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Battle for Rokugan puts players in the roles of daimyo of the Great Clans fighting for territory.

Daimyo deploy forces to gain control of provinces, which earn them honor and spread their influence across the land. Powerful magics surge across the land, forces clash, and the fates of all clans hang in the balance!


  • 1 Game Board
  • 22 territory cards
  • 10 initiative cards
  • 12 Secret objective cards
  • 1 First player card
  • 7 Daimyo screens
  • 189 Combat tokens
  • 5 shugenja cards
  • 10 scout cards
  • 210 control tokens
  • 4 honor Bonus Tokens
  • 4 defense Bonus Tokens
  • 1 Shrine Token
  • 1 Harbor Token
  • 1 battlefield token
  • 15 Peace Tokens
  • 15 Scorched earth tokens
  • 1 Round Track Token
  • Rulebook

Object of the Game

Rokugan is a land filled with spirits, beauty, and strife. In Battle for Rokugan, each player leads a clan by taking the role of a daimyo, who must make military decisions that anticipate their opponents' moves.

Scouts and shugenja-priests and priestesses who serve the kami of the land-are sent forth to assist the daimyo by gathering information and destroying enemy forces. Such resources are limited, however, so the daimyo must call upon their services wisely.

On the battlefield, the clan's forces clash with enemy forces to control territories, as well as defend the lands their daimyo has already claimed.

Each daimyo also seeks to bring honor to their clan by achieving a secret objective. And through it all, dark forces dwelling in the Shadowlands whisper of power beyond imagining...for a price.

Strength, cunning, strategy, and wisdom pave the path to success in Battle for Rokugan. The land is there for the taking! The most honorable daimyo will win the day.


To set up a game of Battle for Rokugan, follow these steps:

  1. Place Game Board: Place the game board in the center of the play area. Place the special tokens in a pile near the board.

  2. Randomize Territory Cards: Place one random card from each territory facedown under the matching territory space along the edge of the game board. All territory cards not placed under the game board are returned to the game box.

  3. Choose Clans: Each player chooses a clan, takes their clan's corresponding daimyo screen and tokens, and then reads their clan ability aloud to the other players.

    Then, each player takes their bluff token and places it behind their daimyo screen. Finally, players flip their remaining combat tokens facedown and mix them to create a randomized combat token pool.

  4. Distribute Scout and Shugenja Cards: Deal two scout cards and one shugenja card to each player.

  5. Distribute Secret Objectives: Shuffle the secret objective cards and deal two to each player. Each player chooses one of the two cards they receive; that card is that player's secret objective.

    Return the remaining secret objective cards to the game box. A player's secret objective card must remain hidden from other players.

  6. Populate Capitals: Each player locates their clan's capital (the province on the board with the clan's symbol) and places one of their control tokens facedown in that capital's province.

    Scorpion and Crane place control tokens in the provinces containing their respective clan capitals.

  7. Set Aside Control Tokens: Each player sets aside the number of control tokens indicated by the "Control Token Setup" table to the right. These set-aside tokens will be placed during step 10.

  8. Determine First Player: Shuffle the initiative card of each clan chosen for this game to create the initiative deck. Then, reveal the top card from the deck; the clan that corresponds to the revealed card is the first player.

    That player takes the first player card and places it near their daimyo screen. Return the revealed initiative card to the game box.

  9. Complete Initiative Deck: Shuffle the neutral initiative cards (the ones that do not have a clan icon). Add these cards to the remaining cards in the initiative deck, one at a time, until the initiative deck has a total of four cards. (For a five-player game, no neutral initiative cards are used).

    Return the remaining neutral initiative cards to the game box without looking at them. Shuffle the initiative deck and place it near the game board.

  10. Place Starting Control Tokens: Beginning with the first player and proceeding clockwise, each player places one of their set-aside control tokens facedown in the center of any province that does not already contain a control token.

    Provinces containing clan capitals (that do not already contain control tokens) and the Shadowlands provinces can be chosen at setup.

    Players continue placing control tokens in this way until all of the control tokens set aside during step 7 have been placed.

  11. Place Round Track Token: Place the round track token on space "1" of the round track, which is located at the bottom of the game board.

Key Concepts

This section contains many of the key concepts that players will need to understand to play the game.

The Map

The game board features a map of Rokugan. The map contains two landmasses and a sea. The landmasses are divided into provinces, which are grouped into territories.


A province is an area of the map surrounded by a yellow perimeter. A province that is completely surrounded by other provinces or the map edge is a landlocked province. A province that has a perimeter that touches the sea is a coastal province.

