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Shogun II: Total War


tcharliel
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I just bought this! I've never played a RTS in my life, let alone a Total War game! They really aren't normally my style but I just really fancied it - something fairly strategic and relaxing to get my teeth into and I'm really into stuff about medieval Japan etc. I quite fancied the Rome one, too, but couldn't find it in the shop (I'm one of those weird people who like buying things from actual shops). Will let you know how I get on! ^_^

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If you need advice, just ask! I've played more of this game than is healthy (more than half of my playtime in multiplayer, now). The multiplayer is just... fantastic. The use of the personal 'campaign map' structure to unlock new units and retainers, the way your avatar/general levels up, the way you can get veteran units (which you can name and colour specifically, and which also level up), the way the clan competition works... it's fantastic. Love it to bits. If only the matchmaking wasn't so shoddy.

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Oh boy, picking the hardest Total War game yet for a 'relaxing' experience seems a little misjudged ;)

You'll definitely want to put it on easy. And, er, don't be too disheartened if you lose the first couple of times - you'll have to get used to the way things work both in and out of combat!

It is an absolutely gorgeous game, though, and if you like stuff about Japan, it'll fill that need comfortably!

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Bah! I read it was a lot more streamlined and new person friendly! I also read it was more slow paced and relaxing than, say, Starcraft 2 or Dawn of War!

My brother also bought a copy. He used to play Age of Empires so he has a slight edge there, but I have you guys! I will play through a few goes to see how I get on then come here for advice about how to royally batter my brother's armies!

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Actually, yes, it is a lot more streamlined - when I say it's the hardest, I mean in terms of the AI kicking you in the balls, not in terms of it throwing obscene numbers of units and structures at you :)

Rudi's the talented one here, so if we ever end up disagreeing, assume he's right, but I'll offer what advice I can!

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Bah! I read it was a lot more streamlined and new person friendly! I also read it was more slow paced and relaxing than, say, Starcraft 2 or Dawn of War!

My brother also bought a copy. He used to play Age of Empires so he has a slight edge there, but I have you guys! I will play through a few goes to see how I get on then come here for advice about how to royally batter my brother's armies!

You should note that the game has a co-operative campaign mode, too! You can both fight side by side instead of against each other. Although I've heard that the co-op campaign is prone to desyncs at the moment.

It's definitely more relaxed than a 'proper' RTS, too. You'll be fine!

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Thanks for your advice thusfar boyos!

Just been reading through the thread whilst I wait on the crazy big install. Your screens are lovely, Rudi. I'm assuming this will run well on my machine with everything up to 11 (27" imac, ati hd5something, 4 jigglybits of ram etc).

Argh, it's installed and updated! Off I go to fortune and glory! I will post screens and let you all know how I fare!

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Right, then!

I just did the 'Basic' battle tutorial. The game gave me some on foot guys and told me to move them about a bit, which I did. Camera is a little fiddly - I thought mouse scrolling would move the camera forward and back but it seems to move it up and down instead. Odd. Using the keyboard instead to strafe/rotate and move the camera.

The game then had some samurai charge me and told me to turn the on foot guys round by right click dragging. It didn't do anything. I tried clicking the flashing golden arrow at the bottom of the screen under the guy's picture, but that did nothing. The samurai clattered into the side of my on foot guys, knocking them flying, but somehow I still won the fight.

The game then gave me archers and told me to fire on approaching samurai, which I did. Some of them fell over, but I was too busy fighting with the camera to really see what was going on. I fired fire arrows at them. They got too close and my archers ran away and I got my spear guys to get stuck in. The camera was so far zoomed out I couldn't tell what was going on and by the time I'd wrestled with it enough to get it close, I'd apparently won again.

