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- Simple mechanics
- For 2-4 players
- Takes about 45 minutes to play
- Strategy game
- Political struggle
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Top Customer Reviews
Samurai is not a complicated game. It has about the same level of complexity as Settlers or Ticket to Ride. But it has a spark of magic that those more famous games lack in my opinion. The magic of Samurai is in how beautifully and perfectly all the pieces fit together. At the beginning of the game players have lots of options. Every turn, players select and place a tile on the board. Things start of get a little crowded after a while, and players are realizing the consequences of their early tactical choices. By the end players are playing in certain last spaces, hopefully spaces they have planned for in advance.
You can't play too forcefully, or you will spend too much of your resources on one place. The battle is being simultaneously fought all over the board. Players can't afford to leave any area uncontested.
Samurai is beautiful and original to look at. The board itself is a die-cut irregular shape in the form of a map of Japan. The pieces that are contested (rice paddies, buddas and high-helmets) are a lovely black shiny acrylic. The board and bits are VERY satisfying to play with. The artwork is very well rendered by Franz Volwinkel.
This game scales particularly well. With four players, the entire board is used and all bits. With fewer playes only portions of the board are used and fewer bits. With 2 players, or 3 or 4, the game feels exactly the same. It plays quickly and smoothly, in about 45 minutes. My kids like it, and pretty much everyone else that I've introduced it to.
This product comes with 4 fairly heavy duty cardboard island pieces that make up the game board, 4 sets of colored unit cards and 3 sets of markers (Rice, Buddha and high helmets). The included rulebook is made up of a few pages with detailed and quality instruction that make picking this game up simple.
The youngest player starts out by placing 1 of the markers onto an available city, then the next player and so on until all of the markers have been placed.
Now the game begins!
Again the youngest goes first with play continuing clockwise around the table. The player places one or more of his cards on the board trying to surround some of the previously placed markers. Once a city or village has been completely surround on land, the total amount of cards are tallied to determine who wins the marker.
The cards each player can use come from a pool of about 24 and he gets to pick 4 to start with and after each round draws enough randomly to retain 4 in hand.
These come in a variety of forms from Samurai to Boats with some only influencing a given marker. They range in strength of 1 to 4 so the numbers are easy to calculate.
While my description might make it seem overly complex, the game is really simple and after one or two games you'll have the rules down. Mastering it on the other hand...
An excellent game which is worthy of shelf space on any avid board gamer's bookshelf. I only wish the box was a bit smaller.
1) The game time is not overwhelmingly long, hence playing 2 or 3 games back to back is very reasonale. It runs about 30 minutes for 2 players and 4 players is usually under an hour.
2) The game scales wonderfully for 2, 3, and 4 players.
3) The winner is determined mostly by strategy and only slightly by luck. The order of the tokens you draw is luck, but everyone will draw the same tokens, only the order will be different. So you have to adjust your play if you are not getting the strong tokens early, but rest assured, those tokens are coming. There has to be a slight amount of luck in my opinion. Games that have no luck involved almost always have an advantage to the player who goes first and that advantage can be quite difficult or even impossible to overcome depending on the skill of the players. A slight bit of luck is often needed to remove the advantage of going first.
4) The decision making on each turn is very important, but not so burdensome that the game is not fun. Sometimes you will have tokens that allow you to play multiple tokens in one turn. But you always have to keep an eye on balancing your play to win the rewards in a balanced and efficient way. It is just the right amount of thinking involved in my opinion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My usual gaming tastes usually do not include abstract tile-placing games (except for Tigris and Euphrates, which is amazing) and this one is no different. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tony
A minute to learn a life time to master. Have taught this game to several friends and everyone likes it. Super easy to learn with elements of "Risk" or even Catan. Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by Amazon Customer
A challenging game that plays differently each time we try, Samurai has become one of my personal favorites for board-game night.Published on August 9, 2013 by STKS
If you like other Rio Grande Games and are looking for a new one, Samurai is a great choice. Simple to learn but very strategic, a great game for 2-4 players scaling well and... Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by Macgmatt
This game is amazing. It seems that the more you play it, the more you will appreciate the strategy involved in it. Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by Howard Brown
I love this game and the balance of luck and strategy, but since my 4 year old likes to play with me it's far between getting real competition. Read morePublished on February 6, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Awesome chess-like strategy game on a map. I've had it for under three weeks and have played it 26 times with friends and family. Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by Jake McLean
For those of you who might be new to Euro style board games, this is a perfect introduction. It also is immensely fun and playable with only two people. Read morePublished on December 22, 2012 by Christopher Barrett