Josh Plays Shogun 2 Part 3: Taking the Offensive

By Josh Posted Monday Sep 19, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 66 comments


The brilliant colors of autumn have begun to paint the countryside with contrasts as summer wanes. It’s Turn Three, and our ultimate goal of becoming Shogun has never strayed far from our consciousness. We have a lot to do â€" most pressingly, we must deal with the incursions into our lands by our rivals.


For our first order of business, we’ve mastered bushido and can now focus our efforts on “Strategy of Defense.” You can see I have “Heaven and Earth” highlighted â€" with this, we’ll unlock both encampments (which can be upgraded to dojos) and the Oda Long Yari Ashigaru (a unit from the Sengoku Jidai unit pack that is virtually equal in power to a yari samurai at just over half the cost). I plan to beeline to this as quickly as possible, and maybe round out the tree with Spear Mastery for the extra experience it will give my recruits â€" and since I already have a mission to master it anyway.

After that, it’ll be all Chi all the time. And depending on how fast the Conquest Train starts rolling, I may switch to Chi for a few turns just to master the first box so I can construct markets.


As for the more worldly matters, those damn rebels I never got around to completely killing have made a mess of our coastal village, and we’ll have to pour a bit of money into repairing it. But it doesn’t really matter…


Because it looks like Christmas is coming early this year!

Not that anyone in Owari in 1545 would’ve celebrated Christmas… or indeed had any understanding of what it was or its significance at all but… well, you get it.

Let me back up and explain for a minute. The Takeda are perhaps the most irritating clan to fight against. They’re the cavalry-specialist clan â€" which would have made them a joke in past Total War games, because you could almost always rely on two things:

1. The AI will never have more cavalry than you will.

2. The AI won’t use their cavalry effectively anyway.

Since building cavalry is somewhat more restricted than it was in past Total War games â€" you need to possess warhorses either from a province like Mikawa or from foreign trade, and the Takeda start with warhorses â€" the first is not necessarily true. And the second, thanks to improvements to the tactical AI, is definitely not true anymore. In general, more so than any other clan, the Takeda will steamroll northern Japan and become a major problem if you ignore them towards the endgame.

Which is why it’s such a relief that they were wiped out three turns into this campaign. Of course this also brings up the obvious-but-problematic question: Who wiped out the Takeda? I can think of two possibilities. One, the Uesugi in the Northwest, long-time rivals of the Takeda clan, manged to blitz their way through the Takeda defenses and crush the clan. In two turns. While I’d prefer this scenario, I suspect the second is much more likely â€" that the Hojo went to war with the Takeda and took their home province before the Takeda war machine could get rolling.

Geographically, the Hojo are much closer to the Takeda home province, Kai, and I’ve seen the two clans go to war many times, so it’s far from unprecedented. Unfortuantely, this also means that the Hojo have likely just turned themselves into the northern superpower, and a protracted campaign in northeastern Japan is something I’d very much like to avoid. Still, the Hojo are far less annoying to deal with than the Takeda. They specialize in siege units â€" a unit type the AI, through a curious quirk in their priorities, never builds. They also get cheaper castles, but that just means I’ll have to spend less on castle upgrades once I conquer their provinces.

We’ll have to deal with the Tokugawa and Imagawa before we set foot in Hojo lands anyway, so at this point the conjecture is academic. Now about those rebels…


Done and done. I simply auto-resolved this battle because of the outcome was a foregone conclusion â€" I am not going to spend twenty minutes chasing down nineteen horsemen with an army of five hundred.


And a mission we were issued on turn one is finally complete. The extra wealth will help as I gear up to invade Mikawa province with Takayama’s forces, which I’ve already moved past the border into Tokugawa-held territory. And while our general is off searching for glory, Nobuhide will be busy securing Owari. Which means dealing with the Saito.


I really should have auto-resolved this battle too, but for whatever reason, I decided to play it, which provided a bit of amusement since the AI didn’t actually bring any infantry to the fight.


Hilariously, because of the proximity of the Saito force to our capital, Nobuhide seems to think that losing this battle would be the “end of all hope.” They’ve got a general’s bodyguard and a regiment of peasant archers â€" we could win a siege against this force with just the token samurai garrison a first-level castle provides.


