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Sunday, June 23, 2013
Finished reading "Musashi"
He went through life as a vagabond (also the title of the manga series about Musashi) and fought many duels against a variety of weapons. Two of his more famous fights were against the entire student body of the Yoshioka sword school and against his most well-known rival, Sasaki Kojiro (who carried a nodachi which he named, The Drying Pole.)
But wow, what a ride that was. Before I bought the book, I had been looking for some samurai fiction to inspire some gaming and scenario ideas (for my 42mm samurai collection.) "Musashi" was the perfect choice.
Besides the many individual fighters in the book, there were also a few factions that could be easily gamed (especially using Osprey's upcoming Ronin rules.) Among those factions are the Yoshioka School, the Obata War school, the lance priests of Hozoin, the Mountain Devils (bandits), and the Hangawara construction gang.
I also (and predominantly) game smaller skirmishes (duels really) using Two Hour Wargames' Red Sand Black Moon rules, and "Musashi" has many individuals who would make great fighters for the game: Ronin, samurai, bandits, otokodate (early yakuza), priests, peasants, thugs -- armed with katana, wakizashi, nodachi, bokken, bows, muskets, lances, bo staff, kusamagiri -- even a blowgun makes an appearance.
And somewhere between all this action, Yoshikawa managed to put together a pretty good story. I recommend "Musashi" for sure. Don't let the high page count scare you; the book is an easy read and moves along quickly. There is very little down time.
I think I'll read it again soon. The next time, I'll put together a map so I can follow along with sort of a geographical journal of Musashi's travels.