Since starting my Sengoku Jidai project a few years ago, first in 15mm and now in 6mm, I’ve been searching for a set of rules that could convincingly model Sengoku warfare. I talked a bit about why I think the traditional approach of units grouped by weapon type or role is wrong here. Having found no likely candidates amongst wargames rules, I thought I’d revisit board games of the period. Enter Hexasim’s Sengoku Jidai series. The first of these was ‘Kawanakajima’ and the second is ‘Tenkatoitsu.’ The latter covers the battles of Yamazaki, Nagakute and Sekigahara. So here’s the battle.
As this was a trial of the rules, the game was a basic ‘line up and go’ affair. Oda Nobunaga on one side, Mōri Terumoto on the other.
The Oda seen from their right.
The Mōri right
The Mōri decided on a ‘kuruma gakari‘ or ‘winding wheel’ battle plan, which should enable a series of attacks and withdrawals to wear down the opponent. As the Oda, I was a bit preoccupied with getting the rules right, so settled on a ‘Chōda’ or ‘long snake’ plan, this being a more flexible mobile approach.
Oda on the left, Mōri on the right. Each tile is 500mm square, divided into squares of 10cm. The bottom Mōri unit in the picture, the Kobayakawa, would likely move between the wood and the shrine to their front, so the Oda plan was to use 2 units, Hashiba and Oda Nobutada to defeat them and push on to circle around the wood to flank the rest of the Mōri. Hopefully, the rest of the Oda could hang on long enough for this to happen.
Nobutada (yellow) and Hashiba Hideyoshi rush towards the hillbefore the Kobayakawa can get there. They are under march orders (green).
The Kobayakawa similarly advance. The Oda troops would reach the hill first, but before they can deploy into a fighting formation, the Kobayakawa change their order to attack.
Oda Nobutada’s nerve fails him. Instead of implementing a defend order to hold the hill, he orders a withdrawal instead (yellow) and falls back. Hideyoshi, outnumbered by Kobayakawa, has no choice but to follow him.
As the Kobayakawa press forward, the rest of the Mōri army advances. Sassa Narimasa leads a group of Oda troops forward to hold them up.
Narimasa attacks Mōri Hidemoto while the latter are still in march. However, little damage is done and the Mōri themselves change to attack.On the Oda right, the Kobayakawa hesitate briefly in their attack allowing Hideyoshi and Nobutada the time to deploy into a defensive formation. More by luck than judgement, the Kobayakawa are forced to channel through the woods into a well-prepared enemy. Hashiba holds while Nobutada finally implements the order to attack.
Hideyoshi attacks as well, and he and Nobutada are able to badly maul the Kobayakawa. Mōri Terumoto’s uncle, Kobayakawa Takekage, is slain in the fighting.
Sassa Narimasa is now fighting against Mōri Hidemoto and Kikkawa Motoharu on his own, and doing a fine job of it. The two Mōri clans have difficulty co-ordinating, allowing Narimasa to hang on. Out of picture on the Oda left, Maeda is engaged by the Mōri right.
Near the end of the game. The Kobayakawa would lose two more units and the last withdrew, pursued by the battered Hashiba. Nobutada would turn to come to the aid of Sassa Narimasa. Kuroda Yoshitaka led an exemplary charge here to relieve the pressure, and then withdrew trying to lure the Kikkawa out of position.
Things looked better for the Oda at this point. Nobutada and Hideyoshi had lured the Kobayakawa into a well-planned ambush. Well, that was their story anyway. Sassa had done a fine job of tying down the Mōri, and now a relatively unscathed Oda Nobutada could join the fight.
Time was up at this point. The individual bases meant a long set-up time and it was our first go at the rules, but I’m pretty sure with bigger unit bases we could get a game done in a club evening.
Overall this was an excellent game. I’m really impressed with Tenkatoitsu and it’s easily become my preferred rules set for Sengoku-Jidai battles. There’s a review of sorts here.