Monday, 21 May 2012

Jwardiff: Watching a Bushido Tournament


Bushido is one of those games I've tried to get people to play locally that I have to be honest and say I've struggled with. I think there's some sort of mental block with a lot of gamers over games without a physical rulebook. It's an understandable first test, it really is. I mean if it doesn't even have a rulebook yet is it even a game yet? I obviously say yes, because you get a free little rulebook with the starter sets, and the rules exist. But hey, I still tried pimping it because I think it's an good little game you know. Besides, it's at the stage where they're still probably finalising what that first edition rulebook will look like, so the game could actually really do with experienced gamers playing it, and feeding back their thoughts to the guys at GCT Studio's. Any who, me and the Cursed, who I've tried to get involved with the game, decided to trek all the way from the West Midlands to Cardiff this Saturday to take a look at what was billed as the worlds first ever Bushido Tournament held at Firestorm Games.

Now for those of you who don't know this, port towns are notoriously bad at dealing with traffic. The reason being is that roughly 50% of the potential dispersal area for congestion is, to not put too fine a point on it, bloody sea! So unless you're in a boat you're stuffed if you drive that way. So port towns are notoriously bad for being able to let pressure in their system ease out of the center. Put it this way it took us 1 hour 43 minutes to get to Cardiff... and then 59 minutes to get through the Cardiff traffic to Firestorm games. A journey the satnav was telling us should only take 6 minutes. Honestly, I was so close to beating someone to death with a plastic fork it was untrue. Genuinely Cardiff's collected town planning department must have an IQ score of spoon! Any way we finally got to Firestorm Games just before my head exploded, which was quite handy.

For those of you who haven't been to Firestorm Games, it's just off of the Penarth Road on Trade Street, it creeps up on you, and if you're not careful you can miss it. Coming from the east of the city you'll first see the Brains Brewery, this is a sure sign you're getting very, very close. The street entrance you are looking for looks like this:

This way lies toy soldiers

Once there though it's a pretty good little shop / gaming venue. That looks something like this:

The outside is painted a 'nice' shade of pastel green now!

Inside it's a shop... yeah quite the revelation that!

It's not a bad little shop. Although it doesn't actually have that great a range of the games I'm currently playing the most right now, Infinity, Freebooter's Fate and they have no stock of Heavy Gear Blitz at all. Still if you're after discount Games Workshop stock or Flames of War stuff you're in luck. Any way if you find yourself in Cardiff you should pop along and look them up, to see what you think for yourself.

By the time we had got to Firestorm the tournament was already under way, stupid bloody traffic! There were only 12 people playing in the tournament, but for a game that's barely a year old, if that, I don't think that's too bad a turnout. The measure of these things though is whether people actually had a good time, and wandering around the place having chats with people it seemed like they were having a whale of a time. I have to be brutally honest and say that I no longer have the stomach for a full weekends worth of gaming, so the fact it was only a one day event certainly appealed to me. It was also very well organised and ably run by Mick Green (I think that's his name), and were they to run another tournament I'd certainly be interested in going, because the people seemed cool, they had cake and the boards looked ace:

The battle of the hastily primed and part painted forces... was a damn good game though!

The Temple Ro Kan Force in this picture is utterly gorgeous looking.

Possibly my favourite board of the day.

The Cult of Yurei force in this picture was really nicely painted.

It wasn't just the tables that looked nice though, the small warbands themselves looked pretty darn good. There was a really nice Cult of Yerei force painted by the shows organiser and a splendid looking Temple Ro Kan force on some Micro Art Bases that were to die for. There was also a really cool looking Prefecture of Ryu warband painted by Adam Wilcox, he won best painted faction for them, and that prize was very hotly contested let me tell you! Generally the painting standard was good and I'd go as far to say that the painting standard across the board was top notch. It was certainly nice to see armies painted more than the minimum three colour standard you see at some tournaments. True there were one or two part painted factions as people had clearly hastily tried getting ready for the tournament a week before, but you could see that everyone had made an effort, which was great to see. Because lets be honest, it's often this side of the hobby that gets neglected by some tournament goers, by no means all, but some.

