So by now folks have hopefully been able to get their hands on the Shogunat and gotten a few games in. How do they play? Are they a Close combat or shooty Force. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
the Shogunate 'wave 1' releases is a squad that is melee-focused. I suggest visiting Miah's blog for some character reviews:
STATS: on average (heroes compared relatively to other non-epic heroes & zor'ka, and troopers to troopers), they have the highest average combat values across wound levels and have the highest movement values. Stamina values are exact middle of the range, on average, and mental values are pretty much middle of the road too.
COMBAT: since they must be adjacent to be a threat in combat, they are vulnerable for a longer time than ranged-attack characters are, when only combat is considered. Their higher combat & movement values makes up for this somewhat, but careful movement (ie WHERE characters end their activation) should be practiced more than ever so as to prevent a combat advantage to your opponent - ranged options are mostly limited to pistols w/ mediocre results. Once they can get up close however, they can be very deadly, bashing & slashing away The Ashigaru trooper, as pretty much your only reliable ranged attacker, can help buffer the distance until you close in.
SNEAK - 1 trooper - Shin Agent - & 1 hero - Mizu - have this skill, which means that currently up to 3 Shogunate characters can have it if you double up purchase on the trooper pack. On certain maps w/ 2 sneak objectives, this can be a big advantage as it allows you to complete objectives faster.
DEXTERITY - all Heroes have this! On maps with Dexterity objective(s), this can be a big advantage.
REASONING & WEAPONRY - no one has these skills (yet)! You'll be at a disadvantage on these objectives, likely taking longer to complete. On maps where this is critical, you may want to consider a combat (elimination) based strategy instead.
The current skill set for the Shogunate pretty much evens itself out as far as distribution of objectives on maps however.
one thing to keep in mind is that this is the starting lineup for the shogunate - their foundation, much like Heizinger/Ozo/Eva or MacNeal/Brown/Aponi were before they had additional characters available, is inherently limited compared to other factions - when not using mercenaries or reich characters. But since Hinansho introduces Reich & Shogunate alliance rules, the setup options are not as limited as it seems. I expect future Shogunte expansions to develop & reinforce their melee strategy.
So far the best tactic i've found is attacking with numbers in my favor, using Ashigaru to buffer that a little with his ranged attack. Including Wolf or Gorgei can give more ranged attack options, while Hoss can be used with his combat pack to teleport enemies in the middle of your other characters grouped up, ready to start a melee onslaught. The Shogunate have a nice implementation of the sneaky/get-up-close-and kill your enemy face-to-face feel as their primary strategy (as opposed to reich's mental out-of-path/turtling tactics as primary, backed up by melee).