Minimoto: Design Journal Pt.3


People have been asking about the Minimoto since long before I started working at GCT, I know at least in my local area it’s been one of the most anticipated releases for a  good while. One of the reasons people are so enthusiastic about the faction is the original drawing in the rulebook of Yuji Minimoto, a Samurai carrying a huge tetsubo.


He encompasses quite a lot about what the faction is, he’s huge, strong, and brutal but first and foremost, he’s a Samurai. Players were inspired by this and really want to play the Bear Clan in Bushido so I was happy when an early project I got to work on was writing the rules for this new faction and even more so when we decided the Samurai model in the Minimoto starter set would be this exact samurai!


The first thing you see is Armour (4). He is currently the only model with an Armour value over 3 and let me tell you it makes a huge difference. I did the maths on this high Armour value and it is, as you’d expect from a “Tanky” faction, among the best protection you can get in the game (It’s slightly better than Toughness (2) and even Durable in most cases!). Not only are Minimoto the only faction with access to Armour (4) their armies also only have Armour (3) or Armour (4). Yes, if a Bear Clan model has armour (Some models don’t wear any), it’s the best in the game. So unlike the other samurai clans, none of the Minimoto have Armour (1) or (2), even their Ashigaru come with Armour (3).

Bravery and Martial Prowess are pretty standard for Samurai of all clans and Iron Mind is a solid defensive ability, and its higher than usual value is well in character for the stoic and stubborn Bear Clan. Indomitable is another good defensive ability but for Minimoto you’ll see it becomes slightly better.

All Minimoto Samurai and Ashigaru have the new “The Bear Stands Alone” ability which grants Indomitable while the model is unsupported on the table.
Yuji already has Indomitable (1) and so while on his own goes to Indomitable (2) which can really allow him to hold an entire flank on his own with his impressive defensive abilities and that big tetsubo will eventually start to take its toll, even against three enemy models!

Yuji’s Ki Feats are also very archetypical for his clan. Batter is great as an offensive and defensive tool, allowing Yuji to get an advantage to keep him alive or to force a final blow. When he has that opportunity, Mighty Blow is the perfect finisher. With built-in +2 Melee Strength Modifier, the ability to buy Strong can allow him to finish off models even with low Success Levels on his Melee Exchange attacks.

Finally, Bear's Fury is part of a range of abilities which offer each Samurai model a different benefit once they are under half health. In Yuji’s case Powerful Attack (0) really punishes your opponent for trying to kill the model. It rounds off this Samurai to be an exemplar of all the traits we will see in this faction. Other versions of this ability have different effects for example:

Bear’s Tenacity:
While this model has at least 4 marked wound boxes, it gains Toughness (1) or Toughness +1.

Bear’s Ferocity: 
While this model has at least 4 marked wound boxes, enemy models involved in a melee exchange with it may not re-roll defence dice.

That rounds out Yuji, the iconic Minimoto Samurai who is finally hitting the Bushido table soon. Yuji is in the Minimoto starter set and as you can see, starter set models now have their traits detailed in full on the card.  This makes it much easier for new players to learn the game as you don’t have to keep checking the rulebook for all the rules. It also has the side effect of taking space up on the card so no starter set models can be too complex, perfect for new players to learn the game and also for making a core of solid models that have the faction traits. Where feats grant a trait the trait has been highlighted in a different colour in the description and detailed below in the same colour. I will say, trying to keep the complexity down does not mean the models can’t be powerful… just look at Yuji! Other releases will just have the traits named on the front as usual but all new starter sets will follow this trend.