Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Sashimono is a two-player tactical card game designed and illustrated by Joshua Sprung and published by Lore Chase Games. Set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history, it feels like a cross between a battle game and a puzzle game. Players are sending their samurai and other warriors into battle but their objectives are more to do with formations and manipulating the game state rather than simply pummelling your opponent into submission.
Both sides begin with a 3x3 square consisting of the three types of soldier, with some cards face up and some face down. On a player's turn, they choose one of their unique Sashimono cards to play and utilise its actions. Each Sashimono also has a different scoring condition that can be triggered from either army's situation, so players must constantly watch the state of play for threats and opportunities.
When either player has scored the required number of victory points (each scored Sashimono counts as one), they win the game. The rules suggest playing to two for a first game, which means a game can be over very quickly. Even playing to four, it is hard to see how this game could take more than half an hour, but if players can both build potential then they could end up countering each other's scoring conditions repeatedly in an exciting and deep back-and-forth exchange. Even after a decisive battle, there is potential for swift recovery...
Of course, if your game has ended after just a few turns, then you won't see the promised depth. Playing the prototype shown here on Board's Eye View, that happened with our first games. We initially feared we might have misunderstood the rules (there were no FAQs available at the time of reviewing) but raising the number of points needed for victory makes all the difference. There are also solo rules provided and which make for an interesting challenge.
Sashimono will be best appreciated by gamers who enjoy two-player abstract games and have the potential and patience to play repeatedly until both players reach good knowledge of all 34 Sashimono cards and can anticipate and plan for every eventuality, like a truly great general.
Sashimono's crowdfunding campaign is now live on Game Crafter. Click here to check it out.
(Review by Matt Young)