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Impact of FFG's Release Model (No holds barred!)

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To me, I think a not insignificant part of the question hinge on whether the notion of "Experienced" personalities version (or something similar) survives the transition. 

 

The ability to show a figure going from average joe ; so average that he's literally not unique and you can have multiple of him running around ; to a special, noteworthy hero who get his power uniques was something I really loved. If experienced personalities remain, then I'd definitely want to still see non-unique with names, to create that link from the rank and file personality to the awesome unique. It was great thematic, visual shorthand for the way the story went.

 

On the other hand, if you're losing experienced personalities anyway (which I hope is not the case, but if it happens, it happens), then that aspect is lost, and while I'd still prefer a focus on named personalities (whether they're unique only or unique and non-unique both), it'd be less important. 

Edited by Himoto

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here's a quick thought.  What if the Core Set was like a bunch of generic ronin Samurai, after all we have had (even in the recent past) a number of more generically named personality cards (Seasoned Ronin, Armed Rice Farmer, Banished, Boyoh Mercenary, Gaijin Sorcerer, Imperial Cartographer, not to mention all the nonhuman cards like The Red Hunger, Goblin this or that, Ratling this or that etc.)  Plus like a couple of key political figures for each clan like a Champion, and a couple Diamyo for each clan (that could be named, but could just be "Dragon Clan Champion" or "Togashi Diamyo" maybe with a "real" name as a subtitle to denote which core set it comes from).

 

Then the packs end up being the "Core" Personalities that get cycled through.  

 

Or maybe it is the reverse, and we don't see any Champion or Diamyo or key people in the core set, just a bunch of basic personality cards that fill in for stuff that comes in the packs.

 

Either way I think we will definitely see more generic personality cards, and probably to a greater degree than in current L5R.  I'm just hoping those end up being core faction/mechanic cards and save the names for folks that expand that function within a clans play style.

 

I'm willing to accept "Phoenix Fire Weaver", and "Togashi Void Disciple" as personality cards in the core set that never go away and never get story time in liu of getting a differently named version of Togashi Akagi every year or two, that only sometimes gets story time.

 

No offense intended here, but if you want to tell a story I think the RPG is a great way to do that, but an LCG especially with a long cycle period is going to be a poor medium to do that with.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but it probably won't take anywhere near the same form as "classic" l5r; or it won't follow the same model as FFGs other LCGs.  I think the chances are about 80/20 on those two options.

 

What ever happens I do think the community, baring the new product being a steaming pile of dog squeeze will be there for the launch.

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"Not using the cards to tell a story" would be pretty much the biggest imaginable deal-breaker for me. It was the one thing L5R did that got me to stick with it as long as I did, and it's the reason I'm constantly keeping an eye on Doomtown Reloaded despite lacking (so far) the playgroup to get into it. (DTR being, incidentally, clear-cut evidence that it's entirely possible to do a storytelling card game in the LCG format) The cards ooze (or, in the case of L5R, oozed with mechanical flavor that told stories, and told us about the characters and who they were, even if the abilities weren't necessarily that useful.

 

Take away the storytelling with cardboard aspect, and L5R is left just the samurai fantasy niche card game. Which is fine and good for people who are really into samurai fantasy ; but I'm more at the mild interest level - there are niches I'm way more interested in, so if it comes to that, the new L5R just won't cut it for me. It's "the storytelling card game" I signed up for, not "The samurai fantasy card game".  

 

Not to say FFG has to do it. Of course they don't. And it may well be the better path for them not to. I won't hate them if they do it or anything of the sort. I'm just not going to bother speculating about what they could do down that particular rabbit hole, because I won't follow them there. 

Edited by Himoto

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I think they will go for a story angle. Although I'm not sure how much they gain specifically from the notion of a mechanically non-Unique Personality becoming important (they can, of course, still tell stories where unimportant people in the story end up doing big things). Is the story of, say, Mirumoto Hitomi notably reduced if her non-xp version is Unique? I don't think so. That's ultimately a matter of taste, and Himoto you may find that a very big distinction. But I'm not sure how widespread that position would be.

