Monday, 8 December 2014

Bushido Basics: Zones 101

I notice a lot of people seem to have a hard time figuring out if they control a zone.  I use a simple method of remembering there are two conditions to controlling a zone:
  1. Do I have more models completely in the zone?
  2. Do I have more rice completely in the zone?
If the answer to both these questions is 'Yes', then congratulations, you control the zone.  Now let's move onto some advanced mechanics that involve 4" zones - I could cover the 8" zone stuff, but the zone is so big there's not a lot I could advise players about them other than 'fill it with models'.  Another thing to remember is that if you do not have at least one model >> completely << within a zone, you will not score in that zone: you have 0 rice in the zone, and it's impossible for your opponent not to have this much rice in a zone, so no scoring for you.

Zone Size
A 4" zone is 101.6mm wide.  Why is this important?  A large base is 50mm, so if you sit it in the middle of a zone, no other models can be completely within the zone as there is only a 25mm(ish) thick ring around the 50mm base.  This is not large enough to fit a 30mm base, so no other bases can completely enter the zone.  This way you can contest a zone indefinitely with a large base model just sitting in the middle of the zone as long as it doesn't die or get moved - you will always have more rice completely within the zone than your opponent.  Once you arrive in the middle of a zone with a 50mm base, there's no way to stop you from scoring that zone.  Expect to see oni doing this a lot if they get the space.

Can a 40mm base do the same thing?  Sort of.  A 40mm base sitting exactly in the middle of a zone has a ring just over 30mm around them, so if you stand slightly forward within the zone, you can deny a serious amount of real estate, but it's not a sure thing.

No, a 30mm base can't do this.

No Reset Button
None of zone scenarios (Ryodo, Ichi no Riten, Botoku) have any reset mechanics, so it's much easier to stay ahead than it is to catch up.  This is the primary reason why Temple of Ro-Kan does so well in tournaments, they can go for an early scenario push and then hold zones through their specials.

Pushes, Slams & Throws
These special attacks and defences are king in zone control.  If you can edge out an enemy model so that it is no longer completely within a zone its rice value no longer matters.  Certain factions specialise in these sorts of specials attacks and defences, so be aware of factions like the Temple of Ro-kan, Silvermoon Trade Syndicate, and Savage Wave all having these specials in spades if they want them.

Remember, killing enemy models is great and all, but scenario points are what win you games in Bushido, so always consider whether you will get more mileage through a slam or throw rather than raw damage.  Trying to kill a model when you could be earning guaranteed scenario points instead is the most common trap in the game.

Control Tokens & Ki Feats
The controlled condition is simply overpowered to the max in zone scenarios.  If you have the ability to put control tokens on enemy models, the ideal time is at the end of a scoring turn.  Suddenly you gain a load of rice in a zone and your opponent loses rice in a zone, you get double the model's rice cost in effective value.  Failing that, you can simply have the model move out of a zone.  There's a lot you can do with control tokens.

Speaking of simply moving models out of zones, several factions have the ability to do this with some simple Ki feats such as "Heed My Word" from Mo Ises (Mo EE-say?) or the Roses from the Silvermoon Trade Syndicate.

Insignificant Models & Models With Rice Cost
Please keep in mind that insignificant models still count for both rice value and model count for zone scoring.  Models with no rice cost (such as Wrath) only count towards model count.

And there you have it, the basics of zones, and another Bushido Basics post.  I should really make a small table of contents on the menu for this stuff once I have more of these written up methinks.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Jungle Fauna

I am now recovered from my bout of food poisoning - which wiped me out for about a week - and gaming can once again commence on a semi-regular basis.  Wave 21 gets a few more profiles revealed: the Shimogama Viper, Kioshi Makoto, and Kaito.  The Vipers are currently my favourite profile to throw into my test lists, so I have only good things to be said about them - at least in the way I play my lists.  Kioshi is an unusual profile, he's very... meta-game is the only way I can describe it.  Kaito is solid, he brings a little bit to the Temple that covers what the peasants were missing.

So all the voting for the special cards are now complete.  The actually useful cards for both Temple of Ro-Kan and the Ito Clan were ignored and the marginally cornercase ones voted in.  Salty, salty tears about the Muramasa Blade, and I'm sure a number of Temple players mourn the loss of Way of Stillness.  All the other factions seem to have gotten really useful specials, I rather like Vanguard for the Prefecture.  Apparently there are some new special cards up for voting next soon (expect an update on the GCT website on Saturday), I believe these will be the generic cards.

My personal games have been put on hold until the Shimogama Vipers are released, as the flying snakes open up a huge amount of list choices.  Suddenly there is room for special cards where there were none before, different models can be swapped about.  It's a great luxury to have.  So meanwhile I've been trying to think of what my next Bushido board will be like.  I really want a jungle ruin to go with my Ito Clan stuff, but trying to figure out how that will look and how to build it is quite difficult.  So far I've decided to go modular with 1 ft squares, but that's about it.  I've been collecting lots of random pieces of concept art to try to bring my vision together.  I'll make a post with the whole process laid out at some point.

Wave 21 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Kioshi Makoto
Temple of Ro-Kan - Kaito
Cult of Yurei - Souta & Sloth
Savage Wave - Rashka the Destroyer
Ito Clan - Shimogama Viper
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Dakufaia

Sunday, 26 October 2014

More Specials for Voting

Savage Wave Special Cards
I completely missed a post about the Savage Wave special cards, but I expect Unearthly Rage (C) to win.  Of the other two cards, the Bakemono Horde upgrade was nearly useless in practice - it's really hard not to have LoS to nearly everything in Bushido, especially if your opponent has a model with Soulless or Sixth Sense to see through Darkness; Waka's upgrade wasn't enough of an upgrade to make anyone particularly keen to use him.

Cult of Yurei Special Cards
The Cult of Yurei cards are up for voting now.  The two terrain elements need a little refinement: Haunted Well is too cheap in a faction where the majority of models cause Fear.  Desecrated Grave needs a more defined deployment area - basically I'd make it deploy the same way as Forward Deployment (within 4" of friendly player's deployment zone) so that the kairai don't start the game in base to base with an objective.  The Guardian is... well it seems fine to me if I'm honest.

Having had Yatsumata lasered off the table by Ikiryo as the first action of turn 2, I think Ikiryo needs a serious nerf; I've also had games where she killed an ashigaru every turn.  Currently she's a no risk, high reward model as she stands miles away churning out 5 damage a turn.  There are three available options I can see: reduce her Ki by 1 and give her Force of Will - this will give her roughly the same success levels when making opposed Ki tests, but the severity of her nukes will be lower; reduce the range of "Look Into the Void" to 4" so she turns into a high risk, high reward model; place a maximum damage value which is less than 6 on "Look Into the Void".

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Special Card Competition Voting - Ito Clan

Voting has started on the finalists of the Special Card Competition for the next set of special cards.  Go to the Bushido website to vote!

