZ!

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3 Comments to "Dragon Ball Z TCG Lead Designer AIK Interview – GenCon 2015"

  1. His reasoning behind TIAWT is so ridiculous.

    Magic the Gathering doesn’t have any problems whatsoever with cards being used today that were printed almost 20 years ago, and which have, often times, completely different wording. To me, this screams of sales and Panini not wanting players to be able to use too many older cards in order to bottleneck them into purchasing new Panini stuff.

    • Araliss says:

      That’s probably it, but no company could get away with saying “we want your money.” Either way, can you really blame them? They need to make money to keep producing cards, after all. If everyone suddenly discovered they already had everything they needed in their Score cards they wouldn’t want to spend money on repetitive Panini versions.

    • Shane Ramos says:

      I both agree and disagree. I agree in that I don’t think there would be an issue – other games have done it and it has worked out just fine.

      But I disagree in that I don’t think it was motivated by profit. I don’t really there’s a lot of money to be gained by people not chasing the few cards that would be reprints. I think it was done, as he said, to make the game easily accessible to new players (you need to keep in mind that the old Z was a long time ago, and if they want the game to be even moderately successful, they cant rely solely on players of the old game).

      Besides, I had a huge collection myself that included a lot of the cards that people say should’ve been gold-bordered and I personally like having all the new stuff anyway. Keeping it simple and matching in terms of text and card layout is satisfying to me.

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