Hello Star Wars: Destiny fans! In few days we all will be enjoying our starters and unboxing boosters at local Launch Parties and I would like to take this opportunity and talk a bit about the impact of localization on the community growth in our small country.
Since I read the first article about the game I knew I would at least give it a try. The only concern I have was the actual number of players here in the Czech Republic. History shows us that we, as a nation, are pretty conservative concerning new LCG and CCG tabletop games. So, I was really pleased when our local distributor announced that Star Wars: Destiny will be completely translated into Czech.
Now it´s time to shoot some basic trivia at you. Czech Republic is a small country located in the center of Europe (next to Germany). The population is around 10 million and we speak our own specific language which is kind of similar to Polish. This all means we are not the primary market for the publishers and we have always dealt with the lack of localized products, both video games and board games. On one hand, it sucks. Yet, on the other hand, we are forced to create communities of enthusiasts and do some fan based translations and that creates bonds between fans. A few memorable mentions: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dragon Age II, Fallout 4 (currently in progress) and countless number of board games.
Indeed, huge phenomenons such as The Witcher series or Assassin´s Creed games are professionally localized and most of the famous tabletop games from big publishers are usually translated as well. However, its not usual in terms of collectible games for one simple reason: you have to constantly work on translating new expansions and the cards must be printed and largely speaking its just pretty complicated.
Back in 2012 the local distributor of FFG games decided to start publishing a Czech version of the Lord of the Ring LCG. It was the era of Hobbit rush and the game was successful but there were some delays of new expansion because of the lack of spare capacity. Though only two cycles released the distributor knew about the potential. For that reason, they announced the localization of the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. No further delays, all cards translated and the popularity of the fantasy saga written by G.R.R. Martin made the AGOT LCG a big hit. Few weeks ago we had our first Nationals and over 70 players attended. You have to consider that our population is approximately 30 times lower in comparison to the United States.
Other games such as Warhammer 40k: Conquest (RIP), which are available only in the English version, are poorly played and there are just few communities mainly based in Prague. The option of buying the game in your native language opens a lot of opportunities: you can buy the game in mainstream toy store and comic store chains, it´s easier for young players to take up the game because of the lack of the language barrier and there are other groups of people preferring the Czech version over the English one as well. The list of pros could go on…
I have been helping with the LOTR LCG propagation and now its sort of my task to help spreading SWD between Star Wars fans and tabletop junkies and help newcomers with the basic orientation within the world of card games. We will have ten Launch Party events all over Czechia and Slovakia (the languages are pretty the same), we will present the game at the biggest domestic annual SW convention with over 400 participants and run some demos during all the weekend. Moreover, we have just launched our official website with tutorials, reports, strategic articles and card database. I believe the odds are in our favor and I hope we will create a strong community of good players and friends all over our small country. Wish us good luck! Stay tuned for the Launch Party event report.