Not that I’d lose this battle in a million years. After advancing across the field, I moved Nobuhide into range of the enemy archers to see what sort of response I’d get while the rest of my forces moved towards the hill you can see at the top right of the screenshot above. This apparently drew the Saito daimyo’s attention, and he decided to circle around behind the hill to attack from the other side, leaving his archers behind. Oddly, the archers themselves were so transfixed by Nobuhide that they didn’t seem to mind, and since they were so eager to have a good, honest fight, I gave it to them.


They didn’t win.


Meanwhile, their daimyo finally decided my cavalry was of more concern than throwing himself away into my spear wall, and tried to get around the hill (meaning he effectively ran all the way around the hill for nothing, but my spear-walled yari ashigaru cut him off.


Good going there, Dosan-san, why don’t you just throw away your entire military and leave your castle completely undefended?


It is a bit odd that the Saito never recruited a single unit. Their force prior to that patch I mentioned in my last post was at least twice the size of what they threw at me this time. Well, their loss.


This is probably a good time to mention how much I loathe playing attacker during sieges. The AI is pretty dumb when it attacks castles itself, but on defense, with the natural advantages the castles give troops, it’s almost impossible to pull off an attack that turns out significantly better than just slamming the auto-resolve button. And it takes a lot longer. In general, if I want to attack a castle and I can’t clearly win an auto-resolve as I can here, I’ll lay siege to the castle in question. Sieges have a set duration after which you automatically take the castle without resistance, something the AI, and any player, will generally try to avoid. After that, I just wait for the enemy to sally-forth and try to force me away â€" at which point I attempt to crush the defending forces and then auto-resolve the attack against what’s left of the castle’s garrison.


In this case auto-resolving was enough from the get-go, and we are now the proud owners of Mino province. The irony is that Nobuhide never conquered the Saito, instead forming an alliance with them through the political marriage of Dosan’s daughter to a son of Nobuhide you might have heard of: Oda Nobunaga. The Oda would carry on a tenuous alliance with the Saito for over two decades before Nobunaga finally decided to conquer Mino. In Shogun 2, however, it’s much more prudent to simply wipe out the Saito as quickly as possible.


The end of the turn passes quietly, and the Tokugawa offer no resistance to our incursion into their territory.



Also, apparently the Hattori want to form a military alliance, out of the blue. Alliances in Shogun 2 are far from fool-proof, especially at higher difficulties, where they become something more along the lines of “Hey, don’t kill us so we can stab you in the back in five turns, okay?” It doesn’t help that the Hattori are the “ninja-clan,” holding Iga and Omi provinces, the historical birthplace of the shinobi. Obviously I wouldn’t be very reassured under such an alliance.


At the same time, our interests are quite clearly to the northeast â€" at least for the moment â€" entirely the opposite direction from the homeland of the Hattori. While I fully expect a betrayal, and indeed, we’ll need to conquer them anyway to secure a good base with which to attack the Ashikaga Shogunate, having a buffer between us and all of the southern and western powers is worth the potential risk, so I reluctantly accept. With our new allies, our sight has been extended to the Hattori realms and beyond, and we’ve “encountered” a bunch of new clans. How we never had any contact with these clans before now is a mystery to me, but I happily grab all of the trade agreements I can get with any clan to the south or west of us. The extra income will be important later.


A few other, minor things happened this turn: We were issued a mission to conquer any province, though the description makes it a point to suggest we take Mino from the Saito even though we did that last turn.


We also finished upgrades to our castle, causing a food shortage that will last until our farms finish upgrading to meet the new demand in the spring. This seems worse it is, since it takes a turn for most of the negative effects of a food shortage to kick in, and there won’t be a shortage next turn.

Overall, however, this is probably the turn with the least excitement so far. There’s only one thing left to do â€" move our forces forward to lay siege to Mikawa.


As the turn ends, the Tokugawa sally out to break our siege, just as I was hoping they would. Here we go – this will be our first decisive battle of this campaign. Next time, we’ll finally see how well the Oda do when they’re given the chance to go on the offensive. The Shogunate will be ours!


