Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thoughts on L5R as an LCG...

I recently received a pack of Legends of the Five Rings (L5R) promo cards in the mail from the Imperial Herald, which given how the game kind of imploded overnight at my LGS, is like getting a love letter from a dead lover which had been lost in the mail for a year.  I just miss that game, oh so much!  Recently, I asked some of the individual players just what had killed the game for them, and I got the typical responses I kind of expected: "too expensive, I couldn't keep up."  "I didn't like having to purchase a $100 set just to feel competitive." (I.e. Forgotten Legacy) "my decks have no chance vs clan X".  "It's just like MTG, whomever has the most cards in his collection, wins."  Recently, I got to thinking, would having an LCG format for L5R solve all these issues so we could all just get back to playing L5R?

 I know this topic has been discussed in the past, with AEG's statement being that "L5R will never follow an LCG format." (or "expandable card game" format as they use the term). But, with the release of Doomtown: Reloaded set to follow the ECG format, could it's success or failure have an effect one way or another on L5R's future as an ECG?  But for the sake of argument, let me break down the complaints I heard to see how many issues an ECG would or could potentially resolve:

"Too expensive, I couldn't keep up."
An ECG format could potentially resolve this issue, with the average price point (after initial core sets) ranging in the $15-$30 a month, a gamer should easily be able to keep up with all the sets, and get caught back up easily enough should they take a break.  You'd also have the benefit of knowing exactly what you'd be getting inside each pack, so no need to bulk buy just to fish for one or two specific cards.  There are also no hard "resets" so to speak, forcing cards into the "unusable outside specific format or casual only" category in an ECG format.

"I didn't like having to purchase a $100 set just to feel competitive."
See above.  Regular monthly sets would probably be in the $15-$30 price set.  As long as they stayed clear of creating expensive "special sets" like they did with Forgotten Legacy, this complaint would also be resolved.

"my decks have no chance vs clan X".
This sounds more like a player issue than anything.  Each clan had certain deck types it ran really well, while also also having some it did not.  Certain types had good/bad match ups.  It's like that in every single game, except maybe Netrunner.  I'm not sure an ECG would have any kind of effect on this type of complaint except that it allows the gaming company to easily shift a meta one way or another with each month's release, so if a clan/deck type struggles verses another, then it was probably more of a deliberate design choice that could easily be altered anytime in the near future.

 "It's just like MTG, whomever has the most cards in his collection, wins."
An ECG format would easily resolve this complaint, as everyone gets put into the same card pool.  There are no "he had 3x ultra-super-rare cards that cost $150 a piece in his deck that read: you win" in an ECG format.  Everyone should feasibly have access to the same cards, barring that an LGS doesn't sell out of a particular pack on release day.  Having identical card pools as your opponents mean games come down to, not general card access, but deck building WITHIN that card pool and general gameplay on the table.

All in all, I could see L5R doing really well in an LCG/ECG format.  I imagine that perhaps the growing group we had at the LGS may not have imploded in such the way it did if it was in the ECG format.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy FFG's LCG's, but L5R was the first game I really took seriously, back to the imperial edition days, and I'd gladly give all of them up just to be able to play L5R on a consistent basis with a good sized group.  L5R will always have a special place in this gamer's heart.

What do you guys think, should AEG reconsider their stance of L5R remaining a blind-buy CCG format?  Would an ECG format get potential new players to try?  Old players return?  Would YOU give L5R a look if it was an ECG?

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