I’m not sure why it’s surprising given that I’ve been on the periphery of L5R VCG play to a degree. I guess not to enough of a degree to be impacted.
L5R CCG players are way, way, ultraway more devoted to their clans than anything I’ve ever seen with the RPG. Sure, there are people who play the same clan all of the time, though even people I know who love to play the same clan over and over still play other clans. But, I have never seen the obsession with a clan, where someone feels a personal stake in their clan.
But, then, while I may have said that having players have impact in the storyline was something that set L5R apart, I only ever heard about results much later. V:TES storyline events were often disappointing as people chose poorly in what clans they wanted to do even better. I’d imagine I would have hated the oL5R environment not just for how much people didn’t care about the big picture but also because of the bounties, the miscellaneous FUing to others, and whatnot.
Why doesn’t the RPG see the same thing? Of course, some players play both. Is it the lack of ability to impact storyline? Is there more of it in the HoR LARPs that I rarely play in? Even in HoR political interactives, I don’t feel the obsession with a particular clan, though, of course, there’s the hatred of clans.
Being a hater, I get that.
I have done some development on a Failures of the Five Rings campaign where multiple clans get obliterated. If this sounds worrisome to you, embrace tranquility as the families survive to join other clans in ways that I’m sure will grossly offend fanatics. Don’t worry, this paragraph is getting to the point. The only clan I see having any purpose in Rokugan is the Crab, yet Crab is one of the clans that cease to exist … because logic. I increasingly am cognizant of how much I like Crab … since they have the only job in Rokugan of the various clans that needs doing. But, I’m not so attached that I would feel put out by them getting what they deserve for being such incredible failures (any time drama is needed in history).
Btw, the clans that don’t do anything besides make things worse – Dragon and Phoenix – are freed up to have to actually be responsible for providing value to the Empire, but I’m sure the Failures of the Five Rings idea is a topic for another time.
I’m obviously not clan loyal. I’m willing to various degrees to play anything besides Scorpion. In the RPG, I’ll even play Spider just for the absurdity. I don’t care which of the six clans I splash in my conflict deck. Speaking of which, for tomorrow’s single core tournament at Game Kastle, I ran through all of the five options for what splash to make in my deck trying to see if I could find something I thought was better than what I ran in the one game I’ve ever played of the LCG.
There are actually minor clans I’m not in favor of. Boar-ing. Fly away Dragonfly. Back in the box Ox. Forsake the Snake (though, this is more because I feel they have so little development that it’s hard to feel like they ever existed). I’m no go on Otomo most of the time, which is why Otomo Kidai was that much funnier. So, so fun-ny.
On the other hand, I’m game loyal. I don’t die on games, they die on me. I never invested in Netrunner or Dragonball Z (or 7th Sea or Buffy or Hyborian Gates, Tempest of the Gods, Guardians, Highlander, etc.), so my having dispensed with my meager card totals for those games didn’t strike me as giving up. At this point, I’m not committed to the LCG. I’m really curious as to whether tomorrow will be fun or not. Also, where single core makes for awful deckbuilding, since there isn’t any for Dynasty Decks, triple core now also looks to me to be awful, as the choices are far, far too marginal.
Now, there is such a thing as subtle mindblowing, like having your courtier run around with a weapon skill of 10 at, um, Rank 1. But, the current cardpool just forces so many Dynasty choices where people are still running Wandering Ronin and Miya Mystic, that the whole point of CCGs – customization – feels like it’s waiting until the long, long … wait, correction, erelong of November.
There are good reasons for me to get into the LCG. I don’t think I’ve played a two-player CCG competitively in the last 15 years. I know the genre. I have opinions on the IP. The game seems pretty well designed at this point. I might be way more enthusiastic about deckbuilding for a game where deckbuilding matters more than it does in your typical multiplayer CCG affair.
