Shogun 2: The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Samurai, Part 3

By Dan Griliopoulos on April 9th, 2012 at 11:00 am.


Dan fights against the inexorable tides of history to bring traditionalism back to the the Japanese archipelago. Part One. Part Two. And now:

Months have passed. Togichi and Fukushima have become relative havens of tranquility – but Hitachi is a permanent wreck; I’ve fought at least a battle there every month, the first three months recapturing it from another rebel force I bribed into existence to kill off the Jozai, and then twelve months of defending it from the huge armies of new enemies; Odawara and Nagaoka, who have changed sides to Imperial, ostensibly to piss off the shogun, but mainly from realpolitik, and Kakegawa.

I have ten years to achieve my objectives and in three I’ve barely made it out of my front yard. I’ve given up on sea battles, because building and maintaining a fleet is too expensive whilst losing tends to give the enemy your best ships. For this reason, every town or building near the coast is a smoking wreck and I’m getting next to no money from trade – which in Fall of the Samurai is your primary source of revenue. I haven’t been able to expand because every time I defeat an army my allies stomp in and seize his territory – before turning on me, obviously.


It’s probably worth taking for granted that I’m winning amazing victories at every turn here, by micromanaging every battle. Occasionally, they’re pyrrhic, but thankfully I completed a mission which gave me 50% bonus income and made trade agreements with both of my Northern neighbours, the Morioko and Matsue. The resulting burst in income was then used to build a craft workshop, which in turn generated yet more income, so for a short period money poured in. Instead of building up my army, I choose to focus on building up my infrastructure. After all, I’ve survived everything they’ve thrown at me, but the only way out of the rut is economic growth. My people remain curiously happy, probably because I’ve never had the money to modernise until now.

Except that the Kakegawa and Nagaoka attack me in the summer of 1867. And they’ve got cannons. And they don’t use cheap troops. The Kakegawa send an army composed entirely of sword and spear Samurai against Hitachi and don’t assault it, but besiege it, with the Odawara backing them up. I’ll have to sally out but, looking at the relative strength of our armies, I’m going to have to be very… lucky. I don’t think I can bear to lose Hitachi again, but I can’t see myself getting out of this corner.


Meanwhile, though Reginald finally managed to break out and push east to grab another province from the Nagaoka, they ignore him and sent two fully-stacked cannon-heavy armies past to take my capital. Even Reginald Samurai’s ability to attack at night isn’t going to help much when he’s stuck over in the distant East. I have to disband all his veteran units just so we can buy some fresh fodder to defend Fukushima. At this point the Matsue, who have just conquered the entire north of the map from the Moriko, switch to the Imperial side, leaving me once again surrounded by enemies.

The Aizu have become minnows in Japan, surviving amidst bloated factions all around them, mainly the Emperor’s men. Consensual Westernisation has failed and so has the Shogun, mainly; now the Western powers are just going to take the nation forcibly, the way they opened China and India to trade; ironclads and Gatling guns.

Reginald looks for a long time at his washikasi, his home seppuku kit. Now, in Sengoku you can commit suicide in the traditional Japanese manner to regain honour for your family, or as part of a piece treaty. Sadly, Shogun 2 doesn’t allow this, but Reginald’s not the type to do it anyway. He has a plan.


(At this point, I admitted defeat with the Aizu. I could keep battling with them, but the game is too unforgiving on this difficulty for us to get a look at Fall of the Samura’s unique elements, rather than just struggling to maintain my current holdings against increasingly proficient armies. My own troops aren’t advancing, because I’m refusing to modernise, and the increasing number of enemy cannon sounds the death knell for any army relying on holding the walls of a broken wooden fort.

Moreover, playing the same battle for Hitachi over and over was destroying my soul. I had the same handful of White Tigers and Spearmen pushing increasingly elite foot soldiers back over the walls in about twenty battles, watching the broken troops run around the fort in the same strange Benny Hill single file.

