Eric M. Lang has been long been a tabletop designer to watch. His designs for the Call of Cthulhu and A Game of Thrones card games helped turn Fantasy Flight Games into the industry giant it is today. His work on Quarriors and Dice Masters revitalized the collectible game genre through dice. Most recently, his miniatures game Blood Rage brought bloody Viking combat to tabletop in 2015. Lang returns to Kickstarter to fund his next minis heavy board game with Rising Sun.
Much as Blood Rage tapped into Norse mythology for a rich vein of gods and monsters, Rising Sun looks to the feudal era of Japan for its setting and inspiration. Players take control of one of five clans. The Clans are based on symbols important to Japanese culture. The Koi, Lotus, Turtle, Bonsai, and Dragonfly all have an important significance, representing things like honor, wisdom, strength, and loyalty. In terms of how they work in the game, each one has a different starting position that informs a strategy for the game. Over the course of four seasons, players negotiate alliances, set political mandates, and when necessary, go to war.
The game is played out in turns that match the seasons of the year. Each turn begins with a Tea Ceremony where official alliances can be struck. During the Political phase of the game, both members of an alliance benefit from actions taken by one or the other. These actions upgrade forces, marshal troops and harvest resources for the next phase: War. Betrayal is also an option during this phase, as the one thing more important that cultivating alliances is knowing when to break them.
It costs money to wage war, and that money is secretly spent on four battle actions. Players negotiate, bribe and treat with each other before cash is allocated behind a screen, though these deals are much less binding than the ones struck during the tea ceremony. Players can choose seppuku to gain honor for their clan in the face of defeat, take a hostage to steal victory points and extract some money from an opponent if they want the piece back, add Ronin tokens to sway the forces in battle, and hire an Imperial poet to gain glory for the retelling of the battle’s tale. Only after these actions are resolved is the actual battle won or lost.
Each clan has unique samurai minis included as part of the game. Armies are made up of four unique sculpts. There are two different Bushi sculpts and one Shinto and Daimyo sculpt in each of the Clans. Not only that, but players will have access to miniatures from Japanese mythology at their disposal such as oni and dragons to fight their battles. Creatures like the River Dragon, the Komainu, the Oni of Blood, the Oni of Skulls and more are represented with miniatures that look beautiful on the board and can sway battles with majestic power.
Cool Mini or Not has kept the pledge levels simple with this Kickstarter. $100 gets backers the box, an exclusive Phoenix miniature monster and all unlocked stretch goals. The Kickstarter runs until April 3rd, but it took less than 30 minutes for it to reach funding, so there’s still plenty of room in the box for more intrigue, honor and monsters to end up in the Rising Sun box.
What is your favorite Japanese legend? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: Cool Mini Or Not
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.