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Getting ready for my first games...

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- I believe Cautious scout negates the text, leaving it at a 0-strength province.

- Correct, the bonus fate for being second player is no longer a rule, since virtually everyone preferred the fate to going first.

- It is safe until the end of the round, yes. At the end of the round, though, all face-up cards in broken provinces are automatically discarded, while you get to choose if you want to discard face-ups in non-broken provinces.

- Yep, Height of Fashion can be played before an attack is declared. Your opponent will get a window to play an action or character of their own, of course.

- In the Dynasty phase, there are action windows, yes. You use one to play a character from a province. You can also play events and use triggered abilities at this time, but no attachments or Conflict Characters. Once you pass in the dynasty phase though (to get the fate for first-pass), you don't get any more action windows until the draw phase, even to play events or use abilities.

- Having a role is strictly upside, enabling you to use certain role-locked cards and giving you some deck-building benefits. If nothing else, you should pick a seeker of element just for the free fate when an opponent reveals your chosen element's province.

- Yes, Katana and Fan are pretty strong cards and help make the conflict deck flow smoothly by being cheap and always useful. Even non-political oriented decks benefit from Ornate Fans (perhaps even more-so) for surprise attacks or accessible defense. You might find some other players that have extra fans and katanas you could borrow, since players have received promotional Fans and Katanas at tournaments, but otherwise I might consider proxying them. Dragon's not so bad off because their Ancestral Weapons aren't terribly worse, especially if you're playing with Daimyo's Favor, but those two cards are easily the difference between winning or losing a conflict, or even getting a break in.

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