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Squid Division

Shogun 2: Total War

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Really enjoying reading your logs, Squid, but this is confirming for me that this game is over my head. It seems like the sort of thing I could get really into if I had a world of spare time, but having only every tried Empire and not getting very far in that, the investment into getting involved in the game seems too steep for me. That said, the logs are great so keep 'em coming!

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Except for the naval battles with cannon ships (you'll see in my next post), yes, completely. On normal at least. There's much less coin flipping to the auto resolves. It also means that unlike other games where if you had a 51% chance to win you could pull out an upset and decisively win, now you'll get a Pyrrhic victory for that battle like every time. But a vast improvement from previous titles are the casualties you'll take from small armies. No more arbitrarily losing a bunch of men manning your artillery because it takes a percentage from each unit, it now seems to calculate losses based on it's own strategy. This means that you can face a somewhat sizeable army of 700 or so and come away with no losses if you have enough bowmen.

This is excellent news! Thanks!

What are the most radical changes in the world map by the way? I guess diplomacy and agent action have been overhauled somewhat, but apart from that? Does the relatively small size of the map have any effect on things or have the provinces been scaled up to match European countries or US states?

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What are the most radical changes in the world map by the way?

Compared to Rome or Empire?

Thanks for all the kind words everybody. I'll get a few more posts up tonight and answer all your questions.

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Compared to Rome or Empire?

Hmm.. I guess Empire. I played Rome a lot more than I did Empire, but I think I still remember how Empire's campaign map was like.

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Campaign Map

The campaign map is similar to Empire, where your non-unit-producing buildings are actually on the campaign map and can be disrupted. Food is very important in Shogun so having your farms attacked is a big deal. Alternatively, you can disrupt the enemy's economy by sacking their farms and going after their mines.

As far as feel, it feels most similar to Napoleon, which is to say large enough, but condensed compared to other total war games. Japan is large and the province sizes vary wildly. Around Kyoto there are many separate provinces akin to the German states in Empire. Up north, there are fewer, larger ones, equivalent to Russia (I guess). It takes a lot of effort to get from one end to the other, and if you start at either end, in all likelihood, you'll never see the other end unless you sail an invasion force up there.


Ninjas are assassins and spies. They can sabotage buildings in or outside a city so they can't be used. They can also subvert armies - meaning they can't move that turn. And most importantly, they can assassinate generals (including heirs and daimyo) and other agents.

Monks convert provinces to your religion. In your own territories, this is used as a pacification technique. You can use this offensively by converting enemy territories to a different religion and thereby starting revolts. If you have them attempt to infiltrate a city, you have the option to directly 'Incite a revolt'. However, these are expensive and dependent on the settlements religious leanings. A 100% Buddhist province isn't going to be inspired to revolt by a Portuguese missionary. If you send them against an army, they can demoralize it for the next turn (and remember how important morale is). Finally, you can have them convert other agents, which means that they may disappear for a few turns or altogether while they 'devote themselves to their new life'.

Metsuke are secret police/thugs and mainly anti-ninja units. They maintain order when placed in your own cities - boosting your taxes from that city and improving its defenses against enemy ninjas. In the field they are counterspies, outing ninjas so that you can send your metsuke to apprehend him, or your own ninja to kill him. They can oversee your armies as well, boosting the loyalty of its generals and their protection against ninjas. Back from previous Total War games, you can use them to bribe settlements or armies away from your enemies. Something I had forgotten about and might try (I am rolling in koku at the moment).


The multiplayer is by far the biggest improvement in the game, with several new modes.


They've added a multiplayer progression system to the game, where you get XP for your general and separate units for each battle you play (more if you win obviously). You can then use the XP to boost certain stats (like in the single player, but more detailed here) like attack, defense, inspiration to other units, and so on. The avatar is customizable with armor as well, and you unlock more armor as you fulfill requirements or by random drops ala TF2.

If your units get enough kills in a battle, you have the option of giving them veterancy status. You only have a certain number of slots so you might have to be picky (I haven't had the issue as I've unlocked more slots than veteran units and never hit the limit). Veteran units also have their own small skill tree (boosting morale, attack, defense) and are customizable and nameable. They also cost a bit more too.

