First let me say that I’m no Bushido master, in fact even acolyte is pushing it quite a lot but there are a few thoughts and ideas on tactics that I would like to share to help encourage any other new players out there.
Bushido is very much a game of tactics and long term strategies. In fact I would say that it can be a very unforgiving game if your not thinking two or more turns ahead. Now you may say that all games need you to have a long term strategy but in Bushido it’s not about just making a flank advance or capturing an objective. In Bushido you really need to be thinking about where you will move each of your characters and what you want them to do next turn, while all the time trying to guess what your opponent is going to do.
So why is it so important to be this detailed in planning your actions? Well in Bushido you don’t get victory points every round or at the end of the game. In most scenarios you only get victory points for objectives at the end of rounds 2, 4 and 6, which has some very significant implications for your strategy and gameplay.
First and most importantly you must never forget that there are only 3 victory points available for the entire game. In practice this means that winning that first victory point at the end of turn 2 is probably the most important thing you can do all game. With this in hand you have a chance of winning even if your opponent wins the victory point for turn 4 and if you can snatch the point for turn 4 yourself then the game is yours no matter how clever your opponent is.
Secondly never try and capture an objective on the odd numbered turns unless you can be sure you can hold on to it. There are plenty of tactics and abilities that can force your character off an objective allowing your opponent to claim it for themselves so it is often better to position yourself for an objective assault or tie your opponents up in melee in turns 1, 3 and 5.
The Way of the Dragon
So here are a few tactical ideas I’ve tried so far that will help get any new players on the road to becoming a Samurai Lord.
Door to Door Salesman
You know just how annoying these people are, stopping you from doing something important when you are in a hurry. Well you can do the same thing very effectively by making a melee attack against them. Not only does this increase their condition by one it also ties them up for at least their next Action (unless they kill you of course). I wouldn’t suggest using a Charge for this tactic unless you really need the extra movement to engage, are sure you can kill them or they are already Tired, otherwise their return Attack will have an advantage as you will be defending while exhausted costing you 1 of those precious dice.
This tactic is not only one for your combat characters, in fact the cheaper less able characters are often a good choice in this role. If you are not likely to kill your opponent but simply want to tie them up (so they can’t grab an objective for instance) then simply push all your points into defence. You may still take some damage but more often than not it won’t be enough to kill you in one attack (OK sometimes it can 🙁 ) and if you have an ability such as Sweep Defence that renders your attacker Prone all the better.
This little gem is a great way to seriously ruin your opponents characters day fast and often works well in combination with the Door to Door Salesman tactic. For this to work you need two characters reasonably well spaced out but both in reach of an opponents character.
Start by attacking your opponents character as normal, if possible taking them to an Exhausted condition. If this kills them then congratulations, you can stop the tactic now as it’s not needed, but if they survive then continue. The main reason for this attack is to force the opponents character to turn to face your first attacking character, leaving it’s back exposed to your secondary attacker.
Now if your opponent hasn’t seen the double takedown coming or the character is exhausted on your next Activation use your second attacker to make a surprise attack on your opponents poor character. The Surprise attack will reduce their melee dice by 1 and your first character will reduce it by a further 1 (to make this even nastier if your first attacker has the Sweep Attack or Sweep Defence ability use it to render the opponents character Prone for another -1 dice) and if they are exhausted that’s yet another -1 dice. This should be enough to render most characters unable to mount any sort of attack or defence.
As if that isn’t bad enough there are a few extras that you can throw at this nasty backstab which can finish off even the strongest characters (unless you get seriously unlucky). Always use the Combo Attack ability if you can, with the probability that you will get a good success level being high being able to chain that damage is to good to miss. Always use Ki to boost your attack dice if you can, this can be a good time to use your booster characters with abilities like Channel to beef things up. If you don’t have Combo Attack then use Sweep Attack or an ability that causes Prone if you can. Remember that this attack will also make your opponents character exhausted if they weren’t already so with luck your first attacker can finish the job on their next activation.
With luck this will end with their main combat character off the table and unable to take or defend an objective.
This is a simple strategy but can grab you a victory point at the last minute. The rules for taking objectives state that you mustn’t be in Base to Base with an enemy model of be within their Zone of Control (which is 1″ from a model’s base). For this to work you need to position your figure exactly opposite them and in Base to Base with an objective. As the smallest objective is 30mm in diameter this means that the two figures are more than 1″ apart (1″ = 25mm) and so you can still turn the objective towards yourself even though you are both in Base to Base contact with it. Next you need to delay activating your character until your opponents character has become exhausted and is unable to turn the objective themselves. Now all you have to do is turn the objective as your last action to either Neutral or towards yourself, denying your opponent control or even gaining it yourself.
This strategy is ideal to turns 2, 4 and 6 where victory points are gained but can be useful at any time. Do this right and your opponent will be powerless to stop you snatching victory from them.