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Sekigahara, 4th Printing

Status:  Charging
Orders To Date:  172
PUBLISHED: 2011, 2014, 2016
DESIGNER: Matthew Calkins
MAP & BLOCK ART: Mark Mahaffey
RULES LAYOUT: Neil Randall
PACKAGE ART: Rodger B. MacGowan
PRODUCERS: Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, Gene Billingsley & Mark Simonitch
Regular Price: $69.00
P500 Price: $48.00


  • Mounted Map
  • 119 wooden pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 sticker sheets
  • 110 cards
  • Rulebook
  • Two player aid cards


Customer Reviews
# of Ratings: 32
11. on 5/21/2012, said:
A fresh look at block wargaming. It all about hand management and plays in under 3 hours. Just need to play more now!!
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(1 people found this comment helpful, 3 did not)
12. on 12/4/2011, said:
I played this game three times so far. it is fantastic. Some say that game isn't ballance properly. I would say it isn't if you are trying to play both sides in the same way. This game need different strategy for each side.
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(7 people found this comment helpful, 1 did not)
13. on 12/3/2011, said:
This is one of the best 2 player block game I've played so far... Components are great and the game play is excellent.
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(2 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
14. on 11/19/2011, said:
The components are good, the game flow is simple. The game successfully demonstrates the command of armies in feudal Japan that is not mainly rely on the numbers of troops, but effectiveness of command. The mind battle between two camps could change the situation.
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(5 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not)
15. on 8/24/2011, said:
The blocks and labels look terrific. But too much empty space on the cards and the map is boring to the extreme.
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(1 people found this comment helpful, 14 did not)
16. on 12/4/2010, said:
While I think the map does need some more work, like a compass rose, the addition of an actual Mt. Fuji graphic(gotta show Fuji-san ;) , and cleaning up some of the kanji placement, I don't think it is nearly as bad as the previous post by Robert makes it out to be. If terrain is not an aspect of the game mechanics, then I don't think it is necessary to show the topography. The idea that kanji is never written in a circular fashion is incorrect. Just look at any Meiji era or earlier coinage, or even on current Ministry of Lands survey markers. That being said, it is still a little strange to have it in the center of the map like that. Usually, any circular, stylized writing is used on a circular medium (coin, manhole, etc.)or for a grahpic or logo, not on something like a map. It might assuage the purists to take a look at an actual old map of Japan and use that as a template for text placement. I like the map. I think it is very thematic, stylized and with a little tweaking, will be great. A larger concern of mine is that the actual kanji used on the cards is accurate. Nothing is more distracting than when it doesn't match up with the English. I'm looking forward to this game, and I hope the design team looks hard at the Japanese they use and are sure to get a native speaker to verify the correct usage before production.
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(6 people found this comment helpful, 7 did not)
17. on 11/4/2010, said:
Looks beutiful, dripping with theme!
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(0 people found this comment helpful, 7 did not)
18. on 2/9/2010, said:
I like what I've seen and read so far. I will pre-order.
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(1 people found this comment helpful, 9 did not)
19. on 6/6/2009, said:
I simply cannot stand that someone would rate a game at one star never having played it. So I will do the opposite as well because the rules I've read and the sites I've seen show that this is going to be a GREAT game. It will probably be a sleeper hit when it finally comes out.
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(2 people found this comment helpful, 8 did not)
20. on 1/13/2009, said:
I played a prototype of the game. The blocks and card system are wonderful. The balance of strategy and tactics coupled with the level of misdirection results in an enjoyable experience. The Google Earth map is NOT the actual map for the game.
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(11 people found this comment helpful, 1 did not)
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Fourth Printing Note: This printing will be identical to the third printing, including the deeper (3") box, and we will of course update the rulebook with any errata we find by the time we print (that book will be available free online as a pdf, as always).


The battle of Sekigahara, fought in 1600 at a crossroads in Japan, unified that nation under the Tokugawa family for more than 250 years.

Sekigahara allows you to re-contest that war as Ishida Mitsunari, defender of a child heir, or Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan's most powerful daimyo (feudal lord).

