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MonCalamariAgainstDrunkDriving

Relative Strength of Each Clan

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I recognize these forums are pretty dead, but I'm trying to avoid doing actual work right now.

Does anyone feel like any of the clans are especially strong or weak? Here are some of my thoughts after a few games.

Crab
Clan Ability: I'm not sure yet how to best use this. I think you don't want to overuse it, for risk of being the target of a Raid. It probably requires more skill than some other clan abilities to use most wisely. Even with some misplay though, I think it's still pretty strong. Probably one of the strongest ones.
Extra Token: I'd argue this is the worst extra token in the game. In terms of strength, it's equal to what Scorpion, Dragon, and Phoenix are getting, but there are the most restrictions on which provinces it helps you in. It's still useful; I just think it's less useful than other clan's extra pieces. 
Territory Cards: As a pair, I think the Crab territory cards are the weakest. Feats of Engineering (the harbor) is one of the worst in the game. Sure, there are niche circumstances where it could be great, but you only have 4 tokens that can capitalize on it, you might not have a province you want it in, and it has the potential to help your opponent too. Promotion (swap out a combat token in your hand for a discarded army, navy, or shinobi token) is really solid, especially since you have an extra navy, but I don't think it makes up for Feats of Engineering. That said, you're in the best place to go for the Shadowlands territory cards, which obviously are amazing. Also, you're in maybe the best position to go for the unaligned territory cards, and Bountiful Harvest (place two control tokens face up) is especially good for Crab.
Geography: There's a lot to consider for the Crab, but overall, I think the geography is good. Access to Shadowlands is amazing. Access to the Unaligned lands is good (no one is automatically starting there, if they do they don't get a defense bonus, and they're worth a lot of honor). Having to mostly only defend from the north is good. Being far away from the hotly contested northern provinces is probably good. I think having coast is bad (though you only have the one border). Having to control one more territory to get your territory card isn't great.
Secret Objective: Your clan card is bad, but you have a better chance at Way of the Sail. Kind of a wash?
Overall: Average. I can easily imagine a game where Crab got a solid hold on the south that was hard to take back, but as long as people don't forget about them, I think they're middle of the road.

Crane
Clan Ability: I'd say the best in the game. It's almost like having +1 in all resolutions where you're the attacker. That comes up so much, and it doesn't require the level of skill some other clan abilities require.
Extra Token: Also maybe the best in the game? It's my favorite anyway. And it's especially useful for the Crane, who have more directions to worry about.
Territory Cards: Diplomatic Mission (instant Peace) is super good. It means you could have three Peace tokens over the course of the game! Code of Honor is awful.
Geography: This is their big weakness, I think. I consider Coast to be bad. You can't proactively attack across it, so it's always open to your enemies. Plus you're central, which means a lot of people can attack you. You could reasonably find yourself in a position where all of your provinces are vulnerable. I think you really have to use those Peace tokens wisely.
Secret Objective: Way of the Sail should be easier for you than most, so I'd consider this a slight bump.
Overall: Strong. I'd say strongest in the game. They're probably weaker the more players are in the game though, since you're in a position to be easily ganged up on.

Dragon
Clan Ability: Possibly the weakest in the game. If you use the ability to keep your best tokens, you're setting yourself up for a weak last round, which is devastating. Maybe you prevent yourself from getting too many Blessings at once, or you manage to get a Navy or Shinobi token you really wanted, but I think it's MUCH harder to leverage this ability than the other clan abilities.
Extra Token: Even though it's the same as the Phoenix, it's a little better for Dragon, since they can more easily prevent getting too many Blessings in one round. Still, I'd call this average strength.
Territory Cards: Strength of Purpose (place two control tokens face up) is pretty average. I think Sacred Ground (the Shrine) is better. It might be the best defense against the Phoenix going after your capital.
Geography: Although I really like being against the edge of the board, so you have fewer fronts to worry about, you're the number one target for a Phoenix player looking to use their ability on a capital. If you can shore up that border, I think you're in a good spot.
Secret Objective: Average.
Overall: Weak. I think arguably the weakest in the game. Better if there's no Phoenix player.

