Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Excellent news for the Scottish Bushido players: full-fledged conversion to the game has begun on a serious level.  Unfortunately I'm booked up for a LOT of demo games in the coming weeks, I don't think I'll have any time to play my own games at G3 (the gaming club) until after Christmas.  After that however, I will be able to bask in the warm glow of having an excellent choice of opponents and factions to play against (yet still no Silvermoon...).  All I need to do now is help link up the player base internally so the system becomes self-propagating rather than requiring constant stimulation from myself.

Takeji finally got painted, though his banner is currently just green, I haven't decided if I want to try to put some sort of design on the banner or not.  I was thinking I might even just put 'ichi' on it, and once I get a Jade Mamba Guard or two, they can be 'ni' and 'san'.  That's one, two, and three.  I'll have to wait to see the Jade Mamba Guard model in person before I decide if I want a second one.  I'm just hoping she'll be able to bodyguard, as that opens up a lot of possibilities in making Ito Clan warbands.

The Temple models in my collection are slowly accumulating paint, continuing my plan to make them fabulous.  Since I think the Rice Farmers are incredibly useful the two of them are first up on the painting table, and the rest of the starter set will follow.

Having run so many demos now I've been able to experience playing most of the starter boxes now, which does help bring insight into how individual factions work - still no Silvermoon however, I may have to drop Temple and pick up Silvermoon.  My favourite model to play is Zuba.  I just can't help but chortle to myself every time I see him smite something - regardless of which side of the smiting I'm on - and get a bajillion damage, almost regardless of success level.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Double Cleave and Tricky Business

I have just arrived home from a game against Jim's yokai-themed Cult of Yurei, and it was a difficult draw in the end.  So far Jim has been roflstomping everyone else with the list, but I put my game-face on and whipped out the Ito Clan to stop this nonsense.  Unfortunately I left Ayako at home, so I didn't have my normal double-Shisai styled lists, which made me grit my teeth at times.  Instead I brought along my double-Cleave ashigaru list, which lacks tricks and really just punches my opponent's models in the face until they give in.  I find it a little uninspiring but a good all-round list.

Ito Clan - Double Cleave Ashigaru
Ito Kaihime
Ito Masunagi
Temple Bushi
Temple Bushi

Cult of Yurei - Yokai Trickery
Taka & Wrath
+ Kimiko's Whistle
Large Rat Swarm
Small Rat Swarm (3)

Drain Spirit

I can't seem to find space in any of my Ito Clan lists for Special Cards, which I feel is something I should work towards.  There's definitely the surprise factor in having the cards, and they help allay any weaknesses in various lists.  For instance, Arashi's Fan on Naoko is amazing, and goes a long way to stop her being turned into a large pincushion.  Or Dark Secrets can actually win you games if you're even a little lucky with it.  I think what the Ito Clan need at this point is a number of very cheap models.

How Does the List Work?
Well, it's generally very simple, Naoko blinds something, and you have 3 vectors to kill it once the blind has been applied: shoot the target with Kaihime; stab it with Masunagi; stab it with Takeji.  The blind isn't vital, but it goes a long way to help if your opponent is surprised and so can't use any special attacks, special defences, or Ki feats.  Most often when one of the models with Cleave go in, your opponent is down two dice in melee already (Temple are the exception as they have access to Sixth Sense in spades) so you can even utilize Powerful Attack.
That's really it, the Temple Bushi are generally used as fodder to hold up my opponent while my heavy hitters manoeuvre around the table.  I often find Naoko gets shot to death by the end of the second or third turn, so learning how to function without her is a good idea.  However, my opponent has to work to deal with her or else suffer some horrific consequences.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wave 15 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Guardsman of Ryu
Temple of Ro-Kan - Sojobo
Cult of Yurei - Nezumi Kun
Savage Wave - Zung Fu
Ito Clan - Jade Mamba Guard
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Fitiaumua

Friday, 1 November 2013

Wave 14 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Katsumoto Takashi
Temple of Ro-Kan - Suchiro
Cult of Yurei - Wanyudo
Savage Wave - Cave Bat
Ito Clan - Masunagi Ito "the Red Death"
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Sakuratchi & Animals

Friday, 11 October 2013

Upon the Temple Steps

Temple of Ro-kan: Suchiro
Hmm, been a lot longer than I thought since my last update.  The Bushido community is starting to grow now, and we have a lot of interest from members of the gaming club whenever I bring in my swamp board (still WIP I'm afraid, also a bit of a failure in game board design - slopes are bad!).  I'm doing demo games over the next few weeks to rope more people into the game.  There's also a Bushido Scotland Facebook group for anyone interested in joining.

On the painting front, I picked up Suchiro to start off my Temple force - The plan is to collect a model or two a month for Temple until I have the full selection and paint them up slowly so I can really bring out the best of the models.  As you can see, my Suchiro came out pretty well, there are some errors you can see in the photo (particularly the 'bleed' from the wash I applied to his belt) but those have been fixed.  I also can't figure out how to get his eyes to look like they're open without painting his actual eyes in - though it looks like he's focusing Ki with his closed eyes, so I'm happy to leave it.  The rock was a bit OTT and might be something I'll sort out at a later date.

