Josh Plays Shogun 2 Part 16: The Beginning of the End

  By Josh   Mar 13, 2012   29 comments

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It is Spring. The year is 1559 – at least, according to the Nanban traders that now swarm our ports, bringing trade and foreign gold from a far off place called “Europe.”

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In the months that have passed since last summer, we’ve recruited a group of elite Kisho Ninja, trained to apply the arts of subterfuge, subversion, stealth, and assassination to the battlefield.

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Our generals wish to make a show of force against the Hojo, to crush the last shreds of their remaining morale, and bolster our own.

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And our Nanban-accomodating port upgrades have been completed, and the markets of our capital are now swarming with these barbarians from the far south and west.

And with these new traders, has come their strange religion, teaching of a single, all powerful deity capable of saving the souls of all those who would follow him.

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Many disapprove of these new, strange ideas – teachings which even have the audacity to claim that all our ancestors and their wisdom have been damned to the depths of hell!

But there is one attribute about these Nanban that cannot be ignored – their power. Their weapons can give a peasant with a week’s training the ability to kill a samurai whom has spent his life training for battle. It is an affront to the honor and dignity of a warrior, to the sanctity of the battlefield!

And with them, we’ll conquer this entire country.

So we’ll… err. The option to convert isn’t where it should be. Odd.

At this point, I’m asking myself, “Did I forget how this is supposed to work? Does it need to spread more than it has to trigger the conversion event?”

But didn’t that box say I could convert?

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Weird.

Way to break the narrative, game. I honestly have no idea how when – or if – the game is going to let my convert to Christianity.

But we do have a war to get underway, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s gotten really bored waiting for this day to finally come.

That’s right. The two eldest brothers of the Oda, Nobunaga and Nobuyuki, are about to set out on their crusade to conquer the Shogunate.

I’m struck with a devious idea though. I could simply declare war on the Hatakeyama and Tsutsui by opening up their respective diplomacy windows and using the formal “Declare War” button.

Or I could contact the Date and offer to join their war against them in exchange for nothing.

I figure it might squeeze a bit more positive opinion towards us in – holy shit!

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You see that “Gifts Appreciated” item? That’s new. And you can only have 100 points from any single item on the list, so I actually just maxed out the Gifts item just by offering to declare war on two of the Date’s enemies.

I think I’ve figured out how to keep the Date as allies now.

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My original plan here was to split Nobunaga and Nobuyuki and rush both of the Tsutsui provinces at the same time. But the Ikko-Ikki six-star super-Daimyo seems to be moving towards the Tsutsui’s Ise province. Getting rid of that guy and his incredibly-experienced army would give me almost free reign to take the rest of the regions around the capital. Grouping Nobunaga and Nobuyuki back up, I move them south to intercept the Ikko-Ikki.

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Well, this is a problem. The Tsutsui – who actually happen to have a navy – have blockaded Owari’s port. My net profit for the past few seasons hasn’t been very much to begin with, and now I’m projected to lose money. Going bankrupt in this game is very bad – you’ll start losing units and your provinces will shrink and thus lose tax income. I’m not in danger of that this turn, but things will start to get hairy if this goes on for too long.

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Now that this war is underway, it’s time to complete that mission I got in the beginning. Hilariously, the Hojo are so weak right now, that a rebellion in one of their two provinces was successful, and a clan that was wiped out years ago – the Satomi (seen above with the large army with the purple and white banner) – have risen, and now look to be ready to totally wipe out the Hojo.

I quickly rush over and destroy a tiny Hojo force with Nobuhide.

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And now all of my troops have +2 melee attack for the next six turns.

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The Ikko-Ikki Daimyo has changed his mind and turned north to the last Hatakeyama province, but that won’t stop Nobunaga and Nobuyuki from taking Ise.

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And with its capture, we’re brought one step closer to realm divide.

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And taking Ise wiped out the Tsutsui clan, causing their fleet to disperse and clearing our trade route once again.

We’re out of financial danger for the moment, but we’ve far from solved the problem. Let me elaborate:

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The Summer 1559 column is the important one here, and you can see that our total income outweighs the costs of our military upkeep. But, and this is the heart of the problem, our income with trade subtracted (6774) is less than our military upkeep (7906) by nearly 1200 koku. This will become a very significant factor when we hit realm divide and nobody wants to trade with us anymore – because they’ll all be trying to kill us.

The problem is, growing your non-trade income – basically taxes – is not a quick or simple process. I’ve been slowly upgrading our farms, but it’s an expensive process, and takes some time for the investment to become profitable. In the end, I could potentially compensate for the 1200 koku gap in time, but not much more than that. And while I might be able to keep the Date as allies for a while, but I’d rather not rely on them.

So, where do we get more money? Well, we can’t rely on local trade, but we could – potentially – build an economy based on foreign trade. There are a number of “trade nodes,” centered on small outlying islands, six in total, spread across the northern and western coast of Japan.

