Skip to Content

The Last Samurai

4 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

I just saw the movie The Last Samurai, which I'm sure was wildly inaccurate historically, but was nevertheless a decent flick and a decent story as well (I use "story" in the literary sense here).

So, if it's good enough for a movie, is the topic good enough for a board game? Is there some rules system that would be interesting based on the movie, or on the stuff the movie is based on?

For those that don't know, the movie deals with the changing of the guard so to speak, the abrupt switchover in Japan from Eastern culture in which Samurai were the be-all, end-all both legally and symbolically, to a Western culture where bits and pieces of the western world were imported and/or adopted en masse. Tom Cruise's character, a washed up, troubled Civil War veteran, goes to Japan to train their army in the way a western army would be trained (rifles, cannons, etc)- in order to fight off a "rebellion" led by the Samurai, who are doing their best to preserve the old culture and what they think is best for Japan.

So maybe something like Samurai vs Army, where the Samurai use Swords (fast, light units) and Bows (quick reload, good accuracy) and the Army uses cannons (slow, heavy units) and rifles (bad accuracy and slow reload time). Each side could have a commander and or other super-units, like Katsumoto on the Samurai's side and Colonel Bagley on the Army side. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) could be a wild card, maybe usable by either or both sides. Maybe the point of the game is to get Algren to help your side not theirs**... I dunno.

Any thoughts on this?

- Seth

** That brought up another idea- I also just saw Runaway Jury... so what about a game where the players compete to get Nick Easter (or any insider on a jury) to swing the verdict their way? heh, I'm on a roll tonight!

The Last Samurai

I haven't seen Last Samurai (yet) though I do know the movie is supposidly based on historical events (though, as in most cases, how accurate the history is vs what Hollywood did is up for debate). A game along those lines might be interesting.

I think the more intersting game is your afterthought idea. Maybe not solely based on the Grisham novel, but a legal thriller type of game in the same vein as Runaway Jury, or Twelve Angry Men. The mechanics might be difficult to work out, but it could make an intersting game if done right.


Scurra's picture
Joined: 09/11/2008
The Last Samurai

Well I suppose you could call CheapAss' "Witch Trial" a sort of jury-nobbling game, but that isn't quite what you are looking for, is it? :)

I suppose a further development of that concept would be more likely to work as a game, although, of course, the further it went the more suspect it would become...

"Play the OJ game! As either the Prosecution or the Defence, present and refute evidence as you try to persuade the different jury members of the suspect's guilt or innocence. And remember - the more you pay, the more convincing your lawyer will be!"

On second thoughts, perhaps not.

Torrent's picture
Joined: 08/03/2008
The Last Samurai

I haven´t seen Last Samurai either. I did just finish a book called ´Cloud of Sparrows´ about assumably the same time period, 1861. It is interesting and deals with some of the cultural differences between west and east, especially dealign with how a war should be fought.

If you like this time period, I recomend atleast a trip to the library and looking for the book. It might give you some good ideas.

Joined: 12/31/1969
The Last Samurai

If you are seriously considering this idea, then you should read Shogun for a better example of that era, as well as a better understanding of the political strain that was heavily in effect with EVERY act and sentence.

Since, as even the movie pointed out, the ending result is fairly apparent as the result of guns vs. swords perhaps looking towards the political side of the environment might produce a better chance for the players to have a fair chance against eachother.
Alot of the wins by the samurai were due to the political chess played with every bit of care that was available.

Also, using the setting to allow the players to make their own paths in history (like axis/allies) rather than finiting the result to the win of the bullet could also be beneficial.
By this I mean that the players don't have to be souly sword weilding samurai, or gun toating revolutionaries. They could have both as they did earlier on in Japanese history when they got their trade from Spain(Portugal). The rulers would fight eachother offten times with mixed troops using a special squad or troop of gun samurai (a rather short lived sect of samurai).
Cannons were part of these troops as well, but america hadn't entered into the game until later on. It was mostly the Spannish, Portuguese, Dutch, and British.
Spain and Protugal were allies (actually Spain conquered Portugal so...)
and Dutch and Britain were allies (the Dutch needed the British sailors and the British needed the Dutch trade line...I think I have that correct.)

The Portuguese had a monopoly on the chinese tradeline at the time which made the Spannish VERY wealthy and happy.
Now they wanted Japan as well, but Britain just found out how to get to Japan and they were NOT about to let the Spannish just have that trade.
This is during the time that Spain and Britain were fighting over religion so they already hate eachother.

The interesting thing about all this is that rather than Spain and Britain fighting over the trade, Some of Japans rulers were with Britain and others with Spain and then again, there were those who were for seclusion from both.
The first two were played like pawns against eachother and supplied by the Spannish and the Bittish (who fought eachother in the oceans any chance they saw to prevent the supply) in hopes that their favored Japanese rulers would win and thus favor them in this new trade.

Those who favored seclusion simply tried to ambush BOTH British and Spannish supplied Japanese rulers.

In this setting ALOT can be done to produce a VERY exciting game that has MANY twists and turns on practivally every turn.

Something to think about.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut