[ENG] Torii vs Ronin

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Bawon Samdi
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[ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:18 pm

With a friend big fan of the Osprey's game Ronin, we started several game nights of mutual initiation to our respective skirmish games set in feodal japan.

At first we played on my table which is ... ok. Rather cheap but highly customizable to fit any scenario requirement.

Game #1 Torii
My Otokodate list played by me against a sohei list during the "Find the Senseï" scenario.

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During the first few rounds I'm spreading my guys in search for the senseï. The geisha don't find anything but an ashigaru with katana is luckier. The catch is that the house is in my ennemy's half table. It won't be easy to drag the senseï back into my deployment zone.

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One sohei hero won't let me have my way and enters the house to kill the ashigaru and possibly capture the senseî for himself. In the next picture I've removed the house to show the fight inside:

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Meanwhile, I set the remaining 3 houses on fire. Some of my men take few wounds in the process though. The remaining forces clashes and it doesn't go well for me. By the end of the 4th round, i've lost 7 miniatures and the remaining 5 are all wounded. I've killed only one sohei warior ... The sohei hero inside the house managed to kill the first ashigaru, the geisha and the assassin while suffering only one wound.
But, at the end of the day, only Victory Points matters and my pyromaniac tendencies are rewarded while my opponent eagerness to fight me till the end instead of achieving mission's goals turns to be his downfall.

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It's worth mentioning that we only used the primary objective and didn't roll for a secondary.

Game #2 Ronin
Only 4 Sohei (my band) against 5 bandits. The monks are here to defend some peasants from an attack. The defending player set the scenery as he wishes and then deploy monks and peasants. The attacker then deploys on any border.
So I have decided to set a town square in the middle of the table with the peasants inside. I assumed it was the best course of action, not knowing which side the bandits will come from.
When the bandits started moving, i moved the peasants in the opposite direction and placed my sohei for interception.

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The main feature in the Ronin game system is its fight system. Inside each combat, each player secretly choose a number (depending of the troop rank) of offensive and defensive moves. With theses moves you can boost Initiative, boost your defense, make one big strike or several smaller attacks, ... there are a lot of modifiers to take into account: skills, weapons, several levels of armor, different kinds of wounds, situational modifiers, ... Even with dices rolls, all these modifiers stacked together weight a lot on the final result. Individual fights in Ronin are much more detailed and computational.
That said, luck played a lot with insane dicerolls in favor of the sohei. The final result is pretty self explanatory:

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The scenario was really cool. I liked the great liberties of deployment and scenery placement. But i'm really not a big fan of alternate activation. It's still better than a full army activation (like 40k) but less interesting than a full army activation WITH reaction (like Infinity or Torii).

We had another game night using my friend demo table (and full paint minis !) and I will post some new battle reports soon. Here is a sneak peek:

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ajmendoza
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Re: Torii vs Ronin

Post by ajmendoza » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:27 pm

Really good looking tables, thanks for sharing this :D

I tried the Ronin combat system se time ago and I really enjoyed it. That dice management makes combata quite exciting.

Its good to see your battle reports, please keep sharing them alongside your thoughts!

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RobotTanuki
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Re: Torii vs Ronin

Post by RobotTanuki » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:42 am

The table looks good I think!

What is your opinion on Torii's system? I have limited experience with Infinity but know that it can be highly tactical (I have been watching a lot of Infinity battle reports). I want people's opinion on Torii before I dive deeper.

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Bawon Samdi
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Re: Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:43 am

Thank you to both of you.
I'm actuallly working of a second serie of battle reports with a more detailed review of each game systems.

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vicrastas
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by vicrastas » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:57 pm

I've tried both systems and I think both are good, but Torii is more fast and simple to learn (not less tactical). I like the freedom of Ronin creating a band and the combat system, but for me, seems unbalanced.

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Bawon Samdi
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:05 am

I agree on all accounts. I have not discussed of the band creation yet but it's really open and allow you to build each miniature just like you want by picking up its equipment and skills. It's sometime unbalanced but it's assumed as the focus seems to be on fun stories rather than competitive play. I have really mixed feelings about that. I find Ronin gameplay and scenarios really engaging as they capture very well the feel of a chambara story but the unbalanced system can be frustrating for anyone looking for more than a casual game experience.

Without further ado, the next volley of Torii vs Ronin games.

Game #3: Torii
Same Otokodate and Sohei lists on the "Kidnapping Villagers" scenarios. Due to the size of the gaming table, our deployment zone were limited to each side of the table. We didn't use secondary objectives and i made a few mistakes regarding the handling of a prisonner but it affected both players the same way so it wasn't too bad.

