Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shogun Triumphant Review

Shogun Triumphant, a Command Magazine issue game, is an odd duck of a wargame, mostly because the battle itself is so bizarre. The game itself uses a melee-era system that emphasizes the morale differences between units. Units take "cohesian hits" from fire and melee. If the hits in one combat phase equal or exceed the morale value (here called "stalwartness") thenthe unit is eliminated.

The 158 5/8-inch counters show two armies, a "Western" army in green and an "Eastern" army in red. Each has mounted samurai units and ashigaru foot soldiers. The Eastern army also has a single cannon unit.

But the game is better understood as a contest between two coalitions comprising 19 little armies, with many of those armies of uncertain loyalty.

That loyalty is tested through a fairly involved set of procedures.

While both sides are theoretically vulnerable to treachery, the Western Army clearly has the most to fear. In the historical battle four clans from the Western army affected to the East, none went the other way.

The odds are something similar will happen in the game. There's just enough of a possibility of treachery against the Eastern army to keep that player looking over his shoulder, but the Western player has the burden of fighting a battle where some key units can't be trusted.
Victory is assessed by lost stalwartness points. Units eliminated and units that defect count against the owning side. The first to lose 160 points loses the game.

The burden of attack is on the Eastern player, so if neither side reaches 160 points by turn 8 then he loses. A draw is possible if both sides pass 160 at the same time.

Units represent groups of 200-800 fighters. Each hex is 180 yards across, every turn repesents 45 minutes.

Set up locations are shown on the Mark Simonitch map, so set up is fairly easy and takes about 20 minutes. The 8-turn game can be played in a single sitting.


(Conditional Yes) for Wargamers: Unusual battle, but more random than most wargames and this may turn off some people. On the other hand, this is a rarely simulated era, so it does have some interest.

(Conditional Yes) for Collectors: Rare game on a Japanese topic.

(No) for Eurogamers: Intricate game mechanics, highly random game play, make this unlikely to appeal to Eurogamers.

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