Title: Aidu-Boshin sensou
Designer: Tadatoshi Jinbo
Components: 1 half map, 1 countersheet, 30 cards, 1 rulebook
You must prepare dice (hopefully 5 or more)
Aidu-Boshin sensou is an issue game of Wargame Japanese History #16 published by Kokusai Tsushinsya.
I believe that Wargame Japanese History has published many low-level good games for novice player who has interest in Japanese History. This is another low-level good game from them.
At the end of Edo-era, there was a long conflict basically between the old force and the new force. The old force is composed of mainly by Tokugawa government, but it includes several other related forces such as Aidu-han. Even after the fall of Edo-castle, the remaining old forces didn’t accept the new government without resistance. The strongest resistance was done by mainly Aidu-han in Northern part of Japan. This is called Aidu-sensou, and it is a part of Boshin-sensou.
Since the lord of Aidu-han, Katamori Matsudaira had worked as protector of Kyoto during confusion between the old and the new forces, he commanded to kill many members of the new forces in Kyoto by Shinsengumi. So, there’s no choice for both of Aidu-han and new government to fight the final decisive battle in Northern Japan before the new-era.
The game uses card-driven mechanics. Each force conducts one action by using one of his cards. Both players have prepared hand of three cards and each turn each player draws one card from the common deck. Each card is split into 2 sides one for Eastern player (Aidu) the other for Western player. In each turn, Western player plays first and then Eastern player. After those, combat is conducted in every area where there are both forces.
Be careful that in this game player can conduct basically only movement during his action. Combat is separated from players’ actions and conducted all together at the end of turn. And in this system, once combat begin, if neither side is eliminated nor retreated, then it will resume at the end of next turn, since there will be both forces in that area.
Basically the Western force will advance from Kantou or Hokuriku area into Aidu area. So, basically the Western force must advance and win the battle. But, Aidu area is known for its difficult terrain. Their capital, Aidu-Wakamatsu is a basin surrounded by 6 ridges. Also, there are 3 castles around this area, and all are controlled by Aidu at start.
In this game, movement is not limited by movement factor. If either player decides to move one of his groups, it can advance until it enters ridge, castle, river or enemy-occupied area.
Combat is conducted by rolling 1 die for each participating unit simultaneously and if the roll is equal or less than the combat factor of the unit it inflicts one hit to enemy. Several units can roll 2 dice and several units (basically Western force) have 2 steps. But, most of Eastern units can roll only 1 die and has only 1 step. So, Western force is stronger.
But, in castle and ridge, the combat factor of attacker is reduced by one. This is a great benefit for defender. In castle, the inflicted hits are divided by 2 and fraction is dropped off. So, it is very hard to get the castle area. Usually it takes some turns to get.
The game ends when the deck is exhausted. The game has only 12 turns. So, the time is the toughest enemy for Western force.
Challenge for players
As described above, this is a challenge for Western player. Though they have stronger force, the time is limited and the terrain is really favorable for defenders.
But, there is a help. There are several cards which help Western force’s attack. The strongest one is “Emperor’s flag”. This card gives Western player an automatic victory in one area. This strength is out of rule. Even in castle with prepared force, it can get that area without any damage for attackers in one turn.
There are several other beneficial cards for Western force. So, he must carefully use these cards in critical situation. Then, there’s a possibility that he can win the game by conquering enough numbers of important defending positions.
The game is decided by comparing Eastern force’s moral with Western force’s victory points. Victory points are gained by controlling one of 5 important areas in Aidu. On the other hand, the moral starts at 2 and increased by several events such as sortie of Katamarori, or loss of main units of Western force.
Sortie of Katamori is one of the card events. Thus, if Western player draws this card there’s no chance for Katamori to sortie. The same is true for Emperor’s flag, if Eastern player draws this card, Western player must fight without this critical weapon.
Honestly speaking, this game is based on card drawing seriously. Several important cards are really critical. Since those cards are prepared in common deck, there’s only 50% to draw it for each player. And timing is also important. And each player can delay its use when he can draw it early in the game, since he has 3 cards hand. But, you cannot move up when you draw it late in the game.
So, every game is very different due to card drawing. And the game is really dramatic due to several critical cards. Even though the game tend to be decided by card luck, the play is really entertaining.
Since the game is more exciting when both players know what types of cards are available in the game, you must study the game for a while. But, one play is usually less than 2 hours. So, this is not a difficult task.