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17th Knight

The Big Question - Which Clans Make The Cut?

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Clan loyalty was too much a part of L5R though. If you start cutting out clans, if you start telling people "you don't matter", then I don't see how this will work out that well. And that is what cutting factions is. People are attached to their factions, care about them, feel as if they are a part of them. Can they cut or combine factions? Yes. Are there ways that would be hetter or worse to do so? Sure. But removing factions is telling those people that their money isn't wanted. That they aren't wanted. These aren't just factions in some game, these are communities. Clan loyalty matters. And clan loyalty means no one gets left behind.

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 Clan loyalty matters. And clan loyalty means no one gets left behind.

 

This is exactly why I think things like clan loyalty and honoring story over gameplay are actually a detriment to a good game. At some point, cuts have to be made. The CCG had trouble supporting the glut of factions, and that was with 500ish cards a year (right?). The LCG is going to get many fewer cards -- *someone* has to get left behind.

 

A lively and active fan base is great, but there are times with AEG's faction driven games that discussions of card balance and what's actually good for the game can be drowned out by partisanship, and fans who think it's more important that things be good for their clan than good for the game.

 

I don't deny that over the years, L5R has benefited in various ways from this kind of fan interest in clan loyalty and story. But it has its drawbacks as well.

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Clan loyalty was too much a part of L5R though. If you start cutting out clans, if you start telling people "you don't matter", then I don't see how this will work out that well. And that is what cutting factions is. People are attached to their factions, care about them, feel as if they are a part of them. Can they cut or combine factions? Yes. Are there ways that would be hetter or worse to do so? Sure. But removing factions is telling those people that their money isn't wanted. That they aren't wanted. These aren't just factions in some game, these are communities. Clan loyalty matters. And clan loyalty means no one gets left behind.

 

See, this is the great part about having a new game and a new company. You don't need to retcon anyone out of the story, but you also don't need to inherit any sort of obligation to feature every Faction the previous company decided to try and make "equal." I'd also like to think that the L5R playerbase is mature enough not to say, "Hey, we were OK for cutting the Naga and Toturi's Army etc. but don't you dare cut into my Faction's screen time. I've got rights."

 

Marty Lund

Monkey Clan

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"Cut" some clans for the initial core set release and immediately announce a deluxe expansion that features the rest. Case solved.

 

It doesn't solve the card flow issue.

 

Let's say we start with the seven great clans, and assume the card types remain pretty much the same as in AEG's game.

 

A monthly pack has 20 unique cards. You give each clan one personality, that's almost half the pack already gone. In a 6 pack cycle, it's 120 cards. That's less than a CCG expansion, and unless I'm mistaken, we only get about a cycle and a half or so a year. Add a deluxe box (which, in their other games, tends to focus on one or two factions), and you have maybe 250 cards a year.

 

That's not much to spread across double digits' worth of factions. Gone are the days of 500+ cards a year.

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But that just wouldn't be L5R, at least not to me, and from what I understand not to others. I'm not saying it is easy, and I will understand if they decide they have to cut some factions, but I won't feel that it was good for the game. I got into L5R because of clan loyalty, because I loved that people were so connected to their clan. If it is just a bunch of cardboard and mechanics, I may take it or leave it. If it is the story, the clans, the factions I know and love, I'm in. And I would be fine with keeping some factions for deluxe expansions or however it works, but if that is their plan they should really be upfront about it.

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 Clan loyalty matters. And clan loyalty means no one gets left behind.

 

This is exactly why I think things like clan loyalty and honoring story over gameplay are actually a detriment to a good game. At some point, cuts have to be made. The CCG had trouble supporting the glut of factions, and that was with 500ish cards a year (right?). The LCG is going to get many fewer cards -- *someone* has to get left behind.

 

A lively and active fan base is great, but there are times with AEG's faction driven games that discussions of card balance and what's actually good for the game can be drowned out by partisanship, and fans who think it's more important that things be good for their clan than good for the game.

 

I don't deny that over the years, L5R has benefited in various ways from this kind of fan interest in clan loyalty and story. But it has its drawbacks as well.

 

In a lot of ways clan loyalty is the biggest thing that L5R has going for it.  The reason that I got into the game and stuck with it for a long time, and followed it even when I wasn't playing is because I felt like part of the Scorpion Clan (that is the players, not the fictional samurai).  

