Game Title : Toukai-Yuukyouden
Publisher : Command Magazine Japan
This game is published as one of the issue games of a “Command Magazine Japan #75”.
Game Designer : Makoto Nakajima
Game Theme : Area control between Shimizu-Jirotyou family and Kurokoma family.
Period : from 1854 to 1869
Map : covering all area along Toukaidou (from Edo to Kyoto)
Units : important individuals and group of myrmidons
Sohsyun Yamaguchi did the artwork. I think this is one of his best efforts so far.
The map looks great with sick colors filled with old Japanese taste.
The counters are really gorgeous. It is very large 25mm size and contains Ukiyoe-style illustration in the middle. Shimizu family uses carmine for base color and Kurokoma family uses black for base color. I believe this color selection is really great.
The back side of the map contains subgame “Meiji-zankyouden sugoroku”. I will describe how this works later.
The basic game is composed of 8 turns.
Each turn is composed of
Area control determination
Victory point calculation
Background of History
Shimizu Jirotyou is the most popular gambler in Japanese History. He lived during the end of Edo-era and the first of Meiji-era. During the end of Edo era, since Shimizu family has very big influence on areas along Toukaido, they are used by both of Edo-bakuhu and Meiji-seihu. Simultaneously, they are known that they have strong discipline called Giri-Ninjou, they are very popular among the people. Especially in Meiji-era, many Rohkyoku, traditional Japanese old-style songs are made based on their episodes. These songs make them popular among all Japanese people and even now many people know the name of Shimizu Jirotyou and his important subordinates such as Oomasa, Komasa, Morino-Ishimatsu.
Unfortunately, they are just gamblers. And even Meiji government thinks that they have no use after the war against Edo-bakuhu. This fact makes their destination very sad. But, now after 150 years from their era, their episodes survive among songs and novels much better than most of important Meiji-bakuhu’s politicians.
I believe this game is the first wargame treatment of this popular but unusual topic.
Thank you very much Mr. Nakajima for this trial.
Characteristic game mechanics
If you played “Kouetsu-gunki” or read my review for the game, you can see many similarities between this game and “Kouetsu-gunki”.
Basically, both games use “Taiheiki” system, which becomes very popular by “Warriors of god”. I think this is the fourth game of “Taiheiki” system.
Each game of this system has unique subsystem. But, for this game and “Kouetsu-gunki”, this uniqueness is even similar. In Kouetsu-gunki, there are many neutral minor Shinsyu warlords between Takeda and Uesugi. In this game, there are many neutral minor families between Shimizu family and Kurokoma family. So that, these 2 games are especially similar even among other series games.
But, of course there’s a differences. The biggest difference is that in this game there are negotiation and compromise phases.
These subsystems strongly reflect the culture of gamblers on this era. Though the both families are bigger and stronger, they have respect to minor families. The negotiation shows the action that both families make a courteous greeting to a neutral minor family. The result of this greeting is determined by die roll on the Jingi-table. The result varies from alliance to combat. But, if you put the appropriate important member to make a greeting, the possibility of good result will become bigger.
The similar mechanics is used for compromise. The main difference is that negotiation is used to a neutral family and compromise is used to an enemy-allied neutral family.
Because of these 2 subsystems, the game has very different feelings. “Kouetsu-gunki” has a strong “Wargame” feeling, because the most actions are combat-oriented. On the other hand, this game has more political-control feeling because of negotiations and compromises. I think both games are interesting but each has its own fan.
Other subsystems are basically almost the same as “Kouetsu-gunki”. Please see my game review of “Kouetsu-gunki”.
During the movement, each player alternatively moves their units. One movement is defined to move units in one area to adjacent area. In this system, as long as you have movement, you can move the same units as you wish.
During combat, you must fight if your units have the enemy units in their area until only one side remains in the area. Basically you can roll a number of dice, which equals the number of your units. And each 6 on your roll inflicts one hit on the enemy.
Victory points are awarded mainly to area control. But, getting area control is somewhat tricky as “Kouetsu-gunki”. If you have gambler who comes from that area, you can get the control automatically. If you have units but no unit comes from that area, then you must roll one die and check it with the total of your units’ rating.
As above, VPs are awarded mainly by area control. Areas along Toukaido have 2 points each, and areas along Nakasendo have 1.5 points each, other areas have 1 point each.
Also, the good results of negotiations and compromises give you VPs.
Honestly speaking, I like “Kouetsu-gunki” better because it is more straightforward; I mean it’s more combat-oriented. But, this game covers a very unique topic, which is popular but unknown; this makes this game very valuable. It’s a good cue to study this topic.
Oh, I almost forgot to describe the subgame “Meiji-Zankyouden sugoroku”.
As I said above, the gamblers are thrown away once they became useless after the war against Edo-bakuhu. This subgame shows how the survived characters will end their life during Meiji-period. This subgame can be played by itself.