Daner0023

Gameplay Speculation

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Just some speculation about how FFG will turn L5R into an LCG that feels like Rokugan, has a relatively easy to learn gameplay, that maintains some classic L5R mechanics, and preserves the depth of strategy and decision making we have all loved and enjoyed.

Here are a few thoughts:

First off, FFG seems to really like "Always in Play" Cards, so Strongholds in some form seem likely.

I'm not sure there will be Province Strength, Resource Production or Starting Honor on the Stronghold, but one or all of these may be present. Almost assuredly, there will be Clan Affililiation and an ability or available action present on these cards.

Sensei's are also a possibility, but would likely come later in an expansion.

The next thing to consider is whether there will be a Dynasty Deck, Fate Deck or both.

One of my favorite parts of the CCG was battlefields. I liked there were separate battles and if the defender lost, they effectively lost production, while the winner moved towards a military win Condition. In honesty, I would like to see this complexity simplified. It would take a lot more brainpower than I care to put forth, but I would love a streamlined version of battle while maintaining the epic feel of classic L5R.

With that being said, I am really hoping for a big departure from the two deck system.

Next,  there are the multiple win conditions. Here, I am hoping to keep Military, Honor & Enlightenment. Dishonor should be a formidable negative condition, but not a win condition.

Military win conditions will be decided by destroying Provinces or by some "health pool" system. Perhaps instead of production decreasing it could instead reduce hand size.

Honor should remain an ever increasing clock of gains to a certain goal number.

Of course, Enlightenment would be achieved by putting the 5 Rings into play by their text, or would it? My thought is the Rings would start out of play and come into play when you trigger their effect.

Example: When you successfully play a Kiho in Battle you may put the Ring of Air into play.

Ring of Air: Once per turn, you may ready a bowed Character.

This would greatly reduce tutoring through the deck and constant shuffling, which will hopefully be minimized overall.

Lastly, let's have a look at deck construction. My principal hope is that L5R remains character driven. I am also hoping Holdings start out of play and are somehow linked to one's Stronghold.

I am also hoping that Keywords are largely used for card interactions and that they have very little rulebook definitions. I have always felt the number of keywords with definitions were an unnecessary complication.

Example:

Event Card: Give a Samurai +2 Force, give him +4 if he is a Tactician.

Instead of giving Tactician a rulebook definition, simply use it as an interaction keyword.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts and ideas.

 

 

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The all-or-nothing battle system often meant that a single battle would decide the game.  Some form of withdrawal and attrition may be nice to make it so the loser isn't always decimated and the winner isn't always unscathed.

Ide Yoshiya, Dovla and sndwurks like this

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My thoughts on what to expect:

1) Strongholds - This is a guarantee. They will give you a Faction, and probably a degree of Dynasty Deck (see below) construction guidelines beyond simply saying "These guys are in-faction". It will likely have a Starting Gold value and an ability. Depending on how they handle Battlefields, they may have a Province Strength. However, I would expect them to get rid of Starting Honor, or make it so higher Starting Honor goes 2nd.

2) Two Decks - This is iconic to L5R. It is part of the Big 3 for me on what makes L5R the card game different, second only to the Faction aspect. The split between Resources and People as your Dynasty Deck, and your Actions and Strategies as your Fate Deck is part of what makes L5R FEEL like L5R, and without it, a lot of the deck design finesse goes away. However, I would expect them to drop down to 30 or 35 card decks, rather than 40.

3) Back and Forth Action Fights - Battle in L5R is always a tense exchange of strategy and play. Watching two master level players with full hands and multiple personalities in a fight is like watching two master chess players playing speed chess. This is the third of my Big 3 parts of L5R the Card Game. I think the addition of an Attrition mechanic prevent battles from being All or Nothing would be both flavorful and good, however.

4) One Victory Condition, Multiple Paths - My last prediction is a centralization of Victory around the Family Honor mechanic, while opening up the pathways to achieve that. Win a battle at a Province? Force your opponent to discard that card, and gain some Honor. Win a duel? Kill the loser, and gain some Honor. Bring an Elemental Ring into play? Gain a benefit, and gain some Honor. First player to hit a certain threshold wins. Alternatively, if you are above a certain threshold and have the highest Honor at the start of your turn, you win. And then you can bring in the Shadowlands Horde who don't care about Honor, and have a different mechanic for victory.