The game told me to move everyone forward, which I did. They weren't close together, though, and the game said I should keep them close together for morale. I stopped the spear guys and got my archers, who were off to one side, to stand in front of them, but then they were facing the wrong way. I used the right click drag thing, which was now sort of working, to turn them round, but at the angle I'd got the camera stuck at, the ended up facing kinda diagonally forwards and stretched into a really thing column. I eventually got this sorted and then tried to move speardudes into line behind them, but couldn't get it exactly right, so they kinda stuck out. I walked them forwards towards the next bit, but the camera stayed where it was, so I ended up miles away. I realised I was getting fired upon and losing men so I zoomed the camera forward quickly and overshot my troops. I turned the camera round, went back and started firing back. I noticed the hint guy was flashing so I clicked the tick and the game gave me some horsey men and told me to charge the enemy. I did so and, just as I reached them, it told me to go into wedge formation. It was too late for that, and my cavalry clashed with the enemy. I made them flee and the game told me to take them out to stop them regrouping, but didn't tell me how, so I just sent horses after them again. Then I sent the horses after the other group shooting at them and then apparently I had won a heroic victory!

So yeah, seems good, looks very pretty (everything on ultra by default), but the camera is poop and I have no clue what is going on!

Is there a way to make the mouse control the camera more?

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Just finished my campaign as the Shimazu, fulfilling the Long Campaign victory conditions - to take 40 provinces, and be Shogun. Still got enemies, including the mighty Hojo, but they're slightly less than half as mighty as I am, the saps. One of my final battles of the campaign was an absolutely epic one against their four doomstacks, with one inferior army of my own. And I won, which was lovely, although with roughly 50% casualties.

I might go back and continue that, finish off the Hojo and their remaining allies, but I'm content with my achievement for now. Even if I did only get to use my Katana Hero unit in only one battle.

Heh, i'm nearing the end of my first (easy) play through on the Shimazu long campaign and doubt i'll get the forty provices in time; think i have 26-30. As soon as i became Shogun everyone declared war and its been quite a hard slog holding back the wave after wave of full stacked armies coming across from Takeda, Oda and a couple of smaller clans.

My first impressions are great but i do have a few gripes, mainly trade which seemed to go well at first but then no one wanted to trade despite me having what they wanted and i was usually friendly or indifferent with them. Loving the changes (from the first) with regards agents, assuming the AI is going easy on me, my Ninjas have quite a nice life span and are invaluable. Things have picked up later in the game as i've started to encounter other agents, i assume these are more prevelant sooner in a campaign on harder diffculties.

Glad i started on easy, its given me a chance to get to know the UI and start to understand how i need to organise my building and recruitment better. I haven't even looked at battles since i know my computer will struggle, i've just endeavoured to have good numbers and the right troops and leave the rest to my generals in the auto-resolve.

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Right, then!

I just did the 'Basic' battle tutorial. The game gave me some on foot guys and told me to move them about a bit, which I did. Camera is a little fiddly - I thought mouse scrolling would move the camera forward and back but it seems to move it up and down instead. Odd. Using the keyboard instead to strafe/rotate and move the camera.

The game then had some samurai charge me and told me to turn the on foot guys round by right click dragging. It didn't do anything. I tried clicking the flashing golden arrow at the bottom of the screen under the guy's picture, but that did nothing. The samurai clattered into the side of my on foot guys, knocking them flying, but somehow I still won the fight.

The game then gave me archers and told me to fire on approaching samurai, which I did. Some of them fell over, but I was too busy fighting with the camera to really see what was going on. I fired fire arrows at them. They got too close and my archers ran away and I got my spear guys to get stuck in. The camera was so far zoomed out I couldn't tell what was going on and by the time I'd wrestled with it enough to get it close, I'd apparently won again.

