Bushido: Prefecture of Ryu Unboxing & Rules

This time I’m breaking open the Prefecture of Ryu Starter to look at the models and discuss how they play on the table.

The Takashi Clan of the Prefecture of Ryu look to their traditions to guide them in uncertain times. Their strong sense of honor and peerless martial prowess have so far proven a worthy defense against their many enemies.

Unboxing

These are the five models that come in the Prefecture starter. While this set has been around since Bushido started out in 2011, I’m hoping these models will still be new to most of you. Besides this may be the first time you’ve seen them in their fresh out of the package state. Isn’t it nice to see single piece sculpts for a change? Think of how easy most of these guys will be to assemble.

We can start with the humble Ryu Yarimen – one of many types of Ashigaru available to the Prefecture. Like all the Ryu models he has a ton of detail with the layers of his armor and all the little straps and ties that hold it all together. I also like the extra touch of the dragon head on the spear.

The other side is just as ornate.

Jin is a character Yarimen so her armor and weaponry are very similar to our last guy.

The hat goes on the empty space on her back.

Minuro is one of the few models in Bushido who gets to shoot a gun. It even has a cool dragon head sculpted onto it like the Yarimen’s spears.

Hanzo is an Ashigaru officer who can bark orders at our last three models. He has kind of a grizzled look to him I really like.

Hanzo’s other side.

Finally it’s time for the Samurai. Hiro Takashi has a couple of assembly choices. I don’t know why anyone would want to pass on that super cool masked and helmeted head, but maybe your the sort who prefers to see the model’s face. It is a well sculpted face I have to admit. The fiery sword is a little more interesting since it alludes to that fantastical aspect of the Bushido setting. It’s just a bit too ostentatious for me though.

And the obligatory shot from the other side.

Here are the cards. I show them only so you can have a look at the glossy coating that allows you to mark right on the card with dry erase. I’ve left my Bushido cards up to a week without wiping the stuff off. You can still remove it but it takes a little more effort than if you go at it right after the game.

The Samurai

My assembled Hiro. This guy’s primary role is a strong melee piece, but Leadership 6 can be really helpful to other models in your force. Fear is a very strong ability in Bushido. Hiro’s Leadership ability provides help with fear tests that could be game changing.

When he is fighting he can usually commit 3 of his respectable 4 melee dice to attack, since his martial prowess will let him re-roll one die: a defense die should things go wrong. An efficient killer, Hiro has ways of dealing with multiple types of elite models. For those enemies with melee dice to spare, he can spend Ki to activate Ten-Uchi and discard their highest Defense Die. This one is particularly nasty against an opponent that commits only one die to defense. Unfortunately it must be declared before dice are rolled. Against models with Armor or Toughness, Hiro can declare a powerful attack by discarding a melee die – a melee die he can regain fairly easily by spending three Ki.

I’ve saved the best for last. Critical Attack, means any double Hiro rolls for damage will remove his opponent outright. It doesn’t even cost anything to activate. It’s almost more valuable to you for the fear it inspires in your opponents than the chance for an instant kill. After they’ve seen a Critical Strike happen once, they’ll do whatever they can to keep their expensive models far away from Hiro. Hiro’s biggest drawback is  that even with Armor 3 he is a little bit fragile with only 6 hit points.

The Ashigaru

Here are two of my assembled Ashigaru. Minuro, the one who brought the gun to the sword fight, can be every bit as deadly as you could hope. He has great range bands on that gun of his, as well as a whopping +4 damage to every attack. The downside of course is that he has reload 2, meaning you’ll have to wait a bit between shots. The best way to use this guy is to get an early shot off, then send him off to try to claim some objective. On turn three you will have enough ki to use Three Shots a Minute and get him shooting again. Because of the small size of the battlefield Minuro may only get one shot before he is engaged or killed.

The Ryu Yarimen on the right doesn’t have a flashy gun, but he is still very useful. The inverse to Minuro, the Ryu Yarimen can be relied upon throughout the game. With Armor 2 and three dice he can hold up stronger enemy models until a Samurai can come along to help. Against cheaper models he can put more dice in attack and rack up some kills of his own. First Strike and Military Training are the icing on this five point cake.