 

I can promise that almost every preorder for this game is going to come from veteran players who loved the CCG at some point in its history.  The test is going to be whether the veteran players can spread their love of the setting to new players who will then do the same.  If the product looks good to me, my plan is to build decks and camp out at the game store with a sign inviting people to sit and play.  There will be new players coming to the game once it hits shelves and people can look and touch.  If you ask anyone what the best part of the L5R CCG was they will tell you it was the community of players.

 

Clan loyalty can be a double edged sword, but it's a huge potential asset that FFG acquired with the IP.  If they are able to leverage that asset it can be a highly effective marketing tool.   

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Hmm maybe a different approach to the stoy Arc thjing than. Lets say the expansions are not representing a entire story but individual conflicts inside of a greater story arc. so as the Arc moves on each faction can get equal participation while each individual expanson only features up to 3 clans or so. 

 

With a 1.5 cycle of expansions and 1 deluxe set this could involve even the present 9 clans + 1 addtional faction and would hvae no problem with diversity of strategies inside the clan. The goal for this is that each factions gets at least involved in 1 expansion deck. 

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Indeed, let us keep in mind that FFG didn't buy L5R just for their existing customers. They bought it to try and bring the existing L5R playerbase to them, and they expect that the revenue this playerbase generates will justify the purchase.

 

If they start taking decisions that alienate large portions of the existing L5R playerbase, that's akin to shooting themselves in the foot... and they don't seem like the foot-shooting kind of folks to me.  :)

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I can promise that almost every preorder for this game is going to come from veteran players who loved the CCG at some point in its history.

 

I think you're wildly underestimating the number of users who will pick it up because it's the next FFG game, many of whom could give two figs about the clans or the Empire. I've played the game, and there is no clan I couldn't live without.

 

I think, when looking at what's important to preserve in terms of the clans, you have to look at what the game is fundamentally about, what conflict the mechanics were built to emulate, and its declared intent (and obviously, assume that's not changing).

 

The game is about the struggle for the throne. That's how it began, that's what (I'm guessing here) most of its arcs are concerned with, even though it stopped being about the clans and refocused to the Four Winds, or the children of specific emperors, or whatever.

 

In that context, it seems to me that some of the factions are out of place. Pretty much all of them outside the great clans, and perhaps a minor clan alliance.

 

Nezumi and Naga? Them winning the throne would be...strange. I'd love to see them get some love in terms of unaligned personalities, but it seems to me a whole faction is rather missing the stated point of the game. I don't remember what all the other factions were.

 

Shadowlands, IMO, should represent the creeping corruption of the great clans, rather than be its own faction.

 

7 is a number that an LCG distribution model can feasibly support. It's also the number of the original Great Clans. Seems like the way to go. I guess if FFG decides they can support 8, add Mantis to that.

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One possible solution would be to split the clans in half into two boxes and do a staged release.  I don't know, I'm not that familiar with LCG sets, but they could do each group a little more service that way.  It'd still be a bummer to be in the second half of the batch though.

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They have a brand that has a small-but-fanatical following of people who've weathered some seriously terrible times in terms of game-support over the years. They need to create a game that will inspired as much enthusiasm as the brand itself, not simply be carried along as an ever-dwindling core of loyalists that love the property despite the game. So, yes, they should show no hesitation to kill sacred cows when it comes to game design decisions. If they can tell a better L5R Story via an awesome game without letting people play a "Lion Deck" or a "Shadowlands Deck" in a story-arc that doesn't prominently feature the Lion or the Shadowlands then God bless them. Do so fearlessly. I'll hold my nose and play some Lion cards in a Crab deck or something. ;)

 

Marty Lund

Monkey Clan

Edited by mlund

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I can promise that almost every preorder for this game is going to come from veteran players who loved the CCG at some point in its history.

 

I think you're wildly underestimating the number of users who will pick it up because it's the next FFG game, many of whom could give two figs about the clans or the Empire. I've played the game, and there is no clan I couldn't live without.

 

I think, when looking at what's important to preserve in terms of the clans, you have to look at what the game is fundamentally about, what conflict the mechanics were built to emulate, and its declared intent (and obviously, assume that's not changing).

