From esteemed publisher Cool Mini or Not comes yet another Big Box of Miniatures (TM, probably) known as Rising Sun, a distant relative to the smash hit Blood Rage, only set in Feudal Japan instead of Iceland or Norway or wherever.
Each player controls a faction of Samurai, and to win you’ve got to gain Honor by showing off your heroic deeds and military prowess across all of Japan. You’ll worship the gods, send soldiers to fight, and use special abilities to earn Honor.
Rising Sun’s core mechanism is role/action selection, with a unique twist. At the start of each round, players have a chance to forge temporary alliances, and while you can’t win the game together these alliances do provide a nice boost while playing actions. When you choose a role, you and your ally both get the primary benefit while the other players get a lesser action.
These actions allow you to recruit troops, move your units around the board, send priests to worship (and compete for special abilities), and even betray your allegiance for stuff!
When it comes to battle, you don’t fight your ally, but they also don’t contribute to your war against other players. You’ll use coins you’ve earned throughout the round to secretly bid on various stages of the battle. There’s some familiarity to the Cry Havoc combat system here; the stages of battle progress in order and whoever bid the most coins gets to resolve that stage. First you can commit seppuku to gain Honor, which kills your own units. Then you can capture an enemy unit. The third stage lets you send in Ronin for reinforcements, and then whoever has the most strength in the region actually wins the battle (and kills remaining enemy units). Finally, the forth stage grants additional honor for every unit killed in battle. Remember, Honor is how you win, not necessarily victory.
Another combat twist? Whoever wins the battle must give all the coins they bid on said battle to the loser, which opens up a lot of strategy for sacrificing some battles to make a much stronger showing in another.
This is a game jam-packed with components and miniatures and a beautiful board, all the stuff you’ve come to expect from a big box CMON game. Can’t way to try it out in full.