Our first-time experience using Osprey’s Ronin skirmish wargaming rules resulted in pretty much of a mixed bag. We found many aspects of the rules worked well and were simple to follow. But a few of the rules mechanisms did confuse us, which made this first game a very slow one. In fact, it went so slowly that there was only one casualty in the whole two hours we spent playing.
We now need to decide if this was just first-time inexperience, and with a few more Ronin games under our belt, things will become clear. Or if we should revert to a samurai version of another set of rules we are already quite familiar with from playing other periods, namely the Legends of the Rising Sun variant of Games Workshop’s Legends series.
Anyway, here is the report from our first Ronin game.
The terrain consisted of a small post village straddling a straight highway. The thatched house in the foreground is by … um … 4Ground. On the left you can see the red torii gate of the temple, which is a plastic kit by Plastcraft Games. The fencing is also by 4Ground, and the latex road by Miniature World Maker.
Peasant cottages lie just off the highway, each with a small garden area shaded by cherry-blossoms trees. To the left a stream babbles quietly under a stone bridge. A Perry Miniatures coolie lugs his load across this peaceful scene.
We fought the game with two small but evenly-matched forces. We each had two samurai (one mounted) and four ashigaru soldiers with different weapons. These figures are all by Kingsford Miniatures, by the way.
The main force of Scott’s Takeda clan started by moving towards the highway through a field of long grass. The archer attempted to shoot some enemy at long range, but with no effect.
Once across the stream, my men ran into Scott’s mounted samurai, who had galloped around the edge of the board. This ‘two infantry vs one cavalry’ melee took quite a while for us to work out under the rules, and in the end it was an inconclusive result, with nothing major happening to any party.
But, surprise! My mounted samurai had made his way through the village and now suddenly appeared behind the Takeda line. The soldiers quickly vaulted the fence to get out of the way, whilst one of their number shot a hasty arrow at the approaching horseman – and inflicted a light wound.
My samurai charged in to attack the archer, who was quickly joined by his spear-wielding comrade. Fighting from behind the protection of the sturdy fence, they wounded the samurai again, causing a fatal wound – the one and only casualty of the game!
At this point we had to finish the game, so victory went to Scott.