Learnin’ Bushido: Part 2, Actions, Abilities and Ki

Hey folks welcome back to Voracious Gamer! Today we’re going to continue discussing Bushido by GCT Studios. Last time (in Part 1) I failed to include links for the free rules, cards and tournament packs and the facebook group that’s keeping me motivated!

Here you are:
Game downloads
Facebook community

My first few Tengu came in including Sanjakubo from our last post and a hilltirbe warrior. Look for another blog post detailing the models and such later this week. Today we’re going to talk simple and complex actions by discussing each one (briefly) and how they play out on the field. Fully understanding the options available to you will allow you to become a better player. Like the craftsman knows what’s in his toolbox even when he seems to fix everything with the same Phillips screwdriver. As long as I don’t grow weary from the simple and complex action descriptions then we’ll also discuss the various special attacks and defenses followed by making sense of your ki feats and their bounty of icons. I imagine this article is going to get a bet ‘listy’ but I’ll do my best to keep it in format. Please do your past to overlook grammatical mishaps as who has time to edit with all this painting and gaming to do.

So in the game when it’s your turn you activate one of your models. Depending on their state you can take either a simple or a complex action. Models begin each round ‘Rested’ which means you can take a simple or a complex action. Taking a simple action degrades the models condition by one degree. One degree being one step from Rested to Tired to Exhausted. A model can only take complex actions when they are rested because a complex action degrades the models condition by two degrees. From rested straight to exhausted. So let’s cover some of these actions to make things a bit less abstract shall we?

Disengage: You’re stuck in the enemies ZoC and you need to bail. Declare this simple action resulting in a melee exchange (as discussed in Part 1). A caveat to the melee exchange is that the declaring model must allocate more dice to defense than attack. If he wins that duel the action is a success and he can take a walk action.

Ki Feat: Comes in two flavors simple and complex. Some simple ki feats allow you to talk a walk action as well. It’s situational and depends on your faction and cards.

Melee: declaring melee gives you a move to attempt to get into BtB with your target. You can’t enter another enemies ZoC until you’ve entered that of you’re declared target. If you start in BtB you can take the melee action to move around your opponent. Sick! I can see two ninjas circling and spinning in minds eye. You can start in BtB and declare an simple melee action against a different model. In which case I think you’d have to stay in your original targets ZoC? I’m not sure here but you can declare melee actions against targets that you aren’t in BtB with while in BtB with a different target. We may need an expert or some real game time to iron that one out.
Ranged Attack: The model makes a ranged attack. (right?) Besides that it can also move as if it declared a walk action before or after the attack is resolved. You can’t make Ranged attacks in BtB or in the ZoC of an enemy. Now my first question is can I move some of the movement take the shot and then move the rest. You know, to peak around corners loose an arrow then keep on keepin’ on back around the corner?

Reload: When you fire some ranged weapons they give the model a reload marker. For a simple action on the models activation you can remove a reload marker to effectively shoot again! This is sweet and realistic feeling. Not sure how wide spread it is on the models and such but I can dig it.

**Disclaimer** Facing is important in this game! Unless an action says you ‘may move as if you declared a walk action’ you may not change facing.


Run: Rotate models facing to a point in LoS. The model can move up to its move stat multiplied by 1.5 in a straight line towards the declared point, (directly towards!). Need to stay out of enemy BtB and ZoC here and you can’t change facing after the run. Kind of space combat style I can dig that action and ruling quite a bit.


Simple Scenario: You can’t change facing or move but these will have scenario specific rules and options. Like interacting with a scheme marker for you malifolks out there.

Stand Up: in an ovation because I’m writing this.. Oh wait no the stand up simple action allows the model to remove a prone marker and change it’s facing. If the action brings the model into BtB with an enemy resolve a melee exchange after removing the prone marker. Another question arises here. Lets I stun you with a Tengu dart giving a prone marker. Then before the stunned model activates I get another Tengu in BtB. That means he’ll have to activate and start by taking the simple action of stand-up or else lie there prone to die. But standing will auto get him into a melee exchange? It’s a little hard to grasp how important this is since I haven’t played or gone over many stat cards yet. But damn, melee happening like mad in this ruleset. Long story short, don’t go prone on the battlefield!

Wait: heyo, the model spends it’s simple action to do nothing, decreasing its condition by one. This could be useful for activation shenanigans with your opponent. Forcing him to activate key models or just buying time until you demise. Either or.