There are two reasons I haven’t already preordered six copies of every card, which is what I consider a basic buy in to a 3CL CCG. One, I’m not sure I will enjoy playing the game. Two, I get concerned about the fanatical “loyalty” that the game seems to engender, not because everyone is as myopic in person as some people sound on forums, but because there’s an element of repetitiveness in play that concerns me. Also, will the management of the game suffer from players caring too much about factions?
More than anything else, to me, CCGs are about variety. I manage to somehow even find it in Ultimate Combat!, which had all of one expansion. If you know you are just going to play against Scorp Dishonor, Crab Dishonor, Crane Dishonor, Phoenix Dishonor, … [okay, maybe the game is a bit off in terms of design at this time, hopefully not be so easy to win through a mechanic that is so negative] … every time, bor-r-r-ing.
Maybe, my doubts are overstated. Didn’t I achieve enlightenment when it came to Shadowfist?
Just play it, Willamette!
I don’t care that Shadowfist has all sorts of problems. Why should I care about L5R? Can’t I just be in it for the groupies, the free airfares to Chiang Mai, and the gold medal when it becomes an Olympic event?
I’m hunting you, Black Widow. If you get this reference, well, maybe you game too much.
Art doesn’t offend me. Some of the mechanics are really, really similar to Traveller, which I’m not surprised by. Just like many early CCGs were similar to Magic, veteran floppers have experienced a lot of the same mechanics and draw upon that experience.
Bidding may get tiresome over time. I said in a post “I think I mentioned something about auction games in a post this year. If I haven’t, I need to.” That was 2015, by the way. What I may have never said is that I like auction boardgames. I’m not sure why. I don’t love every auction boardgame and I’m sure there are ones I don’t like. Ra is an auction game that I don’t care for, for instance. But, the big problem with auction games is that some people are really, really bad at them. Now, in a two-player game, if you bid better than your opponent, you win and move on. Wait, that’s not better. Bad games are bad games.
So, I guess I’ll see how bidding works out. It may be enjoyable. I have some doubts, though, because one of the aspects of the LCG that I feel presently is that it’s too harsh a game. Just like how every single move in chess matters, I feel like every decision in the LCG is important, and that’s not appealing to me.
I like goofing off when I play games. Multiplayer CCGs are inherently forgiving in that you have other players to beat down the clear leader. Two-player CCGs are all about deck construction and/or in play decisions. That’s not a bad thing, but, curiously, perhaps, I actually care about deck construction. Curious because I think it’s relatively unimportant in the two CCGs I play the most often these days – V:TES and Shadowfist. This is why not playing a two-player CCG is so counteryeah for me – I like building decks. I like seeing how my decks play.
If I can gain a substantial advantage through deck construction, then the pressure to play optimally is reduced. Yet, L5R might be so balanced at the moment (outside of Unicorn) that all of the pressure is in guiding the deck to victory through *gasp* decisions. So many decisions. No “Hmmm. My 16/4 triple striker attacks your soul.” but lots of “Gee, I really want this ring, but I need another Fate from that ring, and I have to account for conflict type switching or Display of Power BS.”
So, in a way, the LCG isn’t ready for what will appeal to me. I’m really interested in deckbuilding and care far, far less about managing the play. This isn’t something new. I kind of approach Magic this way, Babylon 5 could be this way, Wheel of Time (especially building Children of the Light decks versus playing their neg-game) might have been rather this way, though I did enjoy playing my decks.
So, sometime in the near future, probably hear about me pulling the trigger on getting into the LCG or not. I mean, pretty much as soon as I have three copies of every November expansion pack, I’m pretty much going to be a lifer, as that’s what happened with every CCG besides, arguably, Magic, though I never had complete Magic sets.
In some side news, we played two, five-player Shadowfist games Thursday and five-player is losing its appeal to me. The correct way to play, in my mind, is to take someone out of the game and go hard with collaboration with an ally. Instead, I tend to screw around because it’s more fun to let people actually play the game, but it’s still likely to get unbalanced situations where our four-player games usually have more interesting interaction. I guess it’s not worse than three-player play or other possibilities, but it seems to have become too … vicious.