Mainly because of work, but I have had a bit of painting and gaming time.
New boy in town is Test Of Honour from Warlord Games.
When I first heard of this I was a bit cynical - Warlord trying to find a use for the Wargames Factory Samurai range. However I decided to give it a go - actually I split a starter set with my regular oppo Paul - and I'm rather glad I did.
The box set has some very nice touches. You get two rules pamphlets - layout is ok but there are some essential bits in the second one (the campaign rules) that really should be in the main rules. I wracked my brains over why they went for this layout and the only thing I came up with was they didn't want the whole rules out on pdf as a freebie. Maybe I need a new tinfoil hat? You get some very nice cardboard terrain. As an aside I think 2017 may well be the year of cardboard terrain. FoW \ Tanks started it, with photo realistic top down images on heavy duty card, and Warlord have taken a leaf from their book here. Counters are similarly heavy duty card. You also get a set of the now obligatory non standard dice* (which I have to admit feel very lightweight and cheap), and some cards which are used during the game - again good production values. Lastly you get enough sprues to make 5 Samurai and 30 Ashigaru in a mix of missile and melee troops. You also get some nice 3 fig bases which are a bonus.
That's more than enough to build two sides with just about all the options, as the game starts out at surprisingly low figure count - 6 figures a side to start with.
Warlord also released a series of expansion \ faction boxes. Again the cynic would suggest they are trying to maximise the use of the Warlord Factory sprues as each of the "new" factions is in reality just a sprue of the troops you already got in the starter set but with a metal leader figure and some metal heads to swap for the plastic ones - the "Pauper" set for example is just the Ashigaru missile troops sprue plus some (admittedly nice) metal heads in straw hats. This doesn't really work too well as the WF Ashigaru are all very well equipped and armoured - sticking a straw hat on them makes them look a lot like well equipped Ashigaru in straw hats, not peasants and paupers. The same with the "Masked Men" expansion. These are supposed to be a Warrior Monk analogy, but there was no way to do that with the WF sprues so these are simply Ashigaru Spear men with the addition of metal heads wearing face masks. All the expansions also contain some new cards to use with the new factions. I really should add the figures are a but fiddly to assemble too.
Ok that probably got the cynical negatives out of the way. The game plays very well and has some nice mechanisms in there. The initiative \ activation draw system reminds me strongly of some TFL games but is clearly not copied directly and has some rather subtle nuances around draws and initiative passing. There is also a nice dynamic feel to the actual combat mechanics, which has resulted in some great encounters that feel rather like the duels in a Kurasawa movie. Staying with the same theme the Commoner \ Peasant units also act much like the rather inept but sometimes heroic peasants in films, which I found a bonus.
So all in all I would definitely recommend giving Test of Honour a try - I suspect there may be quite some legs in the game.