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!
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
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