Game: Bushido Breaker (2016)
Publisher: Zach and White
Designer: Zach White
Duration: 30 – 90 minutes
Time to Learn: 5-10 minutes
Game Types: Hidden Movement Game & Puzzle/Deduction Game
Bushido Breaker Board Game Review
Bushido Breaker is a sneaky hidden movement game between a ninja and a samurai. Players take calculated risks and intuitive hints into play when moving throughout the game. The stealthy ninja attempts to kill all samurai or disarm enough building alarms before assassinating the shogun. The samurai must stop the ninja in his tracks by noticing him twice or just flat out killing him.
Players begin by choosing a side: ninja or samurai. In a 2 player game, players must each chose one. In a 3 player game, there are two samurai vs one ninja. And finally in a 4 player game, there are two ninjas and two samurai. Game setup varies slightly depending upon the number of players in the game. Players are dealt 11 cards that vary from weapons, movements, arming or disarming alarms and hiding from their opponent. They also choose one secret ability to use throughout the game.
The ninja gets to fulfill his most stealthy moves by starting at an entrance and moving around to kill all of the samurai or disarm enough alarms and ultimately killing the shogun. As the ninja moves, he records his movements on a movement log to prevent cheating. I would recommend wearing all black and keeping all bodily movements silent.
After the ninja lays his card facedown (because he is so sneaky), the samurai attempts to predict the ninja’s move and stop him in his tracks by killing him or noticing his movements. The samurai has been entrusted to protect the shogun at all costs. The samurai lays his card face up, revealing his action. If the ninja samurai was successful, the ninja reveals his card. If the ninja was successful, his action takes effect and he secretly discards or returns the card to his hand. Some cards can be used infinitely while other can only be used a set number of times. Play continues until the stealthy ninja or the noble samurai has outsmarted the other.
There is some great thinking and strategizing behind Bushido Breaker. The division of two separate entities brings a bit of mystery to the table that leaves players guessing at each other’s next move. The gameplay could be improved by adding a play mat below each location and using samurai figures to represent the samurai. Pushing over a dead samurai would feel much more fulfilling than flipping over a card. The card artwork can also be a little confusing. The card backs are represented with a weapon and the word “ninja” or “samurai” to differentiate between the decks. When comparing to the game play side of the card, it can be difficult to see which side you should be revealing as opposed to keeping secret.
Gateway Game Score (what's this?): 6/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
- You get to be bad ass, whether you are ninja or a samurai!
- Good strategy game
- The two sides play completely different. The Ninja side sneaks around stealthily killing, while the Samurai side is on the defense trying to guess what the ninja will do next. It is a great dynamic!
- The artwork can be confusing.
- The game play could be more intriguing with a game mat and samurai figurines.
Board Game Review by Noble Annamous & Stealthy Milhouse.