Sekigahara is a three-hour, low-complexity block wargame based on Tokugawa's campaign in 1600 that would unify Japan for over 250 years.
The game features some unusual mechanisms:
-No dice are used; combat is decided with cards. Blocks = armies & cards = motivation. The combination of army and motivation produces impact on the battlefield. Armies without matching cards don't fight.
- Legitimacy is represented by hand size, which fluctuates each week according to the number of castles a player holds. Certain events deplete legitimacy, like force marches and lost battles.
-The initial setup is variable, so the situation is always fresh. Concealed information (blocks and cards) lends additional uncertainty. In this way it 'feels' something like an actual campaign.
-Each player must rally the several daimyo of his coalition, managing the morale and motivation of each clan. The forces are dispersed, and while there are reasons to unify them, the objectives are also dispersed (and the time frame compact) so skirmishing will occur all over the island.
119 wooden pieces
1 and 1/2 sticker sheets
Two player aid cards
Designer's Synopsis of How This Game is Different from Others on Feudal Japan:"Sekigahara is a simple 3-hour block game based on the campaign in 1600 that unified Japan. Hidden information on blocks & cards, but no dice. Cards are not events (this isn’t a typical “card-driven wargame”) but rather motivation (suited by clan). Units fight only when a matching card is produced."
(1) A lot of ‘game’ in 3 hours: many decisions, historical feel. The mechanics are really simple. Feels more like the event in question than most 3-hour wargames. Doesn’t bog down.
(2) Elegant graphical design. Japanese kanji and symbology; minimalism in blocks, board and cards. Mark Mahaffey has done amazing work.
(3) ‘Randomization’ subordinated to uncertainty. Plays like poker sometimes. You know how strong you’ll be in a hypothetical battle, and your opponent knows how strong he/she will be, so you read each others’ actions to gauge whether you want to initiate it.
(4) Double game being played: (a) units in position, (b) units motivated enough to fight. Most games would be all about (a) and leave (b) to the dice, but here you know in advance the effectiveness of your troops, by looking at your cards. The game is true to history in this regard (the campaign turned on defections & abstentions). Unit combat performance was too essential to the outcome of this campaign to leave to the dice.
(5) The combat system, with hidden forces and sequential deployments, is novel. Christophe Sancy made a great graphical illustration of a climactic combat sequence. It’s posted on Boardgame Geek at : http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/download/28946/Sekillustrated2.pdf
DESIGNER: Matthew Calkins
MAP & BLOCK ART: Mark Mahaffey
RULES LAYOUT: Neil Randall
PACKAGE ART: Rodger B. MacGowan
PRODUCERS: Andy Lewis, Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Gene Billingsley & Mark Simonitch