The Shiho Clan once ruled the Jwar Isles, but they were broken by the Prefecture of Ryu and scattered. Now, the return of the Shiho Hiroto, The Black Eagle has rallied the remnants of the clan, and a storm brews to sweep across the Isles. As the Shiho Clan draws its strength, the scattered forces become available for Bushido. There have been a few releases for the Shiho clan building up in previous release waves, but now there is a Shiho Clan Starter Set, along with several other releases available. In this article, we're going to look at the Shiho Clan Faction Starter Set, along with catching up with Jason Enos, the Lead Developer for Bushido about what the Shiho brings to the table and also reveal a brand new profile for the clan.
Bushido Risen Sun is a skirmish wargame from GCT Studios. You can learn more about Bushido in our guide here.
Shiho Clan Faction Starter Set
The Shiho Clan Starter Set comes with a core of samurai and support that focuses on the Shiho's way of war. Their warband pack comes with 5 warriors, a Guerilla Warfare theme card, 3 enhancements, 1 event, and a Flank quick reference rules card.
After the Shiho's defeat and near destruction at the hands of the Prefecture of Ryu, their remaining surviving warriors are either very old or very young. This means that they have had to adapt their strategies to even the odds with the samurai of the other clans, as facing them head-on would finish the destruction that was started years ago. They have a lot of surprises to keep their enemies on their toes, and most of the samurai have the Flank special rule, which lets them deploy from any table edge later in the game, and Booted, which lets them immediately make a walk action after deploying, to get closer to the action.
The five warriors included in the Shiho Clan Starter Set are:
- Shiho Takuya - Takuya is the exception to the Shiho, and is an incredibly effective samurai. Takuya retains some of the power the Shiho used to have, and his Awe Ki Feat reflects this by giving all enemies within six inches a frightened marker. Takuya is also an effective commander, by boosting nearby leadership tests, pushing nearby Ashigaru forward, and improving your dice roll to determine the first player each turn.
- Shiho Wimpie - Wimpie can move one inch during each starting phase for improved positioning, along with having access to Flank and Booted. He is also a very effective defensive swordsman, with a ki feat that boosts his abilities as long as he is defending.
- Shiho Yusuke - Yusuke is a practitioner of a Shiho bow style that allows him to move and shoot without modifier, reloading each turn to gain the benefit. He also has a ki feat that allows him to remove himself from combat to keep the ranged pressure up.
- Shiho Sayaka - Sayaka is an extremely effective melee combatant for her rice cost. Her powerful naginata boosts her melee ability and her ki feat Keiro can be used to boost nearby friendly samurai's melee as well.
- Kazuki - Kazuki exemplifies the Shiho theme, with the veteran ashigaru's martial prowess outshining those of the young samurai. He's got a solid melee stat, but his real power is in ranged, where he can drop a 50mm blocking terrain token with his flame arrows ki feat. He's also as effective as Yusuke, studying the same bow technique that allows him to rain arrows and remain mobile.
We sat down with Jason Enos, Bushido's Lead Developer to ask him about the design of the Shiho Clan, and what the future holds for them and Bushido.
TechRaptor: Jason, welcome back to TechRaptor and for such an auspicious occasion. The rightful ruler has returned to the Jwar Isles, but maybe not in the way he had hoped. Shiho Hiroto is back, and it’s been a big build-up that’s been coming since the beginning of the Risen Sun edition launched. Has the launch of the Shiho clan been a big project for you? How long have you been planning it for?
Jason Enos: Hiroto was actually the very first piece of Bushido art. That was his Drunken Master version of course. So we knew eventually he was going to be part of the game from the very start. This plan for the Shiho release has been worked on since the Risen Sun edition.
We wanted to tell a story with it, so the first inklings of the clan were the Drunken Master and Eldest Brother models which were part of the new edition release. Then the Wolf Clan, old allies of the Shiho, decided to send part of their family into Open Rebellion in support of their old masters. The Wolf box was very well received and players were interested in the new playstyle as well as the story; they were preparing for the return.
