Daisho points calculator version 2.0

As often happens players noticed a few errors in my original calculator. Indeed Andy Wilson and John Ewing chose not to complain but to present a solution, so there is now a version 2 on the Bonus Materials page. Here are their notes on this new version:

This is the final version (for now anyway) attached based on my draft and John’s testing and input. Herewith are a couple of instructions/notes for Craig’s benefit. (Which may be overly technical, if you glaze over don’t worry)

When filling things in, it will not add the cost to the Buntai unless you have the multiple entered as 1 or higher.
Master quality items are all listed in the main armour and weapons list. (Weapons one is long, but probably acceptable in terms of overall layout).

Common fields have been kept to the left, with Ki Powers, Equipment, Spells and Misc Other kept to the right out of the way.

Misc Other, has been bordered into 2’s. One line for the name and the other for the cost, it makes no difference which is which the formula is only concerned if there is a numeric for the cost.

Ideal printing will rely on adjusting the column widths to suit, currently they are set to display the longest option in each list so with the columns narrowed a bit the height will adjust accordingly on the print and become a bit more legible.

It is set up with 2 profiles of 8 rows, 1 of 6 rows and 6 of 4 rows. It’s done in two’ because of the Misc Other column. We think that’s probably enough for most people however if you need anything added, simply copying the last 4 rows and pasting them in underneath should work perfectly fine for expanding the number of unique profiles available. (You may need to adust the print area before printing though)

Everything should be on a named range dropdown which pulls from the Data tab.

The cost for everything is a simple lookup to the data tab (again all named ranges) and those columns are all on the right hand side which makes it easier to manipulate and delete entries. (Unlike the IHMN one which had these between the columns so formula got deleted if you deleted a section of results.)

The only exception is for Ki Powers, we have added these as dropdowns, which it has to calculate slightly differently but is still all contained in the calculation section on the far right.

Anyway, that should hopefully be all, Craig if there is anything that you want changed let me know I’m happy to help, I do this kind of thing as part of my day job and it’s so much better when it’s for something that I enjoy 🙂

Andy Wilson


Interview with one of the authors on YouTube

Our good friend Billy Salazar interviewed me last night about Daisho, our other games and our future plans. You can watch it here:

A little over a year ago he interviewed me about In Her Majesty’s Name and I must admit I found the process disturbing as I am a fairly private person and unused to all this newfangled technology. But, I wasn’t mobbed in the street by hysterical fans and the sky did not fall in so I thought I’d give it another go.

One thing I shall do if interviewed again is lock my chair upright, there are times in this interview that I look like a bobble-head 🙂

A Walk in the Forest, by John Ewing

Preparations were well in hand for the second outing of the Falkirk Buntai into the fabled land of Nippon tomorrow night. I had three new players to induct into the ways of Daisho plus Andy who is a veteran of 1 game.

I’ve decided to take Craig’s advice and continue with the narrative from our first game. So the scenario will be the Escort and Ambush one from the rules with a reverse version of the Twilight complication. The game will commence a little after dawn with the early morning mist limiting visibility initially, but this will steadily improve by 2″ per turn as the sun comes up.

The Clan Patrol will be escorting their prisoner through an area of dense woodland and approaching a small bridge across a stream when the game starts. This time I will try to take some photos.

Looking forward to the resultant chaos!

In a monastery garden…

The Abbot was annoyed. Some of his monks had fled back from the village claiming they had been set upon by a spirit creature wielding a fiery sword. And 3 of his warrior monks had been bested by a kabuki-mono and a youth from the local Ryu. They would be dealt with later. Fortunately Brother Yoda had preserved the Monastery’s honour and yet avoided an outright conflict with the Daimyo’s men.

Alas, the prisoner he had returned with was of no consequence. A recent member of the gang he knew little of its operations beyond the names of its leaders Minamoto Kiyoko and Minamoto Hyondo, the latter a prisoner of the Clan Patrol. He could consider himself fortunate that the Abbot had allowed him to work out his penance cleaning out the Monastery’s latrines rather than provide bone meal for its gardens.

The Abbot was intrigued, though. What were two scions of the Minamoto Clan doing in Honja? Some believed that the kabuki-mono were nothing other than dissolute samurai seeking their own pleasure, but the Abbot felt there was more behind some of these gangs. He needed to question the other prisoner, he must be brought into the Monastery’s custody, but now was not the time to antagonize the Daimyo.

“In a moment of chaos a prepared man can profit.” reflected the Abbot. And he knew a way to create chaos without the Monastery being suspected. Brother Yoda and his men would discretely follow the Clan Patrol and when chaos ensued they would take possession of the prisoner. Simple really.

