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Subject: Shogun in Japan Game 01: One Year of War rss

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Angry Augury
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I got a copy of Shogun Big Box during the Kickstarter campaign but it sat at my mother's house for half a year before I picked it up last December. From there, it sat on my shelf, completely untouched, until this past weekend.

My wife's brother had been interested in playing it ever since he saw the box many months ago but it was hard to find the time and convince my wife to be the third player. After waiting during the New Year's holiday for a chance to play it (didn't happen since we only played Mysterium again and again), we reconvened one week later to actually give it a try. Sadly, we ran out of time in the evening so my brother-in-law returned the next morning to play. We would only have a short time because the little one was awake and running rampant. My wife's parents were watching her for us but we didn't have the luxury of playing a full game as we would have had the previous night after the baby went to sleep. So we decided to play the game up to the first scoring round, giving us one year of war.

Set Up:

Board: Sun

Samurai:

Uesugi Kenshin - n107
Tokugawa Ieyasu - The Missus
Takeda Shingen - Bro

Starting Provinces:

n107

Suruga
Mino
Tamba
Musashi
Harima
Izu
Owari
Sagami
Tajima

The Missus

Yamato
Echizen
Shimotsuke
Shimosa
Ise
Hitachi
Awa-Shikoku
Kaga
Kii

Bro

Bizen
Omi
Hida
Etchu
Hoki
Bitchu
Bingo
Settsu
Shinano

We used the suggesting starting provinces from the rule book to speed things up since, again, we had little time and I also had to explain the rules to two non-gamers (and in a foreign language, no less). The only difference is that I allowed everyone to place their starting armies in whichever province the chose, rather than following the number printed in the book. This was done less out of strategy and more out of the fact that I forgot until much later. Oops.

Year One

Spring

Turn Order:

Bro - +1 Gold
The Missus - 6 Soldiers for 3 Gold
n107 - +1 Rice

Special Event: 3 Gold for 3 Recruits, 2 Gold for 2 Recruits

The first round of the first game was a little bit of a struggle for The Missus, at least in the planning phase. I knew this game was a couple of steps above the complexity level she is accustomed to with the games she participates in. Bro, on the other hand, was able to understand quite readily. I believe our sessions playing Letters from Whitechapel and Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle have been training his mind for adapting to new types of games. The Missus didn't understand the mustering actions for gaining new troops until they finally happened. Much to our dismay, however, the special event really hurt our plans for building up good forces since it severely cut the number of troops we would get. Bro and I realized the implications of this but I don't think it affected The Missus all that much as she didn't understand what was going to happen in the first place.

However, what The Missus did understand was combat. The very first action of the game was Combat A and she unleashed her assault from Shimosa into Musashi, my territory. I know my wife is an aggressive player, but Bro and I were both caught off guard with the combat. He and I were just content on maneuvering our troops and had no intention of drawing blood (we also had no intention of ending after one year at this point, but that would happen after checking the clock during the next round). Her attack failed but it severely weakened my front line against her forces in the east by removing all of my defenders there. Not a great start for my army.

The rest of the spring went by without much incident, other than farmers managing to hold us off of spreading.

Summer

Turn Order:

n107 - +1 Gold
The Missus - +1 Rice
Bro - +1 Defense

Special Event: Max 3 Rice

The Missus was angry at the special event until she realized her card would still allow her to claim a fourth rice. Bro ended up only placing a territory for 2 Rice so he was unaffected but I got shafted in the deal with my intent for 5 Rice becoming 3.

The Missus continued her warpath, this time against Bro, though she lost that battle, too. Still, his forces were also hurt greatly and could not do anything in retaliation due to positioning. He moved into Noto in the north and all three of us were building more structures this time around. Sadly, for me, I placed the wrong card down on the board and attempted to build a second castle in Tajima instead of the first castle in Harima so idea evaporated.

I attempted to take a new territory in Totomi, but my army of four was no match for a single farmer. All of the cubes were swallowed by the tower with not a single one coming out. At least I knew there were plenty of my soldiers waiting to come out in the future.

By the end of the season, the board was full of life (and death, thanks to The Missus) and we realized going in to fall that we would have to call the game short as we were running out of time and had to get back to raising our young one.

Fall

Turn Order:

n107 - +1 Defense
The Missus - +1 Attack
Bro - +1 Rice

Special Event: Cannot Attack Temples

In what would be our final round of actions, most of my plans were cut off at the knees by the special event. The two territories I was planning on attacking, in which I stood a decent chance at victory, had Temples in them. Still, I decided that I had to make some big moves as it was the last round of our all-too-short game. Since I couldn't attack Bro in Hida, I pressed my first attack from Mino into Omi, in the center of the map, against him. We both had massive armies there and I knew that The Missus's giant army in Yamato to the south was likely thinking the same thing. After all, Omi had a Castle in it and taking that would be a sweet way to end the round. My attack was a resounding failure, with a couple of farmers joining in to save the day. Bro was left with two standing armies in the province while Mino was left with a single guardian.

Immediately, The Missus revealed her attack from Yamato but, to our surprise, she was going to move against Bro in Settsu. I told her it was probably better to attack Omi, as I did, since she could gain his Castle there and he only had two defenders left. So, that's what she did. Moving all but one army into the territory, she attempted to finish the conflict I had started. And... she, too, was defeated. All three territories involved in this battle each had only one army remaining. Astounding how well-defended Omi was. She was angry at me for telling her to go there but I told her that if she couldn't win against two of Bro's armies, what made her think she stood a chance against 5 or 6 in Settsu?

I tried again to attack Bro from Harima into Bizen, wishing to gain one more Noh Theater and cutting his bonus in that territory to 0 for the upcoming Winter. I knew my odds weren't that great, as he had a very large force defending it but I did my best. In the end, it was mutual destruction as we completely cancelled each other out, leaving his territory empty. After cleaning up the battle, a lone black army slid out from the tower and he forever became known as the out-of-shape samurai arriving too late at the battle to save the day.

With all of our actions finished, it was time to hunker down and see what would happen in winter.

Winter

Rice Supplies

The Missus (14)
n107 (13)
Bro (11)

Time to feed our provinces, we revealed a loss of -2 Rice, as I had known. This took us down to 12, 11 and 9. Each of us also ended up with 9 Provinces to feed leaving a final total of:

The Missus (3)
n107 (2)
Bro (0)

We were all safe, able to feed even our most unruly provinces.

Next came time to score our only points for this game. In the end, it was quite close but the final total came out to:

The Missus - 26
n107 - 25
Bro - 25

And after a single year, a new Shogun was named: Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The Missus was glad she had won and I was glad that she had fun, as I didn't think she'd even be willing to understand the game with how difficult it sounds during explanation. Yet the game does play quite simply and easily once you know what all the moving parts are. We all had a good time and said we would like to play a full game the next chance we get. I hope it's not too far off.

Shogun History

The Missus Tokugawa Ieyasu (2018/1/7 ~ )
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Jonah P.
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That is actually historically accurate.
 
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Sight Reader
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Jonah Pak wrote:
That is actually historically accurate.

Except that referring to Tokugawa Ieyasu as a samurai might get you a head shorter...
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