Other than these 4, and that the game will have Samurai? No idea.

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Just about any/everything we say at this point is just wild speculation. However there are a few things I'd bet on us seeing once they start showing the game. And we shouldn't have to wait 7 months, I'm sure we'll get previews before Gencon.

1) Family/"theme" decks will be gone. You won't a Crab Berserker Deck. A Dragon Kensai Deck. A Crane dueling deck. A scorpion courtier deck etc.... You'll just play a Crab Deck or a Dragon Deck or a Unicorn Deck. There will be one victory condition (collecting favor tokens or something) but multiple ways for players to earn them - both through military victory, destroying units, gaining honor, dishonoring your opponent etc... 

2) I can't see them getting rid of something as......game defining as the two deck system. I'd bet we see the Dynasty and Fate decks return

3) Strongholds..........I think we'll see them in some form. Whether its a location/stronghold, maybe a general, maybe just a clan market etc.... but I'm sure there will be something that gives each clan a little bit of favour that is always in play. 

4) The personalities were another defining part of L5R, I'd be shocked if they aren't used again. Hopefully FFG lets the personalities be the "stars" of the game and be the real powerhouses unlike the last edition or two with AEG (looking at the GoT game, I think they get that) 

 

Edited by Jedi samurai

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28 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

The all-or-nothing battle system often meant that a single battle would decide the game.  Some form of withdrawal and attrition may be nice to make it so the loser isn't always decimated and the winner isn't always unscathed.

Print more direct KILL and EVERY battle won't finish with all-or-nothing. It worked in opposed Emperor battles at least.

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5 minutes ago, Jedi samurai said:

Hopefully FFG lets the personalities be the "stars" of the game and be the real powerhouses unlike the last edition or two with AEG...

 

Could you explain what you mean by this?  How were personalities not "stars" in the last couple editions?  What was, then?

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2 minutes ago, kempy said:

Print more direct KILL and EVERY battle won't finish with all-or-nothing. It worked in opposed Emperor battles at least.

More kill abilities would be nice (perhaps even giving every unit the ability to bow to do a melee attack equal to its force, or something like that?)  I'd still like to see an attrition mechanic like the one from Decipher's Star Wars CCG, which helped encourage bringing more units to a battle.

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8 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Could you explain what you mean by this?  How were personalities not "stars" in the last couple editions?  What was, then?

In most cases guys of Ivory were used only to keep Presence in battles because their printed abilities (if any) were poor.

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12 minutes ago, kempy said:

In most cases guys of Ivory were used only to keep Presence in battles because their printed abilities (if any) were poor.

I guess I could see that in some of the decks.  Though there were some fun decks centered around the abilities of personalities, it'd be nice if that were the majority of decks.

4 minutes ago, BayushiCroy said:

I really like the idea if the rings being tokens out of game that you can put into play some way. Maybe even a tug of war between players for them. That would be really neat. 

It would be nice if some of the very iconic stuff (dueling, the Rings, etc.) could be inherent to the rules and available to all players rather than cards you have to include and build around, with the cards just enhancing them in some way.

This is more about the long-term game development, but I'm hoping we don't run into cards being straight upgrades of other cards, with no additional cost or trade-off.  (e.g. Archer's Position is exactly like Higher Ground, except that it can also be played as an Engage action, and it has a higher focus value.  It should have had a gold cost, or a focus value of 0, or something to make it so that choosing one over the other isn't an absolute no-brainer.)

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33 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Could you explain what you mean by this?  How were personalities not "stars" in the last couple editions?  What was, then?

 

Like Kempy said, the abilities printed on personalities (when they even had them) were pretty terrible and they were really just batteries to play the real meat of your deck which was your fate hand. 

I think the personalities should be the "stars" of the show, they should be the focus of the battles and your fate hand should be there to support them, not the other way around. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Jedi samurai said:

Like Kempy said, the abilities printed on personalities (when they even had them) were pretty terrible and they were really just batteries to play the real meat of your deck which was your fate hand. 

