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Subject: Session Report – Mimasetoge Battle rss

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Zé Mário
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Here's my third article reporting me and my friend Hugo's adventures (and misadventures) during our plays of RAN.

Learning the game:

As usual, we checked out the rules we hadn't used on previous games. For this battle we decided we would use Trump and Harassment & Dispersal for the first time.


Mimasetoge Battle:

This is a pretty unusual battle. Both armies start out of the battlefield, so they're supposed to enter the map and get into position for the coming battle. There's a hill in the middle of the map, and roads coming from each side of the map. The roads from the south, west and east all converge in the northern one (where the Hojo will enter the map). The Takeda come from the southern road.

The Hojo outnumber the Takeda by almost the double, the other side of the coin being that Takeda's units and bushos are much stronger. The Hojo has two contingents: Ujikumi (with their so-taisho) and Ujiteru. The Takeda have 6: Takeda himself, Yamagata, Naito, Baba, Katsuyori and Asari. It is specified in the scenario book in which order the contingents are meant to enter the battle.

The Takeda are supposed to manage to exit the battlefield through the northern or eastern roads, obtaining in that case a reduction in their rout points of half each unit's value, eg. an SI unit exits the battlefield, it is worth 4 rout points (or 5, can't remember), so the Takeda loses 2 rout points from their score, which is good. Besides that, Naito's contingent brings two baggage trains with it. These are worth 10 rout points, therefore being relevant for both sides.
The other way for the Takeda to win this battle is by killing lots and lots of Hojo men. Lots = 100 rout points.
The Hojo win when the Takeda get to 70 rout points.

Another interesting feature of this battle is the "Shingen Surprise". It basically means that the Takeda's contingent may appear in any place of the map according to some (minor) restrictions. I'm not sure if Shingen means party in japanese.

As usual, we randomly decided who would play which army. Hugo got Takeda, I got the Hojo.

The actual session report:

The scenario book states that this battle should take something like 4 hours. This isn't surprising, given the time the units take to enter the battlefield and the following maneuvers.

If you know or have looked at the map, you noticed that Takeda's objective is to march across the battlefield and exit through the same road the Hojo entered, or through the other one nearby.
So, my strategy wasn't exactly Kasparovian, I decided I would barricade myself with my twenty thousand guys around those two exit points the Takeda needed to take control of. The other way they could win would be to kill lots of my men. Being barricated, I hoped it would be though for Hugo to manage that.

Anyway, for 4 or 5 turns the contingents began arriving to the battlefield. To perfectly barricade myself I would have to cover two flanks. In the middle of the "corner" where I would sit is a small forest, so I had what I'll call a left and a right flank.

My first contigent to arrive, Ujikumi's, began to pile up on my left flank, in the best way I could figure out in order to use the terrain to my advantage. Noticing Hugo's first contigent (which would be the first wave of attack on that side) consisted mostly of ashigaru, I put 5 or 6 units of samurai at the front of that mob. I also did something I thought would be cool: instead of simply covering that flank with units from one side to another, I left the road clear (you can see that here). This way, I would leave three units of Kibamusha in the back, and when needed (and cautiously), they would charge along the road and perform a pseudo-surprise-attack.



In the end of this number of maneuvering turns, Hugo's Yamagata was standing and ready near my left flank, the other smaller contingents were also arriving.
I also decided not to divide Ujikumi's contigent by the two flanks. A risky and maybe senseless decision, since I pretty much left the right flank open for attacks, but since at the time Yamagata was already marching towards my left flank, I figured it wouldn't be too dangerous.



Seeing this, Hugo hits the lonely unit on my right flank with Baba (nice name btw, in portuguese "baba" means "drool", or "nanny), and wipes it out. The problem for Hugo, and this clearly wasn't his fault, was that at this time, that corner of the map was filled with Hojo units. The second contingent was finally beginning to arrive, so it would be pretty silly from Hugo to try to hit the monster's heart, achieving nothing and losing a couple of kibamusha and a samurai unit in the meantime. So he attacked some nearby units, killed a couple and retreated to a safer position, waiting for Katsuyori and Asari help.



Takeda appeared near my left flank next to a small forest, and installed his honjin there. That was the shingen surprise, which also sounds like a dessert's name.



I had luck with my momentum rolls, and Ujiteru's samurai quickly reached the abandoned right flank and attacked Baba. Maybe Hugo should have moved to farther, I don't know, but Ujiteru quickly killed all Baba's units except for some archers which retreated anyway, during the contingent's flight phase.



After that, the action was taking place on my left flank, where Yamagata and Takeda were finally attacking Ujikumi. Some time before that we were using the recently-learned rule, "harassment and dispersal" to inflict some hits on enemy units (you can see an example here). The fight was fierce, with us trying to outmaneuver each other, my kibamusha finally charged along the road to give the guys in front a help.




It's also worth noticing a decision Hugo made that made a lot of sense to us: he left the luggage train right where it arrived, not risking its loss as it would probably happen had he tried to take it across one of my contigents.



After a couple of turns, the left flank was filled with dead and disrupted troops for both sides. At the end of the 10th or so turn, Yamagata's contingent fled, which meant the battle was over.




I scored 72 rout points, Hugo got 36.


Conclusion:

About the "new" rules: harassment and dispersal is very cool. You get to hit some units at range 1 for almost no risk (it seems to me), unless you attack archers or gunners. Trump, by the other hand, we only used a couple of times. To me, it was almost impossible to win it, since Takeda's generals are much better. Hugo used it some times, and then, later, we totally forgot about trump for the rest of the game. This might have damaged him, which is a shame.
I think we may have missed something about the scenario. It says "the Takeda have a slight advantage", which we didn't feel at all, we felt they had no chance!
On the other hand, it also says "This scenario is best played by gamers familiar with the system and the units" so maybe this was the problem. I guess we'll have to try this battle again some other time to try to figure out what was wrong. We'll see.

Great game, did I mention that?

This battle took us 4,5-5 hours.

To be continued.
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Andrew Young
Wales
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
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Great report. Can't wait to try this title out.
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Richard Berg
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RAN contains a handful of really interesting, smaller battles. . . all with unusual terrain and situations.

RHB
 
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Zé Mário
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BROG wrote:
RAN contains a handful of really interesting, smaller battles. . . all with unusual terrain and situations.

RHB


Yes. And what's your opinion on the scenario's balance? Do you find unusual what happened in our game?
 
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Richard Berg
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No . . . this is a maneuver battle, and players get to do lots of things the historical people did not . . .

RHB
 
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