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Anatomy of Failure: L5R
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:06 pm    Post subject: Anatomy of Failure: L5R Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh wrote:
On a tangent, I would like to submit a request for some folks to do some in-depth reviews of some of the other not-MtGs out there.


Sure. There are a few card games that I've played deeply enough that I can give meaningful in-depth reviews for: L5R, Shadowfist, Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, and Magic from the CCG end. Today we're going to be talking about L5R.

So the first thing to understand is that L5R is a card game that is much more roleplaying oriented than Magic is. You play a Daimyo in a fantasy Weeaboo empire. The emperor is dying and doesn't have an heir, and the Daimyo's are throwing down to try to jostle themselves into being acclaimed the next Emperor. You are expected to roleplay during the game, and when your turn is over you are supposed to say "I bow the table to you" and shit.

Why is that important? It's important because RPGs have much looser rules than card games, and L5R took liberal advantage of mind caulk in rules interpretations. The rules actually said that the guy who was a "Naga Hunter" was a Naga for purposes of faction cards that boosted Nagas. But he wasn't considered such in actual games because from a role playing standpoint he obviously wasn't a snake person. Indeed, if you tried to claim him as such in a tournament you would not only be shot down, but you'd lose honor for trying to use the written rules against the roleplaying scenario.

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From the standpoint of Magic players, there are three main
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Nevermind. Fucking board ate the latter 3/4 of that post. No way in hell am I writing all that again.

-Frank
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So much shorter version, which I will do in tiny parts.

First of all: Strongholds.

Every player starts with a stronghold in play. The Stronghold does a couple of things. The first is that it declares you a clan affiliation. Personalities from your clan can either be purchased for $2 less, or if you buy them for full price you get to add their personal honor to your family honor. Note that some Personalities have a personal honor of 2 or 3 where buying it for full price and the honor gain is a big deal, while other characters have a personal honor of zero and there is literally no purpose at all in not saving the cash if you have the right faction lable on your stronghold. Note also that the generic holding doesn't come in for free and make $1 like a MtG land, it comes into play for $2 and makes $3 when tapped bowed. This means that saving 2 spendy on a Personality is a lot less than saving 2 mana on a creature. It's more like saving 2/3 of a mana on a creature. But that's still a pretty big deal. So right away, a stronghold choice makes a huge difference to which cards are going to be good or bad in your deck. There are neutral characters that are usually pretty bad in every deck, but the generic samurai and shugenja are generally a much better deal if they are in-clan than if they are not. So people are going to default to in-clan dudes for their filler creatures at the very least.

The second thing that strongholds do is set your starting family honor. Whoever starts with the highest honor goes first, many characters have minimum family honor before you are allowed to buy them, if one player has a higher family honor than everyone else they can lobby for the Imperial Favor, and if you begin a turn with 40 honor you win the game outright. The lowest starting honor in the first set is 3 on the War Fortress of the Crab and the highest is 6 on the Ancestral Home of the Lion. Those differences are pretty much meaningless in terms of getting to 40 or even getting high enough honor to play Clan Champions or Dragons. But going first and getting the Imperial Favor on turn 2 can be a pretty big deal for an aggro deck - so the fact that the most aggro stronghold starts with the highest honor is relevant.

The third thing that strongholds do is bow for money. Most gold producing holdings cost money to put into play, and you can potentially be cycling 4 cards a turn. So in almost all cases you're going to be using your stronghold to buy holdings and then using those holdings to buy personalities later in the game. And that means that the fact that the Lion and the Phoenix make 3 moneys while the Unicorn makes 5 moneys is very relevant. Note also that your spendy reserve is emptied between buying cards, so you can't buy two 2 cost holdings with a 4 spendy stronghold. But higher spendy strongholds snowball faster than lower spendy strongholds in a very observable way.

The fourth thing that strongholds do is set the threshold for how much unblocked force is required to destroy your provinces. This number isn't really relevant unless you are on the rceiving end of an early game beat down, because pretty much all late game armies are very much larger than the largest province defense numbers.

