Review: Legend of the Five Rings 5th edition beginner's box

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
This is a Fantasy Flight product and like all Fantasy Flight products it follows a number of rules:-

1/ The artwork included in what you buy is of incredible quality,
2/ It requires funky, custom dice using symbol rather than numbers (but includes them in the beginner's set),
3/ Hides its addictive qualities (somewhere on the scale between crack cocaine and oxycodone) until have been well and truly trapped.

Additionally, like the majority of the beginner's set, there are a number of free, downloadable pdfs that support and expand the contents of the box.

So, onto the contents. Firstly the custom dice, five of a d6 type and five of a d12 type, with each face displaying between zero and two of the four symbols that allow you to carry out all checks required AND explain the results narratively (success, exploding success, opportunity and strife). Next there are four character folios (with another three that can be downloaded for free) covering a range of clans and classes, with descriptions of the character's motivations, ambitions and specific hints as to how to roleplay them (it is a beginner's game after all). There is a large, double sided map sheet featuring on one side the whole of the Empire of Rokugan, our setting and on the other the village of Tsuma, the setting for the included adventure and the castle of the Emerald Champion, the setting for the free downloadable expansion. There is a sheet of durable card counters (59 in all). Finally there are two booklets, the abbreviated rules from the core systems being the first and the Topaz Championship adventure being the second. Both are well written, well laid out and fairly simple to follow for a GM that has taken a couple of hours to read through them before starting play. I've already mentioned the included artwork. I'll mention it again: it is the gold standard in the games industry as far as my opinion counts.

For those already familiar with previous additions of Legend of Five Rings, FFG took deliberate steps to keep elements of the core mechanics in order to tie their licensed edition into the existing lore and background, most notably the philosophies of the rings, Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Void, and the mechanic of roll-and-keep of dice. Thus a player may decide to fail a test to avoid gaining strife that could cause a loss of composure, with the attendant loss of face and social standing. But a more critical and plot-centric test, such emotional strife may well be a result of the perils they must overcome. I gave this its first run yesterday with a couple of mates. We are all experienced role-players but none of us have ever played this system or used these mechanics. And we all thoughts it was excellent.


As to the cost... This is the big fall down. The beginner's game itself is fairly modest in price, Games Lore currently stocking it for £25.99. But... I can see the Core rule book, the GM kit and the first source book Emerald Empire going on my January shopping list and that's likely to set me back northwards of 75 beer vouchers. Worth it? To me, hell yes. I can probably get months and years of enjoyable play out of it. Someone that already has a core hobby? Maybe not.
 
Any chance of a picture please? Currently toying with the idea of getting something me and the lad can play at - to get him off the bloody Ipad. RPG stuff is alien to me. No idea what to expect. Lad is 6 btw...too young?
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
Probably a little too young given one of the other samurai you encounter is (unknowingly) the bastard offspring of a powerful lord and Champion of the Empire. They also do a range of Star Wars stuff of similar quality. The down side being the laws of supply and demand being what they are, they are rare as rocking horse shite on this side of the Atlantic. As for a photo, let me see what I can manage with my ancient phone and antediluvian tablet (being my only digital cameras...)
 

kimmi851

Old-Salt
Any chance of a picture please? Currently toying with the idea of getting something me and the lad can play at - to get him off the bloody Ipad. RPG stuff is alien to me. No idea what to expect. Lad is 6 btw...too young?
I tried The Infamous Mini Kimmi (aged 10) on this at the weekend and it was a little much still - planning to return to it in a year or so (after she has learnt more about traditional Japanese culture). She does love Dungeons and Dragons (and her Christmas list would do the marketing department there proud - not a single electronic gadget on it, but 2 expensive tomes of games lore, some dice and a dice box), she got into that aged 9 but a few 8 year olds are very happy playing it in other groups where we play.
 

Latest Threads

Top