Each time Alec pops onto to MSN, I’m terrified he’s going to ask me about the diary and I’m going to have to admit that I’m still fighting the Battle of Hitachi. I’m just not good enough to get out of this situation and the AI is behaving suicidally to beat me – the way that it throws armies at me whilst leaving its own provinces undefended against other neighbours is just cheap. The only way I’ll get to write about the new elements of Fall of the Samurai is to restart elsewhere, on easier settings. So…)

On the morning following the last battle of Hitachi (which the Aizu, true to form, won against all odds), Reginald’s bloodstained clothes are found on the beach. It is assumed that this most disrespectful of daimyos has killed himself in a most dishonorable fashion, bring disrespect on his family and cause. His loyal retainers shake their heads, consign his soul to yomi and submit to their new Imperial overlords.

Meanwhile, over in the Satsuma provinces, the long-absent daimyo Shizamu Hisamitsu (AKA Seginald Ramurai) has returned after three years presumed dead. Satsuma in his absence has burgeoned, advanced to perfect modernism despite being an Imperial province. Every town is a city with a giant fort, his as-yet-unchallenged fleet and army are feared across the land, and he’s made contact with every last clan on the map, trading with friends and enemies alike. All by shaving off a moustache.

Seginald looks down at his tax receipts for 1867 and almost weeps for joy. Over in the Aizu lands, his total income before costs was less than one province in Satsuma makes in profit. To spend that money, he also has a trading post with the despised Westerners, specifically the British. This means two things; first, he can buy three units of the absolutely lethal British Marines, which he does immediately.

Secondly, it means he can buy and sail an Ironclad. Which, entirely rationally, becomes his (and my) only aim for the remainder of his short life.

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38 Comments »

  1. Chris D says:

    Happens to the best of us.

    The first time I played Shogun 2 I figured having played the hell out of Medieval 2 I’d just crank the difficulty up to hard and go for it. I managed to recruit too many troops and stalled my economy completely and only got to grips with the food mechanic after I’d built more fortresses than I could support. So with Fall of the Samurai I decided to bury my pride and start out on medium till I learned what was new.

    • BioSnark says:

      He also chose the hardest starting location, not that any of the shogunate factions have a good starting location.

      On my legendary play-through for a shogunate clan, after several tries to use the shogunate start locations, I finally gave up and abandoned my Nagoaka capital on the mainland and sailed off to conquer Sado and Hokkaido islands so I can economy and tech up on a safer base. Good luck to anyone trying to legendary on the mainland as a shogunate clan :D Choshu, at least, have a 2/3 province funnel for quite a long time, aside from the big ship drops all over :x

      Tangentially…on Total War migrating:

      It reminds me of starting off as the Turks in Medieval 2 and almost immediately initiating a “Jihad” mass migration over to either the Iberian or Roman peninsulas to set up shop. Horsearcher/sepahi micro dominates even crusading European armies :D Heroic victory markers just dot the map after a failed crusade. Oh, good times *sigh*. Medieval 2 and Rome were such awesome sandboxes for the most absurd counterfactual history making.

      I don’t remember what it was, exactly, but I couldn’t get migrating to work out in Empire. I think loosing your capital was a loose condition in that game.

  2. cassus says:

    Fall of the Samurai is pretty easy on default difficulty (easy I think?) Did a long campaign (took me 35 hours.. So yeah, pretty long..) First two campaigns I boned myself completely. The third time I just took my neighbouring provins on turn 2, alliied with everyone around me and started building my economy. Once I hit the level where I could support a full on maxed army I conquered provinses outside my bubble of allies. At that point I had the momentum to take 3-4 provinses during the spring/summer/autumn months. (around turn 100ish.)

    The game is really awesome, but you can easily break the game by playing it on default difficulty if you have a bit of experience from earlier TW games. Only one I’d played was Empire, which feels pretty similar due to the guns rather than bows and swords. Line battles and cannons are awesome imho.

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  3. Shadowcat says:

    Twenty-two minutes late; attacked by Kakegawa at Hitachi.

  4. marcusfell says:

    If there was a manga for Reginald Samuari, I would buy it.

  5. Ironclad says:

    Is this Reginald related to Cuftbert, perchance?

    • bladedsmoke says:

      Nah, Reginald Cuftbert would have reverse-pickpocketed a grenade into the Shogun’s trousers by now.

      • Ironclad says:

        High Five, man. Sure he wouldn’t have used a flamethrower?

  6. marlin says:

    Seginald Ramurai should so have a pair of glasses too…just to make the disguise complete.

