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redcapjack

When is a good time to start?

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I'm an old player sort of looking at these new cards after nearly a decade and wondering how overwhelming a purchase it would be to start playing again. I can see there are several "Cycles", but what cards are legal for tournament play and what cards are not? How overwhelming is it to just start playing and attending Kotei's again?

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All cards are legal so far. As for how overwhelming the purchases are, it depends on ypur budget and how soon you want to be up to date. Advice I give to people in my local area is to buy 3 core sets first. Then choose your main clan and, if it has a clanpack, buy the clanpack next. Then buy dynasty packs based on card content for said clan. If it has no clanpack out, ignore that part. I consider children of the empire as another dynasty pack for these purposes. If budget is a problem, you arent sure what clan you like the most, or arent sure about the rules, go to a store, borrow some cards, amd try the game before you buy anything.

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7 hours ago, redcapjack said:

I'm an old player sort of looking at these new cards after nearly a decade and wondering how overwhelming a purchase it would be to start playing again. I can see there are several "Cycles", but what cards are legal for tournament play and what cards are not? How overwhelming is it to just start playing and attending Kotei's again?

As of now there are no sets that are not legal to play, there is a restricted list that limits you to only using one of the cards from the list in a standard deck.  They have announced that set rotation will occur beginning with the release of Cycle 5 when cycles 1 and 2 rotate out at the start of the cycle.  However, we just started cycle 3 so that's a ways off (likely end of 2020 or start of 2021). 

The initial start up can look pretty daunting but you have to consider that unlike in the CCG days when you are buying a $15 pack you are getting a full play set of the cards in that pack and each pack is fixed content so $90 for the 6 packs that make up a full cycle is everything you need for all 7 currently legal clans.  The biggest expense is the 3 cores as they are not 3 each of the cards like in the cycle packs, but again with that you will have a full play set of all 7 clans so can build anything from it and aren't stuck hunting for singles afterwards. 

The larger Clan specific packs would likely be a lower priority unless they are the clan you plan to play primarily.  I would recommend getting them eventually as they will have 1 in faction card for each other clan and some of the neutrals are useful for other builds but they can safely be considered a lower priority initially.

You can also usually find collections going on the secondary market for relatively cheap.  And if you want to start playing right away there is a very well put together can made online version called Jigoku that is great for learning decks and figuring out which cards you need to prioritize buying packs for by testing decks.

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Posted (edited)

There is the option to purchase the 2018 world champion deck, which only works if you want to play Crane.

Beware that the restricted list and elemental roles have changed since the event, so the deck itself is no longer tournament legal. To fix that you will need other products, but it will be cheaper than the 3 core sets.

However, since the meta changes, you might not be able to make a tier 1 deck, and your cardpool will be less flexible (and limited to Crane). I have found part of the appeal of the LCG format is having access to all the printed cards, and you wouldn’t get that with this method, so I’m not sure I recommend it, but it is an option.

P.S. The first two “cycles” will rotate once the fifth is stated, but we just started the third one, and the clan specific expansions are legal until a newer version is released, so it will be a while till you have to worry about legality.

Edited by Doji Tori

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Thank you everyone for the advice. I'm an older player who stopped playing around 2011 or so, but stuck to only a few of the clans. My primary being Phoenix as I've always enjoyed the mystic and elemental magic aspect of the fiction and characters. Three core sets themselves seem a little daunting for a full pay set of cards, though- I had presumed the core box would be enough for two players to face each other at the least, so this will be a little more complex then I had anticipated. I know of only one person who currently plays, but I could likely start up a new group fairly easily.

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11 minutes ago, redcapjack said:

I had presumed the core box would be enough for two players to face each other at the least

One core set is enough for two players to have a game but it will be limited and my experience feel like something is missing. What was missing was the depth of having 3 core sets (each core set has 1 copy of the clan cards and you can have 3 copies of any single card in a deck) to play with.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah the issue with this game is that they were juggling:

1.) the legacy LCG core set price point they like for an intro product.  I'm sure they've done their market analysis and an intro product can only be so expensive.

2.) the size of the beginning card pool they felt they needed to have some depth of play

3.) the fact that L5R requires each faction to form two different decks (unlike every other LCG where you have 1 deck).  So the cards per faction were greater and they didn't want to budge off having the 7 great clans at launch.

All that boils down to a very limited single core set experience.  I'd get at least 2 core sets for 2 people or buy two of the clan packs to go with the core set.  You can play the game but it will pretty much be a very simple and stripped down version of what this game is really. You'll be able to play a teaching game and that's about it really.

I think they should have been brave and gone with faction starters in this game considering most people were already clan loyal.  I know they are hesitant to do that because it might create an economic imbalance between the factions if for instance one faction sells really well and another sells terribly, but that core set is trying to do too much. 

