Monday, 18 July 2016

The dark days of Ro-Kan

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

the Art of War
Sun Tzu

Is it not written "If you keep goin' all cosmic on me you'll feel the end of my broom and no mistake"

The Way of Mrs. Cosmopilite

Hi all

Last week Damon and I had a day of Bushido gaming here in da Grotto, trying out the two new bespoke boards I have recently built.  You can see how I built the boards by clicking on the links - for the Temple and for the Pirates.

This is our second time playing Bushido so I can’t vow that our interpretation of the rules was entirely correct, therefore I won’t go into too much detail, I’ll leave that to the next solo game I do so I can really break it down and get into the mechanics.  Also I only wrote up the first game as I just wanted to kick back and enjoy the second without having to worry about taking loads of notes.  The first game was between the Prefecture of Ryu played by Damon and the Temple of Ro-Kan played by me, both warbands are taken from my collection so those of you who are regular readers will recognise them. We ran with factions of 35 rice (the points system of Bushido).  I apologise for the lack of photos I just did them at the end of each turn.

The Forces

Temple of Ro-Kan

The Temple faction was led by Seiji a young but gifted monk, he was joined by the even younger Aiko, a child prodigy who has an unusual “Guardian” an enormous silverback gorilla. Advising Seiji is the mysterious but alluring Kitsune, a Yokai that can switch between forms from human(ish) to fox. Last but not least is the fiery Hotaru, a fierce warrior monk who’s ability to manipulate flames matches her hot temper.

The Prefecture of Ryu

The Prefecture was led by a young samurai of the Takashi Clan – Genji Takashi, he fights with twin swords and like most of the Prefecture wears armour (which is a real pain! – dGG).  He is accompanied by his retainer Atsushi along with his faithful hound Shinobu.  They are joined by the mysterious Bikou, a ninja who has pledged to house Takashi (although it has been recently revealed that she is in fact a spy for the shadowy Kaze Kage faction).  Lastly the Yokai Kappa, a creature from the marshy lands that border the Dragon isles has for reasons of it’s own attached him/her self to the young dragon’s retinue.

The Scenario and Deployment

The scenario we played was “The Idols” probably the most common scenario that you see in battle reports whether they are video or paper reports (ok I’m a little old fashioned in my view of recording media….). this is most likely because the concept is quite easy to grasp, there are three idols that are halfway between the two factions i.e 12” away.  The idols start the game facing a neutral direction.  In order to score VPs you must spend a simple action “turning” an idol a single direction, for example it cost 1 action to turn an idol from neutral to a friendly direction and 2 simple actions to turn from an enemy facing to a friendly facing.  You can only score points in turns 2, 4 and 6 and the game lasts for 6 turns.  The player with the most turned idols in these turns gains a VP.

Eyes darting nervously into each shadowy corner of the ancient temple, Genji Takashi - scion of the powerful Dragon clan and famed samurai throughout the Jwar Islands crept down the dusty corridor that ran the length of the forbidding structure.  Checking that the rest of his retinue was keeping up and to reassure himself that they were still there he periodically looked back at the motley collection of warriors that had attached themselves to this expedition.  Bikou, the shadow warrior glided along the flagstones noiselessly her Kasari held loosely in one hand, the curved blade dulled by soot to stop light reflecting from it and betraying the ninja’s presence to her enemies. Kappa – the strange water Yokai trailed behind, occasionally muttering to itself as he glanced around as if looking for something in particular or maybe someone?  It had joined Genji’s retinue the night before last, slipping passed  Atsushi and even passed the sensitive nose of Shinobu the Akita mountain dog companion of the wiry scout although the Kamis knew how with it smelling so badly of the marshes. It was definitely after something but it would only speak to his father who had ordered Genji to it with him.

