Rule As Sci-Fi Shogun In Starship Samurai Expansion

August 30, 2018 by cassn

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It's a giant space battle with Japanese samurai-robot-mechs.  This is going to be epic.

In Starship Samurai, you are the leader of an impressive clan, trying to sway control over the many worlds of your galaxy by recruiting smaller clans to your banner.  Unfortunately, other clans have the same idea and what you cannot take with power and influence, you have decided to take by force.  Prepare the ships, it's time for a space battle.

Players are equipped with one carrier ship, eight fighter ships, and two samurai mechs at the beginning of the game.  Mechs are chosen through a simple card drafting system to ensure fairness.  The mech cards have the damage power on the top of the card, and a special ability which can be activated on the bottom.

There are four worlds open for control during each round by surrounding them with powerful ships or samurai mechs.  Although mechs are unsurprisingly the strongest (and therefore most effective) fighting units, wealth can also be used to boost the power of a ship.  Samurais can also destroy a ship surrounding a planet and take its place to seize control.

Players can complete four actions on their turn; move, gain wealth, draw cards and move allegiance tokens, and the mechanic of movement is incredibly interesting.

Players are provided with four tokens, numbered 1-4, and can place these in any slot (including multiple tokens in one slot) on their action board to take that amount of action.

For example, if a player places a 3 beside draw cards, they can draw three cards, or a 4 beside the movement action slot allows the player to move 4 spaces.  However, placing multiple tokens in one slot is tactically valuable when it comes to moving the influence track of smaller clans.

The influence track contains the smaller clans who you try and sway to your cause.  By gaining influence through actions, control or card, players can move the clans up and down their - and their competitors - influence tracks.

Influence is worth significant victory points, so the more clans you heavily influence, the greater your chance of success.  There are also extra tactics to get other clans on your side, such as playing the wedding card, which marries one clan to another.

The game is over when the world cards have all been played.  This is also a surprisingly short game - roughly an hour to play through - because the mechanic allows for constant, aggressive action.

This is definitely a game for the more competitive gamers out there.  It may leave a few people sad that they have been picked on during play, but for the ruthless among us, this is survival of the fittest.

This is a battle royale with a difference.  I love Plaid Hat Games, and I have so much genuine love and respect for Isaac Vega, the man behind the boards.

He's previously been responsible for Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game and Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.  Both are excellent games of the highest quality in mechanic, aesthetic and narrative.  This doesn't look to deviate from that legacy.

The artwork is absolutely stunning from Gunship Revolution, and they should be incredibly proud of the end result.  The miniatures are decent for board gaming standards - designed by Luigi Terzi, made from a durable plastic, fairly well-detailed and able to be easily primed and painted.

Overall, this is yet another game to add to my huge wishlist of board games but, with quality like this, I think Starship Samurai may jump to the front of the queue. Available now from Plaid Hat Games.

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"Definitely a game for the more competitive gamers out there.  It may leave a few people sad that they have been picked on during play, but for the ruthless among us, this is survival of the fittest."

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