Walk: The aforementioned walk action. You can move up to your move stat in any direction and change facing. Just changing facing is considered a walk action. You can’t declare a walk and move into an enemey’s ZoC or into BtB with them. That’s what melee declarations are for and why walk is included in them!
So there you have it. Your simple actions to select from. Remember a simple action degrades the condition of your character by one degree. But taking any action passes the play back to your opponent so you could get more activations by doing only simple action stuff but I’m not sure that’s going to be a useful bit here just applying other game knowledge. Now that I look again there are only 4 complex actions simple will be the bread and butter. Time to find some cool tokens, they use kanji in the book I wonder if it says rested, exhausted, tired? Tokens later complex actions now!

Charge: target enemy and make a Move stat multiplied by 2 move towards them. Like the melee simple action the first enemy ZoC you enter must be your targets and you must be in BtB with them for the action to succeed. If you fail at guessing the range the activation ends with your model sitting out like a duck on a pond exhausted to boot. Don’t do that. If you do make into base contact then you gain a +2 to your first damage roll of the melee exchange! The movement bonus from the charge action seems to outweigh the +2 on the damage roll but nonetheless this action is sweet. Remember that models suffer penalties to melee skill and to ranged attack defense when exhausted!


Ki Feat: The chocolate to our vanilla simple action ki feat. These are card specific and some include a movement action.

Focus: The dragon ball Z move right? I don’t know what it’s called but it’s called Focus in Bushido. The model meditates and gains a number of Ki equal to its Ki stat. May neither move or change facing. (also I may have gotten a bit wrong in Part 1 about Ki, the model starts the game with the large number of Ki. And then they regenerate the smaller number every round. Unless the focus for extra.) Some of these rules questions are natural when reading a rules set for the first time. A lot of the kinks work themselves out when you actually get models down on the table. We’re learnin’ together eh?

Complex Scenario: Scenario specific goodness. You can’t be in BtB or in an enemy ZoC nor can you change facing for this scenario action and it’s simple version.


So that’s actions both simple and complex let’s talk about something I mentioned briefly in Part 1. Special Attacks and Defenses. Something I got wrong was that ALL models could select from the special attacks and Defenses at ANY time during melee exchanges. This is wrong and in hindsight I’m glad because it would be a ton of options and things to consider and we’ve already got enough of that in this system.  So IF the model’s card has one of these special attacks and defenses then they can use them allocating the (x) amount of attack or defense dice to them. Taking these dice from your pool reduces your chance at success in most\all cases but gives additional movement and such after the attack is resolved. Let’s just get on with them so I don’t babble my way into an explanation hole.


Slam: if the attack is successful the defender is moved D3 inches directly away and given a prone marker only suffering half the wounds caused by the damage roll.

Throw: if the attack is successful the defender is placed anywhere within D2 and LoS and becomes prone while suffering half the wounds caused.
I like the sound of throw combined with the whole standing up into melee combat. Yikes!

Powerful: if the attack is successful then the attacker gains +2 strength on the damage roll

Defender: Repeat this process until the success level is 0. (!) damn, you just redo the entire melee exchange until its even. Interesting indeed. Shoot the models that have that haha.

Critical Strike: if the attack is successful and the individual dice results match the results of the damage roll then remove the defender from the gam! Just wow, I wonder how prevalent that is. It’d be rare but nasty!
Push: if the attack succeeds move the defender 1″ directly away. The defender suffers no damage.
This one seems a bit situational but when dealing with scenario objectives an inch could be all you need.

Force Back: if the attack succeeds move the defender 1″ directly away and move the attacker towards it in BtB. The defender suffers no damage.


Very cinematic special attack right there. Moving the combat around to get in a better spot or maneuver your opponent into a worse one. Very nice! Next we’ll take an initial look at the special defenses in the game that ‘could’ be available to you depending on the models\faction.

Counter attack: if the defense is successful and the attacker allocated any dice to attack then deduct 2 from the success level of the defense. If the success level is 0 or greater then make a damage roll against the attacker. A little verbose but quite good, can’t wait to see which models actually have these actions.

Throw: if the defense succeeds place the attacker prone within D2 and LoS. Now that’s plain cool right there. As a defensive maneuver you throw your attacker into the ground?! Dripping in theme and promising a good story on the tabletop.

Sweep: attacker is knocked prone if the defense succeeds.

Side Step: If the defense is successful move the defender 1″ from the attacker.