Right now the Ito Clan ones are up for voting, surprisingly one of my cards is in there.  Go me!  I can see Fearsome Visage being used with Kenzo/Kaihime (and other upcoming hebi/hebimiman models that lack Fear) as it can prevent low-Ki models stealing your activations and gives them quasi-Fearless.  Muramasa Blade is really cool, but I just can't see it being used... ever...  Or maybe with Masunagi.  Orochi Familiar is a very good generic all-rounder for most lists.  I can see the majority of people voting for Muramasa Blade because it seems the coolest, rather than the card Ito Clan players will actually use.

Update: You fools! Stop voting for the Blade!  Why on earth do Ito Clan samurai need it unless you play against Armoured Kairai and Tadao every game?  A makes Kenzo/Kaihime/Ayako/any future hebi without Fear better.  C makes lists with low Blood of Orochi have more poison options.  B makes some badass samurai marginally more badass against a really specific criteria of opponent.  Think about which cards you will actually use when building a list.  I'd put Fear (4) on Kenzo every bloody time, and I'd take Orochi Familiar with just about all my Satoshi lists.  I'm never taking the Muramasa Blade simply because I have more useful things to spend rice on when building lists - like Dark Secrets (2).

Monday, 29 September 2014

Wave 20 Pre-Order Available

It is that wonderful time again where the next wave of models are up for pre-order.  It's been interesting to see what each faction has gotten this wave, as it includes profiles that didn't appear in playtesting - which is oddly something I would like in future, it's much more exciting as a Retainer this way.

Prefecture of Ryu: Shuichi, Michi Shisai
Shuichi is a pretty simple profile.  There's nothing especially snazzy about him, but he brings a way to remove harmful conditions from friendly models and Warding Shomyo, one of the more powerful aura Ki feats in the game.  I really like the Michi theme Prefecture have started to focus on.

Temple of Ro-Kan: Master Akari
I would be amazed if a model actually hit Master Akari with a ranged attack.  He's got a good selection of melee based Ki feats, a good Ki stat, and well, he's a master monk.  Akari is pretty much the best VIM I can think of in the game, but he does seem to be a model of extremes: huge defensive stats, but almost no health, so if you hit him, he's just plain old dead a lot of the time.  Especially as Ito, I would poison the crap out of him every time.

Cult of Yurei: Yugio
The burakumin is much like Shuichi for Prefecture: the profile is very simple and straightforward for the most part.  He comes with a little Conspiracy of the Cult so he can help mitigate his low Ki stat, but he brings the ability to help out friendly shugenja.  He also comes with Warding Shomyo (shomyos for everyone!), which makes me a little sad inside.  Since I view Ikiryo as the least fun model to play against in the game, I don't approve of any model that gives her a buff of any sort.  He's pretty good for the other shugenja though, especially Waku.  The idea of a really big Marionette though is rather horrific (5 Ki with Kimiko's Whistle and Blasphemous Conviction going).

Savage Wave: Kaihei (lots of kaihei)
Rather decent hounds for the Savage Wave.  I suspect they're going to be a hidden gem.  They come with 2 profile cards, so you can bring 4 kaihei - this leads to some interesting variation if you just want to bring 2 kaihei: do you bring both on one profile card, or one of each profile?  I like that they're very into their slams.  For 40 rice you could bring the full kaihei pack (4 kaihei, the Alpha, and Yusha) which has a lot of internal synergy, but would most likely need to focus on very specific objectives each turn - personally I think it would work really well.

Ito Clan: Ito Mizuki
Yep, the Ito Clan won this wave.  In your face suckers!  Mizuki is an amazing control and support model.  Poor Ayako is probably going to be sitting in the foam tray for a while now because of this lovely lady (unfortunately).  The Blessings of Orochi are incredibly powerful and useful on just about every model in the faction.  They either save lots of Ki, or cover the weaknesses certain models have (such as Itsunagi's complete lack of Armour).

Silvermoon Trade Syndicate: Sukoshi Kani & Nomi
The oddballs of this wave.  They bring some models with Scout to the Silvermoon and they both have very specific focuses: Kani sneaks around and then throws out her Makibishi, Nomi tries to stalk models with good Camouflage stats so that other models can target them.  I think their main value is Scout and Flank however.  If Kani can get into an enemy zone/idol and throw down her Makibishi on top of it, she's paying her points back as soon as a single enemy model fails a test.  Nomi is a bit of a trickier one as he must be within the enemy's Camouflage range to be able to reveal them, it sounds very tricky to pull off, but I'm sure the rewards are worth it if you skewer a model like Tra-peng with a repeating crossbow.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Not Command & Conquer

Finally made my pledge for a Red Alert level of Rise of the Kage.  So right now, this is what I'm planning to get hold of, I expect more to be available by the time the Kickstarter has finished:

It's something of a pity it's going to be roughly this time next year before we see the game in person.

Got to play against David Hamilton's Prefecture ashigaru horde on Tuesday and it wasn't as horrific as I was expecting.  Yatsumata did her thing and sat quite contently in the middle zone of Ryodo, whilst Yukio Kushimori (of all people) went around killing things.  Not much to say about this game if I'm honest; I got some bad dice at the start of the game, which then turned into amazing dice; Dave had okay dice throughout, but amazing dice win out over average dice regardless of game.

This weekend we're heading through to Common Ground Games once again for a day of Bushido - hopefully with more of the Dundee players coming through.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Video and Discount Codes

Teri from Geek & Sundry has put up a couple of videos about Bushido on both her channels (her personal channel and the one she has on Geek & Sundry).  The above video also includes a code for a 20% discount code for Bushido orders on the GCT Studios store - the code is valid until the end of the month, so get ordering!  There's a quick playthrough video of a 20 rice game, but there's a horrible, horrible error where they hold excess Ki (Ikiryo gets 9 Ki at one point) until the end phase.  Other than that however, it's pretty useful for beginners.

Rise of the Kage

Very impressed with what I've seen of the Rise of the Kage so far.  You should all fund this.  Go.  Do it now.  Don't worry, I'll wait here.  WHY HAVE YOU NOT THROWN ALL YOUR WORLDLY MONEY AT THIS YET?!  As for myself, once I get paid for this next bathroom I should be going for a Red Alert pledge.

If you don't know about it, you can find out more about Rise of the Kage on Kickstarter or on the Rise of the Kage website.

The Kickstarter updates are quite exciting, there are extra maps, more guard types, a new guard boss (according to TGN there's going to be three different guard bosses), and most importantly: more ninja.  GCT have certainly listened to what the people pledging are asking for, and the stretch goals have changed rapidly from "some new guards" to what they are now.  This is one I'll be keeping an eye on.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bushido Basics: Warband Construction

Constructing Your Warband

I'm going to assume you, the reader, is familiar with the basic mechanics of Bushido and you know how to throw together a warband. What you may not know is how to make a coherent warband rather than a big collection of all your random models. Random models can work, but that's most often by accident rather than intent.

Scenario, Scenario, Scenario
Before you even think about what to throw into your warband, think about the following things:
Do you have a good VIM model?
How would you like your list to function?
Can you contest zones?

The first question is the easiest to answer. Good VIMs are generally models that can avoid combat in some way. This could be from traits such as Fly, to Ki feats like “Mirage”. Some people like to take very tanky and tough VIMs, but a good number of VIM scenarios award victory points for damage caused to a VIM. From my own experience, the sneakier the VIM, the better.

