Turn 17 -
Oda: I start by setting fire to the Enryaku-Ji temple, removing it from the game. Araki takes on the Takeda units in Takato, forcing Mike to have to consider whether or not to pull Shingen back or not.
Ikko-Ikki: Mike moves units around, going after Shoru-Ji. He also inadvertently shows that he has a Betrayal card that would screw me royally in Kyo.
Takeda: Mike moves a stack into Iida that puts Araki OOS, but also leaves Shingen with a smaller stack that I might exploit.
Mori: Mike rolls a 1, and can only advance Takagawa forward one space into a transit point.
Shingen: Mike advances the exploiting units into Toki. However, they are very vulnerable, although Mike now has a bunch of cards he's taken this turn.
Uesugi: Mike advances into Oyama, assaults the space, but no joy for either side in terms of creating losses.
Kenshin: Kenshin isn't able to take Oyama, but does take Daisho-Ji, and is now poised to come after Nobunaga.
Nobunaga: I take the last unit in Miki, and then run Tokugawa against Shingen. Sadly, Tokugawa is wiped out to the last man, and the Daimyo won't be back for a couple of turns. Mike will have two turns to take Hamamatsu to take Tokugawa out, which may be the shootin' match. I also Move Niwa over to Kyo to prevent too much damage.
Anti-Oda: Mike has Tsutsui betray (fooled me into thinking it was in Kyo), gets another card. He also brings the remainder of his "exiled" units across the Bay of Kawachi over to Noda.
End Turn: No deaths. I get card #58, which I'm very unlikely to use in the near future, although I can sneak in to Ishiyama that would be *sweet*. My regroup is in the north to hold off Takeda.
Turn 18 -
Takeda: Now I pray that Tokugawa can hold out for at least one turn. Thank goodness the conversion attempt fails. He also rolls a six, so that's bad. My forces hold out for the impulse.
Kenshin: Movement roll is 3. They advance into Asakaga space with a small number of units. I will need to kick some Asakaga ass soon if I want to take on the Uesugi. Assault on Daisho-Ji is successful, and Mike has a direct line to my lines.
Uesugi: Movement roll of two, which is a huge problem because now he has two alliances sitting in Kanagasaki. Kind of wish I'd gone after Asakaga instead of Shingen...
Oda: I go after both Mori and the Ikko-Ikki besieging Shoryu-Ji. The former fails with me losing three to one units, but I get away. The latter does better, but at high cost: 3:4 losses.
Shingen: Tokugawa Falls! Crap.
Anti-Oda Minors: Bad to worse. Mike converts Araki and I'm officially in serious trouble. He also moves Ashikaga into Kyo to press the issue against Nwa. Nwa gets initiative in the first round but can't get more than one loss, then loses his entire force and is lightly wounded. Kyo for the Anti-Oda faction.
Askura: Yoshikage goes after Nobunaga in Odani, but Nobu hangs on (barely) and will need to retreat back to his home areas. A Pyhrric victory by any standard for me.
Nobunaga: Regroup in force with pretty much everyone who can move back to Sawayama. Nobunaga will be playing a very delicate game at this point, but victory is not completely out of the question. Just almost out of the question.
Mori: Mike does some damage to Takigawa, but not enough and he escapes with a unit to Miyazu.
End Turn: I do get five units to regroup with, but no more card. Things will be grim for a couple of turns, I'm afraid.
Turn 19 -
End of Turn: I think I'm happy about this, it allows me to reinforce Oda, while Mike doesn't have nearly as many units to regroup. No one dies. Dang.
Turn 20 -
End Turn: See last turn!
Turn 21 -
Kenshin: Kenshin takes the speed bump at Odani out, Nobunaga is all that stands between him and victory!
Ikko-Ikki: The warrior monks run amok over the southern area around Kyo.
Takeda: Move roll of 5. I am missing that Kyo bonus right about now. Shingen moves down the eastern coast and sieges Okasaki.
