Boardgamecafe.net Meetup Report @ OTK Cheras 26/10/2012
This Friday saw the first (of many) Essen Play meetups at OTK Cheras as we brought new games from Essen to the tables. SAMURAI SWORD, GREAT ZIMBABWE, CRUDE and a few other Essen releases saw play this Friday. Read on to find out more about these new games!
Gamers: Zharif, Jeremy, DWolve, Caleb, Ken, Lester, Ivan, Laurence, Thomas, Kelvin, Chee Ho, Boon Khim, Hiew, Kareem, Heng, Waiyan and CK Au.
Games: The Great Zimbabwe, Crude the Oil Game, Samurai Sword, Villages, Seasons, Small World, The Big Badaboom.
Date/Time: 26 October 2012 (Fri) 3.00 PM – 5:00 AM
ESSEN SPIEL 2012 PLAY TESTING STARTS NOW!!
We just landed from Germany very late Weds nite (after an almost 2-week trip there that started with the ASICS Grand Ten race in Berlin before we hopped to Essen for the 4-day boardgame expo SPIEL 2012.
As a gamer, going to SPIEL only means one thing – new games!! With that in mind, we’ve brought back a number of the latest releases from SPIEL for our gamers to play test. So without wasting time, we quickly set up the first play test today, less than two days after we are back from Essen.
For this Friday, we’ve earmarked three new games to hit the tables – Splotter’s latest baby The Great Zimbabwe, a remake of a classic Crude, the Oil Game and a party game The Big Badaboom. Since today happened to be a public holiday in KL, we decided to start a bit earlier at 3 pm instead of our usual 8:30 pm. We still expect to end around 4 am!
Alrite, let’s dive into the sessreps to see how the new games play…
In the land of the Rising Sun, faithful Samurai protect the Shogun—their commander and
lord. Cunning Ninja try to undermine the Empire, by fair means or foul. The katana blade
sparkles on the battlefi eld as a lonely Ronin prepares for the struggle, plotting his revenge.
Can you find your enemies while honoring the way of the warrior?
While waiting for the rest to arrive, we decided to kickstart the Essen Play with SAMURAI SWORD, the latest incarnation of the Bang Game System from dV Giochi.
Like BANG! this game can play up to 7 (I suspect like BANG, this is also best with 6 or 7)
Do not confuse this card game with the game SAMURAI SWORDS (which is now replublished as IKUSA) which is a board game. This is a card game that bears almost 95% similarity with BANG! with a few improvements on the perceived “issues” with the Bang Game System such as 1) player elimination and 2) gangbanging on a player who has no card in hand!
The Puchong gang… but neither of them looked to be on the “good side”. 😛
The “Sheriff” is known as the “Shogun” and instead of deputies, he has Samurais to assist him. The Outlaws are now the Ninjas, and the lone ranger role of Renegade is performed by the Ronin. All in, I think the replacement roles are appropriate and fits into the context of the game.
From the way these two smiled & giggled, you can’t go wrong by saying they are the “evil baddies”!
You also have the Character cards that provide each player with some distinct ability, which may or may not be a blessing. 😛 However in SS, instead of bullets (as life points) you get a dual-layered system comprising of Honor Point and Resilience Point.
No Killing, Please
Resilience Point works like Bullet Point (BANG!), when you are hit and can’t play a Miss (called “Parata”) card, you lose Resilience Point. The number of resilience points you get depends on your character card.. most give you four resilience points. I’ve played with one that has five resilience points. Not sure if there is any with just 3 RPs.
The deck of draw cards and the tokens representing Honor Points (top) and Resilience Points (bottom)
The difference here is that when you lose all your resilience points, you do not die (in Samurai Sword, there’s no player elimination; everyone stays in the game until the end), you are merely “defeated”. You then give up one Honor Point to the person who dealt the
killing defeating blow to you.
At the end of the game – since no one dies – the winning team (or individual if you are the Ronin) is determined by calculating your Honor Points value (which has a multiplier depending on which role you are playing for eg Ronin scores 3x for his Honor Points while Ninjas only 1x).
