I believe the technical term in wargames circles for unbridled enthusiasm on the release of a new game or product is ‘frothing’. With all the product that crosses my desk, you would think that I am immune from such a condition but I’m afraid I am just as likely to get excited about new releases as ever. Of course, we are entering the peak ‘New Release Season’ as manufacturers and designers get ready to launch their new products at Salute down in London, so there is plenty to froth about.
Three forthcoming releases have caught my attention. Unfortunately for me, none of them are from periods that I already have troops for and so whether I actually get to play the games will be another matter. That said, for now I’m happy to dream about painting the miniatures that I may never actually own…
First up is the new game from Warlord, Test of Honour, a skirmish game involving Samurai Warriors and their retinue. Warlord have been very clever in marketing this game in that it involves repackaging the Wargames Factory plastics that they have recently acquired. If you would just like to have a look at the rules, they are available as a free, yes, free download from the warlord games web store. Just click this link to go there:
The game isn’t actually released until late March and of course, Arcane Scenery will be stocking it – watch out for our special offers around launch time! Having the rules will give you some idea of whether the game is for you.
I mentioned that the miniatures are the repackaged Wargames Factory figures but it being a Warlord release they have supplemented the plastics with some very nice metal sculpts, an example of which is shown above. I know that plastics in general and the Wargames Factory figures in particular are not to everyone’s cup of (green) tea but once assembled and painted, the models do look very nice. I am particularly taken by the Archers and the Cavalry.
Of course, Samurai are a bit of a speciality subject and not everyone is going to want to refight the sort of skirmishes that you see on the big screen where the Samurai warrior can take out a group of enemy in three moves whilst barely twitching an eyebrow. You either like this stylised ritual approach to combat or not. I suspect it is a bit of a marmite subject for wargamers. That said, I find myself drawn in two directions. I really admire the discipline, tradition and self sacrifice shown by the Samurai whilst acknowledging that such a regime would drive me mad! I reckon that a group of English Longbow men would have sorted out the Samurai as effectively as they dealt with the French without all that messing around – now there’s a sentence to start an argument…
Of course, the other attraction is the beautiful arms and armour of the figures and the colours and designs used on the armour and clothing. I suspect that in attempting to paint these figures I will be stretching both my eyesight and painting skills but the thought of having a small Samurai band in my show case is too much of a temptation. Just to prove the point, once I had seen the release details of Test of Honour, I was inspired to dig out the only Japanese figures in my lead mountain and get painting! I have three ninja figures that I acquired sometime ago from Northstar games and so I thought that I would give these a lick of paint.
Ninja aren’t exactly representative of the Samurai that I have been frothing over but they are close enough. I decided to paint one in traditional blacks and greys, the other in Reds. The third I am still thinking about! It’s got me in the mood to paint more Japanese warriors, whether Samurai, ninja or the humble foot soldiers of various types. It will be a nice change from my Napoleonics for sure! The fact that I need only paint 6 to 20 models to be playing Test Of Honour is a big draw. If it grabs me the way that I think it might I can gradually add to my Samurai entourage!
There are of course other Japanese rules sets out there if you fancy a change yourself, and of course plenty of figures for sale. Two recent releases spring to mind,
Written by Craig Cartmell and Charles Murton, this is also a skirmish rules set for mythical Japan.
Is part of the Osprey series of Skirmish rules and is supported by some beautifully sculpted figures produced by Northstar.
Of course, if you are going to jump into this period, you will need some scenery and I would suggest you look no further than the Sarissa Precision range of
and also very useful, the
I think though ,the attraction of getting everything in a box, rules, dice, figures, cards, scenarios is too attractive a proposition to miss out on so I will be adding Test of Honour to my repertoire of games – I’ve just got to persuade a couple of my gaming buddies to join in!
I did mention three games that had caught my eye. The other two? Well I’ll cover those in a future blog but here’s a clue, one involves Africa and the other, some spooky goings on out West…