The year is 1336. Japan’s emperor has lost all authority and is little more than a figurehead. Across the country, powerful lords called daimyo have risen up and begun to claim dominion over the land and its resources. But all true paths to power depend upon the service of the elite, noble warriors known as samurai.
Samurai is the beloved tile placement game by Reiner Knizia set in feudal Japan. Two to four players assume the roles of ambitious daimyo competing for control of the nation. To rise above your rivals and influence the nation's cities and villages to your cause, you must prove you can lead their people. Through the strategic placement of tiles, you can establish your sway over lesser lords, the production of rice, and the region's religious leaders. Sometimes, though, even these won't be enough to establish your dominance, and to cement your claim, you must send in your samurai.
This edition of Samurai maintains the game’s original mechanics while updating it with beautifully sculpted game pieces, new leader tokens to aid in scoring, and all-new art and graphic design that draw upon traditional Japanese styles.
The year is 1336, and the failure of the Kenmu Restoration has plunged feudal Japan into a time of constant war and shifting loyalties. Across the country, powerful lords called daimyo have begun claiming dominion over the land and its resources. Central to their ambitious bids for power are the loyalties of their skilled warriors, the samurai.
Samurai is a much-beloved tile-placement game for two to four players by renowned designer, Reiner Knizia. You and your opponents assume the roles of ambitious daimyo, vying for dominance in feudal Japan.
Through the strategic placement of tiles, you establish your sway over lesser lords, the production of rice, and the region's religious leaders. Sometimes, though, even these won't be enough to establish your dominance, and to cement your position, you must send in your samurai!
In Samurai, Japan's four main islands are presented on a detailed, modular game board that is divided into three main sections. In a two-player game, you and your opponent compete for dominion over Honshu. As more players contest your dominance, the board grows. The struggles between three players spill southward from Honshu to Shikoku and Kyushu, and the contests between four players, finally, also extend northward to Hokkaido. Each of these islands are further divided into numerous hexagonal spaces, each of which belongs to one of three types: Settlement, Land, and Sea.
At the beginning of the game, you and your opponents place a number of caste pieces on the board, taking turns to distribute them among the nation's settlements. There are three types of caste pieces, each of which represents a key group of people whom you must win to your cause.
The Buddha caste piece represents religious leaders and religious influence.
The rice caste piece represents rice farmers and the rice they produce.
The castle caste piece represents lesser lords and the military strength they can lend to your cause.
Once you've placed all the game's caste pieces on the map, you must then devise some strategy to win them. At the end of the game, whichever player has won the most pieces from a given caste is the leader of that caste, and the player who has won the most castes is the winning daimyo.
Secure Your Defenses. Prey Upon Weakness.
The rules of Samurai take only minutes to learn, but the game's strategies may take a lifetime to master.
Each turn, you can play one tile from your hand to an empty land space. The tiles you place then support your claim to the matching resources within adjacent settlements.
A Buddha tile adds its numerical value toward any attempt to influence a religion caste piece.
A rice tile adds its numerical value toward any attempt to influence a commerce caste piece.
A castle tile adds its numerical value toward any attempt to influence a military caste piece.
As soon as someone places a tile into the last unoccupied land space adjacent to a settlement, that settlement is considered captured, and the players determine who wins its caste pieces, resolving the capture of each caste piece separately.
For example, in a four-player game, the red player may place a two-influence rice tile into the last unoccupied land space adjacent to a city with both a Buddha caste piece and a rice caste piece. This captures the city, and the players check to see who has the most influence for each of its caste pieces. The red player has the only adjacent tile with an influence value that can be applied toward the rice caste piece, so he wins it.
The red player places a rice tile worth two influence in the last empty land space adjacent to the city, securing the most rice influence and winning its rice caste piece.
However, both the gold and purple players have four religious influence in adjacent spaces while the green player can count three religious influence toward the caste piece. Because the gold and purple players tie, no one scores the caste piece, and it is removed from the game. In one fell swoop, then, the red player has managed to seize a valuable rice caste piece and ensure that no one else secured the Buddha caste piece.
Next, the players resolve the capture of the Buddha caste piece. Because the gold and purple players have tied for the most influence at four, no one wins the caste piece, and it is removed from the board.
In Samurai, the strategic and well-timed deployment of your tiles is everything, and there are always opportunities for you to bait your opponents into traps and to strike swiftly and decisively once they've exposed their weaknesses.
Much of your ability to set traps and surprise your foes revolves around your use of the game's three wild tiles: Samurai, Ronin, and Ship.
From left to right: samurai, ronin, and ship tiles.
While basic tiles add their influence to one type of caste only, each of these tiles adds its influence to all the different castes within a settlement. Moreover, the ship tile is the only type of tile that can be placed in a sea space, and the ship and ronin tiles both bear the red "fast" symbol, meaning they don't count against your limit of one tile placement per turn. Accordingly, if you identity that your opponent has placed a valuable settlement within striking distance, you can use these valuable tiles to charge forward for a timely capture!
For example, in a four-player game, if your opponent places a three-influence Buddha tile next to a settlement that contains both a Buddha and rice caste piece, you can swoop in with a four-influence Buddha tile to win the Buddha caste piece. However, if you first place a Ronin tile below the settlement to the right of the space where you plan to place your Buddha tile, then both settlements are surrounded on the same move, and you can win two Buddha caste pieces with one clean blow!
After the green player places a Buddha tile worth three influence, the gold player can surround both nearby settlements by placing two tiles.
First, he places a Ronin tile worth one influence below the village with a single Buddha caste piece.
Then, because the Ronin tile is "fast" and doesn't prevent him from playing another tile, he places a Buddha tile worth four influence between the two settlements, surrounding them both. He wins both Buddha cast pieces, but the red player wins the rice caste piece with her two rice influence.
Establish Your Strength in Feudal Japan
Travel back to a Japan being torn asunder by warring clans. Prove you have the wisdom to garner the esteem of the samurai, and you will unite a nation!
Game board ,
80 Tiles ,
4 Player Screens ,
3 Leader Tokens ,
13 Plastic Castle Pieces ,
13 Plastic Buddha Pieces ,
13 Plastic Rice Pieces.
Playtime: 30 – 60 minutes
Players: 2 - 4