Game Title : Iga vs Kouga
Publisher : Bandai
Game Designer : Uncredited
Game Thema : Man to Man combat of Ninja
4 game maps, 1 counter sheet, 1 play aid, log sheets, rulebook, and counter tray, 2 dice
This game is played by game turns.
Each turn, players must complete the sequence below.
1. First player’s movement
2. Second player’s reaction
4. First player’s second movement
5. Second player’s movement
The game has 4 scenarios.
1. Messenger of Satsuma
2. Infiltration into castle Shimazu
3. Assassination of Yoshimune
4. Assault on Iga-Maruyama castle
The game map is a floor plan of castle or large house. You can combine any of them to form larger battlefields. The map is divided into rooms, corridor spaces and garden areas.
These boxes regulate the movement. And usually it costs 1 movement point to move into adjacent box. But, if you move from outside to inside, it costs 2 movement points. And each inside box has its under roof box and under floor box. It costs 2 movement points to move from regular box to either of under roof or under floor. You can move via under roof or under floor by paying 3 movement points.
If you enter the box occupied by enemy, you must stop there. If you start the movement in enemy occupied box, you can leave there when you have higher agility than that enemy. In other words, if you have higher or the same agility you can block enemy movement in the same box.
In each scenario, each player has 5 to 20 counters. In each movement phase, you can move all of your counters as long as enemy unit does not block it. Regularly, each Ninja unit has 3 to 5 movement points; each Samurai unit has 1 to 3 movement points. And usually Ninjas have higher agility than Samurais.
Basically, first player controls a group of Ninjas. After first player’s movement, second player can check their reaction. If some of his units has enemy in adjacent box, roll a die and if it is the same or lower than its sense, it can move one box in any direction.
Combat is resolved in boxes co-occupied by both sides. Each unit has its combat factor. The player can select one weapon or Ninjutsu from prepared counter mix for each combat factor. This means if you have 4 combat factors, you can attack 4 times in one combat and you can designate a target enemy for each of attack.
In this game, Ninja is unbelievably stronger than Samurais. Usually Ninja has 3 or 4 combat factors, while Samurai has 1 combat factor ( though this is not clearly written in the rulebook ). So, please imagine, Ninja throws ninja-star and then make his shadow and then use sickle with chain, while Samurai can use his sword only one time.
Also, only Ninja has an ability of recovery.
In first 2 scenarios, first player must find out the secret roll and turn it off from the house or castle. In scenario 3, first player must assassinate Yoshimune inside the house. In scenario 4, both players must fight to the death inside the castle.
The game is very simple based on today’s standard.
I think most of the system looks quite out-dated. The rule must be revised clearly. The component should be user-friendlier.
But, I must say that the most important problem is too strong Ninja. Though there are under roof and under floor boxes, there’s no need for Ninja to use those boxes, because they are much stronger than defending Samurais. This looks very unreal.
And long procedure of parameter determination is nothing. Because, the important point is average Ninja is stronger than average Samurai. So, the minor deviation of parameter is nothing for the play.
But, actually I can enjoy the play. I think the situation is interesting, rule is simple and play is very fast. So, if some good designer can revise this game, we can have really interesting Ninja game. I really hope this will come true in near future.