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akodobanzai

Two Major Dissappointments from PAX Unplugged

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Long, long time player, first time poster.

When it came to L5R at PAX Unplugged, it was a HUGE disappointment on two major fronts. Let's dive right in.

1. FFG, Cascade, and Bad Rulings

There were a lot of bad rulings made by the judges at this event. To be fully honest, none of these were done to me directly, but many of these were done to folks from my local playgroup and players that we knew. Here are some of those rulings:

a. Akodo Toturi was ruled that you could use the reaction on defense and that the defender would gain the benefits, not the attacker. The ring resolved was Ring of Fire, btw.

b. The mulligan rule was not used as ruled by Nate French. (Nate clarified via email, which was later shared via discord, that after a player mulligans his dynasty cards, they can look at the new cards before drawing conflict cards; this was not allowed at PAX)

c. Ring of the Void's wording was ruled that whatever is on the reference card is the official wording, and not what is in the Rules Reference.

d. Bayushi Manipulator and Contingency Plans got different rulings from different judges. One ruled that it affected the physical dial. Another judge ruled that it changed the bid but the exchange of honor was still based on the dial, which was not changed.

e. Base force was defined as whatever was printed on the card. Someone who tried to play 2 Way of the Lion was told they had to go by printed force for the second one.

Also concerning was the fact that some of the floor judges admitted to various players that they had never played L5R before judging this event. They were brought on simply because they were good Magic judges.

According to the judges at the event, they work for a company called Cascade and not FFG. Furthermore, it appears that Cascade has been contracted by FFG to run and judge all of the US L5R events for the next year, including GenCon 2018. If this is true, then this is a problem.

PAX was a Grand Kotei, which means it was one of FFG's major tournaments of the year. To find out that it was judged by people who had never even played the game before is not acceptable. If Cascade is going to continue to represent FFG and be responsible for making rulings at these events, then there needs to be some training. At the very least, they should pick up a deck and play a game so they begin to understand how the game actually plays out.

The overall accountability falls on FFG. If they are going to rely on others to run their major events for them, then FFG needs to make sure that the company they've chosen has all the tools they need. There also needs to be a living, public source made available where rulings are kept and up to date. Judges need this as a resource to make informed decisions. And players also need to know how cards are being ruled, which affects their deck building and play decisions.

Rulings affect game outcomes. It's not too much to ask that players are made aware of rulings and changes. It's also not too much to ask that judges at major events are knowledgeable and competent. I don't mean to be hard on the individual people who were judging at PAX, but if you've never even picked up an L5R deck, you are not competent to judge at a Grand Kotei. This falls on Cascade and more so on FFG to make sure this doesn't happen again.


2. The new chant is unacceptable by FFG's own standards

Full disclaimer, I want "Utz-Banzai!" back. I do not agree that it is offensive. For every article online that claims that this is what kamikaze pilots yelled during their attacks, there are just as many articles that say this just isn't true. And to claim that the word Banzai is offensive is an insult to Japanese people everywhere. The triple Banzai has a very specific use in Japanese culture. To censor it by attempting to assign negative connotations to it is indeed insulting. I welcome everyone, especially FFG, to do some research on the triple Banzai.

Having said that, FFG earlier this year decided to end "Utz-Banzai!" and gave the following reason:

"Unfortunately, the real-world historical context of similar phrases has connected a number of negative associations to this chant, which undermines the tradition by detracting from the sense of community and positivity it seeks to establish."

What does this have to do with the new chant? Well, apparently it ACTUALLY has some connections to real-world phrases with negative historical associations. More directly, it is a Nazi chant. Or at least, very similar to one.

Interesting story time. I met a few gamers from England at PAX and I decided to do an experiment. In the L5R Facebook group, the similarity between the new chant and Nazi chants from WWII has been pointed out by European players, mainly British and German
players. I asked them to come witness the beginning of the Grand Kotei on Saturday. I didn't give them any heads up, as I wanted to see their reactions, if any. As soon as the second verse was uttered, they both looked at me wide-eyed. Needless to say, we had an interesting conversation afterwards.

FFG needs to look into this matter. Please, don't just take my word for it. Something this SIMILAR to real-world historical context with a number of negative associations needs to be addressed.

If the ultimate decision is to do away with all chants, then so be it. But I think it needs to be said that out of the two chants, one is clearly not offensive and one clearly is similar enough to be.

Also, I would like to add before any such suggestions are made, that I have tried to email FFG before, at least about the concern regarding their new chant. I suspect it has been ignored or at the very least overlooked. I have noticed that FFG responds more readily to public feedback, so I am attempting this route. My hope is that both of these matters are looked into before the next major tournament.