To keep things a little balanced there are fund limits for the battles, the most common, and fun, being small funds. This means battles are fast and closer (I think). You have to be choosey with what units you bring. Unfortunately, once your general starts getting upgraded, he starts costing a lot of money quickly. This seemingly starts pushing you out of competitiveness as your general (which doesn't really do any more than when you started, because you don't really ever right with him, he's a morale booster) can cost as much as 2 other units. This is about my only complaint though. The same stuff applies to the naval battles, though there is no general involved there.


So how do you use your avatar and veteran units? In past Total War games, it was just a list. Now it's a separate, simplifed campaign map.


Basically, you pick a region to start from, here it looks like he picked Shikoku just like in my campaign. You then drag your army icon (like in the original Shogun and Medieval games) to a province, fight a battle, and you conquer it. If you take one with a building on it, you get the bonus that the building gives - a sword gives you a new sword unit (you may need 2 sword/whatever buildings to unlock the next unit), horse gives you cavalry, ninja some ninjas for sieges, and so on.

Clan Map

If you click on the Clan Competition tab, the map stays, but the colors change. And you are presented with something looking like this:


This is the Idle Thumbs' clan map. Clan members fight just like on the avatar map, only it claims territory for the clan, not for you (but if you take a building on the clan map, you can still unlock the unit it gives). The top 2 clans move up to the next tier at the end of the 'season' (2 weeks) and the bottom 4 are demoted down a tier. Unfortunately, the servers have been messed up since launch (going to be fixed in the next patch) and games played haven't been registering. Because of that, we haven't really been attempting to take any territories (if 1 out of 10 wins is going to count, not worth it to bother).


This is the biggest fix from Napoleon and Empire which kind of had coop/competitive campaigns. If you wanted to play coop, you had to have an army next to your ally's and shadow it the whole time so that you could come in as reinforcements. Now, the person fighting the battle can select any and any number of units and click the little present button and voila! the other player who had just been spectating now has control over those units. The way The Killstar and I have been doing this was to give the other person all our ranged (bows and muskets) units, or all our cavalry, or a small mixed division to flank with. It works perfectly and is tons of fun. My only gripe is that you can't gift units in the campaign. It makes sense (and happened) that a daimyo would send some troops to his allies when they needed help (Oda and Tokugawa did it all the time) - if I'm the Chosokabe, I want to be able to represent my clan well by sending my best and unique units to my ally - some Chosokabe Samurai Archers, but it's not possible.

The stability can be a big wonky for coop, but nothing insurmountable. De-syncs occur, but not a lot and the game autosaves at the moment someone hits the -end turn button, so you don't lose progress, and you don't have to do your turn over again.

The Killstar and I will actually be starting a new coop campaign today, so if you have anymore questions about that (or anything) or stuff you want pictures of, let me know.

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The Naval Battle

So in my last post, the Hattori were attacking my caravel with a giant navy, and according to the balance of power bar (that the autoresolve goes off of) I was in for a quick and handy defeat. We'll see about that. I veer my caravel off so that I'm perpendicular to the enemy navy; I'm able to bombard them from afar while slowly sailing into the wind (of course the wind is coming right at me so I can't sail at them quickly). I head towards a small island to entangle their ships on one another. It seems to have worked. (You can also see the size differential and the fog)


They then proceed to use fire arrows to set my ship on fire. It could be serious, but for the moment it's not.


There's nothing they can do to damage me other than burn the ship down, so I stop to repair while they ping arrows off my hull. The battle has gone on too long, so I abandon the repair and go on the offensive.



My marines, armed with muskets, are also devastating to the short open-decked Japanese ships.


After a few decisive broadsides, the enemy flag ship begins to sink and they abandon ship.


So much for the utter defeat I was SUPPOSED to have suffered.


Kyoto Campaign

My daimyo lands and makes his way to Kyoto, only to be confronted with FOUR large enemy armies to my one. This isn't good.