The Ito Clan models are almost all done, I finished Ayako since I prefer playing the more active shisai style lists over the raw brute force the samurai and ashigaru lists bring.  I decided that the Ito Clan are fun, but a little lacking in the tricks that allow you to pull off those amazing wins at the last second.  That may change with the next couple of releases (one hopes) but I really enjoyed painting Suchiro, I'd like to do more models like him rather than Masunagi and his bajillion quilted squares, so the Temple of Ro-kan may be my painting project for the foreseeable future.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Puppet Strings

I've been getting a lot of games against Jim and his new Cult army, and it's certainly an interesting experience.  I try to vary my lists each time we play so that Jim gets a new play experience and can see a variety of tactics.  For me, it's very different from playing against the Savage Wave - there are a lot of models I just can't target with Ki feats as they're either kami or soulless.  I also have a very hard time dealing with Kato's marionette when Jim uses it, mostly because it's durable and tends to be placed behind the battle line.  Part of me wants to make lists with Itsunagi to deal with things like that, but his rice cost and what it forces me to sacrifice in my list makes me very wary.

Nezumi seems to be a really irritating model for me to play against, as I constantly get him down to 1 health, and then he just refuses to die - Ki feats suddenly miss, attacks whiff, it all goes horribly wrong.  The Gaki seems to be a very solid  model for the Cult too, with good stats at a low rice cost.  I really dislike Kato, but that's more of a product of not being able to get to him most of the time, and every time the marionette does a Ki check, I roll a 1 and lose a model for 7 activations.

On my end I'm liking using Takeji as he is almost guaranteed to put damage on an enemy model provided he's the model attacking.  Naoko continues to be something of the linchpin of my particular play style, I just can't get enough of blind, and I really like being able to activate "Slither", allowing her to threaten the further away objectives or just get up the board.  I'm trying to get a similar use out of Chiyo and her leap trait, but it's not working out so far.

In my next couple of lists, I think I'm going to attempt bringing both Akimoto and Naoko to see how doubling up the impetuous works out.  I'm hoping it gives me a little more flexibility in how I start my turn, ideally with either of the two models at an objective - my great failing at the moment, I often leave Naoko away from an objective so she doesn't get to either take it or contest it at the start of the turn.  Maybe it will sell Akimoto a little better to me, as at the moment I think he's a terrible, terrible choice for any list known to man or beast.

Friday, 6 September 2013

My Body is No Temple

Played against Dave tonight and his bakemono horde on the Envoy scenario - which ended in a draw, though that was my own fault really - and Dave is definitely out practice, so I can't really count it as a 'win', even if he did end the game with only one model left (Wu-zang).  I opted to use the shisai/debuff list since Dave chose the 'more painted models' option rather than the 'new hotness'.  My other list is more based around purely killing things.  I was thinking I could swap out Naoko from my debuff list and replace her with Kaihime, but that will have to wait until the archer is painted.

Now that I'm fully stocked with all the currently available Ito Clan, I'm starting to look around at the other factions available.  Strangely, the Silvermoon Trade Syndicate is very enticing, even with their tiny range of models at the moment.  If the STS continue with the starter box themes I can see them becoming true scenario monsters.  The applications of Tsubaki alone gives me the heebie-jeebies.  For a faction with more models available, the Temple of Ro-Kan look interesting, but I'd like more models like Suchiro with his half-robe rather than guys in jogging bottoms like Riku and Kenko.  Maybe it's time to sharpen up my sculpting skills.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

New Snakes

Well, my latest Bushido order arrived incredulously fast straight from GCT.  I am now the proud owner of Kaihime (extra 'i' appeared from somewhere it seems) and Takeji.  Both are great models and I'm very happy with their rules.  Both are pretty solid choices that are self-sufficient, though of course Takeji benefits from having Satoshi in the list, but it's not vital.  Kaihime appears to have a typo on her card, stating she has Marital Prowess (1).  So... yep.

I tried both of them out in a quick game against Martin's Savage Wave (just one more game this coming week against Martin and then I have a wider range of opponents booked in for rotation) and found Kaihime isn't amazing, though she's nowhere near bad and I think she may really shine in lists with plenty of Blood of Orochi to go around as it's pretty easy to get damage through with ranged attacks and her ranged brackets are quite big - with 4 Blood on her, she should quite easily kill a 6 health model through the poison damage on the following turn.  Takeji just chops things, and he's good at it thanks to Cleave.  Combined with Satoshi, Takeji and the other bushi become very dangerous, especially if they're in close proximity.  Unfortunately the game was a match where I rolled phenomenal dice and Martin rolled abysmally - though I do feel that I engineer situations that highlight this sort of thing - so I didn't get to see the two of them at their finest as the game was over pretty quickly.

On the painting front I'm finding that the Dark Flesh from Vallejo behaves very strangely when I try to mix it with a highlight colour, leaving my model's skin looking like they're suffering gangrene.  I think I've solved it by mixing a tiny amount of red in, and it's certainly worked for Sakura anyway.  She's now finished, so I'm at 8 out of 12 models painted for the Ito Clan.  The remaining 4 are: Satoshi, Takeji, Ayako, and Kaihime.  Right now Satoshi is on the painting table and then Ayako will be next.  I'm just happy to have both starter box options painted now.

