Test of Honour Forces
I’ve owned a fairly large collection of Dixon Miniatures Samurai for almost thirty years now and it would be fair to say that I’ve not used them as much as I could have. They last saw light back in 2010, when I tried them out with Ganesha Games’ Song of Ninja and Katana, there’s Battle report here on Angus Konstam’s Orkney/Edinburgh Wargames. I based them all on 2p pieces and got some sabot made which allowed me to use them for mass games such as Impetus and Gleaming Katanas, a a Samurai version of Warlord Games’ Black Powder rules.
None of these games really caught my fancy so it was off back to storage, with a brief outing when I lent a friend my toys for a game in 2016, until I discovered Test of Honour back in August last year. I know that the game has been out for a while and it took the launch of version two of the game to attract my attention. I‘ve been looking for a fun Samurai skirmish game for years and Internet research made me think that these certainly had possibilities. This decision was really easy, I had all the toys ready to go, so I jumped in and bought the basic Test of Honour Gaming Set with rules, dice and cards, a bargain at £32.
After the first game I was completely hooked, sent off for the Enemy Forces and Clan Forces expansion card sets and started to tart up the Dixons. As you can see above my existing troops were a bit short on sashimonos and the small number I had were all painted as different clans. I decided I wanted to get them together in a way that would allow me to make two small 24point forces or one big 48 point force, all with lots of options.
I spent ages doing more internet research trying to find sashimono patterns that would work for two forces fighting each other or for one large force. My answer came when I found appropriate images showing the heraldry of the Sanada clan on The Samurai Archives Citadel, a Japanese history forum and in various books by Steven Turnbull.
The crest on the left, the Rokumonsen, was used by the Sanada Clan. It represents the six coins it was believed that warriors killed in battle needed to pay as a toll to cross the river to the afterlife and indicates that the wearer was not afraid to die during battle. The other sashimono is recorded as having been used by some minor branches of the Sanada clan, at least one of whom fought on the opposite side to the majority of Sanadas in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. The red and white stripes were also used by the Naito clan and are very easy to paint. I designed and printed some transfers for the Rokumusen. Problem solved.
And here are some models from my two main Samurai forces.
I finally completed these forces to my satisfaction just before Christmas. And I’ve also been working on some figures from Scheltrum Miniatures, which I intend to use for Bandits, Ronin and Wako.
I am waiting for some Ronin figures from Bridge Miniatures, which I will use with these irregular looking types.
All this has been well worth the effort an Test of Honour has been my most played game of 2019, with sixteen outings. It’s also caught on at the South East Scotland Wargames Club where several other members have been getting forces together.