Posted by: markfender | September 16, 2015

FFG Buys L5R

I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

L5R-Dice-2It appears that FFG has acquired L5R, which makes for the second time that the property has passed to a bigger player in the industry than the parent company. And they’re making it a Living Card Game!

Which is great, because L5R was the last bastion of CCGs-That-Aren’t-Magic capable of surviving on that model, which pretty much meant I was going to stay far away from it. Of course, the L5R LCG doesn’t come out until 2017, so there’s plenty of time to wildly speculate about what we’d like to see from a new format.

Ruleswise, it would be super great if Traits didn’t sometime have rules and sometimes were just descriptions. Because that’s kind of confusing. And I could really do with less text on those cards. And fixing dueling would be cool. There might need to be some faction-culling that takes place, at least initially (I have no doubt that, if the brand is successful, we’ll be seeing Nezumi and Naga decks eventually).

Of course, that also means the living story is probably going away, because that’s not something that FFG is really known for. They’re slowly building a world with Netrunner’s releases, so it’s certainly possible that there will still be an ongoing story, but the storyline tournament thing of players dictating future arcs is probably going away. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But that was one of the unique hooks of L5R and it will be sad for that to disappear.

So, I’m tentatively hopeful for the the new L5R LCG. I’m probably the outlier that wants more radical rule changes than it will probably get, but, in general, FFG knows how to make a card game so I’m still hopeful.

But what about the RPG? Personally, I’m okay if FFG wants to go with weird custom dice. If you’re a fan of the Roll and Keep system, I think 4th edition L5R already has you covered – it’s a pretty complete game line at this point and has the best production quality AEG is capable of so, as a “swan song” edition, it works well. Fans can stick with 4th and have a good version of that rule set. But I’m totally fine with seeing someone else radically reapproach the basic tenets of what L5R roleplaying can be. I mean, maybe they’ll finally excise the final Wickisms that remain, like ronin kind of sucking for no particular reason.



  1. I rationalized ronin being bad because they are the outcasts in a very structured society. They aren’t allowed in centuries-old clan schools and instead have to rely on a more DIY attitude to learn how to get by.

    As for FFG remaking the RPG, I would agree that a new system would be fine. Roll and keep is fun but can be a bit slow and cumbersome, so a faster mechanic could speed up what was intended to be quick and lethal combat.

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