Edited by phillos

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2 hours ago, phillos said:

Yeah the issue with this game is that they were juggling:

1.) the legacy LCG core set price point they like for an intro product.  I'm sure they've done their market analysis and an intro product can only be so expensive.

2.) the size of the beginning card pool they felt they needed to have some depth of play

3.) the fact that L5R requires each faction to form two different decks (unlike every other LCG where you have 1 deck).  So the cards per faction were greater and they didn't want to budge off having the 7 great clans at launch.

All that boils down to a very limited single core set experience.  I'd get at least 2 core sets for 2 people or buy two of the clan packs to go with the core set.  You can play the game but it will pretty much be a very simple and stripped down version of what this game is really. You'll be able to play a teaching game and that's about it really.

I think they should have been brave and gone with faction starters in this game considering most people were already clan loyal.  I know they are hesitant to do that because it might create an economic imbalance between the factions if for instance one faction sells really well and another sells terribly, but that core set is trying to do too much. 

In fairness most single core experiences for the other games all have the same issue.  You can build the suggested 30/30 decks from the website from a single core and that is intended to get people testing the game and see if you like it.  From there you expand if you enjoy what you saw.

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Posted (edited)

Netrunner and LOTR had a really good single core experience.  Starting with Conquest I think FFG went to all singletons in the core, which made the starting card pool bigger and the waste on redundant purchase much less.  Though at the same time it diminished the single core experience.  L5R is the first LCG where you can't build a tournament legal deck with 1 core, which was particularly annoying.  Though I understand why it was that way.

I'm not saying I want to go back to the days where that last core set got you maybe 6 cards you needed to complete your full playset (3 of those being competitive choices), but there were pros and cons to that model.

Edited by phillos

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3 hours ago, phillos said:

Netrunner and LOTR had a really good single core experience.  Starting with Conquest I think FFG went to all singletons in the core, which made the starting card pool bigger and the waste on redundant purchase much less. 

Conquest Core Set contains some double faction and neutral cards. 

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Posted (edited)

I do recall that now that some of the cards were still double faction.  Also AGOT 2.0 has some double faction cards.  Is L5R the first box to have all faction singletons?  If so that means it contains more unique art than any of their other LCG starter boxes, which is interesting from a cost to produce perspective.

Edited by phillos

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, phillos said:

If so that means it contains more unique art than any of their other LCG starter boxes, which is interesting from a cost to produce perspective.

At least 1/3 of artwork in Core Set was reused from AEG era. 

Edited by kempy

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  • 5 hours ago, phillos said:
    • Netrunner and LOTR had a really good single core experience.  Starting with Conquest I think FFG went to all singletons in the core, which made the starting card pool bigger and the waste on redundant purchase much less.  Though at the same time it diminished the single core experience.  L5R is the first LCG where you can't build a tournament legal deck with 1 core, which was particularly annoying.  Though I understand why it was that way.
    • I'm not saying I want to go back to the days where that last core set got you maybe 6 cards you needed to complete your full playset (3 of those being competitive choices), but there were pros and cons to that model.

That was very frustrating for many prospective players and for me it was a reason why I didn't play the game (even if I still bought to collect). I think they made a good decision with AGOT 2E and L5R. In the end, the dedicated player will end up buying 3 core sets anyways but, while on AGOT2E and L5R it felt like it was a reasonable investment, for Netrunner the second Core was a grudging buy, and the third one felt an outrageous waste. Arguably it was just a matter of perception, but that perception most assuredly cost sales.

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:38 PM, phillos said:

I wonder how successful those Game Of Thrones starter decks were.  I really wish this game had those.  I think that sort of product goes a long way toward attracting new players.

Very unsuccessful.

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18 hours ago, phillos said:

Netrunner and LOTR had a really good single core experience.  Starting with Conquest I think FFG went to all singletons in the core, which made the starting card pool bigger and the waste on redundant purchase much less.  Though at the same time it diminished the single core experience.  L5R is the first LCG where you can't build a tournament legal deck with 1 core, which was particularly annoying.  Though I understand why it was that way.

I'm not saying I want to go back to the days where that last core set got you maybe 6 cards you needed to complete your full playset (3 of those being competitive choices), but there were pros and cons to that model.

Conquest still had an enjoyable single core experience, because the planet mechanic was so unique and pretty much carried the game through some rough design decisions in the first cycle. An idea I had from AGoT 2.0 was completely mixing two clans and the game got a lot better.

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Conquest did have a good single core experience because for the most part you could build tournament legal and reasonably competitive decks with a single core due to the way deck building worked in that game with factions allying with each other.  Similar to AGOT.  L5R is more restrictive in it's deckbuilding which made that harder.  I think L5R should be more restrictive, but it definitely had an effect on that single core experience.

