April 20, 2024

#UnboxingDay ~ Battle of Sekigahara by The Historical Game Company

Marc M, 21 March 2024 ~ #UnboxingDay

Battle of Sekigahara is a new two-player strategy game from designer Stephen L. King Jr., published by The Historical Game Company LLC. and printed by Blue Panther Games LLC. Battle of Sekigahara takes you back to Japan in 1600, representing the battle for control of feudal Japan between the Eastern Army of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari’s Western Army.

The front box cover of Battle of Sekigahara.
A portion of a six-panel painting of the historic battle forms the cover image for Battle of Sekigahara.

 

click images to enlarge

The Game Box

Battle of Sekigahara comes in a relatively compact package: a 1-inch-thick box complete with just a few pages of instructions, a half-sheet of counters, a small game map, two decks of game cards and a six-sided die.

The front and back covers of the box for Battle of Sekigahara, showing a painting and game elements.
Battle of Sekigahara is a two-player, card-driven game that pits two armies against each other for control of feudal Japan.

 

On the box cover, an excerpt from a six-panel folding screen painting of the armies engaged in the Battle of Sekigahara sets the mood for the game. The back of the boxes gives a preview of the components.

 

The Manual

The box bills this strategy game as easy to learn and play, and, upon opening the box, the four-page color manual underscores this. The font is easy to read, and the images are clear and easy to interpret.

The game manual is only four pages long, with about three pages of actual instruction.
The game manual is only four pages long, with about three pages of actual instruction.

 

The back of the manual with a terrain effects chart, credits and resources for further reading.
Page four of the manual includes a terrain effects chart, credits and resources for further reading.

 

In fact, the manual contains only about three pages of actual instructions, with the last page functioning primarily as a terrain effects chart along with a listing of credits and suggestions for further reading on this historical battle.

 

The Game Counters

The roughly half sheet of 5/7-inch counters is printed on thick cardboard with semi-glossy, textured front and back surfaces.

The counter sheet for Battle of Sekigahara on top of the manual and game box.
There aren’t many counters, but there are several types of units and four different groups.

 

The 63 unit counters represent cavalry, samurai infantry and units armed with matchlock guns, as well as bowmen and spearmen. Eastern Army units are white on black with Western Army units black on white. There are also a handful of counters representing allies of the Western Army and units that one side or the other might control, depending on gameplay. In addition, there are a few administrative counters.

A close-up of Eastern and Western units in hexes on the game board.
Calvary, shogun infantry, matchlock gunners, bowman and spearman are all represented.

 

The Game Cards

This is a card-driven game, with movement and combat playing out depending on the cards each side draws from their individual decks of cards. The cards tell the combatants how many units can move and attack each turn, as well as special actions that occur. The 20 cards (10 per side) have colorful illustrations that fit the time period and theme and are the same size and weight as typical playing cards.

Black and white gameplay cards on top of unit counters, a manual and game box.
Eastern and Western Armies each have their own deck of cards providing movement and attack capabilities as well as special instructions.

 

 

The Game Map

And finally, the game map is actually a game mat. It’s pliable and, like the counters, has a nice texture. It’s also got a small footprint – just under 11 inches high by 17 inches wide. About 13 inches of that width is play area, with the remaining area reserved for the turn track and spaces for eliminated counters.

A close-up of the game map showing detail of the town of Sekigahara.
The stylized game map is just under 11 by 17 inches and has setup icons as well as the turn track.

 

Terrain illustrations are simple but effective representations of the area around the town of Sekigahara. The illustration style works well with the topic. The small size of the map is a very nice feature for someone who doesn’t have readily available table space to stitch together a couple of 2-foot by 3-foot boards.

 

The town of Sekigahara forms the center of the game map.
A close-up of the game map showing detail of the town of Sekigahara.

 

The Setup

The map indicates starting areas. The icons for different units are a bit small (for my eyes anyway), so take a close look to distinguish between the spearman and the units bearing the matchlocks. After a few minutes of setup, you’re ready to recreate the Battle Sekigahara. Playtime is billed as around 90 minutes, so this is potentially a game you could learn, set up and play in an evening.

Battle Sekigahara set up and ready to play on the game board with counters, cards and a die.
With a low number of counters, the game sets up relatively quickly.

 

 


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