Spiel 2014 Preview: Samurai Spirit

Posted by James (admin) on August 10th, 2014

Samurai Spirit gameI’m always interested in the games that Funforge create as their production quality is superb and I’ve liked a lot of what they’ve published, such as QuantumPony Express and Tokaido.  This year it’s a co-operative game called Samurai Spirits.

Up to 7 players each play a Samurai hero defending a village from some raiders.  The board shows a village with some barricades, farmsteads and families. On their turn, a player can choose to fight a raider, support another player, or pass.  When a player chooses to fight, they draw a raider card and either confront it (placing it on the right of their player board), or defend against it (placing it on the left of their board).  The total attack strength of all raiders on the right of a player’s board is marked on their ‘battle track’ and, if it equals the highest value, the player performs their character’s kiai ability.  The Kiai ability not only has a special effect but it also removes their earliest fought raider which usually results in the total attack strength going down.  If the total attack strength exceeds a player’s battle track, they have no choice other than to pass on their turn.

Defending against a raider places the raider card on the left of the player’s board – these are neutralised, but players are limited to one of each of the 3 types.  Also, a player suffers a penalty for each type they have not defended against at the end of a round.

Each player has a special power too, such as passing an even-numbered raider card to a neighbouring player.  If a player chooses the ‘Support’ action, they specify another player who can use their power on their turn.  However, this action means a raider card slips through to the village.

Samurai Spirit cards players Samurai Spirit cards players animals

The game is played over 3 rounds and a round ends when either the deck of raider cards is empty, or all players have passed.  The effects from any remaining raider cards and any intruders (showing which raiders have not been dealt with by the players this round) are resolved which can damage the village, restrict and/or injure players, etc.

If there is at least one family and one farmstead remaining, a new round begins.  Each new round adds some harder raiders.  If a player takes 2 wounds, they become enraged and turn into their animal aspects which have a longer battle track and better abilities.  However, if a player takes 4 wounds they are defeated and all the players lose the game.

Samurai Spirit box

It sounds like an interesting game of allocating raiders to ensure as few as possible get through to the village.  I can see that adding raiders to hit your Kiai ability is very useful but at the risk of being near your battle track’s limit to reach it.  Players will need to make good decisions and use their powers carefully to be victorious.

The playing time is short at 20-45 minutes which sounds like it will be a fast and light game.  It’s good that it plays from 1-7 players.  (I’m not keen on playing co-op games with more than 4 players as I find it usually results in some vocal players taking over and less vocal players become inactive participants – but that’s a matter of personal taste.)

The game is designed by Antoine Bauza who has had a lot of successes in his past having designed (or co-designed) games such as 7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, The Little Prince, RampagePony Express and Tokaido.  Based on Antoine Bauza’s Ghost Stories, I am assuming the harder difficulty levels will be very hard indeed.

You can read the rules, game details (and pre-order too) on Funforge’s game page using this link: bga.me/samuraispirit

For more Spiel 2014 previews, check out my Spiel 2014 Previews page which lists the games on my radar with links to their previews too.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>