I’m sure more than one player was glad to see the Ninja finally added to the game, for me I wasn’t all that worried. The History of the Ninja is clouded in a lot of mystery and as many sources say they were real you can find those that refute it. The Ninja like the Bandit and Brigands set is a fully new set of metal miniatures. It doesn’t use any of the previous plastics at all, I’m sure a sigh of relief for more than a few people.
The set comprises of 7 models, 18 new cards and the same rules booklet (Darkness and Deceit) that’s in the Bandits and Brigands box. So let’s have a look at them shall we?
As a set, it is possible to make a 24pt Force from whats in the box (Ninja Hero (7pts), Ninja Lieutenant (6pts), 5 Ninja (2pts ea)) 23pts, you could add a single Ronin to round it off or if you make your Hero Kato ‘The Shadow’ at 8pts your bang on the nose. As a force, its fun as all those Ninja running around is a bit of madness. But if you want an all Ninja force you’re going to be better off getting a few more and having some groups. You will be light on Ninja Samurai due to the cost of them (Remember 1/3rd of your force must be commoners) which could mean in some situations you lack a bit of muscle. Though the abilities the Ninja have do mean they can be more than a match for troops. Each model is armed with 2 Swords for Melee and a thrown weapon for shooting. This means if they are paired up one can throw something at a model, force it to activate and then be charged by the second Ninja. Quick Fire means that shooting attack special abilities are activated on 3 Swords instead of the normal 5.
The night games is where the Ninja will excel as a force, Kato comes with Black as Night it reduces the chances that any Ninja will be seen. To explain how dangerous that is in a playtest of the rules I managed to get 4 Ninja unseen into an objective building and kill the target. So yes they can be dangerous, but… As they are unarmoured it does mean if they are seen and shot at, charged they can go down very quickly. So you’re going to have to play clever with them. The cards as well that come for the samurai are a bit aimed at using the Darkness and Deceit rules so may not work all the time.
So they work in a normal force though? Yes, I’ve already considered dropping the two Ronin I normally run and putting in a Ninja just for fun of it. Or dropping some bits and replacing one of my Samurai with a NinjaLieutenant. I’m sure dropping him alone on the table is going to see people become very fixed on getting rid of him. An ideal distraction so that I can complete the mission at hand.
The Ninja really do add a new element to the game and have loads of playability to them. I really look forward to seeing them turning up in people forces.