The second question is a much more probing question in warband construction: How do you see your warband functioning? Is your list planning to roll up the table and kill things? Are you more about scenario denial? Is there some crazy tricks you can pull off with the list? You need to look at how your list will function as a cohesive whole. An excellent example of this was John Sinclair's list that I played against at Common Ground Games:

Temple of Ro-Kan (50 rice)
Master Ekusa
Grey Pilgrim + Prayer Beads
Minor Air Kami
Rice Farmer

The list focuses around a turn of being able to use kamikaze attacks at no risk while Aura of Serenity is up. The Shisa and the Grey Pilgrim are soulless models, so can utilize their dice as they like, whereas John's opponent will have to go full defence. John has a clear idea of what to do with the models in his list here. The warband has some bad match ups (anything with lots of soulless) but the list was built with clear intent and purpose, and there is clear synergy between many of the models.

There are many styles of lists, so think about how you want to achieve some scenario objectives. Is your warband planning to simply hope they can kill enemy models until you have the activation advantage? What happens when your opponent simply rolls all defence dice all the time and nothing dies? This is where knowing the scenario scoring conditions comes in handy, though be aware different factions have different flavours and methods of achieving their goals: the Ito Clan tends to just murder everything on the table, the Silvermoon Trade Syndicate usually relies on special cards, the Prefecture of Ryu will have lots of pass tokens, and so on.

Contesting zones is an interesting dilemma for most players (myself included a lot of the time) as you need models AND rice to hold zones. It means you can contest zones with lots of cheap models, or just a few very expensive ones. It takes a lot of thought about which zones you are going to attempt to hold, and which zones you will only move a token model towards. Certain models make really effective zone controllers, especially models with slams or throws as you can get enemy models away from the scoring requirements for zone control. Effects that give you control tokens on enemy models are incredibly powerful in scenarios with zones, as you flip an enemy model over to your warband for scoring purposes if they end the turn controlled.

You should be able to divide your warband into 3 components when you think about zones: defenders, fighters, tricksters.  Defenders are usually your cheapest or long-ranged models. They're only in your friendly zone for scoring purposes, the majority of their actions are about doing things to the other zones from within the friendly zone. Fighters are generally your best fighters (ironic eh?) as there will be the densest concentration of models in the middle zone or area of the board in most games and you want to be able to stay there for as long as possible. Tricksters are the elusive and difficult to attack models (they can usually be a good VIM) that can dance about and force your opponent to commit more models to defending their home zone.  Of course, some models can swap roles quite easily, such as the Shimogama Vipers for the Ito Clan; they're are so mobile they can shift between all three roles in a pinch.

So, have you picked a good VIM, are you aware of how you want your list to function, and can you contest zones?  If you can answer yes to all these questions, you should have a proper functional warband.

Wave 20 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Shuichi, Michi Priest
Temple of Ro-Kan - Master Akari
Cult of Yurei - Yugio
Savage Wave - Kaihei Beasts
Ito Clan - Mizuki Ito
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Sukoshi Kani & Nomi

Back, Just Not in Black

Ok, I have the internet again guys, all is well again in the world (of Bushido).  I had to scrap some of the articles I was writing since they didn't actually help anyone beyond describing each scenario.  The warband construction article uses some unreleased profiles in an example - I was expecting them to be in Wave 20 - so there's a little editing needing done in that one.  I need to work on doing some graphics for the one about how to stand at objectives, it's probably going to be on the weekend when I find the time for that.  I'll start posting again once everything is edited and has the graphics to suit.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

No Internet

Hey guys, just letting everyone know there will be no updates until the 10th of September as I have no internet at my new flat until then. I am currently writing a series of blog posts that will cover basic strategies from constructing you warband in a coherent fashion to how you should position models around objectives.  Until then though, I'm incognito!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wakka Wakka Wakka

I'm in the process of moving flats right now, so there might be a dead period as I transfer my worldly possessions to my new flat.  At last I have a place of my very own, with no flatmates to steal my precious, precious bandwidth.  Ahhhh, the luxury!

Tried out a very different sort of list than the ones I usually play, this time centred around having 2 scary fighters and all the better ashigaru I could cram into a list:

Ito Kenzo
Temple Bushi x2

I would have liked Chiyo in the list for some added mobility and being able to aggressively attack the enemy support models behind the front line, but I just didn't have the points to spare.

The more I play Yatsumata, the more I like the giant twin-headed snake.  She just rocks up to somewhere worth defending and sits there all game fending off anyone foolish enough to come near - if they don't come deal with her, she just heads further down the board.  The list worked out rather well against Martin's Savage Wave, but he didn't know Yatsumata had light footed and left Waka too far forward on turn one.  Yatsumata just rocketed up the board and ended up pinning down both Zuba and Waka for the entire game while everyone else mopped up bakemono.  I do like winning but I prefer to win because I outplayed my opponent, not because they didn't know my awesome model could walk through those bushes and instantly get into melee.  Hitoshi went on a bit of a rampage, he was responsible for the majority of my kills funnily enough.  Usually he just sits around being useless and failing fear tests.

The strategy of very aggressively pursuing enemy zones and objectives is really working out for me, I do feel this is how the Ito Clan are meant to be played.

Jim's first outing with the Savage Wave was interesting to see, and Mark Watson seems to have gotten a real hold on how the Silvermoon play out.  It was really fascinating to see a Cave Bat with stupidity (5) and when it passed the Ki test, Mark would hammer it with a Bought Loyalty or force a re-roll.  The poor Cave Bat did almost nothing the entire game.  Yusha spent the game being a Silvermoon model, but Tenbatsu (now called "the Big Man") just stomped up the board and mowed down anyone who came remotely close to him. The warband we came up with for Jim uses a very different style of list to the type that Martin does, it's really neat to see the different styles of play within the same faction.

Taisho Tenbatsu
Cave Bat
+Bones of Power
2 random Bakemono of choice

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Day Out

A good day of Bushido at Common Ground Games yesterday.  Got to play against Mark Watson's Silvermoon 'Buto-herd' and show John Sinclair's Temple the ropes.  Did a bit more test profile testing, but don't really have more to add than my feedback so far.  I used the test profile(s) in the game against Mark, and didn't in the game against John, and I felt remarkably less active in the second game.  Really looking forward to Wave 20.

Behold Master Akari while we're here:

The first game was quite intimidating.  Fighting a trio of buto is just scary with the sheer amount of health they bring to the board.  It's really a case of staring at them and thinking "how the hell am I going to kill all that stuff?"  The answer is: start with Old Zo.  Then kill everything that isn't a buto.  Finally, work on killing some buto.  The Death-Chicken didn't put up much of a fight, after seeing it maul the Wraith, I was a bit surprised it just keel over and die when I attacked it.  Clearly Kenzo was made of sterner stuff.

The game against John Sinclair was a real eye opener for me, as Shisa and the Grey Pilgrim combined with Ekusa's Aura of Serenity is a giant pain to deal with.  None of my models can attack or use special defences, John had no such problems with his soulless models.  It's certainly a way to get some easy outnumbering going as none of my models can dance around with side step defence anymore.  It is rather subject to bad match ups against certain Cult lists though.  I didn't use any test profiles against John as he's just not as experienced at the game as most of the Glasgow players (we're notoriously hardcore about our game(s) of choice).  Unfortunately for John I opted for an early scenario rush style of list, and we were playing Ryodo.  So I just rushed into the middle zone, pretty much ignored my own zone apart from a couple of token defenders, and then threw as many of my mobile models into his zone as possible.  Then it was just a case of maintaining a scenario point lead until the Temple models eventually collapsed from poison.

