Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

Offside Reviews of “Akiyoshi Monogatari” and “Brothers in Arms” by Mukul Patel

Akiyoshi Monogatari

I enjoyed the meeting but a bit tricky with the WiFi in the hall. So our dear comrades from the continent were cut off. I was looking forward to having this hybrid type session to see how it works. My conclusion. it reinforces my perception of being a fuddy duddy who cannot work newish technology. I hope we can make it work in the future.

We then had a fight between using Jim Wallman’s rules set in the early urban warfare of the Onin wars of the late 1400’s Japan. We used a very nice terrain lots of houses, a mansion, Zen gardens with a carp pool, and lovely canals, but the best by far was the sand/rock garden in the Minatoro mansion. Ewan san did a very good job with it. It was thus interesting to see that it featured strongly the briefing of the Minatoro clan, perhaps that are not the awful without any merit figures that I thought they were.

It was great use a physical terrain, play with the toy soldiers, and get tape measures out again. This was my first physical meeting since lockdown, so I was quite excited.

The scenario, the great clan of Akiyoshi seeking revenge upon the despicable, dishonourable, and nearly unmentionables of the Minatoro clan who had assaulted our main mansion a few weeks ago, (last year in at the start of the Covid lockdown).

We used a fairly simple set of one brain cell rules. The hardest bit was doing fairly technical things using a simple rule set. The two best bits was watching Dave Takanori Boundy force a Minatoro to run from a personal combat outside the main gates of their mansion, and that was even after he got caught in some very spectacle crossfire between some samurai archers. Takanori looked a pincushion, it suited him. A Brave honourable wise General.

The other good thing was Ewan forcing the gates of the mansion against the odds with what some might say spectacular luck, and not applying the rules, even one brain cell rules can be complicated!

“Brothers in Arms”

The other game was a play test / run through of Andrew’s “A Bastard Comes”.  He chose a nice quiet place in the British Isles, Wales, a Celtic idyll in 1066, where nothing much happens. We played out a full year and I thought the asymmetric warfare worked well. Players had proper choices and politics was important. This venerable series of games, 20 to 30 years old, nearly always feature an inevitable betrayal, but this time it was from the umpire! Didn’t see that coming, Dave.

The actual mechanics of the game seemed to work very well to me. Andrew Hadley wanted mechanics that could do big battles, political stuff and asymmetric warfare – small-beer  warbands causing a nuisance or much worse to a big-wigs.  Andrew thought his assumptions needed more writing down but the players seemed to get the hang it all pretty well. The four Welsh men did alright and none of us died. I thought the asymmetric warfare system worked great. A tip: always choose to play, in of these tryouts and run-throughs.

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