A province's perimeter comprises multiple borders. The portion of a perimeter that is shared by two provinces is a land border, and two provinces that share a land border are adjacent. The portion of a perimeter that is shared by a province and the sea is a coastal border.


A territory is a grouping of multiple provinces. All of the provinces that make up a territory are the same color.


Each player chooses their clan during setup. Battle for Rokugan has seven clans:

Control and Combat Tokens

Each clan has control and combat tokens that contain its clan symbol. These tokens are double-sided.

During the game, the players will place control tokens in provinces. A player controls all provinces containing their control tokens. Controlling provinces is the primary way in which a player earns honor and wins the game, which is explained later.

If a card effect removes a control token from a province, faceup control tokens are removed before facedown control tokens.


Each clan has a capital that is represented by a castle icon on the map. At the beginning of the game, each clan controls the province where its clan capital is located.

This province contains the
Scorpion clan capital.

Game Play

A game of Battle for Rokugan is played over a series of five rounds. Each round consists of the following three phases that players resolve in order: the upkeep phase, the placement phase, and the resolution phase.

Upkeep Phase

During the upkeep phase, players determine a new first player, draw combat tokens, and play non-Shadowlands territory cards. To resolve the upkeep phase, players perform the following steps:

  1. Determine First Player (Ignore During First Round): The first player reveals the top card of the initiative deck. The clan that corresponds to the revealed card is the new first player for the current game round.

    That player takes the first player card; this card can be used at the start of the first player's turn during the placement phase. (Since a first player was determined during setup, players ignore this step for the first round of the game).

    • If a neutral initiative card indicates more than one player would be first player, the tied player closest to the right of the current first player is the new first player.

    • During a two-player game, the first player card is not used.

    Dragon is now the first player.

  2. Draw Combat Tokens: Players place their bluff combat tokens faceup behind their screens. Then, they draw combat tokens from their combat token pools and place the tokens behind their screens until they each have a total of six tokens behind the screen.

    Then, players flip their drawn tokens faceup; these six faceup tokens are the player's hand.

    Example of a player's hand of combat tokens
    after step 2 of the upkeep phase.

  3. Play Territory Cards (Ignore During First Round): Beginning with the first player and proceeding clockwise, each player must either play one of their territory cards or pass.

    If a player passes, they can still play a territory card during a later turn, unless all other players also pass. Players continue taking turns playing territory cards or passing until all players have passed consecutively.

    Then, the upkeep phase ends and the placement phase begins. (Players ignore this step during the first round of the game since they will not have any territory cards).

Placement Phase

During the placement phase, players place their combat tokens on the map to fortify their defenses, to attack neighboring clans, or to engage in diplomacy.

Beginning with the first player and proceeding clockwise, each player places one of their combat tokens from their hand facedown on the map.

Players continue taking turns placing combat tokens until each player has one combat token remaining behind their screen. Then, players proceed to the resolution phase.

Placing Combat Tokens

Each player has a common set of combat tokens and one clan-specific combat token. The type and number of each token is listed on each player's daimyo screen. This is open information for all players.

Each army, navy, shinobi, and blessing token has a strength.

Strength Each type of combat token has its own placement rules, but in general they are placed either on borders or in the middle of a province. The different combat tokens and their rules for placement are explained later.

Only one combat token can be placed on each border. Combat tokens are always placed facedown. (The exception to both of these rules is the blessing token, which is explained later).

There is no limit to the number of combat tokens a player can place in the middle of a province to defend it.

When placing a token on a border, the player should place the token in the center of the border, orienting the token so its arrow points toward the province they are attacking.

When placing a token in the middle of a province, the player should orient the token toward the golden flowers in that province.

A player may look at their own facedown combat tokens on the board at any time.

The Combat Tokens

This section describes the various combat tokens and their respective rules for placement in detail. Resolving combat tokens is explained later.

If a token is placed in a way that violates the rules governing its placement, it is removed during the resolution phase.


Armies are the most common tokens players use to defend and attack provinces.

To attack, a player can place an army token on a land border between a province they control and an adjacent province they wish to attack. To defend, a player can place an army token in any province (landlocked or coastal) they control.

Scorpion attacks Unicorn by placing an army token
on an adjacent land border.


Navies allow players to attack distant shores beyond the reach of armies.

To attack, a player can place a navy token on any coastal border. To defend, a player can place a navy token in a coastal province they control.


The rare and secretive shinobi can launch surprise attacks in any province-no place is safe from their silent blades. The shinobi strike over great distances, and can be called upon to either defend or attack.

A player can place a shinobi token in the center of any province. If a player places a shinobi token in a province they control, that token is used to defend; otherwise, it is used to attack.


Occasionally, a clan daimyo's strategic plan requires additional guidance and assistance from the kami in the form of a blessing.

