Venting Our Frustrations
And now for your entertainment: The Adventures of Munenari, the Ninja-Man!
In a stroke of luck, on his way through Kai province to scout for further Murakami incursions, our valiant protagonist catches sight of an enemy ninja – no doubt about to engage in some nefarious mission of sabotage or subterfuge against us! Munenari knows what he must do.
With a display of great guile and skill, he subtly sneaks into the ninja’s massive army camp and slips past his numerous, heavily armed guards. Clearly, this enemy ninja must be a master of the art to hide such a large and obvious camp so close to our forces.
Once inside, he sights his target:
The enemy ninja sits unmasked, at the center of his camp, in meditation. Munenari throws a knife, dead center at his opponent’s back, but the enemy knew he was here! He blocks it with his fan and draws his blade!
But Munenari emerges victorious! Our valiant protagonist makes his getaway unscathed!
Hot on the heels of my new favorite ninja’s success, I send him to sabotage a nearby Murakami force’s food and water supplies next turn, to keep them from being able to march for the spring. This force, not strong enough to attack Kai’s castle with Nobuhide’s garrison directly, has been content to raid our nearby farms and pastures for the past several seasons. If Munenari can tie them down, I can defeat them in a single stroke and make it back to Kai’s castle before the season is over.
Stealthily, our nimble protagonist sneaks into the enemy camp, and…
I hate this game.
Nothing else of note happens for all of spring, as I decide to hold off on any offensive action against the raiders.
As summer comes, however, Oda Nobunaga is offered the hand of a daughter of one of the clan’s loyal retainers. This will give him a slight bonus – and in this case, it’s a pretty good one. The increased upkeep costs could cause a bit of an annoyance, but it won’t be enough to significantly drain our finances, and additional morale is always helpful in an ashigaru-based military. I could hold out to use a political marriage to seal an alliance, but given the difficulty in maintaining any long term-alliance with another clan on Legendary, and the fact that I wouldn’t get to chose the trait and might end up with something much worse, it’s probably not worth it. With that in mind, he accepts the proposal and is quickly married.
Peasants have also been migrating to city centers lately, and we can either encourage this practice or prohibit it. This is a choice between long term and short term benefits â€" if they continue to migrate to city centers, the cities will grow more quickly than usual, but if we keep them on the fields the fields will produce additional profit from tax income. The only problem is that town growth in this game is so slow that it’s almost always better to go for the short term benefits.
Back to the fields you peasants!
Finally, after the raiders burned Kai-province’s fields again, I finally move out with the Kai garrison to deal with them.
The results are predictable.
Then I do something stupid. As I predicted, my garrison isn’t able to return to the castle before the end of the turn, but if I detach Nobuhide, he can reach the castle by himself. I do this initially because I’m concerned about the province rebelling if it doesn’t have a garrison, but then I had the thought, “Man, you know what would suck? If, say, a full stack of Murakami troops just showed up right after I end my turn and laid siege to the castle when nobody’s on it.”
And wouldn’t you just know it, that’s exactly what happened.
Fortunately after having that thought, I moved Nobuhide back off of the castle, but he was still within reinforcement range, which had me worried, because he was pulled into the fight all the same. I knew if I allowed the fight to auto-resolve, he’d be dead, and as hilarious as something like that could turn out to be for the death of Nobuhide â€" and I do need to kill him at some point, lest this become “Nobuhide’s Japan” instead of “Nobunaga’s Japan” – he’s just too valuable for me to give up quite yet.
So I try to fight the battle live, to see if the game will kill him automatically or not if he doesn’t engage in combat at all.
Of course you can’t just retreat when you’re defending in a castle assault, so I had to play out the whole battle â€" 2500 enemy troops against my 45 samurai retainers.
“All right, men, all I need is for each of you, individually, to kill fifty-five enemy troops, and we can totally win this!”
“Well this sucks.” – Purported Last Words of Kai Castle Garrison Commander, Takayama Kazumasa.
I do seem to have a penchant for getting Takayamas killed, don’t I?