I'm going to need help, and it's going to cost me. I pay the Imagawa, a few provinces south-east of Kyoto to back me up. They're already at war with the Hattori, so the money I give them should help them make an offensive.


All the while, my ninja has been annihilating anyone with a name in Kyoto. He's got ridiculous stats, and even earned an awesome demon mask. Fear him.


My army has been skirting around the western side of the river between me and Kyoto. I move up to the bridge when I see an opportunity to possibly snatch it. The Hattori won't have it and come at me. They have twice the number of men and luckily the Shogun isn't able to come as reinforcements as well. If they could, I'd probably be outnumbered 4:1. Still 2:1 is too much when it's my veteran and only army on the line.


I retreat to the north-west and seize an empty Hattori province. My hope is that if the Hattori really want to come and get me, they can try and climb a wall with my veteran Katana Samurai at the top waiting for them. A siege battle might be winnable, a field battle would not. However, when I take the castle, I'm offered with the opportunity to make it a vassal. This resurrects a dead clan and makes it my vassal (ally who pays me money and grants me military access to their lands). I do this, because it's another, allied, army that I can use against the Hattori if they decide to attack. So I hide out next to it, baiting the Hattori.


Then this happened.


The Takeda had been pushing pretty hard from the north-east, and the Imagawa from the south-east, so the Hattori had better things to worry about than me taking Kyoto. This is basically what the political climate looked like:


Kyoto was now open. Defended only by the garrisoning Ashikaga army and the support army guarding the bridge over the river. I decided to make my move. I attacked the support army hoping I could eliminate it and then besiege Kyoto. In a stroke of luck, the garrison sallied to reinforce the support army. I was still outnumbered by a good amount, but this would be a field battle, not a siege. I could hope to eliminate the support army before the main one shows up. Here I could break the Ashikaga Shogunate, and effectively seal their fate.


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Battle for Kyoto

I line up in my usual formation - bows out front, samurai behind them, cav on the flanks, and general in the middle so he can rush anywhere to inspire troops. This time though, I had the european cannons I brought to besiege Kyoto, and put them up on the hill to the right (my left).


The reinforcing army comes in. I doubt I'll be able to kill the first one before they get close.


The cannons will help shake them up though.



The cannons and arrows rout some of the enemy army, with my swordsmen taking care of the rest that charged me. I send my katana cavalry to take out their archers in a last ditch effort to make sure the first army is completely out of the picture before the main one engages.


They come at me in what is essentially a column, which could break me in half very easily. I charge to snag some of their regiments so they can't all hit the same place in my line.


My samurai absolutely annihilate their peasants though, and it's almost immediately a rout.


The message comes up telling me I won, and asking me if I want to continue the battle. Of course I do, it means I can run down their fleeing troops so I don't have to fight them in a siege later. There are almost full regiments that didn't even engage, so it's quite the slaughter.


Their bowmen make it to the forest, which slows down my horsemen, but not enough to save them.


End the end, it wasn't much of a battle. Kyoto is as good as mine.


Still, they retreat back within the walls of the city and in all likelihood would reciprocate the annihilation if I tried to take it in a siege. I try to starve them out/draw a field battle.


It works.


They have A LOT of cavalry and some fresh bow samurai. Unfortunately the battle map is tactically awful for me. I deploy slightly diagonally to a large hill they'll have to come across. My hope is that my cannons can do some serious damage with a nice clear view of them coming down the hill. It kind of works, but their cavalry is something I'm not used to. It's so quick that it's able to snag a couple of my bow regiments.


I'm able to fight it all off though, and flank with my own cavalry (was hidden in the woods to start the battle, so they never expected it) coming down the same hill they did. The cavalry clear our their bowmen, light cav, and general. Unfortunately, while I was looking at something else, they send some light cavalry around my flank and hit my bowmen. I decide to make the decision to have my cannons fire right into the melee. My hope is that this will ultimately end up with fewer of my men killed than if they tried to fight it out.