The game told me to move everyone forward, which I did. They weren't close together, though, and the game said I should keep them close together for morale. I stopped the spear guys and got my archers, who were off to one side, to stand in front of them, but then they were facing the wrong way. I used the right click drag thing, which was now sort of working, to turn them round, but at the angle I'd got the camera stuck at, the ended up facing kinda diagonally forwards and stretched into a really thing column. I eventually got this sorted and then tried to move speardudes into line behind them, but couldn't get it exactly right, so they kinda stuck out. I walked them forwards towards the next bit, but the camera stayed where it was, so I ended up miles away. I realised I was getting fired upon and losing men so I zoomed the camera forward quickly and overshot my troops. I turned the camera round, went back and started firing back. I noticed the hint guy was flashing so I clicked the tick and the game gave me some horsey men and told me to charge the enemy. I did so and, just as I reached them, it told me to go into wedge formation. It was too late for that, and my cavalry clashed with the enemy. I made them flee and the game told me to take them out to stop them regrouping, but didn't tell me how, so I just sent horses after them again. Then I sent the horses after the other group shooting at them and then apparently I had won a heroic victory!

So yeah, seems good, looks very pretty (everything on ultra by default), but the camera is poop and I have no clue what is going on!

Is there a way to make the mouse control the camera more?

I believe there are other control methods available, but I can't comment on how good/suitable they are to your needs as I've never tried them. The idea with the default controls, though, is basically to:

  • Scroll around the field with the keyboard
  • Use the mouse to rotate and zoom the view as necessary (mousewheel for zoom, mouse to the edge of the screen to rotate). However, it's rare you'll want to be very zoomed in, and keeping the camera facing 'north' makes moving around the mini-map more intuitive, so in practice you won't actually be doing that so much.
  • Place units with the right-mouse-button drag mechanism. This takes a little getting used to, as while many games have it so that you hold down the mouse then drag in the direction you want the formation to face, as in the TW series being able to adjust the depth of your formations on the fly is important, it instead 'paints' the unit, with the starting point being their left flank, and the release point being their right flank. It's actually very useful, and should become second nature fairly quickly. If you just want to make mild adjustments to a unit's facing, though, it can be easier just to use the buttons in the bottom left of the screen (also ideal for making a whole army move en masse, or for having a unit quickly back up without changing facing). However, if you have 'grouped' several units (i.e. selected several together, and then pressed G or CTRL-1/2/3etc.), and click and drag them into place, it will keep their units as they were, and try and keep them placed in the same relative formation. This enables you to quickly change the facing of an entire front/all of your army as necessary. This only happens when they're grouped, however - if you just select them en masse and drag out their formation, you'll just end up with a massive long line of your units. Not generally ideal.

When you're getting started, you'll definitely want to make good use of the pause button (top right of the screen, by the mini-map; also hotkey P, I believe) - you can still give orders while paused, and it'll still show the outlines of your orders as you give them, so it'll make sure you don't accidentally send your men in completely the wrong direction just as they're getting charged.

You'll get used to it eventually!

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This is the best Total War ever, I think. Ten years into a Shimazu normal campaign, I've smashed the Ito, maintained an uneasy peace with the Sagara (who converted to Christianity a while back, further straining our neighbourly relationship) and to top it all off, the Sagara's shithouse allies the Shoni suddenly declared war on me, sending an almost-full stack through Sagara territory to try and fuck my shit up. They were mainly ashigaru however, so my katana samurai demolished them when they tried to scale the walls.

The following turn the game gave me a mission to land a surprise amphibious attack on a lightly-defended Shoni province, so I sent a small stack of katana samurai and ashigaru bowmen north aboard a single ship, led by the Daimyo's 16 year old son, as yet completely untested in battle. The attack was a triumph, supported by my single ninja I managed to overwhelm two provinces before the Shoni were able to send a stack my way, but it turned out to be quite the fucking stack. My remaining units were heavily outnumbered, but I managed to hold out against the Shoni assault. Ended up with something like 98 men left and the young general was killed leading a heroic charge into the massed lines of Shoni samurai bowmen. I thought about reloading and trying to keep him alive, but it was such a great siege battle and to be honest, after the epic push via the sea into Shoni territory (the single boat that dropped them off being captured by the Shoni's navy practically the moment they disembarked, leaving them stranded) it seemed fitting that he would die in such an heroic manner.

I'm now laying siege to the Shoni's final stronghold and drawing up plans to invade the Sagara's territory. Although they didn't get involved with their ally's war, they still let the Shoni move troops through their territory to attack me. Plus I want to own Kyushu. Y'know?