He summoned his servant to deliver a message.

Meanwhile in a local dojo…

The Sensei felt troubled, not a feeling he relished. His students had done well to avenge the insult paid by the kabuki-mono against their fellow, but his two Masters had failed to return with the leader of the gang. Moreover, they had been bested in the combat in the village square, an embarrassment to the Ryu little mitigated by the fact that they had been outnumbered.

However, he was troubled more by the description of the gang leader given by Master Toshiro and Toshiro’s insistence that the villain had fought in a style identical to that taught in the Ryu itself. Who could he be and what had brought him and his gang to Honja?

The Sensei had to question one of the prisoners. The one taken by the monks would be out of reach by now. However, the Clan Patrol would have to escort their prisoner through the forest. Here there might be an opportunity to relieve them of their burden.

The Sensei did not want to provoke the anger of the Daimyo by attacking the Patrol directly, but it would come as a no surprise to anyone if other members of the kabuki-mono gang attempted to rescue their fellow. Perhaps in the confusion of such an attack Toshiro and Hiroki might spirit the prisoner away.

The innkeeper still had the distinctive clothes worn by the gang members who were slain, left with him as compensation for their depredations. If some of the Ryu students were to dress in these and similar clothes they might be mistaken for the gang members in the early morning light.

The Sensei chuckled at his cunning. He summoned Toshiro.

The Game

So having set the background how did last night’s game go. Very well in fact with plenty of excitement, a cliff hanging ending and a group of players willing to play again.

Our game was played on a 4’x3′ board with a road run along the long diagonal through the forest and across a bridge over a fast flowing stream. A bridge keeper’s cottage, with the bridge keeper squatting on iss porch, was the only building.

The brief instructions given to the players were as follows:

Ninja briefing

You are Chunin Aoka in charge of a Buntai of the Clan’s best Ninja. The instructions in your contract are clear. You are to ambush the Clan Patrol leaving the village of Honja and relieve them of the prisoner they are escorting. The prisoner must be brought unharmed to the monastery at Honja or if that is not possible left in the custody of the Sōhei Monks.

Ryu Briefing

You are Master Toshiro of the Red Sword Ryu and along with Master Hiroki and 5 students of the Ryu you have been sent by your Sensei to recover the prisoner currently being escorted by the Clan Patrol and return him to the Ryu for questioning.

The Sensei is anxious not to provoke the anger of the Daimyo by overtly attacking the Patrol. So he has ordered four students to dress as members of the Prisoner’s kabuki-mono gang so that it will appear they have attempted a rescue. At an appropriate moment, you can step in to extract the prisoner in the confusion.

However, both you and Hiroki bear a grudge against the Patrol for attacking you in the village square yesterday. You would welcome a chance to exact revenge on them and the leader of the Sōhei Monks.

Clan Patrol Briefing

You are Toyoda Susuke, leader of the Clan Patrol escorting a prisoner back to the Daimyo’s castle. You and your men are well fed and rested having spent the night in the village inn at Honja. Now in the early morning mists you are progressing through the forests with your prisoner whom you must bring safely to the castle.

This forest has a gloomy air and the mists could hide many things you and your men must stay alert.

Sōhei Monks Briefing

You are Brother Yoda and lead a Buntai of Sōhei Monks from the monastery at Honja. The Abbot has ordered you to discretely follow the Clan Patrol as it returns to the Daimyo’s castle. You are not to attack the Patrol but may defend yourself if you are attacked.

The Abbot is confident that an opportunity will arise for you to take the Patrol’s prisoner into the monastery’s protective custody. You must be prepared to act boldly when that moment arises seize the prisoner and return to the monastery with all speed.

The report of the game

The game began with the Clan Patrol and their prisoner placed some 12″ along the road. While the prisoner may appear to be wielding a Katana in the photos, for the purposes of the game his hands were bound and linked by a rope to the Ashigaru guard. As per the rules he would meekly follow whoever held that rope and remained in base contact with him.

The ambushers had been given six counters to deploy within 12″ of the road, each of which could represent up to two figures, so as to maintain the suspense. Visibility stated at 10″ and increased by 2″ each turn.

Initially only the Patrol chose to move along the road, but on turn 3 the Ninja revealed their presence with two men stepping out of the woods to throw shuriken at the patrol. Neither they nor the Patrol achieved any successful hits, a story that was to be repeated throughout the game.

A walk in the forest 1

By this time, the Sōhei Monks had also started to appear to the rear of the Clan Patrol whose Leader decided to run the Prisoner and his guard along the road. Seeing the patrol separate the kabuki-mono disguised students stepped out from the trees to engage the Ashigaru and seize the prisoner.

