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  1. phillos

    On the Kolat

    I think the depiction in the adventure is pretty vague and wide open. It describes their philosophy and does show that several characters within the adventure are aware of their existence (though they are treated like boogiemen almost). Also there is literature on them in the library to research. Other than that we don't know much about the Kolat really.
  2. Yeah I think having the freedom to deck build as you please is the big virtue of the LCG. I'd like to agree with you that knowing what you are buying should trump having to buy all of it, but I've been playing these games for years and I've not seen that sentiment be more prominent in my experience. The majority of the people buy everything and if they can't get everything for some reason (for example a pack runs out of stock and needs to be reprinted) people kinda freak out a bit. I think LCGs attracts completionists since the format is very attractive for them.
  3. In my opinion having gone through Netrunner, Conquest, and now L5R (I played AGOT, but never very seriously) is that the first and second cycle is the sweet spot usually for these games. It's once we get past that point that these problems start to become obvious. Once a new player sees 12 packs, 3 core sets and a couple deluxe expansions already in the backlog it starts to become a bit intimidating financially (part of the appeal of the LCG is owning everything after all). At the same time you start to see natural attrition set into the local game groups as the initial excitement for the game starts to wane. I believe the 6 in 6 distribution model was an attempt to continue tent pole that initial excitement as you go through the life of the game by making a cycle release a bigger event. I do appreciate that they are trying to solve some of these noticeable problems with the format. I loved Conquest BTW. I'm still super sad that game isn't around anymore.
  4. I agree, but at the same time that first taste for a CCG is super affordable. It can afford to be because big fans will dump a ton of money into collecting. The LCG really helps out big fans by lowering that spike in cost and making it a predictable expense spread out over time. At the same time it allows those same fans to not have to chase anything since everyone get's a full playset if they purchase all the releases. Very attractive for a card player who enjoys constructed formats, which in other games can be quite pricey to participate in at a competitive level. That is all a boon to people already sold on the game. The problem they need to fix is how they sell people on the game once it get's going. What is that low cost entry point. Is it 2 or 3 core sets? that is a big purchase to test the water. It's not 1 core set. I can tell you that for certain. One L5R core set was a bad intro to the game. It again was structured to favor the big fan since it maximized the unique and thus had the least amount of waste assuming you'd purchase multiples to get a full playset. In contrast the Netrunner core set was much more attractive since you could build two legal decks in 1 of those boxes and had some room to deck build. The nature of L5R (number of factions, two decks etc.) made that impossible it seems to have the same experience in a comparable product. I'm sincerely hoping the AGOT intro decks are successful. I feel that fixes a real need in the format. Because of all this I'm very interested to see how popular Keyforge is since it's almost the exact opposite of an LCG. Very attractive for a casual or new player, but maybe frustrating for a hardcore constructed format card player (for which the LCG is the more attractive model).
  5. The only problem with such an aggressive rotation policy is that the card pool will never get that deep (unless they significantly up the number of cards per cycle). That will turn off a lot of the LCG crowd that enjoy the constructed format because it allows them to find new and interesting decks. I agree a faster rotation would definitely help guard against this giant barrier of entry problem, but I wonder what damage it would do at the same time to the appeal. The idea of abolishing the core set for factionalized purchases was to lessen the financial burden up front since it would allow you to buy a subset of the card pool and not limit your options. I suppose a core set and then a completion clan pack for the core set cards is just as good. In both cases it does create the issue of flooding FLGSs with product and potentially create an asymmetric demand. that issue could for example see tons of Unicorn boosters on the shelves and no Dragon. Also it would give FFG a financial incentive to phase out factions or under support factions. Also there is a risk on FFG's part that they will make less off their initial investment since a portion of the audience would be spending less up front then they use to spend. Though if it did actually increase adoption rates for their games hopefully it would be a wash. All of this is why I said originally that I understand why they don't do factionalized purchases for these games.
  6. It's the lie of the competitive LCG system that your cards will be useable forever in official formats (and one of the big reasons it just doesn't work in practice IMO). You let the card pool grow to a size too financially intimidating for a new player to break into the game and your play group will naturally die off to regular attrition. Your game group dies off and your cards are worthless anyway. I think it was a nice idea on paper, but in practice a rotation-less LCG doesn't work. The audience eventually deflates to the point where it's not economically viable to support the game anymore. At the same time they just continue to carry problem cards in the pool without the ability to clear the slate and start fresh (having learned form their previous mistakes). The slow method of trying to fix the card pool with restricted lists and future releases can be frustrating for players, which again hastens natural game group attrition.
  7. The old model competitive LCG is dying. I think we are seeing clear signs of that considering the card games slots in FFG's line up are being replaced by co-op's and blind purchase models. As comfortable as the old LCG distribution model was it continued to be problematic for the long term health of those games. So I don't see how going backwards helps anything. That said I think it's clear the current system they devised for L5R is equally problematic (if not more so). So I'm glad they are talking about possible different products. It feels like we are in the middle of half measure and they aren't quite ready to break away from some of the old LCG practices. Kinda like AGOT 1.0 before they settled on the old LCG model right now honestly. I personally wish they'd just obsolete the core set and move to faction intro decks. Make the game as easy to break into as possible for new players. They've been resistant to factionalized purchases (and I understand why), but I think this is really what's killing the new player adoption rate later in an LCG's life. With the advent of the AGOT intro decks maybe that can be a possibility for this game as well. If a new player could for example pick up an intro deck for their faction, an intro deck for their splash faction and maybe their clan pack for deckbuilding option as a strong base to their collection, then I think we'd be in business. That becomes such a more approachable option for a new player.
  8. phillos

