The Samurai Battles hit the table third weekend in a row – of course, alongside with other titles. That should tell you enough how much I appreciate that newest installment to C&C series. Today I will focus on another multi-scenario, mini-campaign session reports (after Arita Castle 1517 AD & Okehazama 1560 AD) – Koriyama Castle 1540 AD. But pretty soon you can count on my First Impression article. I am pondering also an essay comparing this game to its closest C&C titles: Ancients and Medieval. A lot of plans which I hope to realize soon!

Samurai Battles Session reports:
Arita Castle 1517 AD - 2 scenarios
Okehazama 1560 AD - 2 scenarios

The Game

Again, should you not met yet this title let me provide some more information about it. Above I am placing the components presentation, below couple of words of description for this position.

The Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles game allow players to portray important engagements of Japanese history mainly regarding the XVI century. The battles, included in the thick scenario booklet, focus on the historical deployment of forces and important terrain features in level with the game system. The scale of the game is flexible and varies from battle to battle. For some scenarios, an infantry unit may represent an entire clan of soldiers, while in other scenarios a unit may represent just a few brave warriors.

The game follows the well-proven mechanics of Commands (cards driving the moves and creating Fog of War) and Colors (the units designation, having huge impact on battle results). The dices allows us to quickly resolve all battles and the components in the box allow for creation of countless scenarios. In essence, Richard Borg at his best!

And now let us move to reports!

1. Koriyama Castle 1540 AD (Enokawu River)

Historical Background

Early in 1540, Akihisa, leader of the Amako, proposed a full-scale invasion against the Mori. Before attacking the capital city of Mori, as an advance force, he sent the troops of Amako Kunihisa, of the Shinguto clan, via the Bingo pass, to take the castle of Mori loyalists, the Shishido. Kunihisa moved quickly into Yoshida, but when his troops reached the River Enokawu, it was so bravely defended by the Shishido, that he was forced to give up and he returned to Izumo.

Session Report

I have planned my second meeting with Lukasz and session with Samurai Battles as a another group of the the linked, chronological and logically connected scenarios. The decisions has fallen on Koriyama Castle – which seemed a pretty straightforward set of battles. I was to play the more difficult side of invaders (blue blocks, Amako mainly) while Lukasz will be of charge for defenders (red block, Mori mainly)

We started from Enokawu River – my attacking forces will be trying to cross the stream and score VP for each unit which survives there till start of the its turn. Lukasz will lead a desperate defense.

Initial forces distribution in the first scenario (click to enlarge)
I quickly pushed on left, to the closer ford. That was poorly-guarded and Lukasz quickly grasped what is going on, counter-attacking with his Samurais.
When I managed to push past the stream on left and place Samurai Spearmen on the right, Lukasz had only one choice – to play Shougun – a Samurai Battles “I am Spartacus / Cry Havoc” type of card. That did not help unfortunately.
I was not stopping. Leadership card is fantastic, allows your leader and 4 linked units to move. But not when you got the White Fox Spirit played in response, being limited to 1 unit!
I managed to push beyond the stream and had just to withstand the last, desperate attack from Lukasz. And I managed!
The final situation on the battleground with Shinguto (surprisingly!) decisively triumphant. The left wing decided everything (click to enlarge)

That was supposed to be a valiant and successful defense but ended in calamity for Lukasz. I had good cards, good rolls and nothing could stop the invaders.

2. Koriyama Castle 1540 AD (September)

Historical Background

In early September, Motonari sent a small group of Ashigaru across the Tajii to provoke the Amako into attacking. When the Amako troops came out to drive them back, the Ashigaru fled back across the river to the safety of the castle. The Mori force that was waiting in Ambush, then took the Amako soldiers by surprise in their flank. The Amako were immediately routed and fled back to their camp.

Session Report

The second part of Koriyama Castle is a story of a trap set-up by Mori against Amako. The special rules of Ashigaru Spearmen retreating behind Tajii river was a possible source of easy points for Lukasz. I was planning to not to allows for this to happen….

