One Year of Transformers TCG in the UK, Part 1

On September 28th 2018, Transformers TCG saw it’s full release in the UK. Whilst the game itself is great, the game would be nothing without the fledgling communities that have grown around it, often starting with only a couple of people. With Wave 4 now fast approaching, I thought I’d get in touch with various folks around the UK and ask them what their communities were like when the game first started, and how they’ve grown since then. I had quite a few responses so this will be a two-part article, with Part 2 out tomorrow.

Take it away, guys!

(Mat Armstrong, Dice Saloon)

What made you decide to take up Transformers TCG?
I recall it was late 2017, there was an announcement that Wizards were putting out a Transformers card game, the images at the time were that of the Slipstream art we see now on the SDCC pack. My interest was instantly piqued. Transformers has always been a franchise I enjoyed ever since I was a child, watching the original series and collecting toys. This continued with the introduction of Beast Wars and Energon and then as I grew older a lot of this got set aside. The recent live action movies reintroduced me and I started collecting toys again but once again, life got in the way and these toys got put by the side (these toys however, I do still own).

Then 2018 – at this point I was managing Dice Saloon and always on the lookout for creating and harbouring our communities’ interests. This time it was with something that’s been a part of me since I was young and could have a lot of passion for, so I have taken it under my wing to grow from the ground up. Fortunately enough I had a few close friends that were interested too and could help me launch the game in our store. We each bought several boxes and played constantly back to back for many weeks. At this point there was no OP programme from Wizards but there was a budding group of players and so I started running events. From there it hasn’t stopped. I’m now reading the comics and acquainting myself with the art used in Wave 1/2.

What was the community like when you first started TFTCG?
During Wave 1 it was sporadic but for constructed tournaments we’ve consistently had between 6 (lowest) and 13 (highest) players since. Casual meetups on Saturdays were poorly attended though, with normally only 2-3 players, but we persevered because we loved the game.

How has the community grown and changed since then?
Some players have come and gone. Some join in when they can and we’re still picking up new players. During Wave 2, we picked up many players who have since become regulars – Nick, Matt, Michael, Marc, Joe to name a few. We started having a second Wednesday afternoon meetup. In the last few weeks, we moved our casual meetup time (to Thursday evenings) and had a large upswing in player growth so hopefully this continues. We’re now holding constructed events every 2/3 weeks and hold Sealed events upon a new set’s release.

Did your community travel to the UK Energon Open?
Our crowd made a valiant effort to attend the EEO, 9 from the Brighton crowd made the trip along with another 6/7 from our neighbouring towns and friends within the community. We all went with different goals in mind and most fared well enough to make top 32. Joe Rodway of Brighton made it to Top 4 in the knockouts which was an amazing achievement.

What are you all excited for in Wave 4?
Can I say all of it? Since opening my first set of boosters that excited feeling is always welcome. Anything I’m particularly looking forward to using? As with any set, looking to further improve or add to the things I’m currently having fun with. Character-wise, it’s nice to see Triple Changers at the common level. This should mean we see a lot more of them on the tables especially as they all look like great fun. Try as I might to find a purple team or centrepiece bot I can settle on, Autobots always pull something out the bag to bring me back. This time it’s Sergeant Springer, his ability to keep drawing cards in almost every situation seems amazing then to top it off, once you’ve drawn all those cards, play a bunch when you flip into Bot mode. The addition of the Mercenary faction and Black pips as a whole are exciting concepts to fully test out too.

Wave 4 Release Event
Brighton Facebook Group
Dice Saloon
TCG Cityspeakers Youtube

(Matt Hardy, Comics, Games and Coffee)

Image preview

What made you decide to take up Transformers TCG?
I’m a huge TF fan. I bought TF UK issue 1 on the day it came out in 1984, I’ve written for the Transformers Mosaic project and I own far too many of the Toys (from first time around – although SIEGE has pulled me back for a fan favourite or two). So when the TF TCG was announced, the owner of CGC – Owen Lambert, ordered extra so we could push the game in shop. Thankfully we have many healthy card game groups in shop, YGO, MTG, Pokemon, etc and those players are always looking to try new things. We started with Wave 1 on release day and haven’t looked back. At one point the game was the biggest selling card game in store.

