Six clans vie for their leaders to be first in the line of succession to the Shogun. Each player, loyal to two clans, plots and plans to manipulate the line a way that will earn their clans the most honor. Beware the Shinobi! Wherever it lands will lose honor, and it’s unpredictable.
Shogunate is a game of hidden information, tactical card positioning, and deduction that plays in around 20 minutes.
Shogunate begins with each player being given two Loyalty Cards, which they keep secret. These are the clans (or single clan if they got 2 of the same) that they will try to position to win the game. The 6 Leader Cards are then shuffled and placed in a line from top to bottom. The Shinobi Token is placed next to the 3rd card in line. Each player then takes a set of Action Cards in the color of their choice, the Plot Deck is shuffled and set aside, and all the tokens are placed in reach of the players. A first player, or Hatamoto, is chosen, the first Plot Card is flipped and the game begins.
Each round every player except the Hatamoto will play an Action Card face down from their hand that will alter the line of succession. Once each player has placed their card they reveal them and the Hatamoto determines what order the cards will be played in. Once each Action Card has been resolved and the line changed the Action Cards are discarded, Honor is awarded to the line based on the current Plot Card, any abilities on the Plot Card are executed, the Shinobi moves (if able), and players check their score to see if the game ends. If the game needs to continue, the role of Hatamoto passes to the left, a new Plot Card is drawn, and a new round begins.
Shogunate ends when a player’s Leaders have a combined honor of 12 or more (10 or more in a 3-player game). If a player has two of the same Loyalty Cards any Honor next to their Leader is doubled for scoring purposes. It’s important to note that any Leader with the Shinobi next to it suffers a -1 Honor Penalty.
- Box 👍
- Rules 👍
- Cards 👍
(👍 = Good, 👍 = Bad, ⭐ = Exceptional)
Shogunate was a much different, and much lighter game than I expected. By no means is that a bad thing, so please don’t take it that way! The game was very easy to learn, played in around 20 minutes, and had enough meat to it to keep all the players interested, though if it were a longer game I’d question that. The box states that play time is 20-25 minutes but I can totally see getting games down to 15 minutes with people who know what they’re doing. At that point, Shogunate falls firmly into filler category and it does so very well. At $20 the cost also fits what you get very well.
As a whole, Shogunate fits very well into Indie Board & Cards’ line of similarly sized/weighted lineup.
A copy of Shogunate was provided free for review by Indie Board & Cards
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.