Spears Across the Takahashigawa, Part Two

The second scenario in our Lion Rampant samurai campaign.

Scenario 2: The Tsukai-ban (The messenger)

Mori commander: Amano Takashige (commanding)

Ukita commander: Ukita Hideie (Lionheart)

Mori boasts: I will make them run.

Ukita boasts: Destroy more than I lose.
Half of the enemy shall fall to my sword.
I shall smite the enemy’s best warriors.

In this scenario, Amano Takashige was tasked with escorting a messenger carrying a priceless tea kettle sent from Kobayakawa Takakage to Kikkawa Motoharu. However, word of this reached the Ukita, and Ukita Naoie sent his own son, Hideie, to intercept the kettle and bring it back to replace the cheap Korean imported thing he was having to make do with. No changes were made to either starting force, but this time the Ukita commander would lead his foot samurai. Following on from the successful boasting in the last game, the Mori decided not to tempt fate and went with only one, whereas the Ukita decided on three.

^ The Mori advance towards a bottleneck between a wood and a village.

The Mori’s path was blocked by difficult terrain in the form of woods and a village. Close by lurked Ukita skirmishers and some cavalry. The Mori advanced with the teppo squad in front, the foot samurai guarding the messenger in the centre, and an ashigaru unit on each side. Takashige remained close to be able to react to any danger (and use his re-roll ability).

^ The Mori move into the village and spend a few turns milling around.

The teppo squad moved through the gap, but Takashige couldn’t decide on how his other units would proceed, eventually one ashigaru unit moved into the village while the others exchanged places. The Ukita closed in while the Mori tried to sort themselves out. The Ukita cavalry strayed into teppo range and were subjected to a devastating volley which dispersed them. With only the skirmishers to their front, an ashigaru unit followed the teppo squad through the gap.

^ The Ukita advance on the village.

In the village, Mori ashigaru began to shoot at the advancing Ukita. Once more the teppo squad proved their worth in a duel with their opposite numbers. The Ukita ashigaru spears were similarly badly damaged in the missile exchange. Eventually however, Ukita Hideie was able to lead his samurai through the woods and charge into the village. The Mori ashigaru were badly beaten and looked to retreat out of the village.

The Mori had had the better of the fight so far, but not wanting to leave anything to chance, decided to move on with escorting the messenger.

^ The Mori ashigaru, bottom right, retreat. The samurai escorting the messenger leave the village.

The Mori ashigaru that had followed the teppo squad through the gap now came to grips with the skirmishers. Extremely, and irritatingly, slippery in the first game, these were however easily caught and dealt with this time.

^ The Ukita skirmishers are seen off by the Mori ashigaru.

With the teppo squad covering them, the rest of the Mori looked to move away from the Ukita. But as they moved out, Ukita Hideie caught sight of Takashige and issued a challenge. Now challenges are a chancy business in Lion Rampant, but the possibility of failing courage tests due to refusing one was just as bad. Takashige reluctantly accepted.

In Lion Rampant, a duel is decided by each player rolling 3 dice and counting any 5’s or 6’s as hits. The one with most hits wins the duel, and kills his opponent. For suspense we rolled the dice one at a time. Both missed with their first two attacks, then Hideie swung and missed, but Takashige did not, slaying Hideie with his last strike. This ended any hope of the Ukita claiming the kettle, and with Hideie’s death posed some interesting questions about any future refight of Sekigahara.

^ The Mori escort the tsukai-ban on his mission. The teppo squad lead the way.

Glory accrued:
Mori: 5 for scenario +1 for boasts = 6
Ukita: 0 for scenario -3 for boasts = -3

Total glory so far:
Mori: 14
Ukita: 1

Another win for the Mori, but a disaster for the Ukita. The failed boasts making the deficit all the larger. Takashige’s ability to reroll a failed activation is very formidable, and the Ukita now seem determined to kill him even before any scenario objectives. We’ve introduced a rule that a leader can only be retained on a 4+ on a d6 if he wins, and a 6 if he loses. However, as the Mori, I have managed to retain him for the next game.

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