From The Archives:

66 thoughts on “Josh Plays Shogun 2 Part 3: Taking the Offensive

  1. Sydney says:

    Digging this LP. Sometimes I forget that you used to be the straight man back in early Mass Effect; I’ve gotten so used to Cuftbertarian mayhem that this is a really refreshing change of pace.

    1. noahpocalypse says:

      ? I never watched ME, not being a fan of it myself, so this is new. The only Josh I know (and love) is the f*$ing troll. I did notice the difference in play style, but assumed that was because he didn’t have any real people to grief.

      1. Hush says:

        Back then, Josh actually thought about taking the Paragon options, and the others talked him out of it.

        Search your feelings. You know it to be true!

        On an unrelated note, I’m enjoying this LP as well. This is a very different perspective than you usually provide; though you still show signs of the optimizer/troll we know(which is good, since some of us don’t entirely understand the game’s mechanics, so the insight of how stuff works is appreciated), you also show a tactical, calculating side we don’t really see when you’re exploding pants and breaking the game because you can. The historical context you provide is also enjoyable, partly because it’s inextricably part of the game, but also because you don’t inundate us with the trivia to show off how much you know. You tell us interesting bits as they’re made relevant, and that’s it.

        1. Bret says:

          That’s not true!

          That’s impossible!

          1. Sydney says:

            Yeah, they staged a minor coup and handed controls over to Randy because Josh’s playstyle was too white-bread and unexciting.

            In doing so, they planted the seeds of probably the greatest LP-crew pilot the Internet has ever seen.

    2. Grag says:

      I think given his knowledge of historical conflict, it would be funny to hear Josh do a drunken LP of something like Dynasty Warriors.

      1. Joel D says:

        I second the motion. As a one-off, though, not a series – it’d lose its shine pretty quick.

        1. Kavonde says:

          I dunno, as a very amateur Three Kingdoms buff, I think it might actually be kind of boring. He’d just be making fun of the voice actors and pointing out how ridiculous it is that Zhuge Liang is killing people with lasers.

          That said, an LP of one of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games could be very interesting. I’ve long maintained that ROTK10 is the base template for the Best Game Ever.

          See, in it, you play a single officer (historical or created) from the period, from a lowly farm inspector to a ruler. Theoretically, if you never interacted with the game and let it simulate freely, events would unfold exactly as they did in the novels. (They wouldn’t, due to a variety of factors from AI quirks to RNGs, but just close your eyes and pretend.) However, by assuming control of one of these semi-historical figures (or creating your own, or a whole army of your own), you affect how history unfolds.

          So you take this basic idea, basically a sort of a sandbox RPG meets Rube Goldberg machine, and you transplant it. You create, let’s say, a fantasy setting, with the Evil Bad Kingdom in the west, and the Good Happy Kingdom in the east, and various factions of dwarves, elves, hobbits, and neutral humans in between. You meticulously balance it so that, if the player never got involved, the Evil Bad Kingdom will eventually conquer the world. Then you add in the player’s character. He or she can join any faction they want, or work independently. They can build roads and schools, or wage war on their enemies. Simply by existing, they change the balance of the game, and everything plays out just a little bit differently. Add in MORE player-created characters, even a whole kingdom or two of them, and suddenly it’s anyone’s ball game.

          Of course, ROTK10 is pretty much just a bunch of menus and a couple of minigames. For the Best Game Ever, you’d have actual dungeon delving, scripted and procedurally generated quests, and a dynamic and fun strategic mode for large-scale combat. But I’m just the idea guy, here, and I haven’t totally fleshed all of that stuff out yet.

          Uh…so anyway. Josh could totally do an LP of an ROTK game. That is all.

          1. Chargone says:

            i missed out on ten.
            eight was also officer based though, and i have that, and it is awesome. (i have eleven, which isn’t, and i mostly find it aggravating.)

            though, umm, it lost a bit of replay value when i made a custom character based on myself, started him as a random wander, and ended up Ruling China as the Emperor in my second play through.

            there’s just really no way to top a random dude from (depending on how you look at it) some islands way off in the south pacific/western europe wandering into the country by himself with nothing but the clothes on his back and enough cash to keep him fed, and ending up Ruling Freaking China!

            it was epic, but, as noted, hard to top and thus reduced replay value somewhat :D (i’ve also never managed to pull it off again since :D)

      2. Grudgeal says:

        Or worse yet, Sengoku Basara. Now *there*’s a… Colourful interpretation of the era and no mistake.

