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Ronin is a set of skirmish rules set in Feudal Japan by Osprey Publications. The book includes the rules, charts, and sample army lists for various factions along with illustrations from many of the Osprey Men at Arms series on this era. The rules are pretty basic, with each side being able to move, shoot, and engage in hand to hand combat. Melee uses a very unique system where each figure gets a number of black and white stones that are used for attacks along with enhancing the defense. There is a lot of strategy in which stones should be chosen at the start of each combat round, plus many of the characters have specific skills that certainly add flavor to the game. You also only need a few figures for each player (about 5-10), so there is a minimal investment for getting into this game, plus it is very fast playing.

Five Sided Ronin Skirmish


Revenge, Bounties, Treasure, & Anarchy

We were fortunate enough to be able to use the gaming tables at GAJO for our last minute game and with only four of us we decided to go with Ronin as it would fit in the 2 1/2 hour time slot that we had available. This was to be a five sided fight with greatly varying forces. Basically, the four players were after various things in the village, held by a samurai that everyone was after for one reason or another along with several ashigaru. The first group wanted revenge by cutting his head off, the second group wanted his head for a bounty, the third group was seeking a treasure chest hidden in the village, and the fourth group just wanted to burn down the entire village!

The battle was short, but bloody, with everyone piling into the village and trying to engage the defenders. The first group who was after the treasure too most of the beating at the start, but in the end found the treasure chest, then hightailed it out of the village and back over the bridge, which achieved their victory conditions. The second group, composed of only a few experienced ronin got to the samurai second, but pushed back the third group who was trying to get to him first. After several melees they took his head and then retreated back. The fourth group didn't do much, but did start on burning down the village by the end of the game. A very, fun, fast moving, and entertaining game. This system is quick to learn and could easily be adpated to multiple periods. We're going to try a mounted attack next time along with a few more teppos to keep it interesting.

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