So what about Bushido as a tournament game then? Does it suit tournament play? Well not having taken part I can't really comment, but there are a number of things that I will say in its favour that means I personally think it does suit tournament play:

  1. The 2' by 2' play area is genius. Bushido doesn't take up too much space and can cram a lot of game into a very tight area, and still give you space to store dice etc. around the edge. Its contained nature helps event organisers and players alike.
  2. The small nature of the warbands means it's easy to move from game to game.
  3. Although games are quick and frenetic and take up a small amount of time, a lot of play and tactics is crammed into that time. A Warhammer Fantasy Tornament was going on at the same time. In the time it took them to play one and a half games the Bushido gamers played 4 games and had time to stop for Pizza and Cake. 
  4. All of the above means it lends itself far more to the social aspects of tournament play. You do have time to chat with your opponent if you want to, and to take things easy and enjoy the games. There's no sense of panic about getting things done in time... plus there's time for cake and there should always be time for cake!!!

So would I now actually consider attending a tournament again? Honestly? Yes. If it was as well run as this one clearly was, and as much fun as this one was. I'll be keeping my eyes open for anymore Bushido tournaments that may be happening anytime soon.

So to wrap up who were the winners? Well apart from everyone who attended... the overall winner was Carlos of GCT Studios with his Prefecture of Ryu force. I'm reliably informed by the other members of GCT Studios that it must have been a fix, or that he was cheating because he's rubbish. Second was John Conway with his Temple Ro Kan and Third was John Wood with his Prefecture of Ryu. As I mentioned above, Adam Wilcox took home the best painted prize, which was thoroughly deserved. A special mention has to go to Odin form GCT Studios as well, who seemed to have the worst luck with the dice, although it didn't seem to ruin his enjoyment of the game, or though that could have been the beer. I think it might possibly have been the close proximity of the Cursed affecting his dice, but even so his dice rolls were dire!

This was a depressingly average roll for Odin.

So there you have it, the worlds first ever Bushido tournament, and hopefully the start of many more to come. I'm certainly going to be turning up to the next one, and the Cursed might even come with me. Why? Because he's actually decided to back the Bushido Ito Faction Indiegogo campaign, which by the way is painfully close to reaching its second stretch goal of $20,000, sitting just shy when I last checked at $19,360. The Cursed has decided to go for the $100 perk, or the I want I-Two if you will and pick up not only the Ito when they are eventually released, but also pick up a Savage Wave force for now. This is so I can smash him about a bit with those, before destroying his Ito when they arrive! Any way the guys at GCT Studios posted a fan made video to their campaign today that's worth taking a look at, whoever is responsible, well done Sir, you did a bang up job:

Any way that's enough Bushido for today. I'd just like to remind people of my Birthday Post and ask that you all help me promote it wherever you can, because the quicker I get to those Follower targets the quicker I get to give those prizes away. Peace out!


  1. wow i forgot how good those boards were, and i was there!!! The guys from GCT studios were awesome and i cant wait to pick up my savage wave at the Uk games Expo. Now which resin bases to put them on?

    1. Those Micro Art round lip Ancient Ruins were bases that that Temple Ro Kan force were on were pretty cool looking. Not so sure they're right for Savage Wave though, although you'd get away with them for your Ito faction when they arrive. I can't find them on the Micro Art website, but Maelstrom Games have them in stock.

  2. this reminds me the beginning of Confrontation in Paris "StarPlayer" store

    Good luck for bushido

    1. Sadly I wouldn't know, I wasn't in Paris at the time! :P

      Like you though I wish the guys at GCT Studios all the best and I hope Bushido at least settles in and beds down for them. I also hope it makes enough money to make it worthwhile for them. It's a nifty little game, with some quite nice mini's as it happens. Nothing spectacular yet, but they are steadily improving.