Jin is essentially an upgraded character Ryu Yarimen. For an extra point she gets some abilities that can be situationally helpful. Or you can just field her as an ordinary Yarimen with the same stats and points cost. In fact this is the only way you’ll be able to fit all the models in this starter in at 35 points – the standard points cost for a small game of Bushido. Taking her as Jin puts you one point over.

Hanzo on the right is the more interesting of the pair. He has more offensive potential than the Ashigaru thanks to Cleave and he has an extra wound making him a little harder to kill. Outside of stats, the Tactician Trait is one of the most useful in the game as it drastically increases your chances of going first. He also has a couple of ways to get Ashigaru moving around outside of their activations. The extra movement from Move It can really help you tackle those objectives. On top of that Command (Ashigaru 2) can be game changing. Using it to activate two models at once can reduce an enemy model to Exhausted before your opponent has a chance to start their turn. It does lower Hanzo’s status as well though so you’ll miss out on the opportunity to have him Cleave something.

Overall Thoughts

I’ve played with this starter and against it, and it performs consistently well. Every model has armor making even the seemingly simple act of killing an Ashigaru a goal that has to be planned out and coordinated. More elite armies struggle against this starter since Jin and the Yarimen can be relied upon to hold up most models until Hiro gets there to finish them off. Hordes of cheaper troops find their puny attacks repeatedly bouncing off their targets. It’s also difficult to lock the Ryu starter out of an objective victory since they still have five models to maneuver around the table.

If this starter has a downside it’s that there are some very hard counters to shooting in Bushido, so Minuro may find himself unable to fire his beautiful rifle at all. While this may seem frustrating, he’ll still be able to make himself useful securing objectives. Of the starters I’ve played, with or against, I think this may be the strongest. It’s certainly the easiest to play.

Expanding

To bring this starter up to 42 points, the standard for a medium sized Bushido game, I’m adding Matsu Takashi. She is another ranged attacker. While her Ki blasts (I’m assuming that’s what she’s shooting since she has no visible ranged weapons) don’t hit as hard as Minuro’s rifle, she never has to reload and can move and shoot. She can also upgrade her blast to do a slam attack forcing models away from objectives and also knocking them Prone. At 6 points she only brings my force to 41 points. To get to 42 I’ll pay the extra point to field Jin as Jin.

To get up to 50, I’m adding Daisuke and Madoka. Daisuke is a healer. What’s more annoying than an army of hard to kill models? An army of hard to kill models that can also be healed. Since I definitely wanted Daisuke, I just needed to find a four point model to make up the difference. I chose Madoka since he is an Ashigaru so he can take advantage of Hanzo’s abilities. If you can keep him alive long enough, he can spend some Ki for Hack and make a Powerful Attack with the potential to hit very hard.

Of course those are just the ones I chose. There are dozens more to choose from and they will all add different tactical options to your force. Here are three of my favorites.

Final Thoughts

If looking at these models has you thinking hard about picking up Bushido, there is one more thing you need to know if you live in the U.S. There are only a few places in the country that carry this game. I know of only four online retailers: FRP Games, Noble Knight, Fantization, and Atomic Empire. And of course there’s always eBay.

The fact that I managed to track all these places down should show you just how far I’ll go to find models for this game. What’s even harder is to find one with all the models you want in stock at the same time. Of course if you’ve had luck with them in the past you can always order from Wayland Games. They’ll surely have the best prices right now with the current exchange rate on the Pound, but I’m always reluctant to have things shipped to me from outside the country. If you’re going outside the country anyway I’m sure GCT studios would be happy to take your money directly.

~ Hope you enjoyed the article. Do you already play Bushido? Have you considered picking it up? What do you think of the Prefecture of Ryu? Be on the lookout for more Bushido, I plan to do some more unboxings soon.

  • Dusty

    I’ve never played the game, but I love that dragon ornamentation on the rifleman. This is the kind of thing I end up buying just to paint.

    • joox

      do it! the models paint up beautifully. the game is fun as hell to play too