Calvin’s Commentaries: Showdown! The Samurai Card Game!

“Gather your friends and pack your bags for a trip to feudal Japan, where only the fearless will flourish. Samurai, Ronin, and even Emperors lock eyes and dare one another to make a move, knowing only one will stand victorious! Duel each rival that comes your way as you make a name for yourself in a world where even an unknown wanderer can scrap her way to the top against the most capable of samurai.”

That is the website lead-in for Showdown! The Samurai Card Game! published by New Experience Workshop Games, and is just the sort of teaser that grabs me. Feudal Japan is a favourite game theme with Joraku, and Kanagawa in my top 25-games list, and Kendo and Tokaido making it into the top-50.

Now Showdown by designer Chris Amburn won’t be breaking into my top-100 list, but that isn’t to say the game doesn’t have its merits.

Showdown! The Samurai Card Game is for 2-6 players,

It is basically a reskin of Shootout! The High Noon Card Game, a western-themed game using the same mechanics which allows either to be played as a stand-alone game or pitted against for the ultimate duel between cowboys and samurai. The result of shuffling the two games together is that you can get the gang fighting cowboys with katanas against samurais with shotguns.

But I have only played Showdown, and I will start by applauding the artwork.

The feel of feudal Japan is rather stunningly captured, with several of the cards being fine enough in terms of art that an 8X10 print on the gaming wall would look great if they were available.

The rules here are pretty straightforward ending up in a card battle not so far removed from the old kid’s game of war.

Players look to build up a strong hand, then head into a head-to-head battle with an opponent, hoping you warrior and his weapons are strong enough to win, or that you have other cards that can twist the fate of battle in your favour.

The flavour of samurai’s battling comes across well enough, and the art is so strong it helps make the game enjoyable, but ultimately this is a lightweight filler game. There is nothing wrong with that as we always need games to fill down times on gaming night, and this one certainly fills that niche nicely.

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.


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