Shogunate is a simple 3 to 5 play card game. You are a member of one of 5 clans, in which you are trying to have your clan be the ruler of all others. It sounds very simple, because it is. However there is quite a bit of depth to this game. Lets see how it plays.
You start with a hand of 6 cards. Only 5 of them are actually used during the game, the 6th card is may or may not be used. Everybody but the current ‘Active Player’ chooses one of these 5 cards from their hand:
- Cloaked in Dishonor
- Shadow of Leaves
- Blossom of the Heart
- Storms of Flowers
You setup the game by dealing out a clan card face down to each player. This is the leader that the player wants to be at the head of the succession line at the end of the game. This is hidden information. Do not let anybody know what your card is, as there your character could die during the game. Then you also are dealt the starting cards that I refered to above. There are 5 sets in distinct colors.
You place them face down in front of you. The Active Player will tell everybody to flip them over at the same time. This is where things get interesting. The Active Player will choose the order in which these cards are placed. So what you had wanted to do may or may not happen as you wanted it to.
- Assassinate – This card will have you kill the current leader of the clan. However if there is an even number of assassinate cards played that round the assassins will leave and nobody will die. The Active Player will decide if the assassination will happen as the first action of the round, or the last.
- Cloaked in Dishonor – You will move one of the leaders of the clan backwards in the line of succession.
- Shadow of Leaves – You move one leader card forward 2 spaces within the succession line.
- Blossom of the Heart – Move one of the leaders forward one space within the succession line.
- Storm of Flowers – You switch the places of 2 leaders, within line of succession.
On the cards themselves are graphics showing you exactly how each card is moved to make it easier to remember. Once all of these actions have been taken by the players the Active Player moves clockwise to the next player. The game repeats like this until all players have been the Active Player one time, then the game ends.
Now I will explain the 6th card from your starting hand. This is the Shodai card, it allows you to gain points even if your leader is not the one who rules the clans at the end of the game. At any time during a round before the cards are revealed you can place this card under any of the living leaders within the line of succession, including your own. This is pledging support for that leader. If at sometime a leader with Shodai cards on them is assassinated the players will move there Shodai cards onto a different leader.
Once all of the rounds have been completed we get to the Name the Shogun phase. Here is where we find out who the leader of the Clans is, as well as the winner of the game. The player who has the clan card for the respective leader is the winner. However there is always (except in a 5 player game) one extra leader card. There forward it is not always as simple as that. So you have to score points, as follows:
If your card is the head of the line you get 3 points.
If your card is in the 2nd place spot you get 2 points.
If your Shodai card is under the leader at the head of the line you get 1 point.
Most points win.
This game plays in about 10-20 minutes it is very quick but enjoyable.
So what do I think of this game, it is a fun quick little card game. it doesn’t take up much room. The entire table consists of 4-5 leader cards laid out on a table, everything else is done with the cards in y our hand. This will be a game I take with me or leave it in my card so that I always have it on hand. That way when I’m at a restaurant or something similar I will be able to grab it as I stated it doesn’t take up any room at all. I would recommend that you all check it out, it is available now from Dreadful Games website. Keep in mind I do not get anything from you purchasing the game.
One final thing I though was a great feature my the publisher, is the box is slightly oversize to accommodate sleeved cards if you wish to sleeve your set. It’s not to large to have any issues if you decide you do not want to sleeve them though.