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Sekigahara (SKG)   Updated July 7, 2023
Class B: Beginning Players Welcome You may play if you have read the rules, played previously, or participated in a scheduled demo. Be on time for the scheduled demonstration. The GM will remain for only 15 minutes if no one is present.
Schedule  GM: Dennis Mishler (4th Year)
Round Day Start Time Duration Location
Demo 1/1Mo111Exhibit Hall Annex #5
Round 1/4Mo133First Tracks Center
Round 2/4Mo153First Tracks Center
Round 3/4Mo173First Tracks Center
Round 4/4Mo193First Tracks Center
SemifinalMo213First Tracks Center
2023 Tournament Format Swiss Elimination


Update/notes for veteran tournament players:

We will play the preliminary rounds on Monday in a continuous fashion. The final elimination round(s) will be completed Tuesday morning (as needed), based on the schedules of the finalists and the GM. Finalists may schedule alternative times, with the GM’s approval.

Players who do not advance to single elimination matches can continue to play for honor and glory. It is common to have several for-fun games during the elimination rounds as well as to have spectators during this time. We will make the times of the elimination games known for those who wish to observe or participate.

Rule Clarifications for in-person 2023 tournament:

  1. “7.4.3 Overruns and Castles: Enemy units who control a castle cannot be Overrun”.
    • The GM favors a tweak to this rule, specifically during the combat phase: if units who control a castle decide to conduct a field battle, they are subject to the overrun rules, and thus may be overrun if outnumbered 4:1. However, this decision is not made until the combat phase. During the movement phase, any blocks that move are stopped at the occupied castle. This rule modification is primarily important for Osaka and Ueda, where a single block could choose “field battle”, preventing a besieging army from also killing the disc, even if there are 12 besieging blocks to one defensive block. This feels too “gamey” for the GM. If a single block on the field would be overrun, then it would be overrun on any field… or forced to flee into the castle, resulting in a siege. Additionally, overruns can happen in combat (rule 8.8.5). This rule is not one that I expect to see frequently, but I believe this makes for a better game.
  2. “7.2 Mustering Into Combat: Blocks can be Mustered into a combat situation only if the combat was initiated by blocks on the board—an attack cannot come from the Recruitment Box, but it can be supported from there.”
    • This rule does NOT mean that a force currently under siege may muster a block into the castle to add another defensive block. Instead, this rule means, a block under siege may come out of the castle to fight AND then blocks may be mustered to support the combat. It is the GM’s ruling that the block in the castle MUST initiate this combat with the mustered blocks, i.e., it is at risk in the combat, although it does not need to be deployed during the battle. This clarification solely has to do with whether blocks under siege are sufficient for allowing mustering in space. They are, but those blocks must then engage in field battle – they may not elect to go under siege. Discs are not sufficient for mustering blocks in the space.

I hope these two clarifications will help to avoid any confusion. I know the first one is counter to how many people play the game, and I have seen different interpretations for the second one as well.

The GM will remind players of these rulings before the tournament starts and will take any questions or concerns from the community. Thank you!

Tournament Change in VPs (used since 2022): Please record VPs as you normally would at the end of the game. However, while we will not use VPs for winning players later in the tournament, we will for losing players. The number of VPs gained in a loss will be the first tiebreaker for certain situations. A win is a win, period – the GM is happy to chat about this. For losing players though, they will be awarded points as follows: For an instant loss, the losing player will receive VPs equal to the current week number. So, 1-7 VPs. If a player misses a match, they will receive 0 VPs (they did not get to week #1). For games decided by VPs, the losing player will receive 7 VPs + the number of end-game VPs that they scored.

So, a max of 7 VPs for the seventh week + 13 VPs for 13 points on the board when they lost = 20 VPs. This score should be written on the score sheet. This score will only be used for tie breakers, such as advancing a player to the single elimination round or for determining placement for the purpose of Laurels (specifically, the 5th and 6th placed finishers).

3rd and 4th place finishers: Upon completion of the Semifinal, the players who lost in the Semifinal will decide whether to play for 3rd place or whether to simply award 3rd to the player who lost to the eventual Sekigahara champion. If the players cannot agree, then the GM will default to simply awarding 3rd place to the player who lost to the eventual Sekigahara champion. This being said, the GM would love to see a match for 3rd place!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled event preview.

Sekigahara is a diceless block wargame based on the campaign that founded Japan's Tokugawa shogunate. The game features several unique, elegant mechanisms that make it appealing to wargamers and euro gamers alike. Games commonly play in about 2-2.5 hrs, and while the rules are straight forward, the strategy is much more intricate, involving bluffs, calculated risks, and hand management. Attending the demo is sufficient for learning the rules, although a few plays may be needed before you feel like you “get it”. Luckily, you can play in the tournament immediately following the demo!

After a century of constant conflict (the Sengoku Jidai), Japan has almost become fully united. In Osaka, the forces loyal to the young Toyotomi heir have assembled around Ishida Mitsunari, the leader of the Western army. In Edo (now Tokyo), an Eastern army loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu has formed. In Sekigahara, as one of two warlords fighting for control of Japan during the samurai era, your goal is to capture (kill) the opposing leader. Barring this, your goal is to control more of the vital castles and resource points throughout Japan at the end of the 8-week campaign.