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Yeah, controlling all of Kyushu is probably the best plan for the Shimazu. Gives you the maximum amount of ports to trade with every other clan going, and you'll be rolling in cash. After you secure Kyushu, actually, you may as well just take it easy for a bit and build up your forces. Opportunity for war will come soon enough after that.

Definitely use P to pause almost constantly, Squid. I've weaned myself off it due to multiplayer (where pausing isn't an option) but it's invaluable for getting used to how you should conduct yourself in battles to start with. You'll get used to controlling your army, and it'll become second nature eventually!

A good one to note is that if you've arranged your army in a good formation that you like, if you hit G to group them, then you can order them around and they'll maintain that formation. With a group selected, right-click and drag doesn't elongate the line, but instead lets you orient the entire formation. Very handy.

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The in-game advisor stuff is actually pretty good, I think - keep going through the tutorial, and combined with the dynamic advice stuff (which will come up when you start a campaign properly) you should be able to muddle along a bit.

Here are some basics for you to keep in mind, though:

1. Spearmen beat cavalry, but are weak against swordsmen and archers (though loose formation can combat arrows, the lack of armour is more of an issue).

2. Cavalry are often best on the charge, so instead of getting into protracted fights with them, charge them in, then out so that they can charge again.

3. Swordsmen are your go-to troops for dealing with enemy infantry, and can beat most things in melee. They're not much use against cavalry though.

4. Archers are great against close-packed enemies, particularly infantry, and if the target has very little armour then they're even better. Ashigaru (peasant) troops, warrior monks, that kind of thing. No armour, so arrows murder them.

5. Matchlock infantry, that is troops with primitive firearms, shouldn't really be thought of in the same way as archers. They're more like shock troops - their short range and generally low armour means that they can't get into a shooting match with archers, but they can mow down charging infantry and when firing into the flanks of a melee they can do great execution. They also scare any troops being targeted by them, so you can cause a chain reaction of a rout with them.

6. Try to hit enemies in the flanks when you can. It's possible to win with a frontal charge, but you'll break the enemy more quickly by charging in other troops (preferably cavalry) on the sides or rear of the enemy formation, meaning that you take fewer casualties.

7. Charging down a hill does more damage. Cavalry are terrible in woods. Shallow water (like a ford in a river) slows everyone down, particularly cavalry. Troops can move at a walk in a forest and be hidden from enemies, letting you ambush them from any direction you like as long you're not detected. Use terrain to your advantage when you can!

For the campaign map, the one thing that the tutorial doesn't really deal with, I think, is food supply (which is new in Shogun). Down in the bottom-right of the interface you can check food supply (and predicted food supply) - keep this at 0 or above or your populace gets unhappy. Every province produces 1 unit of food by default, from its farms, but also consumes 1 unit of food, from its fort. Each level of farm gives you more food, each level of fort uses up more food. Market buildings from Rice Exchange and above also use up food. Don't build up your infrastructure too much unless you've got the food supply to support it!

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Just to add to that:

8. Morale is one of the most important aspects of all Total War games. Your units will run when they're frightened, and one of the things that frightens people the most is seeing their friends run, hence routing one unit can cause a chain reaction, as Rudi mentions. Indeed, while samurai units are better than ashigaru in straight combat - they do more damage and have better defences - their real advantage is in their higher morale. Samurai may not always fight to the death, but they will fight long and hard against insurmountable odds, where ashigaru will run at the slightest hint of failure. Take advantage of this - rout the enemy's ashigaru quickly, then overwhelm their remaining samurai (while trying to avoid letting them do the same to you, of course). Things that scare units: being charged, being attacked in the side or rear; being outnumbered; fighting a losing battle; seeing other units run; being shot by siege weapons, guns or fire arrows; taking heavy losses; the death of their general. So, for example, firing a volley of fire arrows into a unit before charging them with two units of infantry and then, while they're engaged, wheeling a block of cavalry to their rear and charging them again is liable to result in a quick rout with few losses on your side.