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  I was at PAX, and my experience was not the same as yours. We did have to call the judge over for a ruling in one of my games, and the ruling went against me. When I looked it up after the game, I found out I was wrong and the ruling was right (my opponent was gracious throughout, both in calling over the judge and accepting my apologies when I found out for sure I was wrong.) I didn't hear other complaints about the judging while at the tournament, but must concede I'm not a high caliber player, didn't expect to win, and was mostly chatting with people who were in roughly the same boat. 

  From your specific points:

  b. I understand Nate's answer, and think that's the better way to play it. However, it's not supported by the rules. Until FFG changes the rules reference or puts up a page of official rulings, I think Cascade made the right call. 

  c. I had to look at the difference between the reference card and rules reference for Ring of the Void. The only difference I could see was that the card had the word 'may.' But the rules reference makes resolving the ring effects for the attacker optional anyway, so I'm not sure I see the difference here. Could you explain the problem?

  For the others, I think you've got good points. Hopefully they can improve as they move forward. I got a survey from PAX looking for ways to improve the convention, but haven't gotten anything similar (yet) from FFG or Cascade. I hope they send something like that out, and please add your complaints if they do. Personally I had a great time, but my goal was to win at least one game and just have fun (and I succeeded in both.) Being far less competitive, this wouldn't have had a big affect on me. I hope you still managed to have fun despite the problems.

  On the chant, I'm with you on preferring Banzai, but not so much on claiming the new chant is Nazi-inspired. Come on, the way to answer an overreaction is not with a counter-overreaction. I was moderately pleased to see the Banzai cheer after the official one, and both were mercifully short. My biggest complaint with the ceremony was actually introducing the hatamotos. I thought that was supposed to be a bigger deal, and instead they were just asked to stand up. Well, it took so long to get organized maybe anything else would have been a worse delay. I just had hoped to see a bit more ceremony around them.

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Like agarett, I had a very different experience than you at PAX.  I had to do two judges' rulings about things that had never come up before in my games before and, while both went against me, they were well-reasoned and handled quickly and professionally.  I understand the Nate French mulligan issue, but until things are officially codified, I think judges have to go by what has been published.  As for the other things... errors are understandable, if regrettable.  This doesn't mean they should get a pass, but we should be realistic - in other words, FFG should look into a training program for their judges and Cascade should make sure they're judges are familiar with the games they're being asked to judge.

As for Banzai, can we please stop beating that dead horse?

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Just now, suburbaknght said:

As for Banzai, can we please stop beating that dead horse?

No? 

They over-reacted in pulling it, and made matters worse with the new chant. They should own up to their mistake, and revert to how it was - or just remove the "official" chant from their Grand Kotei events.

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23 minutes ago, dysartes said:

No? 

They over-reacted in pulling it, and made matters worse with the new chant. They should own up to their mistake, and revert to how it was - or just remove the "official" chant from their Grand Kotei events.

A number of us disagree.  If you want to discuss the chant, do so in one of the many threads devoted to that topic; it's not relevant to discussion of the kotei.

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1 minute ago, suburbaknght said:

A number of us disagree.  If you want to discuss the chant, do so in one of the many threads devoted to that topic; it's not relevant to discussion of the kotei.

Given it was point #2 in the original post, we'll have to disagree on whether it is relevant to this discussion or not.

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2 hours ago, akodobanzai said:

e. Base force was defined as whatever was printed on the card. Someone who tried to play 2 Way of the Lion was told they had to go by printed force for the second one.

 

To be fair, the wording on Way of the Lion is very rough and really needs errata to be clear what the actual intent was.

But yes, two Way of the Lion on Toturi leaves him at 24 Mil strength

https://fiveringsdb.com/card/way-of-the-lion

Edited by Horizonshard

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2 hours ago, akodobanzai said:

2. The new chant is unacceptable by FFG's own standards

Full disclaimer, I want "Utz-Banzai!" back. I do not agree that it is offensive. For every article online that claims that this is what kamikaze pilots yelled during their attacks, there are just as many articles that say this just isn't true. And to claim that the word Banzai is offensive is an insult to Japanese people everywhere. The triple Banzai has a very specific use in Japanese culture. To censor it by attempting to assign negative connotations to it is indeed insulting. I welcome everyone, especially FFG, to do some research on the triple Banzai.

Having said that, FFG earlier this year decided to end "Utz-Banzai!" and gave the following reason:

"Unfortunately, the real-world historical context of similar phrases has connected a number of negative associations to this chant, which undermines the tradition by detracting from the sense of community and positivity it seeks to establish."

