“You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.”
— Miyamoto Musashi

With Iron Dragon coming up this weekend, I thought I’d slip in my thoughts on the four scenarios that will be run over the course of the day.

This scenario requires you to get a model that your opponent nominates from corner to corner. The interesting part about this scenario is balancing the victory conditions against the model selection. The first instinct is to pick a model with a low wound count so as to make it easier to eliminate. However, this opens up your opponent to being able to lock in the the “… player whose VIM received the fewest total wounds during the game.” Victory point. By nominating your opponents best combat model you can start to hinder their willingness to leverage their best potential against you. They face a dilemma of the model best suited to taking out your VIM should be heading for the other board edge!

I have won this scenario when my opponent picked Aiko (a 3 wound little girl with 3″ movement) and I picked Hiro (a heavily armoured Samurai with six wounds). How? Well I drew first blood (1 VP), and took less damage total (1VP). Unfortunately I was unable to stop his Samurai from reaching my deployment zone, so it was a 2-1 win, but a win none-the-less.

Ryodo is an area control scenario. Three 4″ areas are set out, the nearest worth 1 scenario point, then 2, and the furthest 3. You need to both protect your closest area, (worth the most to your opponent) and try to take the furthest (worth the most to you). This tends to make the centre the tipping point.

This really is a hard scenario to generalise about. It’s all going to come down to your force and your opponents warband. If you have the numbers, you could try to dominate from the word go and go for all the control areas. If not, you could your nearest, and duke it out for the middle. If you have a fast moving element you are confident you can take the furthest area with, a feint up the middle and a late grab of that objective could leave you with nearest and furthest for four scenario points and a confused, lonely opponent sitting on what appeared to be a the critical midpoint.

This was one of the first scenarios released for the game and is a staple at Iron Dragon. Personally an early score to put the pressure on really helps. By the 3rd and 4th turn both warbands are usually well and truly engaged, if not one side starting to fail.

Depend how the tide is turning for you this VP is critical. If you got the first, this one wins you the game. If you didn’t, and your getting smashed, then this point is the difference between a loss and total defeat. Likewise if you are getting the upper hand, but didn’t score that first VP, you might need this point to win.

Once described to me as “I can’t believe it’s not a pitched battle“, which is not entirely true. It’s also kind of Envoy with different deployment and a shorter distance to travel (providing you can go straight through the opponent). Except you get to pick your own victim VIM this time.

So, you don’t have to go for a straight up fight. You can also play evasion. If they can’t get to your VIM, they can’t score VPs. Two of the 3 VPs in this scenario revolve around the death or survival of the VIMs, so while it is tempting to pick your biggest baddest model as the VIM, picking a lesser target and protecting it well is also a viable strategy.

Jūnin toiro
Literally: ten men, ten colors.

That’s a Japanese proverb, not a scenario, but I needed a break to conclude. Every faction has its own play style, and the challenge for tournament players is finding one force that can achieve all these missions.

Massed Oni may be good for Reikan, but the low model count might make Idols a challenge. Not to mention their propensity to wipe out the opposition before you have a chance to score.

Similarly Cult of Yurei tend to inspire thoughts of slow moving karai, but I have seen some lightning fast builds. Good for that quick first turn score in Idols, but perhaps not so good trying to hold areas of control.

So with Miyamoto Musashi’s philosophy that opened this post in mind, how do you play these scenarios? What is your path to the top of the mountain?