Children of the Empire, Fantasy Flight’s latest expansion for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, is a massive expansion featuring 234 cards (three copies of each of 76 cards and one copy of six cards). Unlike previous expansions that focused on a single clan or a cycle of events, this expansion does not begin any new cycle nor cater to any one clan, making this expansion the perfect compliment to the core set. Instead, this expansion focuses on new mechanics and themes.
The first new mechanic is Composure. Composure is considered to be maintained as long as your honor bid is lower than your opponent. Each clan has new cards that have different effects that can be activated only if they have maintained their composure. For the Scorpion Clan, who rely on high-honor bids, maintaining composure will be difficult, but their Courtier can switch honor dials with their opponent to regain composure and causing your opponent to lose his.
This expansion places a heavy emphasis on duels. Every clan will have a new character type called a duelist to add to their ranks. Each duelist makes use of the rewritten template “Initiate a duel” which provides clearer language than that previously provided on cards like Policy Debate. Each clan’s duelist is unique and reflects the values and strengths of their clan. Moreover, some events will trigger a duel, and some attachments are more powerful when used in a duel.
Children of the Empire does a good job reflecting the living aspect of a living card game. Several event cards in this expansion reflects the events that have been described in short stories and novels set in Rokugan. For example, “In Defense of Rokugan” recreates the sacrifice made by Tomonatsu describe in the short story “Dark Hands of Heaven” by Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda.
Lastly, Children of the Empire includes multiple neutral cards, including a new version of Akodo Toturi, who was originally a Lion Clan Champion seen in the core set. In this expansion, he serves the emperor and can activate special powers as long as he maintains Imperial Favor. In addition to this champion, the Imperial ranks include courtiers, magistrates, and even duelists.
Children of the Empire is certainly worthy of being called a premium expansion. Go to Fantasy Flight Games to learn more about Children of the Empire.