Push: if the defense is successful move the attacker 1″ directly away from the defender. I can see one of the big sumo dudes from syndicate just palming a Bakemono as it charges at him swinging his arms haha.

Drag: if the defense succeeds move the defender 1″ directly away from the attacker and move the attacker directly into BtB with them.

It’s interesting that many of the attack special abilities have counterparts on the defensive side. It’s impossible to weigh in too much on these without getting into model stats and faction details more. In due time friends, in due time. Let’s take baby steps and talk about the various model states. On second thought I read through them on page 18 of the rules download in the link above. I don’t think it’s going to be beneficial for me to go through them one by one. Rather discuss them as they come up in game or on models. What you need to know is that the possible states are below and each is mostly linked to abilities and feats except for ‘Prone’ which we’ve already discussed. If you think it would be helpful for me to go through these one by one along with the Traits listed for each model then please let me know and I’ll consider it! I’ve included brief non-technical summaries.
Berserk you get real chargey and have issues with restraint

Blind  you can only draw LoS in BtB and you can remove these counters if they stack

Controlled you work for the enemy for a number of actions = to the number in the stack

Frightened kind of shut down offensively and must test to get rid of fear at the end phase
On Fire malifaux fired rules, you suffer wounds equal to the stack then, there’s a resource mechanic here with fire counters that I didn’t pause long enough to grok. We’ll see who gits lit up first.

Poisoned very similar to fire. You know just not as hot.

Prone ahh, good ol’ prone. It sucks the only thing you can do when you get knocked down is get up again. (I hope you’ve got that track stuck in your head now like I do. “When I get knocked down I get up again blah blah never going to keep me down, I get knocked down..”)

Spirit Block interesting one here, you can’t regen any Ki at the start phase, it can stack to take many phases.

Stunned  stacks – 1 melee skill mods

Surprised when an opponent declares an action outside of your LoS that brings it into BtB. You can’t declare Ki feats when surprised!

Speaking of Ki feats. They’re ridden with symbols and hard to decipher unless you’ve looked at the guide for them. Let me walk you through it real quick. (relatively). By default feats allow you to take a move action before or after them (I don’t know if the move can be split before and after) and you can use them in BtB with an enemy (melee). The first two symbols we’ll discuss affect that. One with a line through a sword means the ki feat cannot be used in melee and on with a line through a foot means the feat cannot be combined with movement. As far as when Ki feats can be used there are two options a white I or an A. The I means the feat is an instant and can be used at any time except during melee exchanges and ranged attacks. (timing on those tells you when to declare feats). These Instant ki feats are not actions so you can combine them with a simple or  complex action on the models turn! The Feats with A means they are active and can only be used when their controller is the active player but again they are not actions and can be combined with simple and complex action declarations.


**Note you can’t boost stats or launch feats with ki after dice have been rolled. Just like measuring in this game, you’ve got to have all your decisions tidying up before you check with dice or a ruler on their success**


We already talked about some ki feats being Simple and some being complex these are Active ki feats they’ll have an S if they need a simple action or a C for a complex one. In this case you’d be declaring the feat as your action so they would\could not be combined with other actions unless specified in the text.


The final piece to the Ki Feat cipher are the element looking symbols in ovals. P, Ta, Au, Pu and Sp tell you who the ki feat can affect. P is personal, Ta is target and will have a distance after it in inches for the range. (this could fail if you guess range wrong, *chuckles*). Au is not gold as the chemists would have you believe, nope, it’s Aura and that extends a distance from the models base in 360 degrees, auras last until the end phase. Pu is pulse which is like an aura but the effects only last until the model is done activating. Sp is special which means it’s special and detailed on the models card :-). Oh, one more bit the ki cost, the kanji in little white spheres represents the number of ki that needs to be spent to activate it.

Ki boosting stats is something we touched on briefly. If you remember the little white spheres next to your card’s four primary stats represent the number of Ki you can discard to boost those stats by 1. Initially I discounted this as ‘weak’ for the ki cost compared to the cost of feats but after seeing how the system works an extra +1 can really make a difference.  These ki boosts are treated as I (instant) and P (personal). The increase lasts until the models activation ends and counts as a Ki Feat.

That’s all for part 2. In the next part of the Learnin’ Bushido series we’ll go over the rules for terrain and errata. After that we’ll look at the 12 tournament scenarios and get some models on the table for a demo! Please let me know if you have any questions or corrections as we continue through the series and delve deeper into Bushido!

Follow my antics @VorGames


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