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Clans and Deck Flexibility

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The problem is that throwing open the door to mixed Clan decks will almost inevitably kill classic single Clan decks...

 

Only if you assume bad design and poor playtesting, or that killing single clan decks is a design goal. I haven't suggest that, only that other options should be equally appealing from a balance standpoint.

 

Not really down to this necessarily,

 

If you could mix and match as you please, the game would become pretty homogenous as the meta of the environment gets established. There would likely be a couple of decks that would be competitive, with a mix of all the best personalities from the different clans.

 

The function of the clans is more than just thematic or for the sake of player loyalty, but it also performs a duty of balancing and being able to independently support one clan/deck type directly, without having to consider or affect other clans.

 

If there were no penalty to playing out of clan, the clan with the best stronghold would inevitably win because that would be the only variable factor. If you want to be able to play all out of clan AND have common strongholds, then you end up losing clan identity in the card game.

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Wow that is insane. And at 4 gold. 6 even. What the heck happened after Spirit Wars...

I still think generic base line characters should be multiple clan, or become your clan like Ronin Bob. I seem to recall an unaligned personality that did that, but could be just dreaming too. In this new model, could use the minor clans as a way to create these perps, so that there is flavour, and reason for these guys in major clan decks (not big enough to war on their own - yet). 

Just had a thought. Maybe each clan could have access to a scroll of alliance or something. Which treats one or more minor clan(s) as your clan. Or even easier, each major clan stronghold lists what minor clans (or other groups) it can recruit for 2 less gold.

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I am sure Single Clan/Multi Clan decks will be viable, competitive strategies. I'd wager they take the approach where you cannot select one or two good out of clan cards, but have to commit to a default number to prevent things like Hotako again.

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The problem is that throwing open the door to mixed Clan decks will almost inevitably kill classic single Clan decks...

 

Only if you assume bad design and poor playtesting, or that killing single clan decks is a design goal. I haven't suggest that, only that other options should be equally appealing from a balance standpoint.

 

Not really down to this necessarily,

 

If you could mix and match as you please, the game would become pretty homogenous as the meta of the environment gets established. There would likely be a couple of decks that would be competitive, with a mix of all the best personalities from the different clans.

 

 

I never said as you please. There are various mechanical ways to allow alliances and multifaction decks without going all the way to, "as you please."

 

In fact, I would qualify being allowed to do it, "as you please," would qualify as bad design.

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Just had a thought. Maybe each clan could have access to a scroll of alliance or something. Which treats one or more minor clan(s) as your clan. Or even easier, each major clan stronghold lists what minor clans (or other groups) it can recruit for 2 less gold.

In the setting at present-

 

 

Sparrow- Close to the Crane, and owe the Mantis a solid. Not too fond of the Spider, even before the whole "unleash hell on earth"deal.

 

Dragonfly- Close to the Dragon, and also the Phoenix. Lots of bad history with the Lion

 

Hare- Not particularly close to anybody that I recall, but work along similar lines with both Crab and Phoenix. Kinda. Lots of bad blood with the Scorpion. And Lion.

 

Ox- Short on outright declared allies, but their special carded guy ended up being Lion-affiliated, so maybe them? Have kinship ties with the Unicorn, but their founder was cast out of the Unicorn, so... Live on land taken from the Phoenix (sorta. Spirit Wars were weird), and got stomped by the Scorpion during the assault on the Hidden Temple.

 

Badger-Owe their very existence to the Crane, thanks to a tournament win. Kinship ties and cultural similarities with the Crab. Generally not that fond of shugenja.

 

Boar (they're back, as per Winter Court IV!)- Next door to the Crab, and their daimyo married a Crab samurai. Everybody supported the Boar's return, so right now, they're not on bad terms with anybody in particular.

 

Bat- Chummy with the Mantis and Crane.

 

Monkey- The pets of the Toturi Dynasty, they're on good terms with the Scorpion.No real enemies that spring to mind.

 

Oriole Clan- Not a lot going on, although their last carded guy would not join the Scorpion, so, could use that.

 

Tortoise- Had a shared duty with the Dragon (not anymore), and have a lot in common with the Mantis. Also very, very close with the Imperial line. Generally despised by more traditional sorts

 

 

Plenty of room for using them to bridge two or three given Great Clans, and that's just sticking with established continuity.

Edited by Shiba Gunichi

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The problem is that throwing open the door to mixed Clan decks will almost inevitably kill classic single Clan decks...

