They say that history is written by the winners, the people who conquer and leave no one to write tales of death, but in this case it is just written by a guy who played the game.
Both other times that I have played Shogun, my initial placement was all over the board. Not by choice, but by the way the cards came out. This time it was Dave was the one who was all over the board, having provinces in the far east, central, and far west. (All directional discussion will be in reference to the way the board is set up, not the true North and South, etc.) Both Jeff and I did well in getting locations close together. I had all but one touching in the East. Jeff had two groups of three and four, with only one province in between them. Shea and Angie were somewhat split up, but not quite as bad as Dave was.
Year One (Quiet living in the Countryside)
Shea had Shimosa, which was surrounded by both Angie and I. I didn’t really want it that bad, however during the Spring he put 6 new armies there. That made me scared, so I attacked him with 8 of my own armies from Kezuke. He kept telling me that he was not going to attack me…I didn’t believe him. The attack ended up wiping out both of our armies and the province was lost. Turns out he was telling the truth and that the province was only set up to be taxed for gold. He wished a hex on me and vowed revenge!
Dave and Jeff, who were near each other in the West, were fighting over Iwami. Dave took it placed a Temple on it, which protected it for the rest of the year due to events, and continued his expansionist exploits.
Angie built up all along the Southern half of the board and some in the North East. She did this quietly and expertly. Gaining some buildings and setting herself up well.
Winter came, such a weak one, and there were no losses that occurred. Jeff however had been on the losing end of Dave’s exploits and was hurting for the rest of the game.
Scores after 1st year:
Shea and Angie 22
Year Two (The Riceless Winter)
Dave, having built up a solid force in Kai, kept trying to attack my two building province of Kezuke. We had to explain a couple of times that his was not possible. To take his wrath out on the board not having Kai touch Kezuke, he attacked my semi-valuable province of Musashi. Shea was cheering! Something about the hex and revenge of year one. Dave laughed evilly as he did this. I also laughed, mostly to hide my anguish of the innocent lives of my people, not because I thought it was funny.
There were some other large battles, between Angie and I since she had me sandwiched in on the North and South. Shea avoided serious battles with other players, sticking to the middle of the board mostly. Jeff was still trying to make a comeback against Dave in the West and had some success, but not enough.
The real pain of the second year was the winter. The four event cards were -6, -6, -6, and -7. Of course the -7 card came up. Also, one of the cards limited our rice taxes to 3 for a season. Needless to say, all of us were facing revolts. I lost 5 buildings, probably taking the biggest hit, but everyone else took some kind of hit except for Shea. Thanks to hoarding rice he only had 1 revolt and survived that. There were green farmers running amuck in the Tower.
Adam and Dave 32
Jeff 26 (I think)
Both Jeff and I loss provinces due to accidental taxes and the revolts that happened. Only Angie did not lose a province card which resulted in no rice or money for that season. Looking back, Shea did well not having huge battles with opponents. I can only remember 2 big battles, one with myself and the other with Dave. He did extremely well with buildings, winning all three types in two provinces.
So says the scrolls of those who did not win.
Nice session report!
Here's a quick blurb from my POV:
We all did pretty good at not getting too spread out. I got a strong foothold in the two central regions. I also had one silly province over next to Adam.
Time to spend that starting dough! I dropped all my cash to boot start my civilization. I placed all my buildings into my guarded central regions and put a nice army over next to Adam. My honest thinking was: if I put a big army there, nobody will be silly enough to invade it and devastate both of our investments.
Boy was I wrong. Seems Adam plays this game a little differently. He sees a big army, he goes and slams into it! The battle was epic, but it left both sides devastated and the province was reclaimed by the farmers. I didn't care much about losing a province, but I had planned to harvest gold there. Since he destroyed it before I could get gold, not much else happened for me this round. It's hard to build armies or buildings with no money. It's also hard to win battles when your largest army has been wiped from the board.
