The problem came in that so many people wanted to play and I wanted to try the rules. When I say "problem" it is actually a joy, but the first time you try any rules you do want less players really. I Had set it up for a max of 5 players, 2 each side with me as a ref. But ended up with 7 players and at least one more wanting to pay. The rules suggest 24 army points for each side based on 2 players. So foolishly I went over the top and dished out 22 army points to each player and a couple of spare units to give to each sides commander to distribute as he saw fit. I did point out that feudal Japan was not a democracy and that he could keep the spare units for himself to command. But the troops did tend to get distributed anyway. This amount of troops did stretch my samurai figure resources. As I said 4 players would have been better as IT would allow me greater control of what was going on.
As no one had played the rules before the battle did become a meat grinder. With Unit after unit being sent to the slaughter. the big problem was that several times (3 turns in a row for one player) low dice were rolled and no units could activate. In a smaller game a reff familiar with the rules could follow what was going on a lot better. But in this size game and with everyone NOT knowing the rules I spent most of the day calling out statistics and looking things up.
That said the rules did work well and I would be happy to use them again with fewer people and a little more control. Players did pick up the rules very quickly and seemed to enjoy the game as not needing to worry about things like wheeling or expanding formation or contracting it did speed up play.
But overall it was a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. And fewer players all being able to learn the rules would have been a better solution. So that is all my fault and not the fault of the rules.
With 6 players all learning the rules at the same time what else did I expect.
- The rules are easy to pick up and play and give a decent uncomplicated game
- It did give me a chance to get two seldom used armies out and onto the table.
- The rules are versatile enough to play historical and fantasy games
- The rules are easy to understand and interpret
- While a few things (as in every set of rules I find) were less than clear in the writing they made good sense in the playing.
- The only real drawbacks were my not being able to sort armies out before the day as I had no idea who would play
- Too many players on a first run through.
- Players not understanding the period and setting and treating certain units as they would any ancient units. Such as having the Hatamoto (Bodyguards) separate from their general. I had said they could go 12 away from the general to respond to threats to the general and players took that to mean they could go marauding all over the place as long as the general tagged along. So again you can blame me as for this as I should have just said NO. But then you get into the conversation "Why can't they do that if the general might commit suicide anyway if we loose?" And as they did not know the setting or period they did approach the games with an occidental bias.
Still done is done and it did fill the day with a game we all enjoyed (or seem to enjoy)