"ChikyĆ« no tera" - the Temple of Earth was a strategic asset that needed to fall under the influence of his family, having failed to secure the “Nexus” – a vital junction within the temple with his brother Eiji previously, he had been tasked by his father to capture and secure the “Prayer Room”, a cavernous area of the temple containing powerful relics that must belong to the clan in order to achieve victory.  Without Eiji and his powerful Yari at his side, Genji felt strangely vulnerable and would stroke the hilts of his twin katanas in an effort to calm his nerves. The “Nexus” had been defended by the Temple monks robustly and both he and his twin had fallen beneath the blows of the Ro-Kan, he still remembered the young monks voice as he delivered the warning to the surviving guardsman to stay away. Shuddering, he tried to  put his fears to one side and stopped several feet shy of the corridor exit. Ahead he could make out Atsushi standing over his beloved Shinobu, trying to smooth the enormous dog’s hackles as the Akita whined softly, obviously alerted to the presence of something in the “prayer room”.  As Genji crept forward he could see the source of the dog’s distress, ahead of them stood another band of the dratted monks, worse they seemed to have a massive mighty silver backed gorilla that stood protectively over a diminutive monk child in an oversized orange robe!

With a whisper from the old scout, the big Akita scampered forward, followed closely by the loathesome Yokai, who was muttering something about foxes or foxey women? With a silent oath he drew his swords and advanced into the cavernous room, prepared to do his duty to his clan.

How it played out

Turn 1

Prefecture won the tactical role and elected to go second meaning Temple had to start the game off.  

Aiko used her Ki feat “Blessings of the Kami” on Kitsune, then ran to hide behind a nearby flower pot.

Genji has the card “Battle Plans” meaning he gets 2 pass tokens per turn and he plays a pass token straight away meaning Temple have to go again.  

Hotaru runs forward toward the east Idol. 

Genji uses another pass token allowing the Temple warriors to reveal more of their plan.

Seiji runs forward to support Hotaru and threaten the middle Idol.

Shinobu the dog scampers forward and reaches the east Idol that Hotaru was heading for.

Aiko walks closer to the safety of the flower pot and hunkers down, exhausted.

Shinobu turns the east Idol and is now exhausted

Genji starts moving forward between the west and the middle Idols, threatening them both without committing to either.

The Guardian runs forward toward the middle idol.

Kappa also runs toward the middle Idol, looking up at the massive Simian with a bit of trepidation.

Kitsune in her fox form scampers toward the western most Idol.

Atsushi runs down toward the east Idol to get closer to his hound.

Hotaru runs down to the east Idol by the dog but she cannot influence it because she is now exhausted.

Kitsune moved down to west Idol, ready to turn it next time.

Kappa walks to middle Idol and is now exhausted but it is ready to turn it in turn 2.

The gorilla moves up to middle Idol to contest and prevent the turning of the idol and is now exhausted

Genji runs to the middle of the west and middle idols preparing to offer support to Kappa and put pressure on Aiko who is worryingly in charging distance next turn.

Seiji runs down to the middle Idol to support the Guardian.

Bikou glides forward softly spotting her victim, she then moves towards Seiji flinging shurikens at the young monk causing minor wounds before she close into melee, the ninja probes and sweeps with her deadly kasari but cannot penetrate Seiji’s defences.

Atsushi moves into melee with Hotaru and whistles for his fighting Akita to join him with his ki feat “Sic ‘em boy” they both attack the young woman who summons her own Ki and uses the feat “Flame on” to burst into flames.  Atsushi catches fire while attacking and wounding Hotaru gaining one burning token.

Turn 2

The Guardian seeing the samurai looking to charge Aiko moves into combat with Genji.  The samurai gulps deep breaths, trying to overcome the fear generated by the sight of a 500 pound gorilla bearing down on him, he fails and becomes frightened.  In the melee though, his armour protects him from the fists of the giant simian while his sharp katanas take nicks from the beast.

Aiko lays a blessing on the gorilla turning his skin as hard as stone and then moves slightly to the left behind her protective companion.

Shinobu sinks his teeth into Hotaru’s arm and immobilises her taking painful burns to his sensitive mouth in the process.

Kitsune turns the west Idol to make it friendly and then transforms into humanoid form.

Genji Takashi, quailed at the sight of the giant Simian as it pounded the stone tiles of the ancient temple with its enormous fists.  Steam poured out of its flared nostrils with each snort as it roared its battle cry and charged toward Genji in a burst of terrifying speed.  Recoiling in fear he raised his precious katanas in a desperate attempt to stop the blows for connecting with him, cutting the mighty gorillas fists and enraging it further. Each hammer blow buckled another part of his armour but the intricately made plate held and he was mostly unharmed.  Inexplicably the already tough skin of the gorilla grew tougher still as he was enveloped in a faint glow which emanated from the direction of the little girl in monks robes.  Genji shrunk away from the rampaging animal in despair, whispering a prayer to his ancestors to protect him.

