I had the chance of another game of Test of Honour at the club the other night, it has been a long while since I had played so I had a little catching up with the rules to do which wasn’t too bad as it is a fairly simple game to play.
We just went for a simple meeting engagement, maybe two waring Samurai fighting over control of a tiny village.
Two even forces meet and fight it out, nice any simple.
We both had a unit of archers and a unit of spearmen both with sergeants lead by a Samurai Hero with a Samurai companion.
Both forces rushed towards each other from different sides of the village…
It was a very slow cautious start as both sides moved slowly forward, actually we did what normally happens and that is the heroes move really quickly and the normal Ashigaru warriors plodded slowly behind! The normal troops only have one token each in the bag for activation and the heroes have several depending on how good they are, what this means ( what we have found ) is that the heroes activate more often and move quicker so leaving the troops and their support behind.
So the heroes wander around not going too far in front while waiting for the troops to activate and follow.
Not an issue really, but you have to remember this when playing or your heroes will find themselves on their own and dead very quickly.
I had a plan for this game, yep honest I did, I would move my heroes on the left with the spearmen and their sergeant in support and on the right I would move forward slowly with my archers and their sergeant firing as they went, hopefully pinning any enemy on that side of the village.
This would allow my combined force of Samurai and Ashigaru to overwhelm any enemy that they meet… yep I had a plan.
Then I rolled some dice and things very quickly fell apart, my plan was finished before it had even started.
The first turn and my heroes stormed forward… on their own as none of my troops moved!! So they wandered around a little waiting for their troops to wake up and have their breakfast, get dressed and finally realise they should be fighting with my Samurai.
Oh well they did a little better on turn two, the archers moved forward and fired at long range at some enemy spearmen, and missed, then their sergeant thought he would show them how to shoot and fumbled his shot.
My spearmen did at least move forward to give the heroes some support on the left of the field.
The enemy archers were a lot better at shooting than mine were as they hit my leader, he was feeling rather stupid today though and decided that he would jump up and try and stop the arrows with his head!! What a plonker!!
The enemy leader attacked my hero and his companion Samurai and it didn’t take long for my companion Samurai to die.
My spearmen came in to support their leader and failed to do anything ( no surprise there! )
My leader was in trouble so the sergeant from the spearmen rushed in to defend him… and promptly died.
The enemy archers hit my spearmen with a hail of arrows taking one of the spearmen out which caused the remaining two to run away!
My archers were not having much luck on the right either, they really couldn’t hit a barn door if they were hanging from it… If they survive this battle the sergeant will have to give them some more training.
Now it was time for my hero Samurai to shine and show how great a warrior he was…
Note: I think that I knew this wasn’t going to be like in the movies where the hero saves the day, the thing that was against me was the fact that I had to roll dice, I really was rolling some awful dice.
As I was saying it was time for my hero Samurai to show how great he was, he fearlessly charged in against the enemy leader and in a flurry of incredible sword attacks he… missed.
He charged again and again over a couple of turns and finally managed to get in a wound on the enemy leader, but by this time he was exhausted, badly wounded and bleeding from a thousand cuts… and just wanted to go and have a drink in the local Sake bar and forget all about this fight.
The enemy spearmen finally charged into my archers and killed one and the other two ran away, the next turn they did turn around and charged back to fight the enemy spearmen but failed to hit, their sergeant was then killed ( either that or he committed Seppuku after seeing how bad his archers were! )
My leader decided it was about time that he stopped mucking about and showed this enemy Samurai how great a warrior he was… he charged in again… and missed.
Then the enemy Samurai and his companion Samurai cut him to pieces and took control of the village.
Well that actually was a lot of fun, I had forgotten how good a game this was, ok I didn’t win but it was a laugh and very entertaining, especially with my bad dice rolling.
My opponent didn’t laugh at my dice rolling too often and as always was good fun to play against.
I like the activation system for Test of Honour with the counters drawn from the bag it does give a good feel to the turn, the activation alternates between the players during the turn but because you have no idea what is going to be drawn from the bag you don’t know what you can activate.
And then of course there are the three odd tokens which when drawn give extra skills to the players to use on their heroes during the game, and of course when the third odd token is drawn the turn ends, so you have no idea how long the turn will be or how many units or characters will be able to move or fight.
All in all a good game that gives a lot of tension and fun during the game, definitely a good way to pass a couple of hours in an evening.
Next time I might even win…