We busted this out tonight as it was going to be our last shot together as a full group until after Christmas break. I had just gotten this via auction for $26 woot...and we really wanted to play it because my buddy Kevin had gotten Wallenstein which we played last week. So we were excited to play it and see the differences.
Drew (Black) - Experienced player of both Wallenstein and Shogun.
Josh (Yellow) - Played Wallenstein twice, and 1/2 a game of Shogun.
Kevin (Red) - Played Wallenstein once, last week.
Tom (Purple) - Played Wallenstein once, last week.
We played the Sun side of the board.
Black - Dominant in left green Region. Otherwise isolated across the rest of the board.
Yellow - Well spread across the board, but fairly strong in each position.
Red - Right side of the map primarily with two decent strength regions in the middle of the map.
Purple - Strength in the middle of the map and some strength in the far left green region.
As yellow I aggressively go after the purple to take control of the island in the bottom left corner of the map. I succeed.
Red aggressively attacks purple in the far north to secure an easily defensible position. He fails.
Black spreads across the left side of the map like a plague. Purple re-enforces awaiting the inevitable attack...but does not attack anywhere.
The rest of the year:
I as Yellow re-enforce and attack in the middle of the map. Holding strength on the bottom of the map, and struggling to maintain strength at the top.
Black expands more on the left side of the map and starts to feed troops into the right side of the map.
Red begins to steamroll the right side of the map.
Purple...takes the brunt of it.
Year 1 Scoring
Drew - Black - 24
Kevin - Red - 24
Josh - Yellow - 22
Tom - Purple - 18
Year 2 (Spring and Summer):
Red while gaining control of most of the right side of the map has spread himself thin, and his continuing banzai attacks (large forces against large forces) against yellow's last remaining region has thinned him to the point that he controls most regions with only lone troops. Also Black and Purple have spread into his weakly defended areas. Many regions are laid to waste causing him to lose many buildings that he scored in Year 1. He also loses all control in the middle of the map as Purple having successfully defended Noto in the opening season of the game, has built up and is sweeping down from the top of the map, while Yellow is sweeping up from the bottom.
Black continues to expand and dominate the leftmost reaches of the map, but continuous skirmishes with yellow in the middle regions is slowly thinning out his strength as he has changed primary focus to the far right of the map.
Purple is being very pesky on the bottom of the map, continuing to fend off yellows attempts to maintain complete dominance, while making a major sweep down from the top of the board.
Yellow having fought continuous skirmishes versus black on the left and purple on the right has many quality regions, but remains vulnerable to attack in the final season. Also, in the summer region I lost my rice region to battle before cashing it in, so I am at a major deficit in rice.
Year 2 (Fall):
Going into last round there was a 50-50 shot of no attacking to regions containing temples...and temples was the first action.
I as Yellow, put all my eggs in that basket as my thinning forces would have trouble holding off Purple and Black in this round. However all of my reachable regions had temples in them save one...but temples was the first action. I was going for the win, or last...no splitting the difference for a 2nd or 3rd finish...and it paid off. I was able to secure Omi (3 buildings) with a temple which was a zone I only had one troop in. Again, all my other vital areas were already supported with temples. I was thus able to spend the remainder of my actions trying to support my other regions for inevitable rebellions, due to losing my rice region to battle in the summer season.
Player - Score (Y1+Y2)
Josh - 51 (22+29)
Drew - 48 (24+24)
Kevin - 46 (24+22)
Tom - 45 (18+27)
Fernando Robert Yu
Close game! How long did your 4p game take?
Almost 3hrs 15 mins of play time.
Get that finger out of my face!
This was a great game. It felt close to the very end, and I think there was even a chance for a re-ordering of the final positions during the last season if some players would have gotten the lucky outcomes that they needed. But good planning prevailed, as it usually does. I like games where no one is clearly "out" while there is still a lot of play time left.
I think my favorite aspect of this game was planning each season and then watching those plans unfold along with the other players'. The planning requires a lot of speculation and when you make decisions that work out or guess what others are going to do correctly, it's extremely rewarding.
I can't wait to get a few more plays in on this one (and/or Wallenstein).