AAR- CSW’s First game of Bushido
I have been enamored with Bushido, the East-Asian inspired fantasy skirmish game, since Tim and I demoed it at Gencon last year. We each picked up faction starter packs, and I even got around to painting mine in January. We never made the time to play, though. While at Adepticon, we got a chance to visit with Gordon and Alasdair, 2 of the game's creators, I got excited again. This time I actually got a rule book, and I picked up some more models, including a 2nd faction starter. I promised them I would get a game in and blog about it.
Another CSW member, Jon is a huge fan of the aesthetic, and has had a fully painted factions starter and a good amount of thematically appropriate terrain. He and I decided to sit down and learn how to play the game.
We set up a delightful winter village. Because we were focused on learning the mechanics, we decided to have a simple starter box v. starter box brawl. To simplify the terrain, we said that the river was frozen over, and could only be walked on.
My Prefecture of Ryu models were the town's guardians.
Jon's Ito Clan models were there to raid the villages winter food stores.
Bushido is an interesting rule set. On the face, it is a simple I GO- YOU GO skirmish game. There are simple and complex actions. Each model has a 3 level "rested" rating from rested to exhausted. All models start each turn as rested. Simple actions alter your rested rating one level, and complex actions make you exhausted. The turn goes until all models have been exhausted. It gets a little more complicated when you consider that if an opposing model charges into your base to make a melee attack, the ensuing melee will count as a simple action for all participants. If you are already exhausted, you will have a penalty in combat. A big part of the strategy is deciding when you should take it slow to prepare for the enemy, or if you should charge in for an attack bonus, risking exhaustion.
Each model has a number of special rules and traits that make them unique. These range from the ability to poison your opponents to generating an "aura of peace", to keep your enemies from being able to attack. These abilities cost "Ki", a resource that you earn at the start of each turn.
Combat in Bushido is interesting. Each model has a melee stat that determines the number of dice you will roll in combat. However, in this dice pool, you can secretly decide which dice represent attack, and defense. In the above image, my ashigaru is attacking the snake headed man. She knew he was not that strong in melee, so she chose to roll all three of her dice as attack dice. The snake man had a melee stat of 2, and rolled 1 die for the attack, and 1 for defense. You use different colored dice for this. You can also remove dice from your dice pool to pay for certain special attacks or defenses. After the roll, 1s are failures and tossed out. Then, you take the highest die as your score. Up to 2 other non 1 dice will add 1 to the highest number. If you roll a 6, each additional 6 gives you a +2 to your total. Example, The ashigaru rolled her 3 dice and got 5, 4, 2. This would equal a result of 7. You would compare this to your opponent's defense result, and the difference tells you your level of success. Then, you roll 2 dice as a damage roll. There is a table to compare your damage result to the level of success to determine how many wounds the opponent takes. At this point, your opponent (if they are still alive!) gets to add up her attack successes and compare it to your defense roll, and roll damage if necessary. It sounds complicated, but in practice, it felt very smooth after the first couple of combats.
Sorry for this blurry pic, but I felt it was too cool to leave out. Facing matters in Bushido. In addition, each model has a zone of control. This extends 1 inch out from the base of the model in the 180 degree front arc. If you are moving, and your cross into an opponent's zone of control, you have to alter your move to head toward that model. This did not come into play in our game, but if you are playing an objective based scenario, You could use your model's zone of control to help block and defend objectives. In addition, if you start a move out of a model's line of sight, and end in base to base contact in the enemy's rear arc, that model becomes surprised, and you get a combat bonus. There is a lot of neat strategy in this game!
Here, My leader samurai is assisting the ashigaru in killing the snake-head man. He used a powerful attack to cause 10 points of damage.
This tall man had the ability to command the other ashigaru soldiers to move and attack during his turn. He used this ability to soften this enemy up with ranged attacks before charging in to attack.
We had to cut our game short after the end of turn 3. It was a bloody battle. I had 3 models left, and 2 of them were dying slowly from poison. Jon had 2 models left. We decided to call it a tie.
We really enjoyed the game. The first turn started a bit slow as we planned for future turns, but by the end of the game, we were pulling off crazy martial art combos and swordplay. It was a fantastic experience. Jon and I are both looking forward to playing it again soon. In fact, I assembled my 2nd faction (including a monk riding a giant turtle) this afternoon.
Look for more on CSW's adventures in Bushido in the near future!