What does this have to do with the new chant? Well, apparently it ACTUALLY has some connections to real-world phrases with negative historical associations. More directly, it is a Nazi chant. Or at least, very similar to one.

Interesting story time. I met a few gamers from England at PAX and I decided to do an experiment. In the L5R Facebook group, the similarity between the new chant and Nazi chants from WWII has been pointed out by European players, mainly British and German
players. I asked them to come witness the beginning of the Grand Kotei on Saturday. I didn't give them any heads up, as I wanted to see their reactions, if any. As soon as the second verse was uttered, they both looked at me wide-eyed. Needless to say, we had an interesting conversation afterwards.

FFG needs to look into this matter. Please, don't just take my word for it. Something this SIMILAR to real-world historical context with a number of negative associations needs to be addressed.

If the ultimate decision is to do away with all chants, then so be it. But I think it needs to be said that out of the two chants, one is clearly not offensive and one clearly is similar enough to be.

Also, I would like to add before any such suggestions are made, that I have tried to email FFG before, at least about the concern regarding their new chant. I suspect it has been ignored or at the very least overlooked. I have noticed that FFG responds more readily to public feedback, so I am attempting this route. My hope is that both of these matters are looked into before the next major tournament.

Banzai has never been insinuated to be negative toward Japanese, just other East and Southeast Asians whose families suffered at their hands in World War II.

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1) FFG needs to hurry up and print an official FAQ which can include important dev rulings that have been made so far.  This can serve as a cheat sheet for judges.  Sadly some of the most base level rules for L5R are different then MtG.  Given that they simply recruited skilled MtG judges I would expect some bad rulings.  Hopefully FFG can make this better going forward - there is no reason to look back on this unless they continue to blunder about it.

2) Man... its one of those things where culturally and systemically the Social Justice position is just so highly favored these days that you absolutely cannot go against it unless you exist as a safe-haven for right wing activists...  FFG would not be able to come back and institute the Banzai chant without suffering across media platforms to very loud voices who wouldn't care about FFG or L5R except that they want to beat anything not-pc with a stick.

Considering how vicious the pc movement can be on companies I forgive FFG for dropping the Banzai chant.  If I worked for them, I'd probably tell them to do it too... and I'd hate myself for it, but it keeps the game alive.  The new chant is tolerable, and at least keeps some of the spirit alive.  Its too big a movement for FFG to fight.

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3 hours ago, akodobanzai said:

Long, long time player, first time poster.

When it came to L5R at PAX Unplugged, it was a HUGE disappointment on two major fronts. Let's dive right in.

1. FFG, Cascade, and Bad Rulings

b. The mulligan rule was not used as ruled by Nate French. (Nate clarified via email, which was later shared via discord, that after a player mulligans his dynasty cards, they can look at the new cards before drawing conflict cards; this was not allowed at PAX)

 

Is this listed anywhere under FFG's tournament resources? The only thing need (from the tournament regulations) are three things: the rules reference, the tournament regulations, and event outlines. You could add the line "or any document relevant to the event". I wouldn't say it was the Judge's fault if they don't know about some email from Nate French or something from Discord.

It's great for Nate French to make rules whenever wants to, but to really make them official he really needs to get it added to the L5R section of the FFG lcg page or have FFG change the regulations. 

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Part of the issue is that we are getting unofficial rulings via email which we are taking as law. 

 

The Milligan rule for one I never look at the cards after till it's an official rule it' not a rule to me.  While the repliess to the emails have been helpful i do think we need to be more aware till we get an faq they are more guidelines.

 

As for the chant. I don't see the chant matters. It does feel like it's more the old guard refusing to accept it' a new game with cries of I want my old chant back or I want my old clans back or maybe so much as to want the story to progress to the old conclusions.

 

We all need to remember this is a new game with an old game title and progress with it, having listened to the chant from pax and doing it at local events I kind of like it, pax just felt bad mannered to the organisers 

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7 hours ago, Kakita Shiro said:

Banzai has never been insinuated to be negative toward Japanese, just other East and Southeast Asians whose families suffered at their hands in World War II.

By the same token, FFG should change the "Banzai!" card name in case the Chinese get offended.

Banzai is a centuries-old cry and the dreaded political correctness should stay out of it. Enough with the hipocrisy.

Let us throw Nietzsche and Wagner to the garbage as well, because the Nazis used to commemorate them.

Jesus...

Edited by Serazu

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2 minutes ago, Serazu said:

Let us throw Nietzsche and Wagner to the garbage as well, because the Nazis used to commemorate them.

That's fine for Nietzsche, but if you want my Wagner you'll have to pry him from my cold dead fingers. :P

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1 hour ago, starrius said:

Part of the issue is that we are getting unofficial rulings via email which we are taking as law. 