Jim is also picking up Bushido, and I've ordered him a good deal of Cult of Yurei models.  I think he's only really missing extra kairai and Mo Ises once his order arrives.  I was hoping the order would have arrived on Friday or Saturday but no news so far.  The models I ordered should provide Jim with a number of different playstyles, from fast and fragile to slow and never, ever dying.  Of course, he can mix and match as he chooses once he's played the game a bit and knows what he's after.  Now I just need to influence a few more of the old Warmachine players into picking up a gateway drug starter box each.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Bushido: Ito Clan Update

Well, it's been quite some time since I last updated the blog, I've been getting fortnightly games against Martin Casey and his Savage Wave at 50 rice.  Having had quite a bit of practice with the shisai now, I'm very happy with how they perform during the game: Ayoko debuffs things and steals Ki when she can, Sakura drops the odd poison and makes sure anyone who needs Ki has it.

I've very happy with the shisai/debuff list I use for the Ito, the only downside I've experienced with it so far is the Impetuous on Naoko, which is a real pain in the arse for things like scenarios.  However, considering her general utility, it's completely worth it.  Just blinding two targets a turn or seriously hurting something with an assault fire and melee puts a real cramp in the enemy's game.

Takeji and Kahime have been ordered, which will complete my Ito Clan catalogue other than another basic Temple Bushi.  I have just finished Naoko, despite having her mostly done for almost a month now.  Next up I think I'll get Sakura done as she's in most of my lists for the Ki channeling.  I may alternate between armoured figures and the non-armoured ones just to keep the variety.  It will be nice to experiment with a more beatstick style list too.  I should be able to get hold of my sister's stupendously powerful digital camera next week and get some pictures up.

In non-Ito Clan news though, more information about the Silvermoon Syndicate has come out, and it's looking like a very interesting faction.  I think they're going to be monsters at scenario play, but compared to the Prefecture or Ito, I don't think they're going to be overly amazing at a straight up fight.  The faction 'schtick' is utilizing an optional coin toss and gambling on whether you gain double Ki that turn or none at all.  I'd probably avoid gambling in such a manner with the high Ki models like the oyabun but getting extra Ki on normal troops is pretty good, and them having no Ki at all isn't the end of the world.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Rat Poison

Had my first 50 rice game tonight, and my first game against the Cult of Yurei, against Mark Bonatti.  It was very fun, though my list may have accidentally countered a good part of his list: I discovered the two shisai are really good at killing Small Rat Swarms with Psychic Venom.

Mark's List:
Armoured Kairai (x2)
Large Rat Swarm
Small Rat Swarm (x3)

My List:
Ayako Ito
Kenzo Ito
Temple Bushi


I opted to put my two big hitters with Light Footed behind the forest.  This meant they had the option for going for either the mid or right objective depending on how hard Mark was going to contest the objectives. The shisai went into the middle so that they would be able to channel to models on either side of the board - it wasn't until after the game started when I figured out how to kill those stupid rat swarms.  Finally the two bushi went on the left just so I'd have models to contest the objective.

Turn One:

Turn one consisted mainly of running straight for the objectives.  I had two Pass Tokens to use since Mark's army brought the extra Small Rat Swarms.  I used both tokens to delay the shisai activations until the two Small Rat Swarms on the left were in range for some 1 Ki Psychic Venom attacks.  So both Small Rat Swarms died to the poison at the end of the turn, greatly limiting Nezumi's manoeuvrability.  Mark spent the turn doing quite a bit of focusing too - both Nezumi and Ikiryo focused for more Ki.

Turn Two:

I spent most of my early activations doing scenario actions as mark moves his Armoured Kairai up and getting his models into position to attack me.  Naoko moved up to blind the Wraith and was attacked in turn by the Wraith.  Luckily I managed to successfully defend with a Side Step Defence, allowing room for Kenzo to come in and absolutely murder the Wraith in a single hit.

Nezumi swaps in to position to attack Ayako - she was very far forward trying to steal some Ki from Ikiryo - but didn't roll enough damage for the first attack and then she managed a desperate defence and Side Step Defence her way out of further trouble.  Kenzo decided that the annoying rat person trying to kill Ayako was an insult to my honour and stabs the yokai, putting a handy poison 2 token down.  Unfortunately Nezumi lives through the turn on a single health and all my efforts to put a Psychic Poison on him fail miserably.

However, all three idols are friendly to me, and I got rid of the Wraith, easily the most directly threatening model in Mark's army.  Naoko is in a position to deal with the rat swarms on the right idol, Kenzo is murdering everything under the sun in the middle of the board, and by some miracle Chiyo and the Temple Bushi are surviving against the Armoured Kairai.

I earn a Victory Point at the end of the turn.

Turn Three:

At this point I forgot to take pictures.

Naoko uses Slither to move away from the Large Rat Swarm to Blind Ikiryo again.  So far, so good, then I attack the Large Rat Swarm with her and forget they're durable... whoops.  So I went all out attack and Mark just annihilates my precious snake-lady.  Taking advantage of the vulnerability on my right flank with her sudden death Nezumi teleports to the last Small Rat Swarm and manages to rotate the objective back to neutral.  The Large Rat Swarm moves into Sakura, and I have to sacrifice Kazuhiko to prevent her death.