9. Shooting into a melee is dangerous, as friendly fire is a distinct possibility. Your archers will try to compensate for where your units are, but if you're attacking a unit from all sides, you really want to order your archers to stop firing. And for the love of god, the moment you see the enemy routing make sure that your archers aren't targeting them, because they will absolutely massacre your own troops as they chase down said enemy.

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What is the best formation to use? The tutorial told me to pick a formation from a list that was just pictures of animals and no real explanation of what they actually were.

Is there a way to just have a battle in multiplayer? I started a multiplayer game with my brother and it put us on that map thing and, since neither of us had come across it yet, neither of us knew what to do!

Is there some explanation of who the different clans are and what they mean?

Sorry for the all the questions, but this is a little overwhelming!

Thanks for you help so far!

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In single player at least, highlighting the clans should tell you their strengths (none have particular weaknesses, aside from their geographical location and starting political situation in the single-player campaign).

I've not played the multiplayer at all, so can't help you re: quick battles, but for the formations:

You never have to use them, and if you do they tend to benefit from a bit of tweaking according to your precise formation. I'm afraid I can't remember most of them (as I tend not to use them), but each focusses on a different strategy. So you have Bark of the Pine Tree, which will quickly arrange your troops in a formation like this:

Archers

Spearmen

Infantry

Cavalry

Where archers are at the front, and cavalry the rear. This is a formation designed for forcing the enemy to come and engage you in close combat, by putting your archers to the front where they can whittle down the enemy. As the enemy approach, your archers will fall back (they'll try and do this automatically if set to skirmish mode, but it can be best to control them manually if you don't want them to run in the wrong direction/react too late to a cavalry charge), passing through your spear wall. The spear wall will ideally catch the cavalry (who are, typically, archer-hunters) and slaughter them in short order, while your normal infantry and cavalry can react to threats as they occur. This formation is less useful if the enemy has more archers than you, as they can just turn your archers to pin-cushions, then attack your infantry, forcing you to come to them. Similarly, if the enemy army lacks cavalry, you'll probably not want spearmen as your first line of defence, as they simply won't be that effective. It also requires a good degree of attention and judgement, as you have to learn exactly when and where to run your archers to.

This is the same with every formation: they have particular uses, and particular weaknesses. They're designed for certain situations, and can be completely useless in the wrong one. And, most importantly, all of them will require tweaking on the fly, to react to your enemy's choice of troops and the way they act.

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The game has pretty good tooltips for pretty much everything - if you hover the mouse over each of the group formations, it'll tell you what they are briefly after a second or so.

You can play a 'normal' multiplayer game by going to Avatar Conquest and then choosing Battle List, where you can host a game instead of being matchmade. You can also choose to make it a 'classic battle', where you can pick clans from singleplayer and have the full range of units to choose from, but if you don't pick that then the battle will be limited by the same things as the matchmade battles would be, and will also earn you experience/veteran units/a new region on the map if you win.

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The 'campaign bits' aren't skipped by playing battle list games against friends (unless you ignore it and just stay in the same province forever). The avatar conquest campaign map is just for you, and doesn't put you in competition with anyone (unless you join a clan). Move your avatar's army around and if you win a battle (even against your brother) you'll 'conquer' that province, which will gain you the bonuses from it - be it a new unit, or a piece of armour for your avatar, or a new retainer. Remember to move your army around after each victorious battle, because there's absolutely no point in fighting more than one battle in the same province unless you're in a clan (since clans compete for 'influence' points in a province, and the clan with the most points owns that province).

Embrace the avatar conquest stuff, it's great fun and is essentially a genius way of marrying something like Call of Duty's positive-reinforcement levelling up and unlockable weapons with a strategy game structure.