Lion
Clan Ability: Full disclosure, I actually haven't seen the Lion in play yet. This is all conjecture. My initial read is that this ability is down there with the Dragon in terms of strength. I think it looks good at first, because you can defend with a Bluff instead of an Army/Navy/Shinobi 1, but if you do that, you're leaving a weak unit in your hand for the next round. This is good in the last round, but I think the better use is actually for the opposite purpose, saving strong tokens you want to use for the following round. You can set up a better hand for the next round without having to make the same sacrifice other clans do. Still, you're probably only doing that once or twice a game.
Extra Token: This is another contender for best token. Crab, Dragon, Phoenix, and Scorpion have a piece that adds three strength. Yours adds six. That's super good.
Territory Cards: Bushido (printed province honor becomes 4) seems weak. You're making something a target. Honorable Fight (Can't Diplomacy) could be okay, but it needs to be played wisely. It seems worse than Sacred Ground. Overall, I'd call this one of the weaker pairs.
Geography: Maybe the worst? Similar to the Crane, you could easily find yourself with all provinces vulnerable. It's too many fronts to manage well. A great extra token doesn't make up for that, in my opinion.
Secret Objective: At least your clan object card is better than average.
Overall: Weak, but mostly from bad geography. In a 2-player game, I bet they're waaaay better.

Phoenix
Clan Ability: It's a good bonus with very limited use. It's effectively double the bonus the Crane get but only comes up 25% as frequently, so I'd call it roughly half as good. Obviously, you can manage that by specifically going after capitals, and you probably should, Dragon being the most obvious first choice. I think more than any other clan ability, this dictates which provinces/territories you go after. As long as you resist the temptation to go after capitals just because they're capitals, I think it's a fairly straightforward ability, compared to most other clans.
Extra Token: Decent, but there is some risk in getting too many blessings in your hand.
Territory Cards: Aid of the Kami (+2 defense and 1 honor in a province) is okay. Bless the Lands (take control of a Scorched province) seems really good. Combined, I'd say this is an above average pair of territory cards.
Geography: The three provinces themselves aren't great. They have below average combined honor, and as I said before, I think the coast is a weak border. You also don't have many options for where to place armies. That said, if you can grab a couple key provinces, I think your position can turn around really quickly. The Dragon capital might prevent your neighbor from getting a territory card, plus it's easier to defend. Taking the Lion territory to your south closes three borders to your provinces and opens up two capitals to consider.
Secret Objective: Arguably the best? A high honor clan objective with good access for Way of the Sail.
Overall: Average. Maybe low end of average. Mostly I just feel like there are fewer good options when compared to other clans.

Scorpion
Clan Ability: This is the other clan I haven't actually seen in play yet, so this is also conjecture. At the risk of oversimplifying, I think this game has two major commodities - military strength and information. Most clans get some situational bonus to the first. Scorpion get the second. The information is only as good as your ability to leverage it though, so I find it really hard to gauge how good this is.
Extra Token: I'm not sure if this is low tier or middle tier. So far, I haven't found the shinobi ability to attack any province to be that strong. Normally I don't want to acquire new territories that aren't adjacent to my other ones anyway. If it's to place a Raid somewhere else, then the extra strength on the shinobi is wasted. It also can't be used to close off a border like army tokens can. It's still good. You might be able to solo a capital you're not next to. You can mess with the lead player, even if you're not next to them. It could get you a toehold in the Mantis Isles. I just don't think it's as good as some of the other clan's extra tokens.
Territory Cards: Spy Network (look at another player's hand. They can't bluff this turn) seems good, as long as you can remember what you saw. Probably amazing in a 2-player game, since you know what all tokens on the board can be. Pairs well with the clan ability. Foment Rebellion (remove a Peace token, buff the province twice if it was yours) has a lot of uses. Maybe you remove a Peace on a territory you don't even want, just so that other players are spending tokens fighting over it again. Maybe above average cards overall?
Geography: Not great, for the same reasons as Lion. I don't think it's quite as bad though. You're less likely to have to worry about Phoenix and Dragon, and instead border Crab, who are more likely to be playing a defensive game. Also, your only border with the Crane is your capital, so they're fighting an uphill battle to invade you. 
Secret Objective: Above average clan objective and a slight bonus towards achieving Webs of Influence (control 1 territory in 7 provinces). Nothing huge.
Overall: Average, maybe a little low?

Unicorn
Clan Ability:
 High end of average? I think it's a little tricky to use well, 
Extra Token: Raid is decently strong; it's just not my playstyle. I never want to use it on my own provinces, because I don't want to sacrifice the province honor. And using it on an opponent blocks a route of attack and doesn't stop them from getting the territory bonus. I always find a use, and I like that it resolves before Diplomacy.
Territory Cards: I'd say these are the best clan territory cards. Cultural Exchange is probably my favorite clan territory card in the game (swapping provinces), and Reinforcements (swapping out control tokens from your hand for discard army ones) is really good too.
Geography: This is exactly the kind of board space I like. Options for who to fight, but I also have an edge of the board I don't have to worry about.
Secret Objective: Average.
Overall: Strong. And my personal favorite.

Here's how I'd rank them (definitely subject to change):
1. Crane
2. Unicorn
3. Crab
4. Phoenix
5. Scorpion
6. Lion
7. Dragon

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