I think the personalities should be the "stars" of the show, they should be the focus of the battles and your fate hand should be there to support them, not the other way around. 

Try a Tsuruchi deck...or a Kitsune deck...or a Lion Ancestors deck.  There were a lot of personalities that had fun abilities you could build a deck around.  Though, especially with some clans, the number of personalities with lackluster or nonexistent abilities could be rather disappointing, too.

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1 minute ago, JJ48 said:

Try a Tsuruchi deck...or a Kitsune deck...or a Lion Ancestors deck.  There were a lot of personalities that had fun abilities you could build a deck around.  Though, especially with some clans, the number of personalities with lackluster or nonexistent abilities could be rather disappointing, too.


Tsuruchi were one of the exceptions. Of all the Kitsu personalities, three had battle actions that - 1 creates an ancestor (so you lose tempo), 1 is a force pump, 1 is a force penality (also temp losers). All the teeth in that deck was from the fate hand.  

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4 minutes ago, Jedi samurai said:


Tsuruchi were one of the exceptions. Of all the Kitsu personalities, three had battle actions that - 1 creates an ancestor (so you lose tempo), 1 is a force pump, 1 is a force penality (also temp losers). All the teeth in that deck was from the fate hand.  

Yeah, they were a little weak on Battle actions, but they had some fun Limited and Open actions, especially if you throw in Gyushi Kageto to help outfit all those ancestors.

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If we look at the Game of Thrones & Star Wars LCG's, we see some mechanical opportunities for L5R.

Affiliation Cards could be fleshed out to be Strongholds.

If you look at Objective Sets in SWLCG, you see some real possibilities for Holdings & Provinces and how that could basically work in L5R.

Destroying Objective Cards simulates destroying Provinces, it has a threshold level to defeat the Card and takes away resources from the Defender, all in the flavor of L5R. Having Production already in play allows Players to jump right into the game instead of the awkward ramp up L5R always struggled to balance.

Edge battles look like duels and Action Cards have Duel Resolution Effects. The Force Markers on the cards are similar to Focus Values. A very good mechanic for dueling is already in place here.

AGOTLCG has an interesting mechanic where Characters can participate in Political, Power or Military Battles. L5R could utilize a similar mechanic to eliminate the Limited/Open Phase. 

Political Battles could be used to gain Honor or could be used to Dishonor the opponent's Characters. There are also some strong control levers available here. The Power Mechanic in GOT simulates an Honor victory in many ways. This would be a perfect place for Courtiers, Duelists & other types of political operatives of Rokugan.

Military Battles would of course be used to kill opposing Characters and destroy Provinces(Objective Cards). Of course this is a perfect place for Samurai, Onis, Ninjas & other sword wielding/bow wielding warriors.

Power Battles is a nice place to slip in Enlightenment. Winning different types of these battles could award one of the Rings. This is a great place for Monks, Shugenja, and Artisans.

I'm not familiar with other FFG LCG's, but I'm sure there are other mechanical levers that could be utilized from other FFG games.

As always, let me know your thoughts.

 

Edited by Daner0023
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I am afraid that if battle streamlining is done poorly, we might end up with agot like military, political (power) and honor (intrigue) "challenges" which count towards victory conditions. also agot has significaant snowball effect which is being dealt with somewhat slowly and inefficiently, so there is a possibility that l5r might end up with similar mechanics which were a problem in the original game.

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I understand your concerns with AGOT and the snowball effect.

I stopped playing 1st Edition because there was almost no way to come back, once behind.

Hopefully, with multiple win conditions that can be curtailed.

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1 hour ago, Daner0023 said:

If we look at the Game of Thrones & Star Wars LCG's, we see some mechanical opportunities for L5R.

Affiliation Cards could be fleshed out to be Strongholds.

If you look at Objective Sets in SWLCG, you see some real possibilities for Holdings & Provinces and how that could basically work in L5R.

Destroying Objective Cards simulates destroying Provinces, it has a threshold level to defeat the Card and takes away resources from the Defender, all in the flavor of L5R. Having Production already in play allows Players to jump right into the game instead of the awkward ramp up L5R always struggled to balance.

Edge battles look like duels and Action Cards have Duel Resolution Effects. The Force Markers on the cards are similar to Focus Values. A very good mechanic for dueling is already in place here.