 

The game is about the struggle for the throne. That's how it began, that's what (I'm guessing here) most of its arcs are concerned with, even though it stopped being about the clans and refocused to the Four Winds, or the children of specific emperors, or whatever.

 

In that context, it seems to me that some of the factions are out of place. Pretty much all of them outside the great clans, and perhaps a minor clan alliance.

 

Nezumi and Naga? Them winning the throne would be...strange. I'd love to see them get some love in terms of unaligned personalities, but it seems to me a whole faction is rather missing the stated point of the game. I don't remember what all the other factions were.

 

Shadowlands, IMO, should represent the creeping corruption of the great clans, rather than be its own faction.

 

7 is a number that an LCG distribution model can feasibly support. It's also the number of the original Great Clans. Seems like the way to go. I guess if FFG decides they can support 8, add Mantis to that.

 

I guess we'll just have to see.  I have never played an FFG game, and wouldn't have given them a second look if not for this acquisition, so I have no idea how loyal their customers are outside of the games they currently play.  L5R doesn't have the brand recognition that Star Wars, Game of Thrones or HP Lovecraft have.  

 

The easiest customer to acquire is a past customer.  That's just a business truism.  I'm sure we'll pick up a lot of FFG's customers from other products, but former L5R players will be an extremely easy market to hit.  We are already passionate about the setting and primed to buy.  Representing the clans is a big way to get that ball rolling.

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I think you're wildly underestimating the number of users who will pick it up because it's the next FFG game, many of whom could give two figs about the clans or the Empire.

The game is about the struggle for the throne.

Ok, so you had a lot in your post which I feel is important, but I feel that these two things are where disagreements are based. First, I understand there are going to be new players who don't care about the story, but I don't think we should gut the story for them. If they want a LCG made by FFG, then they have a bunch of options to choose from. If I want L5R, then it is this or bust. I hear good things about Netrunner and all FFG's other games, but I don't know of another game with this level of story.

Second, I feel you are missing the point of the game. It isn't a struggle for the thrown. It is all the various actors in and around the empire of rokugan, interacting with each other and competing for resources and glory and honor. All the various factions are kinda the point, at least as I have always understood it. Which is why I feel so strongly that cutting any of them would be a mistake.

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Second, I feel you are missing the point of the game. It isn't a struggle for the thrown. It is all the various actors in and around the empire of rokugan, interacting with each other and competing for resources and glory and honor. All the various factions are kinda the point, at least as I have always understood it. Which is why I feel so strongly that cutting any of them would be a mistake.

 

 

From the 20 Festivals rules (most recent, right?): 

 

"A Collectible Card Game: Where players each build a customized deck representing one of the Nine Great Clans of the Empire of Rokugan, and fight head-to-head for dominance, using strategies of war, intrigues of honor, and the powers of the five mystic elements!"

 

(Note also that this is also listed *above* story and community.)

 

The game is not about the people; the game is about a clan struggling for dominance. Individual samurai come and go with almost trivial ease. In the foundational arc, it was explicitly about an empty throne and the fight for that throne. Many arcs, perhaps even most, since have been concerned with either seizing the throne, or influencing its inheritance. (IIRC, the rulebook passage that describes the game used to actually say "struggle for the throne," but was probably changed in an arc where that wasn't the foremost concern.)

 

Really, it boils down to this: What is the product I'm buying? A living card *game*. That game is not about samurai falling in love, or being dishonored, or killing each other on the field of battle, though all those things can and do happen in a game. The game is about the larger struggle, about me the player marshaling my forces to conquer my enemies. (Though granted, the conflict of any specific game would be a small part of that larger campaign, possibly excepting a multiplayer game with every faction.)

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My apologies if I wasn't clear. By "actors", I meant the clans, and any other faction interacting with them at that time, whether Naga or Nezumi or Shadowlands. But the throne hasn't been a big deal that often. Well, there was the conflict over the heirs, but even that was fraimed as fights over the honor of each heir and which the clans supported, knowing that in story the empress would end up choosing. Other than that, I know of a handful of times the throne was the focus of the game.

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Put it this way: People play AGOT and pick the Houses they pick because they have a feel for the House. Even though they may like Tywin, That doesn't mean they approve of him, being the ass that he is. But the Lannister name, is what's important to them and all that it means to be a Lannister.

