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Ronin is a set of skirmish rules for medieval era Japan, set in the time of the Samurai and civil wars. The basic rules are fairly simple, but use some very interesting mechanisms for shooting and combat. Each side gets a number of white and black stones that are used for attacks, defense, and enhancements, which adds a great deal to the strategy of each individual combat. Each player has a unit that can consist of 5-10 figures with varying skills, weapons, and points values. There are a large number of skills that definitely add a unique flavor to the game and the various choices for weapons, armor, and combat characteristics gives players the opprtunity to craft their unit in a variety of ways. The rules come with some sample army lists, scenarios, and a basic campaign. The rules provide for a fast flowing game that can be completed by 4-6 players with 20-40 figures in a few hours.

Ronin Three Sided Battle


Skirmishing in the Samurai Era

With only four of us and a few hours as we had to play at GAJO (thanks to them for hosting again), we decided to try a skirmish game. Rob had wanted to use his recently painted ninja, so he set up an elaborate scenario that was basically a three sided fight. A samurai lord with his bodyguard was in a village with the goal to move off of one end of the board and to safety. There was also a group of ninja that were intent on killing him, plus two groups of warriors coming from opposite ends with the goal of seizing the samurai lord. After a brief review of the Ronin rules, a careful check of the rosters, and set up, we were ready to start.
Each side's plans basically fell apart upon entry onto the board! The ninja got spread out and engaged by the samurai lord's bodyguard, which fortunately distracted them long enough for the other two groups to get onto the board virtually unmolested. However, this then set up a string of fights where each side just started shooting or charging at anything that moved! The one thing that everyone did find out was that the ninja were slippery opponents and getting them trapped was not the easiest thing to do. By the fifth turn of a ten turn game at least half of the ninja were dead and the lord was not where anyone expected him to be! This left one group with the task of trying to capture him before he got off the board while his bodyguard ran interference. Unfortunately this night, most of the archers were pretty worthless and the three chances to wound or slow him down all failed. In the end the lord escaped with a fairly high body count left behind.
A very fun game that went pretty smoothly. There were certainly chances given to all sides, but the samurai lord won fairly easily as no one could coordinate their actions and focused on killing pretty much everything but the guy that they were after! Next time we're thinking of trying a mounted action and see how that fits in with the rules or trying a general attack or raid.

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