In a Monastery Garden – a new battle report by John Ewing

A Bring Him Back Alive scenario for Daisho.

An audience room in the Daimyo’s castle

The Daiymo listened attentively to Toyoda’s report, thanked him and dismissed him to return to his men. He turned to survey again the bound prisoner kneeling before him. Wrinkling his nose a little at the smell, he spoke to the prisoner –

“Well Minamoto Kiyoko, hardly the most auspicious start to your mission. Half your men dead, your deputy captured by ninja and you brought before me in chains smelling of a cesspool. Tell why I should not have your head removed from your shoulders?”

The prisoner bowed his head even lower and said nothing.

“Your mission was to sow dissent between the Ryu and the Monastery so that those two cunning foxes the Sensei and the Abbot would not combine against my plans. You were also charged with finding out if either supported those rebels hiding in the hills. You have done neither.”

“Still I am feeling generous, for your mother’s sake I will give you one more chance to prove your worth.”

“The strange actions of the Monks during the attack on my Patrol leads me to believe they may have been working with the Ninja. I am certain that we will find your cousin in a cell in the Monastery at Honja. This whole affair reeks of the Abbot’s duplicity.”

“Toyoda has no love for the Monks. I think I will give him his head to call upon the Monastery to recover the prisoner he lost. That prisoner must be rescued or silenced, I care not which.”

“Now go, bathe and we will speak later of the part you can play.”

Minamoto rose and walk backwards out of the room bowing profusely and thanking the Gods and his mother that he had been spared the Daimyo’s wrath at least this time.”

Scene: The Monastery at Honja
Time: Early afternoon

The Monastery is peaceful. the Abbot is away on business and only a few monks are on guard around the grounds. The peasants are working in the fields at the rear of the Monastery as the Clan Patrol arrives at the front gate.

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Clan Patrol Briefing:
You are one of the Leaders of the Clan Patrols which watch over the border areas of the province upholding the Daimyo’s authority and seeking out those who would disturb the peace, especially those damned Ikko-ikki rebels who have begun to infest the hills around Honja. You are keen to return to your duties.

Before you can do so you are approached by a Hatamoto, a senior advisor to the Daimyo, he wishes to speak with you. From him you learn that the Daimyo has reason to believe that the Ninja who attacked the Patrol in the forest were working for the Abbot at Honja. The prisoner they captured is even now being held under guard within the Monastery grounds.

It would do much to restore the honour of the Patrol if that prisoner could be recovered and returned to the Daimyo dead or alive, by force if necessary.

You have no love for the Monks at Honja. They not only attacked your patrol in the village but stood by and watched as your men fought the Ninja in the forest. You would welcome an opportunity to seek your revenge.

Your Buntai is 250 points worth of experienced Samurai and Ashigaru.

Returning with the prisoner alive is worth 40 honour points (On), dead he is worth 10.
Capturing a live Ikko-Ikki prisoner for further questioning is worth 20 On.

Kabuki-mono Briefing:
You are Minamoto Kiyoko the leader of a group of dissolute psychopathic samurai who specialise in spreading havoc and living off frightened peasants and villagers and indulge your taste for sake and opium.

This also provides cover for you to carry out other more clandestine and lucrative missions for select clients, in this case your uncle the Daimyo with whom you are out of favour at present. It is essential that you regain his respect by completing this mission.

Your deputy and cousin Hyondo is being held prisoner under guard in the Monastery at Honja. He must be rescued or silenced. Returned alive he is worth 40 honour points (On), dead only 10.

You are aware that a Clan Patrol has been dispatched to the Monstery to demand the prisoner’s return. It would be quite a coup if you could slip in and rescue the prisoner while the monks are distracted by the Patrol. You and your men are currently hiding in the orchard to the north of the Monastery awaiting the best moment to strike.

You have a Buntai of Kabuki-mono worth 200 points.

Sohei Monk Briefing:
You are Brother Yoda a Senior Monk in the Monastery at Honja. The Abbot has been called away urgently on business and you have been left in charge to guard the prisoner captured by the ninja in the forest. He is bound and gagged and locked in one of the storehouses under guard. it is imperative that he remains in custody.

To complicate matters, the Leader of a group of armed peasant rebels has recently arrived with some of his men for a previously arranged meeting with the Abbot. They are being kept out of sight in the Abbot’s house since it would not do for the Daimyo’s men to learn of such contacts between the Monastery and the rebels.

The Monastery’s own loyal peasants are at work in the fields. They can be called upon to aid the defence of the Monastery if required but are not very effective fighters.