It works and I win the battle. Kyoto is broken. And finally mine

The Lull

It takes four turns of holding Kyoto to be declared Shogun. So I sat back and guarded it - fairly easy since the city is so good it VERY quickly replenishes and produces armies. This gets a little boring though, and I'd need a new target, so OF COURSE I come to my vassal's defense when the Hattori try to take that city back - once again at war with the Hattori. I took that rebel province so that I had a direct connection by a port back to my islands. I now have two Honshu-side provinces, an unbreakable military factory in Kyoto, and a clear, close enemy. And now I have the title.


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Very nice AAR Squid-sama!

I've been enjoying the game myself, and I regret not taking a lot of screenshots now... perhaps I shall for my next run? :)

It seems the Chokosabe are very popular! They have (a) good missiles, (B) income bonuses, © a fairly defensible position that becomes basically impregnable with caravels. I think everyone I have talked to so far has started out with them.

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I started out with the Shimazu, the other easy starting game clan. They're actually very good for the tactic Squid is going for, early samurai-heavy armies. They get cheap samurai katana units more or less instantly if you research the right stuff.

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I tried the Shimazu on my first campaign, and it's a bit too isolated for my tastes; I wanted to get to Kyoto early. Another reason I picked the Chosokabe is that they're in the demo tutorial, so if people decided to check the game out, they'd have more of an idea of what was going on. I need to play some more, because last time I did, shit went upside-down for me.

For anyone else who's playing, you should jump into the multiplayer forum and join the Idle Thumbs clan. Once they fix the servers I imagine we'll be doing the clan battles quite a bit.

Actually, it appears they did just patch it, so hopefully it works now.

Edited by Squid Division

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The Shimazu can shark those incense ports pretty quick, which probably helps with big tarriff and trade income!

I didn't use ashigaru much at all really - I found that chasing after hordes of the fleeing buggers with my general in order to try and rally them got old pretty quick. I also was highly amused at several units of them getting worried and fleeing the field after the "End Battle/Continue" screen popped up and triggered the 'mopping up' phase. I guess they are squeamish? :erm:

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Hey, loving the posts you've put up Squid. They have been teasing me at work as I moved house and had no gaming PC set up for a few weeks. I was going to try to resist this latest Total War purely because I felt I still hadn't got my fill of Napoleon but I caved last weekend and will shortly be joining you in the east! So much for willpower.

I've joined the clan group on Steam and I'll be installing this evening if anyone's around.

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I bought this gorgeuous game a while ago, and I have to say this is very likely the best Total War game I have ever played. Talk about positive streamlining. This game is a massive improvement over Medieval II and Empire in terms of campaign map stuff. I understand where my money and food is going now! Furthermore, the autoresolve seems to work much better now.

I started playing the campaign on the easiest setting, the fastest speed (or was it? I have to hold 25 provinces) and with clan on the far left. I have ten years left, I'm a couple of provinces from Kyoto and I have something like 20 provinces. Is there any way to not make every clan declare a war on me as I become more legendary? What is the best tactic for the end game hell.

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What is the best tactic for the end game hell.

Lash out at anyone who looks at you funny like an injured mother bear. You can continue playing after you fail your campaign objective, but if you want to hit that objective, you're going to need to pull out the stops and murder the nearest, weakest defended available provinces.


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If you have a super close ally since the beginning of the game - they MIGHT not declare on you after the Realm Divide. It's a bit imbalanced in that regard. If you've completely dominated one side of the island then you should only have to fight on one front right? Utilize citadels and chokepoints and fend off naval invasions with your own navies.

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...And I am Shogun. Surprisingly challenging even on the easiest difficulty. I don't know if I dare to play the next campaign on normal yet. I don't really like the end game bitchiness that much, but I guess something is bound to happen when someone is so clearly pushing to become a shogun. It is just a bit too much to lose all your allies and trade partners (and therefore a hefty part of your income) in a single turn and realize that you now have to worry about attacks on all fronts (and shores, apparently :shifty:).

First time I actively used navy or agents in a Total War game. By the time my ninja died of old age he had probably killed more than 50 generals and acquired a neat devil mask. Looting trade routes became an excellent source on income after realm divide.

Didn't play any of the battles in real time after the first two, though. At least some things have remained the same.

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