Ikiryo experiences the wonders of being blind (again) and so just moved up to use the left objective, eventually making it friendly to Mark.  The shisai both try to hit Nezumi with a 1 Ki Psychic Venom in an effort to finish him off and fail miserably.  Kenzo murders the Armoured Kairai in the middle of the board and finishes off the Large Rat Swarm.  The hebi-samurai is reaching for his rampage announcement.

Turn Four:

I win the initiative (again) and manage to get Kenzo into melee with Nezumi before he can turn the idol in Mark's favour.  Unfortunately the bloody yokai defends successfully (TWICE) and avoids all the Ki feats from Ayako.  He finally succumbs to a single poison token to my last Psychic Venom from Sakura.  Sakura rotates the idol back into my favour.  On the left the Armoured Kairai gets mangled three times by the Temple Bushi and Chiyo combining their efforts before it finally fails a Rise check.  Mark only has Ikiryo left and it's getting late so we call it quits.

I have finally found a use for Psychic Venom: killing monkeys and rats.  It's also good for finishing off enemy models, but if I'm honest the two shisai do seem horrendously expensive for what they do.  Ayako definitely doesn't feel like a 10 rice model.  She probably just needs 1 more in her Ki stat.  With 3 Ki she'd be a very powerful offensive utility piece.

Kenzo was a One Man Army, killing the Wraith, the Large Rat Swarm (eventually), and an Armoured Kairai.  He was unlucky not to get Nezumi, despite attacking the yokai no less than 3 times in a row.  However, Mark was just letting Kenzo run around doing his thing, letting such a mobile samurai model complete freedom is probably a bad idea, especially the Ito samurai with their cheap melee Ki boosts.

Naoko is just a great utility piece, the ranged attack that blinds was pretty much key to keeping Ikiryo from laser-gazing my models constantly.  I'll just have to remember to put dice in defence against durable models. I love using Side Step Defence on her, it allows her to get out of combat and gob blind on key enemy models.

Chiyo and the Temple Bushi have always been solid performers, doing their job and tying up the objectives early.  One of the two usually end up as MVP in my games so far, though I think Naoko earned it this game.

I'm quite happy with the performance of the list, though the models I could target with my shisai were rather limited, but I did find I was constantly trying to use their Ki feats - mainly Psychic Venom in an effort to clear the board of Small Rat Swarms.  It does bode well for playing against other factions though, I'll be able to target a wider variety of models.

Mark list had a good mix of hitting power, durability, and mobility, but I think focusing on turn one with both Ikiryo and Nezumi was a mistake.  This left both of them out of position for the early game, it was probably a good idea if there were more models that want to leech, but with only the two Armoured Kairai, it felt like a bit of a waste from my end.  I did a good job with Naoko getting blind off on the Wraith and Ikiryo throughout the game (it's really hard to miss the Wraith) and Kenzo got very lucky murdering the Wraith in a single hit.  Finally, I killed most of the Small Rat Swarms very early in the game with 1 Ki Psychic Venom attacks, this limited Nezumi's ability to teleport around the idols quite drastically.

I feel like I'm getting a better handle on the Ito Clan models and how they work now, especially the shisai.  My painting goals for this week are to finish up Naoko (who has been 40% done for almost a fortnight now) and get one of the shisai completely done from start to finish.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Savage Beatings

I tried out the Itsunagi/Akimoto starter set against Martin "The Swarm" Casey's Savage Wave last night and it was a bit of a bear-mauling for my poor Ito Clan forces.  I'm still not a fan of that particular starter set, I find the Naoko/Kenzo one just so much... better.  But kudos to Martin, he's certainly stepped up his game and played much better since his first game, using his bakemono much more effectively.  Zuba spent the entire game with Oni Rage going, and I couldn't see any fault with that: it gives him extra Ki and he gets to run around crushing things mercilessly.  Overall the game was immensely enjoyable.

Next week I'm up against Mark Bonatti's Cult of Yurei, and he said he was either going full kairai or 'scary ghosts'.  I haven't played against the Cult yet, but it'll certainly be interesting to see how they match up against my Ito Clan models.  I'm going to try out my shisai/debuff list to see how it works out.  I'm a little worried at just how much Souless goes around the Cult, as it means they can pretty much ignore the shisai Ki feats.  If it all goes terrible wrong, I can always get to work getting my Satoshi/ashigaru force painted up (though my shisai/debuff list is looking distinctly half-painted, rather than fully painted) and try to simply out-activate my opponents.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's Bird, Definitely not a Plane

It looks like people voted for the tengu in the Bushido Facebook poll, I thought the Minimoto were going to get it (and I voted for them) but a late surge in votes pushed the tengu to the front.  I was wondering if GCT were going for the long-nosed tengu or the bird people route, I'm not surprised they opted for the long-nosed tengu since GCT seem to stay as close to traditional Japanese mythology as possible for most of their supernatural creatures - or at very least give a hefty nod in that direction.