Round One: FIGHT!
There were some entertaining games had by the other people there, Martin's Savage Wave against Dave's Prefecture was hilarious, with Martin having a very secure 3-0 win magically turning into a 1-1 draw.  Dave's ashigaru list is interesting to see, it has no samurai at all.  I couldn't tell you how Jim's games went, most of mine lasted longer.

John Sinclair had a much cooler way of making tokens than what I've been using - the condition tokens I had made are just really big, I'd rather have something a little more compact.  John used white 16mm tiddly-winks and custom printed circular sticky labels, and they look much better.  So I'm going to order some tiddly-winks and see how printing my own sticky labels works out.  I'm probably going to keep my tired/exhausted base rims however, you can see one on the Wraith in the picture above.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Eight is the Magic Number

I should really include more pictures in the blog.

Speaking of pictures, time to show my two Bushido boards (both of which need some repair work...) and the terrain I've been making.  I have a lot more terrain, but a good chunk of it is for a Warmachine/Hordes table, and thus completely unsuitable for Bushido simply because of the size of it.  A 4" forest in WM/H isn't anything to write home about, in Bushido it's a major obstacle.  BEHOLD!

Swamp Board with the majority of new terrain
Temple Board without any terrain.  I left it on the car roof once

No games of Bushido for me this last week I'm afraid.  Too bad, so sad.  Still waiting on the gigantic order of the Savage Wave and Wave 19 stuff to arrive - it's going to be exciting stuff.  Whilst I was previously very keen on Satsuki and the possibilities of running more shisai, this has fallen to the wayside a bit as the current test profile(s) are really exciting for the Ito Clan.  I'm finding it really hard not to put them in every list I'm going to use.  Or write massive spoilers about them.  Wave 20 is looking very sexy for everyone so far.

There was a really exciting game a couple of weeks ago now between Jim's Cult and Mark's Silvermoon the other week.  I have a newfound respect for Old Zo and his Tax - and yes, we make a lot of jokes about Tax as we're self-employed (and thus pay almost no tax in real-life) - as it's a very powerful counter to the kami models of the Cult.  They usually boost their melee/movement for 1 Ki, and can often gain it back in a melee exchange.  With Tax active however, they really hurt themselves to do this.  We got to see the d├ębut of the Death Chicken (Okete-san), which killed the Wraith.  No joke.  Talk about a return on the rice investment.  Mark has also embraced my mantra of "your opponent needs success level 8 to have a chance of one-shotting a buto or oni" so will usually roll attack dice even if his buto is down to a single dice.  And it's really brutal.  We got to see Mo Ises (Mo Eee-say?) hit Tautola for 7 damage from a single attack, only to get utterly smashed by the buto's return attack.  So yes, Tautola was hurt, but Mo Ises was just plain dead.  This is how I envision oni should be played.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wave 19 Available

Wave 19 is now available for pre-order, and all the cards are available for viewing.  Pretty sure Cult got the most out of the wave with Tenbatsu and the Penanggalan.  For the Ito, Satsuki is finally released to the general public (after being in playtesting *forever*).  She's slightly better than her playtest version - she doesn't just remove a poison token and cause damage, she causes the remaining ones to 'stack up' as if it were the end phase - so you often get a double dose of poison.  Certainly the potential to make poison bombing someone a lot more powerful.  My main problem is that I have so few targets to hit with a poison bomb in most games, but this may have more to do with my usual opponent playing Cult and almost everything being soulless.

Playing my Ito much more aggressively seems to be working out, I've started deploying and moving my models so that I'm nearly always gunning for the enemy zone/objectives very early on - why go for a mid or close objective when I get quite easily get all the way across the board?  It forces my opponents to deploy in a defensive manner and I can usually just wander around the rest of the board at my leisure.  I wonder if this is how Temple is meant to be played too, I'll have to get my Temple models back out and spruced up for some testing.

Jim has taken the plunge for the Savage Wave (saving me the trouble) so it will be interesting to see how that works out.  It's a bit of a non-traditional list of purchases though, it's more of a Yusha style warband rather than a bunch of fighting oni like Bobata and Zuba.  I really want to see what normal kaihei hounds do, it feels a like you're missing out on something when you take Yusha simply because he can't bring along his pack of kaihei yet.

All my terrain for my next board has arrived, I'm planning something a little more urban this time, with plenty of bamboo too.  The gorintos from Master Crafted are working out really nicely, I'm probably going to order a couple more batches to make some 'walls'.  The bamboo from ebay is rather flimsy, but I think that's the not quite the right word to describe it.  They don't look bad, they aren't going to break, but they're very bendy and flexible, I was expecting something a little tougher at holding it's shape.  However, given how often my terrain gets nudged and bumped, I think the plastic bamboo will hold up really well over time.  I just need to figure out how much I'm going to use and in what sort of formations.

I've got quite a lot of terrain just lying around that hasn't been painted/built/based, so I'm spending this week doing all that sort of thing.  So far I have a good gorinto formation, and I just finished an old 50mm base that I'd planned to stick a warjack from Warmachine on ages ago.  I instead turned it into a 50mm objective for Botoku, or just a generic 50mm piece of scenery.  I've also got a bajillion barrels, sacks of grain, giant water barrels, so there's a lot to keep me occupied this week.  Once I'm finished I'll be a happy chappy however, as a good board really sells the game.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Savage Beatings

Well all that experimenting hasn't been for nothing, though you honestly couldn't tell with tonight's game as Martin left Zuba hugely exposed at the end of turn 1, and compounded his error immediately at the start of turn 2, which meant my first three activations were "kill Zuba" and Kenzo did just that (two success level 6 attacks will do that).  It was a short, short game.

I'm starting to adopt a 'tri-core line up' in my lists, it feels like a very MOBA thing to do actually.  I bring Kenzo, Naoko, and Saburo, then design my list around that.  If I can't bring Saburo, I bring along Chiyo now because I'm finding her ability to use leap undeniably useful.  I do like Yatsumata, but find her limited against targets with decent amounts of armour or toughness; whereas with Kenzo you just activate powerful attack.  "But what about Masunagi/Takeji?" you may ask.  I like moving around the board as much as possible, being stuck in a straight fight means I'm not working on scenarios, and having models that are faster than my opponent is a big deal.  So is having steady now that I think about it.  That means if the model isn't a hebi or has boostable movement, I'm probably not interested in it.  That and I didn't get into the Ito Clan for the 'normal' people, I got into it for the crazy snake cult!