A player can place a blessing token faceup and on top of any of their facedown army, navy, or shinobi tokens.

If a blessing is on top of a combat token, those two tokens cannot be targeted by card effects or clan abilities. During the resolution phase, the strength of the blessing is added to the strength of its clan's attack or defense.


When peace is desired, a diplomatic approach is best. The diplomacy token bestows a permanent peace on a province. A player can place their diplomacy token in any province they control to protect it against current and future attacks.


As a last resort, a daimyo may decide to destroy a province rather than allow territory to fall into enemy hands. The raid token leaves nothing but scorched earth behind.

A player can place a raid token in a province they do not control. When revealing the raid token during the resolution phase, a player can only trigger its effect if the raid token is either in the same province as their shinobi token or in a province that is adjacent to a province they control.


Sometimes the best strategy is deception. The bluff token allows a daimyo to feint in the hope of drawing out the enemy.

To bluff, a player can place this token as if it were any non-blessing combat token. Placing a bluff token is also how a player saves a valuable combat token for the next round since players place all but one of their combat tokens that are behind their screens.

Discarded bluff tokens are always returned to their owners' hands.

Unicorn attacks Crab. Crab defends his province
by placing a combat token in its center.

Resolution Phase

During the resolution phase, players perform the following steps to resolve the combat tokens they placed on the map. After a token is resolved, it is discarded to a faceup pile near the player who placed it. This is the player's discard pile.

  1. Reveal Combat Tokens: Players flip all combat tokens on the map faceup.

  2. Discard Bluff and Illegally Placed Tokens: Players discard any bluff tokens or illegally placed combat tokens from the map. Players' bluff tokens are returned to them and are placed behind their respective screens.

  3. Resolve Raid Tokens: Players resolve each raid token. To resolve a raid token, players discard all combat tokens that share a province or border with that raid token; they also remove all control tokens from the province. Then, the raid token is replaced with a scorched earth token.

  4. Resolve Diplomacy Tokens: Players resolve each diplomacy token. To resolve a diplomacy token, the players discard all combat tokens that share a province or border with that diplomacy token. Then, the diplomacy token is replaced with a peace token.

  5. Resolve Battles: Players resolve all battles one at a time. Since all battles occur simultaneously, the order in which battles are resolved does not matter.

  6. Claim Territories: Each player claims the territory cards for the territories they control. A player controls a territory if they control each province in that territory.

  7. Advance Round Track: Advance the round track token one space.

Resolving Battles

A battle occurs when a clan's combat token is in a province or on the border of a province that the clan does not control.

During a battle, any clans that do not control the province are attackers; there can be multiple attackers attempting to take control of a single province. If a clan controls the province being attacked, that clan is the defender.

To resolve a battle, the players determine their total strength. Each attacker's total is the sum of the strengths of their tokens that are attacking the province.

The defender's total is the sum of the strengths of their tokens they placed to defend the province, plus any additional defense bonuses (defense bonuses are explained later).

The player with the highest total wins the battle. If there is a tie for the highest total, the defender wins the battle.

If an empty province is attacked, there is no defender; the attacker compares their total strength against any defense bonuses present in the province. When an empty province is attacked, if the attacker does not win the battle, nothing happens.

After a battle, all of the combat tokens involved in the battle are discarded.

If an attacker wins the battle, they remove all of the defender's control tokens from the province. Then, they place one of their own control tokens facedown in the province.

If the defender wins the battle, their control tokens remain in the province. Then, they place another one of their control tokens in the province faceup, which provides a defense bonus during their future battles in that province. See "Successful Defense" on page 10 for more details.

Battle Example:

Phoenix has attacked Dragon from two of his provinces using two army tokens with strengths of 1. Scorpion has attacked Dragon using an army token with a strength of 3. Dragon has defended her province using an army token with a strength of 1.

Each clan calculates and compares its total strength. Dragon's strength is 1, Phoenix's strength is 2, and Scorpion's strength is 3.

Scorpion has the highest total strength, so she takes control of the province. She removes the combat and control tokens from the province and its borders. Then, she places one of her control tokens facedown in the province.

End of the Game

The game ends after five rounds. Each player reveals their secret objective card and determines their total honor.

Each player earns honor as follows:

  • A number of honor equal to the total number of flowers in the provinces they control. Some flowers are printed on the map, and some flowers are on tokens.

    Three Honor

  • One honor for each of their faceup control tokens on the map; no honor is awarded for faceup control tokens in the Shadowlands provinces.

    Faceup Control

  • A number of honor provided by their secret objective.

  • Five honor for each territory they control; no honor is awarded for controlling the Shadowlands provinces.

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