The Jung Pirates just received the biggest miniature in Bushido to add to their force, so we take a look at the Jung Pirates starter-set and also talk to Jason Enos, Bushido's Lead Developer, about the Jung and bringing the Ryujin into the game.
This article forms part of our Nautical Tabletop Month that's running across all of November. We're going to look at different nautical wargames and board games, as well as interview developers about capturing the sea feel on the tabletop. We'll also look at nautical factions in popular wargames along with tabletop accessories that are available to keep your hobby ship-shape. You can see all the articles here on the hub. So come aboard as we set sail and celebrate all games nautical in nature.
You can buy all the Nautical Tabletop Month products from our tabletop sponsor, Firestorm Games.
For full details on Bushido and the factions, you can read our Bushido Guide.
Bushido is a skirmish wargame set in a fantasy feudal Japanese setting. It is set in the Jwar Isles, where different factions battle for supremacy, including warrior clans, pirates, martial artists, mythical creatures, and dark forces of horrifying creatures. Bushido is made by GCT Studios and the current edition is called Risen Sun.
There are 2 core mechanics that make Bushido an interesting and tactical skirmish game. The first is the activation system. Units have three stages of activation: Unactivated, Tired, and Exhausted. When a unit activates, it can complete either a simple or a complex action. A simple action makes an Unactivated unit Tired, or a Tired unit Exhausted. A complex action makes an Unactivated unit Exhausted.
This gives you some flexibility in terms of how you control your units, and you don’t need to complete all of a single unit’s activations in one go. This means that you can activate a unit to simple action move, then your opponent activates a unit and you can then either activate the same unit again to simple action move or attack, or a completely different unit.
The second core mechanic is the combat system. Combat in Bushido is risk/reward. When units engage in combat, both units attack and defend simultaneously. So even though your unit attacked, it can still be damaged by the defender. Each unit has a combat stat, which details the amount of dice rolled when they engage in combat. These dice can be split between attack and defense however you choose, and the highest roll for each has to beat your opponent’s roll to hit them and dodge their own attack.
These 2 essential mechanics are what make up the core of Bushido’s rules. The depth of the game comes from the different abilities of the characters, Ki powers that some characters have, and the different attack and defense abilities of weapons. These add the detail and tactical elements to the game, and learning these for your own faction, along with those of your opponents gives you an edge in-game.
Jung Pirates Starter Set
The Bushido Jung Pirates starter-set contains 5 fighters:
- Jung Tora - Tora is a young pirate princess and her profile makes her incredibly flexible, depending on the other units you take.
- Jori - With his harpoon, Jori is able to knock foes down at range. His harpoon also has bleed and access to sharp for taking out tricky foes.
- Miyakomo Asami - Asami is a powerful ranged Shugenja, who using the power of water, can move yours and your opponent's units aroun the board.
- Ryota - Ryota is half-man half-Tiger Shark and as such, likes to get stuck into combat. Ryota benefits from opponents having Bleed marers, which handily is what Jori and Sho are good at giving.
- Sho - Sho is a named version of the generic Kaizoku, and is fast and nimble, and great at giving Bleed markers for Ryota to take advantage of.
The Jung Pirates are an interesting faction, with their playstyle dictated by the captain you chose. Their versitile cheap troop options give a lot of variety. The Jung Pirates Special Card Deck for the extra themes is a must purchase after the starter-set, to see how you want to expand the Jung.
Jung Pirates Developer Interview
TechRpaptor: Welcome back to TechRaptor Jason. It's great to speak to you again. Tell us about the Jung Pirates. In a land dominated by powerful samurai, evil spirits, and oni, what are the pirates up to?
Jason Enos: The Jung were once an important Samurai Clan, part of the nobility of the Jwar Isles. To regain the power and influence they once had, they seem to be supporting the returning Daimyo of the Shiho. Hiroto, The Black Eagle is back to reclaim the lands that are his birthright and the Jung have been helping him so far. Within the pirate clan, the Miyakomo witches have raised Ryujin, the spirit of the deep ocean, and given him form to aid them in their coming battles.
