When a battle begins, all of your men are assigned to one of the five squadrons that make up your army. Your general's squadron is marked by a circle. The remaining squadrons are labeled 2 through 5. In addition, the other number shown represents how many thousands of soldiers occupy the squad.
|The first squadron to make a move every turn is the infantry that is lead by your daimyo, or a general. As an infantry unit, it has the same strength as the 4th and 5th units. However, protect this unit at all costs because if this unit is destroyed, the battle is automatically over.||The second squadron is always a cavalry unit. Because these soldiers ride on horseback, they have an advantage. As such, they are twice as strong in battle as the infantry units.|
|The third squadron is always a rifle unit. This unit is the most powerful unit of all — twice as strong as cavalry and four times stronger than infantry. When going up against infantry, rifle units are more likely to mow them down. As a limitation, this is the only unit with a percentage maximum, just over 20% of your entire army. Whatever arrangement you choose, this squadron should always be set to the maximum percentage permitted.||The fourth and fifth squadrons are regular infantry units. They do not fare well against cavalry nor rifle units, so you should try only to use them strategically against other infantry units. Unlike the first squadron, the battle will continue if infantry units are wiped out.|
The number of units in each squadron at the start of battle is determined by your army's arrangement. If you do not pay 30 gold to assign your own arrangement percentages, every army will use the default of 20% of your men in every squadron; however, the computer tends to favor a more lopsided arrangement of men, which can make it difficult for human players who stick with the default arrangement. Some arrangement strategies will be discussed here.
The default arrangement is to put 20% of your men into each unit. This means if you attack or defend with 100,000 men, each unit will contain 20,000. If you have way more men than the opponent, this won't be much of an issue; however, if you are evenly sized and the computer is using a different arrangement, you may have difficulty winning battles. If the opponent's command unit has a very large number of men, they stand a better chance fending off the attacks of your squadrons — even the rifle unit.
One example of a lopsided arrangement is 45 - 25 - 20 - 5 - 5. This is the style of arrangement favored by the computer when defending a fief from invaders. It places many more men in your command unit by sacrificing some from your infantry. This will make it much harder for the opponent to wipe out the command unit and win the battle automatically; however, the smaller infantry units won't be able to take a lot of punishment and may be wiped out quickly.
Another example of a lopsided arrangement is 20 - 40 - 20 - 10 - 10. This places many more men in your cavalry unit, leaving you again with two smaller infantry units. You will be able to make up for the weakness of your infantry by dealing more damage with your cavalry. They may even be able to stand up to a rifle unit and win; although they must have a serious advantage in numbers.
Command / Cavalry Heavy
An arrangement of 30 - 30 - 20 - 10 - 10 presents a balance between a command-heavy and cavalry-heavy arrangement. You still have two weaker infantry units, but your command unit has better protection against attacks, and your cavalry can both deal and withstand a lot of damage before falling.
Finally, a more extreme example of the previous arrangement is to make your fourth and fifth squadrons as small as possible. One such arrangement may be 39 - 39 - 20 - 1 - 1. This means that your fourth and fifth infantry squadrons will be as small as they possibly can be, barely do any damage, and likely won't survive more than one battle. As a result, they can be used for nothing more than blockades and delay tactics; however, your remaining squads will be as large as they possibly can be, capable of dealing maximum damage against smaller enemy squads, and give you a fairly good chance for victory. This approach is great for battles in which the approach to an enemy is limited to a small and narrow corridor, but it suffers a bit more when the battle takes place in a wide-open space and your squadrons are vulnerable to attacks from multiple directions.
When a new battle begins, the defending army places their units on the map first. These units may be placed anywhere on the map that can be occupied — plains, hills, the town, or the castle squares. Units are placed on the map in squadron order consisting of command unit, cavalry, rifles, and two instances of infantry troops. When defending, command units are best placed on the castle and left there unless the opposing army is so small that it's safe to venture out. Rifle units should be placed as close to the command unit as possible — preferably on a hill.
When all five of the defending units have been placed, the attacking army may place their units. The attacking army is limited to the first four columns of the side that the opponent attacked from. For example, if a fief was invaded from the west, the attacker is limited to the four left-most columns. Or if the fief was invaded from the east, then they are limited to the right side. Note: in some cases, it may look more like a fief is invaded from the north or south, but the computer will still designate the attack as either east or west. Attackers may not place units on or next to a castle or town, even if such spaces are within the four starting columns.