What was the community like when you first started TFTCG?
We got off to a better start than expected considering it was a completely new game (that had no official Play Support). The recognisable IP means we picked up casual interest as well as a small group of serious card gamers who saw the potential in the early mechanics. We got 12 for our first sealed event – which was a solid start.

How has the community grown and changed since then?
We settled into a core group of 6 – 8 of us – mostly local – although we share a player from the Brighton group who travels to us. We run casual tournaments every second Monday from 6pm and the release day events as well. We find we get a lot of casual play in the store that doesn’t transfer over to tournaments though. Wave 3 didn’t seem to excite or entice a lot of new players in the same way that the Combiners did in Wave 2 – but the buzz for Wave 4 seems very strong – based on the previews.

Did your community travel to the UK Energon Open?
Four of our players went and it was a universal thumbs up. Great venue, great sportsmanship/help from other players. Our players who are used to playing in large events for other game lines were very impressed with the level of prize support and the positive atmosphere for the whole event. There were varying levels of success – but Rhys Bradley topped the swiss and placed third over all – so very proud of him.

What are you all excited for in Wave 4?
I threw this question out to the group of players and got back a variety of responses. 

Mercenaries, Sandstorm and New Megs, Caliburst, Mercenaries, Lack of ‘Press’, Thundercracker, Big increase in Black Pips, new Prime, Mercenaries, Omega big boy, Micromaster decks, Spinister, more Triple Changers, and… Mercenaries.

So I’d say that’s a healthy cross-section of things from Wave 4 that people are excited for.

Local Facebook
Shop Facebook

(Shane Underwood, The Comic Shop)

What made you decide to take up Transformers TCG?
I came across my first TransformersTCG card (Flamewar wave 1) in an issue of TableTop Gaming and I thought ‘this looks like cool a book mark’ and thought nothing more about it until I popped into my local GAME store and found some starter sets and boosters for sale.

It was at that point I decided to look into the game and discovered that it was what I wanted from a TCG, simple to play and as expensive as you make.

It took a while to get a group together to play and even longer to set up events, the first event I ran was for the release of Siege1. It was touch and go based on stock availability but I managed it with the help of The Comic Shop and we are hoping for an even better release for Siege2.

What was the community like when you first started TFTCG?
Its really hard to say what it was like but it did help make some spin off communities to local areas so players had an easier time to find each other. But as a whole it’s now a great place to see all the latest releases and to see any upcoming events.

How has the community grown and changed since then?
There has been a massive increase in player activity seeing old and new players giving tips to each other as well as trading cards with each other to increase the fun factor of collecting.

But also how we as players help each other out when our cards are either lost or stolen and that makes me as a player and game organiser very happy.

Did your community travel to the UK Energon Open?
Sadly none from my community that I am aware of travelled to the event due to work restrictions. But from the pictures posted it looked fun.

What are you all excited for in Wave 4?
I’m excited about finally getting Astro Train and Trypticon for the game as I was kind of hoping to see them both a little earlier but its better late than never as well as some new battle cards.

However I’m kind of upset that we haven’t seen any new combiners being released yet as I would love to have the Combaticons in my line up.

Local Facebook
The Comic Book
Shane’s Youtube

(Lee McAlpin, Boards and Swords)

Boards and Swords Hobbies

What made you decide to take up Transformers TCG?
I have a background in miniatures and boards games and when I was told about a Transformers card game I was very interested. Since a young age I have loved Transformers and having this made into a card game was very exciting. I picked up the Wave 1 starter box and a few boosters but I didn’t like the game at first. When I saw the characters in Wave 1 and that it was mainly Autobots it felt very lack lustre and I didn’t play the game but kept collecting the game and a few friends did the same. When Wave 2 was showcased and that we were going to get combiners, more Decepticons and had more than just Autobots in the game, me and my friends began to play it more.

