Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Usagi Yojimbo

About a year ago, I picked up the Usagi Yojimbo RPG, by Gold Rush Games. I had, at the time, gotten pretty into the comic and thought it'd be cool to maybe run a game in the world. It took me a year to finally get around to it...

Last weekend, Ed came over for a short visit, and I suggested we give it a try. He made a character, Miyabe Ikuta, bounty hunter and goat. I took one of the sample adventures, tweaked it a little, and we played. I have to say, it was a lot of fun. They system is pretty basic in that it doesn't really get in the way of the story. What we both really liked was the card based combat.

Basically, the player and the GM have three maneuver cards: Total Attack, Cautious Attack, and Total Defense. Each picks one secretly and they reveal them at the same time. Depending on which they chose, different things might happen. For instance, if they both choose Total Attack, the person who rolls higher with their combat skill will hit, and do double damage. If, on the other hand, one chooses Total Attack and the other Total Defense, nothing happens; the defender holds off the attacker that turn. It's a nice little system. In fact, one scene in the game had Ikuta playing a game of Go with the head priest of a temple and Ed suggested we use the cards for the game. It worked rather nicely.

The game ended with Ikuta saving a blind priest from a group of spirits, and promising to escort the head priest to a Go tournament in a neighboring fief. We both agreed that there must be more of this game.

So over the last few days I've been thinking about the game, and possible adventures. I've been thinking about the Usagi comic, and jidaigeki series, like Zatoichi. There is a simple formula: Hero enters town, finds that there is some sort of trouble, works at sorting the trouble out. Rinse and repeat. Sounds pretty Dogs in the Vineyard to me. Just an observation, I guess.

Ed did a drawing of Ikuta and of a character I made, and will probably never play, Takeyama Isamu. I posted the pics here.


Ed H said...

The card-based combat was cool. Even cooler was using it for a Go tournament.

I liked the game a lot.

Ed H said...

Thanks Matt!