The Temple Bushi and Kazuhiko are both painted and based.  Quite happy how they came out; again, not my finest work, but good tabletop quality and I'm just happy to have a mostly painted force rather than trying to make each model a masterpiece.  Yes, there will be (bad) pictures since my digital camera went the way of the dodo a long time ago, and I don't have the big lights I used to photograph my Sunshine Kriel models.  Once there's daylight again I'll whip out the smartphone and take some pictures.

The Temple Bushi was a real asset in my demo game for Martin Casey and his Savage Wave - though we discovered that the Bakemono Archers aren't quite all we thought they were going to be.  It could just be a starter box thing though, I had a word with one of the other Savage Wave players later and he was telling me about the general tricks the Bakemono Horde can pile onto the table once you throw in the characters.  Well, that's for Martin and the other Savage Wave players to test out.  Zuba was pretty awesome though, he blatted Naoko rather handily before Kenzo finally took the oni down in a few rounds of combat.  I really like Kenzo, he's definitely my favorite troubleshooter for the Ito Clan.

The new tactic of focusing on the majority of the objectives, rather than ALL of them seems to have worked out nicely.  Just piling my guys towards a limited number of objectives and getting an early scenario activation or two really helps.  I can see how problematic armies like the Prefecture ashigaru lists are for scenarios since they can give the ashigaru extra activations.  I noticed that I could reach the objectives at the end of turn one, but I had no more activations to utilize them.  With Hanzo and/or Junichi can easily get to an object and still have an activation or two to do scenario actions on turn one.  Bloody Prefecture.  I'll just have to kill them all.  Or I can run the Ito Clan version of the list using Satoshi and lots of my own ashigaru.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Wave 13 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Madoka
Temple of Ro-Kan - Fisher Girl
Cult of Yurei - Gaki
Savage Wave - Jun
Ito Clan - Kaihime Ito

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bushido - a Short Break

Painting is still going strong at the moment, though I've taken a short break of sorts playing Shogun: Total War 2 - I've discovered a love of the Ikko Ikki and inspiring rebellions everywhere.  I've done a lot of piecemeal work on a variety of models and just about finished Kazuhiko and the Temple Bushi.  If I pick up a 2nd Temple Bushi I'd like to give him one of those hats the Prefecture ashigaru wear, or maybe the same hat as Kazuhiko has - it all depends on whether GCT are willing to send me one of the hats when I order the model.

Kazuhiko is a tremendously easy miniature to paint.  I did the base coats and realised he was 80% done with that.  The Temple Bushi was slightly harder and I've been experimenting with Vallejo paints recently, they behave very differently from GW ones so there's been a disaster or two, but the Bushi has made it out pretty well.  For some reason I'm having a lot of trouble getting the eyes done on Bushido miniatures, maybe I'm just getting old and losing my eyesight (and having that piece of metal in my right eye last September didn't help).  Both just need some easy highlighting and basing, then I'll be that much closer to having a fully painted force.  Huzzah.  Then it's on to Sakura and Naoko to finish both options for the starter box.

Next week I'm playing against Martin 'the Swarm' Casey (top WM/H Mercenaries player 2011!) and his Savage Wave starter set (Zuba and six Bakemono of his choice).  I'm very curious to see how it turns out for both of us since I have a lot of trouble with the Prefecture so far, I wonder if it's the way I'm playing, if it's my army choices, or Prefecture are just good against the Ito.  The plan is to try out a different style of playing: rather than trying to out-activate my opponent and prevent them from scoring at any objective, I'll just pile onto an objective or two of my choice and attempt to gain a VP majority there.

I want to make some boards for Bushido, but there's just no space in my room to store all the art supplies I'd need to really do this, so I may hunt down Matt Reid again and commission a few boards if he's still in the terrain-making business.  Failing that, I can start my collection of samurai houses with the laser cut ones from Sarissa Precision.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Bushido Rulebook and a Hebi Samurai

 Ito Kenzo is now done, huzzah!  I will update this post with pictures once there's some natural daylight once again.  Also, Ayako and Kazuhiko arrived in the mail, along with my copy of the rulebook, and my Bushido KR multicase!  So a pretty good day for Bushido-related goodness.

Quite happy with the way Kenzo turned out, but I can't help thinking I should have tried a more ambitious colour scheme for my Ito Clan, rather than the standard green - if you've seen the Sunshine Kriel, then you know I like my alternative colour schemes.  Maybe I'll go crazy and sell my Ito Clan stuff one day just to repaint it all in a different colour (and correct horrible mistakes like Chiyo's face and Itsunagi's skin).  Meanwhile, I'm just happy that my force is getting more and more painted.  Kenzo is the main reason I picked up the Ito Clan, so having him painted makes me feel a lot better about my faction choice.  Originally his armour was going to be black, with green shoulder guards, but it looked weird so I just made it all green, and I feel Kenzo came out the better for it.

Great, I can see the mistakes, I'll have to go back and fix them or go crazy.

So I now have all the models for my first 50 rice list, which is filled with Blood of Orochi models, it's just a matter of getting them all assembled and painted.  Next on the painting table is the humble Temple Bushi, since he's in every single one of the lists I can come up with.  Once the Temple Bushi is done, Sakura will be the only model in the starter box not painted.  Neither of the two models look particularly difficult to paint, so I expect I'll plough through them in the next week.  I may even find time to do Naoko since she's a ridiculously easy model to paint.