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Mirumoto Hitomi, not so much. Probably because the way she was handled (got her XP version in the very first expansion, and, y'know, being a seven thunder), there's a case to be made having her start non-unique didn't really make sense. All the more so given the whole history of the rivalry with Yakamo who DID get a unique right off the bat. 

 

Other cases are not so clear-cut. Would Mitsu, Tsukune and the rest managed to become such iconic figures without the extra-humble beginnings as rank and file personalities? Personally I do feel it would have taken something away from them if they hadn't started as the common everyday guys. (Granted, the awesome Rob Alexander art really helped Tsukune). 

 

To say nothing of the ultimate rank and file personality, Toku. Who wouldn't be half the legend he became if he had started as a unique personality. The whole point of that guy was that he started as the lowliest of lowly personality cards, and rose to become one of the most iconic figure of the game's story. If he had had a "Unique" tag to mark him as important from the start, his impact would have been diminished by a lot. 

 

(That said, THIS isn't a deal breaker to me. It may play a role in deciding on whether or not I follow the new L5R, but by itself it won't decide anything). 

Edited by Himoto

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To me, I think a not insignificant part of the question hinge on whether the notion of "Experienced" personalities version (or something similar) survives the transition. 

 

I assume there will be multiple versions of significant characters that will share uniqueness, but I doubt that Experienced and all that's associated with it (overlaying and such) will continue. As with many other things, I think we can look to FFG's catalog for a guide to what's likely in FFG's L5R.

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Titles might just replace Experienced? Kind of like Daigotsu Kanpeki, Unleashed?

 

Could be. That's how CoC did it, I believe. I don't think other FFG games even do subtitles, though, and CoC is pretty long in the tooth. I assume that more recent games abandoning subtitles means FFG has left them behind, but you never know.

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The identities in Netrunner, the Warlords in Conquest have subtitles although they're descriptive only in those games. The mechanic is easy enough to work into the game the question is does it enhance the gameplay?

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Titles might just replace Experienced? Kind of like Daigotsu Kanpeki, Unleashed?

 

Could be. That's how CoC did it, I believe. I don't think other FFG games even do subtitles, though, and CoC is pretty long in the tooth. I assume that more recent games abandoning subtitles means FFG has left them behind, but you never know.

 

 

I suppose they could put them in the text box but having a word like Experienced is a better solution. Looking at something like the Star Wars LCG, a character like Luke is just used over and over again with the difference being what the card does and which objective set it is in. That doesn't really work for me in a game like L5R.

 

The identities in Netrunner, the Warlords in Conquest have subtitles although they're descriptive only in those games. The mechanic is easy enough to work into the game the question is does it enhance the gameplay?

 
It depends on the player. For Netrunner, it never really made too much of a difference to me because I never really got into the story (or lack thereof). It was nice to see a new NBN identity but it was still NBN.
Edited by Kubernes

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Titles might just replace Experienced? Kind of like Daigotsu Kanpeki, Unleashed?

 

Could be. That's how CoC did it, I believe. I don't think other FFG games even do subtitles, though, and CoC is pretty long in the tooth. I assume that more recent games abandoning subtitles means FFG has left them behind, but you never know.

 

 

I suppose they could put them in the text box but having a word like Experienced is a better solution. Looking at something like the Star Wars LCG, a character like Luke is just used over and over again with the difference being what the card does and which objective set it is in. That doesn't really work for me in a game like L5R.

 

I think a descriptive subtitle can do a lot more for story than a generic trait like "Experienced."

 

For example, if you have 3 versions of a particular bushi, and his subtitles are "Eager Student," "Seasoned Duelist" and "Crippled Master," that dude's been through some story. Much more interesting to me than, "Experienced," and "Experienced 2."

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Having cards that never cycle out also creates design constraints not to mention hamstrings the Meta environment over the lifetime of the game.  I think what we will see is likely something akin to how AGoTs was treated.  Just about the time stuff started cycling around FFG hit the reset button on the game.  What I would hope for (short of that) is a reconstituted "soul of..." mechanic where every so often stuff in the "never cycles out" sets gets a face lift so to speak, but doesn't really change and doesn't invalidate the older card, other than to limit putting both in a single deck.  Sort of creating the illusion of the passage of time.