Speaking about Zuba and the Savage Wave, I'm vaguely concerned about how people play the oni.  When Ricki first started playing he was amazingly aggressive with his oni, they were smushing things left and right - I haven't played Ricki but I'd like to think he continues to play this way.  Martin plays his oni like they're the most fragile eggshells ever created that need to be cherished and unharmed (this last game notwithstanding).  Personally I think that oni should be played as near suicidal models, you need to have a success level 8 hit to have a chance to one-shot an oni.  So yes, you just did a heap of damage to that oni that didn't roll defence dice, but you're just flat out dead if the oni hits back.  Oh, and it ate your soul to heal up a bit.  My opinion is that if the oni survives a game on 1 health but killed at least one model, it's doing it's job.  They should be able to sustain quite a lot of combat.  Also why don't I see more of Bobata?!  Holy crap he's baller levels of awesome.  Except for his moobs.

That's not to say you should be stupid with your oni, in that last game Martin was aggressive with Zuba, he just made some terrible, terrible choices as to where he was going to leave Zuba standing, and when to activate Zuba... ok, let's just say Martin had an off day.  I think Tenbatsu suits Martin's playstyle much better than Zuba - I don't think I've ever seen Martin use Zuba's slam, and Martin tends to try for a straight up fight.  I think Tenbatsu will be easier to navigate through his screening bakemono and being a samurai, he's a pretty damn good fighter.  It's very tempting to get some Savage Wave to see if I can get some different results.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Spreads Like Butter

Not had a good time in Bushido recently, but I'm trying new things out, and I don't think I play enough zone control scenarios.  I did lose to Jim rather badly at G3 a week ago because all my models got bogged down fighting in a zone rather needlessly, by the time I realised that I needed to spread out, and quickly, Jim had already accrued a large scenario point lead.  But seeing the reaction to me spreading out was very interesting.  I've come to see that I'm playing far too conservatively with my models, when I should just be gunning for the scenario objectives and trying to get deeper into the enemy part of the board.

Our last game on Friday was stupendously close, I should have won it, but I got greedy (again).  The game ended 2-1 (Jim-Me) with Jim scoring 14 scenario points, and me scoring 13.  After the game I realised there were three different things I could have done to secure my scenario victory, and they're all things I'll definitely keep in mind for future games: on turn 4 I could have prayed twice at my own objective so that it would have been removed after I scored, then Jim would not have been able to reach it with Nezumi-kun; I could have moved Nezumi-kun to a board edge while I had a control token on him, so he could not have reached my objective; I could have moved a Temple Bushi back to my objective and just defended it.

I did get to use the latest playtest model for the Ito Clan, and I'm very impressed with her.  So far she's certainly opened up my scenario options and ability to get further down the board unhindered.  I've been using Yatsumata a bit more and I'm coming to see Yatsumata really turns into the rock the rest of my list can revolve around.  She sits next to an objective or in a scenario zone, and there's not a lot anyone can do about her.  I'm still a bit on the fence over whether I like her or Kenzo more - I feel I get more out of Kenzo, but she does have indomitable and causes fear, so can sometimes ignore the odd model that wants to attack her, whereas Kenzo just keeps getting piled on by 'chaff' models.  Also, Yatsumata is an awesome model now that I've gotten off my arse and painted her...

There have been some interesting threads on the forums, particularly Kabocha's painted models thread, where he showed some pictures of a really nice gorinto surrounded by bamboo, and told everyone where to find such wonders: ebay for the bamboo, and for the gorinto.  I have now ordered both, and some random jungle plants.

Quite happy with the rate I'm painting at the moment, I'm finishing a miniature every time I take the time to get painting, there's only 5 miniatures for the Ito Clan that I have left to do.  They're not done to the standards that my Trollbloods were done to, but all I'm really after is a decent paint job and a fully painted faction.  Bushido is a game that looks amazing with good terrain and fully painted warbands.  Speaking of which, I should start work on my next board!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Thematic Differences

To see Karouma Tenbatsu's card follow the link:

So Karouma Tenbatsu's concept and Savage Wave card have both been unveiled.  There's a good deal of discussion as to how he fits into a Savage Wave list - is he a suitable replacement for an oni?  What models work well with him?  Actually... no one, he just goes off killing everything on his own, fill up the rest of your list with stuff that can either screen him or do its own thing.  He's an interesting samurai to be sure, but I don't expect him to dramatically shake up existing list styles.  I think Karouma is most likely going to take the spot where people would normally take an oni like Bobata or Zuba.

Strangely enough the latest preview showed Satsuki again, she's must be just that good.  I think the Savage Wave are missing their preview, so I think their release is going to be the bakemono boomers, but I can't be sure. The boomers are the only remaining concept art that has been shown but not assigned a wave (that I know of).

In case you missed it, GCT are doing a special card competition.  I've only submitted one card that would let an Ito Clan acolyte temporarily become a shisai until the end of the turn - it's designed to allow players to bring along Kazuhiko (and future acolytes) a little more if they want to use a single shisai like Ayako on her own.  If you ever had some crazy ideas for special cards, now is the time to submit them.  Entries close at the end of the month.

I'm still working out how a Theme card would work.  So I restrict the model choices (let's say... no samurai for Ito Clan) but what bonuses does that translate into?  Once per game Ki feat?  Early movement?  Rice cost reduction?  Free Shrine to Orochi?  You want to make the theme force cool and interesting (like Bad Seeds in Warmachine, now that was an amazing theme force) but equal to a normal list at best.

So let's look at a Temple of Orochi style theme:

Can include models of the following types:

So that removes all the samurai and the envoy, but there's still a couple of fighting choices.  Now do we go with tier benefits like Warmachine/Hordes, or now that I've placed the restrictions do I immediately start to apply the benefits?

So let's say there's 3 tiers per theme:
Tier 1: you followed the general list build, good for you, have a small bonus of some kind.
Tier 2: ok, the theme made you pick a less than optimal choice here.  The bonus should make it worth it.
Tier 3: you went off the deep end, how on earth do you actually expect to win any games with a list like this?  Bonus should be pretty good.

If there's no tier system, then it's just basically tier 1 there, you take the models, you get a bonus, woohoo.  We could really use some illumination this subject (hint hint to the reader in Malaysia).

edit: It has occurred to me that themes could use a branching system rather than a tier system (think Diablo style skill trees sort of thing).  So if you take 3 shisai, you get a bonus, if you take Chiyo, you get a bonus, but they're not dependent on each other, there's no need to meet the requirements of a previous tier.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wave 19 Concept Art

Various - Kurouma Tenbatsu
Prefecture of Ryu - Akio Takashi
Temple of Ro-Kan - Ashinaga Tenaga
Cult of Yurei - Penangglan
Ito Clan - Satsuki
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Hanami, Queen of Flowers

Friday, 27 June 2014

Wave 18 Concept Art

Various - Golden Sentinel
Temple of Ro-Kan - Seiji
Cult of Yurei - Tadao
Savage Wave - Kaihei Alpha
Ito Clan - Saburo
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Oda & Tautolu

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wave 17 Concept Art

Prefecture of Ryu - Isamu, Goshi Gunso
Temple of Ro-Kan - Hisao
Cult of Yurei - Waku, the Soul Collector
Savage Wave - Yusha
Ito Clan - Yatsumata
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Saki, Rose of Jima

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wave 16 Concept Art

Various - Yukio Koshimori
Temple of Ro-Kan - Tsutsumi
Cult of Yurei - Kusatta Kairai
Savage Wave - Tribal Brute
Ito Clan - Hitoshi
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Kyoaku-Han
Silvermoon Trade Syndicate - Old Zo

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Roots of Woot

Alas, my opponent cancelled on me yesterday so I didn't get to try out Saburo.  Quite excited by Satsuki coming out for the Ito Clan next wave, the nerf to Hypnotic Gaze really hurts Ayako so a replacement is valuable right now.  Ayako's good, she's just not 10 rice good.  Another shisai at Sakura's rice cost would be very handy to have in the list and free up some much needed rice.

