When we first started designing Emperor Edition and all the great additions that we wanted to bring to the game of L5R, the initial release schedule was for the base set to release in November 2011, Embers of War to release in February 2012 (just in time for Kotei Season) and ‘Expansion Beta’ to release in May (to allow for a second environment in the Kotei Season and shake things up a bit with GenCon in mind). Story and major events were built around the premise of that schedule and everyone at AEG was very excited about the plan.
Then, as is sometimes the case, hurdles happened and we were faced with production delays and ultimately the release delays we all are familiar with: Emperor releasing in January and Embers of War releasing in May. We adapted our plan, kept our excitement level for the product up, and brought out the best product possible despite those hurdles, a product you – the player , as well as the industry, have very positively responded to through your purchases or your participation in tournaments around the word – especially for pre-releases.
As far as ‘Expansion Beta’ was concerned, we faced a choice: pushing the product out before GenCon in order to make sure the tournament environment was rich enough for the North American Championships and then the World Championships as well as maintaining our Story development on track, at the detriment to the community, or not releasing the product at all in order to avoid L5R indigestion (hereby delaying the release of a new Stronghold and Celestial Swords for the Clans).
We always felt that releasing the product was the way to go, as not doing so would have far too much of a negative impact on the game (shift in the story, loss of an entire set of cards in the arc), but we also realized that it would be complicated for the players to spend large amounts of money into an L5R set so soon after the release of Embers of War.
Which is why we ultimately chose to release expansion Beta (The Shadow’s Embrace) as a Factory Set, a concept you are partly familiar with through the traditional Direct to Player Sets such as Forgotten Legacy or 1,000 Years of Darkness.
What is a Factory Set?
A Factory Set is a product that offers a playset of all the cards in it – so 3 copies of every non-unique card and 1 copy of every unique card – for a unique price. However, contrary to a Direct to Player Set, the story associated with it is not self contained.
Realizing that a pure Factory Set would not suit the needs of the entire playerbase due to Clan loyalty, we adapted the concept a little and opted for the following packaging:
- The Clan Packs: they contain all the Personalities from a given Clan plus a “Glory of” card of that Clan. In the case of Crab, Crane and Phoenix, they also contain the Celestial Sword, the Unique Personality and the Stronghold that would have released with the expansion in starter decks. It is also worth 5 koku (or the worth of a starter deck and a booster pack) that you will be able to bank in your Imperial Assembly account just like any other Koku.
- The Strategy Set: it contains a playset of all the non Clan specific cards in the expansion (so 268 cards total!). Purchasing the Strategy set allows you, at no cost, to get the Clan Pack of your choice. The strategy set comes in a box of similar size as the Emperor Edition booster box and featuring great art from the set!
- The Factory Set: this is the complete collection of every card that is in the expansion – the Strategy Set plus all 9 Clan Packs. It comes in a box that is specifically designed to hold over 3,000 cards. With your purchase of the Factory Set, we will also be sending you dividers to organize your cards by type, as well as a copy of Gakku, the devourer of gods!
Why a Factory Set?
A Factory Set lets us present you – the player – with a product that at the same level of investment that you normally put in an expansion of L5R provides you with more cards overall. Everyone is a winner!
- if you are a collector, for only $200 (under the MSRP of a booster and a starter box), you get a playset of every card in the expansion.
- if you are a die hard Clan player, for only $140 (under the MSRP of a booster box), you get all the cards from your Clan plus a playset of all the non Clan specific cards in the expansion – through the Strategy Set.
- if you play more than one Clan, it only costs you $10 to complement your Strategy set with another Clan.
It also allows us to keep our Story for the Emperor Arc on its tracks, following the unveiling of the events in Embers of War and building up to GenCon, the World Championships and next year’s events!
When do I get to see the cards in it?
Previews will be starting on May 28th on our website, and will run for 21 consecutive days. We will also have previews on Facebook during that time frame.
The Clan forums will be unveiling previews under the following schedule:
- Crane: May 28
- Phoenix: May 30
- Crab: June 1
- Mantis: June 4
- Scorpion: June 6
- Dragon: June 8
- Spider: June 11
- Unicorn: June 13
- Lion: June 15
When is it releasing?
The set will be on sale starting June 18 on the AEG Online Store, and shipping will happen starting July 16, making the set legal for GenCon 2012!
We hope that you will be satisfied with our decision to release this expansion as such and we are looking to see The Shadow’s Embrace cards in decks both at the local and the major events scale starting GenCon 2012!
You can find a summary of all the set has to offer on our official product page for The Shadow’s Embrace.