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Bakura83

Getting ready for my first games...

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So I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas Day with my three core sets under the tree and two card packs, and I’ve found a local group to join in the new year.  The last hurdle is...wife.

She’s perfectly happy to play games, although it’s not a passion, she was “meh” about Magic but the pseudo-Japanese theme of L5R has piqued her curiosity enough to give it a try.  

My question is, have any of you had experiences worth sharing with introducing this game to friends/significant others who are only casual gamers especially in the deck building aspect?  Do you think it’s best to just build a deck for a causal gamer based solely on personal aesthetic preferences (she likes purple and horses and thought unicorn looked cool) and not even mention deck building at first, or do you think deckbuilding is so integral to this game (and/or such a fun part of it) that it’s worth bringing up right at the start?

Is it worth maybe partially building the deck but giving some limited choices like what provinces she picks?  Or are there choices she could potentially make based on aesthetics that would ruin her deck chances of winning?

Thanks.

Also, FFG, please hurry up and reprint that two player mat...

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L5R is daunting enough to explain to begin with, so I would build her a deck for a clan that she picks (or, if you're doing it ahead of time, one you think she'll like). If she doesn't like certain cards as she plays, you can modify the deck between games, but until she's played much, it's going to be hard for her to evaluate a lot of things. So, I would do a prebuilt deck for her initially, and change it as she goes. That's my two cents.

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I recommend taking the game in small chunks when starting from scratch with a new player.

Make the deck single clan only and just 30/30.

Don't worry about rings the first time or two through.

Get familiar with the phases of the game and how the action windows work.

Don't bother with the favor for the first game or two.

Then add in those layers of rings and the favor later to get the full scope of the game.

It can be a lot if you try to tackle it all in the first go

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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13 hours ago, Bakura83 said:

She’s perfectly happy to play games, although it’s not a passion, she was “meh” about Magic but the pseudo-Japanese theme of L5R has piqued her curiosity enough to give it a try.  

Your wife is wise, Magic is so boring game

Anyhow, I prepared clan deck with 30 cards per deck for my friends. Some enjoyed it, someone not. Still, they are happy to play with me again, from time to time

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My wife used to play the old version of the game casually and was happy to play the new game but wasn't willing to go far down the rabbit hole. When it comes to decks, she prefers if I prepare a list of potential decks she could try. When she chooses one, I assemble the deck and she will start to tweak it as we play to get it to a place where she is happy.

There is a pretty steep learning curve for the game and if you're heavily invested and your wife is not, at some point you're going to be consistently beating her. That isn't going to be fun for her, so be ready to switch to non-competitive decks for yourself.

If she loves the setting she will stick with the game a lot longer. See if she is interested in the short stories. There is an official compilation on drivethrufiction for free https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/239460/Legend-of-the-Five-Rings-First-Scroll--Fiction-from-the-Core-Set

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1 hour ago, Bazleebub said:

My wife used to play the old version of the game casually and was happy to play the new game but wasn't willing to go far down the rabbit hole. When it comes to decks, she prefers if I prepare a list of potential decks she could try. When she chooses one, I assemble the deck and she will start to tweak it as we play to get it to a place where she is happy.

There is a pretty steep learning curve for the game and if you're heavily invested and your wife is not, at some point you're going to be consistently beating her. That isn't going to be fun for her, so be ready to switch to non-competitive decks for yourself.

If she loves the setting she will stick with the game a lot longer. See if she is interested in the short stories. There is an official compilation on drivethrufiction for free https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/239460/Legend-of-the-Five-Rings-First-Scroll--Fiction-from-the-Core-Set

Thanks all for the feedback - appreciated.

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Just one last newb question - the cards from first cycle won’t be obsolete until the 8th cycle is available right?  And currently there are only two in total?  There’s no reason to hold off slowly buying up each one because we’re only two cycles in right - I’m assuming cycle one still has a good 12+ months of life left?

When do premium expansions like CotE and clan packs go obsolete?

