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Subject: We have this game working....!! rss

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matt h
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Okay.....we have now played this game many times and made some modifications to the rules to make it work better. In our opinion there was far too much luck in this game so this is what we have done.

1. You Can NOT discard any cards......ever. At the end of Phase 4 if you have less than 5 cards you can draw cards until you have 5 and no more. So clan points only count for determining who the Emperor is.
And, if you only have say 1 Yellow card and 3 Blue cards you can draw a card until you have 2 Yellow cards to attack with. And.....if you had 5 Blue cards and no Yellow you can draw cards until you have 2 Yellow but you would have to discard Blue cards so you only have a total of 5.
Doing this makes the luck factor go way, way down and you need more skill in your movements, attacks and diplomacy.

2. When you attack you can attack with as many samurai as you want, not just the limit of 4. So if you can move 8 samurai into another players square you have an attack value of 8 with just your samurai.

3. Atacking and Defending..........for ever 5 attack points you have your opponent loses 1 samurai. This is on top of the Katana that are on the cards so there are times when you lose 4 or 5 samurai.

4. When you move on the water if you move to the next square it cost 1 Koku but if you move more than 1 square it cost 2 Koku....and there is no limit to the number of samurai you can move via the water. So if you wanted to move 5 men from Oshima to Nagoya it would cost 1 Koku but if you wanted to move from Oshima to Edo would cost 2 Loku.

5. To build a castle costs 5 Koku and 7 Koku to build in Kyoto.

6. And we used the optional rules of.......Once each turn the Shogun can dis-allow any card as long as it is not against him ......And....Shogunal Justice can be played in defense of another player, not just the card holder.

7. There are 2 cards in the deck that say "Gain 2 Honor points" & "Gain 3 Honor points"......we reduced each card to gain "1" honor point.

We played with these rules and the game really worked well. We also had a lot of across the table diplomacy and even sold each other cards (for a price).

With these rule changes the game works very well and is fun to play. No one can run away with the game and it does come down to the final move most of the time.

I would like to hear of any other rule changes that others have made (if any) to make the game work.

Thanks.
 
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David Male
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[These suggestions belong in the rule variants rather than the reviews.]

I can see that your group feel that there is too much 'luck' in the game, and the overall effect of your changes is to reduce the effects of the card-play, and to emphasise the military campaign. Your suggestions will certainly do this, but will change the whole character of the game.

However, in my view it is the combination of the card-play with the military campaign that makes this game so good. There are numerous campaign games with this style of play. There are far fewer card-driven multi-player campaign games. (Sword of Rome is an excellent example, but it is quite long and 4-player). So why try to make this game into something it does not aim to be and which other games do very well.
I am happy to accept the 'luck' of the cards, deal with it and use the cards in conjunction with the military manoeuvres to best effect.

One other comment surprised me. I have played at least 30 games and in every single one, the game has gone to the wire ie the very last move. No-one can run away with the game because of the strong balancing effect of the Emperor (last player chooses move order) and Shogun (first player is handicapped by needing to keep honour in battles)rule. Again, you may see this as a disadvantage, but for me, it is what makes it really enjoyable.
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matt h
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Hi and thanks for your comments. It is true that the group I game with does not like games with a lot of luck.
That said we all really like this game and have fun playing it but I think you have to admit that there is a ton of luck with the cards......too much I feel. You may not agree with all of the rule changes we made but I feel the one rule of "no throwing your hand away" it a good one. It forces you to actually play your cards and to really think how you want to use each one. If you can throw all of your cards away each turn then you really don't have to think too much about how you want/need to use them.

Thanks agian for the comments.



 
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Ramon Zarate
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Just felt like making some comments.

mqh7 wrote:

1. You Can NOT discard any cards......ever. At the end of Phase 4 if you have less than 5 cards you can draw cards until you have 5 and no more. So clan points only count for determining who the Emperor is.
And, if you only have say 1 Yellow card and 3 Blue cards you can draw a card until you have 2 Yellow cards to attack with. And.....if you had 5 Blue cards and no Yellow you can draw cards until you have 2 Yellow but you would have to discard Blue cards so you only have a total of 5.
Doing this makes the luck factor go way, way down and you need more skill in your movements, attacks and diplomacy.


I think it's a good idea. Everyone keeps throwing away weak cards and every turn get pretty strong ones.

But mind you, you can actually attack with blue cards... they are blue just to specify that their special ability it's a combat ability, but they also have a normal combat number to use them as yellow cards. If you are using them as a "third" combat card, that number is not used, just the "special ability"; if you use them as one of the two normal combat cards, then the "ability" is not used, only the combat number. When we started playing this way, combat became much more interesting.

I'd sugest making clan points a little more useful by allowing to discard until your hand has reached 5 cards, then, if your clan points allow it, you may refil. (We adjusted the clan points that allow you to have more cards in hand so it is more important to hold more cities).

mqh7 wrote:

4. When you move on the water if you move to the next square it cost 1 Koku but if you move more than 1 square it cost 2 Koku....and there is no limit to the number of samurai you can move via the water. So if you wanted to move 5 men from Oshima to Nagoya it would cost 1 Koku but if you wanted to move from Oshima to Edo would cost 2 Loku.


I get the impression that previously you could strike anywhere by sea for just one koku... actually, you can't move very far: only those moves you are charging 1 koku are legal. That makes castles conected to various "sea zones" very valuable.

We toyed with this sea movement variant you are proposing, but in the end preferd to only be able to move short distances by sea.

mqh7 wrote:

7. There are 2 cards in the deck that say "Gain 2 Honor points" & "Gain 3 Honor points"......we reduced each card to gain "1" honor point.


These cards have a huge gold cost! Typically no player uses them for the purpose of gaining honor points because they cost 5 or 10 koku (or even 15? I don't hace the game at hand). The cards that have a cost printed (as the ninja) have a GOLD coin on them, that means you have to pay the number of gold coins (or five koku) to use the ability (like gain honor points).

I'd also like to note that controlling an entire group of provinces of the same color doen't give you a cash bonus, the printed koku value on the board for each province color is just so you don't have to sum it up. (So money is rarely enough to spend it on those "honor gaining" cards, so the are not as powerful).

mqh7 wrote:

We played with these rules and the game really worked well. We also had a lot of across the table diplomacy and even sold each other cards (for a price).

With these rule changes the game works very well and is fun to play. No one can run away with the game and it does come down to the final move most of the time.

I would like to hear of any other rule changes that others have made (if any) to make the game work.


I don't remember if it's our house rule or it's from the manual, but we only allow ONE trade for player for turn. That means, you can sell that card or just give away your money or your card to someone, but you and that someone can't trade anything else the rest of the turn. The reason for this is that after you battle you draw cards, so you never run out of cards to attack with, what you run out of is GOOD cards to attack with... so player kept selling or giving away their good cards to hurt the leader the most (basically, one big hand for every player against the leader) and it kept our games veeeeeeeery long (10pm - 8am, the most notorious one).

Hope I'm being more helpful than anoying! shake
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Matthew M
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