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What is Bushido?

Bushido: an introduction (part I)

By: Thomas “rice” van den Berg

What is Bushido? If you’re unfamiliar with the great game that is Bushido, look no further: in this article I’ll explain, very briefly, what Bushido is and what you can expect in terms of setting and atmosphere. I’ll follow up soon with an article on game play!

Bushido is a skirmish wargame by GCT Studios (known, amongst other things, for their recent “Rise of the Kage” kickstarter). The game is set in the fictional fantasy setting of the J’war Isles, a setting very heavily influenced by folklore from cultures as Japan, China and Korea.

As it is a fantasy setting, besides the staple samurai and ninja, you can expect also Yokai, spirits benevolent or otherwise, Oni, Elementals, Naga, etc.

For now Bushido has six factions:

The Prefecture of Ryu is the textbook example of samurai supported by ashigaru, priests and even a dragon! They’re the current rulers of the J’war isles although currently more in name.

The Temple of Ro-Kan. Mystical monks and devout peasants. While normally keeping its nose out of more mundane affairs, the current state of the Isles has made them determined to protect it as they see fit. In this they have Kung Fu monks to fight for them, some even augmented with elemental powers: the Elements themselves aid the monks in the form of Kami and benevolent Yokai.

The Cult of Yurei. This is the “undead” faction. This faction is known for its use of reanimated bodies. It can even do this during a game: while being undead makes them quite a bit slower, they’ve got a lot more staying power, being able to resurrect themselves during a game. To make up for the slow speed of the undead, the faction has human conspirators and harmful yokai with among them vampires and the kamis of the seven sins.

The Savage Wave. Characterized by its Oni and Bakemono (Japanese for “monsters), it sees human slaves and even feral creatures doing the bidding of the Oni. What their agenda is remains unknown (and whether it extends much further than raiding and pillaging).

The Ito Clan. The samurai of the Ito Clan used to be similar to the Prefecture: a clan of noble samurai working to create order in the lands. That is, until one of them found a hidden temple in the J’war Isles. Now the clan fully follows the will of Orochi, an ancient snake god whose influence into the clan has not only changed them mentally, but also physically. Units from this clan encompass the usual samurai, ashigaru and priests. However, in addition you can also field the aggressive Naga (hideous half snake mutants) and even animal snakes to spread the poison that is Orochi.

The Silvermoon Syndicate. Finally, the Syndicate is a collection of vagabonds and criminals banded together. Based in the city of Jima, they created for themselves a hive of gambling, entertainment and gladiatorial combat unseen in the rest of the Isles. As is typical for a faction most would associate with Yakuza or Triads, this faction has an assortment of thugs to choose from Kyoaku-Han, the lowly thugs of the Syndicate, to gigantic warriors known as Buto, to the lovely but dangerous Roses. To lead this all are the Oyabun each one of the five fortunes leading the Syndicate.

That’s the faction rundown. As you can see it’s full of Asian flavour, yet remains distinct in its application.

If you’d like to know more about Bushido, I’ll return soon with an article on how the actual game plays!

For now, feel free to comment on the article below, or discuss it on the forums!

Henrik Becker

Henrik plays wargames in order to hold on to the last part of his masculinity, which is in constant danger due to the sheer amount of daughters at home. Favourite game is SAGA by Studio Tomahawk.

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