This was our first game of Ronin with full strength squads and we chose the Skirmish scenario again. The objective was to kill enemy models, but both of us rolled the same secondary objective – neither side could lose more than 25% of their starting strength to score 5 extra VP , so 3 figures lost each would forfeit this bonus. There were to be 8 turns in the game.
We both tried long range fire with our archers while advancing but this was ineffectual. We knew from out previous game that arquebus shots at long range weren’t great, and added to the fact that you had to stand still and re-load for a whole turn meant that you were only likely to get 2 shots a game (if that), we reserved the black powder for up-close. When we did get close enough, all the rolls were pathetically low and had no effect, even though they ignored medium and light armour bonuses and treated the Samurai’s heavy armour as light. From memory, I think the best result in the whole game from missile fire was a stunned result!
I lined up a few flank shots while positioning my other troops along a road, hoping to gain an advantage by ganging up on someone.
As it turned out, I did get a 2-on-1 against a Samurai, but he went all defensive and I couldn’t land a hit on him. The Samurai leader took one of my Initiates apart, leaving him grievously wounded while my leader failed to even dent the armour of the Ashigaru he was fighting. I managed to put a light wound on the remaining Samurai and my last Sohei Monk also wounded his opponent, though both ended the melee stunned.
The game turned into a slogging match as we abandoned tactics and both piled more figures into the central melee until we ran out of turns. The end result looked a draw as I killed the Samurai Hatamoto with a lowly Initiate on virtually the last roll of the game – in fact it was a draw in terms of figures killed though we both forgot until later that one of Tom’s samurai had taken a head as an action and that meant that he scored 1 extra VP and took the game.
As a one-off game this fighting to the finish was OK, but if it were a campaign game then the number of badly wounded I had would have counted against me in the next game, so I would have disengaged a lot earlier. This is not a game for those who dislike tokens on the table – there was blood (tokens) everywhere due to the number of wounded. Some figures’ talents give the chance to re-roll both attack and defence dice – in the Samurai’s case these had a huge effect on the game – I lost count on the number of times they rolled a 1 on a defence roll so I thought I had them, only to re-roll and get a decent score which blunted my attack. Eventually their luck ran out when the Hatamoto rolled two low scores in a row and was killed by a lowly arqubusier. My Sohei Monks were fearless so didn’t have to roll for morale, but it seemed mighty hard to force a morale test – I will definitely give them a weapon skill for the next game which gives them a re-roll.
I’m still undecided on these rules. I have some ideas on how to speed up the calculations needed for every attack which to me seems to me to be the part of the rules which slows things down. Alternatively, the Lardies’ Summer Special has an article on how to modify Dux Britanniarum for Samurai which I might try (subject to not having to paint loads more Samurai of course 🙂 ) <edit> and also I’m forgetting the upcoming “Daisho” rules from the chaps who gave us “In Her Majesty’s Name” – looking forward to those.