As for the rulebook, it's pretty neat.  It's fairly thin at 128 pages, a good majority of that is background material, which is interesting.  It looks like there will be 10 factions, if the major powers list is anything to go by.  The five that aren't out yet look to be: Minimoto Clan (bear themed samurai with Tetsubo clubs), Tengu and their Hill Warrior human followers, the Silvermoon Syndicate (yakuza), Shiho Clan (eagle themed samurai and raiders?), and Jung Pirates.

There's a handy reference sheet in the back of the book, and a page with token icons printed on it, but I'm not too keen to stick my new rulebook into a photocopier and damage the spine.  Give us a PDF to print out!  There's more scenarios too, though a quite of few of them are the same scenario only with objective removal conditions.  Given that games only last 6 turns normally, the limited number of scenarios for now is to be expected.  There's also a nice section going over the general strengths and weaknesses of each faction, quite handy for newcomers to the game.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Snakes & Still No Ladders

Painting is progressing pretty steadily, and I'm happy that my Ito Clan force is getting visible painting progress.  I've just finished Chiyo, putting my starter box at 3/5 complete, with only the Temple Bushi and Sakura remaining.  Since Kenzo is sitting at 50% done on my desk I think I'll paint him next, even though he's not part of the normal starter box.

Another game against Dave's Prefecture today, at 35 rice, my 50 rice list reinforcements still haven't arrived from GCT - though they are about to ship out everyone's copy of the rulebook, so I can forgive them for the delay I guess.  I used the old starter box set (even if only Chiyo was painted out of that set) and it definitely feels like I get more out of it than the normal one.  Dave won 2-1 on that one, mostly because Bikou is total bullshit.

I do wonder how on earth certain models make it through any sort of play-testing, I only had to look at her card to go "wtf?"; actual play experience confirmed this.  Who gives a model that generates 2 Ki, a 2 cost Ki feat that lets her shoot 3 times?  Shooting is extremely powerful in Bushido for the most part, and 3 shots that ignore armour just... words cannot describe the feeling of design failure.  I mean, when you have a look at the Prefecture forum and see this, something needs a fix.  Personally I'd like to see Bikou's "Hail of Steel" being 1 Ki more expensive or being Rapid Fire (2) instead.  At the moment she picks someone within 8" and they just die if they have no Toughness.  Models with a 'death bubble' around them probably need a fix.

Other than her however, the game was pretty good.  Kenzo did his thing and became bogged down fighting Mizuchi for 4 turns before finally killing the the bloody dragon.  I did have some unlucky dice but Dave mostly just continued to defend as much as he could on Mizuchi.  Feint is a very powerful ability to activate, and if you want someone dead, definitely dedicate the Ki or resources to using that skill.  Sakura turned out to be a Ki battery yet again, though she did help a Temple Bushi take down Mikio, but I'm finding her to be rather disappointing at the moment.  I'd really like her to be more active.

In other news, I just gave Satoshi a new spear blade since my Satoshi did not have one when the model arrived.  So I rooted around my majestically large Warmachine collection to find a model with a suitable blade, and managed to pin the new blade to Satoshi's spear shaft.  It's a bit shorter than the original, but it's very strong.  Once Satoshi is done and I'll pick up another Temple Bushi and Takeji, I can then try a full Ito Clan ashigaru/samurai force.

Maybe I should make a special sub-section of the blog for my Bushido balancing feedback...
Update: Done!  There's a link in the side tab for my suggested changes now.  Or click here.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Bushido: Early Analysis

Having had a proper chance to sit down and analyze the mechanics of Bushido for a couple of weeks now there are certain things that should be kept in mind if you want to get the most out of your force.  Keep in mind these three ideas have a fair amount of overlap, so many of the explanations will meander into each other.

Model Count & Activations
Forcing your enemy into a position where their models are all exhausted before your models has a significant advantage.  There are three main benefits from this: firstly, exhausted models suffer penalties while fighting; secondly, you can achieve more objectives during your turn; lastly, you can force your opponent into unfavorable choices of strategy.

Certain lists are designed around the idea of having more activations - notably Savage Wave Bakemono hordes - and aim to simply out-activate you.  This means you end up wasting a lot of activations dealing with expendable models while the enemy's important models can wait patiently for the right moment to strike, or that they swarm you with superior numbers to stack the dice bonuses and penalties in their favor.

There are certain ways to counter this or at least prepare for it.  Certain Ki feats - Master Ekusa and Ryoko-Sha being the most obvious candidates with appropriate Ki feats - can nullify an opposing force with more activations for a time, either allowing you to deal with their force or have some time to recuperate for a counter-attack.  Certain models allow additional activations - Hanzo using "Move It!" for example - which can be a surprising advantage when timed right.

Of course, killing enemy models is the most viable way to reduce the number of activations they can use, and is the optimal outcome in most cases.  Do not underestimate the power of choosing the simplest action.

If you have more activations than your opponent, force them to activate their important models before they would like to - typically by engaging in melee, but simply waiting out your opponent until they have nothing else to activate can work too.  You can also seize objectives much easier if you have additional activations, even holding off enemy models from scoring while you do so.  Typically you will have the upper hand simply through exhausting all the enemy models and then being able to abuse their reduced effectiveness while in this state.