Edited by Bakura83

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At present we do not have any confirmation from FFG as to if/when product will rotate out. So far they've been testing out new models for release, it's possible they may try new models for rotation as well. While it seems unlikely at this point, there's a chance even the core set may rotate out, as afaik FFG has never indicated it would be evergreen.

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Merry Christmas, and thanks everyone who responded. I have played two games now with mixed results:

Positives:

I love everything about the game.

My wife greatly prefers the aesthetic and the mechanics to MtG.

It wasn’t too hard to figure out.

Negatives:

I broke some of the advice above and started with deck building because my wife wanted to.  The first game we just took as many of our clan cards as we could and then rounded out with neutrals.  Both of our decks were sluggish but my wife had the upper hand and we enjoyed discovering each card.  It dragged on a bit and we ended up calling it for my wife so we could streamline our decks and play again.  The second game my deck was really effective and hers was really out classed.  I think it might have just been luck though - she was a bit deflated but took it well, I think we’ll probably play one more time today, I probably need to look at the other clans and see what she could splash in...

...re:splashing, I assume that if she wants 3 copies of a card that costs 3 influence that’s 9 influence in total?  Or is it just he first one of each unique card you pay for?

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Also core Unicorn is not very good... if she did deside to take that purple color with horses... With all expansions Unicorn is reasonable good but you have to play it very agressively!

One thing is to make optimal core Unicorn and not so optimal other... but still core Unicorn is in trouble. The cost / power curve is Harsh on Unicorn. They will get better costed cards later and some core cards Are excelent like spyclass  and Border raider.

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3 hours ago, Hannibal_pjv said:

Also core Unicorn is not very good... if she did deside to take that purple color with horses... With all expansions Unicorn is reasonable good but you have to play it very agressively!

One thing is to make optimal core Unicorn and not so optimal other... but still core Unicorn is in trouble. The cost / power curve is Harsh on Unicorn. They will get better costed cards later and some core cards Are excelent like spyclass  and Border raider.

I’m a total noob but core crab actually seemed kind of strong once I modified it with some iron mines...it sounds like I need to either hobble my crab deck or maybe just try a brand new clan so she’s not being beaten by the same cards again and again and also gets to see how other clans play.

Do you guys rate this deck: 

https://teamcovenant.com/learning/legend-five-rings-l5r-lcg/playing-unicorn-clan-core-set-deck

...for a new player who wants to learn unicorn or do you think I should just encourage her to keep modifying her current deck she made herself?  

I’m also still pretty clueless on card economy, when I played magic I new roughly how many lands a deck should have and how the creature/spell ratio should look and what the mana curve should be.  I have no idea what the math is yet for L5R - should I be encouraging her to get a lean 40-card deck or max it out at 45?  How many characters vs non characters should it have?  What should the fate curve look like?  How do I know if it’s best to add 1, 2 or 3 copies of a card?  I’m still learning this.  Cutting down the average cost of my crab deck really seemed to improve it.  Cutting down her unicorn deck in the same way seemed to do almost nothing.

I’ve pre-ordered the Unicorn clan pack her, so hopefully that will help.

Last random question - do you guys think much of the unicorn seal cards?

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A lot of 1 and 2 cost. Lets say 50%. Maybe 20% 3 cost and 10% of 4 to 5 cost. And rest according your plan. Zero cost is the best choise ;)

but all depends on what the card do. For example scorpio deck is normally more expensive than Li9n deck because of reasons...

what hurts Unicorn most is that They get less power vs. Fate cost so They need some extra fate to manage. Also counter spells and condition discard hurts Unicorn because some of their best core event cards Are quite expensive. Also some items but nobody use them because it is so easy to diskard or stole them. You play 3 to 5 cost cards and it immediately get discarded or stolen... nice :)

in expansions They get cards that have more powerfull effects vs fate cost and that makes them better because of that.

