This is the first unboxing of my favorite Gencon minis. We start with the Blood Brothers, a brand new set of Ronin from Bushido.
The Blood Brothers are part of a dual release with the Sworn Sisters. Both sets of minis comprise what could almost be described as mini-factions unto themselves. The Blood Brothers work best when fielded with each other and with their faithful retainer Baichi. Since they’re Ronin, you’ll still need to start with a faction that can hire them. These are Cult of Yurei, Silvermoon Syndicate, Savage Wave, Jung Pirates, or Ito Clan.
More on fielding them later. For now let’s look at minis.
The Blood Brothers are purchased separately, unlike faction starters. First up we have Shenzhiqi. If you’re wonder why his name sounds more Chinese than Japanese (I mean these are Ronin right?) there is a reason.
The brothers are from outside the normal geographical confines of the Bushido setting. The Japan-inspired mythical Jwar Isles are where all your games take place, but these guys have ventured there from the larger world outside. Because they are masterless warriors, the proper Jwar word for them is Ronin. Additionally in the context of the game, a Ronin is a model that can be included with multiple factions.
Here’s another angle.
And now a look at the face.
I even went ahead and assembled him so you could see how he looked all primed up.
Here’s a slightly different angle.
Ying-Jian is next.
Now an assembled shot.
And the reverse, since I forgot to get a shot of it before I primed.
I saved Shuohuang, my favorite of the Blood Brothers, for last. This guy really reminds me of a character out of a Kurosawa movie, which I’m sure is 100% the point. I took a lot of pictures of him so brace yourselves for multiple angles.
From the other side.
Last up is Baichi. In a way I almost like him the most out of the bunch. His over loaded backpack is covered in details.
Speaking of cool details, he’s even carrying around a Yurei mask. The Blood Brothers clearly get around a lot and have the souvenirs to prove it. Baichi must put it on when he needs to use the Conspiracy of the Cult ability.
I only partially assembled Baichi since I wanted to be able to paint his backpack separately.
With the backpack primed you can see even more of the detail.
Note: four bed rolls. One for himself and one each for the three brothers. Poor overworked guy. Hope he at least has a decent dental plan.
Playing the Blood Brothers
With all those pictures out of the way, let’s talk about how these guys play. The more of them there are the better they’ll fight and the more they’ll cost. If you have all three they’ll run you 8 points each, which makes them among the most inexpensive Melee skill 4 fighters in the game. The (huge) downside is that they’re never Rested – in other words they will always be either Tired or Fatigued. This is a narrative rule that represents their exhaustion from constant harassment by the Sworn Sisters who have pursued them to Jwar Isles for some horrible crime. They also start with a Death Sentence Counter, which you’ll really want to remove early with 3 Ki.
The Brothers have a couple of tricks to help a bit including great stats (provided they’re all alive), the tireless ability, and a Ki Feat that let’s all three of them take a walk action together. Additionally Baichi has “Order 3: Blood Brother,” which allows them to come back from Exhausted. Essentially, with enough finesse, you’ll get a lot more out of the Blood Brothers than their points cost would suggest. If you don’t play them just right however, you’ll quickly be out-activated and overwhelmed. Additionally, as they die their fighting ability plummets.
Allies for the Brothers
There’s more help for the brothers in whichever faction you choose to play them with. They all have something to offer. Savage Wave brings the bodies to run objectives and keep you at par in the activation game. The Bakemono Ki Feat “Darkness” can also help prevent the loss of a brother from early shooting. Yurei offers similar aid, as well as a vast array of debuffs. Ito have good options for Channel as well as the ever annoying Shimogama Vipers to help the brothers engage the enemies on their terms. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use them with the Jung Pirates. Right now Yori sticks out as having potential to drag enemies toward the brothers. Also Yuji using Inspiration on them could be interesting, if perhaps a little excessive.
Personally I see a lot of fun to be had with Silvermoon. They have a couple of good choices for Lure, which will bring your enemies closer: right where you want them. The Event “Drunk on Sake” also seems like a great way to even the stakes for a round. If you need bodies, Silvermoon have cheap Pit Dogs. My preference though are the slightly more expensive Kyoaku Han, simply because they will take care of Objectives and fight well. This interest however is based solely on my own playstyle which I freely admit isn’t always focused on winning.
Each faction could easily get its own full write-up on how best to incorporate these Ronin. Whichever you choose, getting the hang of these guys will be tricky at first. I think once you learn how to use them they’ll be a strong and interesting force.
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 and Amazon.
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 the retailer 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. Personally I’m always a little 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.
This article first appeared on my own blog toomini. Follow it to get a look at these articles before they show up on BoLS. There are also a lot of great painting articles there that haven’t made it here yet!
~ Hope you enjoyed the article! How would you field the Blood Brothers?