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They are represented by the small anchor icons you can see highlighted on the map above. Getting a trade ship onto one of these nodes will give you a lump sum every season of trade income, and it can be quite substantial. But the problem with getting these nodes is two-fold. First, the Mori control most of them, and you can’t exactly share trade nodes either – if I wanted to take one occupied by a Mori fleet, I’d need to fight them for it. Second, I don’t have a navy, and our ports are all very far away from the nearest trade node. And the Mori specialty is naval units, so I’d need quite a powerful navy to beat them too.

Worse, naval combat in this game is… really, really bad. There isn’t a whole lot of thinking or tactics involved in it, unless you have some of the really big ships – which we don’t and won’t. Naval combat basically comes down to “the better ship wins,” and the Mori will probably have the better ships, and the larger fleets.

There is, however, another option.

Christian ships – galleons. If you convert, you can build these ships yourself, and while they’re very expensive both to build and maintain, they more than pay for themselves. I am not kidding when I say that I could destroy all of the fleets currently deployed by all of the other clans in the game with only a single European galleon. The difference is really that extreme. Which is why it’s that much more frustrating that I can’t seem to convert to – Wait, what?

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But I-

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But this just happened!

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Oh. Yes. Lovely. Now I can convert. Apparently all that I need to do is wait for the Christians to show up twice.

Full disclosure: Between getting the Christian event the first time and the second there was a play-session gap. I stopped playing, and picked the game up a few days later and started again. I assume that’s what caused this strange bug. It’s still a bug though.

Now that I’ve given this whole speech about the pros of converting to Christianity, there are a lot of reasons to hold off on it. Converting will knock Nobuhide’s already questionable honor quite a bit, and give a big diplomatic hit, which could potentially cause most of Japan to declare war on me before realm divide anyway. Worse than that, though, there will be an absolutely huge amount of unrest in the unconverted population, which could and probably would hamstring my economy until I can either convert the population or capture enough trade nodes from the Mori. This could easily create a perfect storm and cause my entire realm to implode.

It’s something to think about, and I definitely don’t want to convert while that Ikko-Ikki army is rampaging around near my borders.

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On that front, they’ve taken Iga, wiping out the Hatakeyama in the process, and are moving towards Omi, which was taken last turn by the Anegakoji. With Ise under our control, I can move Nobunaga and Nobuhide north to try to intercept the Ikko-Ikki, but they’re being slowed by the arrival of additional forces, including cavalry and ninjas.

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The Satomi have also wiped out the Hojo and taken their last province. For the first time ever, we have peace on our eastern front.

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It’s winter now, and the Ikko-Ikki have curiously ignored Omi, despite chasing off the Anegakoji army that was protecting it. Instead, they’ve turned towards us – they’re the army in the distance with the skull icon over their flag (it’s winter and they’re in hostile territory, they’ll be suffering from attrition). I’ve taken a gamble that they can’t reach Owari this turn and move Nobunaga away from Nobuyuki to link up with the last of his reinforcements.

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But, the gamble doesn’t pay off, and the Ikko-Ikki not only can reach Nobunaga, but they go right for him. (And I stupidly didn’t take a screenshot of the force balance screen.) Nobuyuki’s not close enough to help, but the garrison at Owari is. It’s not how I would have liked for Nobunaga’s first battle to go down, but I’m concerned that if I retreat, they be able to take Owari this turn.

Looks like Nobunaga is going to have to forge his legend in the hottest flame – against the most powerful army in all of Japan.


20929 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Brandon says:

    Sounds like the outcome of this next battle will determine whether or not you can go through with your plan to have Nobunaga become Shogun. Hope you’re up to the task and look forward to reading about this battle the next time! :D

    This is a really neat series by the way, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Lets Play of a turn based strategy game before. Cool idea!

  2. SolkaTruesilver says:

    You can always run away…?

    If not, I am looking forward reading about your son’s progress to become Shogun :-D

  3. Awetugiw says:

    Nobunaga does have a pretty strong force, and he is defending a river crossing which is sometimes very useful. He has very few missile units in his force though, that might be a problem.

    I have no idea how the AI will deal with this (I tend to use missile-heavy armies). If he’s willing to just kill you with arrows while holding his other troops in reserve this might be a very problematic fight. If the AI just charges in with melee troops on the other hand, this fight might be very winnable.

    • Venalitor says:

      It is my belief that the outcome of this battle will more depend on Josh’s use of his cavalry. If the screen cap of the enemy army from earlier holds true, they should be very vulnerable to the hit and run that can be dished out by mounted units. I think that the enemy forces have a bit much veterancy to make then just turn tail with ease like what usually happens. also the fact that the enemy melee force consists primarily of loan swords is going to be problematic for the ashigaru, no matter how well equipped.

    • guy says:

      My experience with the other games in the series indicates that they’ll gleefully pile onto the bridge. Position a spear-wall on the end and they’ll happily suicide their own cavalry.

  4. Adam says:

    You really can’t get through a game without glitching it out, can you Josh?

    • Usually_Insane says:

      I’m pretty sure you can’t convert until at least 1% of the population has changed their minds about christianity, however the wording is just sloppy.

