Publisher: Post Scriptum
Player Count: 1-4 Players
Game Length: 60-180 Minutes
Complexity 3/5

Set in feudal Japan, the katana was forged out of necessity to defend against the invading Mongol forces. It was originally brought over from China in trade and used by Daimyo (military nobility), but the forging and fabrication was refined through centuries becoming an art form in itself. Serving as a master swordsmith, you’ll have the opportunity to receive Daimyo commissions seeking specific kantans. Director your workers to gather the right resources and maximize your forge to efficiently produce the most fantastic swords. Prove your worth and even have the opportunity to gift the Shogun, himself one of your masterpieces.

Shogun No Katana is a worker placement and resource management game where you seek to maximize the use of your workers over a limited number of turns. Careful planning and savvy choices will guarantee your production is a success as you compete for points in a variety of different ways. Check out the review below to find out if forging weapons in Shogun No Katana is your next board game adventure.


Taking place over 4 rounds, you begin the game with a limited number of workers, decorators and family members available for your needs.

While there are a few different ways to score points, your primary avenue will have you gather contracts from Daimyo warriors desiring to have a katana created and processing those contracts through a unique, gridded forging system where you’ll use resources to produce the sword.

Players familiar with worker placement games will find the primary board and its functions fairly standard. You’ll take one of your available workers and visit one of the game’s 5 locations. Each location has it’s own purpose and benefits and after visiting you’ll make the necessary choices and receive the benefit.

The mechanic and components that help Shogun No Katana stand out is the forging board. Each player has their own forging board where they’ll store resources and process contracts. The forging board is almost an abstract, efficiency puzzle where you’ll work to produce as many swords as possible. Each contract requires a certain number of resources and a specific order those resources must be applied. The forge is made up of 4 rows and 5 columns. Each row represents a resource, that if available, can be placed on the contract. To run the forge, you’ll need to place a worker on a specific row or column. Players can then advance these contracts to a single space adjacent to the space that they’re in. Contracts can only advance if resources for that sword are available. This means 2 things, you can potentially process 4 swords at a time, but you’ll have to plan ahead to guarantee you have the right resources available when the time comes.

Visiting the decorators academy on the board will allow you to upgrade sword components in production earning you additional income when they are delivered. I call this “blinging” up your sword.

When a sword is completed, you’ll receive the resource associated with that row and a monetary bonus depending on the final column the contract is delivered. The forge is upgradeable with Daimyo cards earned at both the market and contract area. These upgrades are added to the end of a column or row and add additional benefits for completed katanas.

As you complete more swords, additional workers become available. Family members can visit the Palace where they will lobby for additional or discounted resources. The more family members at the palace, the more actions you can take when visiting this location on the board which serves as its own mini-tableau builder. Monks are available for the right price and can be used at any of the game’s locations to take that action as well as receive an additional benefit or multiplier. Monks increase in cost as the game progresses, but are a valuable commodity if used at the right time thanks to the game’s limited turns.

As you complete contracts, you’ll also produce resources that can be used to create the ultimate gift to the Shogun. This incredibly challenging sword must move through your forge and could be worth big points by the end of the game.

Points are scored from delivering sword contracts, set collections earned through the different Daimyo houses worked with and end game objective cards gained each round. The player with the most points in the end is the true master swordsmith.


Shogun No Katana features a story-driven solo mode that takes place over 14 chapters. Each chapter presents new goals as you compete against the game’s ghost player. These chapters typically play close to the standard game, but will take some liberties mixing it up a bit. The ghost player is simulated through a series of cards and is pretty easy to control.


The Wandering Characters expansion offers 9 new characters to implement into the standard game. You’ll select 4 of these characters and place them in 4 of the game’s locations. When visiting each location, you can take the wandering character’s special action. These actions provide mini-games that can earn you points, new sub-goals or additional resources. They don’t dramatically change the game, but they can alter your strategy and add a new level of variation to the game creating some fun new approaches. Each Wondering Character has its own unique miniature sculpt and that adds some flair and fun to the game as well.


Presentation for Shogun No Katana is pretty fantastic. The artwork is extensive, fun and classy and the iconography is clean and clear. There are a good number of components and it feels the developers didn’t cut any corners when it comes to quality. The miniature sculpts are good, but they are on the smaller side and suffer slight bends and deformations similar to any miniatures of that size. I was able to straighten out the majority of them and this didn’t bother me that much.

The rulebook does a pretty bang up job explaining the game’s concepts and area actions. In a game this big, you’ll likely need to keep the rulebook handy for a few plays and the rulebook serves as a fantastic quick reference guide.


➕ I really enjoyed forging my swords and pushing my ability to produce as many swords as possible at the same time.

➕ With a limited number of actions through the game, importance is placed on each decision and you can feel the pressure as the game ramps up.

➕ The theme shines through in the mechanics as well as the components – overall the production is super engaging

➕ The game never seems to keep you from prospering, it’s typically your own limitations that minimize or maximize your success. I like to feel like I’m in control of my destiny guaranteeing the best player wins.

➕ Each choice in the game has multiple layers and that creates a deeper system where you’re always trying to make the most return from each of your workers. This can be hugely satisfying if you’re able to effectively juggle these multiple facets.


➖ This isn’t the tightest worker placement game. A good worker placement game will create fun dilemmas when it comes to your choices. Shogun No Katana has that going for it, but I found resources to be too available late in some instances and failed planning can leave you with wasted turns later in the game… and you don’t want that.

➖ I found the Shogun sword nearly impossible to produce… which is fine, but the game is called Shogun No Katana


I think the theme is a big sales point. If you like the theme, you’re going to instantly be more engaged with the experience. Fans of worker placement are going to enjoy this one thanks to the forging aspect and the twist that it brings to an otherwise standard (yet good) worker placement game.


The best thing about Shogun is the forging board. I love this little puzzle and it’s really satisfying to see it come together and be successful. While there is a decent amount going on in the game, it’s the forging system that shines through.


Shogun No Katana is a think-y gamer’s good time. The colorful theme and interesting mechanics provide so much personality and create a really enjoyable experience. I absolutely love the forging process and making sure your resources and contracts are all set up for success. It also provides a nice complimentary contrast to the game’s worker placement style.

The choices are interesting and there is a lot you want to do and few turns to make it happen. That being said, this isn’t the tightest worker placement game. Resources feel just a little on the excessive side toward the end of the game, but that certainly doesn’t detract from the challenge. Shogun No Katana almost feels like a race in some ways to produce the most sword contracts, putting pressure to not waste a single turn.

Shogun No Katana isn’t a perfect game, but it’s the personality and fun factor that really elevates this one. The solo mode gives the game extra life and there is plenty of variability to keep this one going strong. Euro and worker placement fans are going to find a lot to like here. I highly recommend Shogun No Katana.