* 1-7 Players
*About 30 Minutes
Samurai Spirit is a cooperative game where each player is given a Samurai board that has it's own special ability and another when you Kiai. The start player takes a raider card from the top of the stack and decides whether to put in on their combat line or defend against it. Play continues to the left with the next player drawing their own card. When it becomes your turn again, first resolve any consequences on the bottom right of your last card in your combat line. (Burn a barrier, gain a wound, neighbor takes a penalty card, etc. Once you take a second wound, you flip your board to your animal spirit side.) Another action that you can take on your turn is to help another player, you do this by placing the card you would have drawn into the intruder deck and passing your support token to another player. If you reach your Kiai level, then you take your special action and remove the top warrior from your combat line. If it goes past that level, then you are knocked out and burn a barricade. If your next turn comes and no one has taken a card from your combat line, you are out for the rest of the round. Play continues until all the cards are gone from the raider deck. Then you must resolve the peasants, farmsteads, and lastly the families. If at any time, all warriors have been defeated, all the farmsteads are gone, or all the families are gone, then you have lost the game.
Favorite Number To Play With: I have played this as a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 player game and I have loved it each time. It's more challenging with fewer players, but they have all been equally fun!
Favorite Character And Why: Either Kanbei or Gorobei where you can ignore certain numbers bad consequences.
Least Favorite Character And Why: Kikuchiyo where you can fight two if you want. It helps at the beginning of the round, but quickly becomes unusable.
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: Having the families at the end of each round to help you out is nice if you can keep them.
Favorite Art Or Pieces: I really like the samurai meeples.
Strategies: I like to defend against the ones with bad consequences, and try to remember how many of each number come out during the first round.
Final Thoughts: This is another Antoine Bauza game that I love. It can be really challenging, and even when we lose I enjoy playing. It's also pretty easy to teach to other people.
8 out of 10 Stars
Favorite Number To Play With: 4 players. It was ok as a 2 player, but I find that it is harder to flip to the animal spirit side in a 2 player, and it is really easy to get knocked out
Least Favorite Character And Why: Fighting 2 warrior cards, Kikuchiyo. It can be powerful at the beginning of the game but towards the end it is not as useful and is an easy way to knock yourself out.
Mechanics I Like And Dislike: I like that you don't have to fight every Raider card, you can place them with their matching peasants, farmsteads, or families one time each round. I also like how each family gives you a benefit while it is in the game.
Favorite Art Or Pieces: The character cards with a Samurai on 1 side and an animal spirit on the other is cool.
Strategies: Count how many 1/2/3/4 and peasants/farmsteads/families are in the game the first round so you know how to plan and play the second and third rounds.
Final Thoughts: It is a solid game by Antoine Bauza. It isn't my favorite by him, but my group uses it as a good end of the night shorter game and it works well for that.
7 out of 10 Stars