Sorry for not posting recently! I’ve been incredibly busy lining up a new job, fighting off existential dread and guilt concerning my inability to help the people of Ukraine, and various other small things that just drained my blogging energy.
One good thing to come out of it was my friend finally getting his wish; I bought into Test of Honour. I had avoided the game for a long time, as I’m not as knowledgeable about Japanese history as I am with 19th/20th Century European affairs, and I always thought that Samurai were overrated. But I had gotten him into so many games I played…it was about time to return the favour. So I watched a few reviews and battle reports….and it looked really, really good.
I ordered the Core box and the Ashigaru Scouts bundle, as well as the old 1st Edition Bandit models that were rereleased for Warlords of Erehwon. Great models all-around. I really enjoyed my first few games of the system at our Clubhouse, and I got two people interested. One has purchased Ninja and the Unlikely Companions set, while the other intends to print his force. The fact our Club had purchased a large amount of Japanese terrain really cheaply a few years back also helps, as it makes our games quite atmospheric!
So far, all of the games had been set in the Sengoku period as the game intends. And it plays wonderfully in that context. However….
I may have limited knowledge of Japanese history on the whole, but when we specifically talk about the Edo Period and Meiji Restoration, I know considerably more. Bringing this great system to the Edo period and the Boshin War shouldn’t actually be all that hard, especially if I focus on keeping what makes the game great; it’s cinematic moments and Kurosawa action!
One needs miniatures for such a project, and surprisingly, such a line actually exists! Bac Ninh Miniatures does fantastic work, running out of his blog, http://bacninhminiatures.blogspot.com. I ordered a few miniatures to start, to see how long they would take to reach Canada and also to see how they look.
All in all, I am very impressed by the models. I intend to order more shortly!
I’ve given some thought on how to integrate some of the more Boshin War weaponry into a system clearly designed for feudal Japan. I’ve gone for more cinematic approach here, less realistic.
Pistols could have the strength of a musket, but the range of a throwing weapon. Sure, the weapon could probably shoot further, but given the setting and feel of the game it still feels right. No reload is needed unless its a single shot weapon, and I’m giving some thought to having it have 6 shots, then a reload.
Regular smoothbore muskets are easily represented by the default musket profile, as the training of the soldiers using them and their inherent inaccuracy still “fits”. Rifles on the other hand would merely have improved range; the training would be reflected in a models “aim” stat.
Repeating Carbines, similarly to pistols, might have a reload after a set number of shots. Shorter range might also be worthwhile.
Wargaming the Boshin War’s more large-scale battles would be out of the picture, but doing the small scale skirmishes that led to them is totally doable, as well as personal struggles of samurai and their retainers as they make sense of the ever-changing world.
As for painting….
I must admit a fondness for The Last Samurai, despite its many flaws. It plays extremely loosely with history to be honest. But it has a feel to it, that really works for the cinematic approach to the Boshin War. Many others have done the realistic approach, I will try for a much more stylized one.
With that in mind, my Bakufu troops will ironically be painted very similarly to the Imperial Army featured in the early part of the film. A nice deep blue, with slight variations.
As for the Shinsengumi, I will decide on how to paint them once I order them and they arrive. Additional, better equipped Shogunate infantry will be painted in appropriate historical colours unless I find something I like better!
My friend Ty over at Hussars and Handgrenades is the other half of this project, doing the Imperial faction. How he will approach this, I have yet to see! My Ninja playing friend easily slots into this setting; with historical accuracy being more of a historical suggestion it is much easier to justify their presence.
But that is all I have for today! I will post more in the coming days; I have missed blogging, a lot, and I have some cool projects saved up. Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and remember to obey the Shogun!