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Samurai Sword

| Published: 2011
52 16 3

Samurai Sword is a new game based on the proven Bang! mechanisms and set in feudal Japan. In this game, the familiar features of Bang! are enhanced by more dynamic and fast-paced game play, and thanks to a new scoring system – based on honor points and resilience points – there is no player elimination. Everybody gets to fight to the very end! Also, weapons and attacks are fused into a single card.

Samurai Sword game box and contents
images © dV Giochi

User Reviews (5)

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Rosetta Stone
19 of 20 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Bang travels East.”

My brother had been at me for a while to pick up a copy of Bang as he had recently learned the fun of the Hidden Role style of game. He wouldn’t stop talking about the great game play of Bang and suggested that I was missing out. Since he lives too far away for me to play regular games of Bang with, I decided to pick up the iOS version. I found that Bang was an excellent game. Considering my enjoyment of Bang, it was a natural choice for me to pick up a copy of Samurai Sword. I have always had a fascination with the Japanese culture and thought that Bang applied to the Japanese Feudel system was just too cool to pass up. What did I discover?


Samuarai Sword is a hidden roles card game that has assymetrical powers afforded by character person. The Shogun is immediately identified at the start of the game, he is leader of the Samurai. Samurai covertly play a support role to the Shogun and serve to protect him from attack by attempting to weed out the enemies of the Shogun who are trying to kill him. Ninjas are the avowed enemies of the Shogun and work towards killing and stripping the honour of the Shogun and possibly his Samurai. The Ronin, also a covert class, initially acts as a Samurai (to attempt to confuse the Shogun) by eliminating the Ninjas, once Ninjas are eliminated, they are free to attempt assination of the Shogun (which is their true mission).


While gameplay is initially very similar to Bang with regards to differring weapons having different ranges and armour to prevent attack that is where the game plays similar to Bang. Players are never truly eliminated, as in Bang, if players are stripped of all their health points, they become harmless until their next turn and must forfeit one of their honour points. Harmless players can not be attacked. Players are also considered harmless if they find themselves to be without cards in their hand. If any player is completely stripped of honour the game ends and all points are tallied to determine the winning team.

Depending on the amount of players, the game can range from 20 minutes to a little over an hour. I found that the game play was unnecessarily bogged down with accounting for armour, initiative, weapon types, and unique player powers. This is the same criticism I have of Bang. However, what I found to be of detriment to the game was the implementation of the honour system and the harmless state in which characters could find themselves. Players are never truly eliminated, which slows down the game and the application of these rules almost suggest a reincarnation of players that were otherwise dead. I always find this to be a flaw in a game.


The cards, honour chits, and health chits are the only components to speak of here. The cards are an American standard size and the card stock is of good quality. The illustrations on the cards are fine but not great, at least to my tastes. The titles of the cards is another point of contention. I have no issue with the titles themselves, what I don’t care for is that this is a Japanese-esque game and the titles are in Italian written in a Japanese styled font. Why do this the game is a distinctly Japanese flavour written in English with Italian card titles, its ridiculous. The chits are a thick quality card and display a heart(health) and Lotus Blossom(honour).


I realize that when reskinning a game it is necesary to make essential changes in order to differentiate games, the question becomes if the changes are positive or negative. In this case, I would have to say negative. Gameplay is bogged down with characters not being eliminated, the harmless aspect (characters not being able to be attacked when the are vulnerable), and the honour system that leads to a semi-complicated scoring mechanism to determine the winner. While this game is not horrible, it is also far from great. I’m giving this game a 6 on 10.

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Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester
50 of 55 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“It's like BANG! with Ninjas!”

Hello my little Samurais and Sumurettes,

Today, we are going to talk about a little card game called Samurai Sword. This game is based on the wonderful hidden identity card game BANG!, but does not have the dreaded “player elimination” some people dislike in that western gun-fest.

Samurai Sword is made my an Italian game company, and has a different feel from other Euro games that avoid interaction… especially direct conflict. In Samurai Sword, you are beating the living tofu out of each other.. and I love it!

How to Play…

The setup: You start off by getting a secret identity (shogun, samurai, ninja or ronin). What group you are in is determined by the number of players, but there is always one shogun and a couple ninjas. Now, the shogun is the only one who has to show his/her card, and they are a target for the ninjas. The ninjas, in a game of 4 or more, try to keep their identity hidden… but this is feudal, as they must start attacking the shogun quickly. The samurai are supposed to protect the shogun, and quickly deduce who the ninjas are. Meanwhile, the ronin’s secret agenda is too kill them ALL! Each player also gets a character card with a name, flavor text, and special power. Player variability adds greatly to the replay value of the game. Finally, you start off with a hand of cards determined by the position you are to the shogun, a number of honor points, and life points based on your character.