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Usually, I run 3-ofs for most cards in my deck, but I'm a lot more relaxed about my Conflict Deck, because you draw so many more conflict cards than you do in Magic. When you get through half of your Conflict Deck in an average game of L5R, you don't need to run full sets in order to consistently see some cards. Of course, if a card's very powerful, you'll want more copies, but personally, I tend to cut situational cards that I might not want to play more than once in a game down. I'm personally pretty fine with running a single copy of a 'gotcha' card that has potential to be a blow out in a very niche scenario, and if I draw it at the wrong time, either I've wasted one of my five draws for the turn, or I can wait until that scenario comes up. But that's my own philosophy. I would advise you to carefully consider when you put conflict cards with fate costs in your deck. A lot of the best cards are free to play and/or universally good. Fine Katana and Ornate Fan seem simple and relatively minor, but the fact is you are almost always going to be able to effectively play those cards, whereas something flashy like Fallen in Battle or Rout are going to be harder to utilize. If you have too many situational cards in your hand, you may find yourself 'winning' on card advantage, where you have 8 cards in your hand, and your opponent is down to 2 or 3, but they still manage to win conflicts and break provinces, because you haven't been able to deploy your conflict deck effectively. So keep that in mind: cheap cards and easy-to-use cards are powerful.

As for fate curve and 'mana', I generally recommend an even distribution of cheap dudes to expensive guys. My decks usually have about 6 cards at each of the 5 fate costs, with some variance depending on if I have certain goals or characters I want to employ. You can go a little lighter on the 4 and 5-costers, but if you have all cheap characters, you run into the risk of playing a lot of characters from your provinces and not getting the opportunity to pass first. It can also become hard to keep characters around for consecutive turns, because putting 1 extra fate on a 1-coster is way less efficient than putting 1 extra fate on a 4-coster. One of the trickier aspects to learn to manage for the economy of this game is how much fate to put onto which characters, and when to sacrifice the long-term game for short term economy advantage, or the other way around.

A dilemma similar to land-count is how many holdings you should include in your Dynasty deck. If you look at holdings, they are essentially 'free power.' You never have to buy them, and their costs usually are non-existent. You may have to sacrifice the holding for a free effect, like Imperial Storehouse or Favorable Ground, or just activate the ability. For paying nothing, you get something, which encourages you to put a lot into your deck. Many holdings are valuable tools, but you have to be careful not to put too many in, or during the game, you'll find yourself 'drawing too many holdings' much like you could draw too many or too few lands, limiting your gameplay options. If you have 20 holdings and 20 characters in your Dynasty Deck, each turn you could expect to see 2 holdings and 2 characters, but there will also be a large number of turns where you see 3 or even 4 holdings, and you're not able to make a good character purchase. Typically, I like to see 1 good holding in my province lineup, but that can always depend on the state of the board. I generally never want to keep 2 holdings around. So, I generally aim for about 6-10 holdings at the most, and I consider 10 to be pushing it. They're tempting as 'free value' but they hurt the quality of your draws significantly, so it's a balance similar to managing your lands.

And finally, as for your question about fate management for Unicorn, I personally found a lot of the core Unicorn cards to be under-statted for their cost. Most clans have some very efficient characters at 1 fate, like the Bayushi Liar, Naive Student, Doomed Shugenja, and Kaiu Envoy, but Unicorn's pretty lackluster on their lower end, and it doesn't get a lot better at the top end. Their Champion, Shinjo Altansarnai is difficult to use and generally requires surprise appearances like Charge or Cavalry Reserves, and most of their expensive characters don't have great stats, so if it feels like she's behind on economy, it's because her characters are a little weaker. The general idea is to use the mobility of the stronghold to outmaneuver your opponent so your weaker stats are more effectively employed, but it's hard to generate an advantage when you start behind. My advice is to abuse Spyglass draws, and make sure her deck has a lot of cheap, good conflict cards so she can make use of all that extra draw.

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51 minutes ago, AradonTemplar said:

you run into the risk of playing a lot of characters from your provinces and not getting the opportunity to pass first.

*reply edited away because brain fart*

Edited by Ascarel

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12 minutes ago, Ascarel said:

As you do not collect Fate for passing first anymore, I do not believe this is caveat is applicable as a general rule (characters whose action triggers when passing first are few and far between, if at all good).

Wait what? I thought that rule change was just "Players going second don't get an extra fate." Did they change it so passing first doesn't get fate either?