  3. Thanks for the incredibly generous write up, was great chatting to the two of you, blogs like this are one of the best ways to spread indepent game love, and I'll certainly be checking more regularly now I've found it (speaking of finding things you reminded me I must find my heavy gears...)

    1. Well if you follow my Blog there's a chance you might get some free swag!!!

      When I get to 525 followers I'll be giving away some Bushido swag kindly donated by the guys at GCT Studios.

      I also don't think I was overly generous with my write up. It was a well run event and you'd gone the extra mile to make the boards look nice and ensure everything went smoothly. I say yu're desrving of your praise.

  4. Nice looking boards :-)

    One of the things that struck me looking at Bushido at Salute was how good looking you can make a 2x2 and it's perfect for a coffee table game or for gaming stores with limited space available.

    Should be down at Firestorm for some Mo'faux action in a couple of weeks, it's a nice venue. Haven't run into traffic problems there before but usually we've been coming in from staying overnight over Swansea way.

    Can't wait for the Ito release, yup I'm signed up ;-) Just need a few more players at the club now. Jake has every faction but not many others have stuck a toe in the water yet. Plenty of interest though...

    1. Yep a with a 2' by 2' board you can really go to town with things. I've got loads of ideas running through my head... and sadly very little money to realise them all. Typical.

      When is the Mo'faux tournament at Firestorm? You're right Firestorms quite a nice little venue. However, it's just close enough for those of us who live in the West Midlands to think it's a day trip. A bit like everywhere really... I guess that's why they call it the midlands!!!

      Yep the Ito are looking super sexy. I am a little scared though that they may become the biggest faction after the Indiegogo campaign. I suppose it's inevitable with such a small game, when a campaign takes off like this one has. Be nice to start seeing the final sculpts.

    2. iPhone swallowed my earlier, timelier reply X-D

      It's Jubilee weekend, so it's going to be a bit quiet I think. Should be a laugh though and I don't mind it being small as I haven't managed to get many games of Mo'faux in since moving house at the tail end of last year...

    3. A ha!!! The day of the coronation I'm planning on leading a revolt to usurp the Crown and her pitiful Government. Viva la revolution. It's time we brought the revolution home from the new world.


      An atheist, republican... who would've thunk it!

  5. I'm a bit on the fence on this one. At first I dismissed the game, as the miniatures didn't really call out to me. But some Cult miniatures and the Ito artwork is really starting to turn me around.

    I guess I really like the fact the game is played on 2'x2' as I'm very limited in my gaming space. The question is now whether my bank account can handle the strain of yet another miniature game..

    Two other small skirmish games I've got my eye on are Freebooter's Fate and Anima Tactics. Do you know if these could be played on a 2'x2' table?

    1. hmmm... really good question.

      Anima Tactics - I'm going to say no. The close proximity and the way buffs and zones work mean although it's a really small count of models when you play, you really need at least 4' by 4' to play on. Otherwises certain builds would just decimate all others. Savage close combat lists with certain support characters would be far too hard.

      Freebooter's Fate - Actually we had a discussion about this the other day. Whether you could play the game on a 2' by 2' board. The conclusion was you could, but that really you wouldn't want to go smaller than 3' by 3'.

      Hope you found that useful. If I was picking between Anima Tactics and Freebooter's Fate right now I'd go with freebooter's Fate. Anima Tactics isn't very well supported by Cipher Studios in my opinion. although they have a great miniatures line and a pretty nifty game it just feels unloved and dare I say it, neglected. There's also a slight problem with power creep, i.e. the latest stuff being the best stuff. Freebooter's Fate feels better supported and is far better balanced.

      As to the Ito... they do look spiffing!

    2. Not sure whether to thank you.. Now my brain has decided that a game that only needs such limited space is indeed brilliant and therefore I must have it. I'll need 2 factions obviously, in a vain attempt to ween some people off the gw-tit.

