So it has been a long time since I have done a game review, but for X-mas this year Santa brought me an old favorite of mine, rebranded. Ikusa is a release from Wizards of the Coast that was originally known as Samurai Swords, and Shogun before that.
I have some fond memories of playing this game. It is a lot like risk, but with a little more strategy, but not so much that it is painful.
Here is the inside of the box. This is the wonderful organized view that you get before you actually unwrap everything.
Here is everything unwrapped all of the various pieces and what not, save the board and directions.
Here are your mans. Daimyo and his flag bearer, samurai, bowman, gunner, and spearman.
I really like the screen that each player gets, each screen has an amazing unique piece of art on it, I really appreciate details like that.
Individual player screens are always helpful which is why I am really in favor of them in general. Just having that little reminder shaves hours off of playtime for looking up rules and remembering the turn order.
Here are your castles which you can use to fortify positions.
And here are ronin that you can hire to shore up your numbers for your army. They are really helpful for surprise attacks.
Another strategic part of the game is kook (money) management. You can use it to buy your turn order, hire ninjas, and hire ronin. It is a really important element of the game. Keep your money behind your screen.
Here are your territory cards, very familiar from risk, they operate in a similar capacity.
I have noticed a trend that all rulebooks are these big floppy flimsy things now. They lay open easy but… not very lap friendly when the game table has all the space taken up.
And finally the game board… which is just a bit to big for my photo tent. Someday I will invest in a larger one.
Ok so… I may be a bit partial to Ikusa because, in general, my win rate is higher than in other military strategy games. Perhaps it is because I am that much more motivated to conquer Japan and control the supply of delicious snacks and anime.
So normally I would have more to type about a game but really it cannot be described better than Risk Japan+ some extra strategic elements, and really that is all you should need to tell someone before they go out and buy it.
So buy it.
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