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Daimyo was the highest feudal rank or title in Japan between the 12th and 19th centuries. In his position as powerful warlord, the player must lead his clan in order to conquer new fiefs, called Hans, to increase his political and economical prestige and to resist the danger represented by the other feudal Warlords.
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 979 grams
Language Requirements: Game components contain foreign text that does not impact play. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).
- 4 daimyo in 4 colors
- 48 bushi in 4 colors
- 3 ronin
- 24 hexagonal fiefs
- 4 player boards
- 48 densho cards
- rules (English, German, French, Dutch, Italian)
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
This was an interesting game, the rules are simple, but like many games, they sound complex when reading them, but once you begin playing everything becomes elegantly clear. I played with two friends. We took about 10-20 minutes learning the rules, and played two games in under an hour.
The board is made up of hex-tiles. Each player has their own territory and there is a large neutral zone in the center. Each player has a commander piece (their Daimyo) and chips representing their armies (Bushi).
Each turn, each player selects two cards from their hand to play. The cards can move armies, recruit armies, move your commander, change the board by moving existing tiles, or add tiles to the board. The players all play their cards at the same time, and then actions are resolved based on numbers printed on the cards. Combat between two armies is a simple exchange of pieces (if I attack your with 5 army chips, and you have 3 defending, we both lose 3, I take the space with my 2 remaining).
Victory is by either killing one opponent or by occupying spaces belonging to each of your opponents.
There are two very interesting parts of the rules.
- First, there is the idea that you can change and adjust the board as you play. This means you can try to defend by reducing the tiles connected to your own territory (and get opponents to fight each other). You can also use this ability to 'steal' opponents' territory tiles and occupy them.
- Second, when you play the cards, they are not discarded, but rather are passed to other players. Meaning, if you play a particularly 'good' card, it will end up in the hand of one of your opponents. This becomes a new layer of strategy, because you can also choose which card you play goes to which player.
In general, I liked the multiple layers of strategy in the game. It is a good game and one I play to play again. Also, we only played the basic rules, I hear very good 'things' about the advanced rules.
I have only two complaints
- The victory condition to kill just one opponent's Daimyo (commander piece) 'feels' odd when you have three players. In both our games, victory came very suddenly because someone made a foolish mistake (having their Daimyo piece within striking distance of any enemy force).
- You will never get non-gamers to play this. It looks and sounds very complex. Don't buy this unless you have a group of serious players willing to try something with a lot of layered strategy