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Shogun II: Total War


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I'm fed up of running out of food. I'd love to build up big old castles and have them churn out bowmen, spearman, cavalry etc. However, if I upgrade a castle or two to get more build slots I run out of food. Then I have to send all my research into chi food arts, which is just plain dull when I could be working on uber bowmen.

I guess I've never been into micromanaging enough to have different specialisms for each city, I prefer to just build everything and get on with it. Having the food limitation be so tight feels like an artificial way of stopping me have fun (realism schmealism).

So, any tips for not starving would be welcome!

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So in addition to the Rise of the Samurai DLC expansion (which is fantastic and well worth getting), a standalone expansion has been announced - Fall of the Samurai.

The Creative Assembly have just announced that they’ll be releasing a huge standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 called Fall of the Samurai. It will be set in the period leading up to the Boshin War, in which European and American forces introduce a new wave of military technology that threatens to wipe out the Samurai.

Fall of the Samurai will add six new factions. Some, like the Nagaoka, sill support the might of the Shogun. Others, like the Satsuma clan, want to embrace Imperial power. Externally, British, French and American forces are vying for influence in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the course of the campaign, you’ll get to decide Japan’s fate.

New tech trees will reflect the evolving technology of a country adapting to the influx of devastating new weaponry from the west. That technology includes new naval units like “steamers, torpedo boats and mighty Ironclad battleships.” For the first time in Total War, these will be able to launch artillery attack on land units from the safety of the sea. Coastal defences will also be able to launch ranged attacks on incoming fleets, and the fight for influence will rage across a new campaign map that will incorporate the Northern Ezo territories and railways. Railways can be used to move troops incredibly fast, and can be sabotaged by the enemy.

On the battlefield, 39 new units will be available, including Gatling guns, US Marines and British Royal Marines. There will be three new agent types, Foreign Veteran, the Ishin Shishi and the Shinshengumi. These campaign map agents will have all new progression trees, and the Geisha and Ninja skills will be updated.

The six new factions are divided into pro-Shogunate and pro-Imperial groups. The Aizu, Nagaoka, and Jozai clans fight for traditional Japan, while the Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa factions fight for the Empire.

A number of improvements will be made to siege battles. New tower defences can be upgraded and specialised to become archery, matchlock or gatling gun towers. A new “port siege” battle will let armadas brave coastal defences to take control of coastal towns by occupying their harbours.

Shogun 2′s multiplayer features will also be expanded. You’ll be able to create a separate Fall of the Samurai avatar with access to 40 new retainers, 30 new armour pieces and a new tech tree. There will be a new 19th century conquest map and you’ll be able to create multiple avatars to try out different tech tree builds.

Fall of the Samurai is shaping up to be a huge update. It’s standalone, too, so you won’t need Shogun 2 to play it. It’s due out in March.


Great culture-and-technology-clash concept. Great trailer, too.

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Rise of the Samurai is very good - essentially an entirely new campaign. New unit roster, new tech trees, new agent types, new skill trees for characters, new faction setup. Religion is replaced by faction influence. New types of fort (including unwalled towns). Even new environmental effects like proper lightning strikes during thunderstorms.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun First Look at Fall of the Samurai. It's looking brilliant.

40 units per side in battles (twice as many as any TW game to date), 24 turns per year, and my own favourite bit:

The final flourish will come when you either declare your final allegiance to the Emperor or the Shogun, prompting all the other clans to flock to their chosen side so the final act can play out. Alternatively, you could pull a Shogun 2 – call dibs on a republic and fend off all-comers.

This sounds like a great replacement for the arbitrary Realm Divide.

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Just restared the campaign mode as the errr... Triforce-emblem guys and doing much better now after my miserable attempt earlier. Got my ass handed to me pretty quick and ended up with not nearly enough moneys to get anything worthwhile done.

I've bookmarked a few strategy guides which I will give a read some time later but seeing as they are pretty dense, got any essential top tips for a newbie?

EDIT: Ah the previous page seems to contain a far amount of basics. One question though: How does my online avatar thing tie into the singleplayer campaign mode? Do I get stuff in multiplayer by doing stuff in singleplayer?

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Fall of the Samurai is now out (and downloading for me - it's a 9 gig patch on top of the existing Shogun 2 install if you have the game already, otherwise it's something ludicrous like 32 gig). Since it has quite a bit of new content common to both games - like 30-odd multiplayer maps - even the base game is downloading a 5 gig patch or so if you don't have Fall of the Samurai. Plus the ability, for both games, to have 40vs40 unit battles.

Can't wait to get stuck in to this.

