Shogun board game review


Shogun was published in 2006 by Queen Games. It was designed by Dirk Henn. Michael Menz did the illustrations.

In 2015, a fundraising campaign has been held on Kickstarter to reprint Shogun. A Big Box Edition of the game will be released with four expansions and almost five hundred wooden meeples to replace the cardboard chits and wooden cubes of the original edition.

Game Components

  • 395 wood pieces:
    • 330 cubes:
      • 62 per player;
      • 20 green farmer cubes;
    • 55 War chests:
      • 35 wood colored chests;
      • 20 orange chests;
    • 5 Victory point markers;
    • 5 Rice marker;
  • 110 Cards:
    • 53 Province cards;
    • 25 War chest cards;
    • 5 per player;
    • 5 Initiative cards;
    • 5 Daimyo cards;
    • 12 Event cards;
    • 10 Turn sequence cards;
  • 122 Chits:
    • 42 revolt markers;
    • 80 Building tiles:
      • 26 temples;
      • 28 castles;
      • 26 Nô theatres;
  • 1 Game Board;
  • 5 Daimyo boards;
  • 1 Battle tower;

Shogun - Map


The game of Shogun can be played with three to five people and takes 150 minutes. It is an economic area control strategy with elements of bidding.

The game story takes place in 16-century Japan amid the ruthless power struggle between Daimyos (Princes) who compete for becoming the Shogun.

Each player represents one of the Daimyos. You need to control as many provinces as possible and develop your kingdom by building temples, castles, and Nô theatres. For resolving battles that happen during the game, there is a special battle tower.

Shogun - Game Board


The game goes on for two years. Each year has four seasons (rounds). Every year the fourth season (winter) is the scoring round. During the first three seasons, each round has the following phases:

Lay out Action cards

There are ten actions. Each of them is shown on an individual board. You may perform every action in your kingdom once a season. Before the round begins, you decide on the order in which the actions will be performed. You put the first five action cards face up so that everyone can see them, and the rest five cards lie face down. If you do not want a specific action this season, you may choose not to carry it out.

Now, for the winter round. You have to feed your provinces, or you will be facing the threat of a revolt. In this round, scoring happens. You get points for each of your provinces, buildings, and for having the most castles, temples, and theatres in a region.

After the second winter, the game finishes. The Daimyo with the most points wins and becomes the Shogun.

Shogun - Fight


  • Build a castle;
  • Build a temple;
  • Build a Nô theatre;
  • Confiscate rice;
  • Collect taxes;
  • Deploy 5 armies;
  • Deploy 3 armies;
  • Deploy / move 1 army;
  • Battle / Move -A-;
  • Battle / Move -B-;

Lay out Special cards

Special cards are placed face up on the five spaces designed for them. Later in the game, special cards are auctioned to the players. Special cards have two functions: the position of the card on the row determines the turn order of the player who gets it and every Special card gives a special privilege to its owner.


  • +1 War Chest
  • +1 Rice
  • 6 Armies
  • +1 Army with Attack
  • +1 Army with Defense

Shogun - Tokens

Plan individual actions and bid for turn order

Every player secretly decides how they want to distribute their ten actions among their provinces. Then they (also secretly!) bid for turn order and the privilege that comes with it.

Determine events

An event card is drawn that determines the event that applies this round. It will alter certain action for all Daimyos.

Determine turn order

The players reveal their bids and pay for them.

Shogun - End of Year 1

Carry out actions

In turn order, all players execute their actions. If you cannot perform one of your actions due to some game circumstances, then you skip this action for the round.

Resolving Battles

Battles can occur between two players, between a player and a neutral province, or when a revolt takes place.

The battle tower is used in case of any battle. You take all participating armies of the attacker and the defender and put them inside the tower together with all the cubes from the tower tray. Then you spill the cubes out on the tray. The winner of the battle is the player who has more cubes lying in the tray.

If you want to download a PDF manual, you can find the rule book in English here.

Shogun - Epic Battles

Similar Games

Combat Commander: Pacific

Combat Commander Pacific

You could compare Shogun to Combat Commander: Pacific. In this card-driven wargame, the action takes place during the World War II. Players move their combat units across the map and attack their opponents’ combat units while occupying their objectives. It usually takes longer than Shogun and is designed to be played by two people.

Memoir ’44

Memoir 44

Another game similar to Shogun is Memoir ’44. It is also a World War II wargame with area control, dice rolling, and use of cards. It reproduces some of the most famous historical battles of WWII, including Omaha Beach, Operation Cobra, Pegasus Bridge, and the Ardennes. The game takes up to an hour and is designed for two players.

Shogun: Tenno’s Court Expansion

Shogun: Tenno s Court Expansion

This expansion, released in 2011, contains the following components:

  • 1 Tenno´s Court (cardboard named “audience hall” with additional space for 3 favor cards)
  • 5 Extra player boards
  • 35 Wooden court officials
  • 21 Favor cards
  • 15 dice tower cards
  • 1 rules leaflet
  • 20 cards affiliated to the expansion “Samurai”


Q: Is there a Shogun iOS app or an online version to play Shogun on PC?

A: No, currently there is no digital version of the game for PC or for iPad.

Q: Is there a 2 player version of Shogun?

A: The game was not designed to be played by two players, but some fans of the game have come up with different variants how to play it with two people. You can find instructions on how to play a 2 player version online.

Q: Do castles, temples, and Nô theatres do anything apart from bringing victory points?

A: Basically, they just give you points. Some events may give you certain privileges that run for one season, though.

Q: If a revolt happens in one of my provinces and it is a success, do I still get to collect taxes from the province?

A: Yes, you do. First, you collect taxes, then the revolt happens, then you fight it.

Q: Can I find a tutorial for Shogun online?

A: Yes, you can. There are plenty videos and articles with tips online. You can check out this tutorial, for example:



Shogun is a beautiful board game with lots of figures, cubes, and cards to keep your hands busy and mind occupied. There is even a plastic battle tower to help you resolve battles.

Shogun will take about two and a half hours of your time once you get acquainted with instructions in the guide book, and it will provide you with unforgettable memories of competing with your fellows for becoming the Japanese Shogun. The theme is played out very well in the game.

There is strategy, planning, tactics, bidding, guessing what cards your opponents have prepared, and much more to Shogun!

You can buy Shogun on Amazon here.