With the great pleasure I played another two scenarios in Samurai Battles – it hit the table already for the fourth time in last month so you can see what a great impression it did on me! With Lukasz we focus first on multi set-up engagements, which span across couple of chronologically connected battles. So far we have covered Arita Castle 1517 AD, Okehazama 1560 AD and Koriyama Castle 1540 AD. This time the choice was Azukizaka combats – one in 1542 and the second in 1548.

Samurai Battles Session reports:
Arita Castle 1517 AD - 2 scenarios
Okehazama 1560 AD - 2 scenarios
Koriyama Castle 1540 AD - 4 scenarios 

The Game

Let me first provide some more information about the game for those who have not heard about it. Above I am also placing a demo how the game flow looks like.

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. First battle of Azukizaka 1542 AD

Historical Background

The Oda and Imagawa were great rivals, but fighting between these two families was rare, for the two were separated by the dominions of the Matsudaira family. In 1542, however, Oda Nobuhide and Imagawa Yashimoto, seeking to extend their influence and reacting to moves by the other, both advanced into Mikawa. The armies met at Azukizaka, near the Matsudaira capital of Okazaki. The Imagawa army’s vanguard was led by a brave warrior, Yuhur, but was quickly overpowered by Oda Nobuhide and his three brothers.

Session Report

So that another meeting with Lukasz and session with Samurai Battles was planned as a group of the the linked, chronological and logically connected scenarios. As mentioned, we have chosen Azukizaka battle. What is very interesting and special about that mini-campaign is that it uses exactly the same terrain features and units in both battles – it is the units disposition & cards number which make a difference. Pretty interesting approach and a complete novelty to me. I was to play the more difficult side (blue blocks, Oda) while Lukasz will be of charge for slightly stronger army (red block, Imagawa)

We started from 1542 engagement – a very balanced set-up, with both sides having similar forces and Command Tents.

Initial forces distribution in the first scenario (click to enlarge)
I quickly pushed on the left, to attack the weaker and lighter wing of Lukasz. He tried to concentrate on my cavalry, but it back-fired miserably – losses of both sides above.
My impetuous Samurai Cavalry moved forward to finish enemy… but was counter attacked, and lucky roll (two dices, two red results) killed it!
But I was relentless on my left wing and managed to surprise Lukasz with some very timely played Dragon Card. 3 hex move for cavalry is great and that turn gave me 2 victory banners.
You may ask what Lukasz was doing? He pushed on my right flank, concentrating pretty formidable force but being beaten back in first attempt. Then he come back…
…and what ensued was a total annihilation of Imagawa forces, including the cavalry Leader. But before this, a 4 dices roll against my full strength Samurai Spearmen wiped my unit totally… Lukasz had great rolls this evening.
The final situation on the battleground with Ida (historically!) triumphant. The wings decided everything (click to enlarge)

It was definitely more decisive result than I expected based on the forces disposition and set-up. Still, completely in line with historical resolution!

2. Second battle of Azukizaka 1548 AD

Historical Background

In 1548 Oda Nobuhide led an army into Mikawa, his objective being the Matsudaira’s capital city of Okazaki. Matsudaira’s young lord, Hirotada, turned to Imagawa for assistance and agreed to provide his only son as a hostage in return for help, but the child was abducted by the Oda in route. Imagawa Yashimoto still fulfilled the bargain and called on his uncle, monk-general Taigen Sessai, to march out to meet Nobuhide. Sessai set-up an ambush of sorts and although the fighting was desperate, Nobuhide was defeated and thus avenged the earlier loss at the same site some six years previously.

Session Report

Six years passed and the time has come for re-match. Same terrain, same units, completely different, more confrontational set-up. What will happen this time?

Initial forces distribution in the second scenario (click to enlarge)
Dragon Cards can be really powerful – Lukasz just increased his hand by 1 card.
We were pretty close one to another. I concentrated my forces and moves with Serpent Command, attacking in multiple hexes. A calamity struck me when my Foot Leader was killed in first clash of the game…
Lukasz was pretty badly mauled by my attacks – having two 1-block units retreating so I decided to push forward. Unfortunately, the dice was not with my that evening.
My weakened attacking forces were to undergo harsh test – Shogun gave to Lukasz perfect activation of all front-line troops. They will attack with 1+ dice.
What a disaster and carnage! 16 blocks killed in one turn, including Lukasz cavalry leader. But that broke my forces completely and finished game.
The final situation on the battleground with Imagawa decisively triumphant (click to enlarge)

Again, a historical result and tons of occasions to score VPs which I did not managed to exploit (those 1-block units escaping). Plus one of the best Shogun plays I have seen so far.


Interestingly, that was another evening of decisive victories and crushing defeats. They all went in historical order but I have a feeling that once you start to lose, a snowball effect starts. The final score was Lukasz victory:

  • Michal (Oda) 6 Lukasz (Imagawa) 8

More reports approaching – stay tuned!