Clantastic: Sengoku Walkthrough Video

By Adam Smith on September 7th, 2011 at 9:56 am.

Map-clicking simulation Sengoku is out on September 13th and if you’ve been following its development, you already know why this is exciting. If you haven’t, allow me to summarise in a crude and reductive fashion. Sengoku is Shogun meets Crusader Kings, it’s Europa Universalis in Japan. Helpful to an extent, if you’ve played those games, but what’s more important than those comparisons is Paradox’s desire to emulate what is unique about the clans and culture of the period and place. That’s why it’s unfair to suggest Sengoku will be Crusader Kings with nothing more than a different hat and moustache. Behold the thrilling world of Feudal Japan in the video below.

I’m not being sarcastic. I find that genuinely exciting. There might not be any slowmotion deathcam shenanigans or overexcited yelling but there is a wonderful, player-controlled narrative being spun. That’s how grand strategy games impress me the most; by offering a world, real or imagined, and allowing it to develop and deviate, with my chosen nation or clan nothing more than a single actor on the stage.

It’s mostly new to me as well. The era that is. I’ve played games with samurai in, of course, and seen plenty of movies. But before I play Sengoku, I want to read books to patch up my knowledge. I genuinely think an understanding of the history makes things more interesting because this kind of storytelling only improves when the player can bring both imagination and knowledge to the table.

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32 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Shar_ds says:

    May I recommned James Clavell’s Shogun (book and Tv series) as a good place to start?

    • Adam Smith says:

      Thank you! All suggestions for my continuing education are gratefully accepted.

    • Premium User Badge

      Peptidix says:

      Another nice book is Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      There’s the highly influential samurai epic Lone Wolf and Cub graphic novel series. Perhaps not what you were thinking of, but keep it in mind for when you find out how many pages Clavell’s Shogun has.

      Pictures!

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Shogun: Total War is actually really handy in that sense. There’s a bunch of neat information about the Sengoku Jidai and the Art of War. Accompanied with Wikipedia articles (and anime/manga, if one bends that way) makes for a really educating experience. And not much reading is required, too.

    • bill says:

      You could also go with Musashi… but again it’s very long.

      For a quicker option:
      Watch the Samurai trilogy. (based on Musashi, influence on kill bill) and most Kurosawa samurai movies (Ran and Kagemusha being the two that spring to mind – big influence on star wars (before it sucked) – darth vader’s helmet being based on one of the samurai (whose name i can’t remember))

    • bookwormat says:

      +1 for James Clavell’s Shogun (the book!).

    • fn8rd says:

      “Shogun” is nice and all, but if you prefer a more historic take on the actual (and true! (brackets ftw!)) story, read “Samurai William” by Giles Milton (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samurai-William-Adventurer-Unlocked-Japan/dp/0340794682/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315413910&sr=1-1), a great-to-read more historically accurate view on this.
      Did you know, f.i., that one of the last big uprisings against Tokugawa power happened under christian flags (f…ing papists!)?
      They didn’t quite make it, though :)

    • unimural says:

      Regarding sengoku period, I’d rather recommend Taiko by Yoshikawa instead of Musashi. Taiko is about Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a important Japanese figure at the end of Sengoku period. He’s also the source for one of the characters in Clavell’s Shogun (which is worth your while).

      If you’re interested in a more textbook like approach, there’s a Gold Rush Games pen and paper rpg called Sengoku, the sourcebook of which is actually quite good. There’s a large section detailing life in sengoku period Japan. And it’s fairly cheap as paperback.

      http://www.rpg-resource.org.uk/index.php?article=865&visual=6

      There’s also a website called Samurai Archives, which has some sengoku era bios and trivia, but doesn’t help with an overview.

      http://www.samurai-archives.com/index.html

    • protorp says:

      Nthing Shogun; its story of British sailor shipwrecked in Japan in the early 17th century is made even more powerful when you learn that the author’s fascination with Japan and its alien nature to outsiders stemmed from his time spent as a POW in Changi prison during WW2.

    • Kamos says:

      There seems to be a lot of people knowledgeable about Japan here. I know this is offtopic, but does someone know if there are “historical fiction” books set on the classic eras of Japan (Yayoi, Kofun, Asuka, Nara and Heian periods)? Thanks!

