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Play Legend of the Five Rings LCG in 20 minutes with the new Skirmish format

Rokugan in 60 Seconds.

Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game is getting a free new format that makes the living card game easier to learn and faster to play.

The Skirmish game mode simplifies much of the Legend of the Five Rings LCG’s core gameplay, including limiting player conflicts to one per round, removing hand actions and other more advanced rules, and reducing the number of provinces and honour needing to be claimed for victory.

According to L5R developer Tyler Parrott, who created the Skirmish format, the mode allows matches of the card game to be played in under 20 minutes as opposed to the full game’s 45-minute to hour-and-a-half battles played using the Stronghold format.

Skirmish was partially inspired by the fan-made Battle Box format, which cuts down matches even further to a mere five minutes by having the two players share 100-card decks.

In a blog post announcing the format, Parrott insisted that Skirmish “is not a replacement for the game that people have been playing for the past couple of years”, but expressed hope that it would offer a way for players put off by Legend of the Five Ring’s more complex elements and make it more of a beginner board game - as well as an option for existing fans looking to play rapid-fire matches.

Around two-thirds of the living card game’s card pool can be used in the Skirmish format, with the game’s expansions confirmed to be fully supported by the alternative way of playing.

The Skirmish format rules are available for free on Fantasy Flight Games’ website, including reference cards and a rules sheet detailing the differences to the Stronghold format. Although the Skirmish format is designed primarily for two players, rules are included to allow it to be played with up to five people.

Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game was released in 2017 as a living card game reboot of the 1990s collectible card game of the same name. The card game shares its samurai-inspired world of Rokugan with a fantasy tabletop RPG of the same name, as well as spin-off board game Battle for Rokugan.

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.