In this first installment of what may become a repeat feature, I lay out ten L5R and gaming thoughts. They are generally intended as semi-random and, hopefully, semi-interesting notes or conversation starters – do not expect lists of 100% brilliant insights.
1) Have you noticed how few of the top spells are ones that come in free off of Library of Rebirth (and are meaningful in that way)? Bo of Water and Katana of Fire are great, but their abilities are Limited. Strength of the Tsunami still costs cash (although the box itself is enough to pay for the rest). Scouring Flood is great, but after that you’re looking at kind of limited stuff like Conflagration, Pearl of Rage, and Tempest of Flame. Not that Phoenix spell military needs more help.
2) Mirumoto Katagi just gets worse every time I look at him. A lot of Dragon players thought he was awful when he came out, but I thought he deserved more of a look. But, after more of a look, I’m more down on him. His bare stats are worth about 6.5 Gold (you have to pay 7G for a 4F/4C, but it’s a weak Personality) – but he effectively costs 11G. So the first time you play a Weapon on him and get the 4G discount, you still haven’t really made back the extra you paid for him up front (and you’re spending extra Gold before you get the benefit, which is worse). So, if you aren’t buying the guy and immediately dropping two Weapons on him, he’s basically doing nothing.
3) If you assume that Border Keep basic and Border Keep Experienced are supposed to be vaguely even in power level, then you should be disappointed. The ability to look at a third set of Dynasty cards on turn one is a huge, huge factor in how many Holdings you need to put in a deck. Border Keep has to give up its once-per-game ability to get that third look. Border Keep Experienced doesn’t. It’s a bigger deal than you might think.
4) I remember there being some real griping about how lousy and/or ill-suited the Mantis Personalities in Forgotten Legacy were. Not griping anymore, eh?
5) You can cut your Holding count down to 8-9 by just running 6-for-5 Holdings. Is it the lost flexibility of the bigger Holdings worth getting 5 Dynasty slots back? I do not know.
6) Don’t forget Tsuruchi Daikyu in all the excitement about the 8G Weapons. It’s still a beast.
7) I’m not usually much of one for Kickstarter games, but I do like deckbuilding and combining that mechanic for other things, which has made me wonder about this Briefcase game from some Greek designers that is supposed to come out later this year.
8 ) Non-Samurai really, really wish they could play Know No Fear.
9) I’m one of those folks who doesn’t want to send in anything for the Emperor Edition “Experience a Personality” mailing because I don’t want to give up my one copy of any of the bio cards.
10) After listening to Eric Summerer on The Dice Tower talk about Merchant of Venus so often, I really want to see what comes of the upcoming remake (which, from the information available, will be the Fantasy Flight Games version).