AGOTLCG has an interesting mechanic where Characters can participate in Political, Power or Military Battles. L5R could utilize a similar mechanic to eliminate the Limited/Open Phase. 

Political Battles could be used to gain Honor or could be used to Dishonor the opponent's Characters. There are also some strong control levers available here. The Power Mechanic in GOT simulates an Honor victory in many ways. This would be a perfect place for Courtiers, Duelists & other types of political operatives of Rokugan.

Military Battles would of course be used to kill opposing Characters and destroy Provinces(Objective Cards). Of course this is a perfect place for Samurai, Onis, Ninjas & other sword wielding/bow wielding warriors.

Power Battles is a nice place to slip in Enlightenment. Winning different types of these battles could award one of the Rings. This is a great place for Monks, Shugenja, and Artisans.

I'm not familiar with other FFG LCG's, but I'm sure there are other mechanical levers that could be utilized from other FFG games.

As always, let me know your thoughts.

 

So all you need is shameless copy of other mechanics? Really? No, thanks. Better play these games as they are. Or just glue printed samurais to your AGoT/Star Wars cards and voila.

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2 hours ago, kempy said:

So all you need is shameless copy of other mechanics? Really? No, thanks. Better play these games as they are. Or just glue printed samurais to your AGoT/Star Wars cards and voila.

That's really not what I'm saying at all.

What I am saying is that these mechanics exist already. They obviously are in line with FFG's design philosophy, because they are in current games.

With that being said, it's easy to adapt and translate certain core mechanics into crafting a new game with a new skin.

Why would a company want to do this?

The simple answer is those mechanics have been Play tested for years. You know what works and what creates pitfalls in those Microsystems.

It's kind of like writing computer code to create a system. You take existing code that supports a function, you integrate or bridge it together with other existing codes that perform other functions, and then you put it altogether and test it.

Once you understand a few basic design philosophies, then you can string different mechanics together to form something new & innovative.

Basically, you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you create a game.

With L5R, the designers always struggled with the ramp up or starting gold. Edition after Edition they changed the mechanics. Another issue was dueling. Enlightenment decks spent too much time tutoring, which slowed down game play.

So, you look at the game, you extract and innovate the smooth, enjoyable parts and you eliminate or replace the clunky, confusing, time consuming mechanics.

My previous post highlighted some of the things that FFG already does with their LCG's and I inserted them into areas of L5R where I think they make sense.

Im certainly not a proponent of taking the SWLCG and reskinning into L5R. I do think they could integrate components into L5R from their existing LCG's to make an innovative and exciting new version of L5R.

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4 hours ago, Daner0023 said:

I understand your concerns with AGOT and the snowball effect.

I stopped playing 1st Edition because there was almost no way to come back, once behind.

Hopefully, with multiple win conditions that can be curtailed.

I got to thinking about win conditions, and how they could possibly be tied to tokens (which I fully expect to be in the game, though it's not necessarily certain).  What if there were Elemental Ring tokens that you could get for doing different actions in the game?  Participate in a duel to get a Ring of Fire token (plus an additional one if you win the duel, or perform Favor or Honor actions to get Ring of Air tokens, etc.  If, at the beginning of your turn, you have 50 total Ring tokens (or 25, or 100, depending on how long/short you want the game), you win.  Instead of individual Ring cards, there could be bonuses for having a certain number of a given token.  Essentially, there would be only one victory condition (get enough tokens), but multiple ways of getting there and benefits of diversifying (getting access to more Ring abilities).

Also, if tokens were placed on individual personalities rather than just in a vague pool, you could be set back by having a personality killed, which would encourage having a team of personalities spreading out tokens rather than just one massive hero (possible, but risky if your opponent can target him).  Ideas of how this could work:

Ring of Air - When your personality performs an Honor, Dishonor, or Favor action, he gets a Ring of Air token.  Players with at least 10 Ring of Air tokens pay 1 less gold for personalities.

Ring of Earth - Get 1 Ring of Earth token for each of the opponent's cards destroyed during battle resolution.  These tokens must be distributed between your personalities who were in that battle resolution and your province at which the battle took place.  Players with at least 10 Ring of Earth tokens have +1 province strength, and provinces get +1 province strength for each Ring of Earth token on them.

