Fantasy Flight Games Acquires LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS

Fantasy Flight Games has purchased Legend of the Five Rings! Created in 1995 by Alderac Entertainment Group, L5R is set in the world of Rokugan, a place based roughly on feudal Japan. Over the years, it's been a card game, an Oriental Adventures setting for D&D, novels, and, of course, a roleplaying game. FFG, of course, is known for boardgames, card games, RPGs, and more, with big licenses such as Star Wars, Warhammer 40K, and many more. new products are slated for Gen Con 2017.

Fantasy Flight Games has purchased Legend of the Five Rings! Created in 1995 by Alderac Entertainment Group, L5R is set in the world of Rokugan, a place based roughly on feudal Japan. Over the years, it's been a card game, an Oriental Adventures setting for D&D, novels, and, of course, a roleplaying game. FFG, of course, is known for boardgames, card games, RPGs, and more, with big licenses such as Star Wars, Warhammer 40K, and many more. new products are slated for Gen Con 2017.

l5r-lions.jpg


AEG's announcement reads:

"For twenty years, Legend of the Five Rings has held a unique place among Collectible Card Games (CCGs) and Role Playing Games (RPGs). It is not only one of the oldest around, it stands out by being driven by its story…a story that has, in turn, been driven by legions of devoted fans over the past two decades. We at AEG are thankful beyond words to all of the awesome players of our games for making these past twenty years so special.

The time comes, however, when any healthy enterprise has to take a step back and look hard and critically at itself. We’ve now reached that time in the life of the L5R Brand. The focus of AEG has progressively shifted toward other types of games over recent years, so, after some hard and detailed analysis (and, yes, some deep soul-searching), we’ve concluded that it’s time to start a new chapter in the story of L5R. Accordingly, the upcoming Evil Portents expansion for the CCG, and the “Atlas of Rokugan” for the RPG, will be the final products for L5R produced by AEG. The L5R Brand will continue under a new owner, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). We believe that the good folks at FFG, some of whom have themselves been involved with the L5R Brand for many years, will do an excellent job of carrying the L5R Brand and the story of Rokugan on into its next twenty years. Fantasy Flight Games anticipates that its first L5R product will be a relaunch of the card game as a Living Card Game (LCG), with a debut event at Gen Con 2017.

One major implication of all this is that our staffing will be dramatically changed. Many of our current members of the L5R Brand Team will be leaving us either immediately, or in the near future. We want to express our most sincere gratitude to these awesome people, who have helped bring L5R to where it is today.

Of course, many questions will almost certainly occur to you as you read this. Foremost among them, you are probably wondering what will happen to our upcoming events, including the Fall Kotei Season and the European Championships. All of these events currently scheduled will go on as planned, as CCG events. We’ll continue collecting the results, and will add those to our list of all currently outstanding tournament and event results. All of this will be provided to FFG, who will do their best to incorporate it into L5R and its setting once they’ve relaunched the Brand.

You will also have noted that Evil Portents will be the last CCG product, and would reasonably ask, why would I want to spend money on a product that’s essentially obsolete the moment it hits store shelves? Why would any retailer even bother carrying it? Well, we’re going to be making Evil Portents available to retailers and players through a pretty remarkable deal–essentially, we’ll be virtually giving it away for free. Details of this will be forthcoming shortly.

We realize that these are probably only a few of your questions. We will be sharing more information with you about the transition of the Brand in the coming days. In the meantime, you can direct your enquiries to L5RBrandLead@alderac.com and we’ll do our best to answer them. Again, all of us at AEG want to thank all of YOU for your dedication to the L5R CCG, the RPG, and the story of Rokugan for the past twenty years. We can’t wait to see how L5R evolves under the stewardship of its new owners at Fantasy Flight Games!"


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FFG's announcement reads:

"Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce that it has entered into an agreement to purchase the Legend of the Five Rings intellectual property from Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)!

Legend of the Five Rings is a legacy brand collectible card game (CCG) and roleplaying game (RPG) with a dedicated, passionate community and a story that spans the last two decades. Legions of players have traveled to the land of Rokugan and the Colonies, joined the noble samurai and shugenja of their favorite clan, and taken an important hand in shaping the story. Now, as Legend of the Five Rings moves over to Fantasy Flight Games, certain changes are coming to the realm of Rokugan. To learn the initial details of these upcoming changes, read below.

