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Subject: Session and playtest with expansion options rss

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Lutz Pietschker
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We had another Bushido 5-player session last night in the Morgenwelt shop, and Oliver and Michael again brought some expansion ideas to playtest. For one, they plan to publish scenarios (similar to the ones that are already on the Gameheads website) that may modify certain rules. However, what we tested in the last two sessions was additional material with corresponding rule changes.
The expansions fall into these categories:
* Combat modifiers: Missile weapons that reduce strength before battle resolution, plus a new tactics option
* Separation of combat reinforcements and political influence reinforcements (choose from which bag to draw), plus new political influence options
* New player roles
* Improving landscape tiles and adding defensive options
These expansion ideas can be added at the player's discretion, it not necessary to use them all. They are meant for players who have mastered the basic rules and want to bring variation and new options into the game. They also address the concern some players have about lack of control, as some of these options make long-term strategies and alternative ways to victory a realistic option.
This is not a session report, so I will not go into details of the game we had (just call me Shogun for the next month whistle. The missile fire options work well, whether you really need them is best decided in your group. They can shift or even topple the balance of forces before the actual battle has even begun, and insofar may give a feeling of even less control over events; in addition, they require some clarifications about battle itself, as situations can occur that are so far unprovided for in the rules. Best used with very experienced players, I think, as battle is not a thing easily explained even now.
The new player roles let one player choose between 3 or 4 available roles, depending on the number of players. They open up additional ways to get fighter honour and resources by dueling or begging (I also like the way Michael has designed this: the player gets a role card stack covered by a "stranger" card, and only later decides which of the cards from this stack he will actually use).
The option to decide how you want to split your reinforcement draw between combat and political reinforcements points into another direction: resource management becomes more important, and players have more control over the way they want to play. Also, new political influence markers give some (mostly defensive) options, like expelling Ronin from your provinces or putting up hostages to convince certain players that it would in mutual interest not to fight against each other.
Maybe the most interesting option is to improve the regions you own. All improvements are paid for with combat markers (katanas), and improvements come in two classes: cheap ones who give additional swords, rice or defensive troops, but these are destroyed automatically when there is combat in a province. Much more expensive are permanent overlay province tiles that improve the province's honour, rice or katana count and often give additional options (like re-grouping your troops after a battle or supporting your Samurai with his Daymio's combat markers). The latter improvements are limited in supply and add one some decisions to take: when to buy, where to place them, and how to defend them. They also can provide considerable surprise when the last missing honour points for victory are obtained by upgrading a province (this was what I did in the last game, though I needed a nudge from Oliver and Michael to realize the opportunity).
To sum up, I think these options are very interesting, and I like the game more than ever now. I also like that expansion options are independent of each other and can be tried as desired. All of these options remain truly and firmly in the spirit of the game, which is interdependence of everything you do with something else you (or someone else) would like to do. Nothing can be done "just so", as you would likely be reminded, politely but nevertheless harshly, of consequences and complications before the game is over. I need to build that temple in my region for 6 katanas end of next round, but I need the katanas for combat NOW! And will the temple be still available end of next round? Shall I induce someone to spend katanas in combat so he will not be able to buy the temple before I do? My neighbour has Auntie Miko as a hostage- shall I fight him nevertheless, even if it costs me some honour? Ah, the joys of planning, and the surprise as the game evolves as it bloody well likes! ninja

Note: As far as I know, there is no fixed publishing date yet, but Essen 2009 is the target. If you are interested, please bug Oliver and Michael through their Gameheads website.
 
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Houserule Jay
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Thanks very much for the report!

A very nice priviledge you have testing these out with the designers for sure!

Lutz is there any chance you could be convinced to translate some of those scenarios on the Gameheads website?

Your English is extremely good, it sure would be nice to know what those are all about, maybe we can give you some Geekgold?!

 
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Lutz Pietschker
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jayjonbeach wrote:
Lutz is there any chance you could be convinced to translate some of those scenarios on the Gameheads website?

Glad you liked my article. Good idea about the translation, I'll contact Oliver to see whether someone has the job yet, if not I'll take it
BTW, I already have a German draft of the expansion, too...

EDIT: Done, files are submitted to BBG.
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Houserule Jay
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PunTheHun wrote:
jayjonbeach wrote:
Lutz is there any chance you could be convinced to translate some of those scenarios on the Gameheads website?

Glad you liked my article. Good idea about the translation, I'll contact Oliver to see whether someone has the job yet, if not I'll take it
BTW, I already have a German draft of the expansion, too...

EDIT: Got the permission, starting with the Green Dragon 3-player two-against-one scenario... NOW.


Awesome! Thanks Lutz.
 
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