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Ronin Review

Ronin is a solo RPG in which the player builds the story of a wandering warrior in search of redemption.

The focus of this game is to play in a fictional Japan based on the Japanese feudal era. The shogunate era, when samurai were the ruling class, especially the Sengoku period. The Daimiô held military power over entire regions while vying for political influence among themselves.

Your character is someone in the lowest class: a Ronin. A samurai who lost his honor, a lost wanderer or even a beggar.

You are a “wave-man” and do not follow the order of the universe.

Now you are thrown in this world, but with a sword in your hand. What can happen?

– Description by game author

The Basics

This game is a journey around the world. Your character goes from town to town with no destination.

You will roll on tables to determine what happens on the road and in the towns, you visit.

During the game, you will encounter enemies and allies, and you will earn Reputation.

Eventually, you will meet a couple of villains and a final boss.

It is recommended that you write a journal or keep a diary to get the most enjoyment out of the game. (However, it is not a requirement)


To play the game you need a pencil, eraser, and two D6 dice (different colors).

The two dice represent Yin and Yang, so if you have a black and white dice, they would be the best choices.

Setting Up

Your character has three attributes that can have values between 0 and 6: Reputation, Compassion, and Determination.

As your reputation increases, it becomes more likely that the villains will appear.

Compassion helps you win allies and defines your honor at the end of the game. Meanwhile, determination allows you to re-roll any die by spending your determination points, which you recover by resting in safe places. Your attributes start at 0, 2, and 2 respectively.

Your character is created by rolling on multiple tables.

The tables define your name, appearance, technique, recurring nightmare, family, scar, and the meaning of your scar.

While you are playing, you will interact with different clans. You can either roll the clans in advance, or roll them when you meet for the first time.

How to Play

The bulk of the game is travelling around the world, using routes and arriving at locations.

You will always roll a dice to see if anything happens on the road, and a second dice to see what happens when you arrive at your location.

The road encounter table is extensive with 36 useful prompts. Many of the prompts allow you to go off on tangents with allies, or noble clans. Several of the prompts result in combat.

The encounter table for locations is not as extensive, but it provides plenty of opportunities to work with allies, and to have an occasional fight.

Solo games are often difficult when dealing with NPC’s. Ronin has unique tables that help you interact with people along the the way. There are options to talk, charm, intimidate, or fight.

Combat is done by rolling two dice and adding modifiers (based on the fighting techniques used). If you win, you can decide to knock out or kill the opponent. If you kill, you lose 1 compassion point. If you chose to knock out, you gain 1 reputation.

Death can come quickly, so you need to decide who to fight, and who to talk with instead.

Unlike many RPG’s, the game doesn’t end if you die. Instead, you can take one of your allies and restart the game, using the same villains that have already appeared. You may be lucky, and your ally might want to to avenge your death as part of their journey.

The further you get into the journey, the more likely it is that the villains will appear, culminating in a final battle with the final villain.

Villains are created by rolling against several tables – so you never know what you are going to get in advance.

Note: I don't post actual prompts in my reviews. This is to protect the IP of the designer. You will need to buy the game to read the actual prompts.

My Thoughts

This is a solo masterpiece that doesn’t rely on Oracles.

The tables are amazing at setting the scene, and the fact you have to build up your reputation before you face the villains ensures you don’t die early in the game.

The concepts are simple, but the playthrough is highly satisfying.

A glossary in the back of the booklet is a nice inclusion that explains many of the Japanese words used for fighting techniques or factions/allies.

If you don’t like the Japanese setting, I would imagine you could easily change the prompts for fantasy or space related themes.


How to Get It

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