    The Jade Throne Podcast

    New ways to play the game is definitely not unprecedented for an FFG game. In fact I'd say it's expected at this point. They've done alternate modes of play for I think almost all their long lived LCGs. Also Fro is confusing what he wants for the game with what everyone wants for the game. I'd say the vast majority of the L5R audience plays the game casually. It's only a small vocal minority that actually play this game competitively. Also as pointed out on the show new ways to play introduce potential new jumping on points for new players. That's what Terminal Directive was suppose to be for Netrunner. Now if only the L5R core set wasn't such a bad introductory product. Out of all the core sets L5R's is the worst since you can't even make a legal deck with 1 copy. That should have been a pretty clear sign that something needed to change with that product. If they are going to continue making competitive LCGs (instead of things like Destiny and Keyforge) then they desperately need to figure out how to make a better jumping on point for new players especially as the game matures.
  9. The current Scorpion stronghold is considered the strongest stronghold for a reason. That said even the Scorpion Stronghold has it's limitations since it dictates that the Scorpion must also be controlling their own honor, which forcing them to make good decisions about how they are spending their honor. If it was just a free air ring per turn it would go from top tier powerful to seriously broken.
  10. That is exactly what I'm worried about. Right now it's not that great, but in a future card pool where honor win is much more viable this card would enable a real unsatisfying end. I'd rather honor gains be tied to some sort of decision point or interaction with the opponent to still give the opponent way to combat the win condition. That's what dishonor is doing currently for the most part. I'd think they'd want to continue to structure honor winning in a similar direction.
  11. It does feel pretty underpowered even with the presence of Rebuild to reoccur it potentially. It would be one more honor pump toward an non-interactive honor rocket type deck though. I guess those sorts of effects are very rare right now though so it's not that big a deal, but I'd worry if they start adding too many of them to the game.
  12. If by story box they mean a Netrunner Terminal Directive type box then that would be interesting. You played through a narrative and there were cards in there that were tournament legal and cards in there just pertaining to the narrative story games in the box (and therefore not tournament legal). Also it had legacy game type elements where stuff changed depending on what choices you made. I think I'd be down for that if it were true. I'd love extra formats for this game to switch it up. Also I think L5R works better as a casual game anyway so this sort of more relax narrative experience would work well with the game.
  13. The notion of speeding up the clan pack releases for this game came out of a sort of throw away answer to the question posed to Andrew Navaro during the inflight report this year (as seen on the TC stream of the event). So it was pretty reliable. Though the details of what that exactly meant were non-existent. I'm so glad they were listening. It's great news that they are committing to this statement. I really don't want to live through another LCG that releases cards in this way. It's super frustrating to be that last faction in line. As for what exactly the new product announcement will be it's nice for them to give us something to be excited about in the lull. Not sure what it will be though. They've released Mantis and Shadowlands cards already and until now those would be the obvious choices for a potential big box product. Maybe they'll formally support the multiplayer format with a product. That would be interesting if there was a bunch of strongholds, roles and other player cards designed specifically around that format.
  14. Come on now. Give us some jade already you greedy jerks
  15. I just finished reading the beginner box adventure and then rereading this adventure. I think I really liked the beginner box as an intro fiction, and then In The Palace Of The Emerald Champion is not only a nice follow up, but also a pretty nice open ended conclusion for a GM to take in a lot of different directions. Also it's nice to hear that the GM kit will have an adventure that can easily slot in after this one. They have a nice loosely strung together campaign emerging in these products. I always liked that approach. I wasn't surprised that regardless what the PCs report to Sumiko she ends up confirming the death as natural causes. The game really sets up the idea that doing what's best for the empire should be foremost in the magistrate's minds. Releasing this information could destabilize an already weakening government. Also if the whole mission was merely information-gathering for Sumiko to better understand the threat she is facing then keeping this information secret will better serve her ongoing investigation. The one thing that I found extremely interesting and it's left a bit vague is Kagi and Sumiko's relationship with the Kolat. There's a point on page 37 that I think can be read in one obvious way and other maybe more tinfoil hat-y ways. Under the heading The Official Finding we get a scene that the PC's are meant to notice where Sumiko looks down on Kagi. Kagi looks up nervously and Sumiko watches him like a "cat who has caught a mouse". I believe we are lead to believe Sumiko knows one of Kagi's assistants was the assassin and possibly Kagi was in on it. This could be taken into a real wilderness of mirrors type direction if the GM wanted because it doesn't confirm that Kagi was in on it. In fact Kagi is the one who is rumored to "see Kolat everywhere" if the PC's overhear that rumor. Certainly Sumiko seems to suspect him of something though. So what does everyone think about that passage? Is Kagi a Kolat operative? Is Sumiko following a false lead? Is something more complicated going at the end there? Even though it doesn't come at the exact end of the scenario it feels like the "stinger" for the adventure. One thing is for certain though, the Palace Of The Emerald Champion may be one of the most physically defended castles. Historically it may never have been attacked, but between Kolat infiltration, Scorpion infiltration, Perfect Land Sect sympathizers and many other individual secret agendas the Palace is perhaps one of the most compromised places in all of Rokugan Good luck Toturi.