Our new samurai game Test of Honour is supported by a range of exciting expansion sets, with new models and unique cards. We asked author Graham Davey to talk us through each one and explain how to integrate them with the main game.
Miniatures painted by Luis Fernando Lopez Garcia.
The masterless samurai known as ‘ronin’ roam the land as mercenaries and highwaymen. The warband of Tadashi ‘the Dishonoured’ has a reputation for using bribes, dirty tricks and even poison to massacre its enemies.
- 18 unique cards – including Hidden Attacker and Dangerous Reputation
- 1 metal character model – Tadashi ‘the Dishonoured’
- 5 plastic figures
- 5 metal ‘scruffy’ heads
- 2 mulltibases
Ronin have often been presented as noble figures, forced to make impossible choices while seeking revenge for the death of a beloved master. As such this set contains a range of Infamy skills which take your samurai far away from what was considered honourable behaviour.
However, just as often they ended up as mercenaries, thieves and thugs, abandoning their code for the sake of survival – so we’ve included Recruitment cards to use these models as commoner Ronin if you wish, giving you basic troops with a slightly different stat line.
Warrior Monk Masahiro has vowed to fight the injustices of the Japanese clans. He and his followers battle the power of the samurai, taking the armoured face-plates of their fallen enemies as badges of victory.
- 18 unique cards – including Ancient Curse and Pure Weapon
- 1 metal character model – Warrior Monk Masahiro
- 10 plastic figures
- 10 metal ‘masked’ heads
- 3 mulltibases
The stealing face-plates idea has no historical grounding, but we thought it was a cool idea that might well have happened. Perhaps more importantly it demonstrates what a different look you can create by changing the heads.
Warrior Monks meanwhile are an established part of the history of the period and had many conflicts with the ruling samurai clans. Like the other new metal character models Masahiro has his own character card (costing an extra point or two to recruit), or you can simply use one of the standard samurai cards (yes, even though monks weren’t samurai!).
The set includes a variety of Mystical skills that emphasise the power of prayer and belief. A few of you have asked if we’ll be including magic and monsters and other Japanese fantasy elements. The quick answer is ‘no’… The game is inspired by samurai movies but definitely still historical at the core!
Disinherited samurai lord Senzo ‘the Thorn’ leads a group of pauper soldiers, using his legendary skills with the bow in the hope of winning back his fortune.
- 18 unique cards – including One with the Target and Hidden Marksman
- 1 metal character model – Senzo ‘the Thorn’
- 10 plastic figures
- 10 metal ‘straw hat’ heads
- 3 mulltibases
Once again, the metal straw hat heads that come in this set completely change the feel of the models, making them less military and more like peasants (especially if you leave off the back-banners).
Remember each expansion set contains one type of plastic sprue, but there’s nothing to stop you mixing the heads around on bodies from other sets if you want to create a more balanced force.
The samurai archer character from this set is backed up with some useful shooty skills, plus other skills and quests that reflect him being more at home with the local peasants than most noble-born samurai.
Following the murder of her husband, the widow Takeda Naoko dons the armour of a samurai and rides out to seek vengeance, all the while clinging desperately to the path of honour.
- 18 unique cards – including The Side of Right and Powerful Charge
- 1 metal character model – Onna Bugeisha Takeda Naoko
- 5 plastic mounted figures
- 5 metal ‘neat bare’ heads
The rules for cavalry in the game are very simple (presented on the recruitment cards in this set), but adding even just one or two to your force changes things dramatically. The extra movement multiplied by 3 actions for your hero means you can get your most powerful model exactly where you need him (or her). And an all cavalry force is very interesting to play!
The onna bugeisha character (female samurai) comes with skill cards to show her sense of honour, family pride, and a haughty attitude to the low-born, plus a particularly interesting quest where you have to interrogate enemy samurai once they are vanquished to discover a secret. The idea is that she is tracking down her husband’s murderer. Could it be the ronin Tadashi?
We’ll also be releasing a Samurai Warband set containing a mix of plastic troops but no metals at all. The main game has enough models for two players, so this set is designed for if a third player wants to join in the fun with a ‘standard’ samurai warband rather than any of the themed expansions.
It includes recruitment cards that duplicate those in the main game, but marked with a third colour.
How to Mix in the Cards
The default rule is that you can freely mix in cards from the expansions and the main set as long as you stick to the normal limitations for recruitment given in the Battle Guide.
Of course, assuming you want to build your force around one of the expansion boxes that you’ve lovingly assembled and painted, it makes sense to reserve the relevant Recruitment cards for your own use. In other words: your models, your cards!
The named character cards can be used in place of your normal Samurai Hero – you’ll see they have the same Samurai Hero icon.
Again, the default is to simply mix all the skills together, but as the cards in each expansion are themed to the character of the set, you may prefer to use this optional rule:
Specialised Fate Decks
Before a battle, if players are using Recruitment cards from the expansion sets, they may create specialised Fate decks.
Each player takes the Skill cards from the expansions they are using to start his own pile. Added to that, all the remaining Skill cards (from the main game and any other expansion sets you have) are split between the players so they end up with the same size pile.
Then each player thoroughly shuffles his pile and deals out the correct number of cards to form his Fate deck.
For example, Player 1 has included some Ronin Thugs in his force so takes the Skill cards from the Ronin set, topped up with a mixture of the remaining cards.
Player 2 has a purely Samurai force so his pile consists of just the remaining cards.
Player 2 will end up with more of the remaining cards in order to make the piles equal.
Quest cards are designed to be mixed in with the Skill cards, as explained in the Battle Guide. You can include them with the other cards from an expansion when building Specialised Fate decks if you wish.
However, we recommend that you leave Quest cards out while playing through the story-driven linked scenarios presented in the main game.
Dice & Cards Expansion Set
This set as it might be easy to overlook among all the exciting models, but it’s well worth a mention. Extra dice are obviously useful, but the coolest bit is the 10 unique cards included:
- 2 extra Dishonour cards – Public Disgrace and Private Shame – these make it possible that the result of your dishonourable actions could be much worse or not so bad!
- 1 new Injury card – Lingering Wound – means you start the next battle in a bad way!
- 4 new skills – including Red Mist – which makes you more awesome once wounded – and Vengeance – which kicks in if a friendly samurai is cut down!
- 3 new Quests – including Appalling Luck (written in honour of Andy’s terrible dice rolling!).
All these new cards should be shuffled into the relevant decks from the main game.
All these expansion sets are included in the Test of Honour Complete bundle, along with two bonus figures:
If you still haven’t decided, head over to the webstore and download a FREE pdf of the main rules: