And yes, we really do mean definitive. After Matt and Paul prodded the game so much at Fantasy Flight's headquarters for Matt's in-depth documentary, Quinns took on the brave (some would say Herculean) task of looking at this new edition both as a standalone game, but also alongside its predecessor, which is now widely discounted. Which one deserves your money?
But what do we think? Has the lightning of genius smote this particular property once again? Or does Season 2 feel like a difficult second album?
If we were you, we'd take a deep breath, click play and find out.
What does the expansion add? Well, let me just quote the press materials: “Rise of the Empire isn't just inspired by Rogue One; it follows the movie's example, adding new depth and story to the Rebellion game experience just as seamlessly as Rogue One provided new insight into the Galactic Civil War presented in the original Star Wars trilogy.”
Matt: I just did a big vomit out of a window. In Real-World Terms™ it’s an expansion that adds quite a bunch of stuff: new leader characters, new cards, a whole new combat system, more unit types and plastic figures, and a brand new planet: EWOK-HOTH, HOME OF THE CHILLYBEARS.
That said, our viewers should note that as Englishmen, we still have no bloody idea about that American folk game where someone yells “Marco!” and someone else yells “Polo!”, and we’re not Googling it on principal.
Remember when Fantasy Flight Games bought the rights to 1996 collectible card game Netrunner and released a new edition that took over my life? Well, Legend of the Five Rings (henceforth “L5R”) is them doing that again. This was originally a 1995 card game, but any week now shops will receive FFG’s beautimus new edition using the Living Card Game business model of releasing fixed expansions rather than randomised boosters. This makes it cheap compared to most collectable card games, albeit still expensive compared to board games.
In other words, we could have a hit on our hands. Have Fantasy Flight folded the original game’s steel into a captivating card katana?
Let’s find out.
It's also the sequel to 2012 release Robinson Crusoe, which Quinns didn't get on with very well. What's changed in five years? A lot, we can tell you.
But what will we make of this smash hit? As Matt Damon said so aptly last year, "Wrap your face flaps around this! Mine's a lumpy one."
That was my desk.
It isn't much to look at – an austere, industrial thing. The kind of desk I now imagine factory workers flipping over in some proletarian revolution. But I spent huge amounts of my late childhood and early teenage years here. Pouring through those roleplaying manuals stacked in one corner, drawing elaborate maps on that graph paper, and – as the spackling of color attests – painting the little figurines that line the shelf above.
Those were my first space marines.
About a month ago, Games Workshop released their 8th edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules. Back when I was painting at that desk, it was 3rd edition I played. As much as those iterations between then and now can be seen as cynical cash grabs – partly because some of them were – there is something noteworthy about this new one. But more on that in a minute.
Don’t know who Reiner is? Don’t like tigers? Allergic to tiles? Well frankly, that’s just not good enough. This box is a bulwark against boredom, a titan of the table, and the new edition deserves just a little more love.