TR: How do the Jung Pirates play on the tabletop? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
JE: The Jung are very customizable, each captain selects their crew for specific abilities they deem important so your choice of captain really determines how all of your pirates play. They do rely on quite a few cheap pirates (called Kaizouku) to do most of the work and then bring a few specialists like Duri the pistolier, the Miyakomo Sea Witches, Crows Nest Sniper, or Hitokuchi the half great white shark shock assault specialist. Oh yeah, they have some crew blessed by the sea kami to gain attributes of some sea creatures.
While they have a lot of proficient troopers and leaders, few Jung models can stand toe to toe with an armored Samurai, they have neither the training nor equipment for a fair fight. They can also suffer from ill-discipline leading to terrifying enemies and mind-affecting magic to be effective against them.
TR: Do the Jung Pirates have any nautical mechanics effects on the tabletop?
JE: Yes. Aesthetically, many of the weapons used are fishing nets, whale harpoons, and cargo hooks that would be used by seafaring people. They also have a ship-like command structure with every crew having available a captain and first mate, then the crew filled out with other sailors and specialists. Their Special Attack and Defence options often move both models in the same direction away from and toward, this mimics a tide effect coming in and going out. The Ebb and Flow card do both at once, first pushing models in then pulling them away. Placement of models is a key component of Bushido so these effects are quite powerful as well as thematic.
TR: How did you go about capturing the nautical feel of the Jung on the tabletop? Do they operate differently from other factions?
JE: Along with the mechanics and event cards themed around the sea and pirates, we have made the Jung a bit of a mix of different groups and cultures. They sail far and wide and recruit anywhere so it makes sense that they have more than just locals with them.
Well, the captains dictate the crew, so Minato for example runs the Docks of Ryu. His crew loads and unloads cargo all day so are stronger than other crews. Mari Jung is a consummate sailor, one of the best in the region, and her crew is used to her getting the upper hand and surprising the enemy with their sudden appearance or relocation. Hibiki is just out for fun, his crew is chosen from those best able to get themselves out of trouble!
TR: Is that a shark we see in the Jung Pirates Starter Set?
JE: Yes. The Jung has 3 sharks so far, a Hammerhead, a Great White, and the Tiger Shark in the starter box. The sea kami have blessed them with features from the sea’s apex predator. You do not want to be on the receiving end of their hunt, especially if you happen to be bleeding.
TR: There’s Ryujin, a Deep Ocean Spirit up for pre-order at the moment. It’s got a high points value. What do you get for the points?
JE: 30 points is the maximum for Bushido so Ruyjin needs to do a lot for that much. He’s very hard to kill, with Tough (2) reducing all damage he takes. His Kami nature means he effectively heals 3 damage per turn as he uses his Ki for wounds. On the offense, he has abilities at range which have a lot of options in addition to their damage, and getting bitten by something that size is about as painful as you would expect. It's probably the most powerful weapon in Bushido right now.
His 2 abilities which are nautical themed are Tsunami, which pushes models away from him a significant distance and is well known to Temple of RoKan players as one of the best feats for scenario control. The other is Rising Tide… Ryujin IS the ocean and as he remains, even on the highest peak, the waves come crashing in. The ground slowly becomes flooded hindering movement and incidentally putting out fires.
The area of this ability can get out of hand for the enemy quickly as it increases every turn.
TR: The Ryujin miniature is huge. Does the physical size have an impact on the tabletop, and were there any challenges incorporating a huge miniature into Bushido?
JE: We made a choice that while Ryujin can fly over most terrain, it's easy to hide from a model of that size so he can have trouble simply fitting his 60mm base on the table which helps smaller models find places he can't reach them (until he Tsunami’s them out or uses his Tidal Force to attack them from afar). It's also hard to hide him, most Bushido terrain isn’t big enough for him to hide behind so if you want to shoot him (which I recommend if you are facing him) you probably can.
TR: Will we see any more huge units coming into the game?
JE: We now have the option available to us. We are not promising more right now and too many would ruin the skirmish flavor of the game. But everyone loves to see these centerpiece models so if the right concept comes along I am sure we would be able to do more.
TR: Thank you very much for talking to us Jason. The Ryujin is an incredible miniature and as Bushido fans already, we can't wait to see what's coming in the future.
The copy of the Jung Pirates Starter Set used to produce this preview was provided by GCT Studios.