Joe M
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I only have a few plays under my belt, all of them as the Ishida side. I have been offering the choice of sides to my opponents and telling them that the Tokugawa side has the fewest complications (just one special unit and one instant loss condition.) Without fail, they have gravitated to that option. I'm still not sure if there is a better side to suggest to future new players I teach, so any feedback is welcome.

Playing as Ishida, I first impulse was that you are the "defensive" side. Once I had played and understood the mechanics I realized that simply isn't a good way to approach either side. I am really new to the game, so let me know what you think.

Ishida starts out the game losing. You have fewer castles, and if you don't change that early, you will have a very hard time surviving. You have a child to protect that can't be moved out of harms way. Cards are the oil of your war machine, your troops simply wont move or fight without them. The central and eastern part of the map has your forces on a peninsula surrounded by Tokugawa forces and homelands.

There is good news, in the west you have a strong force and there are 2-3 Black castles(Miyazu, Anotsu, and Okazaki)that are vulnerable with small garrisons. Early on, you don't need to concern yourself with the defense of Osaka because you have a strong Mori "garrison." This leaves you free to attack aggressively in the West in the first 2-3 weeks. If your initial hand gives you a way to muster up 7 impact in a siege battle, I strongly suggest taking Miyazu or Anotsu in the first week. It's easier to accomplish this task if you make Tokugawa go first, so if you have a high bid value card in your opening hand you don't need to hit 7 impact in your siege, use it.

If the Tokugawa player reacts to a northern move by moving his Maeda stack West turn 1, that's good news. Maeda's home city is off the highway, and it will take a while for them to build up a second group worth activating. In the following turns, you will be able to eliminate the starting Maeda force with the Ukita and Mori clan forces you will be able to deploy from Himeji. Not only that, you are free to take a single block from Ueda Castle and grab the Takeda resources without fear of overrun.

To go south is more risk, but far greater potential rewards. You get to take a resource location at Kuwana. The main initial risk is a large Fukushima muster at Kiyosu (it can happen). Its still worth striking Anotsu. Even if Tokugawa has a strong force, he doesn't want to move it to Anotsu, and if he does, he can't re-flip the castle before the reinforcement phase happens because its extremely unlikely that he can destroy your force preventing a siege that would extend to the following turn.

Any western reaction by your opponent prevents a smooth buildup of forces in the east.

If I have the activations, I like to grab Takeda with one or two blocks (to prevent Maeda overrun).

At the start of Week 2, you may have an advantage in Castles and resources. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, you just don't have a combination that can hit 7 impact in the west (3 Usegi cards and a loyalty challenge). In which case grab a resource point or two and organize for an western offensive turn 2.

So sums up what I think is the best possible courses of
action for Week one for Ishida.

Even thinking about week one is a range of possibilities, and starting week 2 the decisions really multiply. I really love theorizing on this game, so please reply with thoughts on your opening strategies.

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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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thesir wrote:
It's easier to accomplish this task if you make Tokugawa go first

That's the only thing that bothers me a little in this otherwise incredible game : playing last in the 1st week can mean a lot. Or, more precisely, playing the last move of the 1st week.
And it's not only about grabbing the resource/castle advantage unopposed. It's about the position you can setup on the board for the next week, i.e. the threat of playing first in the next week. Also, Ishida can much more easily dump cards for Mori when playing last.
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Joe M
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tublefou wrote:
thesir wrote:
It's easier to accomplish this task if you make Tokugawa go first

That's the only thing that bothers me a little in this otherwise incredible game : playing last in the 1st week can mean a lot. Or, more precisely, playing the last move of the 1st week.
And it's not only about grabbing the resource/castle advantage unopposed. It's about the position you can setup on the board for the next week, i.e. the threat of playing first in the next week. Also, Ishida can much more easily dump cards for Mori when playing last.


Controlling the turn order is powerful, no doubt. A lot can hinge on the bid to choose going first or second, and later on going first can be so vital. If I was playing tokugawa I would bid highly to make Ishida go first in week one.

I think I like it better as a competitive bid that you have some control compared to most similar games: "Carthage goes first" or "the Americans choose" or a random draw.

I think with the deck mechanics in this game, a set turn order would be abused, and it's one more way that plays will vary. Tokugawa can only know they act first and only if they have a loyalty challenge to bid.

All that said I can see how the uncertainty of the bid could frustrate.
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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thesir wrote:
All that said I can see how the uncertainty of the bid could frustrate.

It is not about uncertainty. It is about no-brainer-ness.
On the first week, both should spend their highest card to make the other play first. So it is actually about who gets the better initial draw.
I would actually be more comfortable with a random draw on the first week.
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Oliver Ludwig

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how would you deal with the eastern armies and castles?
 
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