13 hours ago, Kakita Shiro said:

Very unsuccessful.

That's a shame since it seems like such a valuable tool.  I wish they'd replace the core set with those products.  I think it would be a much more healthy model for these games long term.

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, phillos said:

That's a shame since it seems like such a valuable tool.  I wish they'd replace the core set with those products.  I think it would be a much more healthy model for these games long term.

Not really, they are a pain for retailers as instead of 1 SKU for the core game they need to keep track of 7.  It also likely leads to dead stock as some clan packs will likely be far more sought after then others.

They also likely wouldn't be much cheaper then 3 cores to get play sets as you need to include all the components to play the game in each pack if they are replacing your core set (Rings, bid dial and fate and honor tokens).  Just replicating the Neutral and in Clan cards from core you need to include 17 single cards (Stronghold, 1 clan and 10 Neutral provinces and 5 role cards) and 45-46 three of cards (14-15 In Clan Dynasty, 8 Neutral Dynasty and 9 In Clan Conflict and 14 Neutral) so each pack is looking at 152-155 cards for a set.  That's about a third what comes in the core set ($39.95) and about double what's in a clan pack ($19.95) so you'd need to charge probably around $25-$30 per pack.  Assuming we go the low end that means you are charging $25 for a single clan and that doesn't allow for any splash which means you will likely need to buy 2-3 to have real deck building options, so now you are looking at $50-75 for the ability to build 1 deck for your choice of 3 clans.  Getting the play set would be $175 which is $50.00 more expensive then buying 3 cores.

Edited by Schmoozies

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Posted (edited)

We'll never agree if that's your opinion.  The biggest issue LCGs have always had is that the barrier of entry becomes too great for new players pretty early on, which always leads to slow player attrition and really low new player adoption to combat it.  Every single time this happens and they never address it.  That is unless you consider Keyforge a reaction to this trend.

You don't need tokens or anything like that to play.  You don't need role cards or anything like that to just play.  They are nice to haves.  You could just track all that with paper and dice or just proxy all that stuff like people do in Keyforge.  In Keyforge they just buy two decks and play.  You need that experience for an intro product.  Especially in L5R where people are clan loyal and may not feel the need to pick up all the factions right away and can piecemeal buying them for splashes (or neutrals or whatever).  Maybe each pack could have a subset of the other cards like roles, provinces etc that make sense for them so if you collected them all you'd have a complete set, but you don't need them all to just get up and playing with a real deck.  Greatly reduce the amount of neutrals since the whole reason for all those neutrals in core anyway was to more easily facilitate buildings decks in core.  This game had way more neutrals than any of the other LCGs because how thin the player card pool needed to be in that core set to support two decks for 7 factions.  It didn't need to be that way if the cards were distributed a different way.  My argument is they need to just stop it with the core sets.  They are a dinosaur of a product that they continue to not innovate on, which is surprisingly stale for FFG.

Edited by phillos

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Posted (edited)

I agree that L5R would benefit from some sort of product that provides a lower price point for entry into the game as well as something that allows players, late to the party, a way to catch up. Keyforge is not a good comparison as it's not a living card game and built off an entirely different design philosophy and distribution model.

Personally what I think should be done is that the game should have VS decks that provide 2 complete decks that are to be played against one another and based around pivotal/iconic battles/events in rokugan's lore.  For example: the battle at HMT would have Lion vs Unicorn, and a completed deck for each clan.

This way you can have side events outside of normal constructed play where players can play the preconstructed decks of those sets to determine the story and earn other prizes, while the more competitive players are looking to play constructed.  

You would also have a little extra hype with each new erlease because it's easy to build in a tournament with each VS pack.

Make the packs have alt art or use them to introduce new clans/factions (when the time is right)

 

 

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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21 hours ago, Schmoozies said:

Not really, they are a pain for retailers as instead of 1 SKU for the core game they need to keep track of 7.  It also likely leads to dead stock as some clan packs will likely be far more sought after then others.

They also likely wouldn't be much cheaper then 3 cores to get play sets as you need to include all the components to play the game in each pack if they are replacing your core set (Rings, bid dial and fate and honor tokens).  Just replicating the Neutral and in Clan cards from core you need to include 17 single cards (Stronghold, 1 clan and 10 Neutral provinces and 5 role cards) and 45-46 three of cards (14-15 In Clan Dynasty, 8 Neutral Dynasty and 9 In Clan Conflict and 14 Neutral) so each pack is looking at 152-155 cards for a set.  That's about a third what comes in the core set ($39.95) and about double what's in a clan pack ($19.95) so you'd need to charge probably around $25-$30 per pack.  Assuming we go the low end that means you are charging $25 for a single clan and that doesn't allow for any splash which means you will likely need to buy 2-3 to have real deck building options, so now you are looking at $50-75 for the ability to build 1 deck for your choice of 3 clans.  Getting the play set would be $175 which is $50.00 more expensive then buying 3 cores.

