Last night our game group got together to play Shogun. It was a four player game. Two people were new players so we had a little rules explanation before starting.
With my group it always seems if I tell the group what the goal of the game is and how the scoring works we can start the game and people learn better by playing than listening to a lecture. Once the basics were covered in about 15 minutes we were off and running.
We lost about 10 minutes after I loaded the tower. The questions were flowing and the puzzled looks were everywhere until they look into the tower. Then the light bulb went off. At this point people starting trying to remember how many cubes they had left in the tower. By games end everyone agreed that the tower was a unique way to determine battles and no one was fighting about how the dice were loaded or someone couldn’t roll well enough.
We used the sun side of the board and finished the set up. After the game the moon side of the board we pondered over and it was decided that next time we would try that side.
It took the first two seasons for the new players to feel comfortable but after that the game progressed at a good pace. By the time the first winter rolled around all the players were ready for the revolt markers to be cleared. The event card was kind with one 2 rice lost. The scoring was straight forward with Bill taking an early lead.
The times I have played in the past it normally seems that at this point going into the second year that people tend to gang up on the leader. This game appeared to be no different. The next three seasons saw Bill getting attacked from all sides.
The second year had some very interesting turning point. Gordon and I spent all our money on armies and buildings hoping later in the round to tax a province. Unfortunately we lost our province before it could be taxed. Then to make things worse all the army build and building actions came up early in the next season before the taxation step. This put Gordon and me on the defensive for one season. Jason and Bill took advantage and built up their empires.
The second year also saw huge battles that tipped the balance several times. The one battle that might have lost the game for Bill came when he attacked my province with 12 armies against my 4. The tower was ever so kind to me as it produced one more army for me. This large loss of his army caused Bill to try and maintain more than attack. Gordon saw the open door and exploded through grabbing a few more provinces and the buildings along with it.
The second winter came mercifully and the event card caused 4 rice to be lost. This hurt Bill and Jason who ended up losing provinces to revolts. The final count came in and the results were:
Gordon was able to get ahead of Bill by taking some provinces from Bill that had buildings giving Gordon a majority. I struggled and never recovered after having a season with no money and fought to maintain. Jason struggled with the rules his first time out but once it clicked he made a strong come back.
The group wants to play again using the moon side.