Saturday, 30 April 2011

Part 9, in which tension grows

(Sorry for the late post. If all goes right, there may be another one tomorrow, or else there'll be three next week. Stay tuned.)

Last time we cut off in the middle of a (turn-based) race to Kyoto between us and Hojo. There was also some serious Hattori pwnage, but that was mostly their problem. At this time, the situation looks thus:


Our territory is already starting to entangle Hojo in a strange yin-yang shape, and it's probably only going to get worse with time, considering Challenge #1. As for Challenge #2, a marriage was arranged between our clan and Satake, turning those slight red tints to the east into slight green tints, and making Date slightly less green in the process. Now, instead of some good friends and some perhaps-maybe-theoretically-future-enemies, we only have a bunch of dangerously indifferent people to that side of the border. Nothing bad will ever come of it, so we can go back to focusing on capturing Kyoto.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Part 8, in which there is poetry

(Check out Someone's writeup on a co-op mission we played in ArmA 2 last week. It's a fun read, and a good argument why nobody should ever give me a gun and ask to fight - if anybody even needed arguments for that.)

We have just witnessed what shameful and honorless people hide under the banner of Hattori. Clearly, they are trying to fit in a niche already occupied by yours truly, and for that they must pay. Actually, it's their own mistake for choosing to live between us and Kyoto, which happens to be the next item on our checklist to victory.

Before we get to expand much farther, there's still some leftover fragments of a Hattori army that got away from the failed siege loitering in our territory. I send my best general to deal with them, and he does so without meeting any serious resistance. He even gains another rank (fourth star!) and gets to widen his retinue.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Part 7, in which challenges are made

Previously, in a sequence of battles of varying success, we basically neutralized the Anegakoji clan, and were left with the formality of finishing it off.

Nothing ever changes.

As you'll notice, the map shows the situation after we retook Hida - not really a notable event (left defenseless, etc). At this moment, there are two armies - led by my (Mildly Mannered) daimyo and his brother, my new best general - standing at the border to Anegakoji, about to take their last two towns.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A silly survey

Next part of our Shogun adventures should be coming up later today tomorrow (sorry), but in the meantime let me ask you to spend a minute of your time to complete this quick, short, anonymous and completely nonsensical survey which has nothing to do with anything. Long story short, the results will be used to sabotage a particularly boring and utterly pointless English assignment. The more people complete it, the more impressive the sabotage, and the deeper my thanks.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Part 6, in which it gets worse (and then better)

(Proper screenshots next time - I promise!)

Last time, after a not entirely successful attempt at blitzkrieg, we ended up with two new provinces, heavy losses and a pissed off daimyo with his posse in uncomfortable proximity to our armies. There's nothing else to do but to make this situation resolve - somehow.

1553: the year we make enemies

Again, some quick notes about the map: Yamana and Hattori are Anegakoji's allies who declared war in response to our attack. Hojo managed to unceremoniously defeat Imagawa, our betrayed ex-allies, and show no signs of stopping their conquest. Borders of Date, our friends to the North, keep changing all the time as a war rages on; I decided to ignore the whole situation until somebody wins, at which point I'll try to make friends with the victor and pretend I always rooted for them. I'm pretty sure the owners of the fleet I failed to defeat knowingly surrendered to last time got exterminated the following turn after taking this screenshot.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Part 5, in which fails are numerous

(As I mentioned earlier, due to some screw-ups with FRAPS this post doesn't really have proper screenshots - the few present are just lucky salvages. But it's just the first of many failures in this mistake-ridden chapter of the story.)

Last time we left off with the Takeda war machine getting all shiny and polished, an ally betrayed and a period of peace about to end. In a shocking and entirely unpredictable twist, my next target is Anegakoji - the mostly friendly (though slightly irked) neighbors to the west whose previous attempt at disturbance of peace was thwarted by me when I got to do that first.

Despite their temperament being listed in-game as "defensive", they've been acting rather aggressively - starting from just a single province they have already grown to four. However, after having my monk pass through their territory, I can see they only have one really strong army and even that is a fair bit away from my borders. Little immediate resistance means I can get some foothold in their territory before any tough combat starts, so I confidently open up the diplomacy screen and declare war.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Part 4, in which war is not made

After Murakami and Uesugi, the two great enemies, were destroyed, and the domain of Takeda spread across the Honshu island, the clan entered an era of peace and prosperity. Clan's leaders gave up their bloodthirsty ambitions and spent their lives working for the benefit of the people, living in harmony with their neighbors and haha just kidding let's go kill some dudes.

The game isn't called Total Best Friends Forever, despite evidence to the contrary.

Peace, however, does have its benefits. You can spend time upgrading, expanding and improving your war machine without being distracted by actual war. You can also use the chance to explore territories that you're about to conquer with inconspicuous agents. Protecting your back is a good idea too. All in all, that sounds like a plan to me.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Part 3, in which wins are epic

Let's recap the situation: we've just captured North Shinano province, expanding the domain of Takeda clan to a grand total of two provinces and effectively halving the territory of Murakami; mildly annoyed Anegakoji in doing so; and have built up a sweet cavalry-based army. Since I don't have any in-game screenshots that would explain the relevant bits of the current progress, allow me to use this professionally edited map of Japan, anno 1548:

Everywhere else: dragons.

Note that due to very scrupulous and not at all coincidental choice of base map, it also shows the provinces that I must hold in order to win the campaign, tinted in green. This means that Murakami must be destroyed entirely, whether I like it or not (and I do like it). Anegakoji might be good people, and, in different times, we might even be allies, but alas - fate is cruel, and campaign objectives doubly so. They stand in my way and will have to go sooner or later, although Murakami is the first priority now.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Part 2, in which a war is beginning

Alright, here we go. As usual, I'm faced with the first choice of the game: which clan should I side with? There are nine options, each with their own perks, different starting locations on the map and specific victory conditions. Aside from briefing this info, the options screen provides a rather excited sounding description of the clan. I can't help but think it would look more natural written in Engrish.

I slowly flip through the pages, carefully weighing each option, until...


I like cavalry. Sooner or later, every country I run turns into Rohan, regardless of their initial specialization. There's nothing quite as satisfying as leading a cavalry charge to the rear of your enemy's formation and seeing them flee. So, picking the clan that is horse-obsessed from the start looks like a good move.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Part 1, in which the losing move is played

What, this again?

See, I have a weird problem. Once in while, I get beamed to some time and place where large groups of people happen to want to kill each other (any time and place, really), am given control over one such group and asked to win. It's not so bad, actually, especially if you know your way about the situation. Don't mean to toot my own horn so much, but remember the invasion of England by Italy from your history lessons? The Lithuanian siege of Paris? The glorious victory of Babylonians over the Aztecs? Yeah, these were all mine.

(Before you ask: no, I don't think I am, or have ever been, Napoleon. He was merely under my command.)

This time, however, it's nothing quite as familiar. It's the Sengoku period in feudal Japan, and my knowledge about it is just extensive enough to be able to look up the name in Wikipedia. Apparently, the whole country is divided into small regions, each ruled by an overly ambitious warlord. Nobody likes living in such mess, so a single unified ruler has to be chosen, and the best way to do that, of course, is to make everybody kill each other and see who's left.

Hm, how does the saying go... war stays the same forever? armed conflict alters under no circumstance? I'm sure it was something snappier. Anyway, this should be easy: a handful of clans, one island nation to conquer in a quarter of a century, and the title of shogun as the prize. Somebody wins, my productivity loses. Sounds about right.