Suddenly from the corner of his eye he saw a green blur as Kappa, the slimy marsh Yokai barrelled into the 500 pound silverback tucking its filthy head into it’s shell at the last moment and using it’s natural armour like a missile. With a loud crash the creature connected with the standing legs of the simian, dropping it to the floor.  Reaching out with it’s massive leathery hands the gorilla slapped the Yokai hard and sent it spinning away, but despite leaking blackish blood from it’s ear and looking a bit disorientated Kappa dashed back toward the Guardian, ducking underneath the swiping hands and leaping up onto the mighty gorilla’s silvered back.  Wrapping it’s long, spindly arms around the simian’s throat it squeezed and clung on.  The Guardian tried to get a hold of the Yokai’s arms but the slime from the marshes meant that he could not get a grip on the creature and slowly his strength gave out and he sank to the floor….

Kappa moves into combat with the gorilla, mastering his fear easily.  Trusting to the protection of his shell and the distraction provided by his samurai ally, Kappa goes all out in his attack. Despite battering the Yokai with his mighty fists and nearly killing the slimy creature (one wound remaining), the gorilla is killed in action.

Aiko seeing her powerful protector fall runs back away from the rampaging Yokai.

Genji retreats away from the Temple warriors trying to regain his composure.

Kitsune ignores the cowardly samurai and moves into combat with Kappa, snarling at the disgusting Yokai.  But despite slashing and hacking with her twin swords she cannot penetrate that hard shell which proves to be very costly for her.  Kappa in reply grapples with the slender Yokai and immobilises her, his mystical power starts to drain the Ki from the foxy female and in turn spirit blocks her so she cannot generate anymore.

Bikou in combat with Seiji uses her Ki to boost her melee skills as does the young monk. After a flurry of attacks and parries Bikou is left nursing a wound to her ribs with Seiji clearly favouring his right leg.  They reengage but neither can penetrate the others defences and they step away from each other with no further wounds (both used side step defence).

Atsushi seeing an opening made by his Akita’s snarling jaws attacks Hotaru who is a unable to defend herself properly and she succumbs to her wounds, slumping to the floor.  Her flaming body splutters and dies but not before catching his sleeve on fire again.

Shinobu lets go of her arm and runs across to help Bikou next time.

Turn 3

no one scored victory points in Turn 2 as two Idols were turned, one to each faction.

Prefecture wins tactical roll. Which proves to be fortuitous for them as Bikou the Ninja charges into the helpless Kitsune and  kills her with some well-placed shuriken.

With no way to prevent the Prefecture from turning 2 of the Idols with only one fighter left the Temple concedes the field of battle to the Dragon Clan.

Genji Takashi looked around the cavernous "Prayer Room" with something like astonishment, he couldn't believe the sights he had witnessed in this hard fought encounter.  He still felt shaky as he recalled the charge from the 500 pound gorilla and winced when he felt the bruising underneath the buckled plates of his armour, he looked again over at it's corpse just to make sure it hadn't moved.  
He had been saved by the disgusting, slime covered Yokai Kappa who was even now standing over the body of the beautiful fox like woman, breathing in her Ki as her spirit left the shell that remained behind.  The loathsome beast was crooning on about some slight he had received from the Kitsune a century ago or some nonsense.  Atsushi had put out the fire on his tunic sleeve and was comforting his faithful hound, soothing the Akita's burnt mouth with some cool water from the Koi pond.  Bikou the shadowy ninja, just stood just off to the side watching the exits in case more of the monks came back, he didn't think they would be quite so lucky this time as everybody was nursing wounds and favouring various limbs.

Walking up to the Idol in the middle of the room, he placed his hands on the prayer mount and began the incantation that would begin the channeling of power.  His father would be pleased...


