Pete Gelman
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Hello,
I'm enjoying this game but have a question after 2 plays... about where a defender may (or must) retreat.

The English rules which I have say (p. 3)--

"If the loser's surviving samuri belong to the defending player, he must place them in one (or more) of his other territories."

This means that the defender can move them to ANY other of his/her territories, all in one or spread across the land like sprinkles on a cupcake, and that's how we played.

But it's a little odd that the soldiers can fly by a fleet of helicopter for free across the board in multiple directions simultaneously, when it costs 1 koku otherwise to move a space. I didn't mind too much until one smart player expressed glee and wanted to lose a battle on purpose in order to retreat of large number of troops, as a gamey way to earn massively powerful helicopter transportation for free. (What would Oda Nobunaga say?)

Seeing that the English rules have some issues, I was wondering if maybe the original rules in mellifluous French required the player to retreat to adjacent control territories (maybe including sea connected territories).

There are two non-English rules posted here that seem to be unofficial. The Spanish one says (by robot translator)--

The player with the most points wins the battle and 1 point of honor. Advance his marker to honor and take the control of the territory. The loser must remove their territories surviving samurai. If the attacker must withdraw from the territory. If the defender, any adjacent controlled territory.


Played that way, the defender who can't retreat b/c has no adjacent controlled territory is probably destroyed, as age-old wargame rules would suggest. But these rules don't mention that, which makes me wonder if it's unofficial and that particular aspect a variant.

Meanwhile, the Italian rules posted here which mention the Tilsit forum say,

"If the loser is the attacker, the attacker then withdraws its Samurai in the territory of origin, if the defender is right in any other territory."

The robot didn't quite do a proper job there but it seems to confirm the English rules, that defeated Samurai figures each receive free helicopter rides across Japan.

Please let me know what you think is the intent of the rules, and if you have a better way to play it, your house rule.

Thank you kindly!
 
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Gary Pressler
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I have the original French rules as well as the English.

Quote:
Les samouraïs survivants du vainqueur restent sur le territoire, les samouraïs survivants du perdant doivent quitter le territoire. S'ils appartiennent au défenseur, ils sont repositionnés à sa guise sur un ou plusieurs de ses territoires. S'ils appartiennent à l'attaquant, ils retournent sur le territoire d'où ils ont lancés l'attaque.

The surviving samurai of the winner remain in the territory, the surviving samurai of the loser must leave the territory. If they [the losing samurai] belong to the defender, they are repositioned at will to one or more of that player's territories. If they [the losing samurai] belong to the attacker, they return to the territory from where they launched the attack.

So. yes, the defender can lose a battle and move the survivors to any other owned territory. A bit gamey perhaps, but the game avoids player elimination. They probably did not want to make it hopeless for a player who gets their territories separated from each other. Call it a strategic retreat if you like: the defenders armies were marching away while the attacker was still readying their troops.
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Pete Gelman
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Quote:
So. yes, the defender can lose a battle and move the survivors to any other owned territory. A bit gamey perhaps, but the game avoids player elimination.


Thanks for the quick reply using the original French rules!

Usually this rule doesn't bother me.

Have you ever found people wanting to lose on purpose to gain this movement bonus? (for aggression, their move coming next in the player order?)

I'm thinking of a house rule on that, but not sure... something like... maybe if the defender's samurai aren't retreating to adjacent territory, the defender has to lose a card.

Maybe they need to leave a trail of koku through all the non-friendly territories they pass through.

Maybe I shouldn't worry about it, since there is the six army limit per territory, and the four army limit per attack.
 
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Gary Pressler
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It has been a while, sadly, although I have this near the top of the pile to play. (It's been a lot of 3P gaming lately, and this isn't worth it without at least 4P.) However, I don't remember finding this rule problematic. I see how it could be "abused" a bit, but given the loss of the territory and the overall fluidity of this game (unlike most wargames), I am happy keeping this rule as-is (for now at least).

I'd keep it as simple as possible if you did want to penalize non-adjacent retreats. Perhaps charge a flat 1 koku for each samurai moving to a non-adjacent territory. Again, I'm not yet convinced it is needed, but that is likely what I would go with.

The four samurai limit per attack I know, but I don't remember any limit on the number of samurai per territory otherwise, and I'm not seeing it after a quick flip through the rules.
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Pete Gelman
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Quote:
I don't remember any limit on the number of samurai per territory otherwise, and I'm not seeing it after a quick flip through the rules


Yeah, I'm not either! Maybe I picked that up from of the player aid rules that includes house rules. Thanks for letting me know.

Another idea I have to address "abuse" of the defensive retreat rule is just to say that the repositioned Samurai can't attack that same round.
 
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Ramon Zarate
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I don't remember a limit per territory either.

I don't think 'abusing' that rule is all that common (or easy). Losing gives the other player one free honor point and turn order is never certain. In this game a lot can change before you have a chance to play. Also, winning a battle as the defender gives you three cards back which is a far better deal usually than a mere free move, which well placed castles give you, anyway.

And furthermore, movement is so fluid in this game that adjacency makes really little difference. For me the game makes sense with all the teleporting samurai be it by retreats or cards.

Samurai & Katana has been in my collection for over 6 years and I still want to play it oftenly (just did las weekend, actually) and the simple rules and constant game flow are major strengths. Every time I went for more complex rules (even the variants in the manual) I felt the game had lost something.
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Pete Gelman
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Thanks Ramon for your cogent observations.

The rules confirmations gives me the confidence to go ahead as it is (plus correcting my rules mistakes).

This discussion is helping me a lot:
 
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