The Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria has a member with a collection of figures that he has been putting together that had never been used before in a game. So after a two night American Civil War battle based on the first day of Gettysburg we went ahead and decided to try something new. Rick brought his Feudal Japanese Samurai to the club for a tryout. This took place in May and I am late in posting it. Rick brought his really nice Old Glory 25mm figures painted by Fernando Enterprises in Sri Lanka. These figures Rick worked hard on having the painters do really specific work on these figures and in my humble opinion it really paid off. These figures have a nice paint job.
(click for larger image)
As two of us in the club had copies of Killer Katana rules we had decided to use these rules and I prepared for this by creating the cards to be used for movement. This game was for the club members to get a feel for this period so we did not set up a historical battle or any historical formations. We wanted to keep it fairly simple for a first time out for most everyone. Some forces were put together with the black side having a little more cavalry and troops and the red perhaps a little more in the way of higher quality of troops.
Movement is card based with 4 infantry and 4 cavalry cards per side per turn. The sides set up freely with Rick on the red side setting up a slight arrow-head formation and Del the black side with an alternating formation of infantry types with cavalry on the flanks. Movement being slow allowed for some maneuvering on both sides. First blood was on Del who poked himself on a brass spear of his own troops. He had been warned beforehand to be careful. Then the red side matchlock fire caused a casualty.
After both sides moved up ranged fire troops firing archers and matchlocks which was largely ineffective. During the battle we found that even though archers did not have to reload they were not that effective at long-range vs an armored enemy. On the right flank after several turns we had our first challenge and personal combat of the game. The rules for this period allow for leaders to be challenged to personal combat. The leaders may decline combat but may be forced to face a morale roll for doing so depending on who challenged them. The red cavalry commander at +1 challenged a black side cavalry commander who was a -1. Leaders quality level had been diced for and was not known by the other side.
So to forego having a morale roll the challenge was accepted and the two mounted samurai leaders met in single combat rolling two dice. After several rolls the red leader with a +1 was inflicting more wounds. At 5 wounds one from death the black leader broke off and returned to his troops. The red leader going up one level and the black cavalry unit having to take a morale roll for seeing their leader break off the single combat. The unit easily made the morale as they are obvious very loyal and no what to expect from their leader.
This was followed by several red cards drawn that allowed for the follow-up charge of the red cavalry unit on the right side of the table against another cavalry unit of samurai. This led to a series of melee victories by Rick’s red cavalry unit. They kept winning causing more casualties and pushing back the other cavalry unit. Rick followed up fighting the melee until the enemy unit was destroyed as they never failed morale. Their leader the one who had lost the personal challenge did escape alive. Perhaps a further example of his current -2 level, but his troops were loyal to him to the end.
At the end of this combat we discussed the results and felt this matched up with our reading of the period and fighting to the death would be accurate. Meanwhile this had caused the victorious cavalry to become a little overextended out in front of supporting friendly troops. Meanwhile a card turn allowed the black side under Del to take advantage of this and turn an infantry unit of long lance troops into the cavalry flank. This turned into a pivotal move. Charging into the flank after several rounds of melee the red cavalry unit after taking more than 50% casualties routed and were forced off the table.
At this time each side had lost a mounted unit of samurai and continued to maneuver for long-range fire. The fire though still ineffective with archers was starting to cause casualties among the infantry with the matchlocks. Each side had a single infantry unit fall back due to morale rolls but were not totally out of the fight.
So after one night we got to experience the way the cards system worked. We had a personal challenge accepted. We had melee and long-range missile fire. Morale rolls were made and failed. A little bit of everything and the battle is far from over at this time. Next week it will continue and we will who the ultimate will be.
All with these new figures being used for the first time had a real good time. I know for myself it is always nice when you get to try out some figures you have been just working on investing the time and money on and Rick was pleased to try his figures out. The figures have a real wow factor for me as the paint job is first-rate and his brass long lances and spears add to the figures even more.
I was unable to make it to the next week’s get together to see the ultimate finish of this game so I was unable to document the outcome of this battle. As it was largely an introduction to the period and a rule system the outcome was not of great importance.