I started to release “Battle reports” on my Youtube channel and then I decided to start a community for playing this game in the midlands. I asked various stores that stocked the game about running tournaments or hosting meet ups to play the TCG but they had no interest with my proposals for the game and events I had in mind. I then asked “Boards and Swords” in Derby about running events and tournaments as I brought several boxes of Wave 2 from them previously and did an unboxing video of this wave at their store. Rob and Iann from the store agreed and we began to do tournaments and release events at their store. Since then we have grown in numbers getting people who already play the game to come to our events and getting new people playing games. Wave 2 helped grow the game a TON and people from around the Midlands come to our events every 2 weeks to play games, learn more about the game and generally nerd out about the game and Transformers in general.

What was the community like when you first started TFTCG?
When I first looked into playing the game and creating a community in the Midlands I looked around on Facebook. I realised there was pockets of communities around the UK but nothing really happening to the other community’s scale in the Midlands. I was unaware of some stores near me running casual events or meet ups on certain nights playing the game. With this information I set out to make a community to bring people together to play the game and also grow the player base in the Midlands. Since creating a group in the Midlands that play every 2 weeks at Boards and Swords in Derby, we have players coming from Stoke, Loughborough, Leicester, Hinckley, Earl Shilton, Cheltenham and further a field. We have a community of great people that come together to play games but also help new players and current players with deck ideas, tips on playing the game and keeping people interested in the game as sometimes card games can get stale. I really love the community I have helped create and we all enjoy the game a TON!

How has the community grown and changed since then?
Our community every 2 weeks when we meet up seems to be growing in strength every event. We have a great community that rallies around its players helping them develop their skills in the game. We have people trying out new ideas and wanting to make certain characters work for them. We have a FUN divide in our group when it comes to playing this TCG. We have a few players that net deck and want to learn the game by playing these decks and then trying out other things to make it work for them. The other half want to play certain characters or odd characters and stick with them and try to make them work in a format they like playing in. For example with the release of Siege 1 (Wave 3) we all looked at combiners and some of us have been constantly wanting to make combiners work as we only see a few combiners in the competitive scene doing well. A few of us play Predaking and Menasor a lot and we constantly keep changing the decks to make them work against usual decks that are brought to our events.

Did your community travel to the UK Energon Open?
Our community made a significant attempt to go to the Energon Open in London. About 5 to 6 of our local players (this number has increased now that went to the event) went down to London and did very well in the Energon open. The 2 stand outs in our group was myself (Lee) and Mondo. Not to blow my own trumpet too much but I (Lee) placed 13th with Metroplex and Mondo placed 9th with his General Megatron deck. Overall our team / community placed in the Top 32 of the tournament and we were all pleased with not just ourselves but how well our community did at the first major event in the UK. We all enjoyed the event and this can be listened to on our podcast (One shall stand, One shall fall episode 3) as we talked about the tournament and also the deck tech video / article I did with Mondo about his Megatron deck. We all are looking forward to the next Energon event next year and a fair few of our players who couldn’t make it this year want to come next year and do as well or even better than what we did this year.

What are you all excited for in Wave 4?
Our community is pumped for Wave 4 aka Siege 2. We have a few new players joining our community because of certain characters turning up in the wave and it is the perfect jumping on point for them. A few of us are excited for the Trypticon included in the Wave 4 boxes and others are excited for other characters such as Hot Rod, Springer and Astrotrain to name a few. The list can go on with characters we are excited for but the real excitement is the battle cards. There are a few of us in the community keeping some builds close to our chests as we want to take these ideas and build upon them as the year goes on to take to the Energon Open. Siege 2 is an exciting jumping on point for a lot of new players in our community and all of us have rallied to help these people get into the swing of things and also giving them complete sets of previous waves so they can hit the ground running.

Release Event
Bleeped Up Productions Youtube
Bleeped Up Podcast

Continued in Part 2.

Until next time!

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