Yesterday, FFG posted the next L5R LCG cycling information, the Elemental Cycle.
You can find that announcement on their page here.
Now they also released some both good and bad information with this.
The good information is that this cycle will contain some nonhuman characters like nezumi and ningyo, as well as Mantis characters (on unaligned cards).
The ‘bad’ information involves a few things.
FFG once again will be releasing the 6 pack cycle over a six-week period instead of the normal 1 pack a month in Q3. Now keeping with their timeframe, this would seem to hit in the LAST month of Q3 which means no help for a chunk of Koteis.
Now my informants have shared that there has been a great number of players quit after the first time this happened. Now, that is $90 for all 6 packs which is cheaper than retail for a box of the old CCG. The problem is mostly because with new cards stop coming, the interest wanes until the next release.
Now here is the problem: number of cards release and time
The CCG released 4 sets a year on average (1 large set, 3 small sets). Let’s look at the numbers:
Two year total: 1508 cards
Base Set: 372
Expansion 1: 156
Expansion 2: 156
Expansion 3: 156
1 Year Total: ~840 cards
2 Year Total: ~1680 cards
The LCG releases so far is set to release two 6 pack Cycles a year and possibly two Clan packs a year. Each pack in a cycle has 20 cards so that is 120 cards per Cycle. This closely mirrors the expansions from the CCG era. The Clan Packs are between 25-30 cards (the Phoenix pack has 28 cards listed according to Gamepedia).
Core Set: 218
Cycle 1: 120
Clan Pack 1: 28
Cycle 2: 120
Total: 486 cards
Potential Year 2
Clan Pack 2: 28
Cycle 3: 120
Clan Pack 3: 28
Cycle 4: 120
Total: 296 cards
Two year total: 782 cards
This is a massive problem as there are fewer cards and/or strategies to explore. Between the change in release time as compared to other LCG’s and the number of cards printed per year, players are quitting fast due to boredom.
Now this bugged me some but there is a lot less deckbuilding options to me. This seems to also hurt the game in my opponent. I don’t just mean in the number of cards but in the ways you can use those cards in the deck building / design process.
The way the game was designed
Team Members Leaving
This is the other main concern. Erik Dahlman and Nate French are no longer working on the game, leaving just Brad Andres as the only designer left from the original 3. Erik was the member who I connected with the most since his experience with the old game helped the team sculpt the new game.
Katrina Ostrander, L5R story manager, announced today on her Twitter account that she is leaving FFG:
I have some bittersweet news, which is that later this month I start a new full-time position at a textbook company! I'm super excited for this new opportunity to grow in the publishing industry, and I'll miss everyone at Fantasy Flight Games tremendously.
— Katrina Ostrander (@lindevi) April 4, 2018
This is a huge loss as I felt the she did an amazing job leading the new era.
With so many who worked on the reboot for 2 plus years no longer apart of the game, what happens now?
In Search of the Future
So where does the game go from here?
Beyond the Elemental Cycle, I do not know. My insight into the L5R LCG ends with the Elemental Cycle.
What I do know is that if FFG’s planned layout of set releases doesn’t change either in the amount of cards released or spread the amount of time between each pack release out, there may not be any players left to play the game.