Weekend Gaming: Shogun

One of the greatest things about where I live, is the friends I’ve made here.  The thing that really brought us together was our mutual affection for board games.  Honestly, before I moved here, I considered Monopoly, Risk, and Scrabble to be the height of board games.  Now, though, I realize that there is a whole world of games that I never would have found had I not met these people.

Every weekend we try and get together and play games.  We typically play after the kids go to bed, and we’ll be up until the wee hours of the morning.  The Weekend Gaming series will recap the games I played over the course of the weekend, and may include short reviews of the games.


This weekend, the guys managed to get together on Saturday while some of the wives were out at a wine tasting event.  This allowed us to get in a longer game that was new to all of us.  The game was Shogun, and there were five of us total.  The game is a bit like Risk, but as you can probably guess from the title, it takes place in Feudal Japan with each player trying to gain the title of Shogun.  The game takes place over 6 rounds (seasons) with a scoring round after the third and sixth rounds.  There are ten actions that can be taken each round, and each province a player controls can use one of the actions. The actions are things like building buildings, reinforcing provinces, attacking, and collecting taxes or rice.  Taxes are needed to pay for the armies and buildings, while rice is needed to feed your people.  Points are scored for provinces controlled, buildings in those provinces, and having a majority of each type of building in the various regions.

Battles in the game are definitely a unique feature.  Each player’s army is made up of colored cubes.  When you fight, you drop all of the attacking cubes and defending cubes into the “battle tower”.  This tower is setup so that not all of the cubes that get put in will come out.  So whoever has the most cubes come out of the tower is the victor.  Any cubes that get stuck in the tower are left there, and can aide (or hinder) you in later battles.  There are also neutral “farmers” that will fight for the defender, provided there isn’t a rebellion occurring in the province.  These farmers will also be fought against when collecting taxes or rice, or when attacking an empty province.

The game is a lot of fun, and definitely akin to Risk.  There are a lot more things that can be done on a turn, though, and victory can be obtained through buildings and defense rather than a purely offensive strategy.  The battles are also a little less random than in Risk, though they still can be quite brutal.  And with the way the actions work, it is not possible for one person to take an army and sweep across the map in a single turn.

There are a lot of things to keep track of, and it can be a bit overwhelming.  We definitely were doing things a bit randomly in the earlier rounds before we figured out the way some actions interacted with each other.  It was obviously a big hit with everyone, though, as one of the guys called around to get a game together on Sunday night, which rarely happens.


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