There are four types of terrains that may be occupied, and three terrains that may not be occupied:
|Plains are the most basic type of terrain. Wide-open and expansive, they offer no offensive or defensive advantages. Compared to any other form of terrain, plains are the worst terrain to fight from.||Towns offer only slightly more defense against attacks than plains, however, if any unit occupying a town gets into a battle, the town will suffer a good deal of damage. As such, the value of a town drops by 10 with every battle that occurs in its vicinity.|
|Hills provide incredible strategic opportunities, second only to castles. If a squadron on a hill attacks a squadron on the plains, the squadron on the hill will have a big advantage. Occupying the hills on the edge of plains is a good way to gain the upper hand.||With their sturdy walls and tall turrets, castles offer the best protection against attacks out of all other terrains. Defending command units are advised to remain inside castles for as long as possible. For every turn that the castle is occupied by an invading squad, the defending army's morale will fall.|
|No army may occupy mountains, nor water (these serve as natural boundaries within fiefs). In some cases, they will limit your approach to a castle by creating a narrow corridor through which your army must pass in single file. Additionally, some fiefs are shaped in such a way that they don't occupy the size of a full map. In these cases, parts of the terrain are simply unavailable for either army to use.|
Turns alternate between the defender and the aggressor. When it is your turn to play, you may input one command per available unit, in squadron order, as defined above. You may not skip ahead to one squadron and then come back to another, so plan your strategy accordingly.
- The Move command permits you to move a unit to any of the surrounding terrains, provided it can be occupied. Since the maps are hexagonal, you can select among six different directions: Up or down, or any of the four diagonal directions. You may not occupy a space that is already occupied by another squadron, whether they are friend or foe.
- Use the Attack command to combat an enemy unit in an adjoining space. Like Move, you must select from one of six different directions. Once you select an enemy army to attack, combat commences automatically. The outcome usually involves both units taking some amount of damage, with one unit being wiped out if their numbers were very low at the start of combat.
- The amount of damage that each unit inflicts on the other is determined by the size of each squadron, the types of units fighting, the types of terrain that each unit occupies, and the difference in skill, arms, and morale of each army. In this game, no army gets an advantage for initiating an attack; however, if the defending unit's skill is significantly higher, they may get an opportunity to counter-attack and inflict more damage than usual.
- For its turn, the command unit can attempt to bribe soldiers from the opposing army, and convince them to defect and join the unit. If successful, the command unit will lose some gold, but gain some soldiers from the opposing command unit. The two command units do not have to be close to one another for this to work, and computer will do it quite frequently as you become more successful.
- The Flee command should be an absolute last resort to save your daimyo's life. Only the command unit may issue this command, and only if there is a friendly neighboring territory to flee to. If you use it, you lose all of the soldiers, gold, and rice that you brought with you into battle. Your drive, luck, and peasant loyalty will drop due to the shame of running away from battle.
- Sometimes there is simply nothing that a squadron can do, especially if the direction you wish for them to travel to is blocked by other squadrons. In this case, choose Pass to skip that squadron's turn and wait until the next turn to make a move.
- Using the View command does not end your turn; rather, it gives you an opportunity to examine each daimyo's statistics and evaluate your chances of success. When you are finished viewing, you may continue to input a command to the current squadron.
When a battle is concluded, control of the fief is determined by the winner. If the winning army was the defenders, control of the fief remains where it was; if the winning army was the attackers, control of the fief switches to the daimyo in charge of the attacking army. There are four conditions under which a battle will end:
- If an enemy general or daimyo flees from battle, the opposing army wins.
- If a command unit is wiped out, the opposing army wins. You are not required to defeat the other four units, but that will certainly make defeating the command unit easier. If the command unit was lead directly by a daimyo, the opposing army will gain control of every fief under the defeated daimyo's command.
- If an army runs out of rice, the opposing army wins. One day passes after each army executes their turns, and rice is consumed by both sides. The amount of rice you consume is determined by the size of the army. It is important to bring as much rice as you can so that you don't risk running out. If an aggressor attacks a fief with no rice, the aggressor will automatically win!
- If the battle does not conclude within 30 days, the attacking army will quit out of exhaustion. Just like fleeing, you will lose all of the men, gold, and rice you attacked with. Defending armies may attempt to do all they can to slow down the attackers and prevent them from wiping out the command unit before 30 days are over.