The last thing that each of the Strongholds in the basic set do is that you can bow them for a specific non-gold effect (except the Dragon Clan stronghold, which does its stupid thing passively). Of these, there are precisely two out of six that actually do something that actually matters: The Esteemed House of the Crane can bow for 2 Family Honor, which matters because Crane is a defensive honor-gain deck; and the Ancestral Home of the Lion can bow to give +2F to an attacking personality, which matters because Lion is an all-in aggro deck that will take every point of Force it can get its hands on.

All four others are stupid. In the case of the Dragon and the Phoenix, the entire Stronghold is stupid because those clans suck. In the case of the Crab and Unicorn, the ability is simply meaningless. The Unicorn Stronghold can bow to put the Cavalry trait on a card, but they really have no incentive to put non-cavalry military units into their deck in the first place so that doesn't do anything. In the case of the Crab, it's the ability to bow to temporarily increase the defense threshold of a province. This pretty much never comes up, because late game armies are very much larger than even boosted provinces, early game you need to bow for gold, and in any case the player who is attacking in most cases is the player who is going to get to 40 honor later if the status quo is maintained - thus Crab spends very little time being on the defensive and even less time being on the defensive during a period where 3F one way or the other would make a difference as to whether their provinces got destroyed.

-Frank
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This is endearingly old-school, because the lowest starting honor on a stronghold has been 0 since the first expansion in May 1996, and -19 since the third expansion in December 1996.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
This is endearingly old-school, because the lowest starting honor on a stronghold has been 0 since the first expansion in May 1996, and -19 since the third expansion in December 1996.


The speed with which L5R degenerated into crazy bullshit with its "narrative driven expansion" is a post all to itself.

-Frank
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OK, let's do it!

So the first couple of expansions featured new factions that were, to put it mildly, completely fucking unplayable. They were various groups from outside the Imperial system so they weren't allowed to win by honor and ascend to the throne in the normal way. Which since that is the primary win condition of the game meant that they needed a viable alternate win condition. They did not get one.

There was some sort of narrative drive for these groups to exist, but none of them had anything they could do except hope to burn all the provinces of all the other players. This had almost no hope of success in a two player game and literally no hope of success in a multiplayer game. The Broken Clan of the Scorpion needed to come with some achievable alternate victory condition. The Rising Naga from the deeps needed to come up with some achievable alternate win condition. The ragtag armies of Toturi and Yogo Junzo needed some achievable alternate win condition. None of these factions had anything like that and none of them were remotely competitive.

The position of these guys in the story of the game was also somewhat unclear. I mean, normally if you win the game you become the next Emperor. What the shit does it mean if the Naga "win"? I mean, that wasn't going to happen, but what would it even mean if it did? I dunno. No one else knew. The people actually writing the game didn't have a clear answer for that, which is probably why none of these "non-clan strongholds" had a viable path to victory in any context. So while the game rapidly went from 6 factions to 10, the number of factions with a viable path to victory stayed at four for quite a while.

Anyway, the idea behind expansion was that it was all "story based," which basically meant that new cards weren't playtested at all and were justified based on slapdash fanfiction rather than on game play. And if you brought up the fact that the new factions couldn't see a path to victory with a telescope on their official listserv (it was the 90s) you were hounded for being some kind of powergamer. Yes, really. The actual designers used Roleplayer vs. Rollplayer arguments to defend their design choices. In a competitive card game. Also too: go fuck yourself.

The big storyline was also supposed to involve You! Yes, You! Which is to say that the slapdash fanfiction they wrote to template the new cards on would be "inspired" by events that happened in tournaments. Which is sort of almost the right thing to do. I mean, you really ought to go look at tournament results and try to figure out what is and isn't working. But their takeaways were never that they had fucked something up, but always instead that they needed to write another five thousand words of bad fanfic and make every random character's backstory more complicated than the Summer's family tree in X-Men.

