Doubtless some of you will have noticed the ‘SAD’ group in the corner at the club recently throwing cards around. No, we’ve not started an illegal poker den using wargames as a cover, we’ve been playing the Legend of the Five Rings strategy card game, one of the more exciting and colourful card games currently on the scene.
I myself have been involved in playing L5R for the last ten years and recently managed to drag Paul, Vic and Derek into giving it a go. Derek didn’t really need much dragging and has played the game before! This short article is aimed at providing a brief overview of what the game is all about and possibly generating more interest in it at the club.
The game theme is set in a mythical, medieval world with strong Japanese/ Chinese cultural influence. Each player represents one of ten factions in the land of Rokugan and builds a unique deck from the cards available to him/her. The cards themselves are of several different types covering such things as Personalities, Military units, Items, Holdings (that produce gold), Events and Actions (that directly influence game play). The objective is to eliminate your opponent from the game by destroying all his provinces (each player starts with 4) – a military victory, or by gaining the Imperial throne through popular acclaim (start your turn with 40+ family honour) – an honour victory.
The beauty of this game to me is the diverse number of strategies available to win the game. There are literally hundreds of cards to choose from to build your deck, so invariably no deck will be the same. Of course there are several key card types for each strategy (some harder to get than others!) and each Clan has a pre-disposition to one or more of them. For example, the Crane Clan are a clan of Courtiers and duelists and lean towards winning an honour victory. The Crab clan are tough warlike berserkers who hate the evil Shadowlands and see themselves as the defenders of Rokugan. Needless to say they are tough in battle and usually win through a military victory.
The cards themselves are really beautiful. Each has superb, unique artwork that captures the Chinese/ Japanese flavour really well. Each expansion moves the story of each Clan and of Rokugan as a whole onwards and if you win tournaments you the player can have a say in how the storyline develops.
If you are interested in finding out more about the game then come over and talk to some of us on a Wednesday or take a look at the L5R Samurai Edition website, the link is below: