Building out from the two player starter set


While many of you were asleep, the Bakemono over at GCT have been hard at work crafting multiple, new and improved gaming experiences for you, Dear Gamer. We've got new rulebooks, miniatures, cards, starter sets, two-player starter sets, and a whole lot more that I cannot say anything about lest I be punished for my indiscretions. But rest assured, there are good times ahead!

A question we are often asked at shows - and on the various forums - is, 'how does each faction play?' If I'm on the booth, I usually find out what they are currently playing and try to draw a comparison to that. It's never an easy answer as the question itself is a, 'how long is a piece of string?'  sort of question and the answers usually do all parties involved a disservice.

Why do people get into Bushido the Game in the first place? There is a multitude of answers but what I hear from the majority of players, time and again, is that you love how unique the game is and that there isn't anything out there like it. You're right; there's not, that's why answering that specific question is nigh impossible. So, with that in mind, I've decided to put a nail through it once and for all. I'm going to interview, interrogate, and question those in the know to get (hopefully) a sort-of, kind-of, possibly, maybe, definitive answer that we can point people toward when they are first getting into Bushido and everything is still a bit overwhelming.

First up? I thought I would begin with the new Two-player Starter Set as it's as excellent a place to start as any. I'm sure you have seen it by now. It's the one with the decidedly, unsavoury, characters on the front. The ones that at first glance are clearly everyone's favourite Reptile Rumblers, the Ito.

We have Kinu, looking pale and menacing under a paper lantern with a rather large snake draped with careless abandon over her shoulders. That tableau screams, Danger! Nearby, is the bow-wielding, Ishi. Bows are an integral part of the Ito, and it's great to get one to use from the outset. Then there is the assassin known as Isas, twin daggers, and a look of murderous intentions on his reptilian face. Orochi much?

Who will stop this fearsome bunch in their tracks? Fear not, we have just the warriors you are looking for. We have a determined looking Ima, armed with a Bo staff, and a hankering to knock some sense into those pesky snake people. At her side is Hiromasa, who looks like he has seen it all before, and he probably has. He's using a pistol and a Yari to thwart the plans of the attackers. Then we have Akira, resplendent in samurai armour, wielding a katana that he hopes to put to good use on the battlefield. You're not just getting the miniatures either; you are getting an A5-sized rulebook, as well as 17 cards, and, a token set. All you need to do is crack it open and play.

We are going to break it down, starting with the Ito. Then we will look at increasing the points cost until you are at Tournament Level, which is 100 Rice. The Two-Player Starter Set is 40 Rice per faction. Now, the advice that follows below is just that. Advice. It's not carved in stone, nor is it foolproof. Matters concerning dice often go awry, and there are probably none of us who haven't - at least once anyway - snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. We err, we are human, and the dice gods are notoriously fickle. We'll start with the Ito half of the pizza, sorry, starter.


In a straight up fight, the Ito are much more vulnerable than their Prefecture opponents.  Ishi needs to poke and prod the Prefecture, moving forward to shoot her bow and then moving swiftly away so that she can Reload for free.  When the Ito feel that the time is right, Ishi can move into melee and try to position the enemy models so that Isas can come in with a deadly ambush. The first turn or two are probably going to be spent avoiding a direct fight against the Prefecture. The Ito's time to shine comes when Ito Kinu has enough Ki for Contagious Poison.  Start by targeting the weakest enemy Ki statistic model - Ima in the case of the Prefecture - and try to work up from there so that the Ito can maximise the distribution of Stunned and Poison tokens.

When all models are Stunned and suffering from Poison, this is the time for Isas and Ishi to strike: while their foes are at their weakest.

Expanding to Five (70 rice)
Progressing from three to five models, the Ito Clan starter set uses Haruki and Kyou. Both are solid melee combatants and can help protect Kinu until she unleashes her Ki Feat.  Both these profiles exemplify the Ito playstyle: fast and able to move around quickly. They come with Sidestep Defence (0), and both have Reach, allowing them to strike their opponents first and then dance away into a better position.  It is not uncommon to be attacked by an enemy model using Sidestep Defence that allows them to move behind then surprise the enemy on the next activation.

The Ito Clan profiles function fully at this point level without special cards.

