How do I intend to fight the boredom? Why, by taking risky bets, running suicide charges and otherwise trying to blitzkrieg my way into something interesting, or perhaps even successful. Achieving a different feel for the gameplay should not be hard - my first attempt was the opposite extreme, very cautious and slow. For the first few turns after all clans declared war I did nothing but relocate troops between my provinces and nurture positive relations with the two remaining non-enemies, and I don't plan to do much of either now.
Still, the very beginning has to be the same. Hatakeyama were already waiting on the northeastern border with their massive stack of an army, ready to attack our defenseless-in-comparison province of Echigo. Just to rub in the overkill, Date bring a slightly smaller but still strong army as reinforcements. In my first attempt, I'd already sent an army to take the town back after the inevitable happens, but now - screw them. I suspect the invaders will go deeper into our territory where I can assemble bigger armies in more defensible positions. Also, the town was starting to develop a nasty Christian infestation after constructing the Nanban trade port there, and I have no problem with letting AI deal with religious unrest for a while.
Next up: Yamana, the only enemy we have since pre-shogun days. Come to think of it, that makes it a special kind of acquaintance. So special that they get to skip the queue and be exterminated first. Our daimyo, Takeda Shingen, was leading the expansion on the western coast until now and still commands a half decent army. Normally I'd think it is too small to venture far into enemy territory, but eh, screw it - there shouldn't be much resistance anyway.
|Er, cup of tea?|
That's exactly what happens - we steamroll through the last two provinces of Yamana and only meet resistance afterwards, from an army that was stationed outside town. For good measure, we then proceed to march to the next town down the coast, this time from clan Mori. Seeing how that is the first contact our clans have made with each other, the encounter must have been a tad awkward: "Hello there, we're your most hated enemies, nice to meet you at last, oh and we're taking your town if you don't mind." I take the lack of garrison as a yes.
Meanwhile back in the north, Hatakeyama start their expected trip towards North Shinano, while the Date army that had been tagging along suffers a bad case of total existence failure when the clan's lands hundreds of miles away get overrun by rebels of some sort. Speaking of which, scattered packs of rebels working around the map are the only source of warfare not directed at us by now - while there is still no comprehensive alliance of our enemies, they've all stopped all conflicts between themselves and focus entirely on fighting us. So, you know, that's one thing the Takeda shogunate has brought to Japan - peace, within limits of experimental error.
Finally, my not paying attention to relations with our allies shows a direct effect - Hojo attack Hattori, causing the familiar "Ally declares war on ally" dilemma window to come up. I reflexively choose to side with Hojo, but that doesn't matter very long: perhaps using the negative boost to our reputation for not honoring the alliance, Hojo declare war on us as wellthe very next turn (see if you can spot a catch-22 somewhere in there). Having now officially failed both of my self-imposed challenges, I
Challenge #3: destroy the Hojo bastards, or die trying.
Fortunately for us, they are a good sport about it, and bring a large part of their fighting force right to our doorstep:
North Shinano is the much better prepared of the two provinces, marshaling over 2000 troops and having had several upgrades to its defenses. Kai, the historical capital of the clan, is defended by only seven units and its basic wooden walls have just two simple defensive towers.
In any case, they go for Shinano first. This is the third time we meet the same army - first, they refused to help in our siege of Kyoto, then they nearly destroyed our army in an effort to help us take Kiso, and now they dropped all pretense of passive aggression and went into direct assault. However, in all this time they failed to acquire any common sense: they barely have 1200 troops, with an unreasonably large proportion of archers to boot, and attacking such strong fortress without a clear superiority in numbers amounts to suicide. But who am I to judge if they're asking for it?
|Even our generals are annoyed by that Triforce.|
We have just enough archers to cover the entire perimeter of the fortress, and all melee units (mostly basic spearmen, lots of them) have plenty of space to be positioned for best possible defense of all walls. The assailants aren't very subtle - main force in one chunk, two katana samurai units around the back. I only have to redeploy the archers that otherwise would not have seen any action, sit back and let the battle play itself.
The sneaky(?) rear attack force reaches our walls first - well, maybe half of it, after our archers do their work. The ones that do manage to go the whole way are then poked off the walls by guys with sharp sticks. The rest do the smart thing and run away.
|Have to admire the bravery, foolish though it is.|
Enemy archers take stationary positions near their starting location and spend the whole battle there, making no attempt to actually cover the movements of the remaining army. And move it does: the rest of the melee force (pictured above, in part) decide to ignore the perfectly climbable walls right in front of them and parade all the way around the castle, making sure to always stay within range of our archers, and assault the same patch of wall that the samurai failed to take.
|It goes as well as you might expect.|
Faced with such crushing defeat, the enemy general (daimyo, in fact) puts all of his five-star-rated strategic brilliance to use and comes up with a flawless plan - dismount and attack the same wall too! In all likelihood, he doesn't manage to think it over a second time before becoming a pin cushion.
And so: a heroic victory with barely a scratch of damage for our side, instant removal of Hojo daimyo, and revenge for the botched battle at Kiso. All is looking well.
Next time: battle for Kai and stuff down south.