        By the way, did the Escapist ever ask you or anyone else to review the game’s anime?

      3. theLameBrain says:

        I think josh should do a LP (not a VLP) of some of paradox’s strategy games.

  2. Lord Nyax says:

    Wow. I never autoresolve in a Total War game, because every time I do it seems that I lose significantly more than I would have if I just crushed them myself. I have never once autoresolved and not regretted it immediatly. I’d outnumber the enemy 5 to 1 and yet when I hit autoresolve I lose just as many men as I kill. If I do it myself, I can get away with a lot less causualties. On sieges escpecially I don’t autoresolve because the game greatly overestimates the affect of fortifications on the enemies effectiveness.

    So I puzzles me to hear that you regularly use autoresolve. Does it work better in Shogun 2 than previous games, or am I just expecting too much from autoresolve?

    1. Rayen says:

      replied to wrong comments sorry…

    2. Murkbeard says:

      Not even naval battles? *shudder*

      1. Lord Nyax says:

        Oh man, I hate actually playing the naval battles in Empire, but whenever I autoresolve I lose a ship or two.

        That does not settle well with me.

      2. SolkaTruesilver says:

        I just finished a naval battle in my own game. Before playing it, I autoresolved and lost all my ship.

        I decided to have it a go, since I thought I had the upped hand in marines. If I played it myself, I ended up with 6 captured ships and no losses.

        Bloody stupid computer…

    3. Awetugiw says:

      It works a lot better in Shogun 2 than it did in Rome/Medieval 2, if you have a significantly stronger force you will almost certainly win, and without too much losses. Also, I haven’t lost a general in autoresolve yet, which used to happen all the time in Rome/Medieval 2.

      The game has three separate difficulty settings: battle, campaign and autoresolve (although Shogun 2 only gives you one slider at the start of the campaign). It seems that unlike Rome/Medieval 2 the autoresolve difficulty does not automatically scale with the overall difficulty.

    4. James says:

      it does work better and attacking a fort in Shogun 2 is a pain, its a pain to get in the castle and its a pain to fight in one, you will lose ALOT trying to get in, the AI often runs about aimlessly especially cavalry, its just a mess. auto-resolve is much more usefull, or forcing them to attack you it even better.

    5. James Pony says:

      I generally avoid autoresolving in Empire and Naponyon (the only TW games I can play – I tried Rome but I sucked and simply couldn’t figure out how to make my economy work, and it didn’t help that the graphics didn’t work properly with my widescreen monitor and an inch or two of the right side of the screen (including IMPORTANT BUTTONS) would alt-tab me to the desktop because somehow it counted as clicking on the desktop on the secondary monitor).

      Autoresolving tends to go well enough otherwise, but BY THE BALLS OF PSEUDO-REINHARDT, MY GODDAMN ARTILLERY. EVERY TIME. Enemy has one half-dead unit of the crappies cavalry against my ENTIRE 100% UPGRADED VETERAN ARMY OF END-GAME ELITE UNITS, and I STILL LOSE CANNON.

      Also autoresolving naval battles does not meet my quota of captured ships (I sometimes even take unnecessary casualties just trying to capture ships, using chain- and grapeshot to avoid sinking everything, the latest episode involving the loss of a highly experienced fifth-rate/frigate that alone had triumphed over several small navies in a superb display of superior Russian seamanship).
      You know you are too interested in capturing ships when you are horrified by your own broadsides eating half of the hull HP bar in a single stroke.

      1. Zombie says:

        Why would you waste a ship like that? Just send like, two other ships. Also, Romes “naval battles” were all about who has more ships (ie: If I have four ships and you have three, I win. Period.) so you didnt miss much. You DID miss an awsome game where all the factions felt diffrent, like Roman infantry played and just felt diffrent then Gaul’s, Carthage’s or Greece’s (unlike Empire or Napoleon) and im pretty sure the last time a religion system did anything what so ever.

