Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Sengoku Wars - Battle of Mikatagahara (2)

Both armies on the start lines - Takeda (Red)  in 
'fish scale' formation.

Heavily outnumbered as his army was, Tokugawa Ieyasu elected to get in his attack first, a course of action that his adversary, Takeda Shingen, not only welcomed, but had by his formation sought to encourage. That is to say, instead of rolling for the initiative in the first turn, Tokugawa (ORANGE) went first. Thereafter, for each turn a die was rolled for each army, and the high score went first.  If it could be said that the first mover in each turn held the initiative, one might argue that Ieyasu never lost it. However, in the end, numbers told. 
Tokugawa Ieyasu's early attacks gain ground
All the same, the early exchanges went well and truly in favour of the Tokugawa army, with fearful execution amongst Takeda's ashigaru tepo. The Orange right wing commander, Sadai Todakatsu, waded into the Red left wing, and even broke through the first line. The battle quickly became genral all along the line.  With 13 units and 3 generals, Orange got 5 activation dice, and was rolling high even at that - 11 (eleven!) units being activated for the first turn.  In response, with 7 activation dice, Red barely matched those numbers, this out of 18 units.

Takeda's horse counter-attacks seal off the centre

The Orange army did well for the whole day, but the Reds were soon counterattacking strongly as their extra numbers of activation dice started to tell. Two of the Red tactical units charged into the gap widening in the centre, and Sadai Todakatsu found himself under heavy attack by several samurai units, two commanded by Takeda's generals. Practically surrounded, Sadai expired with his trapped command. Whenever a unit with a general in command took a hit, I didn't attempt to transfer this to the general - but rather took it that the general shared his fate with the unit as a whole. This seemed to me a simple method. The result, of course, meant an immediate reduction in activation dice. The loss of the general took one off, and the loss of a unit might well bring the number down one more. Three activation dice only!
Takeda strongly counter-attacks Tokugawa's right
Of course, the Reds were having to undergo similar hazards. An early loss of an Ashigaru arquebusier unit lost them at once an activation die (number of units reduced from 18  to 17), and the loss in the midst of seesaw fighting on the Orange right of the Takeda adherent, Naito Masutoyo, brought the dice down to 5.  

Tokugawa's lines being edged back...
In the early fighting, Tokugawa's army established a lead over Takeda in strength points destroyed, a margin that was never really narrowed, let alone closed. Even so, the Orange army reached its exhaustion point soon enough, and began to break off the action. in an attempt to bring Tokugawa to the point of routing, Takeda possibly overpressed his advantage. Though crumbling, the Orange line continued to take out SPs until finally Takeda forebore further assaults.  
... and begins to crumble
Even the outstanding activation roll (see picture) was not enough to tip Tokugawa's men over the edge into a panic rout. Not even close. The attempts to cut off  Tokugawa's left wing samurai unit were twice frustrated.
Attempt to cut off Tokugawa's left wing fails 
(but look at that activation score: 22/2=11 units can 
do something!)

Even so, this was an undoubted victory for Takeda Shingen, even though he lost 18SPs against 14. Tokugawa's quick early attack was quickly held, and then his army was gradually edged back with increasing rapidity until he was persuaded to break off the action.

Having reached their own exhaustion point,
Takeda's army calls of the pursuit.
On the whole, I was reasonably pleased with my modification  - extra dice for extra generals - of the  original system of unit activation. Actually, it probably isn't even a modification - the original rules don't actually prescribe a single command figure for a given army. OK, then, how many generals?  I'm thinking that in addition to the overall army commander, a sub-commander might be added for every whole multiple of 6 units in the army. With 18 units, Takeda got 3 sub-commanders; with 13, Tokugawa Ieyasu got 2.  

Next time.  A battle with just one commander each.


  1. A decent result to battle #2 Ion. Your tweaks seem to have worked well. It’s never easy when a small army faces a larger one, all other things being equal.
    I suspect that, in real life, both commanders would be relatively pleased with the outcome. Sure, it could also have been better - but could’ve been worse too.
    Good luck with your next battle.

    1. Historically, Takeda's army smashed Tokugawa's, but it seems that the numerical disparity was even wider than this scenario indicates. But the thing turned into something of a strategic defeat for Takeda Shingen, as Tokugawa Ieyasu put up just enough of a showing subsequently (mainly bluff), that Takeda abandoned his move upon Kyoto for the time being. He never resumed it, dying before he got the opportunity.

  2. An entertaining game by the looks of it. It is always good when some rule modifications work out.

    1. Yes, this one was quite entertaining to play through, all right. It was easy to see the quick early surge by the Orange army, followed by a gradual ebb as the Red numbers began to tell.

      The next battle (coming soon to a blogspot near you) persuaded me that the 'sub-commander' idea had legs.