This was a bit disjointed with lots of checking up of rules, traits and Ki feats but both of us really enjoyed the game.  Key turning points for me were the loss of the Guardian to a lowly Kappa and then the Kitsune failing to put it the sword when it only had 1 wound left. In turn when it successfully grappled her she was unable to mirage or shape shift away due to the Ki draining effects of Kappa, immobilised and unable to use her ki she was a sitting duck for Bikou to finish her off.  Damon played his faction very well, a good balance of warriors and a bit of luck helped him carry the game after only three turns.

The second game was 50 rice but we didn't record the game, just played it so only a couple of pics for you. This was also Damon's game but it was touch and go for him when I removed some powerful figures of his and control important areas of the board. The turning point for him was the flukey killing of Master Po by the dastardly Kappa again!!

all in all, despite the two losses I had a great day and we both felt like we were getting to grips with this exciting and fun game.

"The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand."

The Art of War
Sun Tzu

For is it not written "The big sea does not care which way the little fishes swim"

The Way of Mrs. Cosmopilite

hope you enjoy


  1. Excellent stuff, cracking read. Feel the need to get the rules now.

    1. Download them for free from the website mate

    2. Done it. Have lots of suitable figs. Next a good read, after painting and sealing the bathroom

    3. Have fun with it dude (the read not the bathroom) :-)

  2. Great to see the boards in action, wonderful reports Sir.

    1. Thank you sir Awdry, glad you liked them

  3. Very well written batrep, but I would have loved to have seen more photos. Yeah, I know, it's so easy to forget when you're wrapped up in the action against another opponent. With solo games you have all the time in the world and so it's less of a problem.

    1. Agreed Bryan, I should have gone back with my notes and shot some afterward

  4. I enjoy your solo games so much because you inject a lot of life into them. I enjoyed this one (because I like your style of writing) yet you were playing a game with a friend and had less time to write narrative. I did not find it disjointed, I just yearned for more depth is all.

    The terrain was striking, but like Bryan, I longed for more photos, and more close ups of the action (to make it live and breathe). See I don`t complain, I`m actually paying you a complement by telling you what I missed from it.

    But I enjoyed it :)

    1. No worries Hil, I'm not upset by people constructively commenting on here, in fact I want/require it. Since I started or rather restarted blogging I feel like I've certainly "upped my game" in all aspects of my hobby and that can only improve further with honest comments. Keep 'em coming mate ;-)

  5. Sounds like both games were a blast (even if you did lose both).
    Your boards looks excellent btw.

    1. I don't mind losing Joe, if the games are good, I really don't mind and they were :-)

      Thanks bud

  6. Andy, you seem surprised that the Kappa proved so effective...they were renowned for their wrestling skills and what you also have to bear in mind is that the Kappa is effectively the folkloric antecedent turtles! Sing with me "Ancient Yokai Sumo Kappa, Ancient Yokai Sumo Kappa..."

    1. It was its grappling skills that I struggled to contend with. And now I have the song in my head..... You swine!

  7. It seems interesting. What is next once the models become engaged at the middle of the board? Is there any mobility, or is it a matter of a)who will make the best decisions being engaged and b)the dice rolls?

    1. Hi K the game is exceptionally mobile as killing your opponents models is actually secondary to objectives, scenarios can only be won by VPs based on objective interaction. In fact there is no attrition scenario in the game unlike most systems. Additionally characters have throw/push/pull/sidestep attacks and defences that move the minis around and disengage them from combat. Yes Damon won the game because he killed most of my models off but if I had scored enough VPs earlier I could still have won with only one model left if I could deny Damon scoring. That's the beauty of the game and it generally stops the bunching of models In the middle of the table. This was the case in the second game where I got some early points because of some very mobile minis and looked like I could coast the game and then a lowly Kappa (5 rice) killed my Master Monk (12 rice) and some other models fell and I was on the back foot as I could no longer stop him from scoring points at will.

    2. Thank you. The miniatures are great. I spent some time reading the rules, look very clear. How does the ki generation work? A model with 2/8 for example, generates 2, means he gets 2 at the starting phase, but how can it go up to 8?

    3. A character with Ki 2/8 would generate 2 Ki at the start of each turn until they reached a max of 8 Ki if they did not expend Ki during their turns as it is carried over.

  8. Excellent report mate it was very enjoyable read and it looks amazing. Great job :)