010 Second Battle of Azuki-Zaka (1548)
Imagawa Samurai Army (Red/Giulio) 5 Banners won, 23 figures lost
Oda Samurai Army (Yellow/toddrew) 6 Banners won, 22 figures lost
The opening was played masterfully by the Imagawa commander, as the reds were moved up, and able to get hits on one of the Oda archers. Oda responded with some misdirection, attempting to move the battle to the center, but it backfired when Oda Spearmen attacked Imagawa archers and were hit twice on the battle back. Reds were ordered on the next turn, and even though the attack was weakly rolled, Oda lost a leader and the archer unit while being severely weakened, though did manage to get a leader kill of their own on a battle back.
The next break went Imagawa's way, as a three figure Naginata was dealt two hits, but gave three back, taking the Oda reds and forcing a Seppuku. The Imagawa Cavalry then charged and wiped out two Spearmen units (3 and 4 figures respectively), pushing the Oda side to the brink at 5-1.
And here is where the game got sloppy by both players. Oda played a leadership card, but having been playing lots of Napoleonics, didn't bother to read the card, and played it as though it could only order leaders and units with leaders attached. Not understanding the Imagawa Commanders question of "is that your move?" (thought it was about the number of hexes, not the number of orders, doh!), the Oda commander proceeded. Later it came out that the Imagawa commander committed a gaffe, as he was holding Insult, but neglected to play it. And here is where the game got nuts. Taking the one figure Naginata was expected, but rolling four hits on that roll seemed like the wrong choice had been made. However, the next roll was just as potent, also netting four hits on the full strength Imagawa Cavalry that were poised to end the game by attacking the aforementioned 1 figure Oda Spearmen. This gave some distance between the weakened target and the Imagawa forces.
Instead of the dead meat Spearmen, now out of striking range, Imagawa chose to go full offensive on the 3 figure Oda Cavalry - who happened to be holding First Strike and Ambush. Both were played at the right time, and the game was knotted at 5 banners. Out of center cards, the important First Strike draw garnered Scout Center, but then Insult was played, preventing the Cavalry from running down the 3 figure Imagawa Spearmen. Unable to mount much of a challenge for the Oda Cavalry, an Arquebus shot was fired, bringing the mounted unit down to two figures. Another Center card had been drawn, and the Cavarly was able to reach the Imagawa Spearmen, but Followers of Bishamon had been played, and the two hits brought the Spearmen to their last figure, but the flag was able to be ignored. The battle back garnered no hits, bringing us to the final play: Infantry onslaught coupled with Panic, giving a solid chance to the Leader attached 4 figure spearmen to fend off the Oda Cavalry. However, after a slight internal debate, Ambush was played (having been picked up by a Ninja Thief, earlier) and the resulting roll scored two flags and a hit. The two flags ended the threat, and the hit triggered a leader check that was true, ending a wild scrum at 6-5, Yellow.
Went on a bit there, but really was an exciting game. Likely should have ended at 6-1 Red, but that would have stolen some very choice tension-wrought play that followed. Great fun, Giulio, thank you for the game.