The Patrol Leader sent forward two samurai to safeguard the prisoner and a general fight ensued.

While battle raged the ninja took cover in the trees and engaged the Patrol’s missile men without success.

A walk in the forest 2 A walk in the forest 3

One Samurai was slain and one knocked down for the loss of a student, but the Ashigaru fought off his attackers as his Leader and Churro rushed to his aid.

A walk in the forest 4

Killing one student, Churro prepared to engage with the Ashigaru’s attacker, but at this point another pair of Ninja appeared and attempted to put a quick end to proceedings by tossing a gunpowder grenade in the direction of the Clan Leader’s horse. Fortunately, it failed to explode.

Meantime the Monks were still engaged in their enigmatic advance giving no indication whose side if any they were on.

A walk in the forest 5

A closer view. What are the monks up to?

A walk in the forest 6

There followed several turns of frenzied action all happening too quick to be caught on camera.

Two of the ninja charged the missile men and cut them down, while two others engaged the Patrol Leader and Churro in combat. Meantime Toshiro, Hiroki and the remaining student stepped into the fray dispatching the samurai who had never got back off the ground in three turns.

Just as the student finally gained the better of the Ashigaru the ninja chief stepped forward to seize the prisoner’s rope and lead him away while his accomplice took on the student and slew him.

The Patrol Leader and his deputy were still engaged in combat with the ninja when the Churro was struck a fatal blow and sank to the ground.

Meantime the monks were moving to occupy blocking positions to prevent anyone making a run with the prisoner.

By this time a rather smelly peasant had moved over the bridge for a closer look before throwing aside his disguise to charge the Ninja Leader while Toshiro sought single combat with the Monk’s Leader.

A walk in the forest 7

Minamoto Kiyoko had spent an unpleasant night hiding in the village dung hill, an old ninja trick to avoid detection by those searching for him. Overhearing the Patrol’s plans he decide to lay in wait near the bridge to see if an opportunity might arise to rescue his cousin the prisoner.

Noticing the ninja chief move away from the fray he saw his chance and pounced but his attack failed. And the ninja was rapidly reinforced by one of his fellows. They remained locked in battle.

Although Toshiro fully intended to seek revenge for his treatment the previous day, the Monks continued their evasive moves, skilfully disengaging before Toshiro could attack and moving to block any retreat paths through the woods.

Frustrated Toshiro remembered his mission and ran to engage the ninja chief before he could escape while the student went to aid Hiroki fighting a fifth Ninja.

A rapid series of turns saw the Patrol Leader take out two ninja, while Minamoto fell to the ninja leader’s blade having dispatched one ninja as another fell to Hiroki’s nodachi.

Seeing the last of his ninja fall the ninja leader made a break for the forest with his prisoner closely pursued by Toshiro. The Patrol leader attacked Hiroki and the student. Meanwhile the monks moved silently into position to surround the ninja, prisoner and Toshiro calling on them to lay down their weapons and submit to the Abbot’s justice.

Their call was ignored as Toshiro attacked the ninja who dodged his blow but could not land his own blow in return. Finally winning the initiative the ninja saw his chance disengaged from the combat and dashed off table deeper into the forest with his prisoner, leaving his pursuers stunned at his audacity. The Abbott would get his prisoner after all.

A walk in the forest 8

As the dust settled the Monks returned to their Monastery as silently as they had come.

The Ryu Masters disengaged and returned to tell their Sensei that the prisoner had escaped once more but this time three of his students disguised as kabuki-mono lay dead in the forest.

Minamoto Kiyoko awoke to find himself bound and chained to the Patrol Leader’s horse. The cold hard gaze of Toyoda rested upon him and he knew fear. The Patrol Leader had lost three men, including his second in command, and was in no mood to be tested. But the Daimyo would get his prisoner.

Sorry for the length of this report but I hope you find them interesting and illustrative of the kind of exciting game you can have playing Daisho!

John Ewing

Using Northstar’s Ronin miniatures in Daishō

Many of you who are reading this doubtless have one or more of the excellent Northstar Miniatures Ronin figure sets. If you don’t then you should, as these have been sculpted by the marvellous Steve Saleh specifically for skirmish gaming and give you a complete force to put on the table for Ronin or for Daishō.

Throughout the Daishō rulebook, you can see many pictures of these fine figures painted and photographed by that esteemed master – Mr Kev Dallimore. He was kind enough to let us use the photos for the book.

When our first game, In Her Majesty’s Name, came out Nick’s crew produced sets of figures to support it. Then Charles and I wrote Company listings based on the figures in the boxed sets so people could start playing IHMN straight from the box.