  2. Chris says:

    Oh dear, another Paradox game I really want to be good.

    But the likelihood is that it’s going to be bobbins until it gets a few patchspanions under it’s belt.

  3. megalomania says:

    One of my favourite LPers has done a much longer series of videos of a preview version, if anyone is interested:

  4. Vexing Vision says:

    So excited for this!

    As much as I love Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings, I’m a bit bored by the Western world. EU in Japan? I am sold.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I’m a bit more sold by the Crusader Kings in Japan angle. Incestuous political machinations in Feudal Japan. Yes please.

      Also, ninjas.

  5. Shiny says:

    I am a huge fan of strategy games and have poured countless hours into Paradox games. But honestly, at this point, I don’t need another one, because they are all so similar in the itch they scratch and in their processes, mechanics, menus, etc. I’ve barely touched Hearts of Iron 3 as a result.

  6. Zepp says:

    Put walkthrough of Sengoku Rance. :)

    • inawarminister says:

      I wonder how many RPS readers will get this reference.

      YES It’s an eroge, a porngame
      It’s awesome, though.
      And I was just splitting HRE in half by my inbred King of Bohemia in 1200, dammit! I really can’t wait for CK2. And the mod to play the Moors, of course :P

    • Ysellian says:

      For a porn game it’s really damn good haha. I would recommend it to anyone, because the scenes are both quick and unvoiced. Meaning you won’t find yourself in an awkward position

  7. Cinnamon says:

    To be fair there was a bit of over excited shouting.

    I don’t know about any specific books to read but someone on the Shogun 2 forums recommended a US PBS documentary called Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire which I think was a pretty good introduction. Also, uhm, the book of five rings.

  8. weego says:

    someone working on this should know that “Date” as in Date Clan is prounounced “Dat-Eh” if originating from Japanese and not as in calendar. Pedant Ranger attack!

    • BoneyD says:

      True, it’s a little surprising he didn’t know that. Also, Uesugi is pronounced like ‘ooh-eh-soo-gi’ (example here).

      Fun fact: ‘u’ is always sounded like ‘oo'; ‘e’ is always like the one in ‘set'; ‘i’ is always like the ‘e’ in ‘eat'; ‘a’ is always like ‘ah'; ‘g’ is always a hard sound like in ‘good’ (not like in ‘general’).

    • inawarminister says:

      Simpler explanation: Read it like you would read German, except for the whole eu and ai.
      Or like Indonesian/Malayan. Nothing more like a truely phonetic language! :P /jk
      Seriously I don’t understand why pronounciation in English is veeery ‘random’

    • cckerberos says:

      None of the Japanese comments I’ve seen have mentioned the mispronunciation of Date yet. They’re all laughing because the narrator’s pronunciation of Uesugi sounds like “usagi”, the Japanese word for rabbit.

    • hungrytales says:

      @BoneyD: well, now I know, we Polish, have so much in common with the Japanese – the exact same vowel-reading rules!

  9. Cerebulon says:

    Ooh, depending on the year (I’m not all that clear on Japanese historical periods), even if not officially saves could be mod-ported over to EU3 meaning that Paradox Mega-Let’s Plays (Popular on Something Awful) could be started in Japan instead of being limited to just medieval Europe.

  10. Pijama says:

    Being myself partially a student of Economic Sciences, I formally request that Mr. Adam Smith be officially assigned by the Hivemind to preview, review and comment about any games related to grand strategy.

    With that name and that excitement about a Paradox game, he will be perfect.

  11. Thule says:

    “You can have up to four wives”

    Sold.

  12. wodin says:

    When are Paradox going to start making games with a new engine…instead ofr just doing loads of versions of EU in a different setting\era.

    • Kamos says:

      @ wodin

      “New engine”? Pah. I think you’re looking for a Creative Assembly game.

      Sending advisors on missions; rebelling against a clan leader; marrying your son to another daimyo’s daughter to gain political support; exchanging hostages. Is any of this in any Europa Universalis game?

  13. Vinraith says:

    This looks very promising. My Paradox backlog is getting somewhat embarrassing, but I feel compelled to support a company that’s still making deep, fun historical strategy games, so I’ll buy it anyway. :)