Honor Is Stronger than Steel

“The queen of ants cannot count her servants, but she knows that they are loyal. Though the Emperor does not know of me, still, I know of him. And it is the Emperor, and Hantei alone, that I follow. With every word and deed, I do his bidding.”
–Seppun Murayasu

The current incarnation of the Legend of the Five Rings CCG will be complete with the release of the Evil Portents expansion from AEG. After that release, the game will go on hiatus until FFG relaunches Legend of the Five Rings as a Living Card Game®, or LCG. The Legend of the Five Rings LCG is scheduled to be released in two years at Gen Con Indy 2017.

For players unfamiliar with the LCG model, a Living Card Game offers regular, non-randomized releases that include full playsets of every card. In its new form, Legend of the Five Rings will use this release format, rather than “blind” boosters that contain randomly assigned rare, uncommon, and common cards. Instead of spending their time chasing hard-to-find cards, the LCG distribution model allows players to focus on building decks by buying a single expansion that includes a full playset of every card in that expansion. For more information about Living Card Games, click here.

The transition of Legend of the Five Rings from CCG to LCG impacts far more than just distribution model. As the game is reimagined and relaunched as an LCG, we will be implementing significant design changes, but we will ensure that the spirit and emotional impact of Legend of the Five Rings remains intact. By introducing a new mechanical design, we hope to open the game for a new generation of players to join the veteran samurai who still battle for Rokugan. Across the transition to LCG, our developers will ensure that the game maintains its pervasive themes of honor, nobility, magic, intrigue, duty, and warfare and that these themes continue to drive the game and the narrative forward.

In addition to the new incarnation of the Legend of the Five Rings CCG as a LCG, we are excited to explore new possiblities for Legend of the Five Rings in the roleplaying space. At the current time, we don't have many details about this, but we will reveal more as the details become clear.

FFG and AEG on the Legend of the Five Rings Transition

Regarding the agreement to purchase Legend of the Five Rings, Steve Horvath, SVP of Communication at Fantasy Flight Games, said, “The prospect of working on Legend of the Five Rings is very exciting for us. The AEG team has done an amazing job creating a truly rich history and a universe with a deep narrative that fans have connected with for twenty years, and we are looking forward to the potential to build on that legacy moving forward.”

John Zinser, CEO of Alderac Entertaiment Group, said, “L5R is and will always be our first gaming love, but over time, we've changed our company focus further and further away from those roots. Our friends at Fantasy Flight Games have staff with a long history with the L5R property and its games, who are excited about the prospect of taking the brand into the future. When we recently decided it was time to end our own work on the story of Rokugan, we knew they were the best possible stewards for the world, the story, and the community we love and want to see continue to succeed and grow into its next twenty years.”

Enter the Emerald Empire

“Understand the Will of Heaven and you make all things possible. Ignore it, and you will accomplish nothing.”
–The Tao of Shinsei

Vast changes are coming to the land of Rokugan, leading to a new chapter in the history the Emerald Empire. Prepare for a new era to begin at Gen Con Indy 2017!W
 

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Brodie

Explorer
As a fan of the RPG, I'm worried about this acquisition. I tried the CCG years ago and even last year at Gencon wanted to give it another shot, but I guess that's pointless now judging by FFG's announcement.

"As the game is reimagined and relaunched as an LCG, we will be implementing significant design changes, but we will ensure that the spirit and emotional impact of Legend of the Five Rings remains intact."

Sounds to me like the card game as it is now is as good as dead, and I know that won't sit well with the dedicated fans of the CCG. When the Raw Deal CCG (the WWE card game) relaunched, it relaunched at a time when relaunching was the only way of continuing the game. (New ideas for mechanics becoming rarer and rarer at that point.) But the core mechanics were the same and both versions of the game could be mixed together. Decipher made a bunch of their cards for their second edition of the Star Trek CCG backwards compatible with 1st edition, but again, the mechanics were essentially the same. Reimagined and significant design changes just screams 'entirely new gameplay!' to me. I like the LCG format, but part of me still loves the chase of opening packs of cards and finding a card inside that I need, even if it's a common card. And I haven't played or bought any CCGs in years.

