While massive armies did meet and clash, such encounters were surprisingly rare. The endemic warfare of the period was dominated by raids, small battles, incursions, and the clash of clan warbands. Small families battles one another for local regional dominance, seeking the leverage to become major powers. Meanwhile, firearms and armor and improved in a lethal arms race.
Bushidan allows players to control the forces of samurai families, ikko-ikki covenants, pirates, bandits and warrior monks – or even forces engaged against the Japanese of the era such as Ming Chinese and Joseon Koreans. The game focuses on the small unit tactical systems that were developing to meet the demands of the new age of warfare. Players must plan their tactical ‘box of tricks’ with care, and choose the ferocity, style and cunning that their forces will bring to the battlefield.
The game includes a campaign system to allow players to pit their Bushidan against one another in longer conflicts.
This is a colorful period for wargamers to paint and model. The rules are intended for use with 28mm figures, but can easily be played with smaller scales. A typical army might have 8 or 9 units, each of 4 to 16 figures each.