Legend of the Five Rings – Conflicts

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This week’s L5R update is all about conflict resolution. Hope your swords are sharp, and your whispers poison.

We’re back with more Legend of the Five Rings coverage for you. This week Fantasy Flight Games has a preview of how conflicts will work, as well as the final few phases of the turn. There are a few other concepts covered as well–the game is shaping up to be quite a clash of clans.

So read on to learn how to dishonor foes and influence people.


via Fantasy Flight Games

Last week we looked at the first two phases of gameplay, Dynasty and Draw, this week: Conflict, Fate, and Regrouping. The conflict phase is where all your plans come into contact with the enemy. Where you stand to gain or lose it all–whether on the battlefield, or in the Imperial Courts. And with one of the Five Rings up for grabs (as well as the Imperial Favor) conflicts are a tempting option–but it is only to the victor that the spoils go. So be careful not to attack unless you can be assured of victory.

Here’s how it works.

There are two kinds of conflicts: Military and Political, and as you might imagine some Clans will be better at certain types than others–the Lion Clan, for instance will probably be much better at building up honorable warriors than, say, the scheming Scorpion Clan (and no Clan will ever be as good as Mantis Clan). But each player takes turns attacking provinces through either military or political conflicts.

The attacking player chooses which province to attack and how, then chooses readied characters will lead the assault, and which of the Five Elements will influence the conflict–and the defending player then the defending player sends their readied characters to defend. Then the conflict commences–this is where the conflict cards in each player’s come to had, re-emphasizing the struggle between spending honor to get more cards, or spending less to get more fate.

Not to mention the cards that have their own particular interactions with Fate…

Managing both of these resources will be paramount if you wish to seize victory. And on that note–as mentioned, to the victor go the spoils of the conflict. Whichever side has the highest skill value (military or political) wins and claims the Elemental Ring for the round, granting them glory in the phases to come. If the attacker wins and surpasses the defending player’s strength by enough, the defender’s province is broken, making their stronghold that much more vulnerable. Once three provinces have been broken, their Stronghold can be attacked.

After all this game isn’t called the Legend of No Rings. Each Ring has their own special effect you can activate when you win on the attack.

But simply having more skill is no guarantee of victory. Your opponent is sure to have many tricks up their sleeves–enabling them to bring in surprise reinforcements, or to manipulate the conflict to their own ends.

Once all conflicts have finally been resolved, play moves onto the Fate phase. This is a little like an upkeep phase–here’s where the clock of the game ticks forward. Characters without fate are discarded, fate is placed on each unclaimed Elemental Ring (which can later be claimed by an attacking player). FFG mentions that the Dragon clan in particular is concerned with the fate on unclaimed rings–which seems like it’ll make for an interesting dynamic.

So far, the cards we’ve seen all speak to the Clans playing to their own unique strengths, which should make for a fun dynamic of play between them. And since the Core Set comes with everything you’ll need to play as any of the Great Clans, you’ll be able to see which one fits your playstyle best.

The final phase of the turn, the Regroup phase is similar to the Fate phase–more bookkeeping happens here. Characters are readied–here’s also a chance to discard unwanted characters from your provinces (so that more useful characters will potentially wander along during the next Dynasty Phase). Once the round is over, play cycles once more, on and on until one player is victorious and the other lies defeated and dishonored.

Mantis, of course, wield the best element–Thunder the element of Heroes and Power. Neither of these are in the game as of yet, but they are still the best.

  • Ty Hayden

    The apparent lack of Mantis is disheartening… I miss the days of L5R and this could be fun, but I think I will have to pass until they release the best clan.

    • JJ
      • Ty Hayden

        A shameful display, your clan obviously lacks discipline. Let me guess, you play Unicorn? Back to your tent barbarian. We may be pirates and smugglers, but we still have honor! [just don’t ask me to say it with a straight face].

    • Txabi Etxebarrieta

      They almost certainly will. It’s just a timeline issue. The only clan I honestly think is in jeopardy is the Spider Clan.

      • Ty Hayden

        I imagine that it will exist in one way or another. It is integral to the lore. Whether it is a playable clan, corrupted cards or an ‘AI’ deck, I am sure it will be included. Nezumi and Naga on the other hand…

        • Txabi Etxebarrieta

          Shadowlands will definitely be represented, but I remember specifically that Spider Clan and Daigotsu were kinda controversial. I’d guess they’re waiting to see what the player base is like before they figure out what to do with all of that.

          • Ty Hayden

            I though the Spider Clan was the Shadowland’s mimicry of the actual clans? I have never really been up on the fluff of L5R beyond the 4 WInds Novels.

          • Txabi Etxebarrieta

            Sort of. They started as a conspiracy by Fu Leng to get a clan inside the Empire. Fu Leng chose Daigotsu, the second son of one of the Emperors, to carry out said infiltration. But at some point Fu Leng was passed over by Jigoku as its champion in favor of Kali Ma, who wrecked shop over most of the Empire. So Daigotsu lead the Spider Clan against Kali Ma partially to gain the Imperial Favor and partially to avenge Fu Leng’s honor after Kali Ma demanded their loyalty. Some sepukku shenanigans and one dragon transformation later, Kali Ma lay dead and Daigotsu saved the Empire. Everyone knew they got their start within the Shadowlands at this point (kinda hard to miss when Daigotsu’s plan to die and land himself in Hell went off without a hitch) so the Empress cut them a deal; Grant amnesty to the Spider Clan who remained loyal to the Empire if they forsook their taint, and they would get Great Clan status with Daigotsu’s son replacing him as clan champion.

            Oh, and kinda fittingly given the situation, those Spider bushi with the taint that still wanted to be part of the Empire were sent abroad alongside the Mantis to secure the colonies. So…that’s a thing.

          • Ty Hayden

            Thanks for the summary.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      That is what happens when you retcon 17 years of continuity. I am sure Mantis will be back.

      Spider though…

  • Drew

    That last Crab samurai picture is stunning. I’m very pleased. =)