Let us pray it remains a quiet day.

Holding the prisoner alive at the end of the day is worth 40 honour points (On).

You have a Buntai worth 250 points of Sohei Monks plus some 25 points of loyal villagers working in the fields.

Ikko-Ikki Briefing:
You are the Leader of a small group of peasant rebels gathering in the hills above Honja, men who are tired of the abuse and cruelty of the ruling samurai, men who are willing to give their lives to overthrow the samurai rule. But there are few of you and you need weapons and armour.

You have arranged to meet with the Abbot at Honja. He is sympathetic to the suffering of the peasants and may be able to help arm and supply your men. He has also acquired a prisoner who may have intelligence about the Daimyo’s plans to counter the rebellion. It is imperative that you get the chance to question the prisoner for yourself.

At the moment, you are waiting for the Abbot’s return out of sight in the Abbot’s house. You are keeping watch for trouble and have just noticed men moving through the orchard when the Clan Patrol arrives at the Monastery gate. Something is about to happen but what?

You will gain 40 honour points (On) and the Abbot’s aid if the prisoner is still in the Monastery’s custody at the end of the day.

You have a Buntai worth 175 points of Ikko-Ikki mainly armed peasants as no Ashigaru has yet joined your cause.

The Battle Report.

As per their orders, the Clan patrol leader turned up at the Monastery gates to demand entrance and the return of their prisoner. However, he also took the precaution of sending two of his men each to the left and right to climb over the fence at quieter spots.

Meanwhile, the somewhat nervous Sohei Monk barred the gate and hoped his colleagues would reach him in time.

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Fortunately affronted by the attack on sacred premises the Archer and Teppo Monks could not miss taking two Ashigaru out of action and knocking down a third. An unusually bloody outcome. The outbreak of Teppo fire also brought the loyal villagers from their fields to come to the monks aid.

With the Monks attention firmly focussed on the main gate, and not a little worried that the Clan Patrol might not last much longer, the kabuki-mono player decided this was a good time to leave the orchard. 3 men headed for one of the storehouses whose guard had been drawn forward to counter the Clan Patrol men climbing over the fence in the bottom left corner.

While two of the Monk archers turned their attention to countering the infiltration by some Ashigaru on the right, Brother Yoda strode forward to counter the attack on the gate, a fight that was to last most of the game.

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The remaining two Kabuki-mono thought it sensible to check out the Abbot’s House slipping through the back door to face a room full of Ikko-Ikki with swords drawn and yari firmly pointed in their direction. There then followed a desperate struggle to gain the upper hand.

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In the meantime, the peasants hurrying towards the kabuki-mono near the stores were joined by some Ikko-Ikki slipping out of the Abbot’s House while the Clan patrol were fully engaged.

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Two monks dealing with the Clan intruders infiltrating on the left, before one moves to engage the kabuki-mono trying to unlock the store room to access the prisoner.

Several rounds of combat later the two Kabuki-mono in the house were defeated while the others were engaged by a mix of peasants and Ikko-Ikki and a Monk. The fight at the gate continued with neither side gaining ground.

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Reinforced by the rebel leaders and by one of the monks who had despatched the man attempting to free the prisoner, the kabuki-mono found themselves surrounded but unable to take out their opponents (some remarkable karma rolls by the peasants) they finally succumbed to weight of numbers.

With the Clan Patrol Leader finally running out of Ki points and falling to the Monk’s Naginata we drew the game to an end.

What remained of the Clan Patrol withdrew taking their wounded colleagues with them. Unfortunately, their Leader succumbed to his wound and died so did not have to face the shame of their defeat.

Three kabuki-mono also lay dead while Minamoto joined his cousin as a prisoner of the Abbot.

The intervention by the Ikko-Ikki had been decisive and they shared in the victory gaining the support of the Abbot for their pains.

Epilogue

“When Minamoto came to he saw his cousin Hyondo looking down on him. For a brief moment he thought he might have succeeded in his mission to free him. However, the bindings on his feet and hands told a different story. He too was a prisoner of the Abbot.

Still he smiled inwardly to himself, he could claim to have completed his mission. He was reunited with his cousin and he had firm evidence of a link between the Monastery and the rebels. Those armed peasants and the cursed Ronin who had bested him could only be Ikko-Ikki. His uncle would give much for a description of them.

However, it was unlikely that the Abbot would let him live long enough to tell the Daimyo. In the Way of Bushido the price of failure was always the same.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A closer view. What are the monks up to?

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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.

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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.

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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

A game report and review by John Ewing

Introduction

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