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Richard Borg on Samurai Battles

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Russian publisher Zvezda popped Samurai Battles onto the public radar in early 2012 with little fanfare, despite it including the next iteration of Richard Borg's "Commands & Colors" series. (Negative fanfare actually, as the Zvezda rep at New York Toy Fair in February 2012 asked me not to write about the game, even though some information was already publicly available.) In any case, since gamers want to know more about how Samurai Battles came about and what they might find in the box, I asked Richard whether he could talk about his involvement in the game's creation. I've edited his response and present it for your critical review below:


I have always thought the historical Samurai period was interesting, and I had even collected a bunch of miniature figures, thinking one day I would perhaps have the time and opportunity to do a game on Samurai warriors.

At New York Toy Fair in February 2011, I had stopped by the Alliance Game Distributors booth to talk with Michael Webb about games, and he asked whether I had seen the new Zvezda World War II Barbarossa 1941 game by Konstantin Krivenko. I had not seen the game, but I did know of Zvezda and had a number of packs of their very fine plastic 1/72-scale Samurai miniatures. Mike introduced me to Konstantin, who was at the Alliance booth, showcasing his WWII game. We talked awhile about games in general and I was very honored to hear he knew of some of my game designs. He gave me the Zvezda catalog and he asked whether I would like a copy of the WWII game. Sure!

Returning home, I took a serious look at the catalog and it all came together! Zvezda was planning to release an entire new line of Samurai figures, and the company had just come out with a board game, and I always wanted to do a game about the historical Samurai period, and the game could have miniatures, very cool miniatures. It seemed like a perfect fit...

I contacted Mike at Alliance, who gave me Konstantin's (Zvezda) contact information and after a few emails, we were well on our way. Konstantin had already been thinking about doing another "Art of Tactic" Samurai game, and when I suggested doing a "Commands & Colors" Samurai game using the new Zvezda Samurai figures, it seemed logical that his Art of Tactic rules and my Commands & Colors rules could, in fact, become one game project.

The end result is Samurai Battles, which will have two sets of rules: Samurai Battles - Art of Tactic rules by Konstantin Krivenko and Samurai Battles - Commands & Colors rules by Richard Borg. Both rule sets utilize the same battlefield map game board, a set of terrain tiles and the Samurai miniature figures, but each rule set also features a number of additional game components unique to it. The rules for Samurai Battles - Commands & Colors are 110% "Commands & Colors" gaming with a deck of Command cards, Dragon cards, special Samurai battle dice, and a set of Honor and Fortune tokens.

Overall, players are in for a real treat as the new Zvezda Samurai Battles game, with two sets of rules in one game box, is sure to provide players with an entertaining, unique and challenging gaming experience.

Richard Borg
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