Ring of Fire - When a duel is initiated, give 1 Ring of Fire token to each participant.  The winner of the duel gets 1 additional Ring of Fire token.  If a player has at least 10 Ring of Fire tokens, all his personalities with Ring of Fire tokens on them get +1F (total, not per token).

Ring of Water - When your action moves (not assigns) a personality to or from the current battle, give a Ring of Water token to your performing personality.  Players with at least 10 Ring of Water tokens may, once per turn, move one of their personalities home or move one of their personalities to a battle in which he would be opposed.

Ring of Void - Discard a card to gain a Ring of Void token (this token does not go on a personality).  Players with at least 10 Ring of Void tokens draw an additional card at the end of their turn.

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This is a difficult task for anyone to accomplish.

I know some people may not like it, but L5R as a card game did have problems... and some of those problems were mechanics and concepts that were introduced into the game and could never be rewritten or reinvented because they became immutable sacred cows. "It's not L5R unless the cavalry and tactician traits works precisely this way", "It's not L5R if you don't have a far more limited supply of battle actions, items and followers than you have personalities and holdings"... 

I am sure changing of some of the rules were considered multiple times, but there was hardly an instance where you didn't have cards from old sets that worked based on those earliest understandings and so making the big fixes just wasn't possible even if it would have made for a far better game.

And then set after set, various cards that worked in all sorts of odd ways got introduced to the game. Senseis, province cards, a deck-searchable gold holding... these all all added additional complexions and just stacked on top of some of the things that might have best been revised.

Here is the problem though.

There is a relatively small audience still interested in this setting and this game. No matter what gets turned out, it just isn't going to sell as well as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings has... there are just far fewer fans of the franchise that are not completely disengaged from it. And that small audience, by in large, is already loyal to the look, feel and mechanics the original game had. And its not like this game has a way to really get out there in advertisement and appeal to new players who have never tried it before. It really is going to have to rely heavily on word-of-mouth by those who are already invested in it.

So they really do have little choice but to make the game as similar as the old game as possible.... or end up selling so few sets that it wasn't worth making in the first place.

But, again, if the game is 100% completely loyal to the difficulty, complexity, the sheer amount of fore-knowledge you need to have of various keywords and cards before you even attempt to play.. well, its going to be way too hard to get anyone to pick the game up, play it and then want to buy their own set. I think those who were entirely in love with the last set AEG turned out have probably forgotten that the last set is not the card game they originally bought into, it was the card game they evolved with to get to that point.

 

It feels like they are in a no win situation. I would hope that if when the set comes out, even if it is different from what you are used to, pretty stream-lined, simple and not all that hard to "solve" from the first release base set of cards, that you won't throw a fit over it and instead approach it with the mindset that this is the set for you to use with new players to get them into the game... and that, BONUS, when you do so, you already have all the cards you need to make an equally great deck for a faction that is not your main, so you can make great decks for other too. And, you know what? Maybe, just maybe, the rules will be so balanced that a decently astute beginner using the deck you built might just have a shot at beating a pro like you. Which I guess makes the tournament scene a "joke", but... you know what...? If that beginner player wins their third or fourth game on a stroke of luck instead of being shut down and decimated on turn 2, there is a MUCH better chance they will go out and buy their own set.

This game continuing will be entirely dependent upon a large number of people buying no more than 3 sets, not a few highly competitive "pros" buying tons of sealed booster boxes desperately hoping to get 3 copies of that rare card that one cannot hope to win any round of a tournament without.

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8 minutes ago, TheHobgoblyn said:

This is a difficult task for anyone to accomplish.

I know some people may not like it, but L5R as a card game did have problems... and some of those problems were mechanics and concepts that were introduced into the game and could never be rewritten or reinvented because they became immutable sacred cows. "It's not L5R unless the cavalry and tactician traits works precisely this way", "It's not L5R if you don't have a far more limited supply of battle actions, items and followers than you have personalities and holdings"... 

I am sure changing of some of the rules were considered multiple times, but there was hardly an instance where you didn't have cards from old sets that worked based on those earliest understandings and so making the big fixes just wasn't possible even if it would have made for a far better game.

