Review: ‘Samurai Spirit’

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Publishers: Funforge, Gem Klub Fit, Hobby World, and many others

Players: 1-7

Ages: 9+ (probably should be 12+)

Time: 30-60 minutes

With Finals completed, it’s time to work on some Books and Games reviews that have been sitting on the sidelines since July. First up, an interesting game called ‘Samurai Spirit’.

Samurai Spirit was a game that our Game Night group played back in late August (I do not remember if it was a backed Kickstarter game). It is a take on the Seven Samurai story: you are a samurai. Along with your fellow players, you are the first, middle, and last line of defense for a town of villagers, against a group of bandits, ruffians, and villains. You face 3 choices, played out in 3 turns:

  1. Do you fight and defeat each enemy as they come through the gates?
  2. Do you let ‘smaller’ enemies in the gates, to focus your energies on ‘larger’ threats and ‘bosses’?
  3. When, if at all, do you team up with your fellow samurai to defeat foes?

A mix of strategy, teamwork, and a great deal of luck will determine the fates of you, your comrades, and the people you are protecting in the town!

The main game board is the Village. The people of the Village, along with the samurai, have locked it down via a ring of Barricades. Farmsteads are just inside barricades. 3 Families are on the inside of the Farmsteads. The Gate is at the top of the game board; there are spots for Raider Cards and a Discard Pile.
Each player gets a Samurai Board (double-sided) and Meeple, for tracking what needs to be protected, for showing if you’ve reached out to your Animal Spirit, and for tracking your talents.
The Defense!

Your job is to protect the Barricade, protect the Farmsteads, and protect the Families – before you all die – by defeating the “Raiders” (no, not the NFL franchise. Although, if you want to fight them, that’s up to you). There are Raider Cards, signifying each Raider; there are 66 total raiders, divided into regular Raiders (52), Lieutenants (7), and Bosses (6). Now you see just the kind of odds you’re up against!

We played 2 games, with 4 players each. The first game ended badly for us: we lost in about 3 minutes. The 2nd game went better but we lost due to some very back luck with my character. I ended up fighting against 2 Lieutenants and was overwhelmed by them and their soldiers.

This was one of the harder board games I’ve played. You have to not only be aware of what’s going on in the current turn but you have to plan on the long term goals. There is also a lot of luck involved – and that luck is not often good. I would like another crack at this game, but I think I’m going to need to do some studying and strategy-video-watching, first. And I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing.

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