Test of Honour: Getting Started Guide

Welcome to the world of Test of Honour, the Samurai Skirmish game set in the Sengoku Warring Clans period of Japan.

The aim of this guide is to help new players understand what they need to play the game and also to help those who have the 1st edition of the rules to transition over to 2nd edition.

Brand New Players

As a new player you should start with the Test of Honour Gaming Set. This has the rulebook, dice, cards and tokens needed to play. One set is enough for two players to play (though some extra dice can be handy!).

> Test of Honour Gaming Set

Assembling a Force

The Gaming Set has one samurai model inside, but of course both players need a force of miniatures in order to have a battle.

The Gaming Set has rules for the most common troops of the period - Samurai and Ashigaru (foot soldiers) – so this is the obvious place to start.

Test of Honour forces always include one hero, up to two other character models, plus any number of lower-ranking warriors, called Followers in the game.

You’ll generally end up with 10 to 20 figures in your force for a battle, but you can start smaller. There’s a get-you-started intro scenario in the rulebook that uses one samurai (the hero), three spearmen, an archer and a musketman on each side.

Models go on 25mm round bases, and you’ll likely need a few 60mm ‘multibases’ that each hold three 25mm bases. These are for groups of followers of the same type – like a mini unit.

Example Force - 24 points

24 points is a good size for a force, but you can go smaller or bigger as you wish.

  • 5pts  Samurai Armoured Hero (character)
  • 4pts  Battleworn Samurai (character)
  • 4pts Travelling Samurai (character)
  • 2pts Ashigaru Sergeant (follower)
  • 2pts Ashigaru Banner Bearer (follower)
  • 2pts  Ashigaru Loyal Spearmen (group of 3 followers)
  • 2pts  Ashigaru Experienced Spearmen (group of 3 followers)
  • 3pts  Ashigaru Experienced Musketmen (group of 3 followers)

Expansion Sets

There is a growing range of Test of Honour expansion sets, new for 2nd edition, that contain 6 to 8 miniatures as well as a unique card set with the additional rules for those minis.

> Miniature Range

Note that there’s no requirement to use the ‘official’ figures to play – there are various excellent ranges for feudal Japanese miniatures that we stock at testofhonour.com and others are available too.

Adding other Factions

Test of Honour has a unique style when it comes to creating armies. Unlike many games that force you to go in one direction, Test of Honour allows you to mix and match any combination of warriors you want - although you can theme your force in one direction, you don’t have to. This is because a force doesn’t necessarily represent a military unit – it could be based on a disparate bunch of characters inspired by a samurai movie! And even if you prefer a military basis, historical samurai armies were often joined by Sohei Monk allies or hired Ronin and Ninjas. In short, you have a completely free choice!

Example Force - 24 points

  • 7pts  Mounted Samurai Hero (character)
  • 5pts  Ninja Assassin (character)
  • 4pts  Ronin Brute (character)
  • 2pts  Ashigaru Loyal Spearmen (group of 3 followers)
  • 2pts  Ronin Thugs (group of 3 followers)
  • 3pts  Sohei Bowmen (group of 3 followers)
  • 1pt   Sohei with Naginata (follower)


The rules for these other factions are mainly found in our two themed army card packs, which act a bit like army lists in other games:

Clan Forces 

Many of these cards are updated versions that were originally found in the older 1st edition expansion sets but they can be used with any suitable models. The set contains cards for the following factions:

  • Mounted Samurai (cavalry)
  • Daimyo’s Retinue (cavalry)
  • Onna Bugeisha
  • Ronin
  • Ninjas

> Clan Forces Card Set

Enemy Forces 

Like the Clan Forces this provides profiles from the 1st edition sets, updated and revised to work with the new edition. These cards cover:

  • Sohei Monks
  • Chobei’s Renegades
  • Bandits & Brigands
  • Masked Men
  • Paupers

> Enemy Forces Card Set

And that’s plenty to get yourself up and gaming in the exciting world of Test of Honour. Check out the webstore for a whole host of other gaming items as well a huge pile of FREE bonus cards and gaming aids.


What if I have the first edition?

If you have been playing Test of Honour from the 1st edition, it’s very easy to upgrade. You can buy the full gaming set if you like, but it’s not essential.

The new dice are bigger and the tokens have been restyled, but the old ones still work fine. So the minimum you’ll need is the rulebook and the new cards. Luckily there’s a Minimum Upgrade Bundle with just that.

> Minimum Upgrade Bundle

If you bought any of the 1st edition faction box sets, you’ll find the updated rules in the Clan Force and Enemy Forces sets mentioned above.

If you have models from both then check out the Faction Cards Bundle that contains both these sets plus the Veteran Ashigaru card set at a reduced price.

> Faction Cards Bundle

Can’t I just use my old cards?

In a pinch, sure – the majority will still functionally work with the new rules. But there have been many tweaks and balances made, and you’ll be missing out on some of the key aspects of 2nd edition – in particular the new Honour/Dishonour system and the Traits that allow you to customise your followers in new ways.

By the way, there is a series of designer’s notes here on the blog that detail all the changes from 1st to 2nd edition.

More Information

Hopefully that will answer all the questions people have.  If not, remember we have a busy community on the Test of Honour Facebook group who are always happy to help new and old players alike.