Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Ronin: Samurai Skirmish Rules Battle Report

We played the Osprey rules Ronin this week and last week. Both games were entertaining, and honours were even after two games.

The first game was a simple encounter scenario using small (100 point) forces. Steve had made a terrain board and some terrain for it, and we played in 15mm, halving all the measurements.
I sent Orange Power Samurai alone up the left bank of the river (big mistake). All my ashigaru advanced up the right bank, with Teppo Ashigaru holding back to take time to fire. Steve's force was split evenly between both banks of the river and initially things went well for me. Orange Power Samurai waded into combat with two of the monks and slaughtered both in one turn. Sadly, that was the end of the carnage that I wrought.
The Monkish boss and one of his retainers ganged up on Orange Power Samurai and cut him down to size. An ashigaru with yari tried to get there in time to help him, but was not quick enough. On the other bank, my ashigaru had killed one monk, but the other proved to be considerably tougher and took out all three of the ashigaru there. Yikes! One level 2 monk versus 3 level 1 ashigaru should not end like that, but at least it fits the heroic theme of the game.

Victory to Steve and a lesson learnt by me. One thing we thought we had learned from this game was that missile fire was not very effective. It was also interesting to see how few shots an chap with a teppo/arquebus could get off in a game.

Game 2 was on the same board. We played the capture scenario where an objective must be held or captured and carried off the board. This time we played with mid-sized forces of 150 points each. I used the extra points to buy a top grade Blue Power Samurai with a variety of awesome abilities like acrobatics and fast. Better quality figures in Ronin can have skills. While it seems like a no-brainer to give all samurai kenjutsu or some other weapon skill, the range of skills means that there might be good reasons for going with other skills instead.

The objective was in the temple. This time I grouped all of my troops in one corner of the board and advanced them together. Steve split his force between both banks of the river. He advanced one part up under cover of the buildings while his missile troops tried to flank me from the other side of the river. Both of my ashigaru with teppo hung back after the first turn and managed to do a fair bit of damage with just a couple of shots, wounding and killing the leading monks.
My black cat Victor likes to watch our games, and often parks himself next to the board. Surprisingly, he is very well behaved and does not chase the dice or eat the figures, unlike the kittens, who try to eat everything.

As the game progressed, Steve got a monk to the objective well before me, but my teppo fire had weakened his assault, so that when Blue and Orange Power Samurai reached the enemy, they were sufficiently weakened to be easy meat. Each samurai worked with an ashigaru partner to outnumber and cut down the enemy. This tactic worked really well, especially combined with effective fire.
In the end, Steve's monks were sent fleeing and my only casualty was one of the ashigaru with teppo, who succumbed to a good bow shot from Steve's monks.

All in all, yet another good game that took under two hours to complete, including in that time our usual pre-game nattering, tea making and biscuit eating. I like that the rules are cheap, well-produced and that there are few anomalies or grey areas in them. They are also clearly written and easy to learn. For the money they are excellent value.

We are going to try a mini-campaign next which means I shall have to paint up some more figures for my warband. I think I should also paint the Torii Suneemon vignette that I got from Two Dragons. It will make a great objective marker.


  1. I've not used any bows in my game yet. Are they worth including in a warband? On paper they sound tasty with potential for two shots a round!

  2. We found that bows were quite variable in their usefulness. The early games saw them being not particularly effective, but we got better use out of them later on. Whether they are useful or not will depend on your terrain and your playing style. Teppos were harder to use properly. You will probably only get one or two shots from a chap with a teppo and then he will have to pile into the melee. They can be very effective if they hit though.