  5. Axion says:

    That river crossing could save Nobunaga’s life if josh can pull of a decent bottleneck.
    Then again, if Super-daimyo-san brought a pile of bow samurai…it could easily become a death sentence.

    Good luck!

  6. krellen says:

    Sounds to me like if Nobunaga wins this fight, you’re probably clear for overall victory, but if he dies, it’ll be hard to recover. So this fight determines the game, yes?

  7. rrgg says:

    Does Shogun 2 still give you the in depth battle report? I’d like to see a screenshot of how many casualties your muskets inflict.

  8. Venalitor says:

    damn. that’s an ending.
    For some reason, the Ikko Ikki are always the tops dogs in my experience. In my first campaign as the Date they marshaled 5500 men against me with 2 4star and one 5star general. In my second campaign they took most of the center and kept it tightly locked away from all other AI with more huge armies. Here they have a six star general and a large army.
    also, what’s with the “the largest ship wins?” the naval battles are all about keeping all but a few of their ships from boarding, boarding their ships with your good ones and moving about the other side of their ships with fire-bomb kobaya to lay down some serious hurt. unless they have galleons, of course.

    • IronCore says:

      The naval combat does have more tactical depth to it than Josh states. If you control them yourself. If you allow the AI to do it then it is simply a matter of how the game weights the effectiveness of each ship, and that is a clear bigger is better progression of power. My guess is that he simply doesn’t enjoy naval battles similar to his avoidance of siege battles. Which is a trait I share with him. The siege battles in this game are just bad.

      Another tactic to use in naval combat is to make sure you’re the one performing the boarding action. Oddly enough it’s the attackers that have the advantage. Also judicial use of the warcry ability on your bune ships is essential.

      • Rayen says:

        i dunno about that maybe i’m just doing it wrong but i tend run out a couple arrow ships, fire arrows, board with a medium bune, rinse, repeat. I dunno i’ve haven’t played on legendary difficulty though.

        As for seige battles i really like playing the defender, I hate playing the attacker. Attacking for me means seige, pitched land battle, autoresolve against smashed forces if i win, run like hell if i lose.

  9. Grudgeal says:

    So, this will be this Nobunaga’s Okehazama, it would seem. If you beat this army… Well, nobody will really care since this game doesn’t do very well at recognizing it when you miraculously beat up somebody against the odds any more.

    I remember when the game first came out; practically every battle was ‘heroic victory’ even if you attacked an enemy you outnumbered 100-to-1. After all, hey, you didn’t lose any units, so clearly it was a heroic act of last-ditch bravery. Nowadays the heroic victory appears to have been removed altogether: I’ve been attacked by and beaten armies three to four times my size and chased them off with 8-to-1 casualties and the game declares this a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ because what really seems to matter is how many troops you lose, not how hopelessly the odds that made you lose those troops were stacked against you in the first place. Even getting those ‘legendary battle’ plaques stuck on the campaign map doesn’t equal winning a heroic victory.

    Anyway, this battle is probably more stacked against you than Okehazama was in real life, so best of luck.

  10. AbruptDemise says:

    These are always a great read, Josh. It’s nice to see that your proclivity for finding glitches still shines through in a screenshot LP.

    I have to say, that cliffhanger at the end was pretty thrilling, though that economic crisis you’re having interested me more. I have never been good with economic management in games, and especially not in SimCity games. I always remember how it goes for me:

    1. Zone residential, commercial, and industrial zones as needed/wanted.
    2. Make it pretty by adding parks and such.
    3. Get utilities and services (Libraries, Police and Fire Stations, etc.)
    4. Repeat the process as each thing is needed again.
    5. Watch in despair as my city spirals downward in a menagerie of loan debts, unhappy citizens, and unwanted zoning
    6. Get replaced as mayor

    Rinse and repeat. Which is why I enjoy watching someone else have to go through those types of things for a change. Still, I don’t mind when they succeed where I failed, it’s vicariously cathartic.

    And yes, I know it’s a terrible idea to take loans in SimCity. I just never get any other offers to make money.

    • Sumanai says:

      I have similar experience with strategy/management games. I’ve noticed that things work better when I start with good intentions, quickly lose interest in giving a damn and suddenly the whole thing starts working. Then I’ll try expanding for a while, lose interest again, start expanding and then everything falls to pieces.

  11. ngthagg says:

    So you couldn’t convert to Christianity until the second time? That seems . . . appropriate.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Damn you,a cliffhanger.And a week long one.You devious man.

    Also,its nice to see bugs working for you even in this game.

  13. Rayen says:

    is there anyway links to the previous entry can be posted at the end or something? i usually want to read the previous entry because i have terrible memory and need to find out whats going on, but i gotta sift through all the spoiler warning episodes. It’s just kind of annoying and (i assume) an easy fix.

    just a suggestion.

  14. Eärlindor says:

    Making bugs, making bugs, Josh is always making bugs; making bugs, while using Shamus’ blog.

    Anyway, talk about suspense! This has turned out to be a very captivating LP to read. :)

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