|Players||2 to 5||Scale||Strategic|
|Length||Long (120 min+)||Series||Gamemaster Series|
This module is for the 1986 game Shōgun by Milton Bradley, which was renamed Samurai Swords in its 1995 re-release and renamed again as Ikusa in its 2011 re-release under the banner of Avalon Hill. This page has been named "Ikusa" in accordance with VASSAL's guidelines regarding the naming of VASSAL modules.
The "Thrown Shuriken" sound was originally designed by Cody Mahan, and is in the Public Domain.
Regarding the Main Module
- 0.8.48: Initial public release of module's alpha version.
How to Use the Module
The module refers to the players by the color of the pieces they select. Players should discuss which color (or colors for a two-player game) they would like to utilize prior to the game's onset, and then select that color when prompted by the module. The module also includes a "Single Control" player, which will allow a single user to access all five colors. 'This is intended for debugging use only, and will be removed prior to the final version. Players should not switch to the Single Control player during gameplay. For two-player games, it will be necessary for a player to retire and select their second color when they wish to manipulate units of that second color.
The designer's local instance of VASSAL has an annoying habit of beginning with an oversized message window. If the gameboard is not visible immediately after the module loads, simply drag the bottom of the message window upward until the board is visible. I've been researching ways of fixing this over the course of the last six modules I've designed, without success - if anyone can help me here, please shoot me a PM at your earliest convenience.
The game's deck of cards can be accessed via the Cards selection from the main menu. Right-clicking on the deck will bring up the option to draw multiple cards; this method of card drawing is recommended. For reference, players will draw the following number of cards during the game's setup:
- 2 Players: 17 (for each color; no leftovers)
- 3 Players: 22 (2 cards leftover)
- 4 Players: 17 (with no leftovers)
- 5 Players: 13 (3 leftovers)
Cards should be drawn into the player's hand; Player Hands may be accessed under "Player Hands" selection under the main menu, with the player's color the only selection that may be used. DESIGNER'S NOTE: This is bugged in the public alpha version and will be corrected before the public beta version. It's important that this be corrected due to the need for secrecy with the placement of ronin. It is recommended that players place their cards in the upper-right hand corner of their hand, particularly if multiple cards are drawn at once. Doing so will allow cards to be dragged down to the lower right corner as they are accounted for by the placement of Spearmen during the game's setup. All cards drawn into a player's hand will be reported in VASSAL's messaging window, will be counted numerically as part of the Territory Count, and will be listed alphabetically in the Territory Count; this count may be utilized as a means of double-checking a player's holdings and as a means of counting the number of territories under their control without actually having to manipulate the cards themselves.
Any leftover cards should be drawn into one of the large red "unoccupied territory" boxes on either side of the board, as per the game's rules. They will be counted as being "unoccupied" by the Territory Count.
Once cards have been drawn, they may not be returned to the card deck. Once all cards have been drawn from the deck, the Card deck should not be needed for the remainder of the game.
A player's pieces may be accessed via the "Player Pieces" menu selection, with a further selection for the player's color necessary after that point (while a player may select and open a different player color window, the pieces on that window will not be selectable or able to be manipulated in any way). Pieces may be drawn from this window one at a time and placed either directly onto the board or onto one of the player's Army card; doing so will bring up a message in VASSAL's messaging window regarding both the type of piece placed and where it was placed. The player's Piece Count will also be adjusted to reflect the reduction of available forces from the player's pool. Pieces of a particular type will show in the player's piece menu as long as a single piece of the type is available; should all units of a particular type be placed into play, the piece will disappear. Players may check to see how many of a particular type of piece any other player has available to them by accessing that player's piece count from the Counts menu.