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I was slightly disadvantaged by the river and the lack of cover from his long range shooters. Speaking of which, that monk archer had found a really good spot to snipe my troops each round.

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Hard to catch because of the large body of water and at a perfect distance, between 20cm and 40cm, from its targets.

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I gave up on the far right villager and focused my attention on the other 3. The one at the far left was easy to secure. the one at the middle left almost get captured by the soheis but they had to back down due to the suppressive fire coming from the 3 ozutzu. The villager enventually jump into the water but get catched by one of my ashigarus.
The villager at the middle right found himself in the middle of an epic battle opposing ikame-bo, sohei with naginata, sohei with teppo, an assassin, an heshi and a spy.

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During the following rounds, the sohei hero with yari cleared my ranks, the battle in the middle has slightly moved and wound markers start to pile down. 3 Villagers have reached their destinations (two on the Otokodate Side, one on the Sohei side). The 4th villager was fleeing and, unfortunatelly for me, picked the sohei side.

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Hopefully, the 5th round arrived and my opponent would not have the time to capture the villager and to take him back with him.
None of my minis were in position to make a decisive move, especially my shooters since everybody else were in closed combat. So i decided to not do anything and keep the opportunity to make better reactions during my opponent's turn.

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I really like these reaction opportunities. It's not as intense as Infinity but it's still pretty good. Tactically its very interesting as you have to plan your action during your activation phase but also you have to anticipate what you should do during your opponent's phase. Also it keeps you on your toe while your opponent plays as you may intervene at any moment. It's way more engaging than a full IGOYOUGO turn sequence without the artificial situations created by an alternative activation sequence.

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We have an exemple here of what you can do in reaction: the sohei hero with yari (on the left) managed to kill his last opponent. But now he is facing 3 unactivated ashigaru with Ozutzu who can (and will !) opportunity shot his face as soon as he makes a single move.
The game ends with a victory for the Otokodate. Two main factors played in my favor:
- scenarios with objectives dispatched all over the place favor large bands
- my opponent captured a villager by using his hero with katana. So, a valuable warrior had to stood outside of the main combat because he was too busy babysitting a peasant.

The cemetery: 5 otokodate and 2 sohei. I think there is a pattern here: elite lists tend to mow down lists rellying on numerous weaker warriors.

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Game #4: Ronin

An opposition between samouraïs and a local koryu (martial arts school) will be settle with a duel between the school senseï and the chief samouraï. Lower ranking samouraïs and some students will witness the fight but are ordered to not intervene.
During the first two rounds, only the two champions may be activated. After, all minis may be activated but if a non-champion warrior initiates a combat or step on the duel area, his player will loose victory points.

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The first battle is just brutal ! The chosen samourai may be skilled in iaijutsu but the senseï technic is just unmatched. In a matter of seconds its a bloodbath.

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A samouraï step up to become the new champion and must face the next assault from the senseï.

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In the meantime, koryu students move around the duel area to mock the remaining samouraïs. They take the bait and initiate a new combat to avenge the death of their leader. But these students have a really good senseï and start wounding the samouraïs. The senseï kills his second opponent.

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In the last fight, the final 2 samouraïs are no matches against the joint efforts of the three students and their master.

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I really enjoyed this scenario as it plays very well on the strength of Ronin combat system. A duel would probably be boring with any other game system but with the move selection during each round it's much more interesting than a basic face to face roll. With original deployment rules, activation limitations and victory points penalities it's also a refreshing tactical situation from the usual clash of armies.

That's all for today. I have to meditate on my next battle.

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vicrastas
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by vicrastas » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:33 am

I don't want to be misunderstood, I always prefer narrative play over competition. And the combat system of Ronin is very fun, not only throwing dices to see who does more impacts. But for what I've played (2 or 3 games), the strong miniatures are very very powerful over the weak (and it's cool to see a sensei slashing a band of bandits :lol: ). But yes, the scenarios (like the duel) and things like cutting enemies head if you're a samurai, make seppuku to do a tie.... have a lot of "samurai taste".

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ajmendoza
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by ajmendoza » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:49 pm

Really cool review. Definitely in these skirmishes games missions are the key. A good and fun sceneray with clever special rules makes the game.

Have you tried to play a mix between the two games? ie: torii activation system but using the ronin combat system. Would it be possible?

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Bawon Samdi
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:02 pm

Thank you.
I'm actually thinking of few changes for Torii game system but not necessarily with rules coming from Ronin. Probably from Kenseï (troop profile for peasants, command cards, ...). But before that I need to make few game aids, especially profile cards. They exist in spanish and should be translated but i've seen nothing so far. It's annoying because there are a lot of special effects (troop categories, weapon bonus, ...) that you can easily forget during game. If I want to run demos during a convention, I need these hand outs for the players.
And some scenarios too. Possibly linked in a short campaign.

