With Rokugan in a state of flux after the elemental ructions of the Elemental Cycle, Children of the Empire will be the first deluxe expansion for the Legend of the Five Rings Living Card Game (LCG). We are promised an edict from the emperor, Hantei XXXVIII, which will shift the course of history. Exciting stuff.
The expansion will include far more cards than the individual clan and cycle packs we have seen to date, including three copies each of 76 new cards, and a single copy of six cards for a total of 234 cards. These cards will cover the seven major clans, as well as several neutral and Imperial cards, so there will something for everyone no matter which clan you prefer to play.
What to Expect
Children of the Empire seeks to reinforce existing themes, pushing honour and duelling to the forefront. While both already exist as game mechanics, both are to be greatly expanded upon, widening the scope of options and play within the game.
Honour is important not just for the individual but for the clan as a whole. The new composure keyword in a card’s text will be active if the clan has a bid on their honour dial lower than their opponent’s dial. This adds an extra dimension to the bidding process, both during the draw phase and while duelling. In particular, there has been a rather stuck meta of both players bidding five during the draw phase, at least initially. With composure, this may well change.
Each clan will be receiving Challenger duellists with characteristics which match those of the clan. For example, Crane’s Courtly Challenger will impact political conflicts whereas the Unicorn Challenger will affect military clashes. The intent by the designers is to make duelling more of a mini-game within conflict resolution, adding another decision point to a game famed for its wide decision space.
With duelling now becoming an increasingly important part of play, especially during conflicts, and it not always being obvious whether it is desirable to win a duel, the honour bid during the duel will also affect composure at the board level. It is perhaps this tie in with composure which will bring duelling to the fore, along with the more powerful duelling effects resulting from a won or lost duel.
Game mechanics and card pool aside, another aspect of Children of the Empire which will excite many is the tie in with the lore of Rokugan and the events which have taken place within the fiction of the land. Cards within the set will directly reflect these events.
There is also a new version of Akodo Toturi as the Emerald Champion, a move on from his original incarnation as the Lion Clan champion, making him a neutral, Imperial character who will fit in any deck.
Thoughts on Children of the Empire Expansion
Every LCG suffers to some extent in its beginnings from a limited card pool. While Legend of the Five Rings has had two cycles after the initial core, and two clan packs, many have felt there is a limited choice of competitive decks. With Children of the Empire, the influx of so many new cards, and the focus on duelling and honour, there should be more variety in the way players can go about putting their decks together and be competitive.
Without doubt, it will be a meta-shifting release and give reason for those who may have drifted away to come back to Rokugan to see what Children of the Empire has brought their clan.
If you are interested in card spoilers, head over to the Fantasy Flight Games website where there have been a number of cards revealed to whet the appetite.