Joining the mainstream – Test of Honour

mounted samurai

One example of the fantastic collection of Samurai armour that is on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, UK

I am not usually one for collecting what could be called ‘mainstream’ games.


OK, I played 40K a long time ago, and I’ve dabbled in X-Wing, but I’ve not really got involved in game system from a large manufacturer.

Well, all that is probably about to change. Let me explain…

…I love Samurai…

Sengoku period Japan has always been a great interest of mine – I own lots of books on the subject, along with several sets of rules. However, I have always seemed to have been alone in this in any gaming group I have been in, so my model collection has remained small (plus the fact that, to put it simply, I’ve always been intimidated about painting Samurai armour).

However, with Warlord Games about to release their Test of Honour Miniatures Game, I’m started to get really excited about actually gaming in the period.

To that end, over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be featuring a number of articles including rules, miniatures and terrain reviews, all aimed at Sengoku Period Japan. The period is surprisingly well served around the wargaming community – hopefully I will be able to give you some extra ideas for gaming in the days before Test of Honour is released.

In the mean time, Alex from Fleet Signal has just launched a new web project focusing on this game: Kiai Gaming. I’m sure this will be come an excellent resource for the game in future.

Whilst Test of Honour is aimed at skirmish gaming, larger battles have a fantastic visual appeal – especially due to the widespread use of colourful Sashimonos by Japanese troops. This have been captured wonderfully well in several feature films.

So, just to get you in the mood, why don’t you have a watch of some classics, such as ‘Kagemusha’ or ‘Ran’ – both directed by Akira Kurosawa. You could also try ‘Heaven and Earth’, directed by Haruki Kadokawa (not to be confused with the Oliver Stone film of the same name)  or maybe ‘Samurai Banners’ by Hiroshi Inagaki. Both of these latter films have the fourth Battle of Kanawakajimi as their centrepiece.

If you are looking for inspiration for a small skirmish, then there is only one place to start: Kurosawa’s masterpiece ‘The Seven Samurai’. OK, its in black & white, and is three hours long, but everyone should see it at least once…

3 Comments on Joining the mainstream – Test of Honour

  1. Thanks, Neil. Japanese history is one of my favourites, too (along with the Roman Republic). There was lots going on during the Sengoku era, and hopefully games like Test of Honour will encourage people to take a closer look.

  2. Neil Hughes // March 8, 2017 at 00:15 // Reply

    I also love Samurai! I have downloaded the rules PDF to check them out. Some Samurai skirmish would be a lot of fun. Old Glory do a Seven Samurai set and of course there’s the lovely Perry miniatures. Having seen the wargames factory plastic Samurai and Ashigaru they do appear to be a real pain to put together but paint up reasonably well although a tad stiff/static in poses.

    Actually I have been thinking Lion Rampant ( or Rion Lampant as its affectionly called!) is the perfect rule set to use for Samurai games.Class mounted Samurai as mounted sergeants and class ashigaru musketeers as crossbowmen and it will be perfect for the clan/small battle genre typical for Sengoku Jidai period.

  3. I, too, am really looking forward to these rules. Warlord has really nailed it — the rules are elegant, they allow for some cinematic touches for our heroes and the art and production is just outstanding.

    And while I will be quite happy to play as Samurai, I can’t help but think there’s another genre that could be well served by this game — a sci-fi franchise featuring “laser swords” which was heavily inspired by Kurosawa…

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