15 November 2017 | Battle for Rokugan

An Honorable Fight

The Resolution Phase of Battle for Rokugan


Rokugan is a land of beauty and strife. In the early days of the Emerald Empire, the seven Great Clans struggle for control of the realm. Each clan places their trust in the daimyō who formulates military strategies and leads their armies into battle. In our last preview, we examined how the honorable daimyō lay their battle plans during the Placement phase. Today, we progress to the clashes and conflicts that follow with a preview of the Resolution Phase in Battle for Rokugan!

Avoid the Slaughter

Battle for Rokugan is a game of conquest and mayhem played over the course of five rounds. The game turns two to five players into Rokugani daimyō fighting for control of the provinces and territories of the Emerald Empire, with the ultimate goal of bringing honor and glory to their clan. To accomplish this task, you must balance your forces and use any advantages your territories lend you, then distribute those forces, trying to read your enemies’ intentions and weighing the risk and reward of each move. Finally, you'll settle disputes through diplomacy or battle as you deem fit.

These battles take place in the last phase of each round, the Resolution Phase, which is the focus of our preview today. During the Resolution Phase, the daimyō resolve the combat tokens that they just placed facedown on the map. (For more details about each token’s effects and how to lay your battle plans, you can take a closer look at the Placement Phase here.) Once a token is resolved, it is added faceup to its clan’s discard pile.

From left to right, the combat tokens are: Blessing, Diplomacy, Army, Navy, Raid, Shinobi, and Bluff.

As the first step of the Resolution Phase, players flip all of their combat tokens faceup and discard any bluff tokens or those that have been illegally placed. From here, the remaining combat tokens begin to take effect, beginning with Raid tokens. If you execute a raid in a province, all control and combat tokens within its borders are discarded, leaving only a Scorched Earth token behind. No one can lay claim to that province or its honor thereafter.

After slashing and burning, diplomacy has its time. To resolve a Diplomacy token, the daimyō collectively discard all combat tokens that share a province or border with the Diplomacy token's province. A Peace token is then placed within the diplomatic province, and going forward, a peaceful province cannot be attacked, nor can the controlling daimyō launch attacks from it.

The Battles Commence

After desperation and diplomacy, the daimyō resolve all of the battles across Rokugan. One of these legendary battles will occur whenever a clan’s combat token is either in a province or on the border of a province that that clan does not control. There can even be multiple attackers attempting to take control of a single province in any battle, as the Great Clans clash over particularly desirable land. To resolve a battle, the daimyō calculate their total strengths; the attackers add the combat strengths of their own attacking combat tokens, while the defender adds any defending combat tokens and any defense bonuses within the province. The daimyō with the highest total wins the battle.

In the example shown above, the Phoenix clan has attacked the Dragon province from two of their bordering provinces, each with an army that has a strength of one. The Scorpion clan has also attacked the Dragon clan’s province with an army that has a strength of three. The Dragon clan defends their province with an army that has a strength of one.

Each clan calculates and compares its total strength; Phoenix with two strength, Dragon with one strength, and Scorpion with three strength. The Scorpion Clan has the highest strength here, and takes immediate control of the province. All three of the clans remove their combat tokens and the Scorpion player places a control tokens facedown within the province.

However, if a province is defended successfully—say, if the Dragon clan had defended with an army that has a strength of four—your clan is inspired to greater heights. After successfully defending, the defender places one of their control tokens faceup in the province, provides a defensive bonus to fortify the province against future attacks. You can also solidify your control over a province if you use an army, navy, or shinobi token to defend a province that is not attacked this round.

Emerge Victorious

After all the battles have concluded for the round, a daimyō who has established control over all of the provinces within a territory claims the territory cards for that area. If your strategy is sound enough to claim a territory card, you may play it during the next round. These territory cards offer unique abilities that can lend you an undeniable edge in Battle for Rokugan. For example, one of Unicorn’s territory cards, Reinforcements,  lets you choose two army tokens in your discard pile and return them to your hand. Then, you must choose two combat tokens in your hand and either discard them or return them to your pool. In a game of where you must attempt to lay battle plans without knowing your opponent's resources, the ability to tailor your combat tokens and claim armies on demand can prove invaluable in the fight for the Emerald Empire.

Even if you do not claim an entire territory during the Resolution Phase, you'll win honor for your clan with each province you control, indicated by the number of flowers that appear within the province on the map. Claiming this honor from your province is your main objective in the game. When the clashes have been fought and the dust has settled, the most honorable daimyō will be the only player to claim victory for their clan. After honor is received, the round advances, and the Battle for Rokugan continues!

Stiffen the Sinews

Take to the battlefield. Fight for honor, glory, and the future of your clan!

Pre-order Battle for Rokugan (L5B01) at your local retailer today or on the Fantasy Flight Games website!

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