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Well! I've spent a lot of time yesterday and today getting stuck into this, both campaign and multiplayer. It's... really excellent. I've taken a bunch of screenshots so here they are, below, with some details about the game:


One of my first battles. The spearmen charging from the left are mine. I'm playing as the Choshu, aligned with the Emperor rather than the Shogunate, and they're the ideal faction for modernising and using western-style troops rather than traditionalist ones, but I started off with traditionalist troops as well as more modern ones and like hell was I going to disband them instead of use them in battle! You can just see some corpses on the extreme left where the charging yari kachi took some casualties on the way in, but the volley wasn't enough to stop them and those line infantry got chewed up all to hell in close combat. This battle was an object lesson for me in how to handle it when the enemy uses traditionalist troops, too - having used them successfully myself, I knew what to look out for and guard against later.


The effects of naval bombardment and field artillery on a crap wooden fort. In FOTS, if you have a fleet on the coast, they can support you in battles (as well as bombarding armies and cities and ports on the campaign map). The amount of shells fired per barrage is dependent on the number of ships you have - this particular barrage had about 20 shells since I only had an American-supplied ironclad and a corvette, so not a particularly large fleet. Enough to do a good bit of damage, though, as you can see.


The walls of the fort literally run red with blood. There were some six hundred dead infantry from artillery and sharpshooters before I began the infantry assault.


My kihetai riflemen mopping up the last defenders in close combat. Just some spear levy - the poor peasant bastards don't stand a chance.


A multiplayer 2v2 naval battle. Utter slaughter - this shows the enemy's ironclad flagship about to ram my team-mate's ironclad flagship. We were praying that the barrage of shot from our ships would stop it before it reached.


It didn't. :P My team-mate's ironclad sank instantly, although the enemy flagship followed suit shortly afterwards since it had been holed so much.


A view of the battle as a whole. At this one point we'd destroyed one enemy fleet entirely, and the other had only one corvette left afloat and fighting. But we only had one each, too. Here you can see one of my team-mate's corvettes fleeing the battlefield through the burning enemy ships, and about to pass directly under a coastal gun battery...


...which is a very bad idea.


And there it goes. The ships are utterly gorgeous in this, it has to be said - CA outdid themselves when it came to modelling them.

And that's it. More of you should play this! It's great. And I think it looks good even with the DX9 graphics, minimal AA, and medium textures (as in the above screenshots - some parts look a bit shoddy but you really don't notice them in motion).

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I have exactly the same settings and it does look really nice, I especially like the fog effect. I've only played some fairly small scale battles in the campaign so far, but I'm impressed. The mixture of melee units with small numbers of fairly fragile gunpowder units is quite interesting, you need to keep them working together.

I need to try a larger battle, though,

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Yeah, early on you really do need to use the two kinds of warfare in concert, although I switched to all-modern-all-the-time pretty quickly (fighting all my initial battles on the coast and making use of naval support helped).

In multiplayer, I've found that sieges require a good mix of troops, to start with. If defending, you want riflemen and bowmen on the walls (bowmen can be positioned back from the ramparts), as well as katana kachi to actually fight off anyone who dares climb the walls to get at the soft riflemen. You have to micromanage which defenders are actually taking the brunt at any one time, to maximise your effectiveness.

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A tale of artillery in three images. Some rebels had taken control of a neighbouring province, and had a surprisingly large army of mostly infantry and sabre cavalry. I had the high ground, but their gunpowder units were simply shooting from below, wearing down my spearmen in the front row. So I called in some naval support to open a path for a full charge with spear and horse. As you can see, it's super effective!



Not all of those guys were killed on impact, of course, but it knocked something like five entire units to the ground, scattering guys everywhere! Artillery is delightful in this game.

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It really is. Both on-field and naval support varieties. And, well. Good fucking grief, Gatling guns.


Those men didn't get any closer. And seeing the Gatlings tear cavalry charges to shreds is just horrific.

On another note, torpedo boats seem pretty hard to use. They can't get too close without being blown to fuck and their torpedoes seem quite slow so launching them at long range gives the enemy plenty of time to get out of the way.

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Possibly, yeah. Although they do appear to be one-hit-kills if you actually hit a ship with the torpedo. Perhaps in battles where the enemy has tougher ships than just wooden ones, so explosive shells don't murder everything, you could let your ships get into a slugging match then bring the torpedo boats in close to finish the job.

I'm trying out the Aizu to be as traditionalist as possible now (having finished my modernising campaign with the Choshu) and my God it's a different feel. Much harder so far, too - I was only able to take my first province by inciting a revolt and then taking on the victorious but tattered rebels instead of the strong garrison that had previously been there. Spear levies to soak up volley fire and let the katana kachi close the gap... that's the order of the day.

