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Core release design - How would you do it?

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There was a very brief time on the design team when we were lead to believe that we at AEG would be resurrecting L5R as an LCG before we found out it had been sold to FFG. 

One of the things we discussed was the likelihood that we would have only four factions instead of the normal amount, each faction representing one of the four "major powers" vying for control of Rokugan. Since it was a time jump after the conclusion of Onyx, it was basically a "War of three Emperors" situation.

1) The 'Rightful Emperor' Kanpeki and those loyal to him
2) An alliance basically run by Akodo Kano and Hida Toranosuke, the two champions of those Clans, with the possibility of a "Lion Heir/Son of Kaneka" angle being worked in there (probably to the chagrin of those two leaders), who were allied with the Naga, sort of the defacto "good guys" faction

3) An alliance of the Unicorn, Phoenix, and Crane operating out of the Second City, probably with Shibatsu as a figurehead, mostly masterminded by Suikihime
4) An unnamed fourth faction we were still fleshing out that might have appeared later.

So the clans were mostly divided between one or more of these factions, with most Clans having people in more than one.

I may be misremembering some of the details (we never committed any of this to documentation), but you get the jist of it.

I could very easily see them doing something like that, regardless of the era they set it in.

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man thats super interesting, and i could 100% see that being a really good way to do it. depends on what FFG does with the story, but i could see that happening. talk about a big change for the game though. no more clans, just superclans. crazypants. 

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man thats super interesting, and i could 100% see that being a really good way to do it. depends on what FFG does with the story, but i could see that happening. talk about a big change for the game though. no more clans, just superclans. crazypants. 

 

More power to them if they go a similar route, we were pretty sure the entire time we were talking about it that if and when we did, they'd be burning us in effigy on the AEG forums.

(More than usual, anyway.)

However, it was really something that needed to be done. There were just too many factions, so several would get lost a little in the shuffle, or otherwise get pigeonholed into a niche that wasn't fair to them.

Having to make the game always backwards compatible was a curse from a design perspective, and I'm pretty jealous FFG gets to clean slate it in a way we never could.

Edited by Tetsuro

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There were just too many factions, so several would get lost a little in the shuffle, or otherwise get pigeonholed into a niche that wasn't fair to them.

 

 

If nine is too many, we could always get rid of Unicorn.  >_>

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Tetsuro reminds me too many factions is very hard to balance.  In fact, quite honestly it may be too hard to balance.  Design teams (let's be honest) have a hard enough time balancing* five (if they can balance four!) factions.  Seeing this new challenge leads to a series of unanswered questions that puts me in a position where I feel inadequate to make any predictions about the game - nor have any hope that my favorite faction, story or mechanic will come makes it way into FFG's Rokugan.  

 

This opens my eyes to a new force that FFG has harnessed better than others;  running a business.  In the end, I expect FFG to come out with an excellent product well beyond our expectations.  They know how to leave so many saying 'how could they cut out ... ' and yet those same people will share 'but this new ... is awesome'.  So here we are in eager anticipation...

 

Tetsuro's comment now leaves with me nothing I could propose, no expectations ... except to say I trust FFG.  

 

An author's last remarks... I don't believe what I've typed; see my favorite part of L5R was how 'real' the game felt.  It was much less abstract then any other game.  The story line, holdings and personalities from a dynasty deck and 'strategies' from a fate deck.  Attacking a province (vs an arbitrary summoner) and defending a specific province, as a player this game in many ways felt like a miniatures game with cards, strategic, tactical and fun!  If FFG holds onto any elements - it's these!  If NetRunner is any example, gamers demand a less abstract experience.  *Codex as one example trying to break that mold.  

 

*A note on balancing, I think the gaming community has proven that imbalance is completely acceptable.  The community will identify the weakest and complain about it which is acceptable noise.  So a small few will remain loyal and as the card pool grows a shift will occur as spikes will switch meta and loyalists will be glad there turn has arrived.  An overall win for the game.   

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There were just too many factions, so several would get lost a little in the shuffle, or otherwise get pigeonholed into a niche that wasn't fair to them.

 

 

If nine is too many, we could always get rid of Unicorn.  >_>

 

No sir.  It would have to be Mantis  :D

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There were just too many factions, so several would get lost a little in the shuffle, or otherwise get pigeonholed into a niche that wasn't fair to them.

