Sengoku Hands-On Preview - First Three Years

We go hands-on for the first three years of our clan's history in the real-time strategy game Sengoku.

The 15th-century real-time strategy game Sengoku puts you in control of one of the many clans vying for the title of shogun in medieval Japan. True to form for publisher Paradox Interactive, this game features a complex management system used to control your clan's domestic and military affairs. During our first look at the game, we got the rundown on the many facets of this system and how they function. This time we got to go hands-on as the Shimazu clan and spend three long years attempting to guide our people toward greatness.

There's little room for love in a politically-fueled marriage.

25 May, 1467: Following the game's advice, we started by opening the court view, assigning advisers, and putting them to work. The master of the guard, whose job included espionage and recruiting ninjas, was first since intrigue was our clan's strong suit. Chikahide won the seat thanks to the boost in intrigue provided by his paranoia trait (+2 intrigue, -1 diplomacy). Haruhide was a close second, but his unstable combination of the deceitful and lunatic traits made us think he would flip out and kill us before too long. The other two positions, master of arms and master of ceremonies, were then filled and we began work on improving our clan's provinces.

26 May, 1467: It quickly became apparent that we were not in complete control over all our clan's provinces. Out of our clan's sizable territory, we were in control of Ata and Kagoshima. The rest were managed by our clan's vassals. This way we didn't have to fiddle with each individual province and assign (and later update) construction orders. Instead, we were free to focus on more important matters.

3 July, 1467: Our neighbor to the north, the Kikuchi clan, was really getting on our nerves. To usurp the current shogun from his seat in Kyoto and assert ourselves as rulers over all Japan--and thereby win the game--we needed to control at least 56 percent of the map and hold it for 36 months. We could take land either by force or by diplomacy, folding lesser clans into our own. Hungry for action, we set our sights on the Kikuchi and deployed our master of the guard to Kuma province, one of their territories that sits on the border with our own. His mission was to sow dissent within the province and hopefully incite a revolt, or at least kick over a few trash cans.

28 August, 1467: The Otomo clan, which lies just north of Kikuchi territory, proposed that we strengthen the bond between our clans though marriage. Diplomatic relations, such as sending gifts or exchanging hostages, can help strengthen ties with your neighbors. In this case we happily agreed, though our groom-to-be ended up canceling the wedding, much to our dismay.

These ronin warriors are a little too pricy for our pocketbook.

15 September, 1467: To crush the devious Kikuchi clan, we needed an army. Armies in Sengoku are composed of two groups of units: levies and retinues. Levies are trained in your clan's provinces, and their number and fighting strength are tied to the facilities available in that province. A province with a swordsmith, for example, would produce stronger units than one without. Retinues are your standing military and are tied to a specific character. They can be recruited by recruiting roaming ronin bands or by purchasing them. We started out by training some levies in two of our provinces, but we then decided to live a little and clicked the "Raise All" button to train levies in all our provinces.

15 October, 1467: Our excessive military spending put the clan's budget in the red. A bit embarrassed, we were forced to disband a few groups of levies to help even things out.

15 January, 1468: Kuma province, the one our master of the guard was stationed in, was developing its castle. Doing so would increase that province's defensive bonus as well as increase the number of levies that could be trained there. This was basically an act of war in our eyes, so we called back our adviser and pointed our young army toward Kuma.

11 July, 1468: As our forces marched into Kuma, we called up the Kikuchi to formally declare war. Doing so cost our clan some honor, which we could replenish by appeasing the current shogun though gifts or other favors. However, we had plenty of honor to go around and attacked the province. Even though Kuma had finished its castle, we expected it to fall swiftly before our might.

25 December, 1468: The siege of Kuma province took forever. In response to our declaration of war, the Kikuchi clan promptly began training some levies of its own to combat ours. However, the clan went all out, and by the time our forces captured Kuma, it had an army nearly twice the size of ours. Thankfully, we had some reinforcements en route to the front lines. Sengoku takes a hands-off approach to combat. When two sides start coming to blows, the action is displayed in a small window detailing the fighting strength of each side. It's then updated in real time as the battle plays out, and if your side is taking a beating, you can always order your men to retreat. Otherwise, it's all up to them.

8 May, 1469: As the battle for Kikuchi's land raged on, we took a moment to pause the action and check in on our main provinces. In Ata, our master of ceremonies had finished upgrading our town to the second tier, thus improving its income rate. We had also set our master of the guard to work expanding the guild presence in Kagoshima, which opened one of the four special structure slots in that province. Unfortunately, all the fancy buildings we could build there were out of our price range thanks to the upkeep costs of all our troops.

