We started our journey into the Bushido skirmish game by GCT Studios in June, when we reviewed the core rules, along with the Tengu Descension and the Ito Clan starter packs. This time we’re going to be looking at two of the core factions of the setting, through the Prefecture of Ryu and the Cult of Yurei starter packs.
Prefecture of Ryu
The Prefecture of Ryu are the leading clan in Bushido and the closest to historical accuracy in terms of warriors. The Prefecture are the honest representation of the feudal Japanese samurai going to war. The Prefecture of Ryu are the perfect starter clan for Bushido, in that they have solid stats with a great fighting ability and reasonable armour, their support abilities are straight-forward and what they lose in flair, they make up for by solidly storming forward to defeat their enemies. The starter pack is also extremely easy to put together. Four out of the five miniatures are one piece and just need to be attached to their base (unless you want to attach the straw hat to the back of Jin). The leader, Hiro Takashi comes with two head selection and two sword selections that glue on very easily. We opted for the armoured head, because it looks incredible and the normal sword, as opposed to the flaming sword, purely because of their historical representation, which we might change if we add a dragon to our clan later on.
The miniatures included in the Prefecture of Ryu starter pack are:
- Hiro Takashi – Hiro is a member of the ruling house of the Dragon clan, a samurai of incredible prowess. He is a combat monster, with a high combat value, Armour (3) and a feat that can give him unblockable strike, all add together to make him a solid threat to any opponent.
- Hanso – Hanso is a great fighter, with a superb Feat called Move It!, which allows him to move up to three Asigaru troopers for free, forcing them across the battlefield and into combat quicker, providing a possible screen attack against your opponent. He also has the Tactician trait, which gives you a bonus to winning the initiative for the turn.
- Minuro – Minuro is a ranged flintloque rifleman, with a range of up to 18 inches. The weapon has an incredible damage dealing capability at range, but also has Reload (2), which means there will be a turn gap between shots, so make them count. He does have the Feat 3 Shots a Minute, which can remove all reload markers to speed things up with Ki use. Simply having him on he battlefield, will make your opponent consider every movement out of cover, and will allow him to cover your own warrior’s advance across the battlefield.
- Jin – Jin is an experienced version of the Ryu Yariman, she has a solid attack value, First Strike, Armour (2) and a feat that gives her armour piercing, which all combine to make her a great supporting line trooper, and fairly deadly in combat.
- Ryu Yariman – These are the unnamed line troopers of the Ryu starter pack. Another can be added to the set with this card as it has the health bars for two. The only difference between them and Jin is they don’t have the Bravery and Steadfast traits that she does, and they don’t have the Feat for armour piercing. They do, along with Jin, give the controller a pass token, giving you more flexibility in terms of model activation, as you can play it to activate your units later on.
Cult of Yurei
The Cult of Yurei are an incredibly interesting faction in terms of lore. Members of the Cult of Yurei enter into the Yurei Bargain, which gives them powers over life and death. Through pursuing their own goals they are also serving other dark masters and forwarding their own ends. The Cult of Yurei are an incredibly varied force that includes a lot of options, from the slow moving undead that can swarm the enemy, to fast moving rats and savage monsters, the Cult of Yurei have specialists to fill every role, but they also have some obvious weaknesses, so making sure to play to your strengths and avoid them is key.
The miniatures included in The Cult of Yurei starter pack are:
- Kato the Puppet Master – Kato has a large variety of abilities and options, so much so that he has two cards to fit them all on. Kato is able to craft a Marionette which can then attempt to take over an enemy model for a duration. He can also make your Kairai incredibly durable by adding to their Rise check (see the Kairai below for Rise details). He can also bring more Kairai into battle if certain units die close enough to him and he has the Ki to spend, meaning your force can get larger as your take out enemies. He does have to be close to use that ability and he isn’t great in combat, he can get Ranged Defence (2) each turn, but keeping him protected is very important.
- Marionette – The Marionette is summoned by Kato, and can then wander towards an opponent and attempt to take over it. The miniature can be placed on its own base (as you get an extra one in the starter set), but we placed ours under the marionette handle that Kato has on his base because it looks great. We use the empty base to represent the Marionette in-game until we can get hold of another one).