Uesugi: Grim, grim, grim. At least Kenshin didn't take Nobunaga out. Yet.
Shingen: Shingen converts the unit in Okazaki, who dies at the hands of his former Samurai. He then assaults the castle, and it falls without further losses to Takeda.
End Turn: Time keeps ticking. On the plus side, most of my units are on the board. Just no leaders.
Turn 22 -
Oda: Only two movement allows me to move Nobunaga back, where he can start thinking about taking out the Anti-Oda forces one piece at a time, but it will be a struggle.
End Turn: A miracle - Kenshin dies! That means one less Uesugi activation, which isn't huge but could be.
Turn 23 -
Ikko-Ikki: Mike ninja's my Hosokawa Betrayal card, which means that minor Oda clan will go over to his side as soon as he can get Anti-Oda Minors. The Ikko-Ikki take over a very large chunk of the board and start picking at my units, the first ones in Ise Kameyama.
Asakura: Yoshikage starts moving on the isolated units at Mt. Hiei.
Mori: One unit in Izushi is converted, and in the ensuing castle battle my unit is killed. Mori also converts another Minor Neutral in the east.
Nobunaga: Move roll of 1, I pull Hosokawa back a space to make his betrayal that much more difficult.
End Turn: Shingen lives. My entire force is now on the board, but I don't think it will help much. Without mobility most of my units can't do much of anything, and a 1-2 doesn't get Nobunaga even vaguely close to taking out my enemies piecemeal.
Turn 24 -
Anti-Oda Minors: More cards from Mike. Sakuma converts in Mt. Hiei. Such fond memories of the fire at the temple, too.
Oda: I am out of options, so with a roll of 3 I can get to Uesugi's stack, but only with eight units. Mike pulls out Massed Gunnery and I go down like a Einsteinium duck. Nobunaga is killed, and I concede the game.
Post Game Commentary:
First off, what a great game. While I had my share of unfortunate luck, and one really dumb move with allowing Ashikaga to steal a stack of units that he shouldn't have been able to get, I felt my play was not too bad, although not aggressive enough in some cases. Had I been able to finish off Shingen after Nobunaga nearly wiped him out, that would have helped as Tokugawa would have been a very valuable ally as a Daimyo. I certainly would have gained some cycles and Mike would have lost some.
We found the Good Fortune chit to be a non-starter. I used it once (we modified it so that you could repull a chit and the opposing player didn't get it's use until the following turn regardless), so it wasn't much of a factor. Mike held it the remainder of the game, in fact. I would simply avoid using it.
I have heard that Oda is a hard side to play and win with, and I think that's true. Most of the Betrayal cards affect their Samurai, and even with those cards in your hand every time you step up to the plate for a battle you are risking a lot. The key is extremely aggressive play early to take out as many enemy clans as possible, not only to limit your opponent's options, but to increase your regroup rate. Like Napoleon centuries later, Nobunaga's best bet it to take the other clans out piecemeal and trust that you will get enough regroup units to mitigate your losses.
One really critical tactic in the game is to pin enemy units with a threat in concept so that they can't move or else risk going out of supply. Of course, there are times when you have improved chances of getting a double move, but it is *never* guaranteed unless you use the Good Fortune chit or the Brilliant Manuever card. Good reasons to hang onto that card.
Mike's strategy of going after the minor Oda clans in the mid-east section of the board was wise, although I think he probably sat on the Anti-Oda Minors once Mysagi had been exiled off Honshu for several turns. It would have been better to drag those units over to the mainland every chance he could. Otherwise, well played on his part.
Chaos is most definitely a huge factor in the game. There are a *lot* of die rolls, and how they come out will play a large part in any victory (or loss). That said, the chaos of the cards and the chances of going in with a small force and decisively beating a much larger force makes for great story as well as being very historical. The game should be played with honor, which to my mind means in the spirit of the era, and the game has that in spades.
Congratulations to Mike for a well-earned win.