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I started a campaign game on this last night as the Shimazu clan, as they were supposed to be an easy starter clan. First thing I did was recruit some more little guys and build a stronghold, a weaponsmith and a rice paddie. I then took the fight to the neighbouring arseholes who didn't like me for some reason and had began to encroach on my territory. I beat their first army soundly, then their second almost straight away. Then I returned to base to shore up. By the time I got back into their lands, they had managed to regroup a bit and I fought them again, beating them once more. I then marched on their castle, which the thing reported only had a stock of 45 soldiers to my 300 and something. My army's flag had a flashing red skull on it, but I don't know what that meant. 'Easy peasy, I thought'. I entered the battle and marched on their castle in the snow. They sent a force out after me that consisted of one unit of cavalry against my 5 or 6 and they got their asses handed to them.

I continued marching towards their castle and the guy said 'the enemy has reinforcements my lord!' and the thingy bar at the top suddenly went from about 95% yellow to about half and half! I stormed the castle in a panic, sending everything I had against the one wall. I trounced them at first, but took heavy casualties in the process. I accidentally sent my general into the fray and he got killed. They only had one unit left, their flag in tatters and life bar flashing red, I now only had two archery units with no arrows left, which I sent into melee mode. It was then that I realised I had to go stand by a flag to begin capturing the base, rather than killing everyone (the last unit just didn't seem to die!) and, as my few men trudged over, they suddenly lost morale and ran away, with only a few enemies facing them! It was terrible! My entire army trounced, my daiymo dead, bodies everywhere and a 'close defeat' message as a result.

Total War? Total noob more like! Embarrassing :(

Any tips for the campaign screen bit at all? I started learning the arts of chi at first as I figured I'd spend time making my own province happy before fighting others, but those guys were encroaching on my territory so I had to take the fight to them.

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It is bloody strange that the formations list doesn't tell you what they actually ARE unless you mouse over them. It's not even the primary tooltip, it's the secondary wait-for-a-bit tooltip. The Eastern-style pictures are all very nice and all but they could have replaced them with, say, the same thing they had in Medieval 2: Total War i.e. AN ACTUAL BREAKDOWN OF WHERE YOUR TROOPS WILL BE.

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Heh, i'm nearing the end of my first (easy) play through on the Shimazu long campaign and doubt i'll get the forty provices in time; think i have 26-30. As soon as i became Shogun everyone declared war and its been quite a hard slog holding back the wave after wave of full stacked armies coming across from Takeda, Oda and a couple of smaller clans.

My first impressions are great but i do have a few gripes, mainly trade which seemed to go well at first but then no one wanted to trade despite me having what they wanted and i was usually friendly or indifferent with them. Loving the changes (from the first) with regards agents, assuming the AI is going easy on me, my Ninjas have quite a nice life span and are invaluable. Things have picked up later in the game as i've started to encounter other agents, i assume these are more prevelant sooner in a campaign on harder diffculties.

Glad i started on easy, its given me a chance to get to know the UI and start to understand how i need to organise my building and recruitment better. I haven't even looked at battles since i know my computer will struggle, i've just endeavoured to have good numbers and the right troops and leave the rest to my generals in the auto-resolve.

Well, with five years remaining i gained my 40th province and became Shogun, didn't realise i had to get the last provice to actually be Shogun but anyways...

Quick question, the tooltip for Sake dens, markets and Buddhist Temple's talk about the more chains i have of them, the more i can recruit of that type, yet even if i upgrade them i still can't recruit more than one per structure. Is this just me not understanding something or is it a bug? I had quite a few Ninjas by the end but that was cos i had built quite a few Sake Dens, i seem to remeber in the first Shogun you could pretty much pump them out like units yet they would die fairly easy but in this one they seem to survive for a long time yet i don't have many.

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When it says 'chain' it means each sake den or upgraded building in a separate province, up to a maximum of 5 (the hard limit for each agent type). Upgrading the building doesn't let you get an extra agent; building another sake den/market/Buddhist temple in another province will.

Squid, you may have lost that battle but it's hardly insurmountable! And quite an epic story all told. :P You don't need to capture the central point of the tenshu to win the siege assault - you can rout/kill all of the enemies. The problem you ran into is that men on the final tier of a fort (and I imagine this fort was just one tier) will generally fight to the death (which is what the skull symbol beside the flag means) rather than routing. On top of that, you were left with troops that aren't very good at melee combat, so they were probably struggling to kill the last few enemies.