If FFG is smart, they'll learn from the past and not restart continuity. That's the surest way to lose fans that they'll want to keep. Look at White Wolf and their World of Darkness, both Old and New. Fans were NOT happy with that. Another example? One that hits close to home for FFG: Star Wars and the Disney purchase. All that Expanded Universe stuff from the past thirty years? Gone. Never happened (despite being approved by Lucasfilm). If there was even a hint of the EU stuff popping up in the new canon, that'd be one thing. But not even a sign of anything from all those books and comics carrying over exists. They've bought the IP so hopefully they'll continue on with the already established stuff and not pull a Star Trek-esque reboot. Then again, that kind of reboot could help.

Mostly what I'm worried about is the RPG. We each take turns GMing in my group. I've run a Dresden Files/Fate game until recently and am switching to a D20/homebrewed space game, another guy runs D&D 3.0, another runs oWoD Werewolf, and then we have someone running an L5R game and someone running an FFG Star Wars game. Aside from Fate, I love L5R's mechanics and the stories that friend runs and I love the Star Wars RPG and its mechanics. But I can't imagine playing an L5R game with Star Wars mechanics or vice versa. Hopefully part of the IP includes the roll-and-keep system of the RPG. If not... Two years is roughly enough time to create not only a new card game system but also a new RPG system.
 

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Grimjack99

First Post
Times are changing. I hope the best for the IP. Its been engaging and fun to be part of. Props to Brodie for his insightful comments that many of us share. My only concern is the lag time till the new product emerges. Out of sight, out of mind with consumers. Roughly two years is quit a while, and the landscape of the market may change significantly. That said, FFG has been an innovator in the industry, and I feel confidant that the IP will make a come back, and I look forward to what they produce. Goodbye to ole Rokugan (slow tear falls), hello to the new Rokugan (a promise down the road).
 


Brodie

Explorer
I have my fears for the IP, but I also have some hopes, too. Chief among them that FFG will explore more of the world to which Rokugan belongs (and hopefully undo some of the wiping-out-of-non-Rokugani-peoples), like the cultures of the Burning Sands and the European type countries (which share similarities with 7th Sea stuff). I know the primary focus of L5R is Rokugan, samurai, magic, honor, etc. But it'd be nice to see more of the other stuff given some love, especially for fans who crave official rules for stuff. Like myself.

Grimjack brings up a good point, too: two years is quite a wait for new product. If they devote some time posting regular fiction to the net - even if it is rebooted stuff - will help keep interest alive.
 

MidwayHaven

First Post
Could they do something like their Star Wars line where they focus on different aspects each year? Or different timelines?

The FFG announcement mentions "Rokugan and the Colonies," so there's at least a hint that they'll be continuing on with the current storyline (which heads into a dark Spider-ruled generation).

One thing that made L5R sort of unique compared to other CCG/RPG games was the way that AEG accommodated fan contributions to the storyline, and I sincerely hope that FFG continues with that treasured tradition.
 

Duganson

First Post
I'm hyped for a card game I can just plunk a set amount on and get a full playset. As an adult with financial restrictions the randomness of buying packs has become unfeasible. Here's to the reemergence of the Kitsuki Magistrates!!
 

DM Howard

Explorer
When I first read this news I was a little taken aback. However, on further reflection is probably is the best way to save the game(s) and the brand. I always felt like the L5R CCG was a gem hidden among the weeds, but it does have an extremely steep learning curve. Here's to a new L5R!
 

Zaran

Adventurer
I'm worried that they only spoke of the card game. Nothing about the RPG. On twitter they said "Regarding #L5R: we're excited about what's been done with the RPG so far & looking forward to engaging with that rich legacy in the future." Doesn't sound like have intentions to do much with the RPG.
 

Not into the CCGs at all but always heard things about L5R through the years, listened to Happy Jacks RPG actual play podcasts and sounds like a beautiful setting. Looking at just a couple of books, I felt intimidated buy the rules so just need decided to buy a book.

I've heard great things about the FFG Star Wars game so if they can approach L5R in the same way (not same rules), they may have me finally have me on as a new player to the game.
 

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