Japanese Art of War becomes Battles: Samurai Era


I’ve been working some time with a new start up at adapting my game Japanese Art of War to the Windows and XBox platform. It has been in the works for months now and we are finally getting down to brass tacks. I feel really invogorated by this. I’ve been playing a lot of xbox lately because my days are filled with a ton of other projects. I haven’t done much standard wargaming or painting because I’ve been so busy. Work went to 10% hours for everyone which you would think would leave me a ton of free time but in fact you spend a ton of time looking for contracts and other work just to get the bills paid.

The game will still be turn based, which should be interesting. The same interplay between dice is present which means it will be a highly tactical game. One thing that the original game lacked and was to get in 2nd edition was a full campaign system. Well this past month that is what I’ve been working on. I am treating it a lot like the way things work in Call of Duty 4 where the better you do the more toys you get to play with. The way they have it implemented, if you keep plugging away even if you aren’t all that great you will get everything eventually. Same here.

I am also drawing a line between honor awards and duty awards – a very Samurai concept! Basically if you want to be a defensive player and guard your team’s territory then you will get special rewards for it. In fact many of the Duty rewards are necessary to push forward so players will have to at times give up the glorious charge into battle and win one for the home team.

The game will be set squarely in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). It is after the Gempei War between the Mimamoto and the Taira clans. The clans won’t really be mentioned as the game spans the whole period and we want to give the feel of it while leaving it dynamic. The major themes will be there, mainly do you side with the Shogun or the Emperor. The Single Player game will have two tracks, one for and one against the Shogun. During the period several emperors attempted to restore power. The period ended with the Emperor ascendent but that was short lived. Some of the greatest and most trecherous incidents in Japanese history were during this period. Go-Daigos rebellion against the Shogun is one of my favorites. There are others that are just amazing but I’ll leave that for you to read yourself. One thing I have loved about japanese history was no one spoiled the “punch line” for me. I never read up on, say, Benedict Arnold because I already knew what happened. But imagine reading American History and not knowing this great hero would turn out to be such a dick? BTW go rent the movie about Benedict Arnold with Kelsey Grammer as George Washington – great film.

Your army composition will be different depending on who you favor in multiplayer. That distinction won’t affect who you can team up with and who you can fight. There will be rules for what parts of your army you can bring. It should be pretty dramatic. As players progress they will gain interesting upgrades. It is all designed to keep things interesting. I am definitely looking at other games and looking for good game mechanics. Ultimately we are in uncharted territory since this is a turn based game on a console. It will be easy to play but, from my own experience, it is not easy to master. It is very tactical and requires thinking about each move.

I’m looking forward to seeing this come to completion. It is one of those ideas that just needs to be born.

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