Justin (Red/Date): 6 banners won, 25 blocks lost (plus one seppuku)
JR (Blue/Allies): 9 banners won, 23 blocks lost (plus one seppuku)
This looked very hard on Red at the outset but Justin made a game of it. My opening play of Hold and Shoot nearly cleared out the castle by itself, and my samurai spearmen finished the job. I quickly jumped out to a 5-1 banner lead, but Justin stormed back. He sent his samurai horse and foot into my line and did solid work, and deft play of Dragon cards took the teeth out of a couple of my attacks. We each had some bad luck with leader losses, which reduced the lethality of our forces. I was able to grind Justin down but he still grabbed two more banners before a cavalry charge was able to finish off the Date clan. Kudos to Justin for making the most of a difficult situation!
JR (Blue/Takeda) 4 banners won, 18 blocks lost (plus one seppuku)
This was a tight little asymmetric knife fight. As Takeda, I struggled to get across the ravine with any strength given my three-card hand; my issues were compounded when John annihilated a Samurai Spearman cav unit in the ravine, forcing Yamagata Masakage to commit seppuku due to lack of honor. However, the Tokugawa position is vulnerable to flank attack if the Takeda clan can work their way around either flank, and sure enough, my left-flank cav emerged from behind the hills to hit John's bowmen and arquebusiers on that side. That plus an eliminated unit gave me two banners to John's three.
The next several turns were a high-wire act for both sides. John needed only one banner, but I was close to getting another unit across the ravine. John missed several high-probability shots, but scored three flags on a Samurai Bow cav unit, earning me my first-ever Lack of Honor roll! The unit was down to one block but I didn't roll any red, and ended up only losing a single step on six dice - very fortunate. John unleashed a storm of firepower on the unit but it was able to scamper out of range without further loss. I was then finally to push a formation of Ashigaru spearmen across the ravine on the right for a prospective third banner if I lived that long.
John now had a dilemma - he had two low-strength units, one with a single block, adjacent to my Samurai Spearmen cav - could he drive them back? He played Red Dragon but failed to roll any red. I burned the last of my honor playing Followers of Bishamon - it was now or never, as John went in for close combat. His inspired bowmen whiffed, but my cavalry did not on the battle back. That scored a banner, which, along with the banner I got at the beginning of my next turn for the Ashigaru, put me over the victory threshold for a very close win.
This was a much more interesting battle than I expected when I saw its size and asymmetry. I can see why the Takeda hand size is limited - otherwise they are likely to get too many flank moves and will end up enveloping the Tokugawa line. It is a fun little race, and well worth another few plays to explore options for each side.
Gottoman (Allies) 9 banners 21 blocks lost
Javelinthower (Date) 2 banners 32 blocks lost
The Allies laid down missile fire early to reduce the Castle and Village garrisons. A push on the castle reduced the Date unit to a single block, and he moved to the rear to be replaced by a fresh Spearman. The Allies pushed on the village and eliminated the unit there and captured it. The battle heated in he center heated up. The Allies pushed on the Castle and secured it. The Allies used overwhelming force and sone good cards and dice to secure the win. This one is quite hard to see how the Date force can win, and even getting a good banner count is hard if the Allies are able to send reduced units to the rear and use their large unit count advantage to wear the Date side down.