Rules by Rod Thomson / Flagship Games
This nicely illustrated rules set covers both army and skirmish level games. The majority of its 60+ pages are devoted to the army game with a couple of pages detailing the modifications necessary for skirmishing. Also included are some army lists. There is no quick reference sheet enclosed but one is available for download from the Flagship Games web site. The rules are aimed at battles during the “Age of the Country at War” but can be used for earlier periods.
Although written with 15mm figures in mind, modifications are suggested for other scales. Figure scale for the army game is 50:1 and one inch represents approximately 30 metres. Skirmish scale is 1:1. Infantry and cavalry are both based with a frontage of one-half inch and have a depth of one-half inch for infantry and 1 inch for cavalry.
Commanders are represented on the table by a figure and are given a Leadership Rating. Tai and Sub commanders are also given a loyalty rating of 1 to 6 and are designated as Reliable or Unreliable. There is a slight chance that unreliable commanders could defect to the other side as happened historically.
Troops are rated for three main statistics: Class, Armour and Weapons. Class and Armour are numeric values from 1 to 6 and Weapon is simply bow, pole arm, handgun etc. Typical troop types are listed along with their relevant ratings. These can be Peasant Rabble, Ashigaru, Warrior Monks, Fanatics (such as Ikko-Ikki), Ronin, Samurai and Cavalry.
After new orders have been issued both sides test for initiative. The winner gets to choose whether to go first or second when activating their Tai alternately. During the turn, the side with the initiative may sacrifice the initiative for the following turn by activating two Tai consecutively.
Movement is straightforward with distances specified in inches and have the usual deductions for moving through difficult terrain and performing formation changes. Units moving at charge rate for consecutive turns can become fatigued. This has an adverse effect on the unit’s fighting abilities.
Missile fire is resolved by rolling 1d6 for each firing figure. Modifiers are added or subtracted and any results exceeding the armour rating of the target unit causes a casualty. In addition to normal firing by the active Tai, non-active units may be eligible for Defensive or Opportunity fire. Defensive fire can be performed by missile units in response to being charged and Opportunity fire can be performed by missile units in close proximity to moving enemy. Rules are also included for light and heavy artillery fire.
Melee combat is resolved in a similar fashion to missile fire. Depending on how the unit is armed determines who fights first. For instance, long-spear armed infantry will fight before any other troops. This means that any figures removed as casualties won’t get a chance to fight back. The side that inflicts the most casualties wins the melee and the loser checks morale. Should the loser pass this morale test then the winner must then test. If both pass morale then the loser is pushed back.
The next few sections of the rules detail officer casualties, challenges (of course!), fire and siege. The latter deals mainly with scaling walls and assaults, which is a nice touch. The last section deals with special models like taiko (war drum), tsukai (messenger) and even ninja which all add to the flavour of the game.
Review by Ian Duncan. February 2004
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