Let's take the hard example of Akodo Kage. He's a Lion Clan martial arts instructor. He bows to give small but permanent bonuses to your other characters. If the game goes on long enough, he provides a lot of value. In a short game, he is worthless. The actual viable Lion Clan deck is an aggro deck that in magical christmas land can actually win the game on turn 4. Having slow incremental value engines in such a deck is a waste of your fucking time. It's a dead draw every time you draw him. On the other hand, every other faction is playing a longer game than that and has some greater (which is to say: non-zero) desire to have that character in play. Thus he has a larger chance of appearing in literally every single competitive deck list except Lion. And eventually, the designers noticed that he was appearing in deck lists of every clan except his own.

Now a reasonable designer would look at this result and slap their forehead and say "Oh right, we didn't make a viable Lion clan long-game plan and thus all the long-game cards in the Lion clan like the Champion and the Sensei are completely wasted cardboard in a Lion deck!" and then done something about it. Like, I dunno, maybe made an alternate Lion stronghold that had a fucking economy instead of being all-in on aggro. That is not what the L5R designers did.



Yeah. That's a thing that happened. They decided to make Akodo Kage the secret leader of a criminal syndicate full of spies and shapeshifters who had infiltrated all the other clans rather than simply acknowlege that they hadn't made viable paths to victory for all the deck types in all the clans. Because why admit that you fucked up when you can instead have a series of nonsensical big reveals?

Another thing they insisted on doing was continually advancing the storyline. They put out newsletters that advanced the storyline on a regular basis and of course that eventually got to the point where the cards that were originally printed were referring to things that weren't particularly contemporaneous. I mean, you could have cards that referenced events before the Naga declared their return in the same game as an actual Naga player. More weirdly, you had various characters doing face/heel turns or heel/face turns where the opposite side version was facing off across the table or even just stooging around in the same deck.

But the absoltue capstone to this shit storm was that eventually the storyline caught up to the point where the Emperor actually fucking died. And then.... um... what the fuck does it actually mean to win the game at that point? I mean, the Emperor's dead, they eventually decided who his successor was, and it was Marty Stew the do everything self-insert hero despite the fact that he was obviously ineligible from the beginning. But the really important part was that the Emperor's successor was not your character. So the goal of becoming Emperor or the act of getting the Imperial Favor or any of that shit became completely unmoored from the storyline.

In essence, the card game, the entire card game ended around Time of the Void, and yet Hidden Emperor happened instead. And the game never figured out a way to tie its game mechanics to the new storyline and everything went to shit.

So when we keep talking about this game, we will keep talking about Imperial Edition, because if we include shit from after that it will all be me shaking my fist at how they fucked everything up in the expansions. Because they did.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Nevermind. Fucking board ate the latter 3/4 of that post. No way in hell am I writing all that again.

-Frank


After having this happen to me several times, I got in to the habit of copying all my posts before hitting submit, just in case. Ctrl-A then Ctrl-C and held until i see it go up. Saved my ass a few times.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'll admit that I'm very interested in hearing about Vampire card game. It seemed interesting, but getting enough people to actually play it on tabletop simulator is impossible.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Victory conditions!

I have obliquely mentioned the two victory conditions that actually matter: destroying all other provinces and starting your turn with 40 or more honor. Those are the ones you can actually do. But technically there is a third one!