 

 

If nine is too many, we could always get rid of Unicorn.  >_>

 

No sir.  It would have to be Mantis  :D

 

 

Didn't Mantis get enough hate from AEG?  It's someone else's turn under the bus.

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Obviously FFG needs to hop on the Legacy Fad Bandwagon,  Combine it with the ROKUGAN R TEH DAEDLIEST obsession the RPG folks have, and bam!

Release a generous core game with 3 copies of everything.  Then make it so that whenever a Personality dies, you have to destroy their card.  Imagine how many extra [data/chapter/honour]-packs they'll sell over time!

Make Duels OP because you have to risk tearing your best duelists in half every time!  Kharmic Strike has real costs! ;)

Your non-unique dude (Hida_Bushi_06) survives an opposed battle or duel?  Sharpee him up a name!  Nothing could possibly go wrong!

Edited by IsawaChuckles

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There were just too many factions, so several would get lost a little in the shuffle, or otherwise get pigeonholed into a niche that wasn't fair to them.

 

 

If nine is too many, we could always get rid of Unicorn.  >_>

 

No sir.  It would have to be Mantis  :D

 

 

Didn't Mantis get enough hate from AEG?  It's someone else's turn under the bus.

 

 

Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

Edited by kempy

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Obviously FFG needs to hop on the Legacy Fad Bandwagon,  Combine it with the ROKUGAN R TEH DAEDLIEST obsession the RPG folks have, and bam!

Release a generous core game with 3 copies of everything.  Then make it so that whenever a Personality dies, you have to destroy their card.  Imagine how many extra [data/chapter/honour]-packs they'll sell over time!

Make Duels OP because you have to risk tearing your best duelists in half every time!  Kharmic Strike has real costs! ;)

Your non-unique dude (Hida_Bushi_06) survives an opposed battle or duel?  Sharpee him up a name!  Nothing could possibly go wrong!

 

Thou art High.  But thine humor amuses me, and thus shall be commended. :lol:

 

 

I can tell you with 100% certainty that nobody on the Design Team at AEG hated the Mantis Clan.

 

I wasn't thinking that you did.  Brand and Story on the other hand..... :angry:

 

 

 

I can tell you with 100% certainty that nobody on the Design Team at AEG hated the Mantis Clan.

just the spider  :P

 

 

The (AEG) Story team members seemed to like different parts of the Spider alot.  Sometimes uncomfortably so. :wacko:

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

 

 

Yeah right!! Kalani's Landing was overpowered and if Mantis went first, couldn't lose!!! How can you say otherwise? It was so busted that it got banned... finally. 

 

And in Ivory, free gold again??? Didn't they JUST ban a stronghold for that? WOW! lol

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As the person who designed both the original, favor and proclaim oriented Susumu Sensei that was scrapped and the late replacement Token based one, I'm sure most people who point to design hating the Spider would point to me.

All I can say is I wasn't thrilled with the ditching of the original for the token one, and the token one absolutely was designed to be 4G. Changing it to 3G was a decision over my head that I objected to at the time, and still very much regret.

I wanted Susumu to be great because I knew how much the Spider players wanted it to be.

Edited by Tetsuro

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

 

 

Yeah right!! Kalani's Landing was overpowered and if Mantis went first, couldn't lose!!! How can you say otherwise? It was so busted that it got banned... finally. 

 

And in Ivory, free gold again??? Didn't they JUST ban a stronghold for that? WOW! lol

 

 

Huh.  I had never seen Kalani's Landing before.  It does look like it could be rather interesting with the right setup.

 

And don't get me wrong, Fruitful Port of the Mantis is decent enough, but it just seems rather lackluster compared to most of the other Strongholds.

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

 

c'mon now. mantis had environment deforming strongholds. thats about the least controversial statement about the end of l5r that i can think of. even the design team admitted it. they released MULTIPLE errata to try and fix the environments (without actually fixing the problems until much too late). theres a LOT of things we can have disagreements about but i really don't see how you can pretend KL wasn't a disaster. 

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Oh god you're publically admiting to starting to play L5R in Ivory?  Prepare for No True Scotsmaning!   ;)

 

Well, I started collecting in Gold, but couldn't find anyone in my area who played.  Then I dropped out shortly after Lotus, and finally found a group after Ivory came out and started actually playing.