The game is played primarily with blocks and cards. Each of the two armies is composed of multiple factions (clans). Rectangular blocks represent your armies, displaying the insignia of the clan they belong to. Blocks marked with a banner indicate the leader (or daimyo) of that clan. Other blocks have cavalry or guns attached, which grant them additional features in combat.

During this time period, the loyalties of many clans were fluid. In Sekigahara, the cards that compose your hand represent this. To deploy a block into battle, a card with a matching insignia must be played. A select few cards can challenge this deployment. Thus, proper management of your hand is vital.

Throughout the campaign, each side will receive reinforcements, partially based on your current board position. Before the start of each week, you will receive additional combat units. At the same time, you will also need to discard part of your hand and then draw fresh cards, forcing you to reconsider which of your armies can most fully fight during the coming week.


The 2023 tournament will be a modified Swiss elimination format. During the initial stage of continuous play, participants will be matched based on number of wins. This preliminary round will be composed of three games for each player. Players may freely join or leave the tournament. Any missed game will count as an instant (0 VP) loss. At the conclusion of this stage, all 3-0 players will advance to single elimination play. Ideally, this will be either 4 or 8 players. If more or less than 4 players emerge with 3-0 records, then a few players with only 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out an elimination bracket of either 4 or 8 players. In some years, a 2-game winner advances, but in not in every year.

Players who do not advance to single elimination matches can continue to play for honor and glory. In this tournament, we will use second edition rules, which have only one important difference from the first edition: the inclusion of two new Uesugi blocks on the board at the start of the game: Two units are added to the initial deployment. The blocks 3-Uesugi and 1-Uesugi-Gun get a circle deployment mark in the lower right corner, and two additional deployment circles appear in the Aizu location.

Players will begin with a bid for sides. Randomly determine the first bidder. Bid in blocks (zero or higher), specifying the side. The winner gets their choice of side, and the loser gets the bid number of blocks added to their recruitment box at the start of the game.

Please see my Sekigahara online tournament home page for more information on past tournaments or useful links related to Sekigahara. There may be a 2023 tournament page updated in the future:

Seeded players and “Learning Games”

Provided there are sufficient players to warrant seeds, seeds will be given out based on AREA ratings and BPA laurels. These seeds will only apply during the matches that comprise Round 1, before single elimination. Undefeated seeded players will not play against each other, when possible. Defeated players will lose their seed designation for the rest of the first round.

Newer players often love to play a “learning game” as part of their first-round tournament. Where possible, seeded players will be paired up with players desiring a “learning game”. The seeded player will be given a win (essentially a “bye), while the other player will be given a loss. However, the players can then discuss strategy as they play the game. “Learning games” must receive GM approval and can only be played by players with a “0-0” record. All other games MUST be competitive.

Players are welcome to come and go during the initial round of play: 3 matches total. Any missed round of play will assign a loss to a player. It is common for players to join us for the second and third matches, after missing the first and/or second. All players are welcome!

Filling out the Single Elimination Bracket

  • If 4 players emerge with a 3-0 record, then those players will advance to a Semifinal.
  • If 3 or fewer players emerge with a 3-0 record, then a few players with 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out the single elimination bracket to 4 players. These additional players will be selected based on the criteria below.
  • If more than 4 players emerge with 3-0 records, then a few players with 2 wins will be advanced in order to fill out the single elimination bracket to 8 players. These additional players will be selected based on:
    1. Most wins
    2. Most points scored in loss (instant loss = 1-7 pts; a player who is 2-0 will receive an instant loss worth 0 pts)
    3. Strength of schedule (most opponent wins)
    4. Head-to-head results
    5. Random draw

Determining Single Elimination Pairings

Players will be seeded and paired based on their tournament records as the first criterion. After that, seeds will be determined based on input from the GM and assistant GMs or veteran players no longer in the tournament. Once the top seeds are determined, other players will be randomly assigned seeds within the bracket. To summarize, seeds are determined based on:

  1. Most wins
  2. Head-to-head results
  3. Input from GM/veterans no longer in the tournament on who the best players are.
    • GM will use AREA totals and BPA laurels, if still in the tournament.
    • GM will use personal opinion, largely based on AREA and BPA total, if eliminated from the tournament.
    • Neutral veterans (assistant GMs) will confer with the GM based on their years of play.
  4. Random draw if remaining players are considered “even”.

The highest seed will play the lowest seed and so on: 1v4, 2v3, or 1v8, 4v5, 2v7, 3v6. The bracket will be announced prior to any single elimination match begin. Players will have the right to voice any concerns. Once the elimination games begin, the bracket will become final and not be altered.

Additional Prizes: GMT may provide merchandise certificates to the top four places. In Sekigahara, we have a tradition of giving Honor Prizes for those who play several rounds, despite potentially poor results. While we are optimistic that this tradition may continue, it is not guaranteed. Typically, these have also been samurai figurines, letter openers, or the like. There are also commonly prizes (figurines, etc.) for specific feats, like most enemy leaders killed or largest battle won.