After losing one Honor Point, you re-start with full Resilience Points and continue in the game. I think this is an important improvement to the BANG! System which has often been criticized with early player elimination and a looooonnng wait before the next game!
Nice artwork on the cards… your hand size is now 7 instead of being constrained by your life point (in Bang)
You have Weapon cards to deal injuries to others… there’s the attack range which you need to calculate as usual to see if your weapon card can reach the person you wanna whack. An interesting change they made here is there’s a variety of weapons for you to deal damage and some weapons can deal >1 damage unlike BANG! where the weapon differs only in terms of illustration and they all hit you one bullet point.
In Samurai Sword, some nasty weapons can hit you for 4 resilience points (that’s an instant defeat for most character). Ouch!
Someone getting excited over the Geisha action card… tsk tsk.
Most of the BANG! action cards that allow a player to perform special actions are replicated here but strangely while there’s the Armour card which increases your attack range from other players (like the Mustang in Bang), there’s no equivalent of the Appaloosa here (to decrease another player’s attack range) and furthermore you can play as many Armour cards as you wish to (in Bang, you can only play one of the same card)… gosh, you could increase your distance so far that no one can literally reach you!
Wah.. Stacking of Armor (aka Mustang) cards made it very hard to reach this player! His character is Hanzo – and if you follow Japanese samurai manga, you would have heard of one Hattori Hanzo. 😛
The stacking of same-name cards are allowed in Samurai Sword (but not in Bang) and I prefer Bang’s approach else a player can turtle!
Wait wait.. Dun attack me, I’m HARMLESS!
The other useful changes to BANG is the concept of “Harmless” in Samurai Sword. If you have used up all the cards in your hand (and therefore unable to defend yourself against multiple/continuous hits) or have just been “defeated” (losing all resilience points and giving up one honor point), you are now considered “Harmless”.
A harmless player cannot be attacked and immuned to general action cards that can deal damage to you (re: Gatling in Bang). You remain in your harmless state until your turn comes along.
I like this concept as it allows a down-n-out player to regroup and recover; and not get beaten on continuously ala Bang until he expires!
The popular Dynamite action card from Bang is also found here but it’s known as the Bushido (challenge). You do lose one honor point if you can’t pass the challenge so this card can be painful!
Let’s not play this until the cow comes home…
Usually game ends when one player has lost his last Honor point (well, if a dude’s been defeated four times, I think it’s time to stop the suffering) but in case that never happens or is taking a long time, there’s also a “game timer” built into the system.
Whenever the deck runs out of card, everyone loses a honor point. If that resulted in someone losing their last honor point, game ends.
Honor System or “Honest” System?
The only downside I see to this game is the use of honor points to determine the winning group. Since the game does not play to the last man (or group) standing like Bang, we need an alternative approach to determine which group is winning hence the use of multiplier value to each player’s remaining honor point based on which role they are (in general Ninjas & Shogun get a 1x multiplier while Samurais get 2x and Ronin gets 3x).
On surface, it seems to provide a good game balance but I think it impairs the ability of the Ronin to bluff. For eg, one tactic a Ronin adopts is to act as the Sheriff’s deputy (the Samurai in this game).. but since in order for the Ronin to win, he has to accumulate enough honor points (with a x3 multiplier) to top the Shogun + Samurai’s honor point score, the ronin can be easily “tested” by the Shogun by checking how many honor points he’s looking to accumulate, comparing with the other players.
What do I think?
I feel Samurai Sword is a refreshing take on Bang which is a popular card game.. and for those who don’t like Bang due to its player elimination or gangbanging, you might want to give this game a try and see if you enjoy it. Or perhaps the Samurai’s theme fits you better than a Western theme.
By the looks of these peeps enjoying themselves, you can say Samurai Sword is well-received at OTK!
Samurai Sword will be available from our webstore soon!
NEXT UP – THE GREAT ZIMBABWE
Next up are two of the latest releases from Essen – The Great Zimbabwe from Splotter and Crude, the Oil Game from Stronghold Games. Stay tuned for our sessrep…
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