Suggestion for a Guide: Moving from Regional Power to Shogun

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TinMann

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Below is suggested guide that might fit into the intermediate or advanced area of the current guide thread, for the community’s review.

If you are brand new to the game I recommend reading through the introductory and intermediate guides which I found to be extremely helpful. To help new people get further into the game, here are some suggestions on mid-to-late game strategy around moving from a regional power to Shogun.

  • Never stand still for long. I suspect part of why Shogun wasn’t as successful as PI’s other games is that you can be eliminated so quickly as a new player. You start as one of dozens mini-blobs all ruthlessly attacking and backstabbing one another. While this kind of chaos appeals to some people, some patient-minded strategy gamers (like me) prefer wargames that have natural pauses where we can catch our breath, build up and prepare for the next offensive. Taking long pauses in this game is a sure way to lose, though, since the blobs will continue blobbing at a frightening pace while you do. This near free-for-all style of game suits the AI well since it is able to assemble and deploy dozens of stacks in a reasonable fashion, where human players like me struggle to keep more than 10 busy and appropriately reinforced at the same time. Strategically the AI is aggressive and makes good choices such as attacking weak garrisons first and managing its finances appropriately for wars of attrition. It crunches numbers well and knows when it has a good chance of winning a battle or a war. All of these factors make it dangerous for you to stop expanding for long. The bottom line is that if you have to swim in a shark tank, it’s best to be a shark. (The only exception to this is in my next suggestion.)

  • It may be best to not be the early game leader. Plots are extremely effective in taking down the #1 person, and the AI will mercilessly plot against you if you are that guy. It may be best to hang back slightly as #2 and become a regional powerhouse before leading a plot against the frontrunner. Ideally this would be with a power of 1.5+ (or 150%+ of their army size), which hopefully can include disloyal vassals of the target. The idea being that if you start as #2, once you topple #1 you will likely be the new leader by a significant margin, and perhaps untouchable at that point.

  • If you have the opportunity, the dense cluster of provinces in the center of the map is extremely useful to hold, since you can mass levies quickly due to the short travel times between provinces. It might take years to bring levies from the extreme north or south into battle because of distance and the terrain they have to cross. Meanwhile someone holding the center of the map might be able to mass his troops into armies, engage them, dismiss them and raise them again before distant enemy levies ever get close. In short, move on the center as soon as it is feasible to do so.

  • Sending your ministers to increase taxes and restore order in the same province is a good use of their time if you have nothing else for them to do.

  • Mass levies in provinces at the border (but below province limit) before declaring war. Unlike CK2 you can declare war with levies raised, so do it every time.

  • Rotation of depleted levies is critical in massive wars. The AI will do this, and if you don’t you will find yourself paying through the nose for hollow armies. A depleted levy and a full levy with of the same original composition apparently cost the same in maintenance, so dismissing weak ones allows you to field the largest army possible. Whenever on friendly territory, dismiss those levies at less than 50% strength (perhaps less than 500 or 600 men), and replace with fresh levies from other provinces.

  • Shinto is an extremely helpful religion, even in middle and late game. The honor boost it provides makes it possible to have epic amounts of honor, practically guaranteeing heirs, reducing plots against you and giving you the ability to declare war at will. The levy replenishment rate from Buddhism is useful, too. However In middle and late game you will have many more levies than you can afford to raise at once, already - so levy shortage often isn't an issue.

  • In late game you can field massive retinues, but I am not convinced an enormous standing army is worth the cost if you have many times more levies than you can afford to field already. Perhaps a small force of up to 12k retinues would be useful as a reserve that could siege without much attrition, but more than that may eat a disproportionate amount of your budget for the value they provide.

  • Ikko-Ikki doomstacks are annoying, but they don’t mass their troops from neighboring provinces to form any kind of organized resistance. If you are embroiled in a desperate war, ignore them and take the enemy’s holdings first. If you are at peace, consider taking them out if the province has strategic value to you. A few Ikko-Ikki rebel provinces with large armies can ironically make for useful buffers between you and your enemies, forcing your opponents to move through fewer provinces to get to you.

  • When you are clearly in the lead, hiring the Ninja to protect against Ninja attacks is essential. That may need to be your Master of the Guard’s full time job at that point.

  • When going for an epic game-winning war, save up 2,000+ koku, then move as many levies to the border as you can while maintaining positive cash flow – ideally from the most distant provinces. Then once you start the war raise all remaining levies and hurl everything at the enemy, storming castles at every reasonable opportunity. Eat through your savings until you reach about 500 koku and then slow down the burn rate, cycling through levies from one region at a time to complete the conquest.

This game is challenging and unforgiving for newcomers, but it can be extremely rewarding when everything falls into place. I hope this is helpful.
 
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loup99

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Thank you, I think a such guide was needed. The Ai did indeed seem completely merciless for me as a newbie even if I was not the #1.
 

SAS

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Great advice!
 

MikeFrank

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Thanx for this short and good guide

greetings

Mike
 

TinMann

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