Shogun started off as my favorite game of all time, now it doesn’t crack my top 30.
I played far too many games of it where one person is dead to win at the halfway mark or even earlier. There is no catchup mechanism. There is no incentive to leave players who are falling behind alone so they can rebuild. In fact the game almost encourages picking apart the carrion because it is so easy to capture. Shogun doesn’t even offer an option for resignation(a feature that is frankly lacking from too many modern multiplayer wargames but I digress).
It may sound like I’m about to offer up my first negative review, but alas, I’m not quite there with Shogun. The central mechanism is far too fascinating, thematic, and strategically rich for me to banish the game to the ranks of the unplayables. I just yearn for a remake, something that does this amazing idea justice. The programmable movement so perfectly captures the treachery of the period, while allowing this complicated game to play fast and easy. Since all the mental heavy lifting is being done simultaneously, you get to experience almost no downtime. Then you get to watch in awe, horror, or excitement as you plans either crumble to dust or place you as shogun by the end. I just wish this system had a cleaner more modern game behind it, but until then I’ll be sticking with the Sengoku Jidai period for my fix.