The campaign lasted only 7 weeks, during which each side improvised an army and a strategy with what forces their allies could provide. Each leader harbored deep doubts as to the loyalty of his units - for good reason. Several daimyo refused to fight; some even turned sides in the midst of battle.

To conquer Japan you must do more than field an army - you must be sure it will follow you into combat. Cultivate the loyalty of your allies and deploy them only when you are confident of their allegiance. Win a battle by gaining a defection from the ranks of your opponent.

Sekigahara is replete with unusual mechanics:
  • No dice are used
  • Cards represent loyalty and motivation. Without a matching card, an army will not enter battle.
  • Allegiance is represented by hand size, which fluctuates each turn.
  • Battles are a series of deployments, from hidden unit stacks, based on hidden loyalty factors. Loyalty Challenge cards create potential defection events.
 Sekigahara is a 3-hour block game based on the Japanese campaign waged in 1600. The 7-week war, fought along Japan's two major highways and in scattered sieges and backcountry skirmishes, elevated Tokugawa Ieyasu to Shogun and unified Japan for 265 years.

Sekigahara is designed to offer an historically authentic experience within an intuitive game mechanic that can be played in one sitting. Great effort has been taken to preserve a clean game mechanism. (Despite a healthy amount of historical detail, the ruleset is a brief 6 pages.) Chance takes the form of uncertainty and not luck.

No dice are used; combat is decided with cards. Blocks = armies and cards = motivation. The combination of army and motivation produces impact on the battlefield. Armies without matching cards don't fight. Battles resolve quickly, but with suspense, tactical participation, and a wide range of possible outcomes.

Legitimacy is represented by hand size, which fluctuates each week according to the number of castles a player holds. Certain events deplete legitimacy, like force marches and lost battles. Recruitment, meanwhile, is a function of a daimyo's control over key production areas. Objectives (enemy units, castles, resources) exist all over the map.

The initial setup is variable, so the situation is always fresh. Concealed information (blocks and cards) lends additional uncertainty. In this way the game feels like the actual campaign.

Blocks are large and stackable. Every unit on the board is visible at once, and the strategic situation is comprehensible at a glance. Components use authentic clan designations and colors, and have a Japanese feel.

True to history, the objectives (castles and economic centers) and forces (armies of allied daimyo) are dispersed. Support for one front means neglect for another. The player is pulled between competing priorities. Each side wonders where his opponent wants to fight, and where he is unready. There is a great deal of bluff in the game.

Each player must rally the several daimyo of his coalition, managing the morale and motivation of each clan. The forces are dispersed, and while there are reasons to unify them, the objectives are also dispersed, and the timeframe compact, so skirmishing will occur all over the island.


Designer's Synopsis of How This Game is Different from Others on Feudal Japan:"Sekigahara is a simple 3-hour block game based on the campaign in 1600 that unified Japan. Hidden information on blocks & cards, but no dice. Cards are not events (this isn’t a typical “card-driven wargame”) but rather motivation (suited by clan). Units fight only when a matching card is produced."


Additional differences:

(1) A lot of ‘game’ in 3 hours: many decisions, historical feel. The mechanics are really simple. Feels more like the event in question than most 3-hour wargames. Doesn’t bog down.

(2) Elegant graphical design. Japanese kanji and symbology; minimalism in blocks, board and cards. Mark Mahaffey has done amazing work.

(3) ‘Randomization’ subordinated to uncertainty. Plays like poker sometimes. You know how strong you’ll be in a hypothetical battle, and your opponent knows how strong he/she will be, so you read each others’ actions to gauge whether you want to initiate it.

(4) Double game being played: (a) units in position, (b) units motivated enough to fight. Most games would be all about (a) and leave (b) to the dice, but here you know in advance the effectiveness of your troops, by looking at your cards. The game is true to history in this regard (the campaign turned on defections & abstentions). Unit combat performance was too essential to the outcome of this campaign to leave to the dice.

(5) The combat system, with hidden forces and sequential deployments, is novel. Christophe Sancy made a great graphical illustration of a climactic combat sequence. It’s posted on Boardgame Geek.

TIME SCALE 2 weeks per turn
Point to point
UNIT SCALE One block = 5000 soldiers