Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Part 10, in which I am become shogun

We've finally reached Kyoto and assembled an army large enough to challenge it. It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and bubble gum has not been invented yet.

Not pictured: chance of victory.

Oh. So it appears that a citadel, such as Kyoto here, is nothing short of an enormous death trap. Moats just too wide for archers to shoot over. Long, narrow bridges with a projectile-armed tower at the end of each. A pair of concentric walls guarding the main objective. Another moat inside. With the help of some archers, it would be hard to even reach the walls; actually taking the castle would require a force several times larger than that which defends it. On second thoughts, maybe let's wait until the asses themselves come and ask to be kicked.

Luckily, fighting a battle as soon as you approach a castle - or ever - is not really necessary. There's always the option to simply lay siege and wait until the inhabitants start starving and give up, or move outside the walls and try to fight their way through. Kyoto has enough supplies to last 7 turns of siege, but I'm sure it won't take that long.

Right as our army besieges the town, Hojo army that had stayed in one spot for at least a full year suddenly walks away, as if trying not to get involved in the battle bound to follow soon. Those treacherous fiends - that's exactly what I was planning to do in case they had attacked first! No matter, we can do this alone.

Another army quickly comes to replace Hojo in the neighborhood. Not a friendly one, though - it's Yamana, and they came to fight us. Not sure what they are trying to accomplish - their army is much smaller and they don't receive reinforcements from Kyoto because Yamana is not on good terms with the current shogunate either, so they get beaten without much of a fuss, although not without doing some damage to our units.

And then, without even waiting a full turn, defenders of Kyoto march out and attempt to break siege:

That's more like it.

The game is still pessimistic about our chances here - not without reason, as the enemy are more numerous and more powerful - but at least there are no traps in between, and that's something I can work with.

Yes. Yes, you better say nothing.

Our general gives an uplifting speech, and the battle begins. Quickly assaying the situation, I determine that the best course of action is to cower in the corner valiantly defend a hilltop which by pure coincidence happens to be in the corner of the battlefield. It is a perfect spot for defense - our archers can cover the whole slope, there's not much room for flanking, and the enemy must climb uphill to reach us.

We can see who throws pebbles the farthest in the meantime.

Their first move is trying to flank our lines with light cavalry; our katana horsemen send them running back. The main enemy force is greeted with a volley of flaming arrows before it gets to engage with our infantry. Speaking of flaming arrows, they have a much more limited use in Shogun 2 - for one thing, the ability to use them has to be researched, and instead of a toggle it's a single use power with ridiculously long cooldown time - you only get to use it twice in particularly long battles. I'd understand increased reloading times involved, but since archers still shoot normal arrows between flaming volleys, the change doesn't make much sense. In any case, it does some damage to enemy numbers and morale, and every bit counts in this battle.

The melee doesn't go well - our basic spearmen are no match for experienced sword-wielding samurai. A couple of our units are nearly destroyed and run away, leaving a gap in the lines, but a few cavalry charges prevent enemies from gaining too much advantage. Our generals sound their rallying signals and join the fun at the flanks, while their less careful enemy counterparts manage to get themselves killed, giving a much needed morale penalty to their troops.

Our matchlock infantry unit with the only set of firearms in the whole country also gets positioned around the side and opens fire on unsuspecting enemy samurai. This finally breaks their confidence, and all our infantry is ordered to chase them as they run, while cavalry charges forward and disposes of archers.

By this time enemy reinforcements arrive - it is a much smaller, but well balanced army that can't be ignored. However, they come from the far corner of the field, so we have plenty of time to hunt down all deserters (there's no better time to deal with superior units than when they're running away, after all), return to formation and rest before round two begins.

Note the stylish new white carpet.
It goes much like round one, except that it's the cavalry that suffers most losses this time, probably because it had gotten most exhausted in the hunt. Still, the enemy are defeated; the victory is costly, but a victory nonetheless.

Right after the battle, in a proud tradition of our opponents in this campaign, Ashikaga start begging for peace, but in this case it would have to cost so much that I disregard the plea completely and make the final move for the town. This time, the balance of power is clearly in autoresolve territory, and in no time at all Kyoto is ours.


Yeah, that's... *twitch* tempting. But on the other hand, I really want to keep our army mobile in case there are more enemies on their way to Kyoto, not to mention that risking rebellion in this province sounds foolish. With a heavy heart, I choose security over instant gratification; I'm sure the decision will keep haunting me in nightmares.

Well, that's one more item off the checklist. Now we just need to double our territory - clearly, no big deal. Who would not fear me and my super shogun powers?

Next time: we don't receive any greeting cards.


  1. Nice! I have yet to get to the shogunate in any of my games so far, but I tend to prefer to start off somewhere with it's back to the sea; Shimazu, Date, and most recently Chosokabe. I'm doing best as Chosokabe with my little island and some foothold in Honshu.

    Unfortunately I don't think I'll win this either; a Short game is pretty crazy in regards to victory conditions if you're not 100% great at balancing economy and military like me (My upkeep costs are disgusting).

    I look forward to the next entry.

  2. Out of curiosity, how much longer do you have to compete your objectives? You had something like 25 years to start with, but I have no idea how much time's left.

  3. @Justin: yes, having just a single front to worry about is definitely a good thing. I'm pretty sure I'll come to regret leading a country where every province borders at least one from another clan.

    @Bobby Archer: we started off in 1545, Kyoto got captured in the end of 1558, and campaign ends in 1575. There's still plenty of time, although as Justin mentioned, management of an ever-expanding realm can get very tricky. And then there are some other news that'll be covered in the next part.

  4. Okay, "Horse Lovers" I can understand, but "Mountain Monkeys"??? Is that supposed to be a swear word? Are monkeys and mountains, in some bizarre and ominous combination, a large part of Takeda culture?

    Also, I have to ask: is there some special software you use to draw those sexy, sexy arrows on the screenshots?

  5. @Someone: wiki says the home province of Takeda is particularly mountainous, so there's that. Monkey might be a generic insult perhaps. I do know that the "three wise monkeys" image originated at a shrine on a mountain somewhere in the general area (but not Takeda land), though that's most probably unrelated.

    I use GIMP, Wacom tablet, and my amazing drawing/handwriting skills.

  6. "Horse lovers?" Heh. I didn't know Gimli lived in feudal Japan.

  7. Funny how this is at least the third time the concept of "horse loving" has come up on this blog.

    And one of them was me making the same Gimli reference! Great minds think alike.

  8. So since the last time I posted, I played a long campaign as Hojo. I wrecked house, and ended up winning the game, taking the Shogunate 25 years earlier than required and having the game finished by 1580.

    It felt good, but a Hojo win wasn't as fun as I expected. I finally figured out a good balance, but I think it's a bit unfair that auto-taxes gets to really fine-tune the tax amount while manual taxes is set into specific intervals.

    My favorite part was a ninja I owned that had 6 stars. He got the Oni mask and everything, it was awesome. He was an assassination machine, holding the heads of two shoguns (Ashikaga and one of his heirs), two shogunate family members, 3 minor Daimyo, A Shimazu daimyo, and a Mori heir, as well as an innumerable amount of lesser generals or agents of note. He had an assassination contract almost every turn for about 10 years as I worked from around Mikawa and South Shinano towards Kyoto and into the end of the game.

    It makes me want to play a game where I level a monk to 6 stars, as well as Metsuke and every other agent to see if they change their look.

  9. Also, I don't know if it was just my clan, but I had a birth at least once a year every year. I had so many children that at one point, I let one be taken hostage by a clan I knew I was going to betray, just to keep them off me for a little bit. Poor Ujiyasu.