Ronin is a solo RPG in which the player builds the story of a wandering warrior in search of redemption. It uses a “Yin and Yang” dice system where a white die represents you and your action while a black die stands for your opponents and their actions. Yin-yang is Chinese of course, not Japanese, but what the heck, it works and is fun. All in all it is a good game despite my rather long list of complaints.
First of all, the translation is not finished, the character sheet for example is in Portuguese, but an English one is downloadable. Some words like “Tabela” are not translated and there are some orthographic mistakes throughout the text. Table names (rather numbers) aren’t always correctly referenced. Villains are male, no matter what, while allies can be of any sex. Of course, all that isn’t bad, but it made me a bit angry, because Ronin is a great role playing game that feels like the author lost interest before sanding and polishing it. Just another hour or two of spellchecking and quality control would have made it so much better, maybe even great.
All in all, Ronin is a well-balanced game, but reputation, what essentially makes the villains appear, is gained way too fast. The other two traits, compassion and determination, work great and can give a lot of depth to the character. The in-game details are great. Be it character generation, the very detailed road and urban encounter tables, or the factions (clans) and the villains with their own powers, locations and agendas. One can spend hours discovering more details of the world. I did make some house-rules, like not meeting the same kind of ally twice in a row. But besides this, nothing in my dozen sessions felt repetitive or boring, and I definitely will play Ronin again. Especially, when the expansions Shinobi and later Sohei surface in English, like the author hinted at in July 2023.
The art work is top-notch by the way, obviously inspired by the “Sin City” comics, and the layout is good. Ronin could be a fantastic game, it just needs some polishing.