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I picked up Shogun 2 last week in the Steam sale (both S2 and the Rise of the Samurai for US$10, which was a bargain), and despite owning Medieval 2 (which I picked up mega cheap in a sale but never got past the tutorial), I've never really played a Total War game before.

I've just finished my first campaign game, and when I say finished I mean "got my ass handed to me". I picked a clan on an island (Easy clan) and only managed to expand to two provinces, set up a couple of decent trade routes, and marry off a daughter, before realising that the clan I was sharing the island with had a much stronger army than I did.

So, reverting to a save before I declared war on them and tried miserably to attack one of their towns, I tried to work out economic or diplomatic alternatives. So I built up my relationships with a couple of other clans, established trade routes, and married my daughter to one of them. They were Friendly, and very polite when I entered negotiations with them, but I just couldn't get them to form an Alliance with me. Maybe I should have done this when I gave them my daughter.. still, you live and learn.

So I couldn't get diplomatic support, but maybe I could get my economy to the point where I was stronger and use my Ninja and small fleet to whittle down their resources? My trade was doing well, so I trimmed down my trade fleet and cut back on a few units to give me increased margin from turn to turn, so that I could build up a healthy bank balance to purchase some high tier units and support me through a short war.

I successfully sabotaged their farms and ports, but when I tried to blockade their trade port I just suffered a narrow defeat, losing my navy. Hmm... OK. Not looking good.

So I thought I'd try going for one of their smaller towns with some desirable goods (fancy horses I think it was), so I could get increased trade and take some of their trade revenue away. All with the objective of making them reduce the size of their army through low funds.

Stupidly, I elected to siege the town rather than just attacking it. So by the time I was at day 2 of the siege, their mega-army turned up and in a nutshell, kicked my ass. They then sent a few Ninjas and another army to my (almost undefended) capital, so I lost that. Then I lost troops to attrition as they were out over Winter. Then they blockaded my port, so my money flow stopped.

Finally, the remains of my army got hunted down and massacred.

A fantastic game, but I'd question some of the diplomacy AI responses unless there's a lot going on behind the scenes that I wasn't aware of with the clan I thought was friendly.

I presume that in this case I just sat back and casually built up my clan when I should have been looking to expand, perhaps not looking at Naval activity until a bit later on. I'll try again :)

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Early on, tyagi, you definitely want to be a little more aggressive/expansionist. If you start on an island you pretty much want to secure that entire island at some point, so making alliances with clans there (even if they're friendly) isn't really what you want to focus on, since even if successful it'll just be an inconvenience to you later. You probably would have secured the alliance if you'd offered the marriage at the same time as the treaty. There's no real reason to arrange a marriage otherwise - it's to add weight to other diplomatic options and make the other side more likely to accept. On top of that, don't rely too much on starving the enemy of their funds. The AI will cheat a bit as to money and it's better to use blockades and sabotage and that sort of thing as a secondary aspect of your war rather than the main one. You might consider raiding trade routes too, instead of just blockading the port - that way you actually get some of the trade income meant for them.

Here are a few more shots from FOTS. Playing as a traditionalist faction now:


My kachi hide in a forest while the enemy army engages my allies on the open field. I don't go to help because I need my men intact for the siege assault that will follow, and spear levy and katana kachi aren't exactly made for charging riflemen in the open.


The victorious enemy army, tattered and weak, arrives at the edge of the forest. My men charge out to meet them, taking no more than half a volley on the way in.


Poor buggers don't stand a chance in melee. Also, if you look at the line infantry third up from the end of the line, about half a second after the screenshot was taken his head went flying as the kachi in front of him lopped it off. :lol:

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Thanks Rudi.

I started another game, but chose the Rise of the Samurai campaign. Probably shouldn't have done this, as the game is now quite different. I should have just started another basic campaign game. Oh well, we'll see how we go. At least this time I've got an ally straight away and a few friendly bordering clans. I've set up a bunch of trade routes, so have good cashflow, so we'll see which clan I can single out for us all to gang up on.

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I absolutely love the way the historical battles are done in FotS: They are done consecutively, with a narrative, and cutscenes before, during and after the battles, meaning it is effectively a whole (scripted) extra campaign taking you through the Boshin War. It gives a nice sense of the context of each battle. I think that's the first time they've done it like this, rather than just a selection of interesting battles from the time period, which has sometimes been a little half-arsed. It's excellent.

The (1868) siege of Osaka Castle also looks gorgeous.

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