The Seven Samurai with Toshiro Mifune looking suitably Toshiro Mifune like… An absolute classic film in every sense.
My first real involvement with anything Samurai related came about via a role playing game called Bushido published by Fantasy Games Unlimited (and still available) in the early 1980s (possibly late 1970s). The Newham Wargames Club took it enthusiastically - Mr Fox still has some of his painted 28mmNaismith figures from the period - and when Dixon Miniatures launched their range it seemed like a golden age was upon us. One of the big highlights of the time was a visit to the National Film Theatre in London’s West End to watch Akira Kurosawa’s epic of the Seven Samurai. Eric Knowles and his son Bill (Bill was the game master for the Bushido campaign in which yours truly featured as a warrior peasant….) were in attendance along several other luminaries of the old Newham Wargames Club. The film was hugely inspirational and is one of my perennial favourites.
Anyways, the years rolled on and here we are now in 2022 with the Samurai itch still in evidence although about to be scratched in a number of ways!
….Command and Colours: Samurai battles.
To begin with I have a copy of Command and Colours: Samurai Battles which is fully labelled and with the terrain tiles and counters carefully punched and trimmed. I also have my recently acquired copy of Shogun - the large, Risk style strategic level game that includes some 400 plus 1:72nd scale hard plastic figures that are fully compatible with some of the available sets - notably cavalry (missing from the game), command and even artillery if you wished. This was going to be my preferred choice for army level style games - using the figures from Shogun along with the Command and Colours rules or possibly something Portable Wargame or DBA based.
There is another option to explore and one that will present a real challenge but at the scale I am thinking it should work out reasonably well.
A few years ago a Samurai skirmish game called Test of Honour was released by Warlord Games (now with Grey for Now Games) that included all you needed to set up small scale skirmishes during the era of the Samurai. The game was designed for around 20 figures or so which is fine but I wanted something a little larger. Anyways, I acquired a copy of the starter set and some of the additional figure packs (no metals) but for one reason or another it never really got off the ground. I remember being less than enthusiastic about the rules (not sure why though) and so the entire collection of the plastics were donated to Mr Fox. They are still lurking in his loft and following a brief exchange of emails and a quick chat last night the whole shebang will be winging its way back to me.
What on earth am I thinking of? Two scales of Samurai? Am I mad? I suspect the answer to all three would be something like: not sure/yes/probably….
I rather like the idea of using the larger figures for man to man skirmishes but also for Lion Rampant sized actions. The smaller figures will of course be used for battles. So, I am now looking at not one but possibly four Samurai themed projects - large battles using 20mm, man to man and larger skirmishes using 28mm and the Boshin/Satsuma Rebellion in 20mm and also afloat.
I think I need a lie down, pass me a futon please whilst I compose a Haiku and look at the cherry blossom…