Home Forums Renaissance Japan. Massed battle rules in the Age of War

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    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    Is what I’m looking for, so any recommendations?

    Not card driven (sorry KK fans)

    Not euro-centric rules with  exotic  ‘forrin’ armies tacked on. Although George Gush’s 1450-1720 rules seemed to handle Meso-American troops quite well, back in the day, Japan is a different kettle of sushi.

    I’m leaning towards PP’s Battles in the Age of War. A few trivial things give me pause, some PP rules have editing issues (I’m trying to be kind), and the cover of the rulebook is something only a mother could love, some of the rule ‘features’ seem as if they’d get in the way of the flow of the game – issuing and resolving personal challenges? Nah. Plus one not so trivial thing; if I want to buy the PDF, I have to email you to tell you that I’ve bought them, and pretty please use <insert name> as a watermark if it’s acceptable? That ain’t happening mate.

    So, with the above provisos/moans/prejudices, any other rules I should be looking at?

    Ta muchly : x


    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    Although it has the name “fantastic” in there, Fantastic Battles has a lot of what you want if you leave out the magical parts. In fact there are historical armies in there and one imagines you could use it easily to do what you want. And it’s available in PDF and print.

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    I’m in the middle of building a miniatures version of Command & Colors Samurai using 3″ hexes magnetized on a couple of 2’x3’26 gauge steel sheets and Baccus 6mm Samurai. The Command & Colors system for the Sengoku period gives a fairly simplified approach that may not satisfy if you want a really deep dive but it is flavorful with an emphasis on leadership and morale a bit heavier than in their ancients or medieval games.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photohammurabi70

    You could ask USAGITSUKI for a copy of his TENKA FUBU rules.  I shall want a good set of rules when I finally get my Baccus 6mm samurai done.

    www.olivercromwell.org; www.battlefieldstrust.com
    6mm wargames group: [email protected]; 2mm wargames group: [email protected]

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    The Tenka Fubu rules need a copy of For King and Parliament to play them. These are a square gridded base system if that bothers you. They also use cards rather than dice.

    Tenka Fubu use Sonae as the basic units so there are no separate weapons based units – no teppo, no yari, no naginata no bows etc. They can all  be represented by figures, but make no difference to combat – save the firepower value for the unit which makes for some differentiation by the numbers of teppo present in the unit.

    It’s a fairly high level of abstraction but is trying to represent one interpretation of combat in that milieu rather than a generic renaissance set.

    Having said that it reminds me of P&S sets like Twilight of Divine Right where there is one base per unit of mixed pike and shot and the fighting values reflect the different mixes of the two. With Sonae in Tenka Fubu they may as well all be yari for melee because there is no differentiation by melee weapon type. Also if you are looking for named Samurai or number of Samurai to make a difference TF isn’t really bothered, the level is higher than that. Busho act as leaders of groups of Sonae and can add leadership benefits if attached,  but there seems no provision for katana wielding Musashis within the Sonae – sorry. (probably a good thing?)


    Avatar photoUsagitsuki

    Tenka Fubu is free to download from my ‘blog.


    You will need a copy of either ‘For King and Parliament’ or ‘To the Strongest’ to play it. I used so much of Simon’s rules for the movement and combat that I didn’t think it was fair to reproduce all of it for a free set. As much as anything, it’s there to possibly give people some ideas to help create or modify there own rules. The rules use a chit-drawing activation and is played on a grid, and both of those can be unpopular with some players.

    I actually quite like Peter Pig’s BAW set, and I might go back to it for smaller battles where the basic unit is 100 men or so. I’m currently working on a set for smaller battles using a K+P/TtS base again, but I might revert to something based on BAW. Personal challenges in BAW can be very ‘gamey,’ (as well as not being remotely historical IMO) and I’d just ignore them.

    I did a report on a test game of BAW I did a while back here:

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    Ok, thanks everybody.

    Some thoughts.

    There doesn’t seem to be much out there apart from the old favourites. I’ve got a copy of BAW on order, so we’ll see.

    The point about mixed units is important, especially for ashigaru. I’ve toyed with the idea of adapting the mixed pike and shot bases in Pete Berry’s ‘Forlorn Hope’ into another set of rules.

    Samurai had mostly moved on from being bow armed to adopting stabby-slashy weapons. There might be a case for differentiation of yari/naginata, but having used both I think they could just be classed as ‘polearms’. Especially as yari was more popular than naginata in the the Sengoku-jidai.  The nagae-yari sometimes carried by ashigaru probably needs a separate rule though.

    ‘Units’ of ronin, nah. They were swords for hire, and individuals of doubtful loyalty, so you shoved them in the clan samurai ranks the better to keep an eye on them.

    ‘Sonae’ is problematic term. It could be compared to a Western knight, his retinue, foot soldiers, and hangers on and would probably number less than a thousand men. Whether 30 samurai cavalry, 150 samurai foot, 300 ashigaru of all types and the logistics tail could be represented by a single element is an abstraction too far for me.


    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoKitfox

    I used to use a set of rules called Daimyo which were published free online by Ian Duncan.  They were quite old school (lots of modifiers and a few tables) but all in all I quite enjoyed working with them.  I think you can still find them online in an archive website if you do a quick Google search.


    Death to all fanatics!

    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage

    I’ve got Daimyo on a USB stick somewhere. Wouldn’t call them ‘Old School’, more ‘typically 80s’ 🙂

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Some people aren’t as old as some of us, and neither is their skool.

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