So for Daishō we have spent some time and produced a comprehensive cross-reference document for those of you who have already acquired, or who are going to acquire, these beautiful miniatures. You can find it in the Bonus Materials section of this blog.

4Ground and Daishō announcement

We are incredibly pleased to announce that all of 4Ground’s superb 28mm Shogunate building range has now been rebranded as Daishō.


This marks the beginning of what we hope shall be a growing and mutually-beneficial relationship between 4Ground and the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare.

4Ground Branding

As you probably know 4Ground make simply the best, pre-coloured, Japanese buildings on the market today. We used them in our launch games at Salute 2015, as you can see below. We understand that soon there shall be new buildings in their Daishō range, so watch this space.


We are also working with them on developing a set of useful, in-game counters for both IHMN and Daishō. These are based on feedback from many players of both games.

A game report and review by John Ewing


We ran our first game of Daisho at the Falkirk Club last night and all the players had a ball. What was initially intended to be a straight 2 player fight between some Kabuki-mono and the students from the local Ryu to test the rules for close combat turned into a 4 player scenario involving the authorities and the complications of civilians and the intervention of a Shinto priest magic user. It’s a credit to the flexibility of the system that some of these late additions were included on the hoof and added to the flavour and narrative without breaking the game.

The set-up

Each Buntai was limited to 225 points with no Magical items or Magic permitted but Ki points and powers were used as these were seen as important to create a different style of game to IHMN which several of the players were familiar with.

The initial scenario envisaged a gang of 6 Kabuki-mono taking up residence in a local village inn. Having announced their presence to the locals by beating up a youth and novice monk and leaving them half dead, they were indulging their taste for sake at the innkeeper’s expense and smoking their opium pipes.

Unbeknownst to them the youth was a new novice at the local Ryu whose Sensei was less than happy when he heard of this outrage. Sending 2 of his Masters and 4 Initiates to the village he wanted revenge and preferably the head of the Gang Leader delivered to him.

The idea was to test out how the combat system worked with unarmoured figures and compare the benefits of using limited Ki powers ( the Ryu) with the Numb talent of the Kabuki-mono.

We expected the Authorities in the shape of a Clan Patrol to become involved at some point which would introduce some lightly armoured figures and a couple of ranged weapons to see how they affected play.

In practice one of the players turned up with a Buntai of Sohei Monks which he had painted especially for the game. So we tweaked the scenario by suggesting that the Abbot also wanted to avenge the slight to the Monastery’s honour but at the same time he claimed jurisdiction over the village so the Monks could be expected oppose the Clan Patrol’s attempt to exert the Daimyo’s authority with force if necessary.

So the scene was set.

The Game

The Ryu player had the initiative and brought his men on down the road which ran along the side and to the rear of the inn. The Kabuki-mono leader failed his Karma test so didn’t notice their arrival – too overconfident and full of sake. Next turn 3 of the Ryu students crossed the fence into the back yard of the inn while the two masters and the fourth student headed towards the front of the inn. Again the Kabuki-mono failed to react. Would they be taken in their cups?

Fortunately for them the Kabuki-mono won the next initiative and this time the gang leader spotted the danger. 4 of the gang members charged out the rear door of the inn to confront the Ryu students while the leader (Minamoto Kiyoko) and his cousin and sidekick Hyondo headed out the front. An outflanking manoeuvre they claimed – an escape bid more like.

The 4th student doubled back into the yard to join his fellows in combat with the gang. Meantime the two Masters (Yoshiro and Hiroki) moved to engage the fleeing gang leader. In the ensuing combat the Ryu player struck first easily hitting his opponent (+5 to hit against armour 7) only to see the blow ignored thanks to the effects of the opium (Numb). The fight swung back and forth with each side scoring hits easily only to see them deflected or turned aside without damage (passed Karma or Numb). One student was knocked down but quickly regained his feet.

This was to be the pattern of the fight over the next few turns with neither side able to gain much of an advantage though the use of their Two Weapon skill did aid the students on a couple of occasions and the judicious use of their Second Chance Ki power did help to. Eventually, the Ryu gained the upper hand taking out 3 gang members for the loss of one of their own. The remaining gang member fell back into the inn where he could more easily defend the doorway against his attackers.
Out front both sides were also equally matched as each figure struck and parried blows. In this case Toshiro’s Whirlwind attack power availed him little as he faced Kiyoko in single combat. Eventually, Hiroki’s nodachi prevailed and Hyondo fell.

At this point the Sohei Monks announced their arrival in a flurry of teppo shots and archery fire.

