Showdown! The Samurai Card Game Review

Showdown The Samurai Card Game Review - CoverDesigners: Chris Amburn
Publisher: New Experience Workshop
Year: 2017
MSRP: $17.99
Players: 2-6
Play Time: 5-30 minutes
Ages: 9+
Rules Available Online: Yes
BGG: Showdown! The Samurai Card Game


Following up on their release of Shootout! the High Noon Card Game, New Experience Workshop has released the game’s first standalone expansion, Showdown! The Samurai Card Game. Fully compatible with Shootout!, Showdown! can be shuffled in with its predecessor or played on its own. It also contains 8 updated cards for Showdown!.

Collect the most powerful Weapon, Title, and Notoriety to be victorious in quick and decisive duels.


Showdown! The Samurai Card Game starts with the players shuffling the deck and getting a hand of 5 cards. On each player’s turn, they first flip a card over from the draw pile into the discard pile, resolving any “When this card is on its way out” effects it may have. They then may take a card from the draw deck or the top of the discard pile and discard a card from their hand. If the card the player discards has a “When this card is on its way out” effect, it is applied to the next player.

Play continues in this way with players trying to obtain a power Weapon, Title, and Notoriety card, along with bonuses, until a Showdown Card is drawn. When one of these comes into play the player who drew it chooses an opponent and a Showdown commences. At this point, players place 1 Weapon, 1 Title, and 1 Notoriety down (if they have them) and then take turns playing Special Cards from their hands until both players pass. The total value of all cards played by a player is added up and the player with the highest value wins the Showdown. At this point, the victor discards their hand, draws 7 cards, and discards 2. The loser it out of the game. The last player standing wins.

The rules are slightly different for two players, and there are also several variations on the rules that can be used. These can all be found in the full rules.


Showdown! The Samurai Card Game is a simple deck of cards that comes in a standard tuck box. The rules are printed on cards, so there’s no booklet to get in the way of the tuck box flap. The artwork is wonderful and has a very classical Japanese feel with a slight fantasy feel to it.

Showdown The Samurai Card Game Review - Cards


As far as card battle games go, Showdown! The Samurai Card Game is light, fast fare. Games can be brutal and quick, lasting only 5 minutes. They can also be a bit slower with a definite power-build for each player. The luck of the cards certainly plays into the length of the game, but smart use of Special cards can allow players to control the flow of the cards a bit more, though it’ll be very rare to go through much of the deck in a game.

The larger deck and the fact that much of it doesn’t get used on a game-by-game basis means there’s plenty of room for a surprise with each play, keeping the game fresh and exciting. The extremely simple rules make Showdown! incredibly easy for gamers of almost any age to pick up as long as they can read. The price tag fits the game into a more impulse-buy level and certainly is worth the cost for the amount of value the game provides.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy card battle game, Showdown! may be for you. If you’re looking for a more in-depth game with loads of strategy and customization, this one may not be for you.

All in all Showdown! The Samurai Card Game is a solid little card game that deserves a spot on card game lovers’ shelves.

A copy of Showdown! The Samurai Card Game was provided free for review by New Experience Workshop

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