Legend of the Twenty Years: Fantasy Flight Games Purchases the L5R Brand

The morning of September 12th, 2015 saw the local side of the tabletop gaming internet exploding into a rapidly-shifting flurry of shock, anguish and conviction.

Reactions to L5R.
Typical reactions to the announcement.

It’s official, folks. After twenty long years as a collectible card game (CCG), the Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) brand is going over to Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) to join their esteemed roster of Living Card Games (LCG) this coming Gen Con 2017.

The official L5R page has only confirmed this, and explanations from the Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) have begun to trickle in across the internet.

For those unfamiliar with the terms, CCGs are the card games like Magic: The Gathering (MtG) with random booster pack contents and different rarities across cards (the archetypal “I just spent hundreds of dollars on a piece of cardboard” type of game). LCGs are a format popularized by 2008’s A Game of Thrones card game that do away with the rarity system, each box already containing all the cards in a given expansion. L5R has spent the last two decades outliving every other CCG of its era that wasn’t MtG, though AEG’s already  raised several questions about their sticking to the old common-uncommon-rare setup. This is thanks to 2014’s Doomtown Reloaded and their introduction of the ‘expanding card game’ format, their own version of the LCG (since the latter term’s copyrighted by FFG).

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Tabletop role-players have also gone into speculation mode on the future of the beloved L5R role-playing game, considering that FFG’s got quite a few RPG’s under their belt: mostly under iconic properties Star Wars and Warhammer (both Fantasy and 40,000). AEG’s last Origins Award for an RPG was for 7th Sea in 1999. Meanwhile, a cursory search doesn’t show any Fantasy Flight role-playing games in the Origins roster–though they did take home a few ENnie Awards in 2010.

Will L5R’s (in)famous story-driven tourney format thrive as an LCG? Will FFG’s take on the RPG finally land the title in the Origins roster for the first time since 1997? It’s cliche, but only time will tell.

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Hamstah Fwend
Hamstah Fwend
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Hamstah Fwend is a magical undead hobo who teleports through trashcan fires.
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