While you have an activation advantage, do not become lax thinking that you have an insurmountable advantage, particularly in scenarios.  Getting to those scenario objectives first is more important than exhausting the enemy force as you cannot trigger most objectives in an enemy Zone of Control, and scenario actions prevent you from attacking or moving.  Whomever gets to a scenario objective first instantly starts with an advantage for scenario purposes.

Your activation advantage will be most obvious if you can gain a lead in scenario points as you can continually trigger scenario actions while fighting off an enemy force at the same time; your opponent can only choose one or the other, and often cannot use scenario actions as your models will already be there.

Melee Rule of Threes - Dice for Defending or Attacking
When making melee attack or defence rolls, three dice is the magic number since you pick the highest die and up to two additional dice for the bonuses.  After that, I personally prefer buying flat bonuses over additional dice, but 3d6+1 works out almost the same as 4d6; what you choose most likely depends on how much Ki you are willing to spend.  Consider how many dice your opponent is going to be rolling in response too though, don't go full kamikaze just because you read this article and decided the three dice advice was the only way to do things.

So, if you want to defend yourself as best you can, three dice in defence, whatever else goes into attack; if you want that model dead as dead can be, three dice in attack, everything else in defence.  This also relates loosely to ranged attacks, where three dice is a pretty good bet, but it's less important since you have a flat target number rather than a slightly nebulous enemy result.

As a side note, nearly always put at least one die in defence.  You may be going for that one big kamikaze attack to kill the enemy model quickly, but if you fail and rolled no defence dice, you are almost guaranteed to be killed if your opponent rolled any dice in attack.

Stacking Debuffs
This particular mechanic seems to be rather underused, though it might just be the factions I tend to examine the most.  Basically you want to layer as many negative effects on an enemy model as you can before you move in for the kill: for instance, my 50 rice Ito Clan list can drop Blind and Stunned on the target model, for a total of -2 melee dice.  Given that the majority of models have 2 or 3 melee skill, that's a significant debuff and almost guarantees I'm going to be able to really hurt (if not outright kill) the model I'm attack - of course there's the luck of the dice, but I've stacked the odds into my favor as much as I can.

Many debuffs figure into the Model States section of the rules (p.18 of the New Dawn PDF) and it's worth reading up on those as many of them apply negative modifiers and impose powerful restrictions.  Figure out which models in your warband can hand out debuffs and exploit those models as much as you can.

Of course, there's more to the game - notably special attacks and defences (and my mancrush for Side-Step Defence) - and this advice isn't drawn from games and games of experience, I've only had a couple of games and this is what I've noticed while playing.  Other more experienced players will be able to give better advice through practical experience.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Snakes and Dragons

Two models of the starter box down, three to go.  I have been side-tracked by Kenzo however, but I'm going to sideline him until the rest of the starter box is finished.  Kenzo is a really simple miniature to paint; he's just snake belly, scales, and some armour.  There's some skin but there's no delicate kimono folds or really ornate sword scabbards.  I reckon I could probably finish him in a full day of painting.  First though, finish the starter box, no distractions!

Here's a WIP photo I took on the iPhone in some terrible light, I have since finished Akimoto.  As you might be able to tell, Itsunagi is not my greatest work.  Very pleased with how Akimoto's skin turned out:

Had my first real game against Dave's Prefecture as planned; I did lose horribly on scenario.  I also discovered that Akimoto is totally garbage on the table (as expected) and Itsunagi is an unholy terror (as expected.)  The other models in the starter box performed pretty much as expected.  Temple Bushi are very solid models for their cost, I feel they get outshone slightly by the Ryu Yarimen, but I'm okay with that; my samurai are awesome and boost for less Ki - also, giant snakemen!  Sakura merely functions as a Ki battery for everyone else in the box, which is unfortunate, and her Ki feats seem pretty awful.  I get the feeling "Venomous Gaze" is there to finish off nearly-dead models, rather than deal out initial damage.  It's something I'll have to test over a couple more games.

If I could change some of the rules for the models that I used, I'd remove the restrictions on Akimoto's "Orochi's Visage" so it can be used in melee or as part of a Walk action.  This turns him into a weird reactive character into an okay proactive one.  At some point I'll give him another test run just to be sure, but that's my feedback on him at the moment.  Perhaps I should try running him as a more aggressive figure and utilize the Terror to burn through enemy activations?

Of the special attacks and defences, Side-step Defence works as I expected, it makes your models very difficult to take down quickly or they can complete their melee exchange, do a little damage, and then dance out of combat to prevent getting outnumbered.  I forgot normal Temple Bushi don't have it, but my lone Bushi managed to survive both Hiro and Jin poking him just by going all-out defensive.  Chiyo was not so lucky and got shot by Minuro's arquebus.  Sad times my friends, sad times.  I only got to use Combo Attack on Itsunagi and it did let me pile up some poison tokens on Hiro, but it was too late by that point, Dave had already gained more scenario points than I could score in the time remaining.

