Ninja All-Stars: Gameplay Concepts

Ninja All-Stars

Welcome kōhai to the Ninja All-Stars: Gameplay Concepts. In Ninja All-Stars each player builds a team of ninja to compete in the Moonlight Tournament. During the Moonlight Tournament each game represents a challenge given to the opposing teams by the Moon Princess. The winner of the challenge earns the favor of the Moon Princess. But before you are ready to draw a blade you must learn to walk. This overview goes through the basic concepts of how ninja activate, move, and fight.


Each challenge runs a set number of rounds. Each round players take turns activating one ninja at a time. When a ninja is activated they may move and then take one action. The most common action is to attack, but many ninja have access to special abilities that they may use their action to perform.


Each space on the game board is represented by a dot. Placing a ninja over a dot shows that they occupy that space. By using dots instead of a traditional grid for the game board, we were able to cover less of the art,  creating a stunningly beautiful board for the game. Spaces have unique icons to denote different types of terrain.

The spaces adjacent to a ninja are that ninja’s influence zone. These spaces represent the area close enough to the ninja that they can affect other ninja that are in it. Attacking, and many other actions, only affect opposing ninjas that are within the activated ninja’s influence zone.


The above image shows a ninja on a space along with all of the spaces adjacent to the ninja that make up its influence zone.

When a ninja moves they may move up to a number of spaces equal to their movement. The higher a ninja’s movement, the farther they can move during their activation. Once a ninja has stopped moving they are then turned to face any adjacent space. Each ninja model has a mark in its base to show which direction is forward for them.


In the above image we can see a ninja move 4 spaces and then be turned to face the space that is up and to the right from them diagonally. Facing matters tactically as attacking a ninja from behind gives a bonus.


Attempting to leave a space that is in an enemy ninja’s influence zone is called dodging. When a ninja attempts to dodge they must make an affinity test, which we explain below. If the affinity test is successful the ninja may move into the new space normally. If the ninja fails the affinity test they get Stunned, cannot move out of the space, and their activation immediately ends. A ninja must attempt to dodge to be able to leave a space that is in an enemy ninja’s influence zone even if they wish to move to another space in the same enemy ninja’s influence zone.



Ninja All-Stars uses special elemental dice to resolve what happens in many situations. The elemental dice have six different icons on them representing the different sacred elements of Kagejima. Each ninja has an affinity with one or more elements.

The most common use of the elemental dice and affinity is called an affinity test. To make an affinity test the ninja’s player rolls three dice. If at least one of the dice shows the icon for an element the ninja has as an affinity for, the affinity test is successful. 


When a ninja attacks another ninja the attacker rolls a number of dice equal to their Attack (AT)  and the defender rolls a number of dice equal to their Defense (DF). A ninja can normally only attack an opposing ninja that is in their influence zone.

The results of the two rolls are compared and dice are eliminated based on the following elemental pairs:


When two dice eliminate each other, remove them from the pool of rolled dice. Dice that the attacker rolled can only eliminate dice that the defender rolled and vice versa. All possible eliminations must be made.

Once all eliminations have been made, the player with the most dice remaining chooses one of the remaining dice as the result of the attack. In the case of a tie, the attacker chooses the result. The result of the combat is determined by the element of the die chosen. Results range from brutal knockouts, paralyzing stuns, mighty throws, and even whirlwind combats that move both combatants across the board!

There are more mechanics that modify combat, such as stealth, back-strikes, and having friendly ninja assist in the combat, but those are for another session.


These mechanics are the basics of Ninja All-Stars. Check out the other articles for even more of Ninja All-Stars’ rules, tactics, and ninja mayhem.