Sunday, 16 June 2013

Samurai celebrate 24,000 views

A couple of months ago the amount of page visits to my blog exceeded 20,000. For just over 40 postings in 19 months I thought that was pretty good. I pondered  for  quite a long time on what to write about to celebrate, now I have over 24,000 and better get on with it. Since this is supposed to be primarily a wargaming blog I thought "better put something in with model soldiers or buildings". We'd just had a Samurai wargame here at the local group with a battlefield graced by many buildings that Paul had commissioned me to make. I had put it off as I wanted to describe the game too, yet it seemed like rather a commercial plug for my model buildings. However, as  time passed I realised a full battle report would be too complicated and thought better of it, but just to keep within that spirit here are some photos and brief example of play.
This is Gochim Tajima, who turned out to be a Samurai of nearly superhuman powers. He is defending a bridge against all comers.

And a few more of some of the buildings

In essence Paul has devised a large skirmish style game for many players with him as player-umpire. An average capability force has about 18 warriors and half a dozen special characters; more specialist forces have fewer figures. It's a bit like a role playing game with Paul setting individual objectives and laying "clues" and you can win by a combination of luck, skill and imaginative play "within period".  I'm pleased to say I was the winner of both previous games mainly by role play than brute force but this one proved very different...nothing went right.

It was just before dawn and first I sent my learned priest, accompanied by a skilled executioner and a sergeant, to parley with a Monastery guard on a ridge top.  As I understood the game the Monastery was the home of a wayward Abbot who had turned Christian (controlled by Paul) and we players had to bring him into line. My idea was to pretend two of my specialists were also renegades and wanted to join him; the plan was they would be taken by the guard into the Monastery where the executioner could help him meet his maker. But although initial dice rolls showed the guard was receptive to my advances I had to get up the slope to persuade him. The priest had deductions as he had a "frail" trait and  I rolled a "1" - so he broke his ankle in the dark and rolled back down the slope! My plan was scuppered, thus I decided to avoid the slope and go round the long way via the arch and bridge to fight my way through.

I wasn't alone and other players were already suffering from Tajima and his supporters defending the bridge. I laid into him with three expert swordsmen including my own personality figure and was lucky to escape alive.
The large numbers indicate the order of player initiative per move determined by skills and dice scores
 But here it's worth saying a bit about Paul's (unique?) dice system. Practically everything is governed by dice of different colours and types from D2 up to about D30 or more. All the relevant factors are taken into account by going up or down the scale of dice types. Consequently, I'm assured by our group's maths brains, the relative chances are catered for by relative probabilities, but as in all good wargames it's not totally predictable. So, for example if my main man had a D12 by including his skills and supporters it turned out Tajima was so good he was on a D30, so he had something like a 60% chance of bettering my score (I think - hopefully you see what I mean).  Wounds were not automatic but by more dice, weapons versus armour, hence I got away and judged I couldn't bear such odds since characters only sustain a couple of wounds. After that I stood back with my whole force, as there was no way round the very difficult undergrowth and gorge, and tried to use the archers to bring Tajima down. But it transpired that Tajima could take many wounds (number unknown to us) and the only way he was defeated was by me and others creeping archers round to shoot him from behind until he was finished.

Once the bridge was open it was a bit late for me to get any glory as other players had been very busy elsewhere on the table and game time was closing in! Everyone else seemed to enjoy it immensely but it was not my finest hour!
Paul calls his rules and game system "When the Cherry Blossom Falls". A neat feature is that players have a few "cherry blossoms" they can trade in for a chance to re-roll a critical die.  He also has a few special cards which give players the chance to influence specific events. If you try to think yourself into a period rich in honour but also subtle double-cross it's a very invigorating game.

For those of you who wish to see plenty more of the game in progress including Paul's lovely figures , please have a look at them on Google Picasa via this link Samurai game photos. And if you have questions please either comment here or I'm sure Paul would be happy to answer them by  email

I will also celebrate when the counter passes 25,000, by giving you readers more of what seems to be the most popular of my subjects - Hussarettes. So get clicking!

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