Thursday, 5 May 2011

Part 11, in which woe is us

The old shogunate is out, and Takeda are the new masters of Japan. As I get ready to address the nation, bringing the good news that the mindless oppression is finally over and several horse-related laws are being relaxed even as we speak, I notice that nobody actually likes us for some reason.

Red means a whole lotta love, right?

What happened? Well, a few things. For one, territorial expansion carries a negative effect on foreign relations - each new province we capture makes all other clans hate us a slight bit more, although the effect withers in time. We conquered several towns in relatively quick succession, the last one being everybody's main objective, so it makes sense that the effect would stack up. And to be fair, we never did anything to improve the relations with our neighbors to the west, so it all goes straight into negative values.

In addition to that, Hojo declared war on Kiso - again. As you surely remember, last time we went around the problem of untouchable allies trying to gain control over one of our essential provinces by using fast-brew diplomacy to make the owners of the province our vassals. But now our obligations to Kiso would require to go to their defense, while Challenge #1 (and common sense) say that angering Hojo is not an option. Therefore, we once again refused to help an ally, further lowering our standing among other clans and making Kiso far too pissed off to even consider a diplomatic solution. Not to worry, though - there is enough of an advance notice this time to build an army and take the province by force.

Our other vassals, Hattori, are also on the brink of hostility, but that's understandable considering our history (hint: kicking their asses, scamming and then looting their whole treasury, forcing an insult of a peace treaty, etc). What is remarkable is that the clan exists at all. At the time our army was besieging Kyoto, Hattori only had a single town which was just about to be taken by Urakami.

Tying a thousand pairs of shoelaces together is rather costly.

One of our ninjas successfully sabotaged the Urakami army and bought our vassals some time, and they used it well. A hidden army of theirs took back one of the other provinces Urakami had conquered, and although the following turns saw a lot of provinces changing hands between those two (and our ninja gaining lots of experience), Hattori managed to establish themselves as something more than the lost case I thought they were a little while back.

But what about our relations with Hojo? Surely, a few conquests here and there should not affect a long-standing alliance like that? And yet, the map shows the relationship is lukewarm at best. Checking the list of factors affecting their attitude to us, something called "realm divide" pops out as especially negative and getting worse. Suddenly it seems to make sense - Iga and Kyoto, two of our provinces, are not connected with the rest of the country and can only be accessed through Hojo territory. Naturally, this would cause tension, so I hurry to get whatever stands in the way between the two fragments of Takeda land.

Turns out it is two provinces, conveniently both Yamana. The coastal one, called Tango (make your own pun/one-liner about it), falls without any resistance, while the other still has an army from the failed attempt to interfere with our siege last time. It's fairly big and our force is not in good shape after all the fighting for Kyoto, so I decide to hold ground nearby and wait for them to come - when outnumbered, I find it easier to defend than to attack.

And attack they do. Once again, there is a convenient hill in the battlefield, which takes care of all battle planning.

Tell me if you've heard this one before.

Aside from an unfortunate incident involving a hidden enemy spear unit and one of our generals charging straight into the unknown, the battle goes about as well as it can. Matchlock infantry prove to be good at breaking enemy morale for a second time, the army is defeated and we have a clear way to the capital of the province.

The country is in one big happy lump again, but that fails to change anything - the "realm divide" is still bad and shows no signs of improving. Suspecting that I misinterpreted what it means, I consult google meditate and realize it is something else entirely. Apparently, it is an event triggered when your clan becomes so prominent and dangerous that the shogunate declares war on you, dragging in all other clans or at least making them dislike you. Since it was us that declared war on them and not the other way around, it didn't work properly as I didn't get the notification, but it still makes all clans lose 5 attitude points (or whatever it is they're called) every turn, forever.

That doesn't make much sense. It's true that the emergence of a new superpower would generate lots of jealousy and scheming, the effect should not be the same for old enemies, single-province clans somewhere too far away to ever come into contact with us, and long standing allies. At the very least, it should be negotiable: if this campaign were reality, I'd imagine a lot of diplomacy would be going on at this point, with Takeda offering special treatment for allies (Hojo) and neutral clans who would accept the change in management and prevent bloodshed; no more than a few daimyos would be ambitious enough to only be satisfied with having complete control over all Japan.

As it is, however, I'm in for a great deal of fighting as more and more clans will become hostile over time. Not that crushing insolent fools isn't fun, of course, but I suspect the Challenges (#2 in particular) will soon become unsustainable, so everybody's welcome to start giving suggestions for their replacements.

Next time: the end of Kiso; the beginning of the end otherwise.


  1. Let's see... can you juggle? If not, then let's see some of that action.

  2. Heh. Same thing happened to me in EU3 a while back, only I fully deserved it.

    New challenges... hmm...

  3. Becoming the Shogun is the worst thing you can do in this game. It should be the last thing you do. I found this out the same way you did; getting it way too early, and then having some awful fistfights for way too long. I lost a campaign once because of it. It makes no sense; long time allies would immediately show their fealty to your power if you said that you had ultimate power, they wouldn't want to piss you off.

    This little quirk needs to be ironed out, and soon. It's so annoying :( I'd understand if clans hated you for a little while, like 5-6 years tops, but there's no reason they should permanently hate you.