Shogun/Samurai Swords may come in handy with experimenting with Japan's late feudal period using Warlord Games' Black Powder rules and any suitable Richard Borg hex game board and terrain (ie. Battle Cry, Memoir 44, Battle Lore). As I mentioned in a previous blog or two, Borg's boards are a great way to play the Black Powder rules if you don't have the time/inclination/funds for collecting large painted armies of lead or plastic. I have already tried this with the American Civil War and been quite satisfied with gameplay. This is also a quick way to get some experience with Black Powder with a quick set up and clean up time.
The shogun army pieces should give you enough figures for a good game (assuming about 4 figures per unit and hex); if you combine a couple of army colors then you ought to be able to something really large.
As for the rules, I know they don't really apply to the period, but I think they ought to work well enough. If post-Mughal Indian armies can get a fair translation with the rules (check out their entries in The Last Argument of Kings supplement for examples), then I think 16th/17th Century Japanese armies are worth scratch-building using the game's easily-tweaked unit templates. While I don't think the period was dominated in numbers by matchlock-armed peasants, I think the armies that relied on unarmored peasant levies make a good fit here.
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