Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Legend of Five Rings by FFG

Discussion in 'The Gazebo' started by spectre, Sep 12, 2017.

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  1. spectregender: ⚧ Arcane

    spectre
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    As you may have heard, Legend of the Five Rings was bought by FFG who are giving it a general makeover and bring it back as an LCG. It was revealed at the last GenCon and should be available to buy sometime around... now?

    I printed out some print&play cards to try this out, I think I got most of the rules down, so here's some first impressions:

    The game looks rebuilt from the ground and somewhat influenced by Game of Thrones LCG.
    This is actually a good thing, now I didn't play a lot of the CCG, and I do not consider myself a veteran, but the CCG had a lot of bloat and complexity for its own sake, not aided in any way by frequent rule changes.

    With the new versions, you still get two decks - one for dynasty, the other for conflict, but that's about it.

    The game is now very big on bidding. Each turn players bid their honor to draw cards, when you play characters you "bid" additional resources to keep them on the board longer, you also bid when dueling. As a result, we have gameplay that's quite big on player skill and fluid.

    All characters now have two main skills - military and political skill. This ties together with the conflict phase of the game as players can declare up to two attacks per turn - one military and now political which aim to break the other player's provinces.

    Fighting is just as fierce as it used to be, with all the familar bowing, sending home, honoring, dishonoring, courtiers meddling etc. etc., very often the battlefield sees a lone, exhausted survivor.
    This time round characters are not killed on conflict resolution, which is an interesting design choice. They can still be killed by cards, but the main way is by depleting fate counters - the ones you decide to put on a character while you play them.

    Breaking provinces is less of a big deal now, a broken province continues to supply dynasty cards, but they only stick around for one turn making you mill through your deck a little bit faster. Decking yourself loses you a sizeable chunk of honor, but I've yet to see it becoming an actual threat.

    The titular rings were totally redone, they are no longer cards in your deck but stay on the board and can be claimed by either player for one turn.
    Whenever you declare an attack, you decide on a ring to serve as a "theme" for this attack, giving you a specific reward if you win that conflict. It's a bit more complicated than this, but the end result is that the rings are no longer a victory condition (although it is not ruled out that some form of enlightment victory will be printed on a card later), but instead tie in more closely with the overall gameplay. Ring effects are quire diverse and allow you to make different things - honor/dishonor characters, remove fate counters from characters to kill them faster, bow/straighten characters, etc.

    Main victory condition is by military - break all provinces and then go for the main stronghold, alternatively, you can win by accumulating honor or by making the other player lose theirs. Honor values are quire fluid and depend a lot on how each player bids, and what tactics are used. Usually some of the nastier cards have a hefty honor price.

    Starter box comes with 7 clans, Mantis and Spider aren't in at the moment. The rest of the clans feel quite diverse. Deckbuilding isn't too spectacular at the moment, but at 7 factions that is to be expected. You can ally with one clan and borrow a few cards from their conflict card pool (usually just 4-7 cards).

    All in all, I am quite satisfied with this new product. It managed to retain a lot of the the original flair and complexity, but feels like it's quite streamlined, this time in a good way. It's more of a fresh start actually. Old CCG had a cobbled-together feeling, the LCG version feels like all the components finally got together.

    Trying to be honorable actually feels like having to constrain oneself this time round - you have to be moderate on your draw, no assassinations or banzai charges and accept that you will lose some of yoru duels because you couldn't give yourself an extra advantage. On the other hand, if you spend your honor like mad, it's quite possible to overextend an open yourself up for a dishonor loss, but doing so, you will have gained a noticeable advantage.
     
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  2. Mojomancergender: ⚧ Literate

    Mojomancer
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    Never played the original game or the Game of Thrones LCG but I have the Star Wars LCG and play it occasionally if I can find someone willing to play.

    LCG is the only card game business model I am willing to invest in but I'm always willing to try new card games. So I'll keep an eye out for this one.
     
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  3. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Walking into this thread I was expecting some Fallen From Grace fan art or fanfiction.

    Thread doesnt deliver~
     
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  4. Jason Lianggender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Jason Liang
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    Interesting, but the "cobbled together" feeling was what made the original L5R great. I mean original, Imperial Edition.

    Take a card like Counterattack. The original game rules were designed *around* this card, and its counter, Rallying Cry, not the other way around. Or a card like Shame- the rules for honor, dishonor and seppuku were designed to interact with Shame. So when you played the original game, it felt organic, and games would often come down to 1 card, 1 unit, 1 force, 1 chi, 1 focus value or sometimes just 1 personal honor. Or an easier example would be a card like Flight of the Dragons, which seems on paper an extremely narrow card, but it was designed with the base set in mind since the original Imperial Edition dragons were such powerhouses.

    A lot of more recent card games (especially FFG card games) have the rules designed first and the cards later, but that's not how board games which use cards are designed. The rules and the cards go hand in hand, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it makes learning and playing the game more involving.
     
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  5. spectregender: ⚧ Arcane

    spectre
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    This might have been the case, I've only played the game around Celestial and Emperor edition. It felt like they've overdesigned themselves into a corner.
    Allow me to elaborate here: I felt if one player went big on dueling and the other player did not, the interactions between players would become uninteresting.
    It was like a collection of subgames that only connected superficially.

    While I do not have any detailed insight into the development process, whatever they did accomplishes things that were important to me: it takes a few good hints out of previous FFG games, it preserves the feeling of the original (I'm still getting that one chi, one unit, one force feeling), and the final product freaking finally feels like it flows together without too much clutter.
     
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  6. Rahdulangender: ⚧ Arcane

    Rahdulan
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    Goddamn you, I thought this was some news about the new RPG edition. Is that even happening or are they going all-in with cards now?
     
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  7. Mojomancergender: ⚧ Literate

    Mojomancer
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    I assume it's still in production since they haven't said that they have cancelled it.
     
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  8. FritzedProcessgender: ⚧ Learned

    FritzedProcess
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    You get that impression because it's true. The game was overdesigned; I played it early on (a bit after Battle for Beiden Pass came out) and gave it up around when Diamond came out and a shitton of cards I used (and were central to my decks) were reworked. The other day I checked my Shadowlands and Unicorn decks out of nostalgia and I couldn't see any method to that madness, even though I remember playing them in a pretty straightforward manner. Compare that to MTG, which I quit after Mirage: I'd still be able to play today in a moment (I'd just need to check the new keywords)... not that I would want to.

    AEG had that issue with the Spycraft CCG too. Overengineering CCGs to differentiate them from MTG was a thing back then. They ended up with too many subphases, card traits that were exceptions to the rules themselves or that were handled by a subset of rules, exceptions and windows of opportunity to play actions and reactions. Spycraft had also a broken faction (The Franchise), but that's a story for another day and another thread.
     
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