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ajmendoza
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by ajmendoza » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:08 pm

Bawon Samdi wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:02 pm
Thank you.
I'm actually thinking of few changes for Torii game system but not necessarily with rules coming from Ronin. Probably from Kenseï (troop profile for peasants, command cards, ...). But before that I need to make few game aids, especially profile cards. They exist in spanish and should be translated but i've seen nothing so far. It's annoying because there are a lot of special effects (troop categories, weapon bonus, ...) that you can easily forget during game. If I want to run demos during a convention, I need these hand outs for the players.
And some scenarios too. Possibly linked in a short campaign.
A im asking about those cards right now. As far as I know they were work in progress.
We are going to extend the not tested scenarios to a linked scenarios, I think that is the best way to enjoy these kind of games.

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Bawon Samdi
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:34 pm

Game #5: Ronin

Only one game last night but we went bigger 180 vs 150 (points based on the scenario) instead of the usual 100 vs 100.
We used a third table, mix of scenery from me and my friend. I also build my list instead of using pre-selected bands made by my friend. The system is quite open:
- you choose a faction which gives you some special rules, limitations and basic profiles accessible,
- you can then buy additionnal equipement and skills from a very limited and battle focused list.

The scenario: page 1 & page 2
Not much narration for this one as it describes a tactical situation of two opposite factions seperated by a river, with rules to cross it. But, since the defending faction picked by my opponent is the koryu, it's not difficult to imagine a little bit of storytelling.

A less respectable approach.
To avenge the death of his samuraïs during a duel against a local koryu (see Game #4), a daimyo decide to hire a bunch of bandits to raid the dojo and kills everyone.

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Early in the morning, two apprentices are busy doing the chores ordered by their senseï. In the mean time, two advanced students are practicing various kata near the Torii. From the foggy edge of the rice field, sinister figures are closing in.

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Inside the dojo, the senseï is already at work with two advenced students. When the bell outside rings, they storm out to see what's going on.

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Rounds 1 & 2 are movements only.

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At the begining of the 3rd round melees are forming: on the bridge, close to the bridge and at the opposide of the map. In the middle, the senseï and a student are still crossing the river and two low ranking bandits are anxiously waiting for them.

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By the end of the 3rd round, both sides count several deaths. 3 Low ranking bandits dies, even one of them involved in hugelly favorable 3 to 1 melee fight where the koryu student not only manage to survive but also kills one bandit. On and near the bridge, students and bandits die on an equal basis which boost even more bandits' big numerical advantage.
Still, due to their losses, bandits have to test their morale and fail. Fortunatelly, a special rule allows them to sacrifice a member and count the morale fail as a success. The former monk who was already severely wounded pays the ultimate price.

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Round 4 & 5 are as lethal. The assassin, geisha and spy (leader of the team) managed to steal katanas from students dead bodies (another special rule for this factions, they can loot dead bodies and gain extra VP). These extra VP are welcome as they are the sole survivors of their group.
the senseï had finelly jumped into action but too late to change the outcame of the game. That's a relief for me as the senseï is an unstoppable close combat beast. My only hope was to throw at him low ranking bandits. He cut through them like rice paper but at least that kept him away from my leader and elites.

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Bandits narrowly win, especially because the game finished by the end of the 5th round. Another round would have probably been to my disadvantage (i ran out of basics bandits !).
That last picture is pretty indicative: the senseï may be powerfull, he can't be everywhere on the map at the same time !

Despite being safe and sound, the senseï stand alone in the middle of the rice field, surrounded by the dead bodies of his former students. Something tells me that he is not happy about it and we will hear from him again.

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ajmendoza
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by ajmendoza » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:33 am

Really fun battle report (and last gif xDDD)
Can I ask you where did you get those lovely river scenery? they looks fantastic (as well as the battle map).

Regarding the rules, I did not saw it (sorry If I missed it), what "VP" are? ("....the geisha gained extra vp after grabbing the weapons from corpses...")

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Bawon Samdi
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by Bawon Samdi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:47 am

Sorry, VP are for victory points.

Map and river are from Playmats: http://www.playmats.eu/
Great guys from Poland. At our local game club we make grouped orders every once in a while and they always give us good discounts. Unfortunatelly, they don't do 120x90 maps. I wanted one for kenseï.

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ajmendoza
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Re: [ENG] Torii vs Ronin

Post by ajmendoza » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:35 pm

You can use 120x120. The key point is to separete at least 50 cm de deployment areas.

Looking at your pictures I want to play soooo badly! But I cant, some new stuff is going to be release :D

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