    • Vorphalack says:

      After figuring out a way to age 28 years in 3 years, you would think he could have streached to a pair of glasses. But then what do I know about faking your own death, best leave it to the experts.

  7. weirdoo says:

    pro Tip, if you have reasearched “Kneel Fire” technology, just get 10 – 13 Line Infantry with 2 or 3 cavalry units as cannon fodder, when in battle, place all the units that are behind the main force within the First Line Infantries and enable Knee Fire. If you win, fantastic, if you loose, send in your main army and crush them!

  8. Pugiron says:

    Wakizashi: Samurai short sword.
    washikasi : word made up by idiot in England.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      At least he was polite about it, eh readers?

      • DiamondDog says:

        I wouldn’t judge him too harshly, I imagine he doesn’t get to use his knowledge of Japanese swords in a whole lot of situations.

        Probably got a bit over-excited.

        • caddyB says:

          It’s still no justification for insulting people over spelling mistakes. As a punishment, I’m going to utter a sentence that will hurt our samurai-sword loving friend deeply.

          Katanas sucked and European metalworking was so far ahead of Japan that there is no question about it.

          • Dan Griliopoulos says:

            You, I like. :)

          • pipman3000 says:

            european swords are also good for butt play because curved japanese swords hurt the butt while the iron sand irritates the anus the straight as an arrow swords make great play for butts or butt like things

          • pipman3000 says:

            but YOU MUST KEEP THEM IN THE SHEATHE

          • pipman3000 says:

            and make sure you don’t feed them after midnight

          • Apolloin says:

            Actually European metalworking was NOT better than Japanese metalworking. European METAL was far superior. Japanese swordsmiths managed to create those intricately constructed masterpieces using iron that Europeans would sniff at derisively and then consign to a pot makers.

        • Fumarole says:

          This has me grinning like an idiot.

    • yurusei says:

      Idiot in England : That’s a low blow.
      Japanese : SHAMEFRUL DISPRAYYYY!

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      Hello! I’m an idiot! Sorry, I did check my spelling twice and everything.

    • Apples says:

      Well, come on, don’t be so harsh… who hasn’t had a time when they accidentally typed washikasi instead of 脇差? I mean those keys are just so close together…

    • Fierce says:

      Nobody saw… “Now, in Sengoku you can commit suicide in the traditional Japanese manner to regain honour for your family, or as part of a piece treaty” ???

      Last minute spellcheck to meet a deadline will do this. We’ve all been there at least once. Those of us with enough life education to experience it, and enough tact to not call people idiots over the internet anyway…

      …so yeah, don’t call him an idiot.

      • pipman3000 says:

        it’s actually called a piece treaty because you are supposed to keep handing over pieces of yourself until the other guy is satisfied. sengoku japan was badass like that

        seppuku was invented because the inside pieces have a much higher value then the outer pieces such as hands and eyeballs

        • Vorphalack says:

          Hence the origin of the phrase ”having your ass handed to you on a plate”, refering to a poor piece treaty offering being rejected.

  9. Cosmo Dium says:

    So… from the closing paragraph I can’t tell whether this series over. Are we due for a rise of Ramurai? I’m still intrigued.

    -g

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      I think we’ll have one last installment. It’s taken me this long to get anywhere near the unique units, abilities and objectives. Next installment; ironclads, trains and becoming Emperor Reginald.

  10. tigershuffle says:

    Ive a feeling Seginald will open a Wasabi import business ……possibly called Grot.
    Thanks for the write up…..convinced me not to bother investing as I still havent even bothered playing Empire for 6 months

  11. Maldomel says:

    So you just…died? I guess playing the hardest stuff the game can throw at you can be pretty hard in the end. Like all those guys changing alliances just to smash you. I wish game devs would invent better IAs and stuff to balance a bit their difficulty settings, so the main goal isn’t to crush the player all the time anymore.

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      I didn’t die, but I couldn’t get out of the corner and I’ve spent literally three days micromanaging the battles to keep surviving. It was just futile.

      • GT3000 says:

        You deserved your dishonorable death at the blade of a misspelled Japanese shortsword.

        SHAMFUR DISPRAY

  12. gschmidl says:

    Rock Paper Shogun continues.