Hilariously, those 45 men still somehow managed to kill almost 400 enemy troops. So, 8.5 kills per person. Still a far cry from 55 each, but impressive nonetheless.
Fortunately for all parties involved, Nobuhide survives unscathed. Here I was all ready for a “Suddenly, the Daimyo was struck by a bolt of lightning from the completely clear skies while he watched the battle from afar,” obituary. I guess sacrificing that Munenari ninja earlier has sated the Watching Josh Suffer Gods.
Research has finished on a number of civic improvements, including better farming techniques and further expansion of the criminal syndicate’s powers. If I fully upgrade a Sake-den, I can recruit battlefield ninjas now. Aw yeah.
I’m shifting my research focus back to Bushido now, in order to pursue the development of gunpowder-based troops. Nobunaga was one of the first Japanese warlords to make extensive use of arquebusiers on the battlefield. In fact, quite the contrary to the very traditionalist, “honorable,” image of samurai warfare, the later periods of the Sengoku Jidai were fought using surprisingly modern methods (for the 16th century, anyway). Japan found it quite easy to transition to European-style “pike and shot” formations, with pike or spearmen providing a forward line to defend the massed matchlock-armed troops from cavalry and infantry.
Indeed, the traditional image of Japanese “castles” was one that was created in response to the importation of gunpowder and matchlock-firearms, not one that was rendered obsolete by them. Prior to the advent of firearms, most Japanese fortifications were simple wooden forts or mountain sanctuaries. As firearms came into use, castles were adapted to better serve them, with large battlements standing at the top of stone-and-earthwork-bases, from which arquebusiers could fire from. If this sounds familiar to you, it should â€" these sorts of fortifications better resemble those of 16th to 18th century European forts than Medieval-era European castles.
That is not to say Japanese castles were immune to cannon fire â€" Osaka castle was destroyed in part by sustained cannon barrages in 1615 â€" but large battlefield cannons were quite rare in the notoriously iron-poor Japanese archipelago.
In any case, gunpowder units in this game are quite powerful, inflicting morale shocks against the enemy with every volley. They’re incredibly powerful when used in defense of castles, and quite powerful on the open field as well.
Inexplicably, the Uesugi have broken their alliance with us, and our relations have dropped from “friendly” straight down to “hostile.” I can see how the Uesugi, with their three war-torn provinces and enemies swirling all around them, would have no need of our assistance or support.
Oh well, they’re no longer a major player in the politics of the island anyway.
Now, what to do about Kai province. Well, I have one idea. With that massive stack of units occupying Kai province, I think our chances are pretty good that the Murakami have left North Shinano unguarded. Big mistake, as I am about to illustrate. I move Nobuhide into the forest outside Kai to hide him from the enemy, while Takayama takes his army from South Shinano up to North Shinano to capture it.
As I suspected, only a minimal garrison was left at North Shinano, and it falls easily to Takayama’s assault.
And now I’m going to try a little trick I’ve learned over the many campaigns I’ve played.
I move Nobuhide out of Kai province and leave him in the forest just north of the border. Watch what the Murakami do.
When spring comes, they move their force south – crossing into our borders – to attack some of our core provinces. Normally, this is bad for us, but…
Kai province is within Nobuhide’s striking range, and it’s completely unprotected.
And when it falls…
Oh, where did the gigantic Murakami army go?
Since Kai was the last province they controlled, the Murakami as a “clan” entity was destroyed. Now, if they had still been within their former borders when I took Kai, the army would have been converted to “Murakami Rebels,” and if they took the province back, the Murakami clan would return. But since they were outside their borders…
Poof, gone forever. The Total War series has never been very kind to Hannibal and Spartacus-styled armies that live off the land and have no permanent base of operations or proper supply chain, and Shogun 2 is no exception.
Cheap shot? You betcha. But this is Legendary difficulty, so you’d better believe I’m gonna take it.
Goodbye Murakami Clan. You’ve been a thorn in my back for far too long.
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