 

Only if you assume bad design and poor playtesting, or that killing single clan decks is a design goal. I haven't suggest that, only that other options should be equally appealing from a balance standpoint.

 

Not really down to this necessarily,

 

If you could mix and match as you please, the game would become pretty homogenous as the meta of the environment gets established. There would likely be a couple of decks that would be competitive, with a mix of all the best personalities from the different clans.

 

 

I never said as you please. There are various mechanical ways to allow alliances and multifaction decks without going all the way to, "as you please."

 

In fact, I would qualify being allowed to do it, "as you please," would qualify as bad design.

 

What exactly is your suggestion then? Not being confrontational, genuinely curious :)

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The banners from AGoT work well, which allow you to align with one other allied House, with a minimum requirement (so you can't banner for one specific card).

 

Multiclan decks could work if you could only play specific keywords, or with various restrictions. I'm not keen on something like netrunner's...umm...whatever the stat is called, but other things could work.

 

Really, I just want more options than, "pick your clan, your deck is predominantly that clan." With appropriate restrictions built into the game, that should be quite easy to balance with pure clan decks. The specific means of achieving it really doesn't matter much to me.

 

And obviously *any* suggestion could be picked apart by looking at specific cards or environments from AEG's game. But this game is going to be different, so it's all speculation and, "This is what I would like *in principle.*" I'm not sure that specific suggestions matter that much.

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The devil is in the detail as they say.

 

I have to say, that I think unaligned personalities worked quite well, and there were some situations and players (Greg Wong for example) who would play efficient out of clan personalities. The gold and HR penalty worked fine both thematically and mechanically to me. My current deck at the moment runs a few out of clan guys and they work great.

 

I know the system will quite likely be vastly different to the current, which is fine, but I felt the balance of in clan and out of clan was more or less in an ok spot. It wasn't so easy that you would go straight to the out of clan guy before your clan cards and it wasn't so restrictive that it became impossible. Personally I'd like to see a similar balance transferred to the new system. If it is easier than it is in the current system, I would have a fear that you'd end up with a small subset of personalities that are just the best personalities to play, and a lot of in clan personalities being ignored for that. At the end of the day, you want as many cards as possible to hit the environment and see play. A core subset of easily accessible personalities, irregardless of clan affiliation I think would marginalise quite a few cards.

 

All that said, for all we know there won't even be clans or strongholds. All depends on how it is built from the ground up, but I'd like to see a similar level or risk/reward.

 

EDIT: Look at shiho as an example. At 6 gold he was a bargain even still out of clan, and because of that he found his way into a lot of decks, in particular because of standing fast being in the environment.

Edited by Moto Subodei

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Boar (they're back, as per Winter Court IV!)- ... Everybody supported the Boar's return, so right now, they're not on bad terms with anybody in particular.

 

I didn't!

 

But yes, it was fairly unanimous.

 

More generally, using the Minor Clans as a bridging mechanism is a bad idea, assuming it's being done with fluff in mind, if only because some Great Clans get on very well with quite a few Minor Clans, while others... don't. I also feel it should be mentioned that Alliance is, in fact, a legal card- it has many major problems as a basis for a multi-Clan deck, but the possibility for supporting multiple Clans out of the same deck was at least half-heartedly considered. I have no objection to thematically consistent multi-Clan decks having some support; I'd just be worried about mono-Clan decks being rendered less competitive as a result, and/or the risk of a couple of OP personalities finding their way into every deck under the sun.

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For those who want to play multiple clan you had this event Alliance http://imperialassembly.com/oracle/#cardid=331,#hashid=a7d8a88809225305fb7e2f9bc11b32a7,#cardcount=1

 

or this Oath of fealty http://imperialassembly.com/oracle/#cardid=5641,#hashid=39f89e0290c52536ff8d4e91b85d3900,#cardcount=5

 

so it's possible to have what you want without making a special rule for, so why change ?

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so it's possible to have what you want without making a special rule for, so why change ?

 

So you don't have to eat up cards for it in a very small card pool. And the small card pool itself is a reason to allow banner style alliances (which, I would point out, are cards, no unlike Sensei in L5R), or otherwise allow dual-clan play via basic mechanics.

 

And finally, to each and every, "Why change?" I say "Why not?"