 

Thus it is with L5R. It's about what it means to be a Scorpion, not just the individuals in the Clan (though we got it bad in the Cult of Personality thing). When new people pick it up, they could give two wits about Shoju and Kachiko (who are now ancient legends) but they care about the Clan of Secrets who stabs people in the back and pretends some one else did it. Not for personal gain, but because the Empire really needs them to do it.

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Thus it is with L5R. It's about what it means to be a Scorpion, not just the individuals in the Clan (though we got it bad in the Cult of Personality thing). When new people pick it up, they could give two wits about Shoju and Kachiko (who are now ancient legends) but they care about the Clan of Secrets who stabs people in the back and pretends some one else did it. Not for personal gain, but because the Empire really needs them to do it.

 

I think that's great! And in a well-designed game, that will be supported by mechanics. I mean, maybe not the whys, although flavor text could cover it, but the sneakiness of it. I don't think we need fiction for that level of engagement. Honestly, this is just another version of what I said in the thread asking about how to pick a clan: Try the game, find a playstyle you like. That's your clan.

 

Games can and should engage with narrative differently than fiction does. Games have their own tools and their own language. I don't think L5R, when well-handled, needs any help. Though I recognize that people enjoy fiction in that setting.

 

As I've said in other threads, if FFG wants to put out tie-in fiction and that's something people want, I hope it happens. But I hope that it's in the context of hiring professional writers, not relying on a bunch of fans (no matter how official) cranking out web fiction for free. And note that the act of hiring one of those fans would make them a professional writer, so I'm not discounting actually drawing on AEG's story team, either.

 

But the game is the game is the game. I'm accumulating family honor, I'm marching my armies to war, etc. It operates on the macro level, not on the micro level where fiction must, by its nature, operate. The story of the game is the struggle for dominance on a national scale (not sure if "national" is the right term, but you get the idea).

 

In that context, I just don't see anyone other than the great clans making much sense. And I played the hell out of the nezumi box that came with Heroes of Rokugan (if I'm remembering the name of the set correctly), and later in Diamond.

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While I'm a long time Mantis player (started with the Yoritomo's Alliance starter in Hidden Emperor), so it would be sad not to see the Mantis represented. However, I do have other clans that I enjoy, and would be okay to see the Mantis come in later as long as they came in eventually.

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Cutting any of the major clans from the story for any reason is an absolutely (excuse my rudeness) stupid idea. I am a unicorn player, I will not buy a set that does not have a Unicorn deck in it. I will not compete in tournaments where Unicorn is not legal. If that is the way I feel, I can guarantee that is the way most players feel about their clan. So please do this game a favor and please stop trying to suggest means to have less or cut clans, even on a temporary basis. We should be trying to come up with the best way for everyone to have a place.   

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Cutting any of the major clans from the story for any reason is an absolutely (excuse my rudeness) stupid idea. I am a unicorn player, I will not buy a set that does not have a Unicorn deck in it. I will not compete in tournaments where Unicorn is not legal. If that is the way I feel, I can guarantee that is the way most players feel about their clan. So please do this game a favor and please stop trying to suggest means to have less or cut clans, even on a temporary basis. We should be trying to come up with the best way for everyone to have a place.   

 

Yeah, see this is the kind of attitude that FFG needs to work around, not pander to.

 

L5R's residual player base is not sufficient to justify purchasing the IP and making a game to cater to them. It's a nice jumping off point to launch a new game from Rokugan that will attract new customers on its own merits.

 

If it costs you 1 random grognard's clan-fanatic purchase on a particular arc ("What do you mean the Lion Clan isn't a Featured Clan for this Arc!?! I'm entitled and outraged! I'm taking my ball and going home!") to bring in 2 new players who love the game for what it is and will buy every arc ... well you make that trade all day long. People expected Naga, TA, Ninja, Brotherhood, YA, etc. to accept that the story had moved past their focus when they cycled out. People can accept when a conflict comes along that simply doesn't feature their Clan as a major player. If they can't accept that, that's too bad.

 

L5R's been hostage to toxic levels of Clan Partisanship ("the sun rises and sets on my Clan") and legacy mechanics for far too long. It's time for a fresh start.

