Mono No Aware

Rotation and the Future of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game


Life is change. Change is impermanence. And impermanence is built into the core gameplay of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game.

Accordingly, as we celebrate the ongoing Inheritance cycle, we cannot help but anticipate a day when these expansions will no longer be new. Cards from existing cycles must eventually step aside to make way for the bushi, courtiers, and shugenja from newer Dynasty Packs.

And so we have rotation. Nothing is permanent. Some things, however, will last longer than others. This is the way of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, and it's a path that's critical to the health of every customizable card game.

What Is Rotation?

Rotation is a term used to describe the systematic retirement of older cards from a game's card pool as newer cards are added.

Why Introduce Rotation?

Not only is rotation utterly thematically consistent with Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, but it is a significant component of any competitive Living Card Game® (LCG).

LCGs grow and evolve with every new expansion. Even as the core rules and identity remain firmly planted as the game's roots, expansions branch outward, pursuing new keywords, themes, and elements of play. And players take the game even further than the developers, pushing every possible card combination and synergy, over the course of hundreds and thousands of iterations, looking for any bud of an idea that might sprout and lead to even more possibilities.

Over time, then, a game that began like a sleek and slender sapling may grow into something that is both larger and sturdier, but also far more complex and—quite possibly—choked and tangled.

Rotation is the equivalent of pruning in gardening. Just as pruning trees and shrubs allows us to remove branches that have become tangled eyesores and encourage growth in healthier directions, rotation truncates ideas that have grown too long and would prevent newer ideas from getting light and growing. In turn, it permits the developers to explore these new ideas and offer them in ways that are exciting on their own—without having to contend with the older tropes that might have otherwise overshadowed them.

What Is the Rotation Schedule?

The Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game card pool will continue to grow and mature until the fifth cycle of Dynasty Packs. As soon as the first Dynasty Pack from the game's fifth cycle is released, the first two cycles of Dynasty Packs will rotate out of the Organized Play environment.

This means that the game's fully matured card pool will include the cards from three to four cycles of Dynasty Packs. It will also include all core products and a set number of Premium Expansions.

  • Core products include the game's Core Set and the most recent Clan Pack for each clan.
  • Premium Expansions will be introduced into the Organized Play environment upon their release and will remain until specifically designated for rotation. (When Premium Expansions are rotated out, notice will be given to the players in advance.)

Players should expect no more than one Rotation Event per year—so you won't have to keep checking the status of your favorite Premium Expansion.

How Long Do I Get to Play My Favorite Cards?

Although the rotation schedule—and the lifespan of any given card—is based upon the release of new Dynasty Packs rather than the calendar date, this schedule anticipates an approximate lifespan of between eighteen months and two years for any products that rotate into and out of the environment—plenty of time for the cards to enjoy their time in the tournament environment.

Isn't This Different from the Old Rotation Model?

Veterans of Fantasy Flight Games's other Living Card Games® might have noticed that this model for rotation in Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game differs from the model introduced several years ago. This is a correct and astute observation, and the decision to shorten the game's rotation schedule was intentional.

Not all card games are alike, and since we first introduced rotation for our LCGs, Fantasy Flight Games Organized Play has moved toward offering more tailored support for our different Organized Play games according to their specific needs. The impermanence suggested by mono no aware lies at the heart of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, and introducing rotation to the game at the start of the fifth cycle of Dynasty Packs plays strongly to this concept, even as it allows the game to grow to—and exist at—a fully matured state.

Additionally, by separating Premium Expansions from both core products and Dynasty Packs, the model of rotation for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game allows for the development and introduction of products that contribute naturally to the game's Organized Play environment in ways that were not fully anticipated by the earlier rotation model.

The Gardens of Rokugan

Just as the Empire's gardeners must prune the gardens to preserve both the garden's beauty and its health, so must the developers of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game prune the game—by way of rotation—in order to prevent old cards from choking the development of new ideas, to ensure that new strategies see the light of day, and to leave room for visitors to enter the garden, to stroll within it, and to admire its beauty.

Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, more than any other LCG, is a game of changing seasons and generations. Its fate mechanics ensure that no character is ever a permanent fixture in your plans. Provinces are revealed and broken. One clan seizes the Imperial Favor, and another clan seizes it back.

As we journey forward, closer to rotation for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, we look forward to traveling with you!

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