Whether you win or lose, the world in Sengoku just keeps on turning.

16 April, 1470: Our time with the Shimazu clan came to a close with battles raging across Kikuchi territory. Had we been a little more patient in our approach, we might have been able to convince the Otomo clan to form a plot with us to attack the Kikuchi. Plots are objectives generated by the game for your clan to work toward. Each plot has a plot power that reflects the strength of the target compared with you and your plot backers. Once you reach a certain amount of plot power, you can execute the plot. Or you can do what we did and just charge in with swords out. Whatever your tactic, you can put it to the test when Sengoku is released on the PC later this year.

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Discussion

20 comments
melomanias
melomanias

I love that there are no "real battles" in this game. It looks A LOT like Europa Universalis so Im really interested. I´ve played the first shogun total war and I never played any of the simualted battles... they were boring... I only wanted to move the strategic icons representig armies from here to there (the problem is that the game wasnt ready for that so it didnt work right)

Chemical-mix
Chemical-mix

Wow can't wait for this one. Looks like Paradox is going with the "EU3 set in Japan" trope, which is great with me.

radioactive1wiz
radioactive1wiz

I like both Total war games, mostly for the battles, and Paradox games for the sheer scope and length combined with the empirical simulation. The day that CA and Paradox work together to make a game is the day I stop buying games. Wouldn't need one after that.

Tokugawa77
Tokugawa77

@Tenatheus I love total war games. I love paradox games. I suppose I'm a paradox. But anyway, I just can't see myself buying this game. It's just such a limited scope. once you conqure Japan, what else is there to do? I'll probably just stick to divine wind.

squidbilly22
squidbilly22

wish the game didn't look like it was made 10 years ago and thru in some form of combat.I bet my DS could play this game.

BornGamer
BornGamer

RavenXavier just broke the BS-o-Meter.

idontlivehere11
idontlivehere11

As usual, this will only appeal to grand strategy and paradox fans... THANK THE LORD FOR THAT. The day paradox decides to go full retard would be a dark day indeed. :salute:

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

@4514N_DUD3 There is a turn based demo floating around to certain insiders. One of my good friends happens to be one of these insiders and he passed it along. I can't say who it is, but, I can say seeing the demo first hand helped me decide against buying this.

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

Paradox games in general are a very niche game, Total war gamers tend not to like this type of games. I for one dont like the total war series. Also, the game isn't out yet.. so it's unlikely that anyone got it yet

4514N_DUD3
4514N_DUD3

@RavenXavier umm it says that this game isnt out till september 13th, how did you "picked" it up?? unless it ur talkin abou a demo or sumthing, im just curious.

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

@vicsrealms I was thinking the Exact same thing. I picked up both Shogun 2 and Sengoku. What can I say from owning and playing both? Sengoku has a deeper empirical simulation, as most Paradox games do, which is where they beat out CA. However the battles here in Sengoku, in my opinion, are pretty lame/pathetic. I mean seriously, you get to see numbers representing your armies. What is this the late 80's or early 90's? No, it's 2011. A successful strategy game needs Both a deep empirical simulation AND awesome battles that show thousands of troops. It would be a dream come true to see a game really incorporate both in one awesomely massive game.

Tanatheus
Tanatheus

Yeah well, you have to remember that Paradox games are usually about empire/dynasty management rathern than the big battles like Shogun 2

eightdotthree
eightdotthree

I hope the system requirements on this aren't as bad as shogun 2. I had a hard time playing shogun 2 on a couple laptops, my gz3sw played it fine though :)

CrusaderX7
CrusaderX7

Love Paradox games but Medieval Japan is not really part of history i'm very interested in. I didn't buy Shogun 2 for the same reason.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

hope we get more clan choices then Shogun 2. my only qualm with the game.

NorCalGiantsFan
NorCalGiantsFan

how do they not have Shogun 2 in the games you may like section...wierd

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Always look forward to another game from Paradox Interactive. If only they would get together with CA and combine their Europe/HOI/Sengoku/Victoria series together with the Total Wars battle simulations. Talk about fun!

bVorkitup
bVorkitup

Anyone else notice that the first screenshot is of an agreement for somebody to marry himself?

IceJester45
IceJester45

Nice. Shogun 2 put me in a Sengoku Jidai mood. I'll keep an eye on this.