Game Title : Battle of Mukden, 1905
Publisher : Game Journal
Game Designer : Tomoki Kondoh
Game Thema : Battle of Mukden during Russo-Japanese war in 1905
1 game map, 1 counter sheet , rulebook
You must prepare several dice for combat resolution.
Though the title doesn’t say “Storm over”, this is a latest “Storm over” series game in Japan.
The map is half-sized and there are only 126 counters. This game can easily be played within 3 hours, probably in 2 hours.
The game covers the climax of the battle from March 3 to March 5. Based on this, the game starts with the situation that both armies are ready to fight immediately. Honestly speaking, I don’t like the game with this type of situation, because this type of game tends to be bogged down into bloody fight without strategic decision.
The game has 1-day turn, so the game only has 4 turns basically. But, if at the end of 4th turn the game is draw, each player has option to have 5th turn to get the final victory.
The game uses card-driven engine like other recent games from Game Journal. Each player has 7 cards at the start of each turn. Then they alternatively play one card until both players continuously pass their turns. The unique rule of this game is that each player has 4 prepared cards for special events. These cards can be played instead of regular card from hand, but only used once during the whole game.
Another new essence of this game is Russian morale chart. It starts with 0, and each time Japanese army gets the control of Russian area it decreases one by one. And if it goes down to –3, Japanese player immediately wins the game. Russian player can reverse the moral by playing one card without regular activation. So, Japanese player can force the Russian player to sacrifice his card by getting areas. In addition, each turn the Russian moral goes down by one automatically. So, Russian player must be very careful to maintain their moral. Also, this moral is used as combat modifier for Russian attack. So, once Russian moral goes down below zero, their attack is much less effective than before.
Other mechanics are based on regular “Storm over” series game. So, you can play this game with very short rule explanation.
As I wrote above, I do like the game with more room to have mobile strategy, such as Storm over Kunlun-pass. But, this game has one big pro that it can be played probably within 2 hours. Though other series games are still simple enough, this game is one of the shortest games in the series.
Also, in Japan we have very popular TV series “Clouds beyond the upslope” which covers the Russo-Japanese war. So, I think this game catches the trend in Japan.
In addition, the Game Journal #40 contains 2 games. The other game is Battle of Japanese-sea, 1905 that is another Russo-Japanese war’s important battle.