Ronin

1096-1499 (Crusades, Hundred Years' Road, War of the Roses, etc.)

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Ronin

Postby Frank » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:22 pm

I have been playing this game for a couple of years now and I am loving it as much as when I started. A skirmish game set in medieval Japan it features an unusual combat system that really makes you think rather than just seeing who can roll the best dice like some games.

An average game is with a 200 point warband which gives you between 6 and 12 miniatures

http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=152&page=1

I did have 2 warbands, a Sohei Monk band as pictured, and a Bushi band with a similar make up to the one shown but I have now added 3 more Samurai so that I can field a small but very hard band consisting of a senior Samurai with naginata, a mid level Samurai with spear, a standard Samurai with naginata and 3 with Katana`s, 1 of whch also has a bow. He is to give me some long range offense, also in case anybody fields a Ninja as they are just annoying, decent fighters but also nearly impossible to get into combat with unless they choose to.

You can give any character level mini a varying amount of "Attributes" which can really customise them, for example my senior monk carries a big club which, fairly obviously, would be harder to use than a spear so I have given him the "fast" attribute to bring him back closer to the other guys abilities. I have also given all of my character level minis the "weapons jitsu" attribute which is invaluable, giving them the ability to reroll 1 dice in each round of combat.

The game is in phases, the first is the "morale" phase where you check that your band is still up for the fight, also you dice to see who has priority.

The second phase is "movement", standard move is 6" but you can run 9. Bow armed minis can also shoot in this phase with a -1 penalty. Unusually you can only walk, not run or charge, into combat. The player who got priority moves 1 mini and then both players alternate.

Third phase is "combat".

The next phase is "actions" when you can fire a musket or bow, though if you have already shot a bow in the move phase then you have a -1 to this shot as well. If you have picked up a "stun" in combat you can roll to see if you recover . You can also reload a musket if you fired in the previous action phase. You can also, if you have killed anyone with any status "take their head" to present to your Daimyo after the game. Top mini designers, the Perry twins, even do a blister of Samurai presenting heads to their Daimyo.

Combat is where the thinking comes in as each mini has a "combat pool" which depends on their ability, a lowly monk has a pool of 2, a senior monk will have 4. You choose from "attack" or "defence" tokens up to the amount in your pool, but this is kept secret and a bit of a risk as everybody involved in the combat rolls for priority so if you went for all attack tokens and ended up going last you could be in trouble. You need to use an attack token to attack anybody with 1 dice but defending with 1 dice is free. The attacker can, if he has another token choose to "enhance" his attack, rolling 3 dice and discarding the worst one, the defender can also use a defence token to enhance his roll with an extra die. The attacker adds his "fight" to his roll and the defender adds his armour to his. If the attacker wins then depending on how he wins by the defender can be either "stunned" or take a light or grevious wound, or die. Stuns can be recovered from but wounds are permanent, reducing the victims stats. The defender, or the next highest priority in a group comat, then attacks if he can, though if he ha been wounded then his initiative could have gone down putting him further down the chain, or possibly making him lose some of his combat pool.

If you take too many casualties in 1 turn then you will need to start taking morale checks at the start of the next turn.
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
Gandalf the Grey

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Re: Ronin

Postby Whiterook » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:30 pm

Oh man, I am so glad you brought up this game....you'd shared its existence with me some time ago and I'd meant to look into it more. The write up above helped tremendously, with my understanding the breath and scope of the system. It sounds fascinating.

It's most definitely an era I've never gamed, outside of perhaps Shogun as the closest example. It was with Shogun that I started to be educated with the finesse that type of battle can be within brutal combat, if that makes sense. It's also a mysterious, and almost exotic style of war to me.

I definitely have this on my list to learn!
If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning

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Re: Ronin

Postby Frank » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:33 pm

Choosing what minis you want for you warband can be quite simple, the box sets all contain just under 200 points with enough left over to pick some of the Attributes that I said about earlier. That said it is not as complicated as it looks in the book to pick a band with your own choice of minis. I will run through what is considered to be the default band, the Samurai.

There are 5 levels of warriors:
1/ Ashigaru. basically men at arms with various weapon options.
2/ Ashigaru Gashira, basically NCO`s
3/ Samurai
4/ Hatamoto, higher ranking Samurai.
5/ Bushou, a Samurai general.

You have to include at least 2 level 1 or 2 men for each level 3 or above, the box has 3 Samurai (level3) to 6 Ashigaru (level1) to represent this.

You can include up to 50%, rounding down, of missile troops, which for 9 men works out at 4. You can have no more than 50% of your missile troops armed with muskets, so that works out at 2 bows and 2 muskets.

You have to include at least 1 rank 3 to be able to take a rank 4 or above, and you can never have more than 1 rank 5 mini.

This is slightly different if you choose to take an all Samurai band like the one I have been experimenting with where everyone is rank 3 or above, so I have gone with:

Bushou, rank 5, with a naginata to give him a +1 to his fight and initiative.
Hatamoto, rank 4, with a spear to give him +2 to his initiative.
Samurai, rank 3 with naginata to give him +1 to his fight and initiative.
2 Samurai, rank 3, with katana.
Samurai, rank 3, with katana and bow to give the band some limited fire power.

I could have included 2 more bows, or a bow and musket, and been in the 50% allowance but despite the fact that Samurai commonly fought with missile weapons it just seemed to fit in with the whole "honourable combat" idea to go with mainly hand to hand weapons.

The choice of missile weapons is something I am still wrestling with, muskets are quite inaccurate and can only shoot every other turn, needing reloading, and just when I decide that that is it, I will buy a couple more bow armed men and forget the muskets they get a miraculous shot and take the enemy generals head off with 1 shot. :roll:
"Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check.But that is not what I have found, it is the small everyday acts of normal folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
Gandalf the Grey


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