On turn 6 both the Sohei Monks and a Clan patrol arrived at opposite ends of the table and advanced towards the fracas outside the inn.

The Monks brought more ranged weapons than I had expected and let fly with 2 longbows at the figures in the fight. Neither hit. Next turn they remained stationary and fired again along with 2 Teppos despite having been warned about the risk to the civilians. Both bows hit but we’re brushed aside by the fighters, while the Teppos missed, one so spectacularly that it hit and killed a nearby peasant women.

Such blatant disregard for the locals could not be ignored. In the absence of a suitable kami model, the unprepossessing beggar sitting by the road was transformed into a magic wielding Shinto priest who promptly assumed Spirit form and advanced on the Monks wielding a Sword of Fire. Two turns later the teppo firers were taken out while the bowmen beat a hasty retreat off board since they lacked the means to attack a Spirit Creature with any real chance of success.

Meantime the Senior Monk and his 3 colleagues had reached and engaged with Kiyoko and Toshiro’s, while Hidoki found himself engaged with a naginata wielding samurai and an Ashigaru with yari. Lacking any remaining Ki power Hidoki was taken out while Toshiro’s used his Whirlwind Attack power to good effect killing one Monk but failing to make any impression on the armoured form of the Senior Monk (medium armour). The latter then swung his testubo and knocked out Toshiro who failed his Karma roll twice and went down.

Kiyoko succeeded in dispatching one Monk and parried the other, while the remaining gang member held the inn door against all comers.

Next turn Kiyoko took down the last Monk while the Senior Monk dispatched the Clan samurai who had had the effrontery to attack him. In the inn the gang member breathed his last and slumped to the floor having finally failed to avoid his opponent’s blade.

Realising he was on his own and about to be surrounded by the Clan patrol the Senior Monk hailed the patrol leader to suggest that they should cease fighting now that the miscreants had been subdued and each return to their respective masters with a share of the prisoners. Wishing to avoid the political complications of attacking the Monk directly the Clan Patrol Leader agreed.

Unfortunately while this exchange was going on neither took steps to capture Minamoto Kiyoko who promptly slipped away in the confusion and escaped to fight another day.

So the game ended with 3 dead Kabuki-mono and two others captured by the Ryu students who handed them over to the authorities in exchange for their two dazed Masters who earnestly hoped that the Sensei would overlook their failure to capture Kiyoko. After all who really knew which of the Kabuki-mono was their leader.

The Senior Monk also hoped that his Abbot would be satisfied with his prisoner, but he would need to spend more time disciplining his warrior monks to have greater faith in the justice of their cause. (We forgot their fanatic re-rolls).

Meanwhile the Clan Patrol Leader could return to his daimyo with a prisoner and 3 heads as confirmation that his authority in the village had been successfully upheld.

A good result all round.

Some analysis/comment on our game.

All the players enjoyed the experience and felt that the game flowed well and had plenty of Japanese flavour.

Familiarity with the mechanisms in IHMN helped us pick it up quickly, but this was definitely not IHMN with sushi and sticky rice. It has a charm all of its own thanks to the mix of different skills and the use of Ki Powers which gave the action a unique flavour.

While in IHMN players sometimes complain about the fact that so many hits from firearms are scored without result (saved by the Pluck roll) here the combat felt like the thrust and parry of a sword fight. Hits on unarmoured warriors are very easy for a skilled swordsman to achieve, but converting them into real damage is difficult if your opponent has a good Karma score. While it can come down in the end to luck with Karma rolls, it felt more like one side had a brief lapse of concentration and suffered for it.

Having skills like Two Weapons can definitely help you survive, but having a Second Chance Ki Power is a lifesaver.

The Ki Powers are interesting and appear to be finely balanced. I thought Toshiro’s Whirlwind attack would be decisive but he only got to use it once against the Monks. In single combat with Kiyoko he couldn’t use it and would have been better off with Second Strike. Choose wisely grasshoppers.

Armour is undoubtedly useful and the better armoured figures will survive longer. I think if you want an interesting game you should follow the advice in the book and generally stick to light armour. Medium armour should be confined to key Leaders/characters and Heavy armour should really be very rare and only used in specific scenarios like ambushing a Daimyo or very important Samurai.

The “Numb” skill seems expensive at 10 points for a one use skill. OK it’s an automatic Karma roll pass, but the Second Chance Ki power only costs 2 points and can potentially be regained if you take out an opponent.

All told I am sure that Daisho will prove to be a great game and give us hours of fun. Already folk in the Club are looking out old Samurai figures which have been gathering dust and planning Buntai. I can already feel a campaign coming on.

Just need to acquire an animated cooking pot.

John Ewing and the Falkirk Buntai