 

I want FFG to look at as many aspects of the game as they can and make the best choices. "Why?" shouldn't be a reason not to do something if it can make a better game. Instead, they should have to answer, "Why not?"

 

Given that many of FFG's games allow cross-factioning as a fundamental part of deckbuilding, I think it's likely they'll consider the change. Given that it's a feature of their games I like, precisely because it opens up more interesting deckbuilding options, I hope they go for it.

 

I think Doomtown ably demonstrated that the LCG format isn't really well-suited to restrictive factioning. They only had 4 outfits for a year, and it was still a pinch to support each faction to a reasonable degree at 2 dudes a pack. If we really do get 6+ clans in L5R, or up to 9 as some people hope, 20 card packs are going to have a hard time servicing that many clans.

 

Allowing alliances (at least) significantly relaxes that pressure by allowing more deck options with a smaller card pool. And that's really what it comes down to: Gone are the days of L5R getting 350 card base sets and 150 card expansions, and whatever else. Taking aside the base set, you're looking at about 200 cards a year if you're lucky, supplementing a 200-250 card base set. The more variety you can squeeze out of that small card pool, the better.

 

Alliances are one way to do that.

 

6-9 clans that present mutually exclusive subsets of cards is how not to do it.

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I know the system will quite likely be vastly different to the current, which is fine, but I felt the balance of in clan and out of clan was more or less in an ok spot. It wasn't so easy that you would go straight to the out of clan guy before your clan cards and it wasn't so restrictive that it became impossible. Personally I'd like to see a similar balance transferred to the new system. If it is easier than it is in the current system, I would have a fear that you'd end up with a small subset of personalities that are just the best personalities to play, and a lot of in clan personalities being ignored for that. At the end of the day, you want as many cards as possible to hit the environment and see play. A core subset of easily accessible personalities, irregardless of clan affiliation I think would marginalise quite a few cards.

 

FFG's designs often solve the problem by making specific card abilities clan specific, so while you can go out of faction for synergy, you do suffer some opportunity cost because not all of your abilities work across factions.

 

I think FFG has made enough games, and enough games well, that we can dispense with fears that the system won't achieve what they want it to achieve, and I don't think anyone's suggesting clan affiliation should be completely marginalized.

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I'm also playing doomtown, and based on the fluff i'm not the kind of guy that put together a sloane and a law dogs in the same deck just because it's powerful, if your only goal is to make competitive powerful.deck try mtg with P9 card set ...

 

As I see almost all of you compare L5R to others FFG games which have all their mechanics and for some of them build from scratch by ffg itself, I've also played to Star Wars, try the new net runner and each of them have good mechanics but almost none of them have a long story and a games intricated with that story, remember that major event where organized to allow the player to influence the story and then impact the game ? Also AEG have questionned the players to know what do they like to happen with their clan ?

 

L5R isn't only a game, but it's also a story, almost mainly a story and you, as a player, takes part in this story. 

You talk about doomtown, you can put everyother faction in your deck but it has a hit cost, and this is really good for diversity. Since i don't see why The fourth ring can't be with the sloane or the law dogs, i can't really see why a sloane and a law dog be in the same deck (F.e. Allie Hensman). Then with this in the head, you can if you want mix clan personnalities in your deck but paid the price. In doomtown you'll get four basic deck in the core set that run's fine, nox with more saddle bags and two pine box it's really cool to build mono faction deck that are performant !

 

In L5R i've played in emperor the following combo: Koshin Keep and isawa Kaname, that runs fine, i'm not winning all my game but 3 of 5, you also get daigotsu Hotako and  Fukuzo in most of the deck because they are strong, like you've get almost the same forgotten legacy fate deck because it's powerful. All I see from my POV of former TO is that in tournament, we all see the same deck, except some guy that just want to play for fun and may be disgusted by this kind of deck. I've also play magic in which only survive powerfull cards, you'll buy a box to get 10 majors cards because the rest is unplayable due to the players environement.

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For those who want to play multiple clan you had this event Alliance http://imperialassembly.com/oracle/#cardid=331,#hashid=a7d8a88809225305fb7e2f9bc11b32a7,#cardcount=1

 

or this Oath of fealty http://imperialassembly.com/oracle/#cardid=5641,#hashid=39f89e0290c52536ff8d4e91b85d3900,#cardcount=5

 

so it's possible to have what you want without making a special rule for, so why change ?

