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Everything can collapse. Houses, bodies, and enemies collapse when their rhythm becomes deranged. In large-scale strategy, when the enemy starts to collapse you must pursue him without letting the chance go. If you fail to take advantage of your enemies' collapse, they may recover.
–Miyamoto Musashi

Age of War is a fast-paced dice game for two to six players, designed by Reiner Knizia and set among the warring states of feudal Japan. In the game, you and your fellow players take on the roles of rival daimyos attempting to unite the Japanese clans by mustering your troops and conquering castles.

Age of War layout

Castles Under Siege

At the beginning of a game of Age of War, the fourteen castle cards belonging to the six clans are laid out in the center of the play area. Each turn, you must attempt to conquer a castle by laying siege to it with your forces.

Your turn begins by mustering your troops: rolling the seven custom dice. Each die has six possible results – one infantry, two infantry, three infantry, archers, cavalry, or daimyo. After your roll, you must attack a castle. Each castle card possesses at least one battle line, showing a variety of symbols from the dice. With the results you roll, you must complete one battle line on the besieged castle each turn. If you cannot complete a battle line, you remove one die from your rolls for this turn and muster your troops once more by rolling again.

Age of War dice

Each battle line on a castle card must be matched exactly, with the exception of infantry. When you fill a battle line that requires infantry, you may match or exceed the number of infantry needed to complete the battle line.

If you fill each battle line on the besieged castle card, you conquer it and add it to your play area. If you fail to complete all of a castle’s battle lines on your turn, however, your assault has been defeated, and you must wait until your next turn to besiege a castle.

Castles conquered by your opponents aren’t permanently out of reach, however. You can besiege castles in your opponent’s play areas in the same way that you would besiege an unconquered castle. However, you must treat the red daimyo symbol in the upper left hand corner of the castle card as an additional battle line, which makes stealing castles from your opponents harder than conquering them for the first time.

Claiming Victory

The castles you capture in Age of War belong to six different clans, and each clan that declares its loyalty to you brings you closer to an ultimate victory. The number of castles belonging to a clan ranges from one to four castles. Regardless of the number of castles, when you conquer all of a clan’s castles, that clan swears its loyalty to you. The castles of a clan united behind your banner cannot be stolen from you, but immunity to your opponent’s attacks is not the only benefit of conquering a clan.

Each conquered castle grants you the number of points printed on the front of the card, but if you manage to unite a clan, you’ll gain a number of points greater than the sum of each individual castle. For example, the Tokugawa clan in Age of War consists of three castles: Inuyama, worth one point; Kiyosu, worth two points; and Edo, worth three points. But players clever enough to conquer all three castles and secure the loyalty of the Tokugawa clan receive two bonus points, for a total of eight points.

Age of War castles

Conquering clans and castles adds another level of strategy to Age of War. Clans with a few castles may be easy to conquer, but you’ll receive more bonus points if you attempt to unite a clan that possesses many castles.

When the final unconquered castle is taken from the play area, the game ends, and players tally their points by adding the point values of conquered clans and individual conquered castles. The player with the most points succeeds in uniting Japan under his banner and wins the game!

Are you prepared to test your adaptability and your tactics on the field of battle? In Age of War, one player will rise above the other daimyos to gain renown as the leader of a unified Japan. Muster your troops, besiege the clan’s castles, and march to victory in feudal Japan!

images © Fantasy Flight Games

User Reviews (5)

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Rosetta Stone
126 of 133 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“Simple Dice Filler”

I will preface this review by advising of my general lack of interest of Reiner Knizia games. While I appreciate that he is a very intelligent man and an accomplished game designer, I generally find his games lack theme and feel like an IQ quiz in boardgame format. That being said, this game sparked my interest in part because of its low cost and also for its large player count accommodation. Given that I’m also a sucker for Fuedel Japan, I thought that this would be a low risk game investment.


The story behind this game is that each player represents a Fuedel Lord that seeks to overcome other clans and their respective castles. This is accomplished through players rolling 7 dice that have been designed with graphics to represent Infantry, Cavalry, Archers, and a Daimyo (sp?). Through rolling the dice (and susequent rerolls) players amass the military units required to conquer a chosen castle based on the military requirements listed on the card. A sinmple but effective mechanic in this game has players reducing the number of dice they roll based on achieveing the miliatry requirements for each castle. You are either able to conquer a single castle in a single turn or you aren’t, its that simple.

Each clan has a number of castles ranging from 1-5. Each castle is assigned a numeric point value based on the difficulty to conquer the castle. If a player is successful at conquering all of a clans castles, the clan is deemed to be conquered and is free from being attacked (or stolen) by other players. However, if you do not hold all of a clans castles, you may find yourself subject to attack and lose ownership to a rival player. Once all castles have been conquered from the common playing area, the game ends and players tally their castle points.

Gameplay is very simple and games can range from 10 min to about 25 min (in a 6 player game).


