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Sunday, 25 September 2016
Night of the Ninja
I had a cracking solo game of Samurai Blades this afternoon, as the sprog had homework and guitar practice to do so was 'hors de combat'. The scenario was 'Night of the Ninja' in which a team of five of the eponymous assassins attempt to infiltrate the night time camp of a rebel daimyo on the orders of the shogun in order to bump him off. The defenders consist of the traitorous daimyo, Misakado, his five samurai bodyguard and three naginata armed ashigaru retainers.
The ninja are to all intents and purposes invisible unless they enter an illuminated hex next to a lantern, try to kill a defender and fail or extinguish a lantern using their shuriken. The defenders cannot take any actions until the alarm is raised as a result of one of these events occurring, which means that the first three or four turns of the game consisted of the ninjas sneaking up to the village. The river was the only major obstacle to their approach but they were able to wade across in two places without being detected.
The first casualty of the night was the samurai Kiyomari, who was killed by a well aimed shuriken thrown by the ninja Tokimasa whilst he was stealthily fording the river. This went undetected by the defenders, which allowed the other ninja team of Matsuo and Yorikasa to make a silent approach to one of the village huts, the one in which Misakado was sleeping, although this wasn't known until Yorikasa peered through the window. In the scenario, Misakado is undressed so must put his armour back on in order to defend himself.
One of the ashigaru, Shinkuro, was standing right behind this window so the alarm went off and the defenders began to rush toward the hut to protect their lord. Misakado started to get dressed at this point, as he was in his underpants and really didn't fancy being bumped off without his armour on. Yorikasa now found himself surrounded and was wounded by one of the other ashigaru, Yoshitaka, as he had nowhere to retreat to after combat. Things were looking a bit sticky for the ninja but not for long!
However, the defenders now found themselves facing five slighty irate tooled up ninjas, who in true ninja stylee started to whizz shuriken in several directions followed by some fancy swordplay. This left both Shinkuro and Yoshitaka very much dead, followed by the their fellow ashigaru, Masatsura, and the samurai Yoshimitsu, who were both badly wounded. The samurai fought back but didn't manage to inflict even a scratch on either Yorikasa or Matsuo, whilst the other ninja team swiftly approached unseen from the flank.
In the final bloodbath, the ninjas launched a well coordinated surprise attack from behind, bursting through the door of the hut to cut down Lord Misakado, just as he laced up the last bit of his armour, and to take out Yoshimitsu in a hail of shuriken. Meanwhile, outside in the dark the ninja team of Matsuo and Masazumi finished off everyone else with well aimed razor sharp poisoned darts, while the wounded Yorikasa made his escape round the back of the building. With no one left alive from Lord Misakado's retinue, the ninjas disappeared into the night as silently as they arrived.
What a great scenario! I've played it many times before but a long time ago, so it was really good fun to dust off this classic for a re-play. I will definitely be playing some more games of Samurai Blades and Cry Havoc over the next few weeks, when I get the time. It's a shame it is out of print but you can download all of the rules, counters and maps from the Cry Havoc Fan website if you want to give it a try. It's a bit old school but none the worse for that, so I like it!