Koriyama Castle October 1540 – Samurai Battles

I have been on the hunt for good Sengoku Jidai rules lately. The ones that have the period flavor I’m looking for have been disappointing so far. Mostly due to being complicated and requiring a lot of bases to play. So I broke out the Command and Colors variant Samurai Battles for another spin. After some games it really grew on me for a particular reason: Storytelling. The battle report below is, I hope, a good way to show this aspect of the game.

The Situation

The Mori clan has provoked the Amako to attack and already beat them at a smaller engagement. Now Misawa Tameyuki leads a larger Amako army towards Koriyama castle. The Mori set up an ambush on both flanks.

The Mori not only have the better position at the start of the battle but also more command cards and dragon cards (for special maneuvers).

The Battle

The Mori ambush is sprung perfectly. Massed bow fire rains down on the Amako troops (Hold and Shoot + Fire Arrows). The Amako front line is decimated with one Ashigaru unit breaking and another retiring. The upright standing blocks are losses just suffered, so it is easier to follow the battle. Red/Blue arrows are maneuvers and attacks. White arrows are retiring moves.

Misawa Tameyuki is shocked as he realizes his position and immediately signals for his reinforcements (Crane’s Wing). In the center Samurai close to his position to protect their leader.

Mori Motonari signals the general advance to pin the enemy. Bow fire causes some losses but no melee is initiated yet.

While the Amako right flank reinforcements are moved further up (Order two units right), Misawa Tameyuki channels the power of the White Dragon. He rides to his troops and keeps them from panicking while looking for a way to turn this battle. The White Dragon card is a powerful one that increases the Amako hand size for command cards from four to five.

The Mori misread this inaction as weakness. Mori Motonari sends a messenger to Katsura Motozumi to charge the enemy (Order two units center + Brave messenger). Both commanders ride into battle as lines of Ashigaru clash for the first melee of the day (both with Fortune markers to bolster attack strength). Instead of panicked men they find lines of long spears waiting for them. Despite horrendous losses the Amako Ashigaru fight and die without moving an inch. Katsura Motozumi becomes isolated and killed during the chaotic melee.

It is now time to act for the cool and collected Misawa Tameyuki. He shifts his brave but decimated forces to the back and makes an attack himself (Leadership). Though no gains are achieved, his position looks more stable.

Quite a few things happen now. Mori Motonari orders a renewed attack (Counterattack to play Leadship). As he moves forward, a messenger informs the general of Katsura Motozumi’s death. His men are panicked by this and Motonari feels deeply moved by the death of his subordinate. While the attack commences he and his Ashigaru retire back to the Mori lines to gather themselves (Amako played Insult). Another Ashigaru unit also retreats far back (4 flags rolled). Still, the attack bleeds more men from Amako clan’s center.

Again, the Amako can only bring up reinforcements on their right (lack of useful cards). Without any leadership present on the Mori side a unit of mounted samurai charges deep into the enemy center to hunt for glory and heads. They shatter a ‘lowly’ Ashigaru unit and proceed to attack nearby samurai. Inspired by Misawa Tameyuki, the Amako samurai prove their skill with the bow and fell many riders before fierce hand to hand fighting erupts.

It is at this time that one of the Mori’s older samurai remarks upon Mori Motonari that a once successful stratagem may be so twice. Inspired by these words the general rides back onto the field of battle (Wise advisor to regain the powerful ‘Advance center’ card).

Mori leadership is still a long way off but the Amako reinforcements are not. Mounted samurai sweep in from the right and deliver inspired attacks. It looks like the battle is stabilizing for the Amako.

But the fates of battle are ever turning. With renewed spirit the Mori rush ahead. The most forward samurai spot the enemy general and charge with no thought about their life. Their attack will go down in Mori legends. They sweep away the Ashigaru as they were leaves on the ground. Nearby samurai are rushing to protect their master but they are rebuffed with loss. Finally, Misawa Tameyuki is slain in personal combat. The death of Katsura Motozumi is revenged.

The remaining Amako leadership desperately tries to stabilize the situation (Order all heavy units but Mori play Wild winds to replace it with another useless card). At the head of his best samurai Mori Motonari crushes the last Amako infantry in the center. A hard fought battle for the Mori with the loss of a general. Though, strategically the Amako have been shattered.

Conclusion

Command & Colors game reports are difficult to write but this game was worth the effort. The constant back and forth was intense but even more so was the evolving storyline. In this and other games there is always something wild happening that changes the situation and has a lot of period flavor. In another refight of this scenario for example, Katsura Motozumi died as well but did so at the hands of Misawa Tameyuki in a personal challenge. The Amako then proceeded to 4 of 5 victory markers against the Mori 2. Some good cards and rolls later the Mori came back and scored victory in two brutal turns.

I don’t know how the wild swings hold up in head to head play but it is one of the more fun solo games of the series for this aspect alone. I wouldn’t argue that Samurai Battles sis particularly realistic but it has the flavor I’m looking for.

Last but not least I’m interested in your opinion in this format. Was it easy to follow the action?

2 thoughts on “Koriyama Castle October 1540 – Samurai Battles”

  1. Play through was easy to follow. Were these screenshots from VASSAL? I played this scenario recently using 15mm figures and Basic Impetvs. It worked well.

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