As is in the case of any other Fantasy Flight game that I own, I have found that the components are of the highest quality. In this case, thats not saying a whole lot given that the components boil down to 7 dice and (I believe) 14 cards. The dice themselves are some of the nicest dice I have ever used. Whatever polymer they used almost has a bone texture and appearance. The embossings are clear and the coloration of the markings is uniform and distinct. The dice have rounded corners and roll beautifully.

The clan/castle cards are 2 sided with the backs indicating the clan symbol/colour and one of the cards in the clan set also indicates the total value of castles and bonus for collecting all the cards in the clan set. The face of the card depicts individual castles, the military requirements to conquer the castle, depicted by symbols that are represented on the dice, the clan colour and castle point value. The artwork is simple and pleasant. The graphics are clear and therefore avoids confusion. Colour used in the printing is rich leaving the cards nicely attired.


The theming of this game is almost irrelevant. While I do appreciate what the symbols represent regarding military requirements to conquer the various castles, I doubt that many people will appreciate this or even care. I do however enjoy this game. When played in the context of a light easily accessible filler game, it succeeds. There is some player interaction but that too can be avoided and can feel a little like a dice rolling competition at times.

Overall, I do enjoy this game when played as a filler or introduction game before more substantial games can be tabled. I would recommend this game to parents of preteen children or for gamers that can enjoy very light dice games.

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126 of 141 gamers found this helpful
“Low depth dice game”

I really wanted to like this game. I had it on my shopping list after watching a review for it and the tutorial on how to play it. And it seemed simple enough for a pick-up and play game but it just felt redundant and tedious.

I originally was interested in this game mainly because I wanted a simple game that has a samurai or feudal Japan theme to it.

I was at a board game night at a local pub and I was excited to play it and then as I rolled dice and rolled some more dice and then rolled some more dice again, my excitement level got lower and lower and lower to the point where I was just forcing myself to have fun.

Even Zombie Dice has more depth. I love Zombie Dice and can play it again and again but this game is a game where I feel that it asks for too much for a dice rolling game. It is just really really tough to roll for certain items such as 10 swords. I think we got it once out of 50 rolls but we rolled it when we didn’t need it.

So the game feels extremely repetitive which gets you quite bored but it only feels that way on the more difficult cards to capture. The 1 point cards are easy to moderately easy to capture. But everything else above that is super difficult and you will find yourself rolling and rolling and rolling.

I’ll just say that a dice rolling game is meant to be simple and fun. Age of War on the other hand tries too hard to be more than that. It wants to be simple but also strategically challenging at the same time. You can’t have both or we start getting bored.

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60 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Fun Warm-Up Dice Game”

When I introduce Age of War to a friend, I usually describe it as Monopoly combined with Yahtzee. Players try get the most points by collecting castle cards that represent several iconic towns/regions. You “win” a castle by rolling the appropriate dice value combination (swords, bows, horsemen, or daimyos), which vary in difficulty by the amount of points the card rewards. You can either roll for an untaken castle in the middle of the play area, or try to steal a castle from one of your opponents. If you collect all the cards of the same color, those castles are now locked from being stolen and you score a regional score for those cards.

The game, as seen on the box cover, can have 2-6 players. I feel like strategy changes up significantly with 4 or more, moving to a more stealing heavy emphasis. 3-4 seems most optimal, with 6 feeling a little chaotic.

In general, all of the parts are of good quality. You get 7 dice (with custom sides), and 14 castle cards. The dice have corners that are more rounded than the standard playing die, leading to a lot of movement. The box operates as a good dice tray if you need to use one.

This game has great value! I’ve found that this is one of my playing group’s favorite opening games, and is very accessible to new players. At around $10-$15, anyone looking to build up their game selection should strongly consider checking this game out!

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My First Heart
105 of 145 gamers found this helpful
“Easy & Quick”

Very much like other simple dice games it is quick and easy to play. It is one of those games you can carry around with you if you really wanted something on the run.

I generally use this game and games like it as fillers and conversation games. Match the symbols to the cards and get the cards, each card has a point system, highest points win… that is it!!

Waiting for others to set up a different game just grab this box and go a few rounds. It isn’t meant to be a complex, in depth game of concentration, it is meant to be simple and quick with a slight Japanese theme.

I would recommend this game because it is inexpensive and fun, and if you have a few minutes to pass this is one of the dice games think about.

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Book Lover
102 of 146 gamers found this helpful
“Quick and fun game”

I bought this game purely out of curiosity – turned out that this game is a great way to spend the time if you are looking for something quick and fun. Some more cards and abilities wouldn’t hurt, but this is great choice if you have limited amount of time, or still want to play something relaxing after an exhausting gaming session. Recently I brought this game to work and played it with my colleagues during the lunch break – it was a great way to refresh and have fun between the meetings and usual daily tasks. And it’s a big plus that the game is so small – you can bring it wherever you go.


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