 

What logical fallacies others choose to commit is no business of mine.

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I started playing in Imperial; drew a Lion box at random, and the two rares within were Matsu Tsuko and Toturi. Haven't not been Lion since. I just presumed all the Imperial starter boxes had their Clan Champions inside.

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

 

 

So maybe that's why everyone tried to play with Kobi or Aranai Sensei to increase your chances to be second all the time?

 

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Edited by kempy

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Yes, giving it in CCG most busted Strongholds in two editions in a row (that fe resulted in Euro and Worlds 2015 wins). :D

 

 

Really?  The stronghold didn't seem all that great to me, especially if you were forced to go first.

 

 

So maybe that's why everyone tried to play with Kobi or Aranai Sensei to increase your chances to be second all the time?

 

 

Wow!  I don't know that I had ever seen that Kobi Sensei before.  I may have to try out a new deck!

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As the person who designed both the original, favor and proclaim oriented Susumu Sensei that was scrapped and the late replacement Token based one, I'm sure most people who point to design hating the Spider would point to me.

All I can say is I wasn't thrilled with the ditching of the original for the token one, and the token one absolutely was designed to be 4G. Changing it to 3G was a decision over my head that I objected to at the time, and still very much regret.

I wanted Susumu to be great because I knew how much the Spider players wanted it to be.

i can't speak for all spider (though lord knows i've tried before and i'm likely to again) but i've never associated you with the part of design i thought hated spider. you cared about the clan and were good enough to talk to us about wanting susumu to have real interesting mechanics. i think it was wider choices (going second, dishonor, and just spider's general place in the game and their overall themes) that we beefed with. 

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Regarding the original topic line, this is what I would expect in the core set:

 

4 core factions with 20 cards each, and 4 secondary factions with 15 cards each, all single print

30 Neutral cards with 2x copies, 10 Neutral cards with 1x copies

Core set: 210 cards, and you need to buy 2 Core Sets to be able to build a legal, semi-competitive deck

Tokens: Honor tokens which serve as a means of tracking VP, Koku to track available gold, and an Imperial Favor token

Stronghold / Faction Alignment cards for each faction, along with an Alliance card for each secondary faction.

 

The Core factions: The Lion Clan, The Crab Clan, The Dragon Clan, The Crane Clan
Why? They are you most iconic factions for L5R. Honorable bushi! Pragmatic bushi! The enlightenment guys! The honor guys! Also, they are what you need to start the Clan War (Lion vs Crane, Dragon vs Crab).

 

The Secondary factions: The Scorpion Clan, The Unicorn Clan, The Phoenix Clan, and someone else (Mantis Clan, Naga, Spider Clan, Imperials)

Why? Because each of these factions introduce a special mechanic which they will be good at, and can modify one of the three paths to victory. Scorpion have dishonor, Unicorn have calvary, the Phoenix have magic. The last faction would need to be Neutral heavy, similar to the Nightswatch in AGoT 2nd Edition.

 

Mechanics:

The Iconic - These are the mechanics which I feel are NEEDED for the game to "feel like L5R"

  1) Two Decks - Dynasty (Resources) and Fate (Actions)

  2) Four Provinces - Put your Dynasty Cards here

  3) One hand - Put your Fate Cards here

  4) Multiple Paths to Victory - See below

  5) The Imperial Favor - Separate this from Honor (see below), but have this be a mechanic which interacts with all aspects of the game.

 

The New - These are the mechanics which I feel L5R LCG would benefit from

  1) Central Victory Mechanic - Make Victory ALL about Honor, but make it so you can score Honor through different means. You need a means to make Military and Enlightenment to both gain Honor points, and then Victory is achieved by ending / starting your turn with enough Honor.

  2) Eliminate Followers - Take a nod from AGoT. Have Personalities and Armies. Move Followers over to the Dynasty Side, and make them central to the Military strategy. Personalities cannot achieve the Military strategy independently, but Armies cannot be destroyed outside of a battle.

  3) Dueling - Personalities MUST DUEL. Why? Because this is a game about Samurai, and how many samurai depictions come down to the epic, one on one sword fight?

 

Just my thoughts.

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