A survival guide for millennial thirty-somethings.
The day has, at long last, come.
Or rather – it will have at-long-last come – sometime after August 17th, 2017. I’ll get to that.
For now, a tale of hope, longing, and hubris.
It begins at the Atlanta Kotei, 2007. The AEG rep, Shinjo Jon, lets it slip that they’re taking the game in a new direction – no more boosters and starters, chasing rares – an even playing field, where.. wait, was it 2007? 2008. And I’m pretty sure it was Shinjo Jon. Wasn’t it?
Okay, so my memory is actually a little shaky on when and who and where, but it’s been eight (seven?) years, you’ll have to forgive me. The point is, I’ve been excited about this transition for a long time, and I was beginning to think it would never happen.
Sometime shortly after, we saw the advent of the Living Card Game – the LCG – a system where a playable core set of cards would be released, followed by expansions with set cards. This not only (presumably) cut the cost for the players to get a workable set of cards, but also leveled the field of competition. No longer (presumably) would there be an arbitrary gap between casual players who just couldn’t find that playset of rare cards and the rich and powerful professionals who could.
Yet, it wasn’t my darling Legend of the Five Rings that made that transition, like I had been set up to believe. It wasn’t even AEG. It was Fantasy Flight Games, well-known even then for their quality game components, and they were re-vamping some other successful licenses – Game of Thrones, and Call of Cthulhu. I had ephemeral memories of Chaosium’s Mythos from back in the nineties and had never been drawn in; while A Song of Ice and Fire was only beginning to enter the periphery of books I should really get around to reading.
Time passes for a year or two. My L5R playgroup went their separate ways and decided not to sink the money and time into the game for the next tournament legal set. I read A Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings and bought the core set of the respective LCG. I dabbled around with it, liking that I was able to play with several factions right out of the box, and able to do a bit of customization with my decks and playstyle. But I didn’t have the time, money, or friends to start down that rabbit hole.
A few more years and the LCG system gets more and more refined. I hear talk at the FLGS about Android: Netrunner. I vaguely recall surreal Reboot-worthy art from old issues of Inquest. I hear more rumblings about how great of a game it is. At some point, I take the plunge – probably after Quinns gushes about it for the umpteenth time – I buy the core set, build some decks, get a few friends over a few weekends and hammer out some games. I’m hooked. I decide to gradually begin acquiring expansions to complete the set, playgroup be damned. And due to the nature of the LCG beast, this is perfectly convenient and fairly cost-effective to do.
Then AEG drops the bomb on us – it’s finally turning one of its licenses into an LCG. Doomtown?
I didn’t.. when did they even get that license? But I watch some demos, remember some other old issues of Inquest fondly, and pick it up as a Christmas gift. It’s good, it has charm, the model continues to demonstrate its value.
But not until this second week of September, 2015, was there any news about my true card game love – Legend of the Five Rings.
So there’s still a wait yet.
But I’m ready. I’ve been training my whole life for this moment. I’ve lost touch with the iterations of the game over the past seven (or eight) years, but my passion was immediately rekindled by this announcement.
Why exactly I think this game is so great and the things I hope the good folks at Fantasy Flight keep in mind I will go into in a separate post, but rest assured that this announcement bodes VERY well for the gaming community.