Test of Honor at TMX
While at TMX, I saw an empty table, so I decided to set up a nice little Test of Honor display board with the hopes of getting some games in. I ended up running a handful of demos. What follows are some pictures, and thoughts on the game from Chris:
The demo I ran was the first simple scenario that comes in the box set. Each side has one samurai, 2 archers, and a stand of 3 spearmen. We were playing on a 2x2 table, which is a little smaller than the standard 3x3 size.
I was really looking forward to trying out a few demos for games at TMX, but somehow a game here or there ran long, time became fleeting, and the first day of the event was about to come to a close. Josh offered up getting in a quick game of Test of Honor near the end of the event to show me some fundamentals. After spending some time painting those little dudes, I jumped at the chance to see what the actual game was like but questioned how quickly we could actually manage an explanation and game. To my surprise, very quickly! The game skips a somewhat common 'roll to activate' mechanism for a token drawing phase to see which unit type can activate and passes back and forth between players. This seems very straight forward, and reminds me a bit of Warlord's other games or Richard Borg's Command & Colors system of drawing cards to see which position may move units. As a mechanism, it felt safe, and adds an element of risk as well as fog of war. Units failing morale/defensive rolls may get blood drop cards, which makes them easier to hit. Stat numbers represent quantity of custom face dice rolled to pass tests.
Overall, at it's core it seems like a very simple system to get in to and play.
I do believe where the depth lies is in the cardplay and campaign system however. We briefly looked over some of the more advanced rules utilizing different card types. There seemed to be a lot of "dishonorable" surprises and last-chance perks for units in the deck, and the game encourages mission continuity to build up your army through successful scenarios.
Samurai seem like very powerful units running around, slicing and dicing units in their way, which is always cool. Our demo abruptly ended after a few volleys of archery because my samurai ran in and managed to quickly dismember Josh's with a very lucky roll.
As a simple skirmish game, it does give me the vibe of a quick, pick up and go game which would fit easily in to demo events, which is quite a nice perk. There aren't any crazy charts to reference, and most gamers will be comfortable with the iconography and gameplay systems. I would like to explore the more complex systems within at some point, to really see where this game veers from similar territory and stands on it's own.
We are looking forward to playing more Test of Honor very soon.