Legend of the Five Rings – Gameplay Preview

  • Posted by
  • at

Get a first glimpse of gameplay for the upcoming L5R LCG from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG)…

That’s right folks, FFG is back with a look at the first couple of turns of gameplay for the upcoming Legend of the Five Rings living card game. Much like Netrunner or the Song of Ice and Fire, L5R will come in a core set that has the entire playset, and will most likely see expansion packs every so often that let you play whatever deck best fits your own play style.

But more than just being about the game, LCGs also tell a story that evolves over the course of the game’s life as new expansions are developed. And especially since it sounds like they’re rolling the timeline back a little bit, I am interested to see where they go with the storyline. Will it be any different? Will Mantis Clan still be Best Clan?


via Fantasy Flight Games

So, first things first, you’ll want to figure out what deck you’re going to play. According to the site, players will take the reins of one of the seven great clans of Rokugan, so presumably each clan is its own discrete deck. Once you’ve got that figured out, it’s time to get to work on establishing your dynasty and vying for power.

Your dynasty (or your deck, really) is made up of several decks. First there’s the dynasty deck, which is all of your resources, characters, troops, etc. There’s also the conflict deck, which holds all of your tactics, equipment, plans and schemes, and so on. Basically your dynasty deck is the things you have, the conflict deck is all about how you use them.

The other component to a player’s dynasty are the provinces. These are your clan’s holdings. Select one to be your stronghold (done by picking a stronghold card and setting it on top of one of your province cards). Your stronghold establishes your starting resources–resources you’ll need to crush the ambitions and thwart the schemes of your enemies

But all this power comes with a price. Lose your stronghold and you lose the game.

Once you’ve got your dynasty set up, you draw your starting hand. Hands in this game consist of two parts. There’s the cards you draw from your conflict deck (you’ll get 4 to start with), which are a lot like the traditional and of cards you’re familiar with–but then there’s also the cards you “draw” from your dynasty deck, placing four of them facedown on top of your province cards. These are kept hidden until the first phase of round one, the dynasty phase.

Each round is broken into five phases, the first of which is the dynasty phase. This is when you start establishing your board state. You flip over the cards lying face down on your province, then get Fate (equal to your stronghold’s fate value) to spend on playing characters or activating cards or what have you. Each characterhas a certain fate cost, but you’ll want to consider giving them additional fate–because your characters will lose fate each round, and when a character has no fate left, it’s gone from play.

Once you’ve built your dynasty, it’s on to the draw phase, when you bid honor and draw from your conflict deck. It’s similar to the mechanic in A Song of Ice and Fire–you bid a number between one and five, the high bidder gives the low bidder honor equal to the difference between their bids, and each player draws as many cards as they bid honor points. This can be tricky, because if you get reduced to 0 honor, you lose the game. On the other hand, if you get 25 honor, victory is yours.

At any rate, this is just a brief overview of the rules so far. For more detail, be sure and check out the article published on FFG’s website. They’ve got more pictures, and you can also check out links to some of the cards in the core set there as well, including cards like the Scorpion Clan’s Bayushi Manipulator.

Stay tuned for more L5R news as it drops.

Read more about Crafting a Dynasty at Fantasy Flight Games

Mantis clan, best clan.


  • Garthantash

    There are 7 Great Clans (not 5) in this version and Mantis is not one of them.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Retcon, that is why. They reset the clock. Mantis came around Jade or something edition. Plus this was core set, who know, they may make them an add on. They have done that with Netrunner and Conquest in the past.

    • Jay Arr

      Mantis Clan isn’t once of them…yet…

    • Raven Jax

      Looks like maybe Spider and Phoenix are gone too? The original L5R had many problems, but I never felt that too many clans was one of them.

      • Txabi Etxebarrieta

        Spider yes, Phoenix no. Based on the characters currently alive in this expansion, they’ve rolled the timeline back to just before the Second Day of Thunder and the assassination of the Emperor by Bayushi Shoju. Hence why there’s no Mantis clan, who got Greater Clan status afterwards, and no Spider Clan as they didn’t even form until much later and then had to fight to be recognized as a Greater Clan.

        I’d imagine Mantis will be given a full expansion in the future. Spider I’m less certain of. But there are Phoenix Clan cards in some of the previews, so no worries for everyone’s favorite shugenja.

  • ReCheck


    • ReCheck

      Sucks they’re not here yet but I’m guessing running Unicorn or Crab is the closest we can get before our ships dock.

  • Damon Sherman

    i wonder how long til I can run Tutori’s army.