As per the rules, a Spearman must be placed in a territory corresponding to the cards drawn by the player during the game's onset. As per above, it's recommended that a player drag a card from the upper left corner to the lower-left corner of their hand, then place a Spearman on the corresponding territory. Later, twelve additional Spearmen must be drawn and placed - two Spearmen at a time - on the board. Multiple pieces of the same type may be selected by right-clicking on their icon and selecting the number of pieces to be drawn. In this case, it is recommended that twelve Spearmen be drawn and placed temporarily in the player's hand prior to selection. This should help the player keep track of how many more pieces they have left to place. Note that pieces drawn into a player's hand are not counted by the game in any fashion. If spread out in pairs, it is possible for a player to drag a box around two pieces at the same time and for them to drag them onto the board simultaneously.
Players may locate the flags of their Armies on their Player parts boards. Each flag corresponds to a specific Army Card. Army cards may be accessed via the "Army Cards" menu selection; the banner design of each specific army may be found with each specific selection. Players may open the Army Cards of other player's Armies at any time during the game, but again they will only be able to manipulate the pieces corresponding to their own color. Army Cards are always "pre-seeded" with the appropriate pieces when the module is opened; no action in regards to their setup is required on the part of the player.
Swords may be accessed via the "Swords" menu selection. For 2-4 player games, the 4- and 5-diamond swords may need to be removed from play; this may be accomplished by right-clicking on the Sword Stack, selecting the swords to be discarded specifically from the menu that opens and then dragging the sword(s) onto the board. While the sword(s) are still selected, either right-click and select "Remove Sword from Game" from the menu, or use the CTRL-SHIFT-D shortcut. Note that only the 4- and 5-Diamond Swords have this menu option. Should the menu option to remove a sword from the game be utilized accidentally during the course of a 4- or 5-player game, a discarded sword may be retrieved using the "Retrieve Swords" menu option, with a further selection of the sword to be retrieved necessary. Using this option will place the retrieved sword on the board in the vicinity of the "rising sun" near the top of the board. Any player may remove swords or retrieve them during the course of game play.
During the game's setup, players should simply drag a sword from the sword pile onto their Planning Area, which may be accessed via the "Planning Areas" menu option. The swords have been set up such that they will always appear in front of the player's screen, and so all players may see where a player is in the turn order by accessing that player's Planning Area.
During gameplay, players that have bid for swords may select a sword of their choosing by right-clicking on the sword pile, selecting the sword they wish from the available options, and then dragging the sword onto their Planning Area window.
For reference, a common copy of the game's "reference card" (which would ordinarily appear on the backside of a player's screen) may be accessed by any player at any time under the "Reference Card" menu option.
For the planning stage, each player should reference their current territory count and draw the appropriate amount of Koku onto their Player hand. Koku may be accessed via the "Common Pieces" menu option and like other pieces may be drawn in stacks by right-clicking and entering the number of pieces to draw. DESIGNER'S NOTE: As of the public alpha, Koku are being counted and listed as territories when drawn, as are player pieces; both of these will need to be corrected in the beta version. Once in a player's hand, a player may drag the koku chips to their Planning Area, placing the chip in one of the five possible "bins" at the bottom of the planning area card. NOTE: It is exceedingly important to place the chips at the bottom of the Planning Area window! The player's screen will hide the koku chips from view as they are placed in the planning area, but the screen only moves so far - placing them too far up on the card will make the chips irretrievable (this is admittedly a design flaw, which will be addressed in the beta version.) Note also that there is at the present time no way to see the positions of the bins without actually lifting up the screen. The Reference Card may be utilized as a "best guess" of the position area for koku chip placement.
When all players signal that they are ready, they may "lift their screens" to show how they have allocated their koku chips. To lift a screen, a player must select it by clicking on it and then either right-click and select "Reveal Planning" from the menu option or use the CTRL-UP keyboard shortcut. Doing so will expose the five koku bins. Once exposed, the koku bins should remain exposed until they have been emptied out during the course of gameplay; a screen may be returned to its original position by selecting and then by using CTRL-D or by using the Restore Shield menu option via the right-click menu. A koku chip may be returned to the common pool by selecting it and using the CTRL-R keyboard shortcut or by right-clicking and selecting the "Return to Koku Pool" menu option.
