THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE....(Don't lie, some of you yelled MORTAL KOMBAT in your head). As the combatants enter, each claims to be the best, but only one will survive. The last player standing is victorious and becomes the new Shogun.
To begin, every player is dealt five cards. Before each players' turn they flip the top card of the deck onto the discard pile, face up. On your turn you draw either the top card of the deck or the top card of the discard pile, then discard one from your hand. If you flip a Showdown card when you flip a card to the discard pile a showdown occurs. The person who flipped Showdown has the option of who to battle, unless there are only two players left. Each player takes turns laying cards down. You may play one each of Title, Weapon & Notoriety (unless you have bonus cards that break rules). When both players have played all their cards that they can, the highest total wins and the other player is eliminated. Winning player redraws to seven and discards two (if any players are left). Play until there is one player remaining.
What struck me right away about this game is the art. The above picture is of the back of the cards and it's very well done. It even says "showdown samurai" in kanji, which is a nice touch.
But this game goes even farther than just great art. As you can see in this example the Title of Brute is in black and white and the Legendary notoriety card is in color. This is a small modification to the game but it give you that little pop when you see a color card and think "YES!" because you know it's a good card, and then you try to see how it fits into your plan.
This game plays very fast and has that poker feel to it. I was easily able to play several times with both friends and family. I feel that it's better with multiple players but still plays well with two. At no time did the special cards feel overpowering, and sometimes based on the hand I had I found myself discarding special cards, something which in most games never seems to be the case. This is a game I can easily recommend to a wide variety of game players. The kickstarter is live now.
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