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Honor of the Samurai
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Store:  Card Games, Family Games
Edition:  Honor of the Samurai
Theme:  Oriental
Format:  Card Games

Honor of the Samurai

English language edition of Ehre der Samurai

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 60 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Scott Kimball

Manufacturer(s): Gamewright

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Product Description

Become a samurai warrior, surrounded by the intrigue, honor and treachery of the Sengoku period (1467-1568). Each samurai seeks to gain honor by serving a feudal warlord, his daimyo. Should he follow the honorable paths to loyalty and swordsmanship, or the dishonorable but powerful way of treacherous ninjas and gunpowder weapons? Each game is a unique test of strategy. The player with the most honor points wins.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Scott Kimball

  • Manufacturer(s): Gamewright

  • Artist(s): Alexander Farquharson

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 3 - 6

  • Time: 60 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 341 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.


  • 110 Playing Cards
  • 60 Scoring Counters
  • 6 Dice
  • Instruction and History Booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.1 in 8 reviews

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Very good for 3 to 6 players
January 23, 2004

A wonderful game for a multiplayer session. As mentioned, the way to win varies from game to game. I won't go over the game mechanics, as they are *fairly* simple, but it has some great mechanics that prevent the 'One person gets out ahead and no one can catch up' situation so common in games like this.

Highly recommended!

Fantastic card game
January 22, 2004

I give this 5 stars as compared to other card based games. I would give it 4 compared to ALL games. We have played this game several times and have had fantastic sessions, where lead changes go back and forth. The feel of the game is right on with the artwork and constant struggle to maintain your house, to undermine even those you have allied with and strategy? Well, there are dozens of roads to victory, winning can be found through many different methods.

When you first play everyone thinks they have the system figured out. Like 'just put all your armies in the Samurai house' Or 'just allie your self with the shogun.' then you play a second game to prove that point and... DOH! It doesn't work.

Very balanced game, even the use of dice for combat is acceptable for two reasons. One, you can keep yourself from being attacked by not becoming Shogun or having a castle (wonderful mechanic that stops needless small fights). When you do attack you know you get a ratio of dice to streangth, 1 per 3 streangth points, and you know the same for your opponent. Thus, the battle system doesn't seem so 'thrown to the wind.'

Every time we play this game, a different pattern for winning emerges and old ideas that won the first games are quickly thwarted.

NOTE: The one criticism of the game's leangth is easily solved. DO NOT PLAY FOR 400 victory points, I repeat DO NOT PLAY FOR 400 points. If you have 4 or more players, play for 250 points, no more. You will get two solid games played in less time then one 400 point game. You can go to 300 points in a 3 player.

One of my favorite card based games. Worth getting. There should be an expansion for this game.

Best Beer and Pretzels Game since Nuclear War / Escalation
June 19, 2002

Most definitely one of the more fun games I've had the luck of playing! Giving it the title of 'Beer and Pretzels' should not be taken as being derogatory, if anything it'll hopefully clue-in a few readers out there looking for a fairly simple/straight-forward game that has lots of twists and turns to the game itself, while at the same time being loads of fun. Found that it was more fun, for me, if played with a group that tends to be more tongue-in-cheek vs. being serious. Much more entertaining than anything put out by the standard fare of board/card game manufacturers who could be found within the various retail chain stores, while having enough mechanics/variation for those who delve into Cheapass Games, or Steve Jackson Games for that matter. Also works well with people who don't normally go for playing such non-standard games, too!

Game play is a combination of Diplomacy (sorry, can't remember the producer for this one) mixed with a little Magic and/or the card game of Rail Barron.

Really am glad to see that Gamewright has republished this wonderful game.

The nutshell of this review: It's fun to play, it's easy to learn, and has a content that allows for non-(war)gamers to really enjoy something different than many of the standards (Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers to once again name a few examples of manufacturers without pointing too many fingers at their respective wares).

my kids loves this
December 12, 2001

My kids beg me to play this game. My 8, 10, and 14 year old children pick this game first to play on weekends. Not overly hard, the battles are fun and quick. We will take this one on vacation.

We play some house rules. No one can hold more than one wife in the hand you have and no one can hold more than one dayiomo. This gives you some cards to fall back on, but one person does not have all the much-needed cards.

The theme is really felt with this one.
February 25, 2001

This little gem really does what it sets out to do. It really feels like a game of 'kingmaker' in Feudal Japan with all the political deceit, war, and trickery set to smooth card play. For a more indepth accurate review go to the bottom of this page, click on Boardgamegeek and then click on the 'Mr. Games' review.

by Ken Mc
A solid design with exceptional artwork.
October 10, 1999

Honor of the Samurai is a card game for 3 to 6 players set in 16th Japan. You play a samurai in the service of a daimyo. You can build armies, collect (or steal) valuable items, get married?! and assume the title of Shogun.

The mechanics of the game are broken down into three parts.

  1. Collect Honor points from the items you possess.
  2. Take card actions (2-5 each turn) to improve your position.
  3. You may declare an attack against other players. Form alliances, or take the title of Shogun.

The first to reach 400 honor points wins.

The physical quality of rulebook and the artwork of the cards are outstanding. The dice draw special notice since the numbers are replaced with symbols (1 dot, 2 waves, 3 dots in a triangle form, etc.), a very nice touch. It only took a few minutes to understand the game mechanics and our first go went smoothly. As an aside, one of players' proclaimed half-way through that he hated the game, then proceeded to win it. I think his opinion has changed.

There are two types of ninjas--assassins who can kill your Daimyo or Samurai and thus eliminate all his possesions, and theives who can steal valuables, except your wife and castle. Oddly, a ninja can steal army cards as well. The image of an elite ninja spy carrying a bag full of elite cavalry is rather hard for me to imagine.

The use of the Shogun card is the random element in this game. By obtaining it, you can gain a lot of honor points. However, you paint a big bullseye on your chest as the other players will attack you mercilessly to keep you from winning.

Overall, I really enjoyed the game. If you're a fan of Samurai movies (particularly Akira Kurasawa's RAN) and a card gamer, you should pick this one up.

Elegant, but it never ends!
July 16, 2001

This game is very appealing. The cards are pretty, the gameplay is novel. But my friends and I never play it anymore, because it is just too hard to win! It's a 'gang up on the winner' game; and, unfortunately, it isn't tuned well enough to prevent this ganging-up from going on ad infinitum. After it went for six hours once, we gave up on it. A shame.

by Tim
Sold after two playings
August 14, 2003

Typical hose your buddy game with victory conditions that feel like they are achieved more via the luck of the draw than through any strategy.

Do not play seriously or you will be seriously frustrated.

Stick with WizWar, Nuclear War or Suzerain (if you can find them). The cards tend to be much more varied and therefore convey much more atmosphere than the limited deck with this set.

Other Resources for Honor of the Samurai:

Board Game Geek is an incredible compilation of information about board and card games with many descriptions, photographs, reviews, session reports, and other commentary.