I'm trying to make Ito Clan lists that don't use Naoko.  She's an amazing profile to have in any list, and incredibly threatening, but being able to choose my activation order is a major boon and not telegraphing the first part of my turn to my opponent is rather handy.  To make up for her loss though, I'm trying to bring in additional tricks with my special cards - I think a cheap and dirty 1 rice Dark Secrets might be in order.

Going back to Temple of Ro-Kan however, Joey-Boy's control list does look very tempting to try out.  I don't have Seiji at the moment, and the list is lacking the 'triple core' of good fighters that most Temple lists revolve around.  There are a few changes I'd make but the basic core of Seiji, Ekusa, Suchiro, would remain the same.  Being able to churn out 5 Held markers every turn with Seiji is pretty damn impressive.  It's a little vulnerable as it uses a very predictable activation order (Ekusa, then Seiji) which a canny opponent can exploit, and Seiji can be neutralised simply by getting him in melee a couple of times.

I was thinking about what sort of model I'd like to create for Bushido (ahahaha), I was thinking maybe a shisai that summons snake spirits (up to 3 snake spirits, costing 1 ki each?) that then have to walk over to enemy models and put Held markers on them.  She'd look something like this:

Random Name
7 rice (maybe 8)
MS 2, RS 0, Move 4, Ki 2/8
Blood of Orochi (1), Command (Spirit Snake/2), Immunity Poison, Channel (6)
-1 Melee Strength
"Orochi's Children" - 1 Ki, melee exclusion, active
Place an exhausted snake kami within 2" of this model.

"Biting Serpents" - 2 Ki, melee exclusion, pulse(6), simple action
Place a poison (1) token on all Held enemy models in the pulse.

Snake Spirit (3 wound tracks on card)
MS 1, RS 0, Move 4, Ki 0/1
No melee weapon.
Defensive, Kami, Insignificant, Intangible, Small, Soulless, Steady
Unique Effects
When this model is the Active model and in base to base with an enemy model, this model's Controller may remove this model and place a Held token an enemy model in base to base.

Now I just need some GCT staff to have a look at that and decide she's awesome too.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Good Waves

It's been yet another goodly while since I last did an update to the blog.  Unfortunately work, rock climbing, and hunting for my first property takes up an inordinate amount of my time.  I'm trying to make some time to play Bushido however, so I can get back into the swing of things.

On the plus side, I have the latest Ito Clan releases, and got some more Temple goodies.  I'm quite excited by Saburo for the Ito Clan, I think he's going to bring a new element into my Ito Clan lists that wasn't there before.  The faction seems to be getting more built-in Feint recently with Yatsumata and Saburo, which is really good for when I get to hit models that are only rolling a couple of defence dice.  I'm still not sold on Yatsumata over Kenzo at the moment, mainly because Kenzo with enough Ki is more flexible than Yatsumata - the Side-Step Defence combined with First Strike makes him very powerful, and he can use Do-Kote when I believe I need the Feint.

I just tried out Temple again for my first game back, and it's really weird having to worry about activation orders because someone could attack first.  With the Ito Clan I just fire up Asp/Cobra Strike and sort out that rubbish as needed.  I lost 1-0 on scenario (Reikan?) because Kenko got bogged down by hordes of ashigaru whilst Hagane sneaked past (and avoided 2 Pungi Pit Traps and 2 Tsunami's from Riku).  The end of the game was pretty epic as Riku killed Hagane with a Falcon Punch(!) and set her on fire using Aiko's Blessing token, then Kenko (my VIM) died horribly to Madoka and box cars.  If Kenko had actually defended himself against the gimpy 2 MS ashigaru, I'd have won 2-1, but I rolled stupendously well against Hagane, so I can't fault Dave at all.

The main thing I like about Temple are the kami, they're incredibly flexible support figures - especially the air kami.  The single air kami prevented Minuro from firing at all after his first shot by constantly turning him around until the earth kami arrived and killed the stupid arquebuser.  The earth kami is really damn good if someone doesn't deal with it before it can regenerate each turn.  I'm also a fan of how many models with slam attack the Temple seem to have going.  If the scenario had pretty much been any other type of scenario, I think Dave would have really struggled to get any scenario points as I was constantly pushing models with Riku's Tsunami and slamming models around.  I'm really interested to see how Seiji works out as a slightly more reliable Riku.

Next week I'm playing Ricky and his Savage Wave, I'm currently undecided as to whether I should play Temple or Ito against him.  I think I'll just pick closer to the day though, while I like Temple in theory, I'm finding the Ito is definitely more my thing with the sneaking and the stabbing and the poisoning.

Friday, 25 April 2014

One Corner at a Time

Well, this post has been sitting in the draft box for a while...  There may be several edits throughout the post as I wrote the original draft at least a week ago.

Wave 17 has been revealed in all its glory, and it's a rather impressive wave.  At first glance I felt the Ito Clan came out the weakest, which isn't saying much as everyone got something pretty awesome.  The big winners were Temple and Savage Wave I feel, with Temple gaining chain lightning and mass condition removal, and Savage Wave getting a "support" oni - Yusha may have support Ki feats I wouldn't be afraid to get him involved in a fight, he's still a full-blooded oni.

Yatsumata had some minor changes from playtest - she became a 40mm base... and that's about it.  My only playtest experience with her was against Savage Wave and all she did was eat bakemono all game, it was a bit uninspiring.  Edit: in reality she just arrived with a 50mm base, and we recently confirmed she is supposed to be on a 50mm base.  So she's very fast and likes getting shot...  I feel Yatsumata occupies a similar role to Kenzo as a hit and run specialist, she is very much like Kenzo with half his Ki feats or specials active all the time.  At the moment I still prefer Kenzo after a couple of games with Yatsumata, but those were against Cult, so I'll have to try her out against a few other factions to really get a feel for her.

Recently, I tried out a rather disgusting combo to gain a turn 1 scenario advantage and was so impressed with it that I think I'm going to save it as a pocket strategy for a tournament of some sort (sorry guys).  My opponent (Jim) was less impressed (much to my glee) but it probably marks a turning point in my battle against Cult's mass of forward deploying models.  I might play a couple more games with the list to see how it works out against other factions, but if it works out as planned, then I think I'll shelf it for a while; it may be successful, but it isn't that much fun to play against.  Though, if someone else on the Ito Clan forums comes up with the list on the Lists thread, I'll reveal my list and the tactics behind it.

Now I just need to sit down and think of some posts to write that aren't Ito-centric...

