Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.
Words are not enough? Swords will speak? If diplomacy isn't an answer - some clans will go to war and won't listen to a reason - then the strategy should be employed to achieve victory over your foe. It's orphans time.
Before you go to battle it is wise to make use of an agents.
Ninja can open the castle gate to make siege attack easier for you, asassinate generals to lower the morale of the opposing force, sabotage an entire enemy army to either slow it down for on turn - either giving you valuable time to prepare defences - or deny reinforcements to any nearby armies or towns they're allied with or you just like to keep them on snow so they take losses from the winter itself. Killing the other agents (especially monks) is adviseable - remember, what you do unto other the others can do unto you. Don't let them. Ninja in your army can act as scout to prevent your army from being ambushed. You don't want to be ambushed because it's very hard to defend yourself in such situation. When within your city ninja can set up criminal network which makes your province more loyal to you.
Monk can inspire your army or town which is very important if it's composed of ashigaru with no general to lead them. You don't want them to turn around and run away when you need them. He also can demoralize an enemy army to lower their morale which is useful if you don't feel like you need him to inspire your army. Monks can convert other agents and excel at dealing with metsuke's. If you successfully convert an agent he's as good as dead.
Metsuke can bribe cities or armies which can be usefull in several ways. Cities will join you without any minuses which they have after you conquer them with an army. Bribed troops will join your side thus making you stronger and your enemy weaker. Bribing half of an army is like having one full: count those you did bribe and those your enemy lost at the same time. Also generals will join your side so it can be good if you find yourself with need of a talented general or just a general to lead your troops. If you have significant treasure (ike 4000-6000) bribe is an option you can consider also a few arts and skills can make bribing less expensive and in turn more cost-effective. Good metsuke can act as counter for hostile ninjas who would like to sabotage your army or kill your general, simply having one metsuke in your army makes it much less vulnerable. They are first ones you should use to apprehend ninjas. Avoid monks though because metsukes aren't too good against them and their little tricks. In less offensive role metsuke can boost up your income by rising overall tax percentage in town their administer so it's good to have skilled metsuke in your most wealthy provinces. In some cases they can double your gain from the city they are currently in.
Women are deadly. Geisha is skilled asassin. Always visible can be easily targeted and less flexible than any ninja a geisha should be used mainly for killing highly valued individuals. They're that good. Remember that killing generals give an enemy army minuses to morale if you attack them the very turn.
All agents has been used. What's next?
Fleetsare essential in protection of your trade, your ports (it's always good to keep your income safe) and your lands.
If you deny the enemy a possibility to transport troops through large bodies of water - which is fast and let you attack from another direction than land routes - then you don't need to worry about cities you leave behind and can send your armies where you need them more rather than keeping them on garrison duty to protect your coastline and villages there.
Keep at least one boat to transport duties while your navy keeps your coast secured. Remember that you can always add a general to act as admiral to your navy, there is even specialized skill tree dedicated to navy.
Armies. When to use them? To destroy an enemy army (battle). To capture cities (siege). To protect your lands and your cities.
When defending. Make use of bridges and tight passes. Weaker forces can keep much stronger forces in one place defending such places.
It's also worth making ambushes, just hide in the forest and make sure that your zone of control (that red circle) still covers the road. If someone'll try to cross then he'll end up ambushed (before the battle begins you can set your army around him and he can't do a thing which can lead to heavy losses on his side with him not being able to react fast enough) or you can simply let him pass through, lay siege to a good defended city (he'll try to force you to battle him in the open if your garrison is strong enough or starve you to death) and attack from behind. If enemy has more archers try to run into the forest, it'll provide at least some cover against arrows and make good ambush places where you'd place your cavalry. Kisho ninja can help a lot if positioned behind an enemy army.
Make sure that your cities are defended well enough in an event of siege. Garrison strong enough won't be attacked but besieged. It's always better to sent aid to a besieged city than lost said city and be forced to recapture it. Additionaly you won't loose experienced troops that way if you had them there.
When attacking. Try to make use of your navy. Always be sure to transport your army through ports. When you embark troops and disembark them on the beach you need 1 turn to embark them and 1 turn to disembark them. If you do so with the port you embark an army tranport them instantly and them disembark through the port and if they still have some movement points left they still can move. It's far more efficient than doing the same without using your ports it also makes capturing cities with ports more important to tranport more troops faster.
Scout ahead. Use agents. Protect you army against enemy agents. If you have ninja in you army you won't fall to an ambush as easily. If you have metsuke you won't be sabotaged either (or you make that much more troublesome to say the least).
When attacking castles be sure to have superior numbers and use right units. Climb on short walls because the bigger the wall is the heavier the losses will be during said climbing. If you have siege siege engines bring down towers, gates and the tenshu itself so your men won't be shot down on approach, you can even burn it down manually. If you have more archers use them to shoot down as many defenders as possible before attacking the walls. Use kisho ninja as distraction, try to asassinate the enemy general during battle, try to capture the tenshu or specific points, distrupt the enemy thus aiding your main forces storming the walls. Force the defenders to thin their forces to cover as much of the castle as possible and you'll make their defences much weaker by doing so (remember, you have more troops). The enemy will either try to defend and loose some of his men or fall back to the inner keep, giving you time needed to bring in more of your army. If you're not sure about storming the castle walls then you should try to starve the defenders to death or force them to come to attack you (they'll do so if they'll think that they're strong enough to beat you).
Follow these rules and you should always find yourself in better position than your opponent.
This guide is strategical rather than tactical; it'll help much more on campagin map rather than on the battlefield so feel warned.
"I can be beaten a hundred times, and still I will rise again, as strong as before".
"Cowards and traitors deserve no second thoughts, only their complete annihilation".