The combat system is a bit deceptive (in a good way!) as it is difficult to take down an opponent who is going all out on defence, so stacking debuffs is rather high priority.  This is where I feel the Shisai come in for the Ito Clan.  My planned 50 rice list basically involves me blinding as many models as I can with Naoko and then using Ayako to stun another or stack debuffs on a single model so that Kenzo or my Temple Bushi can kill them through sheer number of dice.  If you only roll a single die in defence, there's a good chance you're about to get gibbed.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Two-Swords, One Heaven

My enthusiasm for Bushido continues.  The Ito Clan starter box arrived and I've already finished Ito Itsunagi - probably the most powerful member of the Ito Clan.  He's not as good as I could have painted him though, as I tried to paint on his tattoos and it all went horribly wrong and had to redo a lot of his flesh.  He's still passable, but definitely just tabletop quality now.  Ah well, at some point when I'm drowning in time and money I may get another Itsunagi and try again.  For now though I'll settle for getting a fully painted force.

My first real game is scheduled for next week (the 28th) against Dave Hamilton's Prefecture of Ryu force.  The Prefecture are the 'standard' samurai force: samurai with ashigaru retainers.  No weird powers or unusual creatures for the most part.  The Prefecture seems to be the faction for rocking straight up to someone and beating them down.  Just about everyone in the faction has plenty of armour, which makes it very unlikely to kill anyone in a single exchange without access to Sharp or Armour Piercing.

The Ito Clan on the other are all about dancing around the combat, or evading a direct fight when possible.  Nearly everyone has access to Side Step Defence (basically, I get to walk away if I succeed at defending in melee), most of the samurai in the faction can do it with no penalty.  Unfortunately most of the models in the starter box are very fragile, it is very much a case of protecting Itsunagi while he kills everything.

I actually prefer the old starter box with Ito Kenzo and Naoko over Ito Itsunagi and Akimoto.  The snakeman Akimoto really doesn't seem all that useful to me, he can become very terrifying, but to do that he can't move and he can't be in combat.  Other than that though, he's terrible in combat, has no ranged attack... he's there to generate Blood of Orochi tokens (you can use those to give models in your army the Poison special ability, the lethality is determined by how many Blood of Orochi tokens you spend on an individual model).  Sure Itsunagi is a powerhouse, but Naoko is so much better than Akimoto, while Kenzo isn't miles off from Itsunagi.  Fortunately I have ordered Kenzo and Naoko, so I may have the option of either version of the starter box.  I'll just bring what's painted, so probably the newer 'normal' starter box.

On the hobby front, I seem to have developed a weird taste for building bamboo hedges out of toothpicks and copper wiring.  It's very easy, and I may end up with a disproportionate number of hedges to other terrain.  My board has been put on hold after Mark Bonatti asked how I made all the terrain seamless (he thought it was modular) at which point I slapped myself on the forehead and then decided to make modular terrain instead.  I do need to pick up a giant bag of clump foliage for my hedges though, these tiny GF9 tubs are not cost-efficient.

Update: I got fed up with Itsunagi's terrible skin and redid it (again) so now it's a much smoother blend.  It's much better but it's still just a good tabletop quality.  Pictures once the whole starter box is finished.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Way of the Samurai

It's finally happened, I've totally lost interest in Warmachine and Hordes.  My interest in the game fluctuated up and down for a bit over the past few months, but the introduction of colossals and gargantuans really killed the game for me.  So, after months and months of DotA 2, I tried out Bushido earlier in the week and found it to be great fun.  I've already ordered my starter pack of choice - the Ito Clan - and started making my own playing board.

The game area is a tiny 2ft x 2ft, so making my own board is pretty easy.  I also had a couple of sheets of  foam board lying around that just happened to be 2 feet wide - turned out to be quite handy.  Work is still in progress, I found that most of my paints have dried up since I haven't touched a miniature in months, and I'm still undecided on what sort of terrain I want the board to be.  I could make it grass, jungle, desert, dirt, or snow.  At the moment I'm thinking just plain old grass, but do I have enough flock?  Each board is supposed to have around 6 pieces of terrain, which, in total, should cover 25%-50% of the board; so quite dense.  Unfortunately I'm running very short on materials now, and I'm only at 4 (small) pieces of terrain.  I'm looking to have more vegetation and some places that allow models to abuse elevation, but I'm not sure how to build these with the materials I have on hand.

As for gameplay, the game is very small - most lists I see have 5 to 7 models.  There's quite a surprising amount of tactical depth to the game however, it feels quite Warmachine-esque in that regard.  Knowing when to activate which models, and which tactics to use are key.  My main gripes with the system are that there are certain clunky elements to it: the damage system uses a table; the poison and fire systems are just a confusing mess; certain actions don't really tell you what they allow you to do.  However, the finished rulebook will be available soon and perhaps many of my gripes will vanish in the final product (the current rules are a beta document by the way.)  The easiest way to get around the damage table problem is simply to have the damage table printed out and on hand so you don't have to go leafing through the rulebook every time you activate a model.  The rest of the system is solid though, I particularly like how the combat system works.

Overall, I'm quite excited about the game, and look forward to getting more games in.  There are quite a few players at G3 who have Bushido stuff, and it looks like the game is certainly on the popularity upswing.  Now where are the art assets for websites and blogs to use?