- Ikiryo – Ikiryo has some incredible abilities, but she is extremely fragile and they all require Ki use. She has a unique ability that lets her strip a Ki from all enemy models within 7″ and does one damage that ignores toughness and armour, this does make her exhausted for the turn that she does it, so very open to damage, so leaving her undefended isn’t recomended. She also has a Look into the Void feat that allows her to make an opposed Ki roll to deal damage directly to an opposing unit and a Touch the Void feat that lets her block damage with Ki, so it all requires heavy Ki management and constant protection to keep her alive as she will be a target for your opponent.
- Armoured Kairai – All of the Kairai are incredibly slow, in combat and with physical movement. Their Slow trait means that they cannot run or charge and always attack second, so deploying them onto the board and moving them up the board is a painful prosses, especially as they are the screen for Kato and Ikiryo, who will have to plod behind them. They are incredible durable though, and their Rise trait means that half the time after being taken out they will simply heal all wounds and become prone rather than being removed from the table. The Armoured Kairai has Armour (2), making him even better at soaking damage, but he’s still incredibly slow, they also have a slightly better Combat Rating than the other Kairai.
- Kairai Militia – The Kairai Militia has First Strike, which means that in order to use it, you have to make your opponents slow as well, which they can do with their Chill feat, which requires Ki. The Kairai have no Ki stat, so the only way to generate Ki is to Leech is from a friendly unit within their Leech distance. The best use of the Kairai is to bog down the enemy when they can get into combat and keep getting up if defeated to whittle them down and stop them attacking your key units.
- Kairai Farmer – The Kairai Farmer has a better Combat Rating because of their weapon and are the same price as the Kairai Militia, but don’t have First Strike, which as explained above, doesn’t affect them too much. This means that they are the better deal overall. All the Kairai also have Fear (4), which can be effective against the right enemies.
The Cult of Yurei starter pack is a great pack, but the least complete of the ones we have seen so far. The Starter Pack is a requirement for the Yurei because you get the Kairai, but their best use is through raising them with Kato, rather than buying them as part of your force and deploying them at the start, so further investment to make this force effective is required. They are a great and very interesting faction, if you’re willing to put that effort in, in terms of miniature count and learning their best use of tactics. It’s great to see them alongside the Prefecture of Ryu as they are so obviously different in all aspects.
The Bottom Line:
Please see our Bushido Review for a review of the core rules, as well as the Ito Clan and Tengu Descension starter packs. All Bushido rules and all unit stat cards are available for free on GCT Studios website.
Both of the starter packs are great introductions to their respective forces, showing the strengths and weaknesses of both factions. The Prefecture of Ryu are very beginner friendly, in terms of their use, as well as the miniatures themselves which are either single piece miniatures, or only require a couple of easy parts to assemble. The Cult of Yurei starter pack is very much a beginning to getting into the Cult and provides a solid base, but it doesn’t compete with the Starter Packs we’ve reviewed so far straight out of the box, but that’s simply because of the way the force operates as it requires more miniatures to play effectively. Both starter sets provide a great gateway into Bushido for different types of players and experience levels.
Get this game if:
You want a straight-forward warrior clan, or a complex swarm undead force that uses enemy debuffs and synergy.
You want to expand your Bushido miniatures collection.
You love the Japanese and Samurai setting.
Avoid this game if:
You don’t like the tactics or feel of either of the clans.
You don’t want to put miniatures together.
Have you played Bushido? Which is your favourite clan? Have any of the forces we’ve looked at so far interested you? Which clans would you like us to look at next? Let us know in the comments below.
These copies of The Prefecture of Ryu and the Cult of Yurei Starter Packs were provided by GCT Studios.
The Prefecture of Ryu are a great beginner faction and a solid starter set that demonstrates their martial prowess. The Cult of Yurei are a complex and tactical faction that require expansion out of their starter set to be effective. The starter set does still offer a great introduction to their forces and is a great place to start to explore this faction.