• James

Foreigners and their Guns: Untitled Samurai Game Design Blog #1

The Sengoku Jidai or The Age Of Warring States (1467-1603) provides the backdrop for Stone Sword Games’ next project, the currently untitled Samurai Game.


As part of the game’s development, I’ve been putting in a huge number of hours reading about the period and personal accounts from the time which capture the real sense of change that was experienced both on the battlefield and domestically by the Japanese.


From the Western perspective, there is this sense that Japan was viewed as backwards (and obviously Godless). War fighting in Europe had moved on from the days of Agincourt, with its Knights in armour and massed ranks of long-bowmen, to a more tightly structured and professionally financed military climate. Consequently, to the Portuguese who first landed in 1453, Japanese warfare must have looked like something out of ancient history.


With the Portuguese came guns, Tanegashima, (no longer the simple Chinese types). This new and fearsome technology would go on to shake the very foundations of Feudal Japan and upset a delicate but entrenched power balance between lord and peasant which had existed for centuries.


Stone Sword's untitled Samurai Game will attempt to capture the feeling of this transition. The planned Campaign mode will allow you to trade with the Portuguese but with the caveat of introducing Jesuit missionaries into your provinces. These missionaries will mechanically help or hinder your plans depending on how strong their influence has become.


In the Campaign mode for the game, I’ve planned a menu of buildings in very much the same war Shogun Total War lets you upgrade your settlements. One of these buildings will be the Trade Port. Mechanically it feels right that this building can either be used normally, to trade and gather resources ...or to trade with the Foreigners in exchange for their guns!


Paul and I have experimented with musketeers in the core game and feel like they are at a good place right now. In my latest play-test with Paul, one unit of musketeers managed to chew through several units of Samurai through clever placement and some good rolls!


A huge amount of damage and morale shock can be achieved by using this unit at the right time and place in your battle-lines. Expose them too much however and they will be torn apart by Samurai!


Next week I'll be at the Leeds Royal Armoury, viewing their Japanese exhibit. I will also be showcasing an early campaign map prototype and musing over names! Until then, Sayōnara!

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