Ronin's rules for a warrior buntai (warband) gives two options - either hierarchical with more lower ranked warriors than samurai, or strictly higher class, with all rank 3 warriors or better.
In this game, we played the two options against each other. My buntai, holding a small country retreat, is composed of a hatamoto (rank 4), a samurai (rank 3) and 4 bushi (rank 1 or 2).
The enemy, two mounted and two foot samurai approach from the opposite corner.
The samurai and 3 attendants stride out to meet the enemy.
The two mounted samurai execute a special attack, the ride-by. They suffer a disadvantage on their attack rolls, but if successful, finish the attack out of contact with the enemy. One of the attendants falls, while the other survives the ride-by:
My initial plan was for my hatamoto and his attendant to defend the gates, but my sub-commander (five year old son) who was only supposed to function as observer. rashly moved the two models outside the wall.
I made the most of the decision, and hopefully could catch the enemy from the flank. Fortune favors the bold! His horsemen fall due to some lucky yumi strikes from my samurai and my hardy attendants. The day is mine!
My opponents final model left is the samurai in blue.
After taking out the attendant, I have two models left, an attendant and a samurai armed with a yumi (bow). Feeling confident and a bit honorable, I decide not to use the bow and move into melee. He was after all, already wounded.
Unfortunately, we tied on initiative. In this game, this means that both attacks are simultaneous, and enhancing defense rolls is not possible. And so...
Both strike killing blows. Not a bad run for the last samurai.
The lone survivor
I like Ronin because it is a versatile but quick system. Weapons have statistical variations - katanas have no modifier for example, but the the two handed sword give you a +1 attack modifier along with a -1 initiative modifier. Which is significant, because initiative is key in this game since response attacks are not automatic . Other combat details such as mounted combat, reloading, and disarming are handled efficiently without becoming too granular.
My models were Assault Group and West Wind and my opponents were from 1st Corp. These are some of the better ranges for early samurai. I'll post some closeup comparison shots and reviews shortly.