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Shogun 2: The First Five Years 1545 – 1550

We are mighty Clan Shimazu. We have the most loyal of leaders and our way is that of the master swordsman. Our word is our bond.

To the Shimazu, loyalty is everything.

And we are at war…

The hated Ito Clan to the east has built a small castle town near our homeland and they are preparing an assault. Our primary mission in the first phase of our plan to name our Daimyo as Shogun is to remove Clan Ito from the map, either as a campaign of annihilation or to make them a vassal, serving us and paying us tribute as we demand.

To the north is Clan Sagara. We are currently trading with them, importing horses, and as they sit directly to our north we will attempt to negotiate a treaty before committing too many forces to the war with the Ito.

We will also begin training more troops in the form of Yari Ashigaru, Yari Bowmen and Katana Samurai. Upgrading our empire is also of prime importance as we need better irrigation, a large harbor as we need to begin trading to increase income, improved roads, and we must use the local smithy to our advantage by building a weapon workshop as we are expert swordsmen and plan on using them soon enough.

We have a loyal General at the ready. A 25 year old commander named Tanegashima Tomokata, who has the honor of leading the assault on the Ito province of Osumi. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in total loyalty to our Clan and our Daimyo, our 31 year old leader who many call self-centered, but he has survived many battles, which has caused many to feel he has the luck of the cat with him.

Tomokata’s army is small but ready as we will surprise the Ito dogs at the start of the year. Tomokata has with him a regiment of Katana Samurai, Yari Bowmen, and two regiments or Yari Ashigaru spearmen as well as his General staff and retainers.

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So it begins.

As construction begins to improve our rice paddy irrigation and a weapon workshop, our diplomat successfully secures our northern border by successfully negotiating an alliance treaty with Clan Sagara to the north.

Tomokata marches his army directly to the fort and launches his assault – the Ito have been lazy in their attempt to reinforce the fort as their main army is in sight but still a day away from reinforcing. Tomokata’s army has the numerical advantage and the fort of Osumi falls with our army taking some damage as we have lost one brave and honorable Ashigaru regiment – as they lead the assault. Upon seeing the fall of one of their provinces, the main Ito army retreats, we can only assume to gather more forces in preparation for a counterattack. We will be ready.

Before spring ends we immediately begin recruiting more troops from our nearby homeland – more archers, spearmen, and samurai. The samurai will take an extra season to train but the others should be ready by summer to reinforce Osumi.

As spring turns to summer we have received word that a major Clan has fallen – the mighty Oda from across the sea has been conquered. A surprising turn of events so soon in the war. The Uesugi and Takeda clans have also formed an alliance…something to be wary of if this bond holds.

Our new allies, the Sagara, have requested we join the war with the Otomo Clan. We will honor our alliance.

Trouble has popped up in Osumi as the residents of the fort are not happy that we have so easily took command of their city and a rebel leader has formed an army to oppose us. We expect nothing less from the Ito. The rebel army has trampled fields and burned down a harbor. We must send Tomokata to face this threat, but we also must discover the location of the Ito army that is sure to come soon to attempt to take back their fort.

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Reinforcements have arrived to help defend the Osumi fort in case the Ito return and this leaves Tomokata free to attack the rebels, who have managed to field a surprisingly large force – mostly of rag tag units. Tomokata crushes the rebellion and kills its leader but loses another regiment of Yari, but has also gained valuable experience, and has been promoted to the rank of 2 Star General, which has increased his ability to maneuver his forces when on the march.

It is now autumn, 1546, and the Ito have returned to reclaim their land. Tomokata’s army has been replenished and now our Daimyo has left our homeland and found a mountain pass to attack the Ito from the north while Tomokata leaves the Osumi fort to face the Ito General. We will not suffer a siege. The Ito army is formidable and as our Daimyo crosses the bridge into Ito territory they launch an attack, pushing our Clan leader back in what has been deemed an honorable defeat.

Tomokata, waiting to pounce on the now fatigued and wounded Ito army, counterattacks and kills every last Ito soldier, including the General. The door is now open to refit the army and attack the last remaining Ito fort which would give our clan complete control over all Ito territory. There will be no vassalage; we will wipe this clan from history.

While we continue to fight the Ito, news has arrived informing us of the formation of two new Clans: the Sakai and the Asai, we must keep an eye on such developments. We have also received word that a Clan to the north, the Shoni, has declared war on us – we must discover what our allies the Sagara are doing to bring us into such matters. Finally reports of several minor clans falling have reached our ears. Other clans are establishing themselves on the mainland and the Ouchi clan has adopted the religion of Christianity.

While our war rages we have been upgrading our lands at home and now have access to a trading vessel, which has discovered a trade route in the west with mercenaries who hold sway over incense which we can use in rituals and trade to gain further income to fund the war.

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By 1549 the alliance between the Uesugi and Takeda has crumbled as now the two clans are at war. We must keep this in mind if we ever deal with these clearly dishonorable clans.

The Ito’s days are numbered; even though, we must be cautious. Our armies now contain improved Samuari warriors as well as light cavalry. We have sent scouts ahead to get a lay of the land and they have not returned. We must assume an ambush by Ito forces. As Tomokata continues to march toward the last Ito stronghold we come across dead Yari spearmen. The work of the Ito. Tomokata decides to press on, and as winter 1549 approaches we encounter a small Ito force trying to make its way back home. Winter or not, we will end this now.