        1. James Pony says:

          I had a couple of fifth-rates/frigates and a third-rate, and an additional sixth-rate, and I was attacking (or intercepting or defending from, who knows) a fifth-rate, 2 brigs, 2 sloops and 5+ trade vessels. Capping the trade vessels was naturally my main objective, but I did try to cap the other ships too for prize money. The sunk veteran frigate actually sunk pretty abruptly, as at one point it was at half hull-HP MINIMUM and then after a while it was suddenly sinking while the third-rate was busy taking names.
          Of course, unlike my RULE BRITANNIA playthrough, Russia still isn’t rich as balls so my navy has been quite small throughout (a fact naturally compensated for by the superior seamanship of the seamen of the Glorious Motherland!). It’s only been my luck that almost all the navies I’ve beaten have been very large – but consisted mainly of a couple of brigs and sloops and a whole buttload of trade vessels. The only “hard” battle I had was against a pirate fleet in a trade zone, and that was only so “hard” because I tried capping the ships (they’re trade vessels but also have the power of regular warships! In short, ideal for occupying trade zones). But generally I’ve relied on painstaking microing of fifth-rates/frigates and later the occasional third-rate or such.

          Also, religion does anything in Empire. Capping the home regions of factions is always a pain because they really don’t like you, so if you can you always want to convert them because along with all the other pressure you’re putting on them, it destabilizes the region for THEM and then is that much less hostile when you take the city – and it takes that much less time for your rebuilt religion buildings to increase the people’s happiness. Did you know that by 1790, Egypt and Sweden were orthodox?

  3. Abnaxis says:

    How old is this game?

    I haven’t bought a game in ages (because I haven’t upgraded my PC in ages), but this game looks interesting and might be far enough back on the upgrade curve for me to pick up…

    1. Rayen says:

      this is actually quite new i think it came out at the beginning of this year. not sure what the system requirements are. There are plenty of older total war games though…

      1. Sumanai says:

        From Total War: Shogun 2 page on Steam:

        Release Date: 15 Mar 2011

        OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
        Processor: 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor or AMD equivalent (with SSE2)
        Memory: 1GB RAM (XP), 2GB RAM (Vista / Windows7)
        Graphics: 256 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 3)
        DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
        Hard Drive: 20GB free hard disk space
        Screen Resolution: 1024×768

        OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
        Processor: 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor (or greater), or AMD equivalent
        Memory: 2GB RAM (XP), 4GB RAM (Vista / Windows7)
        Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards or equivalent DirectX 11 compatible graphics card
        Hard Drive: 20GB free hard disk space
        Screen Resolution: 1280×1024

        1. Chargone says:

          twenty gig?

          what the hell is it doing?

          1. Sumanai says:

            No idea. It seems every big name game takes at least 10 GB nowadays for some reason. Which is strange, since a lot of games are on the 360 and therefore have to fit into a (dual layer, so less than 9 GB) DVD, but can still be 20-40 gigs on the PC with minimal to no visual difference.

            I’m guessing that they’re not keeping anything compressed anymore.

    2. Awetugiw says:

      I’m afraid I must recommend against buying Shogun 2, at least for the moment.

      The system requirements are not all that high, but there are a couple of bugs in the game that have a chance of making the game pretty much unplayable and there is no sign of them getting fixed soon.

      For example, one that I ran into in my legendary campaign (my only one so far, I really don’t feel like trying this again) causes the AI to take infinitely* long for its turn, so you cannot continue playing. Reloading doesn’t help. There is a workaround for this; you have to reload a save of a couple of turns back and make slightly different decisions thus avoiding the exact conditions under which the AI crashes. Normally this is of course very annoying, you lose several turns of progress. In a legendary campaign however you do not have a save of a couple of turns back.

      I also read that quite a lot of people get other game-destroying bugs, but I haven’t encountered any of those personally so I can’t be sure of how bad those are.

      The most relevant parts of the system requirements are the following, by the way.
      Processor: 2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor , or AMD equivalent (with SSE2)
      Memory: 1GB RAM (XP), 2GB RAM (Vista / Windows7)
      Graphics: 256 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card (shader model 3)
      Hard Drive: 20GB free hard disk space
      I have no idea how well it actually runs on such a machine though.