The only problem I have with this is that they lack consistency and are subject to card draw. It is very hard to build a deck around a card that you may not see all game. In terms of L5R they could be implemented as an all clan stronghold, or all clan sensei.

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I'm also playing doomtown, and based on the fluff i'm not the kind of guy that put together a sloane and a law dogs in the same deck just because it's powerful, if your only goal is to make competitive powerful.deck try mtg with P9 card set ...

 

As I see almost all of you compare L5R to others FFG games which have all their mechanics and for some of them build from scratch by ffg itself, I've also played to Star Wars, try the new net runner and each of them have good mechanics but almost none of them have a long story and a games intricated with that story, remember that major event where organized to allow the player to influence the story and then impact the game ? Also AEG have questionned the players to know what do they like to happen with their clan ?

 

L5R isn't only a game, but it's also a story, almost mainly a story and you, as a player, takes part in this story. 

You talk about doomtown, you can put everyother faction in your deck but it has a hit cost, and this is really good for diversity. Since i don't see why The fourth ring can't be with the sloane or the law dogs, i can't really see why a sloane and a law dog be in the same deck (F.e. Allie Hensman). Then with this in the head, you can if you want mix clan personnalities in your deck but paid the price. In doomtown you'll get four basic deck in the core set that run's fine, nox with more saddle bags and two pine box it's really cool to build mono faction deck that are performant !

 

In L5R i've played in emperor the following combo: Koshin Keep and isawa Kaname, that runs fine, i'm not winning all my game but 3 of 5, you also get daigotsu Hotako and  Fukuzo in most of the deck because they are strong, like you've get almost the same forgotten legacy fate deck because it's powerful. All I see from my POV of former TO is that in tournament, we all see the same deck, except some guy that just want to play for fun and may be disgusted by this kind of deck. I've also play magic in which only survive powerfull cards, you'll buy a box to get 10 majors cards because the rest is unplayable due to the players environement.

 

I don't want to do the equivalent of throw Dave and Sloane into the deck because it's the most powerful. I want a competitive, diverse pool of decks. Being able to build alliance decks (with appropriate balances in place) accomplishes that.

 

Let's say, with 7 clans, each clan has 2 competitive decks. 14 decks. Okay, not bad. There will be tiers, of course, as not every deck is going to be equally competitive, and it will shift as packs release. Now add the ability for each clan to ally with another clan of their choosing. Assuming that opens up even one new deck per clan, suddenly your deck pool has exploded by another *42* decks that you might face on the other side of the table. If even half of those are viable (as some clans are just not going to mesh well together, mechanically) that's fantastic, and more than *doubles* the deck pool. As mentioned, you can keep the most powerful clan cards in clan with Loyalty traits or whatever.

 

I would suggest that factioning to create diversity is, to an extent, artificial. In a strictly mechanical sense, if the card pool is well-balanced, networks of synergy will stop one card, or a few cards, from being the best in every deck. Factioning is one way to achieve that, but not the only way.

 

What factioning does achieve from a design standpoint is that it allows design to put two cards (or more broadly, mechanics) into a game that would break the game in combination with each other, but allows them to be mutually exclusive by being placed in different factions. This is easily achieved even in games that allow cross factioning, as with a loyalty trait, or limiting cross factioning by some sort of faction wheel, or a hundred other solutions.

 

The story vs. game issue is something that's been pretty heavily debated, and isn't going to be resolved here. But for me, L5R *is* only a game. The setting and theme are nice and fun, but I really don't care about the ongoing storyline. Designing a good game is the very first priority. Because it's a card game. Not a card story. The story that matters to me is the one that's played out on the table, in the context of the game I'm playing on any given day. The fiction is marketing. FFG's other games, particularly their other LCGs, seem to suggest that they share this priority. Their card games are games first, stories a distant second.

 

I get that people are invested in L5R's story, and I get that people like it. I used to be into the whole card game/story thing. My tastes changed. In any case, I highly doubt story is going to be the priority at FFG that it was at AEG. They're a different kind of company, and I find it much more likely that FFG is going to change L5R than that L5R is going to change FFG. But I suppose we'll find out!

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I'm also playing doomtown, and based on the fluff i'm not the kind of guy that put together a sloane and a law dogs in the same deck just because it's powerful, if your only goal is to make competitive powerful.deck try mtg with P9 card set ...

