Here is the bullet point summaries of the Interview we conducted with Jeff Finnigan. I highly recommend watching the videos for the full responses, as well as fun interaction that won’t be in this summary. Links below:
Is Eiji going to be okay?
Yes he’ll be fine. He does have the normal royalties and stuff financially. Eiji still wants FOW to do well.
Would you (Jeff) want to still work at FOW post-management change?
He would if the philosophy of the company stayed the same. As an aside though, he was crazy busy working at the company. Not only was he Global Liaison to all the different countries, companies, and social avenues, but also did tons more internally since he was the only English speaker. Which can lead to burnout.
He loves the game but he doesn’t want to work there if he can’t do anything. Also wouldn’t if he doesn’t understand them completely, or doesn’t agree with their philosophy.
Would you recommend the game to new players at this current time?
Hopeful side says yes, the game is still fun and super cheap. As long as you enjoy it, that’s the main thing that matters regardless of financial incentives etc.
If you are looking for investments, probably not, but that isn’t (in his opinion) a really a good reason to get into a TCG to begin with.
What’s going on with Starter Deck availability?
It kills him because he told them last year, about this time, that they have to reprint those decks every set. They said that’s no problem. But problems ensued, Jeff kept telling them over and over again they have to get these decks out but it seemed they didn’t pay much heed.
Also as an aside, was told Ruler would be the Will Power rewards, but was not told it’d only be half the rulers.
With you gone, will things like pre-errata Table Flips (Overpowered cards) be more likely to surface more often?
Unfortunately, yeah. The issue is nobody besides Jeff had the power to really alter the power of the cards. Without him there to tell them what’s strong and what’s not it will happen. They don’t think too much about that, they are more focused on lore related flavor etc. and less how the power affects the game. Their belief is in the “fun”, not necessarily the balance.
His biggest concern is without him he doesn’t know how they’ll do ban lists. He did everything and heavily pressured them to even do ban lists. Without him those may not continue.
When will the management changes take effect as far as power levels?
He left after V3 was already done, though it is very strong. He only changed a couple cards (including sprout). He was hoping sprout was going to be much weaker than what it turned out to be.
They were complaining for awhile that Jeff was making cards ‘Too Fair’. The sales team thinks people just want to buy broken cards, and the sales team blames poor sales on sets not having broken cards in them. The sales team loves cards like Sherry, R/R, etc. They only focus on the initial reaction of people buying the set in order to get cards just to not lose. And they don’t think about the future repercussions.
Jeff’s philosophy became letting them do what they want a little bit, and then just banning it afterwards. So without him there is no barriers blocking these cards. He’s hopeful though, because he still knows people behind the scenes that he can appeal to update ban lists if it’s really needed.
Will you continue your original plan for an online tournament?
He wants to, but was postponed due to the other online “GP” that took place. And now he is very busy among other things. So he still wants it to happen, just not sure when at this point.
Do you think the game is still worth collecting in the West?
Absolutely. No matter what happens, he loves the artwork. He loves collecting and it’s still worth it.
Are you going to take a break from card games?
Probably. Force of will was his baby. At this point he is just tired after all the work he’s been doing the past year and more. He was disappointed with leaving, but it does at least give him a chance to breathe and catch up on other things as well.
What happened to Casters?
Different Philosophy. Eiji and Jeff wanted to focus on FOW and the World, and Casters is more popular in Japan. Casters is a more focused game, with harder deck building etc. The companies working on it together weren’t getting along super well either. They are going to be run/owned by the same company now though as FOW.
What happened to Architects?
They still want to make Architects. The designs and artwork are all done. They just don’t have future plans. They are already short staffed and needed to prioritize FOW. There was interest, but it was a bit hollow. If it’s not going to last you should wait until it’s perfect then set it out. They wanted to make 3 card games for 3 levels of players such as casual level, normal level, and competitive level, which Jeff disagrees with how card games work on that level since these levels are represented in all card games no matter what.
What happened to ‘Bestow’ mechanic?
Jeff was trying to bring back Addition:Resonators. He likes Bestow, just thought it was boring. It was just Artifacts but in FOW. He prefers Additions to have global effects etc. Bestow is pretty low on his likes.
The cluster he was working on had ‘Milling’, ‘Self Milling’, ‘Burn’, ‘Creature Based Combos’, and he was bringing back ‘Stand by’ cards.
Did you know you were leaving ahead of time?
He knew about 3rd week of January (he did his post on leaving on Feb 1st). Eiji was in a board meeting that Jeff was unaware of. After he called and told Jeff “Something terrible has happened” and told him about him leaving. Jeff wasn’t sure if he’d be affected, but he was. It was a shock, but also expected. Analogy used was in a Civil War, usually in history you get rid of Everyone associated with the losing side, in this case that’s Eiji being the losing side and Jeff being apart of that.
What does the game need to do if it wants to continue supporting the US?
Hire him or someone like him to communicate to the Japanese company in some capacity. And not just as a face, have to have the same power as Jeff did before. He had a relationship with the CEO to make things happen. Everything Jeff did he stands behind, and is always informative and honest with everyone about what’s going on. Which is different than right now where the new company is doing things in secret. A good company that he can get behind is acknowledging mistakes (such as his Rudy video) and being honest. He hopes they recognize that in order for America market to succeed.
Thoughts on cancelled GP’s/Revoked invites?
The person running the company right now doesn’t think very highly of paid invites and that it eats up money. He doesn’t see it as PR, just as pure cost with no benefit. Jeff has experienced at stores around the world that locals sell more and see more traffic when events happen. Which is why he tried expanding to more events. Since those 2 GP’s were run by FOW directly, they were marked as pure cost and therefore cut (unlike WGPQ’s). Which is probably why Jeff and Rob were cut as well. Just financial cuts.