The size of the koku pool is one of the things counted under the Common Inventory count.
Castles and Fortresses are, as with Koku, accessible via the Common Pieces menu option. The number of remaining Castles and Fortresses may be found via the Common Inventory count. To place one on the board, a player need only to drag the castle or fortress from the common inventory board onto the desired territory on the board. If upgrading from a castle to a fortress, the fortress should be dragged on top of the castle piece. Note that both castles and fortresses can be returned to the common pool with CTRL-R or by right-clicking; there should be no reason to do this during gameplay unless a player has placed one of these structures on the board by mistake.
Castles and Fortresses are counted individually under the Common Inventory count.
Ronin are also accessible via the Common Pieces menu option. As per the game rules, a player should place any ronin hired on top of the territory card in which those ronin are to be placed. Since a player's hand may not be accessed by other players, a player may leave the ronin on top of the card with no worries about other players being able to see where they have been placed (or at least this will be the case with the beta version.) A player should notify other players of their use of ronin via the messaging board when they need to be revealed. Ronin otherwise function like any other piece.
The number of ronin remaining is one of the things counted under the Common Inventory count.
The player that hires the ninja (if any) during the course of a turn may find the ninja token in the Common Pieces menu option. The ninja token should be drawn onto the player's Planning Area. If the player wishes to utilized the ninja to carry out an assassination during the course of a turn, they should utilize the Ninja Button on the module's menu, which is a stylized button immediately to the left of the dice. Pushing this button will send a message to the messaging window and will play a sound; this will notify all players of the use of the ninja (this same button can be used, if necessary, to gain the attention of the other players, though it is not generally recommended to use the button in this manner). Once used, the ninja may be returned to the common pieces pool with the CTRL-R keyboard shortcut or by right-clicking and selecting the menu option.
The presence (or absence) of the Ninja is one of the things counted under the Common Inventory count.
Battle Markers may be found via the Common Pieces menu option. They may be dragged out onto the board when a player wishes to declare a battle. To rotate a battle marker to a desired orientation, select it and then either use the bracket keys or utilize the right-click menu. Battle markers, like other pieces, may be returned to their pool via CTRL-R or by right-clicking and selecting the appropriate menu option. Note that battle markers will maintain the last orientation they utilized when they are returned to their pool.
When a player wishes to conduct battle, they may roll dice for their units utilizing the Dice menu option. Pushing this button will bring up options for the number of dice to roll, from one to six d12s (the game has 12d12 available, so options to go this high will be added in the beta version.). The game will report the results of the individual die rolls, and a player's opponent may utilize this information for marking battle casualties as appropriate.
Marking Casualities and Removing Pieces
During a battle, any piece may be marked as a casualty by selecting it and then either using the CTRL-M keyboard shortcut or by selecting "Mark as Casualty" from the right-click menu. Doing this will mark the piece as a casualty for later removal. The piece may then be removed later by using CTRL-R or the "Remove" option from the right-click menu. Note that a removing the piece from play will remove the casualty mark automatically; it is not necessary to manually remove the mark before returning the piece to its pool.
Daimyo have a slightly different set of menu options. They may be Marked as a Casualty like any other piece. An assassinated daimyo may be indicated as such by selecting the piece and either using a CTRL-A keyboard shortcut or by selecting "Assassinate" from the right-click menu; this will add a distinct marker to the piece indicating its status. Daimyo are removed from the game using CTRL-D or "Kill" from their right-click menu. Once removed, a Daimyo may not be retrieved; when a daimyo is killed, the experience marker on their card should be removed from the game as well (use CTRL-D or "Delete" from the right-click menu). The daimyo's army marker will need to be dragged manually back to the player's piece pool or into their hand, or onto the inaccessible portion of their Planning Area (this piece does not have a "return to pool" option, which may be fixed in the beta version.)
- Stephen Rogers