Edit: Rules Reference still has this rule in it:

"◊ The first player to pass the opportunity to use an action or play a card during the dynasty phase forfeits the opportunity to do so for the remainder of the phase, and gains one fate"

Edited by AradonTemplar

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4 minutes ago, AradonTemplar said:

Wait what? I thought that rule change was just "Players going second don't get an extra fate." Did they change it so passing first doesn't get fate either?

Edit: Rules Reference still has this rule in it:

"◊ The first player to pass the opportunity to use an action or play a card during the dynasty phase forfeits the opportunity to do so for the remainder of the phase, and gains one fate"

Huh, yeah, that was a brain fart on my part. I mixed up the two. I haven't played in a while, apparently. Move along. 😅

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It was humourous watching my relatives descend into confusion and embarrassment watching me receive three copies of the same game and then trying to explain why they didn’t have to apologise about duplicate gifts on this occasion.  

I still don’t understand what the point of incomplete core sets are - I flat out rage-quit GoT 2nd edition when I realised that there was barely one legal deck inside.

MtG always has those nice two deck starter packs you can buy, and they give out the crappy 30 card taster decks for FREE.

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My unicorn decks contain very few dynasty cards from the core set.

I would not recommend starting with them.  However, if you or your wife are up to the challenge, and willing to purchase all the cards...Unicorn decks are much better once you move beyond just the core set.

Satoshi, from the Imperial Cycle packs (sorry, I forget which one) and Tetsuko from the Scorpion pack are a good place to start for a cheap upgrade.

You can build a decent deck that utilizes Satoshi to get your Keeper initiates into the discard while finding Tetsuko and setting up big plays with Cavalry Reserves.

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19 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

My unicorn decks contain very few dynasty cards from the core set.

I would not recommend starting with them.  However, if you or your wife are up to the challenge, and willing to purchase all the cards...Unicorn decks are much better once you move beyond just the core set.

Satoshi, from the Imperial Cycle packs (sorry, I forget which one) and Tetsuko from the Scorpion pack are a good place to start for a cheap upgrade.

You can build a decent deck that utilizes Satoshi to get your Keeper initiates into the discard while finding Tetsuko and setting up big plays with Cavalry Reserves.

Interesting tactics.  It’s a shame that clan packs have other clans in them - I don’t think I will ever need that many scorpion cards, I suppose there might be some on eBay.

I currently have the last pack from each cycle, are there any other really good unicorn cards I’m missing out on?

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2 hours ago, Bakura83 said:

I currently have the last pack from each cycle, are there any other really good unicorn cards I’m missing out on?

https://imperialadvisor.com/2018/12/22/l5r-purchase-guide/

Imperial Advisor wrote an article a few days ago about the essential cards for each clan, and what packs you need to purchase to have them. 

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Posted (edited)

I introduced two friends to L5R today, they both seemed to like it.  One guy lost every game but I think that was down to the crane deck I built him - I had never played crane before and don’t really know much about them.  Then he tried to build a dragon deck on his own but that lost too, some of the clans seem really weak compared to others, but I only have 3 cores and 2 packs.  Haven’t even looked at Phoenix yet.

I absolutely love my crab deck but the other decks seem to be struggling to beat it.

My other friend did fine as scorpion and lion. 

Some questions we had:

If Cautious Scout attacks Web of Lies alone, what strength does the Provence have?

Were we playing correctly to not give the second player a fate at the start of the game?  The video tutorial we watched did it but someone else told me that’s no longer a thing.

A face-up card on a broken province is safe from discard right?  Because the only time you can force a discard is when the Provence breaks and then it’s immediately refilled?

Can height of fashion be played in the Conflict phase between conflicts?

Are there any action windows in the dynasty phase at all?  Are there any non-Conflict phase action windows people often forget?

Is there ever a reason NOT to be a keeper or seeker in casual play?

I don’t have enough assassination/ornate fan/fine katana cards for everyone, is NOT having these in a deck a huge penalty for a new player?  Did I hobble the crane/dragon player unfairly by not having these available to him?

Thanks again for all the help.

Edited by Bakura83

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