 

As I see almost all of you compare L5R to others FFG games which have all their mechanics and for some of them build from scratch by ffg itself, I've also played to Star Wars, try the new net runner and each of them have good mechanics but almost none of them have a long story and a games intricated with that story, remember that major event where organized to allow the player to influence the story and then impact the game ? Also AEG have questionned the players to know what do they like to happen with their clan ?

 

L5R isn't only a game, but it's also a story, almost mainly a story and you, as a player, takes part in this story. 

You talk about doomtown, you can put everyother faction in your deck but it has a hit cost, and this is really good for diversity. Since i don't see why The fourth ring can't be with the sloane or the law dogs, i can't really see why a sloane and a law dog be in the same deck (F.e. Allie Hensman). Then with this in the head, you can if you want mix clan personnalities in your deck but paid the price. In doomtown you'll get four basic deck in the core set that run's fine, nox with more saddle bags and two pine box it's really cool to build mono faction deck that are performant !

 

In L5R i've played in emperor the following combo: Koshin Keep and isawa Kaname, that runs fine, i'm not winning all my game but 3 of 5, you also get daigotsu Hotako and  Fukuzo in most of the deck because they are strong, like you've get almost the same forgotten legacy fate deck because it's powerful. All I see from my POV of former TO is that in tournament, we all see the same deck, except some guy that just want to play for fun and may be disgusted by this kind of deck. I've also play magic in which only survive powerfull cards, you'll buy a box to get 10 majors cards because the rest is unplayable due to the players environement.

 

The story vs. game issue is something that's been pretty heavily debated, and isn't going to be resolved here. But for me, L5R *is* only a game. The setting and theme are nice and fun, but I really don't care about the ongoing storyline. Designing a good game is the very first priority. Because it's a card game. Not a card story. The story that matters to me is the one that's played out on the table, in the context of the game I'm playing on any given day. The fiction is marketing. FFG's other games, particularly their other LCGs, seem to suggest that they share this priority. Their card games are games first, stories a distant second.

 

I get that people are invested in L5R's story, and I get that people like it. I used to be into the whole card game/story thing. My tastes changed. In any case, I highly doubt story is going to be the priority at FFG that it was at AEG. They're a different kind of company, and I find it much more likely that FFG is going to change L5R than that L5R is going to change FFG. But I suppose we'll find out!

 

 

For me, I'm more of the mind that both sides of the game, it's fiction and its mechanics, should have some sort of balance to them. This is especially true for a game like l5r that puts so much emphasis on a story and story prizes.

 

For quite a number of games, taking two "colors" or factions was limited by resources. For example, a MtG player couldn't simply throw blue spells in their deck unless they had access to blue mana. L5R doesn't have multiple types of resources in it so the way to fix the problem was honor requirements,  have clan discounts, and other things like loyalty. 

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One thing to mind - it's not that hard to ditch an effort at storytelling, and try again, from different approach. You can stop interactive fiction at any moment, change the rules if they don't work, and generally, it's a thing you have some freedom of editing at any given moment. It's easy to change gears.

Game rules and design are closed once they hit the "buy now!" button. You can't go back and revisit things you wish you did better, at least not without going into second edition of the game.

Just because of this, game design and "game first" should be the priority; story can be figured after the basic chassis of "game that is inherently fun to play" is mastered. 

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Alliance has that drawback to it as well to balance it out quite a bit. Something akin to Kiyoteru Sensei is more along the lines I'd rather see: a strong focus to a specific tie within the clan. A Phoenix one might let you only get their Yojimbo, a Scorpion one could only allow for non-ninja courtiers, a Crab might only give you some of its scouts, and so on. 

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Suppose for the moment FFG uses an alignment wheel, akin to what they have for Conquest, in which each Clan can ally with one other Clan adjacent on the wheel.  You can pick either Clan adjacent to yours, but not both, and some cards are Loyal, meaning you cannot use them if you are not using that Clan.

 

If FFG cuts it back to the original 7 Clans, is there a good way to align them on the wheel?  I don't know enough of the backstory for L5R to make sensible alliances.

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Not...really. unlike conquest, the clans are not inherantly opposed to working alongside each other. In conquest, all the factions are seeking just about all others' destruction with the Space marines and IG working together. The wheel was forced for sake of what made more sense in an otherwise non compatible set of factions.

Even Spider has allies in other Clans (less so in Scorpion and Crab)

Alliance and Oath of Fealty were more synergy cards for people splashing personality to obtain rare ebenfits that were clan exclusive.

Edited by Sashmiel

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