Tomokata uses his brilliant speed and catches the army before it can reach the safety of the fort and crushes them – the Ito fort falls basically without a fight. We would expect nothing less from these cowards.

It is now 1550, five years into our struggle to declare our Daimyo as Shogun. The Christian Ouchi are nearby, the Sagara is asking for assistance, our income remains steady despite a large army expense, we are at war with a clan with which we have never met, our Daimyo has in his possession the fabled Sword of Amaterasu which instill fear in all who see it on the field, Tomokata has claimed a mistress, who some say is his bodyguard and protects him from assassination, and an unknown young General has just arrived on our doorstep, asking to join our ranks for 1,000 gold.


(Note: Each “turn” in Shogun 2 is one season, so a five year span is exactly 20 game turns.)

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

17 thoughts to “Shogun 2: The First Five Years 1545 – 1550”

  1. Bill, do you plan on writing up the entire campaign? Is this the short campaign or the big one?

    So far I take it you like what you are seeing? It sounds pretty epic.

  2. I am playing the short campaign. I need to win capture 25 provs + Kyoto.

    And yes, assuming we stay ALIVE, I’ll keep writing them.

    And yes 2x, so far this is a very, very good TW game — and this coming from someone who didn’t care for Empire much. The AI, so far, is pretty solid.

  3. This is exactly how I want my reviews to be given to me. I felt like I was experiencing it first hand.


    This game has now gone from “Wait til it’s on sale” to a purchase at next pay check. I don’t know if you got paid by Sega for this, but I don’t care either way. Creative Assembly has another masterpiece on their hands.

  4. Sadly, no, Sega is withholding payment. I just enjoying these types of write ups for a game like this.

    Of course let’s see how years 6-10 go. That comes tonight after my Tuesday basketball game.

    Those Christian Ouchi are looking kinda smug..

  5. I’m sure Total War is just a good base for writing gameplay reviews in this style, what with seasons and battles and whatnot, but will you write reviews for other games in this style?

    I have no interest in Shogun 2, but this was fun to read.

  6. Assuming you stay ALIVE?! What? No High Scores can never die, you’re my favorite gaming blog.

    In fact you are rapidly becoming my go-to for gaming news in general. Work on staying alive, gentlemen. Work hard at it. Do not bring dishonor to your daimyo. Or mothership, or food-on-the-table, or whatever it is you call gameshark.

  7. “but will you write reviews for other games in this style?”

    For once I agree with Labreya! Well other than the interest in Shogun 2.

  8. I was referring to Clan Shimazu.

    For all I know we could get wiped out by 1555.

    Thanks for the kind words, though. Much appreciated.

  9. Whoops, this is what I get for being dyslexic. I had jumbled your replies in these comments and came away with a distinct sense of dread.

  10. Thanks bill.

    A few more Qs:

    Is this normal difficulty? Not to prod but..when do you think you’ll do part 2?

  11. I know my thoughts on this are largely irrelevant as I knew I would buy this the second i heard about the location. Cannot say enough about how floored i was by the initial Total War concept. Like you Bill I played Medieval to death, lost something along the way in Rome and Napolean, etc. (good games but didn’t gnaw into that inveterate gamer’s gut for me).

    Something about the elaboration on a ‘rock paper scissors’ strategy model worked well for me.

    Couple questions which i’d appreciate if you could keep an eye out for me.

    Balance vs. Personality — How much of the different Daimyo traits actually show up in game play? As well as unit differences. I remember the original Shogun had daimyo and regional unit specialties but otherwise was the same. Hard to tell how much of your tale is the game… and how much is you making it sound good!

    shogun 1 vs 2 I know it’s prettier and slicker and the AI can’t be any dumber but, can you point out those things you feel are difference makers as you carry us along in James Clavell fashion.

    And want to hear about that spy game soon as you can. Ninjas were always such a hoot, not to mention the hotties with the bound feet.

    For now must be content living vicariously through your singing Ashigaru,


  12. I’d like to see us do more of this too, but it gets tricky when you start dealing with other genres. If I wrote more of a in-character diary for Dragon Age 2, something I’ve considered, it’d be loaded with spoiler material since you’re following a set story. In the end I thought it better not to do that. You can’t really spoil a game like Shogun 2, so it lends itself better to this (IMO).

  13. Thank God, haha. I’ve been playing on “Hard” and I know you’re a long time TW player…so as I was reading this and your success, I was worried you were playing on Hard or even tougher. I’ve found “Hard” to be a very good challenge so far and am playing with the same clan. I’ve started a few different times to get a feel for the game and the opening moves are clearly not scripted which is awesome.

  14. We should compare notes then. I wanted to start on Normal just to get a feel..and to make it sound like I was brilliant.

    You’re finding hard to be a good challenge then? That’s great to hear. How far are you in the campaign? I’m going to start the next write up today and man..the landscape has changed!

  15. Part 2 is done (1551-1555) and I’ll post it tomorrow. We have a lot of custom content up today that I don’t want to push too far down the page, so in the morning I’ll continue the saga of Clan Shimazu.

    Things are heating up. And we have our first actual battle report, with pics!

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