David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Sacred Drum of Onomoro

An unusual event here in GHQ with an evening game! Phil had to drop Di off in the city centre for the theatre and had three hours to kill before picking her up again, so we decided to use the time for a game. We can't actually remember when we last resorted to an evening for a game. Odd how life's changes sneak by without you noticing them as you get older. I decided on a return to Japan in the Age of Wars for our game and set up the table with four objectives held by Onomoro for Shiro Komodorisai's forces to take ~

Half on Onomoro's force starts on table around their master's home, and half starts off table, like Shiro Komodorisai's force on the opposite table edge entering on the road on their card being drawn, although the 'Tea Ceremnony'/End of Turn card put a stop to that in the first turn!

The main hero and his loyal Samurai retainers have four and three cards respectively in the game deck so, as befitting their status, they are much more likely to be at the forefront of the action. Onomoro and his loyal Samurai retainers are attacked by Shiro Komodorisai's  Samurai early in the game as they attempt to defend the Sacred Drum ~

While the lowly Ashigaru {and any peasants in the game} have only one card in the game deck and so approach the action in a more measured {or reluctant} way. One of Onomoro's units armed with long spears is making for the temple enclosure to head off any attempt to seize the main objective of the sacred drum ~

As the picture above also shows, Shiro Komodorisai's  Ashigaru armed with bow and teppo have made it onto the low rise overlooking the temple precinct, thanks to excellent card draw sequences for them, while most of Onomoro's men are still trying to get into position. The spearmen in the Temple precinct are all that stands between the enemy and the sacred drum, the main objective of the game ~

Both sides are struggling to control the approaches to the Temple's main gates and to Onomoro's home, where the three lesser objective of weapons are located. Shiro Komodorisai's Ashigaru have joined the ongoing combat, as have Onomoro's, and confusion is all around ~

Each figure in the game can sustain a number of wounds before being removed. They are not 'killed' of course, merely too badly injured to continue the action. Both side's Ashigaru, having lost 50% of their strength in combat have to test their courage and, unsurprisingly they fail! They flee from combat, although each turn without contact with an enemy allows them to rally and recover their courage (although not in this game as it happens!) Soon Onomoro finds himself alone facing his nemesis ~

Although the main hero of each side can stand five wounds before his courage fails and his Samurai retainers three wounds, the odds are stacked against Onomoro now as a third Samurai attacks him ~

Our hero already has three wounds from the ongoing combat but faces his fate with courage as you'd expect. In the meantime, Shiro Komodorisai's other spearmen have been approaching the side gate to the Temple precincts ~

However, they need not fear entering into combat as Onomoro is finally struck down ~

With their Lord and Master removed from the game all remaining units must immediately test their Courage against their rating to determine if they will continue the fight! With Onomoro's Samurai and three units of Ashigaru already out of action its really a foregone conclusion and of course the remaining unit in the Temple to defend the drum also flee! A decisive win for Shiro Komodorisai and his force.
The figures are all from my small collection and are from the Museum Miniature's range. Most of the buildings are from John Jenkins Designs, although the small wayside shrine is from an Aquarium range at a local garden centre.
The rules use Dx10s for the hero, Dx8s for the Samurai retainers and Dx6s for the rest in combat or firing, and for all figures when calculating movement variables. They are progressing nicely we feel and give a fast flowing game, in this case lasting about an hour and three quarters, with a feel for the action rather like the classic films of Japan's age of the Samurai. There's a lot more work to do still, but I'm hopeful they will be ready in 2015. We shall see, as the wise man would say...


  1. all looking rather splendid Bickley san

  2. Twas a rather splendid set to, full of cinematic action, not having to plough thru endless charts and abilities to get combat results made it all very fast flowing.

  3. Hi Dave, great looking game. Put me down for a copy of the rules next year :-) Cheers, Norman

    1. Thanks, Norman. I'll certainly send you a copy in due course.