      *I haven’t actually waited for an infinite amount of time, of course. But I have let the game run for a couple of hours even though end turn process usually takes a couple of seconds. Didn’t help.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        Something I’ve found is that, even if I meet the minimum requirements, that doesn’t mean the game will run in any tolerable way on the computer in question.

        Judging from what you are saying, I’ll prolly hold off for now…

        1. uberfail says:

          You could always try one of the earlier ones.

      2. Dave says:

        I ever so slightly exceed the requirements with a 3800+ single core processor running 3 GB RAM under XP and a nvidia 7950GT video card. I tried the demo, and didn’t find it workable enough for me to try figuring out the game. :) I’ll play Civ 5 and read the JP instead.

  4. Rayen says:

    i like this LP. kinda wish you’d do two turns per entry instead of one but then i haven’t played any total war games so i’m not sure how much time/effort each turn entails.

    anyway looking foward to the next turn.

    1. Klay F. says:

      If not much is happening now, its because the campaign just started. Each turn will get significantly longer as the campaign goes on.

    2. Jeff says:

      One turn early on doesn’t take that long, as you can see he’s only doing one or two fights (and his fights tend to be fairly quick).

      Later though, when you have more units/cities to manage, much like in any Civ game it’ll take longer. Unlike Civ’s simple combat mechanics though, it’ll take much longer once you get more fights in a turn.

      Back in Rome: TW, I’ve had massive engagements that took me almost an hour to wrangle through.

      1. Zombie says:

        Just saying Rome: Total War will bring back fond memories to anyone who played it, like the time I fought two massive greek armies, and by the last five minutes I had a unit of archers and greece had a unit of Hoplites. Ah…… how I miss moments like these

    3. Josh says:

      This actually was two turns (you can see that the map has gone from fall to winter in the later images), I just didn’t make it quite clear when the transition was – the Hattori sent me the alliance request after I ended turn three.

      Anyway, early on here I’m still introducing the mechanics, my fighting style, my strategy, etc. Once things get rolling I can probably skim over a lot of the repetition and talk about the more interesting/decisive actions.

  5. Patrick says:

    Siege troubles? One word: Archers. The AI is decent, but not great at defending. But archers can and will annihilate defenders. True, they can have archer units, too, and sometimes you’ll take some heavy punishment. But most of the time 4 units of archers can erase the garrison (especially with the +ammo bonus from heaven and Earth). If the AI has enough melee troops, they’ll survive but will lose a lot of men. Gunners do the job, too, but they have a slightly shorter range which makes all the difference. Gunners can smash the ramparts up, which can be good or bad depending on the circumstance.

    If they have upgraded to tier 2 castles, you have to position your guys more carefully to avoid the tower shots. If they’ve gone to tier 3, it actually gets easier*, because there’s a convenient ridge to pummel them from. Plus, the AI has a bad habit of completely ignoring you as you sneak off to the side and occupy the base. Just make sure you have some soldiers standing brazenly out in front of the enemy and they’ll never move!

    Finally, unless you will completely and immediately crush the enemy in an assault, torch the gates. Easier to repair a castle than replenish another 200 soldiers.

    1. Grag says:

      Oh dear. I have had so much fun abusing the AI with that in RomeTW. March archers up near the walls and pepper the spearmen inside, it just doesn’t get old.

    2. Thrawn says:

      Ya, the higher tier castles need to have full stacks on them before they effectively can defend all areas of the larger structure. And the AI seems to never have enough archers, but it does depend on which map you are on as to how effective your archers can be. As a general rule, look for the hole and march troops up to the shortest section of wall and climb it (cavalry is great for this, since they can gallup to the wall, dismount and then climb); nothing is more gratifying than taking the inner tier of a fort and raining death from both above and below on the poor defenders. Make sure to threaten the other areas with a unit or two that can run in if they abandon the walls, and keep the archers firing the whole time.

    3. SolkaTruesilver says:

      I just (yesterday evening) took Kyoto from the Ashikagana Shogunate with 8 units of Samurai archers and 5 units of NoDachi (and 1 Mangonel). They had a lot more units than I, something like 2400, mostly Yari Samurai, Cavalri and Samurai Bowmen.