I can't follow your analysis. If they would split the core set into core clan packs, they certainly won't include all neutral cards in every one of them. Furthermore they could reduce the price compared to dynasty and normal packs, just as they do with the core set.

 

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On 7/8/2019 at 8:32 AM, redcapjack said:

I'm an old player sort of looking at these new cards after nearly a decade and wondering how overwhelming a purchase it would be to start playing again. I can see there are several "Cycles", but what cards are legal for tournament play and what cards are not? How overwhelming is it to just start playing and attending Kotei's again?

 I think that depends a lot how you approach the game. If you want to be competitive and jump clans a lot, you will need 3 Core Sets, 13 dynasty packs, 1 deluxe expansion and 4 clan packs. If you only want one clan, you can cut some clan packs and dynasty packs. From a buying perspective Lion is probably the wallet friendliest faction, because most cards they got since core are mediocre.

I personally would recommend starting with one clan and then gradually expanding the collection. The dynasty packs will rotate out, so chances are high that you can save some bucks there.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ignithas said:

I can't follow your analysis. If they would split the core set into core clan packs, they certainly won't include all neutral cards in every one of them. Furthermore they could reduce the price compared to dynasty and normal packs, just as they do with the core set.

 

They can only reduce costs so far before they are losing money.  Thrones house decks were 69 cards for $14.95 to make a legal deck.  L5R you need a minimum of 86 cards (Stronghold, 5 provinces and two 40 card dynasty and conflict decks before we factor in role cards and Imperial favor so 92 cards may even be more realistic) to make a "legal" deck.  Even at that minimum we are already over the total card count for a clan pack so are looking at a minimum price point of $20  before factoring in that there are card components that are absolutely required that have to be included (honor dial at minimum and likely fate, honor and first player token as well) if you want this to replace your core product as the jumping on point for players.  Its one of the reasons I set a $25 value as a minimum price point (which would still be very heavily discounted most likely since I was looking at almost 2/3rd more cards per set) but for arguments sake lets bring it down to $20.  Even at that price point buying seven clans would mean $140 for a full set of cards (so still $20 more expensive then 3 cores).

Since the initial point I was countering was that these sorts of get started clan packs should replace the core sets neutral cards need to be included in the pack some where.  There are absolutely Neutral cards you could leave out of individual packs as they ideal for each clan but then you are getting back to the core set issue, if players want those cards for future decks where they may function in that clan they now need to hunt additional product that they may not want for those few cards.   You also need to figure out how many of each do you put in the decks.  Do you set it up so that if you buy all 7 packs you would have the equivalent of 3 cores worth of cards, do you say 3 packs will get you a set of neutrals, what if you split along military and political lines for the neutrals and players aren't interested in the political or military clans.  How do you divide provinces, whose stuck with Elemental Fury as their clans Water province for example.  Are you saying that clans are going to be locked to a role or how do you handle Seeker versus Keeper as province rows will look very different in that case and decks have serious construction issues between lower influence and which initiate do they get.  Further how do you handle splash.  Are you locking a clan pack into one splash or do you just not use splash at all (making the Keeper role that much weaker).  Just in clan cards from core the average 13-15 Dynasty (with Dragon and Unicorn being on the short end and Crab being on the high) and 9-11 Conflict cards (with Crab being the short side and Dragon being the only one on the high side) so that each faction got 24 cards (except for Unicorn who only got 23 in core).  Just doing 3 of for each clan you'd be looking at 39-45 card deck on dynasty side and 27-33 cards on conflict side.  Doesn't leave much space for customization on Dynasty to slot in the 8 dynasty side neutrals you would need to get at least 3 of each across the decks (and except for Keepers and Seekers 3 cores gives you 6 of each so really you need to get 42 cards in there to replicate the cores), conflict side you have more play room but do need to fit 6 copies of 14 cards to replicate what you get in core into those 70 slots so are still shot 14 slots assuming you aren't including any clan splash. 

You could maybe make it more manageable if you said each Clan deck was meant to supplement a core set so if you bought one core and 1 clan pack you'd have a play set of cards for that faction, but that makes the cost argument even worse as now you are adding a $40 core set back into equation so the price is back to $160.00 for a play set of all cards.  It also doesn't address the issue that from a retailer perspective its a horrible idea as I now have 8 different SKU's that I need to track as the "core" get started product for the game instead of 1.  There is a lot more wrong with the idea then would really help honestly.

Edited by Schmoozies

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