If you get all five rings in play you win. This is not going to happen. First of all, some of them are quite hard to put into play. The Ring of Water for example requires you to be in a battle, have someone play a terrain card, destroy that terrain card, then play your own terrain card and win the battle. That is an event so weirdly specific that it doesn't happen one game in five even when people are actively working towards it because the Ring of Water is pretty bomb. But the real kicker is the Ring of Earth. It's not hard to put into play, you just have to successfully defend one of your provinces. That happens in almost every game. But here's the thing: you have to succeed in defense which means some asshole has to attack you. If you try to make a deck where rings is the target victory condition, people can just decline to attack and you can never win. Meanwhile they can sit around donating to temples for the honor gains until they win. Ring victories were self defeating - any deck with any chance of pulling it off would immediately go to zero chance of pulling it off.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Seriously? Shouldn't "somehow find up and cast five specific cards" be enough of a hurdle on it's own. Like fuck Yu-gi-oh let's you pop off if you have the five Exodia pieces in your hand with no fuss.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's worse than you might think. They said that the Enlightenment victory was deliberately made stupidly difficult because actually achieving enlightenment is harder than military or political victories. I suspect they just wrote the Rings to have the first enter play conditions that entered their mind and when those wound up being unworkable in actual play they just claimed it was intentional and went on with their lives.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There's also the utterly stupid "Dishonor" victory, where if multiple players would hit the automatic dishonor loss (-20 Honor) in the same turn, then the active player determines who loses first and the last player standing wins, even if they would also lose by dishonor.

L5R introduced some cards with alternate win conditions later on - much as M:tG did - but few if any of them represent a viable strategy to build a deck around, which is a problem for lots of TCGs.


I mean yes, you could theoretically do this, but you are not realistically ever going to do this.


More scavenger hunts.


Normally, with 40+ Honor you win the game anyway, so...I dunno what this is about.


This is just a dick move.
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I was gonna make fun of the kmfdm shirt for being super '90s but then I saw the dude with the vest and popped collar combo.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Before Hidden Emperor was Jade edition, where everything was non-viable except Crane honor (flip events and buy people to win). The deck sizes changing to 40/40 made it even worse for other clans too, a couple couldn't field basketball team of in-clan personalities (yay Phoenix).

Hadn't come across that Dishonor situation, we always played -20 is the same as losing your last province. Early days it took a really good draw to run dishonor, too much depended on uniques like Goshiu, but if you got the engine up it was a pretty good chance of a win.

Enlightenment: there were always the helper items that had alternate ways to play the rings, but it was tough to draw them out of your deck in those days. Hard to say, the Finding the Harmony BS (the doesn't count toward enlightenment was errata) really colors my memory on enlightenment victories. Still easier than Four Walls or Blackest Magics wins imo.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:


Normally, with 40+ Honor you win the game anyway, so...I dunno what this is about.



Two things.
1) The Naga *don't* win at 40 honor: so you can play Dashmar, and win the normal way as Naga. I recall that the L5R people said this was how you were supposed to use him: but the Naga still weren't very good so this didn't come up much.

2) You win at the start of your next turn, ordinarily - so you can win earlier, by bowing Dashmar. Winning a turn earlier is a big deal in any game that's at all competitive.
Presumably later versions of L5R retconned Dashmar into also being a secret shapeshifter, since he was in all sorts of non-naga decks.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There are a few more Win Events:
"Do you currently have all four Walls of Otosan-Uchi in play?" and, IIRC,
"Can you produce an effect from each of the 5 elements in one turn?" (Yes. Yes I can).
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lokey wrote:
Before Hidden Emperor was Jade edition, where everything was non-viable except Crane honor (flip events and buy people to win). The deck sizes changing to 40/40 made it even worse for other clans too, a couple couldn't field basketball team of in-clan personalities (yay Phoenix).

Hadn't come across that Dishonor situation, we always played -20 is the same as losing your last province. Early days it took a really good draw to run dishonor, too much depended on uniques like Goshiu, but if you got the engine up it was a pretty good chance of a win.

Enlightenment: there were always the helper items that had alternate ways to play the rings, but it was tough to draw them out of your deck in those days. Hard to say, the Finding the Harmony BS (the doesn't count toward enlightenment was errata) really colors my memory on enlightenment victories. Still easier than Four Walls or Blackest Magics wins imo.


The designers attempted to push tournaments to have the results they wanted. Mostly this involved printing deliberately overpowered cards for various factions. The problem of course is that there are still only three viable routes to victory: honor, aggro, and hybrid. And the stats on the stronghold were important enough that many of those strategies were never going to be viable for some clans. Crab goes second, so it's never going to be a good fit for pure aggro. Lion makes crap base money, so it's never going to do well with honor or hybrid strategies.