Monday, 7 April 2014

The Weight of Paper

Well my first Bushido tournament turned out a total bust.  Somewhat gutting, and I'm quite annoyed at the player base for it, but I can't force people to play.  That's a day and a half wasted, and fuel to get to Stirling and back.  Not to mention asking Steve at Common Ground Games to open early so we'd be able to start at 11am promptly.  I don't mind wasting my time, but wasting someone else's time really galls me.

So... the next tournament is on the 17th of May, at Highlander Games in Dundee.  I'm not sure what the numbers in Dundee are, but I would expect about 8-10 players total, which isn't bad for a game that's just starting to get its feet up here.  If there's more I'll be pleasantly surprised.  I do need to sort out my quick reference sheets, as I discovered a typo, but I think everything else I sorted out for today can be reused for the Dundee tournament.  I'm trying to sort out some extra goodies for the top 3 places with the extra time too.

Wave 16 is now available for pre-order, and I've ordered Yatsumata for the Ito Clan, and another Itsunagi.  I'm really unhappy with how my Itsunagi turned out, and now that I've done more painting in the last six months than I did before my first Itsunagi, I think I can do a lot better.  I just noticed Yatsumata is listed as a 40mm base model... so it's smaller than it was in playtest (I think).  I wonder what else has changed...  I'm certainly going to push it up the painting schedule and try it out in place of Kenzo.

I'm going to push to get more painting done this week, I'm falling further and further behind with the Ito Clan models, so it's time to churn out 2-3 at a minimum to prevent unpainted models creeping into my lists.  First up will be Hitoshi since he's in just about all my lists (as I can't have a 3rd Temple Bushi and I don't want to use Akimoto), followed by Satoshi since the poor samurai has been languishing away not even close to painted for so long.  After that we'll see where my fancy takes me, but I hope to get the faction fully painted by the end of the month if all goes well.

Wednesday/Friday/Saturday: Hitoshi + Satoshi
Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Kaihime + Yatsumata
Saturday/Sunday: Yatsumata (if not finished) + Jade Mamba Guard
Monday Wednesday/Friday: Masunagi + Yukio

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Orders of Magnitude

Satoshi was pulled out of the miniatures case at last (he was getting a good layer of dust) and I got to test him out with an Elixir of Vigor.  So far it works out pretty well, getting extra attacks out of models like Takeji (CLEAVE!) and the other ashigaru does mean you simply out-activate a lot of opponents.  It does however determine your activation order quite severely: to get the most effect out of Battle Stations/Order, 3 ashigaru must have activated, then Sakura must activate before Satoshi to give him some extra Ki, and finally Satoshi activates to give the order.  Of course you can move some things around, but that's the basic formula.  If something screws with Satoshi (such as a Ki feat like "Instill Wrath" or "Hypnotic Gaze") then it all falls apart.

Martial Superiority

Ito Masunagi
+ Vial of Raijin's Breath
+ Elixir of Vigor
Jade Mamba Guard
Temple Bushi

I did find that I'm not such a great fan of the Jade Mamba Guard simply because Masunagi out-paces her once he uses the Vial of Raijin's Breath - that and I really like Asp Strike and the tactical flexibility that Temple Bushi have.  I'd probably drop her in favour of another Temple Bushi (or even Chiyo) and take Orochi's Shadow for some extra Blood of Orochi when I think I need it.  On turn 1, Sakura needs to give Satoshi 2 Ki or else he can't use the Elixir of Vigor AND use his Order trait to get the ashigaru extra activations.  I'd like to get a little more Blood of Orochi into the list, but that would involve using an unreleased profile (I expect he'll be in wave 18).  Of course I could swap out Masunagi for Kenzo, but I already use Kenzo in my favourite list, I'd like to use the other models in the faction every now and then.

So it's an interesting list, and one that works very well for turn 1 scenario pushes, but it has two very identifiable weak points - Satoshi to disrupt the Order, or Sakura to disrupt the flow of Ki to Satoshi.  If you can keep those 2 safe, then it's a pretty good list.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


So I left my board on top of my jeep as I drove away from G3 last night.  I'm a genius.  Luckily I recovered the board and it's surprisingly undamaged (probably because I was only driving at about 15 mph when it fell off the roof).  It just needs some repairs around the edges that I was going to do anyway as it got chipped against a door frame about a fortnight ago.  I just need to do more repairs.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how durable the board was.

Besides my board though, I got to play against Colin and his Temple; me with my dual-shisai debuff spamming list, against LEJ's Masters list since Colin is a gimp and netdecks!  The scenario was the Envoy, Colin chose Sakura and I chose his Rice Farmer as the VIMs, but we called it towards the end of turn 3 as he lost both kami and Suchiro in a single turn balanced against my single dead Temple Bushi.  I did get to spread a massive amount of blinds, stuns, and poisons all over his key models so Colin was hesitant to bring his fighting models forwards at the risk of them getting Falcon Punched by Kenzo.  I still think the quick 1 Ki "Psychic Venom" spam is worth every penny, and the two shisai did a LOT of heavy lifting in this game (not to knock back Naoko's contribution either, she was a star).

There's a weird stressing point I can see in Temple when I'm playing against them, and it's usually when a lot of different models are taking damage - quite often through the sheer amount of poison I'm throwing out.  I don't tend to stack them all on one target, but spread them across as much of the enemy warband as possible.  Aiko spends all her time trying to shore up the damage, so her Prayer tokens aren't being used to manoeuvre around or do more damage, they're only being used to heal damaged models.  Essentially I start to seize the initiative simply because there's too many debuffs on the table and most Temple lists starts to collapse as the internal synergy starts to get disrupted.

Very happy to have a game where my shisai can see enemy models on turn 1, though it didn't really come into play in this game since it was a corner deployment scenario, so the distance between warbands seems much bigger.  Distinct rise in their performance compared to previous games anyway.  Both shisai were doing things with their activations rather than just generating Ki and moving it around.  No game pencilled in next week just yet, but I'll see what I can do and who else wants to play against the crazy amount of debuff.

Oh yes, Suchiro rather ironically suffered the Way of the Exploding Fist from Kenzo and my massive SL2 damage roll (4 damage, 1x Poison 2 token) to instagib the monk at the end of the turn.  So satisfying.  So far 2-1 with the dual-shisai.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Six Gates, No Pylon

Well Greeny has admitted defeat in the shisai argument, perhaps leaving me as the last man standing as dual shisai proponent.  In all honesty, I do feel they are overcosted, they're both about 1 rice too expensive.  Ayako is probably 1.5 rice too expensive, you can compare her to the Cult's Taka at 8 rice, who can summon Wrath and has a really powerful offensive Ki feat debuff.  Even overcosted however, I do get a lot of use out of them, and I really baulk at the idea other people don't get similar results.  Oh, the things I could get with 2 more rice in the list...

I had two games using my newly revamped shisai/debuff list over the weekend against Jim's Cult of Yurei, and I don't feel I got as much use out of the shisai as I could have done, as we played Ninki (which I won on turn 6, and in which only 1 model died (Taka)) and Botoku (in which I got humped simply because Cult can flood the zone so much faster than I can).

In Ninki, Sakura sat at an objective and prayed for half the game, then rotated the objective back to Friendly, Ayako had to do all the legwork by herself.  On turn 6 I used Naoko to "Slither" forward and then killed Taka, preventing Jim turning an objective back, and so I ended up scoring the final available VP.  Until then though, no models died.  Everyone's defence dice were crazy, and quite frankly, trying to hit either Nezumi is an exercise in frustration.

