As you no doubt know by know, I have been in a state of excited anticipation ever since Warlord Games announced that they were releasing Test of Honour.
Well, the time has come and everything has arrived – I ordered my copy from PE2 Collectibles, which meant that I didn’t get the Geisha Spy model, but the bundle was somewhat cheaper.
Test of Honour – Core Box
Lets start by opening the box and seeing what’s inside…
First off are a couple of sheets of coloured card, containing 2D scenery and various counters, plus rulebooks and assembly instructions for the models. Under these are the model sprues, bases, dice and cards.
The cardstock is good quality, and the addition of card terrain means that you can get going straight out of the box if you so wished – especially since the basic game does not have rules for entering buildings (I believe these are promised as advanced rules). The reverse side shows ruined buildings, and hedges rather than stone walls.
Then we have the Rulebook & Battle Guide – both of these are fine, although it may have been nice to have them printed on better quality paper, as they are likely to see a lot of use.
There are three sheets of double-sided instructions included for assembling the models.
Then we have the models themselves:
There are quite a few model sprues included in the box, plus plastic bases, and a number of special group bases for the game.
There is a single sprue of Samurai, which allows you to assemble 5 models
There are two sprues of missile armed Ashigaru, which allow the assembly of 10 troops armed with either bow or arquebus. This is where your first choice may well have to be made, as the recruitment cards allow 2 units of Teppo or Yumi armed Ashigaru, but there are not enough figures provided on these sprues to give you both – alkthough of course you could mix and match with the Ashigaru Yari sprue
There are four Ashigaru Yari sprues included in the base game, giving enough for 20 figures.
This is a decent selection of troops to get you going, though I expect many people will look to supplement these with additional figures from other ranges.
That leaves us with the custom dice and the card deck. The dice are decent quality, etched rather than printed, but are quite small (12mm?) – certainly smaller than Saga dice, for example.
The cards are divided into four decks. There are recruitment cards for each faction:
And skill cards:
The cards are produced with good quality cardstock – they are similar in size to standard playing cards. Given the use these are likely to see, I would advise that these be sleeved for extra protection.
Overall initial impressions of the Core box are very good, considering the cover price of the game. I know many people have raised concerns over the quality of the miniatures included. These are the old Wargames Factory set of 28mm Samurai and Ashigaru and are probably best described as being ‘serviceable’ for the game. Whilst the quality of the miniatures is not the best, you are actually getting a decent deal for the game, as the other components are all very well produced.
At time of writing, Warlord have completely sold out of their initial print run, which probably goes to show how popular this game has been – a second print run is due out around the end of April 2017.
Limited edition miniatures & extra dice/card set
If you pre-ordered the game, the bundle came with a limited edition unarmoured samurai hero (including his recruitment card). You could also order an extra dice set, which came with ten etched dice in a different colour to the base game, along with seven new skill cards, a new injury card and two new dishonour cards.
As well as the Core box set, Warlord have also released several expansion boxes with extra factions. Each contains an individual metal hero miniature, custom metal heads for the plastic miniature sprues and their own additional sets of cards. (Unless otherwise noted, there are usually 18 cards in each box – a mix of recruitment and skill cards)
This set contains a metal hero miniature, plus a single samurai plastic sprue, allowing you to build a total of six figures. Five metal heads are included with the hero miniature. The set also includes two group bases and ten individual bases, which should start to provide you with some spares for use with other miniatures from your collection, should you need to.
This is a ‘Warrior Monk’ faction for the game – not quite Ikko-Ikki, but somewhere towards it.
The box contains two Ashigaru Yari sprues (enough for ten models), 10 figure bases and three group bases.
The Warrior Monk hero figure also contain 10 separate heads to convert the plastic miniatures.
This is the typical mix of cards included with each expansion – recruitment cards, plus a number of different skill cards.
This expansion warband uses the Ashigaru Missile Troops plastic sprue, so the force is armed with bows and arquebus. Again, two plastic sprues are provided, so ten models can be assembled in addition to the metal hero.
The metal hero figure also contains 10 conversion heads with wide-brimmed hats typically (though not exclusively) worn by Japanese peasants.
This box set is unique in that it contains a plastic sprue not contained in the core box – that of Mounted Samurai.
The box contains two sprues, one with horses as well as several horo (which were worn by messengers (tsukai ban)), the other with six rider bodies with various weapons.
It’s worth noting that this box set only allows you to make six mounted Samurai and not seven – the hero provided will need to be mounted on one of the plastic horses provided. The hero also has several separate unarmoured heads to use instead of those provided on the sprue.
This box set does not contain a metal hero miniature, but simply provides a set of plastic sprues and bases for another Samurai faction as can be found in the Core box. There are twenty miniatures in total: One Samurai sprue, one Ashigaru Missile Troops sprue and two Ashigaru Yari sprues.
The box also contains a third set of recruitment cards. These have a brown colour flag in the top right corner, though to be honest the colour is not that different from the red (I initially thought that the box had the incorrect card pack included) so perhaps a more sharply contrasting colour, such as green or black, might have been better.
My overall impression of the expansion boxes is very good. All the releases are very well packaged – I do like the artwork and contemporary feel they have – and each faction contains a good quality miniature in addition to the conversion heads to give each warband its own unique look.
I wish the packaging was slightly more consistent. Whilst the ‘Masked Men’ faction had its cards in a zip-lock bag, every other box had theirs simply sealed in plastic. It would have been good to have these in a zip-lock bag in every box (it’s the reason why the cards are not shown in the photos for the other faction boxes – I need to get some more bags before I open these cards)
It will be interesting to see what factions Warlord are planning in the next wave – there will undoubtedly be ninja on the way – although I expect they are reaching the end of what they can do with the Wargames Foundry plastics, although perhaps a second mounted faction with a different hero but using the ‘standard’ heads is a possibility. However, I think further releases will generally have to be more innovative than simply being head swaps with the existing plastic sprues.
I’m really looking forward to getting all these models assembled, painted, and out on the battlefield. Look out for further blog posts as I progress with this project.