This resulted in some ridiculous honor Crane, aggro Lion, and hybrid Crab decks at various points. And of course a bunch of very puzzling cards that never had a home. If they ever delivered a playable Phoenix or Dragon strategy, I don't know what it was.

Dishonor death is just like province death. The retarded workaround is that if more than one person honors out in the same turn, the active player chooses death order. Thus creating a very obscure loophole involving cards that let you share honor loss. Everyone loses, but the player whose turn it is loses last so they win. This created the game mechanically relevant question 'How much honor do I lose if I pee on my opponent's cards?' The initial answer made that a viable win condition in certain circumstances and had to be changed.

The cards that let you hunt for rings and put them into play under alternate circumstances came later. The initial set had no candle of the void or any of that shit. I am told that at some point they managed to hit critical mass where they printed so many loopholes to cheat rings into play that turbo ring monks was beyond 'viable' and out the other side to 'broken' but I never played during that era and couldn't say for sure.

-Frank
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Lion makes crap base money, so it's never going to do well with honor or hybrid strategies.

Lion (at various times) had a viable 'switch' strategy, where it blitzed an early province or two, then honor-ran with the production advantage that gave them.

Quote:
If they ever delivered a playable Phoenix or Dragon strategy, I don't know what it was.

The first Phoenix Stronghold was errataed to produce 7 gold for a shugenja if you were willing to put Shadowlands on it, which produced some corrupt aggro decks, one of which placed pretty high on the Second Day of Thunder tourney. Much later, they had viable aggro with an action-cancellation stronghold, viable honor with honor-manipulating spell effects, and viable mid-range military with elemental dragons.

Quote:
I am told that at some point they managed to hit critical mass where they printed so many loopholes to cheat rings into play that turbo ring monks was beyond 'viable' and out the other side to 'broken' but I never played during that era and couldn't say for sure.

Yes, that happened; twice, actually. Also there were later versions of the Rings that were much more reasonable with their enter-play conditions. I think their final position was to errata the victory condition to say that you only enlightened if you got all the Rings into play by their own text, so you could cheat them into play for their ongoing benefits, but you couldn't win that way. The later Rings saw a lot of incidental play, but I never saw an environment where enlightenment wasn't either a joke or busted.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

All of the cards in your fate deck have a focus value on them. That's the number they are worth if you play them face down to focus in a duel or flip them off the top of the deck to set the value of a gambling house.

Cards range from a focus value of zero to five. Actual zeros and fives only exist on cards that have no real purpose except to be focused away. Cards that actually can be played as battle actions or swords have a value between 1 and 4.

Now obviously a card is better if it has a higher focus value, but equally obviously if you are playing it as an action you don't much care what the focus value is. You could imagine a system by which some cards had underwhelming or situational effects and had high focus values while other cards were easy and effective to use as normal cards and had crap focus values. As some sort of compensation for using niche cards that otherwise wouldn't see play.

Well, it will not surprise you that this is not what happened. Some designers made cards with high focus values justified by the idea that the card was awesome and you wouldn't want to focus it away. Like, for real. They actually said that.

So fucking obviously some decks could be made where all the cards were focus 3 or 4 and none of the cards weren't good to do it. Fucking fuck!

-Frank
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Now obviously a card is better if it has a higher focus value, but equally obviously if you are playing it as an action you don't much care what the focus value is. You could imagine a system by which some cards had underwhelming or situational effects and had high focus values while other cards were easy and effective to use as normal cards and had crap focus values. As some sort of compensation for using niche cards that otherwise wouldn't see play.

Well, it will not surprise you that this is not what happened. Some designers made cards with high focus values justified by the idea that the card was awesome and you wouldn't want to focus it away. Like, for real. They actually said that.


...did you just describe the poker system in the Deadlands TCG?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
FrankTrollman wrote:
Now obviously a card is better if it has a higher focus value, but equally obviously if you are playing it as an action you don't much care what the focus value is. You could imagine a system by which some cards had underwhelming or situational effects and had high focus values while other cards were easy and effective to use as normal cards and had crap focus values. As some sort of compensation for using niche cards that otherwise wouldn't see play.