Initial forces distribution in the second scenario (click to enlarge)
Yes, my initial target were 3 retreating Ashigaru Spearmen units. I got to maul them nicely, but in the end they escaped and 3 banners were lost…
So I switched to center, where timely played “Hold and Shoot” (aka as “Darken the Sky” in Ancients) devastated the Mori center.
Just when I was gaining the upper hand, planning the destruction of enemy Samurai Bowmen, dice betrayed me. 11 dices were not enough to kill the weakened enemy and in response he charged and got last banner…
The final situation on the battleground with Mori decisively triumphant (click to enlarge)

A historical result and tons of occasions to score VPs which I did not managed to exploit. Well, you do not always win, don’t you?

3. Koriyama Castle 1540 AD (October)

Historical Background

In October, although rebuffed on a number of occasions, Akihisa renewed the offensive, burning the remaining buildings outside the castle. Mori Motonari still believed he could prevail and decided to risk a general engagement, but before he marched out he sent a small force to each side of the valley to set-up an ambush. The Amako army under the command of Misawa Tameyuki, advanced straight at the Motonari. When the two armies met, the ambush force was given the signal and emerged from the hiding. The Amako army broke in panic.

Session Report

Another clever plan and another ambush from Mori against Amako forces. My advancing units were almost surrounded by enemy! Let us see how it went.

Initial forces distribution in the third scenario (click to enlarge)
Lukasz had great card for the scenario start – Infantry Onslaught – which allowed him to attack my lonely leader. He did not score a hit and my counter-attack – for now in range – decimated Heavy Spearmen of Mori.
Then the inevitable come – my heavy forces attacked and completely destroyed the left-wing ambush soldiers, reducing them to one unit.
“Not all is lost!” cried the Mori leader and charged headlong into the un-expecting Ashigaru spearmen. First unit perished but secodn infliced significant loses on enemy.
Time to finish the ambush! With all my forces concentrated and Serpent Command allowing them to move in form of a Line, I attacked at the whole length of the front. Result? 3 banners won and the scenario.
The final situation on the battleground with Amako winning the ambush battle (click to enlarge)

Lukasz had good plan, good cards for it and some tragic rolls. Once my main body of troops arrived I was able to tip the balance of the game decisively into my favor.

4. Koriyama Castle 1541 AD (January)

Historical Background

In late December, Sue Harukata arrived with the Ouchi relief force. Motonari decided to strike again and ordered Harukata to guard his rear with the Ouchi, while he moved to attack the Amako allied camp at Miyazaki Nagao. But Harukata had no intention of waiting to do battle and seeing that Akihisa’s main camp was inadequately defended, also attacked. Amago Hisayuki led a bold charge to check the Ouchi, but it did not slow their advance and the Akihisa’s camp was overrun. Losing both camps in the days fighting, Akihisa took council and after months of fighting choose to lift the siege.

Session Report

That was a huge battle, with great forces on both sides. It was really hard to say who will prevail at the first glance.

Initial forces distribution in the fourth scenario (click to enlarge)
I was starting with very limited hand. White Dragon allowed me to quickly cover the Command Gap and Order One Unit – to get additional Dragon cards.
My whole preparation went south when one of my best units – Samurai Cavalry Bowmen – were smashed with very accurate range fire, which on top of this killed leader. That was definitely a decisive moment of the battle.
I tried to take the initiative – using some of the most interesting Dragon Cards – Desperate Charge. The result was… mediocre.
The attack on my tent was inevitable development. With Serpent Command Mori forces had opportunity to strike in multiple directions.
Last, desperate charge of my units – but with very interesting card (see above). Effect? Tent occupied by enemy, my cavalry and leader (second!) killed. Only one more point gained. A bitter end.
The final situation on the battleground with Ouchi decisively triumphant (click to enlarge)

A bloody and chaotic affair ended in decisive Lukasz victory. My command tent was captured, main cavalry leader slain and most of the forces routed.


That was evening of decisive victories and crushing defeats. Sometimes pretty historical, sometimes completely surprising resolutions. I will not deny – that was fun, the battles were bloody and Dragon Cards were adding the so much needed variation and were spicing up the game.

The final score was a draw: Michal (Amako) 13 Lukasz (Mori) 13, which seems pretty fair. Both sides had its moment of glory, both bloodied opponent – and themselves – significantly. That of course also means that invasion failed and Mori managed to repeal the attack.

More reports will come – stay tuned!