Gameplay: On your turn you take two cards and start swinging. How many times you can attack are determined by character and action cards you are able to set down in front of you. You can always play as many action cards as you are able. Attacks are easily described on the cards with a number for distance and damage. There are cards that increase the distance between you and attackers… and cards that steal those cards… and so on. The game is on!!!!

The beauty of this game is the life point/honor point system. When you get attacked, and you can’t parry, you lose a heart (life point). When you lose all you life points, you don’t die, but instead give one of your honor points (lotus) to the player who “killed” you. On your next turn, you get all you life points back to fight again! The game ends when any of the players have lost all their honor points, and the winner is the player/players with the highest total score at that moment. There is a mechanism to remove an honor point from every player each time the deck runs out. This eliminates the other problem BANG! has… going on too long… like this review.

My Conclusion…

Samurai Sword is a great game to play with a varied group of players. I even taught my parents to play it in a few minutes. It’s cheap, can play up to seven, and, with the new rules, takes about a half hour to play. This is a great filler game for 4 or more. My only problem with the game is it isn’t quite as fun with three as I would like… it’s just 2 against 1 with no secrets between you.

Should you get this game? Um, duuuuhhhh! This is really a no-brainier for even strategy gamers. You’ve got to have a good game to play when non-gamers are around, and a game heavy on tactics is your best bet at not spending the evening playing Taboo(no offense to Taboo fans, as I fancy a game every now and then). So, yes, do yourself a favor and buy Samurai Sword, and join the Spaghetti Fu revolution!

Granny loves stabby-stabby!

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16 of 19 gamers found this helpful
“I really enjoy the Samurai theme!!”

Samurai Sword is my first introduction to the “Bang Game System”.

What I was looking forward to before playing this game is having a game mechanic which makes combat to be very dynamic. And not only that, it is also a game which has a theme that I am very interested in, and that is feudal Japan.

I love Japanese themed games so Samurai Sword was indeed a game I had to have. The “Bang Game System” mechanic is my favourite thing about this game. I love that we can attack other players but not all players because of the attack difficulty or what I like to call the “range”. It makes things a little more dynamic because just because I can attack you, doesn’t mean you can attack me.

But that isn’t all. The fact that you can are also bluffing your way through the game or possibly hitting your own team mates calls for more unpredictability but also really good moments of deduction if you’re really good at reading faces.

Some people say that this game is really just Bang but with a new theme. I think yes and no. Sure they might’ve slapped on a new theme to Bang but I think that this makes the game system much better especially with the fact that there’s really no actual elimination. Sure, people might get killed but they’re still in the game and they will always be in the game until the game actually “ends” with its new game end rules. This is something that will make the game feel less long because if you truly know who your enemy is, you can focus your attention and attacks on one person and thus removing their honour points from them quicker and eventually ending the game sooner. But of course, that is where the fellow ninjas or ronins will have their opportunity to strike back.

Anyways, I thought this game is quite decent. The only issue I have with this game is that, you truly need to play this game with the right group. Any by right group, I mean avid gamers. These are people who constantly read their event cards and understand their character abilities. I played it with a mix of gamers and non-gamers and the non-gamers were always asking “how did you do that?” or “these rules make it so confusing”. It is NOT confusing, you just have to understand your cards just like any other game.

Anyways, if you like Bang, you will enjoy this one as well. It is a very nice spin on an already great existing game.

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My First Heart
8 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Fun and fast!”

Really fun game and plays thru pretty quick.
Easy to pick up though you may stumble with a few details at first.

I didn’t play any of the Bang series so this was a first for me.

It’s a really interesting mechanic not knowing where the teams are drawn. It’s less cut throat because you know what you’re trying to do but still have to take some care with it.


Pro’s –
Easy to Learn
Fun to Play


Con’s –
Can’t think of anything significant.


Overall, a really fun, fast, easy game to play thru. It’s unique enough in concept as everyone loves Ninjas so your harder gamers will still enjoy! Certainly a must keep in rotation!

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Rated My First Game
5 of 17 gamers found this helpful
“small box, but more complicated than Uno”

After playing Heroes United, Deck Building Game, this game didn’t seem too hard to pick up. There was five of us, took about 45 minutes, w/ explaining for a couple new ones among us. Good dynamics, of the 5 of us, there was a loner, the Ronin, a team of Shogun and Samurai, and 2 Ninjas. The catch is only the identity of the Shogun is known to all. More strategy compared to Heroes United, since you decide how many of your cards to play, if any, and sometimes who to use a card against. There’s also the element of figuring out who your teammate is if you aren’t the Ronin. Otherwise you have the usual elements of attacks, defenses, special powers, ability to draw, discard, or trash yours or others cards. Liked it, would play again.


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