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Also called L5R for short, it is a collectible card game created by Alderac set in a fictional empire called Rokugan, which mimics feudal Asia. The emperor's subjects include the members of 7 great clans and several smaller clans each named after an animal. The adversary of the empire is known as the Shadowlands Horde, a loose alliance among the demons, undead, goblins, and other creatures that dwell in a region of the empire called the Shadowlands. The game follows a philosophy roughly based on Musashi's Book of Five Rings; the world of Rokugan is balanced by five elements or rings: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Void. Each ring represents a quality one must recieve to be enlightened.

The "blocks" in L5R are separated by the ruler of the empire; during this block, you may only use cards that are produced within this block. In another mode of play, you may use any card made during any block.

The player selects a faction to play as, which may be one of the clans, the Shadowlands Horde, and several other alliances (Brotherhood, ninja, Naga, etc.). Each faction has their own styles of playing, which bring a deep variety into the game. The game is won when a single winning or losing condition is met. The winning conditions are starting a turn with 40 or more family honor points (honor victory) or having all five elemental rings in play (enlightment victory). The losing conditions are losing all four provinces (military victory) or falling below -20 honor points (dishonor victory).

L5R is the fastest growing card game in the world. L5R is not a complex game to learn; what makes it challenging is the depth of the game. There are no sideboards in L5R like there are in other CCG's, so thus deckbuilding is alos a greater challenge than in other games. A player must have deep knowledge of all possible strategies in the game when forming a good deck.

NOTE: Most L5R players have a deep animosity towards the game's major comptetitor, Magic the Gathering. It irks players when spectators ask "Is that like Magic?"
"Are you playing Magic?"
by Jimiisama March 11, 2005
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