Unofficial L5R LCG Rules

Bayushi Shunsuke • 8 June 2017

The Completely Unofficial Rulebook

The below has been compiled from the official announcements/posts by FFG.……

Rules that been assumed will be prefaced with ***speculation***, and will be updated once confirmed.


Deck Building

Each deck has 40 minimum and 45 maximum cards.

Up to 3 copies of a card can be included in your decks.

Your Conflict deck can contain cards from one other Clan, of your choice.

The total Influence on these imported cards cannot exceed the Influence total on your Stronghold.

Conflict cards without an influence cost (such as the Way Of cards) cannot be imported.

Each Province card has an elemental symbol. Your five Provinces must consist of one of each of the five Elemental types.


Game Setup

Randomly determine the first player.
The player going second gets one Fate.

Each player then secretly selects one of their five provinces and places it facedown above their dynasty deck, and sets their chosen stronghold card on top of it. Players then place their other four provinces facedown between their dynasty and conflict decks in any order. Fill provinces.

Players can then mulligan their Dynasty cards: look at your Dynasty cards, then discarding any number of them, refilling the provinces, Then shuffle the discarded cards back into their Dynasty deck.

Draw four Conflict cards as your opening hand.
Then, the players can mulligan the cards in their Conflict hand.

Gain an amount of Honor tokens equal to your Stronghold’s starting Honor value.


Winning the game

Should your enemies successfully break the province where your stronghold resides, the game is lost. A stronghold can only be targetted for a conflict once three of that player's provinces have been broken.

If you are ever reduced to zero honor, you lose the game. Conversely, if you ever claim twenty-five honor, you win the game.

The win/loss related to Honor is immediate, not waiting until the end of the turn.


Turn Sequence

Dynasty Phase

Both players turn over all facedown cards in their provinces.

Each player collects an amount of Fate tokens equal to the Fate value on their Stronghold.

Players then alternate doing one of the following:

•             play a character card from one of their provinces

•             trigger an appropriate card ability

•             pass

The first player to pass gains one fate, but forfeits the opportunity to do anything else for the remainder of the dynasty phase. The remaining player can continue with these actions until they also pass.

In order to play a character from a province, a player must pay its cost by moving that number of fate from their personal pool to the general pool, that character is then moved from its province to that player's home area.

After a character is played, its controller has the option of placing any number of fate tokens from their pool on that character.


Draw Phase

In this phase, each player determines how honorable they intend to act during the upcoming phases of the round; essentially they are bidding their honor in order to draw more cards from their Conflict deck. These cards, kept in a player's hand, represent secret agendas, surprising tactics, tricks, schemes, and hidden information.

The Draw Phase consist of 4 steps:

  1. Each player secretly selects a number between 1 and 5 on their secret dial.
  2. Each player reveals their selection.
  3. The player who selected the higher number gives the opponent an amount of Honor equal to the difference between the two selected numbers. If both players selected the same number, no honor is given.
  4. Each player draws a number of cards from their Conflict deck equal to the number they selected on their honor dial.

Once the above steps are complete, proceed to the conflict phase.

There is no limit to the number of conflict cards you can have in your hand.

When a deck runs out you lose 5 honor, then shuffle discard pile back in.


Conflict Phase

Prior to each conflict declaration, there is an Action Window; an opportunity for both players to alternate actions (from hand or on the table) to prepare for the conflict.


Each player has the option to declare up to two conflicts during the conflict phase. Players alternate declaring conflicts, and each player can initiate one military conflict and one political conflict, meaning, at maximum, four conflicts will take place during a round. 

A player may pass when it is there turn to declare a conflict, but it counts towards their two conflict limit.

The first player has the first opportunity to declare a conflict, and to do so must decide what kind of conflict they want to declare, who they will send to the conflict, where that conflict will take place, and of what element the conflict will embody. All of these decisions are made simultaneously, and all must be declared before a conflict can commence.

A conflict cannot be declared at an already broken Province.

Once declared, the attacking player moves all fate on that ring to their pool.

Any amount of ready characters in a player's home area can be sent to a conflict, provided they have a value in the matching skill.
Not every character will be able to participate in every conflict, as characters with a dash in a skill value cannot participate in conflicts of that type.
If a character possesses a zero in a certain skill, they may still participate, but contribute no strength to their side.

Once attackers have been declared, if the Province card is face-down, flip it face-up.

