A friend and I took the new two player starter out for a test drive with some of our older models.
I wanted to wait to finish painting the new Ito models before I tried them out but they’re so close I figured I’d go for it anyway. The scenario was Ryodo. I was running my Ito army and deployed as close to the center as I could in my corner. Ishi, Isas, and Kinu from the two-player starter were joined by Sakura, Satoshi, and a pair of Bushi. Even though the starter models weren’t quite done, I restricted my other choices to painted models. Of the pool available, I chose Sakura to go with Kinu so they could get the bonus Willpower (I did pay to Induct Kinu into the Sisterhood). I wanted a heavy hitter and chose Satoshi for his armor. The Bushi have always proven very reliable so they find their way into most of my Ito lists.
In the other corner the Ryu force and their Imperal allies also deployed as close to the middle as possible. Ima activated first and ran towards the zone friendly to The Prefecture. They had also brought along a hired Bakemono ninja: Hiretsuna (proxied by Tra Preng). Hiretsuna can’t actually fight with Ryu, but I didn’t know it at the time.
I used the superior speed of the Ito Clan to park models on every objective. I knew I wouldn’t be able to score any points until the next turn but I wanted to dictate the flow of the battle. This may have been a mistake but this was my first game with Ito in Risen Sun and I’m still figuring them out. They’ve changed quite a bit.
Ima bravely engaged Satoshi so she could remove one of his activation counters. The Pushback Attack from her Prefecture Training shoved him away before he could disembowel her for her impudence. Fortunately Isas was there to engage, Surprise, and Assasinate her. His Combo Attack 0 utterly dismembered her. But the Ancestor lurking nearby nabbed her Ki.
Unfortunately that same Ancestor didn’t even thank Isas for the Ki, but annihilated the hebi in short order. That’s one mean ghost but at least he doesn’t heal his allies like he did in new dawn.
The Ancestor then moved on to Satoshi, injuring him slightly before Hiretsuna engaged Satoshi from the rear and almost finished him off. That was largely my fault. I thought with Parry and decent armor I could put all Satoshi’s dice in attack and weather the tiny ninja’s assault unscathed. Instead the bakemono dealt Satoshi 3 damage. Satoshi did finish the little pest off though.
All in all things were going alright for me on that objective. I’d killed two models and only lost one. But I was worried about how much health Satoshi had lost and I was frankly quite scared of that ghost.
Things were also going well on the other side of the table. Sakura put six poison on the Golden Sentinel and Kinu put two on the Imperial Envoy. It wouldn’t help me right now but they’d take damage eventually. And the Bushi there was defending himself admirably.
In the middle Ishi missed with her bow, but on the Ryu side Hiromasa did likewise with his pistol. My other Bushi engaged him before he could shoot again. Unfortunately Akira managed to do a lot of damage to Ishi as he engaged her to try to control the zone. But before the turn ended I moved Kinu into the center zone clenching me 2 VP. I would not have been able to get her completely in without the superior speed the Ito have in Risen Sun. Both the other zones were tied for number of models. I was winning for the moment.
Unfortunately turn 3 opened with the Ryu Ancestor dispatching Satoshi – and I didn’t even get greedy with the Attack dice this time.
In the center things were going alright. The Bushi managed to finish off Hiromasa. I used Kinu to wear away Akira’s Activation tokens, hoping Ishi could finish him off once they were gone. But he used Push Defense to keep her out of b2b. Without Kinu to give her the outnumbering bonus, Ishi was only able to inflict a few wounds on the Exausted Samurai.
Sakura and the Bushi continued to hold the Ito-friendly objective. The Imperial Envoy managed to put a control token on Sakura, but she didn’t hurt the Bushi and little happened on that side of the table save the Sentinel taking bit more damage from Poison. Unfortunately for me these Imperial Samurai happen to have an inexpensive Ki feat that give them Tough, reducing the poison damage they take by 1.
On Turn 4, Sakura stabbed the Envoy in the back. Since she had the Surprise Bonus I took a risk and put all my dice in Attack. Fortunately the gamble paid off this time and the envoy collapsed, bleeding out. Sakura’s luck didn’t last. Her attempt to Poison Akira with a Ki Feat failed later in the turn. Meanwhile the Bushi continued to valiantly hold the Sentinel at bay.
In the center things went horribly. Akira dispatched Ishi, then my Bushi as he engaged the Samurai in an attempt to contest the zone. The Ancestor Spirit killed Kinu just as easily. The turn ended with a tie for VPS, with Ryu holding the center objective and their friendly obective. My proud Ito had only managed to secure their friendly objective. The game was tied 3 to 3.
At the start of turn 5, I attempted to repeat Sakura’s earlier success – this time against the Golden Sentinel. The Sentinel managed to survive and she killed Sakura in the process. Enough damage had been done that the Bushi finished her off, but this left him with one Activation counter against an approaching Samurai. This went about as well as you could expect. He died. Honorably.
I think I will need a little more practice with Ito to really make them work. Their real advantage is Speed but they pay a dear price for it with their increased fragility. I also need to put more care into my list and probably focus on one of the themes. The Blessed gives Shisai extra Ki which would have been really helpful. In this game the two of them lost a lot of usefulness after the first time they got their feats off. Of course my biggest mistake was forgetting to assign my Blood of Orochi counters. That could have made all the difference.
Prefecture MVP: Ancestor Spirit
Ito MVP: Tie – Either Bushi
Hope there’s something useful here for all you Bushido players preparing for Risen Sun.