 

Marty Lund

Monkey Clan * Random Grognard

Edited by mlund

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We should be trying to come up with the best way for everyone to have a place.   

 

Here's the thing. I want a great game, I don't really care which clans are in it except to the extent that it serves the game. I have no problem with unicorn particularly, aside from occasionally shaking my fist at the cavalry trait.  :P

 

But everyone has a place if they want it. It's sitting at the table playing the game. The clans are part of and serve the game. When the game suffers to serve the clans, there's a problem. (Whether that's happening, of course, is a matter of some debate.)

 

If a player won't participate because their clan isn't included, that tells me they value their clan more than they value the game. That's their prerogative, but it makes me question if what they are asking for is in the best interest of the game, or if it's a hindrance to getting the best game we can.

Edited by BD Flory

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i think this is one way in which the 2 year break will be good for the game. Right now people are still very riled up, and a lot of us can't imagine a version of l5r that doesn't look like the one we thought we had 48 hours ago. 

 

that said

 

theres a lot of hostility in this thread for the diehards thats probably not called for. FFG didn't just buy the setting. l5r isn't just magical samurai. its the community, and if you think otherwise, you've not been playing the same game. the community is what made l5r great, and what sustained it through the last 5 years. and FFG knows that, they've acknowledged that. they don't want to throw away the community. they aren't going to kowtow, but they aren't going to flip the double bird and burn the house down either. so maybe, instead of telling the fans who stuck by the game instead of flouncing out years ago to eat your shorts and suck up while their clan gets torched, maybe be constructive or at least sympathetic to the fact that for most of us, the idea of losing the clan we are dedicated to is a new idea and its not one we relish. 

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It's also good to point out that many of the people in FFG have played and enjoyed the game (otherwise, they would not have bothered purchasing the IP in it's entirety). They are not going to do this without thought and care. But neither are they going to put something in that has not or is not going to work. 

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theres a lot of hostility in this thread for the diehards thats probably not called for. FFG didn't just buy the setting. l5r isn't just magical samurai. its the community, and if you think otherwise, you've not been playing the same game. the community is what made l5r great, and what sustained it through the last 5 years. and FFG knows that, they've acknowledged that. they don't want to throw away the community. they aren't going to kowtow, but they aren't going to flip the double bird and burn the house down either. so maybe, instead of telling the fans who stuck by the game instead of flouncing out years ago to eat your shorts and suck up while their clan gets torched, maybe be constructive or at least sympathetic to the fact that for most of us, the idea of losing the clan we are dedicated to is a new idea and its not one we relish. 

 

Actually, they did "just buy the setting" - literally. There are fans that follow the setting, but FFG didn't acquire them in the purchase, nor does FFG owe them anything in particular. It's a wonderful opportunity.

Objecting to a perceived "level of hostility" is just passive-aggressive hostility. At issue are ideas. People have strong feelings that may come into conflict, and that's fine. I object to the notions I've seen throughout the day that have ranged from "FFG better make sure my old cards still work," (they've already said they won't) to "they'd be stupid not to design a game to pander to all the 'major' factions like the last game did" with all manner of things in between "this game better have the same victory conditions" and "this game better have two decks or it's not L5R." There's an atmosphere of "no true Scottsman" about the way the old CCG worked that you can cut with a knife.

 

The level of "me first," and "my clan deserves X" and rhetorical hyperbole is something I hope FFG doesn't wind up inheriting from AEG. Serously, accusing someone who actually had his Clan torched and went on to contribute countless unpaid hours over the next 10 years to supporting that game you hold so dear of "flouncing out years ago," is just another symptom of the disease that unfortunately acts as a counter-weight to the positives of the L5R community that was.

 

For the record, I'm completely against retcon or putting any existing Factions or Clans on a bus (major, minor, or otherwise). I do think they should not try to make everyone equal all of the time. L5R suffered a lot from trying to juggle too many flaming chainsaws at the same time. Everyone should get their time and have their stories, but that doesn't mean you need to keep everyone viable as a major player for every iteration of a game like the CCG tried to do.

Anyway, the most constructive thing people can do today is be open to opportunities to make a better game of L5R for the future, not gnash our teeth over what we've lost.

 

The emperor is dead. Long live the emperor.

 

Marty Lund

Monkey Clan * Random * Grognard

Edited by mlund

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