The Brotherhood box came next, this was some of the allies and friends Hiroto made while traveling the Empire and having many weird and wonderful adventures. We couldn’t tell all those stories but I hope the array of very distinct characters he met shows that he was always busy and often in trouble.
Then the Shiho wave finally came, led by a new profile for Hiroto “The Black Eagle”. He finally threw off his malaise and drunkenness to return to his people and dedicate himself to taking back his birthright.
This whole thing took two years (The Lockdown did extend this of course) and we had to constantly adjust our plans based on external factors. The community has responded really well to this, so I hope they are happy now we’ve reached the point where the Shiho can be played on the table.
TR: Hiroto has been beaten by the Prefecture of Ryu in the past and this time he’s waging war differently. How have you captured the mechanics of this style of combat for the Shiho?
JE: Exactly, the Shiho cannot assemble an army like the Dragon Clan has. They need to fight from ambush, hit and run and stay out of protracted engagements. The main playstyle for Shiho can be summed up as “Unpredictable”. Your opponent should never know what you will do. The Shiho have a lot of options at all times. They use the Flank trait to bring reinforcements on from a neutral table edge, they disguise some Samurai as peasants or Heimin and the opponent can never know which models are simple townsfolk and which are the vengeful Shiho Samurai.
The unpredictability also extends to their combat style. Many Ki Feats are duplicates of those other clans have but the Shiho have Instant feats, rather than Active feats, so you can surprise enemies with them. Even declaring a melee action on a Shiho model should be something that makes your opponent worry, you never know what benefits and advantages they may suddenly gain.
TR: The Shiho is quite a big release wave, especially with this ongoing pandemic affecting all facets of tabletop gaming and production. Has it had a big effect on GCT?
JE: As the Developer, my biggest change was that we were unable to run our community lead campaign which was going to determine how some of our ongoing narrative would play out. My idea was that players would send results of games and that would determine overall battles, while winners of large tournaments would decide the outcome of individual duels. I hope to use the system in the future, but even now I do not want to encourage people to go out and play games until it's safe to do so wherever they are in the world.
TR: What can we expect next for the Shiho Clan? Do they have any more releases planned?
GCT won’t let me make a faction until I have at least twenty profiles. We will have at least one Shiho model every wave for the foreseeable future. Now the models are out, the rules go into a stage I call Re-velopment which is where we use the feedback to see if we got it exactly right and if we need to make certain profiles to help with some list building or to emphasize some themes.
One thing we noticed was that many of the actual Shiho models look quite similar. This helps faction cohesion, but painters often like some things which are different. The Brotherhood does start this process but we have some unique models the likes of which Bushido has never seen coming for this faction. Also, since we get asked a lot, there are some more Wolf profiles but first, we want to concentrate on putting out enough Eagle models to give them a firm identity, but Tanaka devotees will get more after the faction is established.
However, we do know players are looking more at Bow focussed armies for Shiho so this should be a useful addition.
TR: What can we expect next for Bushido?
JE: Well, I can’t talk about much of it but I have folders for factions numbered up to sixteen now. First, expect more sub-factions for our older factions, and of course, everyone will get a few releases each year. The main upcoming thing we have announced is the Lore & Campaign book.
Alasdair is writing a load of background and daily life in Jwar-type information and I am busy making rules to advance characters with experience, make alliances, gain permanent injuries as well as devise a lot of more narrative, less competitive scenarios that may come up during a narrative campaign.
We also have mission cards that allow you to perform deeds mid-game to gain some advantage and rules for playing on some of the more, unique tables that are not suitable for tournament play but look amazing and suit Bushido too well to be left unused.
TR: Thank you very much for your time, Jason. We can’t wait to get the Shiho in battle.
JE: Thanks for this opportunity, Death to the usurpers!
The Shiho Clan Faction Starter Set used to produce this article was provided by GCT Studios.