 

The Milligan rule for one I never look at the cards after till it's an official rule it' not a rule to me.  While the repliess to the emails have been helpful i do think we need to be more aware till we get an faq they are more guidelines.

Not all of the dev emails change the rules, sometimes they are simply answering according to the rules.  The rulings simply put it into clear language where some would try to redefine the language in the RR to suit some arbitrary case that just isn't so.

7 minutes ago, Vlad3theImpaler said:

What is the new chant, and what does it have to do with Nazis?

I thought it was just "For Rokugan!"

 

Was I misinformed?

I believe it is:
"For Honor,
For Glory,
For Rokugan!"

The SS have a saying "My Honor is called Loyalty."  I think its a stretch to say the new chant is reminiscent of the SS - as much of a stretch as saying Banzai is actually problematic...  except that PC culture is vicious and in power.

Edited by Soshi Nimue

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8 minutes ago, Soshi Nimue said:

Not all of the dev emails change the rules, sometimes they are simply answering according to the rules.  The rulings simply put it into clear language where some would try to redefine the language in the RR to suit some arbitrary case that just isn't so.

I believe it is:
"For Honor,
For Glory,
For Rokugan!"

The SS have a saying "My Honor is called Loyalty."  I think its a stretch to say the new chant is reminiscent of the SS - as much of a stretch as saying Banzai is actually problematic...  except that PC culture is vicious and in power.

I agree that it's a stretch, but I disagree with the general complaint about "PC culture."

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44 minutes ago, Vlad3theImpaler said:

I agree that it's a stretch, but I disagree with the general complaint about "PC culture."

Then your head is in the sand.

This company won't follow up with anything from anyone as hard as we all bleat on their official forums and people in the real world make all kinds of begs and pleas...

But that beast got woken up with a single article and a single storm in a single teacup, and they broke a 20 year tradition in less than a week. Those people get results, and they're vicious to anyone that doesn't tow their line. Honestly, I think the fact that more people aren't scared is because more people aren't particularly well read on their Russian/Marxist history.

Edited by Daigotsu Steve

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14 minutes ago, Daigotsu Steve said:

Then your head is in the sand.

This company won't follow up with anything from anyone as hard as we all bleat on their official forums and people in the real world make all kinds of begs and pleas...

But that beast got woken up with a single article and a single storm in a single teacup, and they broke a 20 year tradition in less than a week. Those people get results, and they're vicious to anyone that doesn't tow their line. Honestly, I think the fact that more people aren't scared is because more people aren't particularly well read on their Russian/Marxist history.

Why in the world would I be scared what word someone says while playing a card game?  (And that really applies to both sides here.)  For someone complaining about "a storm in a teacup," you sure seem to be making a big deal out of nothing yourself.

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1 hour ago, Soshi Nimue said:

The SS have a saying "My Honor is called Loyalty." 

I guess you know what this means, right?

It won't be long till Scorpion fans are accused of being Nazi sympathizers.

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10 hours ago, dysartes said:

No? 

They over-reacted in pulling it, and made matters worse with the new chant. They should own up to their mistake, and revert to how it was - or just remove the "official" chant from their Grand Kotei events.

chanting is stupid, get rid of it

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Just now, Hituro said:

I played a lot of the CCG in the UK, and I don't remember chanting anything at any event. Is this a mainly US thing?

I have no friggin clue. I didn't know they chanted??

I only went to some smaller tournaments years ago and they didn't chant there??

My sons and i had a game store and we ran tournaments, chanters would have got the boot.

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Excellent nice to see another thread helpfully focusing on banzai, would read again...

I agree you are flogging a dead donkey if you are trying to get it back not helped by the over reaction to the new chant. Being from the UK myself and a historian by training  I can say that though the UK is still over focused on ww2 most people here would not associate the new chart with the ss. In Germany there might be eyebrows raised at a group of people shouting 'for honor' but Germany has moved well on from the war (for obvious reasons) and both the UK and Germany have enough issues with real fascists that a shout at a card game competition is unlikely to make much impact.

I don't know personally if I would do the new chant mainly as being British we tend to be reserved and shouting in public is a little embarrassing though happily joined in with the banzai shout..

Ffg have done the best they could with a bad situation. Incidentally has the ssasd people been told of the change and asked to add an amendment to the review? As it is still one of the few major games site reviews of the game out there...

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33 minutes ago, Hituro said:

I played a lot of the CCG in the UK, and I don't remember chanting anything at any event. Is this a mainly US thing?

Chanting here in Poland was always Kotei and Story/Winner Choice tourneys thing. Locally - i've never seen it. 

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