 

I'll tell you though, I think FFG is going to have its hands full, and I do not envy them the task they have before them.

 

You do understand that a big reason that AGOT was rebooted was that it wasn't designed for rotation? And that the game at the time had massive issues that came from being the first LCG. The rules needed a cleanup. Which it got. And again, it allows them to utilize the information they gained from makling LCGs for years to influence design going forward. I just don't see FFG drastically changing their core philosophies for this game. 

 

As for storytelling, between the inserts and the cards, FFG is able to create great stories. It may not exactly be a storyline, but I know many have fallen in love with the Android universe based on what Netrunner has presented to us. I know many IDs are wanted. Particularly Princess Space Kitten. 

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No doubt that is true about AGoT, I played the CCG, and the 1st edition of the LCG, but not the current version (yet).  So I am not entirely sure what the actual differences are this time around.  My main point was that L5R is uniquely different from their other IP and games in this space.  I can't help but think that similar issues are likely to crop up as a result of those differences.  

 

The degree to which that occurs hinges a lot on how much FFG is willing to abandon, and how much they are willing to keep from classic L5R from the outset (not to mention which particular rules set).  If it were me I'd be willing to abandon anything and everything from classic L5R to make a "better" game from the outset, while still trying to capture the essence of what L5R is.  In my mind the key principles in no particular order are: an interactive story element, where player choice(but not necessarily player success at the table, there is just too much baggage that can create) shapes the world; Samurai fighting, dueling, and political maneuvering;  Simplicity and Speed.  That last one is kind of an overlooked, but important one.  When I first started playing L5R, I don't remember hour or even half-hour long games happening too frequently (1-on-1), but now a days, that is almost routine.  Maybe L5R just became too complicated mechanically as stuff got added to be a fast game.  But I remember the uproar over cutting just 5 min out of swiss rounds caused not too long ago.

 

A close runner up is Balance between clans, but as long as story line "prizes" are not reflective of "relative condition in the story"; then Balance becomes a lot smaller issue, especially if you can play a different clan and still give the victory to somebody else.  Balance is a huge issue if potentially your clan gets dissolved because your faction looses "too much" at the card tables.

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Simplicity and Speed.  That last one is kind of an overlooked, but important one.  When I first started playing L5R, I don't remember hour or even half-hour long games happening too frequently (1-on-1), but now a days, that is almost routine.  Maybe L5R just became too complicated mechanically as stuff got added to be a fast game.  But I remember the uproar over cutting just 5 min out of swiss rounds caused not too long ago.

 

Someday I will forward you the literal tons of angry hate mail (and death threats!) from players complaining that games were far too short, and that we had ruined L5R whenever we encouraged any gameplay structure that lasted less than 8 turns.

 

I'll send it with all the exact same stuff complaining about the game being too long.  :D

Edited by Tetsuro

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That's more or less the heart of the problem. L5R design has always had a bit of a waltz thing going on going Medium -> Fast -> Slow. The problem being that each generation of the game got its own fans, who liked L5R as they first discovered it, and grew frustrated when the game picked up speed (if they got in during a slow phase), or lost it (if they got in during a fast phase). 

 

Personally I'm more in the medium-to-fast school. Had the most fun with Imperial, Diamond and Celestial ; Jade, Lotus and Emperor were a little faster than I liked ; and hated with a passion Gold, Samurai and Ivory. 

Edited by Himoto

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I think we hit a good tempo with 20F, to be honest. I think we scaled back too much in early Ivory, an overcorrection from the end of Emperor (perhaps someday everything that was going on in Emperor design will come to light for the general public). 

 

One of the reasons I hope the Onyx stuff eventually sees the light of day is because I really do believe 20F/Onyx was hitting a sweet spot, or at least making strides towards it.

Edited by Tetsuro

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