The new latest episode of the Strange Assembly podcast is now available for download – they just keep flying fast and furious because of that GenCon insanity! Jay talks about getting squashed in BigDeck, we go over the story results of GenCon, and then Chris expounds on the need for bans to shake up the environment … a discussion that was entirely preempted by the announcement of a bunch of bans after recording but before the episode was ready for release.
2 thoughts on “Episode 107 – L5R at GenCon 2013”
I dunno if this is helpful from an ‘anecdotal data’ angle regarding attendance, but I know I made a deliberate choice to skip the Koteis this year (I almost always make one, and I can usually get to a second). It was a combination of factors, but one of the two biggest was just general disheartening regarding the community from all of the Mantis hate. Now, normally, it’s fashionable to hate the clan with the broken stronghold each year and I doubt that if I played any clan but Mantis regularly I’d feel differently. But when people started playing Kalani’s Landing decks just to get up to second place and then concede as long as the personality they picked died, that just killed a lot of my enthusiasm (and more than a bit of that was the fact that one of the Personalities targeted was Yoritomo Saigo, and I was one of the folks in the Mantis contingent at Winter Court so I’ve got a pretty good idea of just how much work Dan put into that character). While I respect the idea that was apparently there in getting people personally interested and passionate about events, I think letting players target other clans’ characters with death and such was a bad idea. One of my first thoughts was “God, it’s like the Rain of Blood all over again, when everyone was devoted to getting everyone else’s characters tainted just to mess with them.” (And this was before your interview with Dan Briscoe who said the Rain of Blood was his favorite Kotei season.) I mean, isn’t that actually one of the least favorite/most infamous Koteis, story-wise? Back in the days when some players actually made it their mission to Taint certain clans as much as possible? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
The other big factor was the whole ‘province loss’ issue. Quite frankly, I’m a mediocre player and over the years I’ve managed to get to the point where I can start the day of a Kotei with sincere confidence I can at least make the cut. But I’m not a winner. I figured out pretty early on that unless you’re going to win the Kotei, the best you can do is basically pick which clan gets points towards taking away one of your provinces. Which meant that making the cut, a milestone I’d have been happy with, would have actually been detrimental to my clan. (Yeah, there was the Warlord choice, but I’d be surprised if that winds up substantially being more important to the plot than, say, the Shogun has turned out to be.)
On top of that, for a number of reasons getting product at our local store has been a hassle for reasons I can get into later if anyone’s curious. (A lot of it comes down to the fact we’ve never been able to build a stable playgroup because most people at my store are already perfectly happy spending money on Magic, Heroclix, and Warhammer.)
So between my dissatisfaction with how the Kotei season was handled and difficulties getting cards, when the time came to start planning out Gencon events I didn’t feel like I had any sort of functioning deck worth taking to the tournaments. I didn’t want to sign up for grinders and leave my Saturday open on the off-chance I made the cut and basically miss out on everything that happens at the convention before 8. In the past I’ve been the sort of guy who’d happily play every round of a tournament even if I’m losing just for the play experience and the fun conversations one has down at the ‘scrub’ tables at the end of the day. But maybe I’m just getting older or maybe over the last couple of years I’ve managed to play a bit more outside of tournaments (mostly against only one other regular player, but even still) but my stamina for banging my head against the wall of tournaments I can’t win has drastically dropped.
But rather than doing what I do most years and spend most of it running around trying to keep up with L5R stuff for the first few days and then having little to do the rest of the weekend because I didn’t plan for any Saturday events, I took it a little easier this year (and played Netrunner on Friday, actually having the opportunity to recognize and say ‘hi’ to Mike) and enjoyed myself. I’m keeping an eye on things, mostly out of curiosity about Ivory Edition and mostly because I’ve got good feelings about Dan being the event guy now, but I think I’m going to be taking it easy at best until then.
I dunno how unique my experience is there or if anyone even cares. I just wanted to voice my thoughts on why my participation this year has been so much less than in previous years.
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