      In that case Freebooter's Fate sound like the better choice indeed. So many goodlooking factions.. oh the agony of choice.. But I'll probably be picking up a few Anima Tactics models for painting and rulebook since I'm a sucker for anime and anime artwork and my gamestore stocks them anyway.

      Thank you for the advice.

    3. Yeah the Anima Tactics miniatures are truly lovely some of them. Admittedly some of the early stuff looks like it was sculpted by a monkey using its own shit... but the later stuff is truly gorgeous. What's your local store then if it actually stocks Anima Tactics stuff?

      Freebooter's Fate would be better on 3' by 3'. It's designed for a 4' by 4' board roughly. But 9 times out of 10 that means you sort of waste the first turn moving into positions where you can threaten your opponent. 3' by 3' brings you closer and cuts that out, but still gives you scope for all the different tactics in the game.

      If you're looking for a game that works on a 2' by 2' space then hand on heart Bushido works really, really well.

    4. I think I know some of the models you mean.. But then I look at models like High Arbiter Aizen, The Colonel, Morrigan, ... and I start feeling all giddy. My store is de Hermelijn, but considering I'm Belgian I doubt it will be much help should you want to buy some models. But according to their news, Maelstrom will be stocking it in the near-future.

      But I really don't get it. Belgium is a small county for sure, but we only have 6 official gw stores here. The rest are all independents. In the medium sized town where I live alone we have two. At least one either stocks or orders Anima Tactics, Freebooter's Fate, Dark Age, MERCS, Infinity, Eden, Firestorm: Armada, HellDorado, ... The list goes on and on. And yet, all that ever gets played here is gw. HoMachine is just starting to get noticed as the new hotness from accross the Atlantic. The rest are simply considered collecters items for painters. It's bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating. Sorry for that little rant..

      I'll keep that in mind, thanks. I'll be ordering some Freebooter's Fate stuff pretty soon I think. But I'll be needing two factions again I think :p

      I'll admit, Bushido is really starting to grow on my. Undead samurai fighting snakepeople is simply too Ninja Scroll to pass up.. Damn you Frontline!

    5. Ninja Scroll... hell yeah!!! Also has a twinge of the Onimusha series about some of the mini's. I just love the oriental myths and legends. Such a cool bunch of folklore to set games amongst. I'm surprised others haven't tried before.

      That must be frustrating to have all of that good stuff on offer and have to settle for bland GW product. Tell you what, direct a few people towards my Blog and specific articles and I'll see if I can't conviince a few to give some other games a try. I'll do my best!!!

    6. It's strange how these things come together. Bushido made me remember Ninja Scroll. Now I'll be rewatching the movie and perhaps a few episodes of the series later and I'll end up pledging for the Ito clan. Just like your articles on Infinity made me rewatch the GitS movies and series. And suddenly a Nomad force arrived at my doorstep..

      Well, I managed to get a single friend to start Infinity so we'll see how it goes from there. I've got the few games in mind where I'll be buying two factions, but I think it'll be a bit difficult to push games I haven't really played myself. But I'll give your article idea a go and perhaps that way I can end up with a partner in crime.

    7. See, that was kindof what struck me first about Bushido, a hint of Ninja Scroll ;)
      Of course, I'm debating colour schemes for my Ryo force at the mo. Tempted to use the colours of Samunuske from the classic Onimusha series of games....

    8. Well guess what I watched last night. =P

      I grew up watching anime and reading manga. These sorts of games talk to my experience far more than 2000 AD does, which was my fathers generations thing. True I read 2000 AD, but it's the cultural influences from Japan that have had the biggest influence on me. So I guess it's not a surprise to see so many wargames clearly influenced by it anymore.

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  7. Excellent review. I look forward to playing against you in a future tournament. I don't think you missed a thing.

    Nice one!

    Jon Conway

    1. Thanks for the compliment Jon. Glad you like my write up.