Bushido: Minimoto Preview
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Hauru is a Blacksmith. When the armies of Jyoto go to war, they bring their Blacksmiths with them. The Minimoto clan revere this ancient and essential profession and the best Steelsmiths and Sword Smiths are treated almost like Priests. Indeed the reliance on the Tetsubo is almost as much about the Samurai reverence for the swords made by the Clans Swordsmiths as it is preference for then due to their great strength.
Hauru himself is not a high ranking Blacksmith, he makes Tetsubo and can make special adjustments to his weapons based on the enemy he sees on the battlefield.
Obviously the first thing you notice is he grants an extra Enhancement card. This will be a feature of most Blacksmith models, the models come with an enhancement card and they have different ways of bringing them into play. For the starter box I went for a simple one, but as you can see very powerful. The ability to see where the enhancement is needed and then give it out is great as your opponent can’t simply send their armoured guys to where your Armour Piercing model is not!
Hauru is a metallurgist and he knows how to burn away impurities from his pure steel. In the same way he can burn away impurities from his soldiers, at the cost of burning them with his forge fire! A little pain never hurt a Minimoto though right? As the Blacksmiths make extensive contact with Fire and Metal Kami to aid in their forging, they often accompany the patrols when a Blacksmith is present. Beyond that, Hauru has the Leadership trait which is usually on big high Rice Cost models but in this case the reverence for the Blacksmiths is such that no Minimoto would want to be seen fleeing by a Blacksmith. This is an important part of the Minimoto as they are not as tightly controlled an army as The Prefecture of Ryu, instead relying on the strength of every individual to carry the day.
Blacksmiths are one of the parts of the new faction that makes them unique. Hauru is just the first but his Weighted Tetsubo and ability to recruit Fire and Metal Kami make him a great addition to any Minimoto list. The Kami open all kinds of avenues for new tactics from adding more damage and melee strength with the Fire Kami to the Metal Kami offering Brutal in melee and… wait is that model out yet?
Unblessed – Raiko
Raiko is one of the Unblessed, while technically an Ashigaru he has not yet earned the right to call himself a soldier of the Minimoto clan. When a soldier first joins the armies of Jyoto they are sent into the field without armour.
As you can see, Raiko will perform feats of near insane bravery if a Blacksmith is watching, as this can earn him his iron. He has already begun Ashigaru training too, learning to work with other Ashigaru and to knock a foe to the ground with the force of a blow. This is an interesting point with the design here. I wanted the Minimoto to be shown to be powerful in melee in ways other than just high Melee Strength or the Strong trait (Though they have these too!) and knocking opponents prone is one way to show how hard they hit. Though the Special Ability is called “Sweep Attack” which may conjure images of tripping an opponent or kicking their legs from under them, in this case the flavour is more smashed to the ground by brute force!
Taken together the unblessed alongside the Ashigaru make a great core to build a force upon. Most Minimoto models are high Rice Cost so the unblessed especially are a great boon, allowing a few decent models and still leaving room for the big Samurai.
Yuji Minimoto – Samurai
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:
While this model has at least 4 marked wound boxes, it gains Toughness (1) or Toughness +1.
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.
Gunso – Aya Masaema
Ok, this may be my favourite model in the new faction! I love the art for her, the model looks great and I’m very happy with how her rules turned out.
Aya is from the Masaema family which was raised to minor clan status by the Minimoto and so some of the family are now Samurai. Most are still faithful Ashigaru however and Aya is one of the foremost of these as a Gunso in the Bear Clan army. She has been in the thick of fighting since she joined up in her teens and has seen everything battle in the Jwar Isles can throw at her. This experience is the core of her character and on the table she is all about reliability.
Aya has Armour (3) and Iron Mind which is a solid defensive base, as you’d expect from the Bear Clan with the characteristic 7 wound boxes of the faction. Fearless is usually only on a faction’s top characters but in this case Aya is the one who knows holding your ground and fighting through to the end is the best way to survive and win.
To synergise with this core of reliability the awesome new Ki Feat “Veteran” allows Aya to keep her three dice even when afflicted with any amount of state effects. She’s seen it all before and can calmly fight through being knocked prone, blinded or stunned. This is an amazing feat and to round off this ability to ignore negative melee penalties, Aya does not suffer penalties for being exhausted! This suite of abilities with the ubiquitous The Bear Stands Alone makes Aya a great model you know is going to do her job regardless of what your opponent throws at her.
To reinforce her theme of a reliable veteran soldier she has Military Training which is not a theme in Minimoto as it is in Prefecture of Ryu but its an option that sometimes becomes invaluable.
Like Touga, Aya is a starter box model so has all her Traits detailed on the back of her card. You can see the Bear Clan’s Gunsos are different to the Prefecture’s (Who are there to lead other Ashigaru by issuing commands) and the Ito’s (The Ito simply promote the best individual soldiers rather than those with leadership abilities), in the Bear Clan Gunsos lead by example. Aya will always be in the thick of the action and expects her ashigaru to do the same.
Ashigaru – Yoshinobu Masaema
Yoshinobu is an established Ashigaru, not a long-serving professional like Aya, he has seen his share of combat and is more adaptable than most Ashigaru.
All Jyoto Ashigaru are heavily armoured, each suit individually tailored to the particular soldier.They carry heavy metal Tetsubo which most men need two hands to use (Though some of the Minimoto effortlessly swing them with one hand or indeed, wield two of them!) with which they are trained relentlessly to build up their strength.
Notice the Armour (3), all Jyoto Ashigaru have this heavy armour and have Melee Strength modifier. Yoshinobu has learned the basic Ashigaru technique of centring his mind to ignore terrifying enemies or the magics that may try to affect him but has developed his own technique for holding strong against the enemy. Immovable is a powerful ability and very suited to Minimoto Clan models.
He also has a wider range of Special Abilities than most Ashigaru, learning the benefits of merely fending off a foe but also knowing how to make a finishing blow.
Quelle: GCT Studios