Let me start by saying Shogun / Samurai Blades / Ikusa is one of my favorite games therefore any game about feudal Japan immediately spikes my interest. I played Shogun almost weekly when I first got it so this new offering from Fantasy Flight Games will certainly be bought and added to by collection!
A player’s turn begins by mustering their troops – rolling seven custom dice to gather infantry, archers, cavalry, and loyal daimyos to their attack force. Once their troops are mustered, they may attack a castle by matching the results of their dice to one battle line on the besieged castle. If unfilled battle lines remain on the castle card, they must reroll the dice to muster their troops again and press the attack.
If, after any roll, they cannot fill a battle line on the besieged castle, their assault is thrown back. A player must regroup their troops by setting one die aside, before mustering their troops again by rolling their remaining dice.
If a player can conquer a castle by filling all of its battle lines, they take the castle card and add it to their play area as one of their castles, and the castle’s point value counts towards the player’s total score. But just because they conquer a castle doesn’t mean that castle is safe! Player’s can attack other players’ castles on their turn in the same way a player attacks an unclaimed castle, with the addition of the red daimyo in the upper left hand corner of the castle card as another battle line that must be completed to win.
That’s right. This isn’t a chit board game like Ikusa but a fast paced dice variant. No more do I have to worry about loosing small chits to the cat’s curiosity, small children fiddling when my back is turned or my own abject clumsiness!
Unite the Clans
As an added bonus for uniting a clan, the point value for an entire clan is greater than the sum of each individual castle in the clan. For example, the Chosokabe clan possesses two castles: Marugame and Matsuyama. Separately, these castles provide one and two points, respectively, but by uniting the Chosokabe clan, a player receives one bonus point, for four total points. By fully uniting a clan, a player’s claim to Japan grows stronger, and they come closer to victory.
After the last unconquered castle is conquered, the game ends, and each player counts their points. If a player has conquered all of a clan, it grants them a greater score than individual castles. The player with the highest score is the winner of the game and the new ruler of Japan!
Release: 2nd quarter 2014