On the campaign map, if your army's flag is flashing white and has a skull it means they'll suffer attrition at the end of the turn. You take attrition if your army is in enemy territory at the end of the winter turn, although it's not that big a concern. You won't lose that many people to attrition.

Chi arts are definitely good to focus on at first - money is the biggest limiting factor in the game, for any faction, and anything that increases your income should probably be a priority (as well as things that increase research). Don't neglect the bushido arts, but chi is more useful in the long run (since you can win battles with pretty much anything, but you need your economy to keep pace.

One of the best ways to increase your income is to use metsuke. If you build a market, you can hire a metsuke (one metsuke for every market) and if you oversee a town with them, then they add 5% to tax income for every rank they have. They will gain experience very slowly while overseeing (nowhere near as fast as they gain experience from apprehending agents or bribing armies, but they'll gain nonetheless) and over time they'll substantially increase your income. Stick metsuke in your five most lucrative provinces (once you have five markets to hire them) and watch the koku roll in.

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Cheers again mate, you certainly know your stuff! It was quite an epic battle all told; I waded in with superior numbers and thought I would steamroll them, but then reinforcements arrived and it kicked off bigtime. My single unit of mighty samurai held their own against 4 units and a general before falling, taking the majority of the opposing force with them. I ordered my spearmen to climb the walls to mop up what was left. The corpses were all piled in the south western corner of the castle, men having to climb over their fallen comrades to get into the fray. That can't have been good for morale. They saw not only their general but their daimyo fall to the incumbent force - the force they thought they would easily rout! They panicked and were decimated, the cowards running for their pathetic lives instead of doing the honourable thing and giving their lives for the clan. I sent in the archers, two units against one final enemy force. They ascended the walls, saw the carnage before them and ran, screaming for the hills. May they burn in the hell of upside down sinners!

A hard lesson learned, I feel, and one I am not likely to repeat!

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Oh, one thing about sieges that I forgot - you might not have noticed, but you can get your men to burn down the gates and gatehouses instead of just climbing over the walls (which often results in casualties from men falling off, particularly if it's a high wall). Just be careful not to charge through the gatehouse the moment the gate burns down, because the gates will burn faster than the actual gatehouse structure and when the gatehouse structure reaches 100% damage it'll collapse on top of anyone going through the gate! Wait for the collapse to happen before you run your men in, so they don't lose half their unit from bits of masonry or wood.

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When it says 'chain' it means each sake den or upgraded building in a separate province, up to a maximum of 5 (the hard limit for each agent type). Upgrading the building doesn't let you get an extra agent; building another sake den/market/Buddhist temple in another province will.

Cheers for that, i had wondered about that will give it a go next campaign.

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I totally, totally suck at this. I've restarted the campaign at least 10 times now to try and get things right, but I really can't. It's mainly the battle bits I'm struggling with. I'll often win, but it won't be pretty or well organised and any kind of tactics I employ don't really work. I send bow guys in first, up front and centre. I try and send my spear guys to the sides, but by the time they get there, the bow guys have engaged.

Help me!

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I'm not sure exactly how you're conducting yourself here - personally I prefer to have my formation mostly set and move it as one. Archers in front, yes, but not very far from the main line - close enough that they can easily slip behind a protective wall of yari or katana or naginata if threatened by enemy infantry or even cavalry. Your archers shouldn't generally be more than a unit's 'depth' away from your main line! Any further is asking for trouble.

Treat bowmen as skirmishers, essentially, not a battle-winning force on their own (they can be a battle-winning force, but they absolutely need support). Take out enemy archers in a duel if you want, but the moment the enemy army makes a move to attack yours, pull the bowmen back. They can still fire over your other troops and even into a melee without doing too much friendly fire.

Keep your general near troops who have engaged, and use rally/inspire as necessary. Inspire is particularly effective on missile troops - even bow ashigaru become lethal when inspired, and matchlocks are another story entirely.

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