Well, it will not surprise you that this is not what happened. Some designers made cards with high focus values justified by the idea that the card was awesome and you wouldn't want to focus it away. Like, for real. They actually said that.


...did you just describe the poker system in the Deadlands TCG?


It should come as no surprise that the Deadlands TCG was made by some of the same people. But yes, the failure is very similar and based on the same obviously false premises.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Those focus values also sound remarkably like the 'Destiny' values on the Decipher-made Star Wars CCG.
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L5R predates Decipher Starwars by 4 months, so it's probably a coincidence. Like, people keep trying to use cards as dice in CCGs, like with the 40k card game and numerous other examples. But it's shit as long as there isn't a mechanism to keep you from stacking the deck with specific numbers.

Anyway, gotta talk about Toku.

Toku is a 0/2 unaligned samurai who costs zero gold. He provides no force and is not in anyone's clan so he does not provide any honor either. Despite doing basically nothing, he appeared in all decks that weren't Lion or Crab and many that were.

The reason for this is because of L5R's extremely vaguely defined rule that you couldn't take actions in battle unless you were in the battle. Or the action said so. Or the action didn't say so but moved people around and thus wouldn't be usable at all if we didn't pretend that rule didn't exist. This meant that if you wanted to play action cards from your hand to buy you extra time to not have your economy destroyed by Lion aggro, you were required to have a personality to play on turn 1. And since you needed to bow your stronghold to buy a gold producing holding on turn 1 if you wanted to get your economy anywhere ever, that 1st turn samurai needed to be free. And there was only one character who was.

Really, the entire set of rules for when you could and couldn't use actions was horse shit. At some point they noticed that technically a whole bunch of courtiers and battle influencing mages and shit pretty much couldn't be used. Rather than go in for a big rethink and some extensive errata, they were just like 'Yep, those guys are supposed to be useless.'

-Frank
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hey, even in Imperial there was one other 'free' guy.

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Lokey
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Joined: 13 Oct 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The change in deck size evened things out in Jade except Crane, they had the cards to just add 10 and the deck still worked the same (especially since they kept the province destruction events and gained regions that were some of the best defense you could have: Clan Heartland with stuff like Tidal Land Bridge) while pretty much everything else was way worse off. Was telling that it was pretty much automatic to switch to the Hidden Emperor strongholds as they came out except for Crane.

2nd Corrupt Phoenix stronghold (7g for a shugenja if you make them Shadowlands), plenty of viable non-broken things you could do with that (especially when beefy bloodspeaker shugenja with nice abilities and stats showed up, it did more than Dragons or Tsuke kills all personalities on the board). The Hidden Emperor stronghold for them was just broken good, it made the Toturi box look fair.

I've read some pretty funny stories of what gameplay was like well after Diamond. It could have been worse Frank Smile In short, it was keyword apocalypse and was pretty much the game was decided in the first battle, the player with one more appropriate kill x ability won the game.

There were a few clan aligned freebies (Toku was a 0/1 by the by, doesn't change much except he died when the first Evil Portents hit): Bayushi Tanjin-0/1 with omg amazing action and reaction but Scorp sucked in your day, Shioda free 1/4!!! monk that omg rocked when monk had enough starting honor to have a chance and kiho weren't awful, Yoritomo Masuse-chuck 3 cards for a 3/3, needed reliable Void Ring access that you didn't have then--his xp version was great than the kolats got their claws of suck into him (happened to lots of good personalities). That's the main good freebies I remember outside Akuma.

There's also "fan favorite" Toturi's Army vacuuming up the best people from non-top tier clans (stayed dual aligned for a time before WIck went full Mary Sue with him). If their box didn't have crap gold, they had the people to do anything they wanted, which they did in Hidden Emperor except that Phoenix was so much better.


Last edited by Lokey on Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:57 pm; edited 5 times in total
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