Growing to Tournament (100 rice)
With two shisai already in the warband, it is time for Kinu to get the Inducted into the Priesthood enhancement.  This enhancement will make her Ki feat more reliable as long as she stays reasonably close to Kyou. Given how much Poison Kinu spreads around, merely adding two Temple Bushi will add a lot of melee power to the warband.

To help deal with Camouflage, it's often worth it to give Kinu a Forked Tongue enhancement.  This enhancement allows Kinu to deal with factions like the Kagekaze Zoku or Bakemono hordes.

For the final amount of rice, Dark Secrets is always a worthwhile card, though it may take some practice to figure out when it is best to use it.  It can cripple the enemy's plans if used correctly.

Prefecture of Ryu

The Prefecture warband revolves around Akira and his prowess as a melee combatant.  The Ito have nothing that can directly compete against Akira in a straight up fight, so the Prefecture player should manoeuvre to provide Akira with melee exchanges against single Ito Clan models.  Ima should be used to bleed off activations from important enemy models, while Hiromasa can handle himself well against any threat the Ito Clan can bring to bear in a direct fight.

It is essential to try to remove an activation from Ito Kinu early on turn 2 so that she can't use Contagious Poison.  As long as none of the Prefecture models are Stunned or Poisoned, they should win out.

Expanding to Five (70 rice)
The starter set brings Takashi Mika and Tetsuya.  Between these two samurai, the Prefecture starter box gets a lot more aggressive in melee.  Mika is a tricky melee combatant for most opponents to gauge, she is either going to be incredibly offensive or defensive.  Learning when to utilise the Korouma Korya unique effect is the crucial part of learning how to use Mika, but when she does use it, the unique effect can be devastating.  Tetsuya is less directly dangerous than Mika, but he has Feint as a normal trait, rather than as a benefit from a Ki Feat. This will often force your opponent to roll at least 2 defence dice in a Melee Exchange.  Knowing how your opponent will distribute their dice is a critical factor in winning Melee Exchanges.

With just these two models, the Prefecture of Ryu starter set goes from holding the line while Akira strikes down his enemies, to a warband fully capable of attacking the opponent's models without mercy.

After a few games and once you feel comfortable using the Prefecture of Ryu models, add in some special cards: Paper Cartridges on Hiromasa and Prefecture Training on Ima will round out the warband to 70 rice and make them more useful.  Hiromasa will spend fewer activations Reloading his pistol while Ima begins to function like a very cheap Yariman.

Growing to Tournament (100 rice)
At this point, special cards are vital to warband construction, and the roles models play will change.  Ima now functions as a model that can do Scenario Actions while more expensive models concentrate on interacting with the enemy. Dragon's Vigour is always an excellent Enhancement, giving the Attached model an extra activation at the cost of only 1 Ki.  At this point, you should be familiar with which models like to spend Ki and which ones have spare Ki to use Dragon's Vigour - typically it goes on Akira as he is the most expensive model.

Most Prefecture of Ryu warbands operate exceptionally well with 7 models.  The quality of their basic profiles allows them to hold off more numerous foes, and Critical Strike is a risky but decisive way to deal with more significant problems.  Takashi Bachiko and a Ryu Yariman merge almost seamlessly into the existing warband. Bachiko can help protect the other samurai and brings Sixth Sense to help deal with enemy models with Camouflage.  The Ryu Yariman is possibly the best model in the game for its rice cost. The combination of Push Attack (0), Reach, and Armour (2) shows the level of training and equipment the Prefecture put into their ashigaru, and the Yariman can function in just about any role needed.

There you have it! We hope that this will assist some of the newer players - and possibly even a smattering of the older players - in getting a better understanding of what the figures in the new Two-Player Starter Sets can do. Next time we will be going back to the beginning of Bushido the Game, and analysing one of the four original factions, The Temple of Ro-Kan. Until then.

Big thanks to Lee Andy Palmer and Alasdair Cunningham for the article. Enjoy the new goodies, spread the word, and keep on playing!


Proofing - The points have been collated and we will be drawing the winners for this at the weekend. Thanks to everyone that helped out.

Savage Wave Facebook promotion - Mark Halvorsen

Painting competition - Don't forget that there is a competition for Hiroto and Eldest Brother.