And then set after set, various cards that worked in all sorts of odd ways got introduced to the game. Senseis, province cards, a deck-searchable gold holding... these all all added additional complexions and just stacked on top of some of the things that might have best been revised.

Here is the problem though.

There is a relatively small audience still interested in this setting and this game. No matter what gets turned out, it just isn't going to sell as well as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings has... there are just far fewer fans of the franchise that are not completely disengaged from it. And that small audience, by in large, is already loyal to the look, feel and mechanics the original game had. And its not like this game has a way to really get out there in advertisement and appeal to new players who have never tried it before. It really is going to have to rely heavily on word-of-mouth by those who are already invested in it.

So they really do have little choice but to make the game as similar as the old game as possible.... or end up selling so few sets that it wasn't worth making in the first place.

But, again, if the game is 100% completely loyal to the difficulty, complexity, the sheer amount of fore-knowledge you need to have of various keywords and cards before you even attempt to play.. well, its going to be way too hard to get anyone to pick the game up, play it and then want to buy their own set. I think those who were entirely in love with the last set AEG turned out have probably forgotten that the last set is not the card game they originally bought into, it was the card game they evolved with to get to that point.

 

It feels like they are in a no win situation. I would hope that if when the set comes out, even if it is different from what you are used to, pretty stream-lined, simple and not all that hard to "solve" from the first release base set of cards, that you won't throw a fit over it and instead approach it with the mindset that this is the set for you to use with new players to get them into the game... and that, BONUS, when you do so, you already have all the cards you need to make an equally great deck for a faction that is not your main, so you can make great decks for other too. And, you know what? Maybe, just maybe, the rules will be so balanced that a decently astute beginner using the deck you built might just have a shot at beating a pro like you. Which I guess makes the tournament scene a "joke", but... you know what...? If that beginner player wins their third or fourth game on a stroke of luck instead of being shut down and decimated on turn 2, there is a MUCH better chance they will go out and buy their own set.

This game continuing will be entirely dependent upon a large number of people buying no more than 3 sets, not a few highly competitive "pros" buying tons of sealed booster boxes desperately hoping to get 3 copies of that rare card that one cannot hope to win any round of a tournament without.

I know there are some who are facing The Coming Storm and have drawn A Line in the Sand, stating, "If The New Order doesn't include X, then those are Evil Portents indeed, and I won't recognize the game as being L5R.  But if it does, it will be met with Thunderous Acclaim, and...um...we'll celebrate with Twenty Festivals...and...cease taxing...The Currency of War.........."

Sorry, the wordplay kind of got away from me there.  The point is, there are some people who have decided (or at least, they think they've decided) that they will only accept the new game if it has this or that feature or mechanic.  But I think the vast majority of those who love L5R will be willing to try the new game, regardless of how similar or different it is from what we knew.  If it's different, there will be some grumbling and complaining, but I expect even those of us who gripe about the changes will ultimately judge the new game based on its own merits, not how closely it fits what we remember.  FFG should do what they feel they need to do to appeal to a wide audience, and if the game is good, most of the rest of us will adapt.

Will it be A Perfect Cut?  Not at first, but it'll almost certainly be a far sight better than the 1,000 Years of Darkness that the Web of Lies makes it out to...you know what, I'll stop now.

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Great stuff there Hobgoblyn!

I think FFG bought this franchise to do cool things with it. 

One of those things is staying true to some aspects of the original game.

If you look at dueling and Edge Battles in SWLCG, they look pretty similar. Maybe Edge Battles incorporated into L5R is something everyone does, but dueling decks do it more efficiently and it's more lethal. Perhaps, the Unicorn or God forbid the Mantis use it more as a Raid Phase where they can do drive by shootings at your Holdings.

On the other hand, the Lion are better when attacking Provinces because they are proficient at skirting around Edge Battles because of their tactical skill.

You take an existing mechanic and morph it into something that feels like Rokugan.

If the game is fun, if the rules are tight, if it's easily teachable , if the game feels like Rokugan, and the art & story work, then I think FFG's ability to market it will help create an engaged, niche community of new and old players.

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