      The force calculator put us evenly matched. But I decided to try it out. I abused the hell out of the AI by concentrating my archers on a corner of the fortress and picking their archers units one by one with concentrated fire. As soon as they were broken, I’d switch to the next unit in line. The AI never seems to think concentrating its archers, or baiting me to get closer.

      Anyway. Killed all of their archer. Killed most of their melee units inside, my No-Dachi wiped everything left standing. Fairly easy victory with a kill ratio of 5:1

      Am I the only one who feels mangonel are useless 75% of the time. the other 25%, they get a lucky shot and take out 50 ennemies. I sure love their effect when I attack on the battlefield, ’cause it forces the ennemy to come and get you first, preventing an AI turtling.

      1. Eddie says:

        I think mangonel are useless 100% of the time because they’re just as likely to get a really unlucky shot and take out 50 of your own men. Admittedly, I haven’t used them very much; the only time I’ve used it is as Hojo because you get a free one. They certainly seem to be completely worthless as a siege weapon; they don’t have nearly enough accuracy to reliably do any damage to the fortifications and I found a lot of the time the projectiles would fly harmlessly over the entire castle.

      2. Dwip says:

        I just spent a bunch of time with them as the Hojo, and yeah, somewhere between 75/25 and 60/40. Most of the time they miss hilariously, but the rest of the time, they blow up whole armies, and as such they’re a whole lot better in very big battles. They’re also a whole lot better if you can somehow flank with them (more enemy mass to shoot at), but that’s that really tough. They also seemed to benefit some from accuracy upgrades.

        Mainly they just take a whole lot of micromanagement. Fire at will is a fool’s game, since you’ll blow up your entire team, but if you’re selective in where and who they shoot at, they can be quite effective.

        Brutal in seiges, too. Archers are pretty good versus the AI in seiges, but mangonels are ludicrous. AI just doesn’t know how to deal at all.

  6. Thrawn says:

    You should upload and link to your battles for the LP. That way we can critique your every mistake mercilessly! I do really like reading your explanations of your strategies, since they are rather different than my own.

    1. Grag says:

      +1 to this. I would really love to see the battles played out.

  7. Klay F. says:

    One thing from my campaign that has me confused is converting between religions. I conquered a province that had a nanban port. The capitol city was 100% christian. I knew the city would revolt as soon as my forces left the city so I built a temple so the population would start converting back to buddhism. But they never converted back. Not even a fraction of the population converted. I then recruited a monk from the temple and had him preach to the population, and not even that did anything.

    1. kanodin says:

      Near as I can tell a city with a Nanban port is nigh impossible to convert back to Buddhism/Shinto, conversion is however very effective on the nearby provinces that might be turning Christian.

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:

        the +3.5 Christian conversion rate forces you to have a lot of monks to convert the province back.

        If you want to have a Nanban port, you better build it somewhere that already have a temple and a skilled monk permanently on duty there. You need to consistently fight off the Devil Foreigner influence.

    2. Dwip says:

      Blow up the Nanban port, for starters.

      Helps to get a high level monk to park in the city. They get a lot better with levels, and it helps to have a province specialized in monk training (usually a holy site province).

      Conquest and garrisoning with a +conversion general seems to have a very large effect as well. Certainly helped me last time I took down Kyushu.

      No matter what it takes a good long while, though. You can expect to tie up a bunch of troops for a couple years while you get things under control.

      1. Klay F. says:

        Dang…I figured the nanban port was my problem, but I don’t want to destroy it because I’ve been ignoring the naval side of things to a ridiculous degree and the nanban port is pretty much the only functional port in my entire empire right now. Heh, oh well, serves me right I guess.

        1. Dwip says:

          It does go back down to the prior level, so it’s not entirely an all or nothing proposition. But yeah, I know how that goes.

  8. silver Harloe says:

    I want Total War: Westeros.

    1. Lord of Rapture says:

      There’s a mod for that, though it’s not finished.

    2. Dovius says:

      It’s coming out in a few days, it’s called game of Thrones: Genesis.