Once all of these have been declared, the defender sends his characters to defend. Any ready characters in a player’s home area with the appropriate skill may be sent to the conflict. 

Starting with the defender, there is an Action Window within the conflict, until both players Pass consecutively.

You can take actions if you’ve no characters present in a conflict, unless the action targets/comes from a 'participating' character.


Whoever has the highest total skill value when both players pass wins the conflict.

Ties going to the attacking player.

If the defending player wins, they claim the ring of the conflict.

If the attacking player wins, they claim the ring, and use its effect.

An attacker requires at least one skill to win.

If the attacker's  skill exceeds the defender’s by the conflict’s province strength (or more), they break the province.

Regardless of the outcome, all participating characters are then bowed and returned to their owner’s home area.

A defending player loses one Honor, if they have no Characters in the conflict during Resolution, either from not defending, or having their Characters removed from the conflict.

Imperial Favor

Once all conflicts have been resolved, a contest is held for the Imperial Favor. Players count both the number of rings they have claimed and the total amount of glory on their ready characters and add them together. Whichever player has the higher total claims the Imperial Favor, and may place it on either the political or military side. The Imperial Favor provides an additional point of skill to conflicts of that type during the next round, as long a the player controlling it has one or more participating characters..


Fate Phase

All characters with no fate on them are discarded from play, including any attachments currently equipped to them.

Each remaining character loses one fate.

A fate is placed on each unclaimed ring in the general pool.

Regroup Phase

Each character remaining in a player's home area is readied.

Players discard unwanted faceup cards from provinces and immediately replace them with cards from the dynasty deck.

All faceup cards on broken provinces are also replaced.

Players then return all claimed rings to the general pool.

Pass the first player token.


General Rules

Ring Effects

Air - The attacking player takes 1 honor from their opponent, or gains 2 honor.

Earth - The attacking player draws 1 card from their conflict deck and discards 1 card at random from their opponent’s hand. 

Fire - The attacking player chooses a character in play and chooses to honor or dishonor that character.

Water - The attacking player either chooses a character and readies it, or chooses a character with no fate on it and bows it.

Void - The attacking player chooses a character and removes 1 fate from that character.


Card Abilities

Abilities on cards can only be used once per round, unless otherwise stated.
- "twice per round", or "once per conflict" as examples

Abilities can be used even if the card is bowed.



A keyword is an attribute that conveys specific rules to its card. The following serves as a quick reminder of how each keyword functions. For complete rules on a keyword, see the Rules Reference (sic)

  • Ancestral: When the card to which an Ancestral attachment is attached would leave play, the Ancestral attachment returns to its owner's hand instead of being discarded
  • Courtesy: When this card leaves play, its controller gains one Fate
  • Covert: When this character is declared as an attacker, you may choose a character that does not have covert.That character cannot be declared as a defender for this Conflict during the "declare defenders" step
  • Limited: A player may not play more than one limited card each round from their Provinces and/or their hand
  • No Attachments: This card cannot have attachments attached to it
  • Sincerity: When this Character leaves the game draw a card
  • Pride: When this Character wins a conflict, honor it. When this Character loses a conflict, dishonor it
  • Restricted: No more than two restricted attachments per character.


Honoring a character adds their glory value to their skills and causes their owner to gain 1 honor when that character leaves play.

Dishonoring a character subtracts their glory from their skills and causes their owner to lose 1 honor when that character leaves play.

Dishonoring an Honored character will remove the Honored status, but not Dishonor the character.
Same with Honoring a Dishonored character.



In duels nobody wins or loses ties. Honor can still be exchanged.




Your clan represents the faction you are playing.
Currently seven Clans: Crab, Crane, Dragon, Lion, Phoenix, Scorpion, Unicorn.



You will play the game with two decks.
Dynasty deck - containing characters and holdings.

Conflict deck - which has a mix of characters, attachments (including weapons, followers, equipment, and other conditions), and events.


Between your two decks are four face-down province cards, and protecting these provinces is essential to maintaining your strength and defeating your opponent. Cards from your Dynasty deck are used to fill these four provinces, and are bought from them. Once a player has broken three of their opponent's provinces, they may try to break an opponent's stronghold. If they are ever successful, they win the game!


A currency that represents the karma and destiny that a clan has accrued. Used to pay the cost of cards.



A player may only have one copy of a unique character in their home area. However, if a player has a second copy in one of their provinces or in their hand, they may discard that copy to add one fate to the unique copy in play.