The good: I got two boxes of boosters and there was a complete set in one and almost a compleete set in the other. For my money, this is excellent distribution.
The bad: What's the status of L5Rdw or L5R anything in the wake of the pending WOTC sale? Is there anything in the immediate future for L5Rdw?
The ugly: The pictures are a wee bit too large for the disks and as a result there's not enough black border from the picture to the cut. In some cases the cut is right on the picture. For example, In the previous L5R set and in fantasy Diskwars, the diameter of the picture for a 2" disk is 1 7/8" In Shadowlands the picture size is slightly larger, resulting in what looks like more mis-cut disks and overall poorer asthetics.
The physical quality of this set was worse than the Imperial
edition. In particular, when punching out disks, many of them
separated at the edges near the sprue connections. Maybe this
is a result of the heavy gloss coating process.
I think it is bad to put more than one copy of a given unique disk in a set. It is even worse when ther are multiple copies of the same unique disk on a flat. For example, I would refer you specifically to the unique Unicorn shugenja Iuchi Karasu who appears three times in the set, including twice on one flat. As a consumer I feel ripped off when this happens. No matter how good a given unique is, I would still rather see multiples of any non-uniques instead, even if it isn't my faction or has bad stats or abilities. Worse yet, a player really gets screwed in a sealed box event when he gets multiples of the same unique. I would also mention that it is also bad to have multiples of the same large disk in the set, even if not unique. Large disks are usually expensive and are also a little unwieldy in an army.
Finally I would like to mention that the general flat and disk distribution of the Unicorn faction disks remains poor. I will leave it to players favoring a given faction to see if this is true for all the factions in Shadowlands, but other than the Unicorns each faction was well represented in the Imperial edition. I specifically chose to examine the Unicorns because they got the short end of the stick in the Imperial edition. Please refer to my previous emails on the subject.
To the numbers. 9 different Unicorn disks appear a total of
14 times on 11 different flats in the set. Of these 14 times,
three are the same unique disk, and there is one other unique
specialty disk and one experienced combat disk which is also unique
by definition. Of the 9 non-unique apearances, there is one shugenja
(Iuchi Takaii) appearing twice, three specialty troops who appear
once (Shinjo Uta, Shinjo Tsuburo, and Shinjo Kwanso) and two combat
units who appear twice each.
This means that for a given flat there is a 26% (13/50 since one of the flats has a duplicate unique) chance of getting a unicorn disk, which is up from 20% (14/69) for Imperial (Other factions got at least 28% in Imperial). However the possiblility of a combat disk is only 10% (5/50), and a usable duplicate combat disk is 8% (4/50). The chance of getting a specialty or engineer disk is 8% (4/50) and 6% (3/50) for a usable duplicate. The chance of getting a shugenja is 6% (3/50 since one of the flats has a duplicate unusable unique disk) and 2% (1/50) for a usable duplicate.
Since I view the shugenja's function as specialty or engineer also, there is a disproportionate chance of getting a specialty disk as opposed to a combat disk, whether as a first time or as a duplicate. I don't know what diskwars games other people play, but it's hard to win without combat disks in most non-abusive armies. I realize this is an expansion set, but the numbers haven't gotten any better for the Unicorns. In fact they got worse, as the usable duplicate combat disks went from from 1 per 11 to 1 per 12.5 flats.
As part of a previous e-mail on the anti-Unicorn bias
I wrote: "A brief word about the distribution. Out of a total of 69 different flats, most clans have at least one faction disk appear on at least 20 flats. Unicorns only appear on 14 random flats and that includes 2 uniques (one of which appears in the starter), 5 Horiuchi Shoan, and 1 Iuchi Daiyui. Because once you have one or two of each of these, you don't need many more, that leaves only 6 flats with useful combat disks for the Unicorn. One of these has 2 Battlemaidens, 2 with Shinjo Thunders /Matsu Agetoki, 1 with Otaku Kamoku and the Ogre Bushi, one with Shijo Yasamura and Medium Cavalry, and 1 with Otaku Kamoko and Shinjo Thunders. You can build a better (and real-life cheaper) Unicorn army if you buy almost exclusively Unicorn starters because for the price of two boosters, you are guaranteed one Otaku Kamoko/Shinjo Yasamura flat and 3 random flats. If you did the math on this one, you would find that roughly only one in eleven flats has a useful (combat) Unicorn disk on it. And the useful ones only appear on blue/green flats. Because of the sure thing, buying starters improves the odds to one in eight plus the one in eleven on the three random flats for a net of 1 and 1/3 in eight or about one in six. This is a great improvement on one in eleven (almost double the chance).
I also wrote that there was an anti-Unicorn stat bias too. This also hasn't improved. Please see previously sent material for proofs.
Any chance at making Shinjo Hanari non-unique? How about limited to 3 or 4?
Anything in the pipeline?