      1. Christopher M. says:

        Actually, GoTG is structured more like Hegemony: Philip of Macedon or Sins of a Solar Empire – real-time combat on a single Total War-scale map. Which is a very interesting way to take the genre forward, and one I’m looking forward to seeing more of.

  9. Jakale says:

    So does the game ever complete quests that you fulfilled the requirements of before it gave the quest? Like with the Mino thing here. I’m guessing no, but I’m curious.

  10. Destrustor says:

    Why wouldn’t players want an auto-win on sieges by waiting long enough? Is it because it takes ridiculously long, or is it a drain on resources or something? I am not familiar with this game so I’m kinda wondering why both sides would want to avoid that.
    Unless you meant “both try to avoid it (whenever they’re the ones besieged)” in which case ignore me.

    1. Josh says:

      I meant, “in the case of being on the receiving end of a siege, both AI and players alike would generally want to not let the enemy win without a fight.”

    2. guy says:

      Yeah, that’s what he means.

      Ignoring in 3… 2… 1…

  11. Dwip says:

    If this goes anything like my games, it’s going to get pretty interesting when Hattori inevitably gets into wars with pretty much everybody.

    Kind of stunned by the Takeda thing.

  12. TheRocketeer says:

    I cannot help but read the opening flavor texts of these posts in the voice of the Mongol Campaign narrator from Age of Empires 2. I can’t explain why.

  13. Maldeus says:

    Is there any way to provide a good shot of the entirety of Japan? Preferably including all the clans you’re aware of? Starting every entry with that would make it a lot easier to follow. Also, I very badly want more.

    1. theLameBrain says:

      +1 to badly want more. I am just starting out in Shogun2, and I find your commentary endlessly fascinating and extremely useful.

  14. Grudgeal says:

    Well, technically speaking Nobuhide never even united the Owari province and spent most of his lifetime bickering with fellow branches of his own family and retainers, so I’d say this game has *already* broken with Oda history with or without the Saito. This game pretty much starts 15 years before the big league(s) started their campaigns of conquest, and completing the short-term game by 1560 (on lower difficulties) is fairly easy.

    Anyway, I never auto-resolve attacks on empty level 1 fortresses as long as I have enough archers. Due to some quirk, the AI never leaves the fortress even if you attack it with all archers, and you can pepper them to death at leisure since they can’t fire back.

    The main reason this is, is because auto-resolving a siege automatically destroys the fort, leaving you to spend a precious turn and money re-building it while your populace remains un-repressed. It’s a time vs. money expenditure issue, and usually when I am attacking with a small army or is busy steamrolling I don’t like stopping up my army for a season or losing one season’s worth of tax income just to sate some peasants. I’d rather spend the extra 10 minutes making sure.

    1. Josh says:

      Yeah, the fort-damaging aspect is a downside, but it never really hinders my expansion any more than it would be hampered if I played out the battle entirely. Since it takes several turns of unrest before a rebellion forms, and it costs so little to repair the damage done by an auto-resolved siege, the added cost of auto-resolving is almost negligible. All I have to do is figure out what the repression will be at once the castle is repaired and leave the appropriate garrison behind for next turn.

      To me, that sure beats spending twenty minutes chasing samurai retainers around with archers because I don’t want to slaughter my infantry by having them storm the gate.

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:

        This is why you split your archers on both end of the fort, and you just let the Samurai try to run away from one to the other…

        I remember a siege where I attacked with 8 Samurai Bowmen squads and a mangonel. I started bombing on the north side the Samurai, where they had positionned themselves.

        After a few near-hit, the AI made them run on the south side, outside of range. Where nearly 400 elite bowmen waited. I just could imagine the Retainer Captain’s thoughts..

        “This is just not my day..”

  15. Felblood says:

    Blood take you!

    I was going to be really principled about this, and not buy this game in protest of it’s propensity of multiplayer DLC(even though online multiplayer is of no interest to me; it’s the principle of the thing.)

    Now I guess I’ll have to pirate it in protest or something, because I MUST PLAY THIS GAME.

  16. Aelyn says:

    I hate you for starting this series. It caused me to buy the game, which has caused me to spend the last 3 hours saying “one more turn”.


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