Bushido Breaker Game Review

Bushido Breaker Game Review

Greetings everyone! Today we have a review of a fun game on Kickstarter called Bushido Breaker. Bushido Breaker is a strategic tabletop game of deception and deduction. You play as either a Ninja who sets out to assassinate the Shogun or as a Samurai who must defeat the Ninja and protect the Shogun at all costs. This game requires you to get into your opponents’ heads to try to figure out their next moves. Personally, I really enjoyed this game, but it’s not for everyone. So if you are interested, our review is below. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter!

The Setting

Bushido Breaker takes place during feudal Japan. The Ninja are attempting to assassinate the Shogun, but they must slip past the Samurai if they are to do so. The Ninja have infiltrated the Shogun’s palace and move between the different rooms. They strike from the shadows. The Samurai must counter each of the Ninja’s actions or suffer a shameful defeat.

Set up

Bushido Breaker can be played with 2-4 people, for this review I will be assuming there are only 2 players. At first glance, the set up for this game may seem a bit overwhelming, but it all begins to make sense once it is all laid out. You need to lay the location cards out in a particular order which can be found in the rule book. Each room, except for the Shogun’s quarters, will have a Samurai card with it. Once you’ve set up the rooms you will then need to choose between the Ninja or the Samurai. Each faction gets special cards and actions that they can take. These can be found below.

Bushido Breaker - Layout for a 2 player game
This is what the layout for a 2 player game looks like

The Ninja

As the Ninja, you have the advantage on the Samurai and get to guide the direction of the game. Because the Ninja never actually appears on the board, the Samurai will have trouble keeping track of where you are. As a Ninja, you have a few actions you can choose from each turn:

Move – You move from one room to another

Hide – you hide in the room you are currently in

Kunai – you attack a Samurai in the same room as you. If you aren’t countered, you kill the Samurai. You can only do this 5 times

Shuriken – you attack a Samurai in a nearby room. If you aren’t countered you kill the Samurai. You can do this 2 times

Sabotage Alarm – you sabotage the alarm in a room. This is one way to win (see winning the game below). But be careful this gives away your position

Smoke Bomb – Can be used if the Ninja would die or be noticed a 2nd time.

The Ninja has some special cards that can only be used once. One lets him throw 2 Shuriken in one turn, instead of a single Shuriken. Another lets you move diagonally to confuse the Samurai.

Bushido Breaker - Some of the Ninja Cards
Some of the Ninja Cards

The Samurai

The Samurai has to counter the Ninja’s actions. As a Samurai, you really have to get into your opponent’s head because you can’t outright kill them. Samurai, like the Ninja, have a few actions they can choose from each turn. Most of them counter the Ninja’s actions:

Check Exits – This counters the Ninja’s move action and you notice them (see winning the game below)

Search Area – This counters the Ninja’s Hide action and you notice them (see winning the game below)

Katana – This counters the Ninja’s Kunai action and kills the Ninja. But it can only kill them if you counter it

Yumi – This counters the Ninja’s Shuriken and kills them if you successfully counter it

Check Alarm – This counters the Ninja’s “Disable Alarm” action and causes you to notice them (see winning the game below)

The Samurai have a few special actions that they can use once. One allows them to add more Samurai to the board. Another allows them to repair damaged alarms.

Bushido Breaker - Some of the Samurai Cards
Some of the Samurai Cards

Playing The Game

The game follows a simple formula. On the Ninja’s first turn, they choose an entrance. Once they do that, they can choose from one of the actions listed above. They will place the action card face down. The Ninja will then write down their action on a card, just to make sure there is no cheating. Then the Samurai will go. They have to pick a Samurai in a room and say what they want them to do. So if you think the Ninja will attempt to disable the alarm, then you would want to “Check Alarms”. If the Samurai successfully counters the Ninja’s actions, then the Ninja reveals their action and follow any other steps listed on the cards. You follow these steps until someone wins.

Winning The Game

There are a few ways to win for each side. The Ninja wins if they successfully disable 3 alarms or if they kill all the Samurai. The Samurai wins if they kill the Ninja or they notice the Ninja twice. Noticing the Ninja is done by countering one of their non-lethal actions (hide, sabotage alarms, move). 

Thoughts On The Game

Like I said before, this game isn’t for everyone. It gets pretty intense as you have to really try to get into your opponent’s head. Personally, I think the Ninja has a bit of an easier time than the Samurai. The Ninja can really confuse the Samurai once you begin to figure out combos. 

As the Samurai, you are constantly on the defensive trying to figure out where the Ninja is and what they are going to do. And when you think you know what they are going to do, they will throw you off their track. But I did find that when you caught on to the Ninja, it really seems to rattle the player and they begin to make mistakes. In one game I was the Samurai. I chose to use my Yumi on my first turn and successfully countered the Ninja’s Shuriken. He had to use his Smoke Bomb to avoid being killed. This really rattled the Ninja and he had trouble throwing me off his scent. I eventually won the game. The Ninja can combo some of their abilities together to throw the Samurai off their scent. For example, they can use the move diagonally card to really confuse the Samurai since you typically can’t move diagonally. Or they can use the Blow gun which will poison any Samurai causing them to die next turn.

Final Thoughts

Bushido Breaker is a great game if you are wanting a “battle of the minds” or if you just really enjoy deduction and deception. But if you are looking for a laid-back party game, there are other games that would serve you better. Bushido Breaker requires you to think, strategize, and outwit your opponent in a thrilling game of cat & mouse!

Well, I think that is it for today. If you are interested, be sure to check out the Bushido Breaker Kickstarter. And if you have already played it, be sure to tell us if you prefer the Ninja or Samurai. And finally, if you are looking for other games, check out our other reviews!

Until next time,

Scott “Karthas” Sanazaro

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