In Botoku something similar happened, and I pretty much lost on scenario as soon as the game started, but I think I could have been a lot more aggressive with my shisai if I'd planned how to move my models a little better: I managed to block off a good chunk of my own movement avenues by having Kenzo and Naoko too close together so all my small based models couldn't get past them and my shisai couldn't see anything that didn't have Camouflage.  I'm getting really tired of seeing Breath of Yurei in every game too.

So, less than optimal results in my last two games, but the Cult of Yurei are probably the faction I have the hardest time with at the moment - between Breath of Yurei, Camouflage, and Souless, my poor shisai are just Ki batteries for a while, yet I get better results than I do using fighting lists.  Now to pencil in more games against other factions, right after the seemingly endless demo games I'm running.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Artosis Pylon

"When ahead, get further ahead." - Artosis

My blog recently had a rather unusual spike in traffic, which I would normally attribute to an advertising bot, but looking at it people actually come visit from the Bushido forums.  So... hi!  I hope there's actually something useful in here that you guys find worth reading.

The Ito Clan forums seem to be having the revelation that early scenario play is important and some people are trying to gravitate away from straight up face-punching lists.  Face-punching lists have always been the least interesting lists for me to play but I do wonder at how other people have been playing scenarios.  Over here most games tend to be low-scoring (1-0 or 2-0 at most) as everyone tries to hotly contest the scenarios straight away.  When we first started, some people would consider letting their opponent score and try to conserve their efforts for later scoring, but we quickly found many of the scenarios have a snowball effect: once you're in the lead, you just build on that lead, and there's very little your opponent can do about it.  Ryodo is probably the main culprit of this as the scenario points do not reset at any time, but certain 'Idols' variants suffer the same problem.  So people quickly learned to rush into the zones Warmachine/Hordes style, and contest them like there's no tomorrow, anything less and you end up playing from behind.

Here's some simple math for reaching middle objectives: a small base model needs to move 10" and a little bit, medium base models need to move just under 10", and large base models only need to move a tiny fraction over 9.25".  If you have to run to get these distances, figure out if your opponent will arrive at the centre line able to fight or not, as if you had to run and are now exhausted, you're already down 2 dice and getting into a fight will probably not be a good idea.  This most often comes up against forward deploying factions such as Temple or Cult.  If you think you can survive quite adequately, just get your models up there.  There are other methods to help avoid losing the early game but going into every possible option would take more time and text than I'm willing to put in just now, instead I'll talk about the Ito Clan for now as that is my main faction.

As an Ito Clan player who loves his shisai, I usually try figure out what the lynchpin of my opponent's list is for early scoring and hit them with Ayako's "Hypnotic Gaze".  It's won me games simply because the key model would be out of position on turn 2.  Of course, it does fail, but the reward for success shouldn't be underestimated.  However, crafty opponents bring things like Darkness and Yurei's Breath which means I can't target anything on turn 1, in which case I bring all the Temple Bushi I can squeeze into a list - I take them simply because they have movement boosts and I find them to be more flexible than models like the Jade Mamba Guard.  By giving them some Ki (3 Ki to one Bushi, 1 to the other) I can quite comfortably boost my movement high enough to penetrate quite deeply into enemy territory.  Once again, be aware of having run and being exhausted at the same time while still being in the opponent's threat ranges.  There's no point contesting your opponent if they're just going to flat out kill your over-extended models.

A real dynamic duo of the Ito Clan is Kenzo and Naoko.  Both come on medium bases, and have a base move speed of 5, meaning they can walk twice and quite comfortably reach objectives on the centre line.  Kenzo is one of the best all-rounder models in the game, and Naoko, while Impetuous (sadface), brings copious amounts of Blind and a high level of Fear.  Between the two of them, they should be able to either reach an objective first, or get enemy models into their zone of control so that no scenario actions can be taken.  Both are fairly intimidating to enter melee with, one having First Strike and good melee skill, the other one having Fear 5 - even better is that they both have Side Step Defence so can contest more of the scenario zones/objectives.  When Yatsumata arrives, it presents an additional early option with its high move speed, large base, and fearsome combat abilities.

If you want to go down the more face-punching style list with lots of ashigaru and try to get the early scenario lead, then Sakura combined with Satoshi provide some very powerful options.  MattT on the Ito Clan forums tried this type of list, and I've tried it several times, I found that it has a great turn 1, and then starts to fall apart quickly after that.  His results indicate a similiar result though he was playing Reikan (a VIM scenario).  It's worth noting that all my testing was prior to the Special Cards, so I'm willing to give it another ago to see how it works out with those - Satoshi pretty much requires an Elixir of Vigor so that he can use his Order on turn 1 and then still be relevant on turn 2 rather than still on your board edge, miles away from the ashigaru he wants to help out.

This post is already quite lengthy, so I'll end it here for now and bring up more general scenario techniques in the next post (and hopefully a battle report if there's time).

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

More Like Beige Secrets

I'm really quite enjoying my Temple of Ro-kan at the moment, and I've ordered a few more models to help fill in the gaps in my lists.  I really want to try out double Fire Kami so I can just obliterate models like Taka from miles away (dice willing).  However, we'll have to see how that works out, there are still some other things I'm wanting to try out first - such as Riku, Suchiro, and Kenko all in one list.  I saw LEJ's Masters winning list and it's very well rounded, it certainly made me think a lot harder about scenarios and how to get the early scenario points in.

To that end I looked at my Ito Clan force where I sacrificed a model (dropping down to 6 models at 50 rice) to get some special cards.  However, the Special Cards aren't quite the pay out I hoped to get with the Ito Clan: let's use Dark Secrets as an example, it has the power to win games in the right circumstances but it can be simply nullified through a bad dice roll.  When it works, it effectively gives a 4 activation swing - my opponent loses 2, I gain 2.  However, if I had to ditch a model to get it, I've lost 8 activations total in a 6 turn game - my model activates twice a turn for 6 turns, and that's assuming the Dark Secrets card worked and wasn't resisted.  Unless the game is over by turn 2 then I was better off with the extra model.  So it's back to making 7 model lists and seeing if I have any points left over.

I very much enjoy my shisai/debuff list, it is by far the list I like the most.  I've tried out a large variation of Ito Clan lists now, and that is the one that just sticks with me.  I'm tempted to drop Chiyo down to a normal Temple Bushi and take Orochi's Shadow (1 rice version) so I can try to drop a massive poison bomb on a key enemy model early in the game in an effort to kill them without any additional effort on my part, or just drop her down to a Temple Bushi and upgrade Kazuhiko to Hitoshi so I have a good number of MS 3 models.  Hmmm, that may be the next list I try out, on turn 1 I can have just about everyone at move 5 with a tiny bit of channeling, and throw out some minor poisons while I'm at it.  I should really get Hitoshi painted up so that this variation of my shisai/debuff list will be fully painted too.

Shisai/Debuff List v1.2b:

Ito Ayako
Ito Kenzo
Temple Bushi
Temple Bushi