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.

Right after the events of Part 8, the inevitable happened as Hojo took the lakeside province from Hattori. No biggie - they won't be able to sneak away with Kyoto this easily as our army quickly moves into position, and it wasn't such an important part of the strategy.

Perhaps becoming aware of their increasingly hopeless position, Hattori offer a peace treaty to us. You know, there's nothing that can't be achieved with sufficient amounts of cash.

Would you like to see the complete pricelist for our foreign relations?

Unlike Uesugi years ago, they agree to paying our little peace fee - a smart move. Or at least it would be if I was actually looking for peace. Hattori still have three scarcely protected provinces and there's no way I'll just let them (or Hojo) keep those. Without even closing the diplomacy screen, I declare war on Ashikaga Shogunate (current holders of Kyoto), and Hattori resume war with us as their allies. Status quo remains unchanged, but I'm 3000 moneys richer - this is the kind of diplomacy I like.

In the meantime, the premises of Kyoto are starting to look crowded.

Somebody must be giving away free ice cream.

That's two pairs of allies, and all the armies are close enough to each other that in case of an attack everybody would get dragged into a large messy fight. Our ninja keeps himself occupied by trying to assassinate easy enemy agents, partly to alleviate the problem of us being outnumbered, but mostly to get XP necessary for more important jobs. At this point I just resort to waiting for the other army on its way from our capital and hoping no fight would break out until it reaches here.

But of course it does: Hojo decides to finish the job on that tattered Hattori mob and goes into battle. Before I can start panicking, however, I notice they chose to attack during the night. Fighting night battles is a special skill available only to some generals, and importantly in this case - unavailable to either of Ashikaga armies. Because of this clever trick, Hattori do not receive any support and are crushed completely: they only have some spear units in bad shape, while Hojo have nine full ones of archers. Obviously, the battle goes right by the book - Hojo generals charge through their lines and straight into enemy spearmen.

Wait, no, this is all wrong.

So, um, yeah. They still manage to win, although one of the generals is wounded and barely escapes with his life, and another loses half of his bodyguard. 1000 Hojo archers don't get to fire a single arrow. I lose all trust of battle AI. My general gains a fifth star, probably for explaining everything that Hojo did wrong in colorful language after the battle.

Afterwards, Kyoto front enters a complete standstill. For a number of turns none of the armies dare making a move, to my relief. It means I don't have to hurry with the other army so much, and can probably even take care of some side business that has piled up lately.

First of all, there is some unrest back in Echizen. A group of Ikko-ikki rebels (that's the religion that was dominant in the region before we came there) has emerged and already laid waste to a few parts of the province's infrastructure.

What have the Takeda ever done for us?

The rebels are easily dealt with, and Echizen receives a hefty public order bonus due to military crackdown (a nice element that got carried over from Empire), making it one of the most repressed happiest provinces in the country.

While exploring the remaining lands of Hattori, our ninja comes across an army of Urakami (not to be confused with Murakami, who were destroyed in the first parts of the series), evidently another contender to the territories.

Pretty sure that's not what real trees look like, dude.

Well, there's not much we can do about it. We're in no need of another enemy just yet, and there are no troops to spare anyway. That's not to say we won't be getting the provinces back - Urakami and their huge tracts of land to the west will be just perfect for meeting our 25 province quota later on.

But one of the Hattori towns - the capital, actually - happens to stand in the way of our incoming army and is taken, unceremoniously. What does make me pause is the screen presented after the battle:

No money or craploads of money? Hm...

Up until now, I always chose to occupy towns peacefully as that usually is a more profitable approach in the long run, but damn, that's a lot of money. For reference - our net income per turn is usually somewhere between 1000-2000. I decide the battle for Kyoto can wait just a little longer, loot the place, send my monk and metsuke to keep the public order in check, and go on an upgrade spree throughout the country.

With the capital taken, we finally get the option to make Hattori our vassals the next time they start begging for mercy - and that's precisely what they do. The demand takes a few game-hanging seconds and a CPU usage spike to process, and the Hattori spokesman says something about sooner willing to drive a dagger through my heart, but they do agree in the end.


It's not a permanent solution, but it means I get some of their money each turn until they get finished off by Urakami, commit mass ritual suicide out of shame, or whatever. When public order in Iga returns to positive values, I can move most of the garrison out of town and merge it with the main army.

Much better.

Hell yeah, now we're ready to roll.

Next time: we take Kyoto (I really really hope).


  1. I like how one of those clans has a Triforce logo. I mean, I knew Japan loves Nintendo, but making a little picture from Zelda an iconic representation of your entire nation might be a bit too nerdy.

  2. What the 13 grand? If that town wealth works like in Empire, 13k is a huge amount for a single region. Well it probably doesn't, but 13k is also big compared to your peace tributes. Good job fooling the fools out of that 3 thousand.

    I find sitting army avatars weird, by the way. On the other hand, they look great in other respects.

  3. @Someone: I always refer to that as a first iteration Sierpinski triangle; I'm afraid that makes me even more nerdy.

    @Sekundaari: I imagine it's because it was the clan capital. Small towns in the periphery often offer just a few hundred, which would barely cover the repair costs.

    Sitting means no more movement points. I actually think this, together with more informative banners, is a great improvement - bowed heads (or whatever it was earlier) is just too easy to miss, so now you can get a better sense of the situation without clicking on everything. Although I find it amusing that chairs are the privilege of army generals alone, agents have to wait kneeling.

  4. Hm. Wouldn't that be the second iteration?

    No move left does make sense. They just... look a bit silly, is all. Is there a chair-getting animation involved?

  5. I think a plain triangle would be the starting condition, or zeroth iteration, though I'm not familiar with the official nomenclature (if such even exists).

    Never actually looked at the animation - they definitely sit down, but I don't know where the chair comes from.