Luckily for me the gold action came up before the building actions this turn. I pretty much ignored buying more armies and just sunk all my money into more buildings. I also managed to claim my first new province by spreading over towards Dave some. He eyed me warily and moved his own armies closer to mine.
A combination of no expansion and good rice crops put me in the free and clear this winter. There were only a couple revolts, and none too crippling.
As far as scoring went, I did very well for myself. I had concentrated my meager funds into building a lot. I was at least tied for all of the building bonuses in my two regions. Angie tied my score, but with a more balanced building/expansionary strategy.
Can you say bad rice? As Adam stated, there was going to be *no* rice this year. Also, I was the only one with no money going into the second year. In the 1st fall it had went:
Everyone else had done arming and skipped warchests. I had skipped arming and did building. Therefore I was the only completely broke bloke going into this second year. And of course, the warchests appeared at the end of the second spring.
So for the second spring, I did pretty much nothing. For my attacking, I tossed a single cube at a couple different provinces. The farmers were weak and let me walk away with one.
I finally got some money at the end and looked forward to planning for the next season.
I actually bid a bit here just to get the rice bonus. That became important later on.
I spent all my money this round just building armies. In particular I built up my provinces near Dave. I also snatched in one more captured province from the farmers.
Man was this an excruciating planning round. I wanted to spend all my money on buildings, but I also wanted to bid hard on turn order. I wanted to go last so I could retaliate to any assaults. I bid quite a bit and got lucky when the warchest showed up in midseason before a couple of the buildings.
True to form, Dave assaulted my provinces. My defenders purchased the season before where up to snuff though and repelled his advances.
Jeff thought about advancing from another angle, but I threatened to strike back hard on anything he tried. This wasn't an empty threat as I had a loaded province ready for the kill and I was last in turn order. He backed down and just smacked some farmers out of a province.
I just managed to build all three buildings in this last season.
Minus 7 rice. Ouch. Luckily, my rice crop had been good, so I only had to fight a single revolt. All of the other players had to fight at least two, and many of them against a mob of angry farmers.
My single revolt was against a 3-building province, but my pile of armies there was up to the challenge and I held onto it by a single army.
Since my competition didn't build as much and then lost many of the buildings in my regions to revolts, I got all of the bonuses in both of my regions. That was more than enough for the win.
In the end, I enjoyed the game a lot. It was mainly a game of logistics more than anything. Each mistake you made during planning had brutal consequences during the round.
And like Adam said, staying out of the fighting helped me a lot. Losing that big army early and running low on cash for much of the game helped me stay under the radar too.
My only thought was that I wish the game was just a bit shorter. I would have liked a 2-3 hour game instead of a 3-4 hour game. I thought you could probably cut out 1 building type and remove 1 of the 3 mustering actions and not really lose much of the game play.
Anyway, lotsa fun! Cya in a couple weeks!
Well, this is one last chance for me to whine, but I thought the initial placement of the armies in the tower set a tone as well. All seven of mine dropped through, while a couple of players, Dave and Angie I believe, had 6 out of 7 stay in the tower. You might as well have hung a target on me and my provinces. I did enjoy the game even though the tower was nasty to me the entire way. And I should have attacked Shea on that last turn as I really had nothing to loose. The one empty province I took just pushed me over the line from one revolt to two in the end. I might as well have gone for a province with a building in it. By then I was just kind of assuming I was going to loose anything close to being an even fight.
Yeah, the seeding of the Tower really hurt you to start the game. I however never attacked you...ever.
(I would of, but we weren't sharing borders)
All seven of mine dropped through, while a couple of players, Dave and Angie I believe, had 6 out of 7 stay in the tower.
This is very true. It was sorta like Angie and Dave getting a free armament.
At the same time, Adam put he and I on equal footing with you in the second season. He wiped out a good 7-8 of both of our armies.
Angie and Dave definitely had the favor of the tower for much of the game.