Friday, 12 July 2013

A Song of Tea and Sushi 4 - A Dance of Daimyos

It Checks Out

After the last battle, Clan Hatano immediately offers peace. So do my old foes the Hatakayama, who have never bothered to try and reclaim the territory I stole from them. And then a few other clans unexpectedly cave in to my wearily repeated trade offers. I've proved my worth as an opponent, the other clans are starting to take me seriously, maybe. Or they're bored, or perhaps desperate for cash themselves.

My stealth bastard fleet is already on its way by this time.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Song of Tea and Sushi 3 - A Klash of Katanas

All Alone in Feudal Japan

Tactical analysis suggests I'm going to lose in the long run. Tom has secured a powerful base to the extreme West, out of my reach. Nobody I can get on the diplomacy phone will listen to my offers of coin or military aid to attack him. Nor will anyone consider being my pal. I can probably hold tight where I am, I'm a wily enough general and still have some fairly experienced and powerful armies that can hold what I've taken so far. But I'm not going to get any further without cash.

So my plan is to put all my eggs in one basket, and let tactical analysis go and suck on them.

Like this, but with bow-armed fanatics. 

The scout ship that's been looking over General Hunt's Otomo forces has shown me one critical weakness. His capital province, Bungo, isn't on any of his front lines. It looks like he's spent all his cash on large armies, rather than investing heavily in infrastructure like I have. Bungo is held only by a pretty basic castle and a couple of units of Ashigaru spearmen.

If I stop any attempts at expansion back home and cull my two armies down to two smallish defence forces, I can put together a decent invasion force full of elite monks. Led by my Shogun and a decent-sized fleet, I may just be able to launch a cowardly surprise attack and take that one crucial province from my rival.

It's a long shot, but it just might work.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A Song of Tea and Sushi 2 - A Feast on Futons

The Early Ikko Years

I begin my plan for domination by making polite overtures to the clans to my West. They're all very rude back, but at least none of them actually attack me. This is the softly-softly approach, be all sweet so they suspect nothing then just as they're BAM invasion hah surprised you.

To the East, I do the opposite. I crush the minor clan Jinbo and turn them into a vassal state. They occupy a province that blocks advances from two of my more powerful neighbours - the horse-crazy Takeda and the buddhist nutters of Uesugi. As a vassal, they have to trade with me, and they'll act as a handy early warning system if either of the bigger clans starts expanding.

My other neighbours are the Hatakeyama. They're a minor clan, but a fairly big and powerful one. Luckily, their other provinces are all on the other side of the map. Poor planning on their part - it means I can grab this one and hope they get wiped out before their revenge armies can reach me.

All these gambits work pretty well. My home territories sprout new harbours and larger castles, and within three years I'm on my way to getting the monks trained up. I've doubled my starting holdings without any major setbacks.

Except one.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Song of Tea and Sushi 1 - A Game of Folding Stools

I've been re-reading George MaR.R.R.tin's epic saga after the conclusion of series 3 of the TV adaptation, and it got me hankering for an epic saga of my own. Luckily, the excellent General Hunt was also spoiling for a sweeping tale of war, betrayal and conquest. This being the age it is, a fine one to be a nerd in, we turned to Shogun 2: Total War, the most recent in the splendid series of games that inspired this campaign in a previous post.

Nothing Warhammery or miniaturey in this tale, be warned. My painting hand is on break until it stops shading goblins in its sleep.

The Setting

Shogun 2 allows you to take the role of a warlord in 16th century Japan. It is the Sengoku Jidai, The Warring States Era. This was an age of civil war, when the old and corrupt Emperor struggled to keep order over restless and power-hungry clans. Bristling with period-appropriate art and detail, the game gives you control of diplomacy, espionage, armies, navies and fortresses. And most importantly, ninjas.

Tom and I decide to play a head-to-head campaign. This means that the victory conditions aren't quite the same as the full campaign. There, you need to overthrow the Emperor for victory, usually standing against everyone else in the realm when they realise you mean to take over.

Here's what we're fighting over. 

For us, victory will be given to the last man standing. You lose if your opponent can take your home territory whilst still controlling his own, or if the many computer opponents wipe you out. Simple survival, more or less.