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.

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