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Today after college I got on a train straight to Horsham to attend the Shogun 2 Total War community event. When I arrived at their offices after a short wait I was greeted by an enthusiastic member of staff who showed me to the room and we talked about what had gone on so far in the previous time slots, and it sounded very fun.
When I got to the room where the event was happening I was greeted by Craig and Mark who sat me down at a computer with Shogun 2 loading up, I firstly had a little look at the the clan selection screen, sadly the hattori ninja faction wasn't available though :O, the man who showed me to the room then quickly went through all the new features, including mentioning the new legendary difficulty, which I wisely decided against after hearing just how hard it is.
I then thought I'd do what I usually do with a new total war game and played a quick custom battle just to give the AI a quick testing, this battle was quite interesting I set it so I had a superior force to the AI but with a lower number of units and despite the AIs advantage in numbers they still realised that they should hang back due the the superiority of my forces, I sent one of my yari cavalry to their right flank to see how they react to units moving around the map, they sent in their light cavalry to attempt to counter this however they were defeated by the superior yari cavalry, I then moved my main force forward and set my cavalry back to the flank, I marched forward towards the enemy lines and issued my units to attack their infantry and used my cavalry to finish the rest of their cavalry whilst my superior archers put pressure on their bow ashigaru, once the enemy cavalry was dealt with I quickly sent my cavalry in to flank the enemy archers and then get in behind the enemy lines and caused a chain rout resulting in my victory.
I then decided to start a campaign game as the date, the first thing that happened was a mission appeared requesting me to crush some rebels in my starting province, so I sorted out constructing a farm in my starting region and sent in a small force to crush the rebels, it was a reasonably small battle I had a general, two yari ashigaru, a bow ashigaru and a yari naginato (I think that's how it is spelt anyway) and the enemy army consisted of a light cavalry, two yari ashigaru and a bow ashigaru, I started off the battle by negotiating a hilly terrain until I was in front of the enemy I then moved my archers into range of the enemy and marched my infantry forward to meet the enemy, once I had the enemy engaged in melee I sent my general round the side to attempt to flank the enemy and they reacted by sending a unit of yari shigaru at my general I quickly issued my general to run away from their spears up a hill, at the same time the enemy general decided to charge head long into my spear infantry and quickly died, the melee units I had engaged quickly routed, but the other unit of yari ashigaru was still chasing my general I was just about to send my infantry to deal with them when they decided to rout due to my superior numbers.
After the battle the remaining rebels reformed and retreated across the river so I decided to end my turn, the next turn I commissioned a weaponsmith to allow superior weapons for my future army and sent my army to finish the rebels, they only had half units of ashigaru remaining so I simply moved my army in and crushed them easily. At the end of another few turns I received a new mission to take a region of an enemy I started off at war with, so I started to recruit some katana samurai and more bow ashigaru and when recruitment was completed I moved my army into the enemy region, I spotted the enemy army but they were just out movement range for that turn so I decided to attack a nearby farm to damage their economy.
The next turn i moved my army in to attack their force, it consisted of a general, 4 units of yari ashigaru, a bow ashigaru and 2 bow samurai. The battfield started off my me on some flat land and the enemy also positioned on flat land and their was two hills to the left and the right and a small valley-like area as a sort of road to the enemy, the enemy once again held its position so I decided to move my men in through the valley, the enemy still held its ground and didn't budge while I marched in to around archery range, but then the AI did something completely baffling, it made all its cavalry and spear infantry run to the right leaving all their archers completely exposed, I quickly exploited this foolish mistake using my general to crush their archers. After their archers were defeated I marched my infantry to face the enemy with my archers behind and my general to help inspire the men, the enemy then marched down the hill to face my men, with my superior infantry, archers firing on the enemy and my general nearby meant I had a quick victory over the enemy, but sadly the enemy general got away.
After the battle I sent my army back for replenishment as the enemies generals bodyguard had did some damage to my katana infantry and the 4 vs 2 yari ashigaru battle had reduced their numbers dramatically, I then received another mission offering a reward of date no-daichi katana samurai for researching way of the sword so I went for researching it, I then played a few more turns and one of the other lucky people who were at the event suggested a multiplayer battle.
I decided to go for a quick toilet break before the epic battle commenced, one the one side was me and both craig and mark decided to sit together on one computer and on the other side were the two others at the event. We all decided to set up our avatars with interesting costumes and even more interesting colour schemes in the case of craig and mark who went for a hot pink. We then went about setting up the armies we wanted to use my one consisting of katana samurai and bow samurai with a few units of yari cavalry, craig and mark went for alot of loan sword katana samurai with some archers and cavalry, the enemy armies seemed to consist heavily of spear infantry and cavalry with some archery units as well, I then realised my general had a skill point to spend so I decided to go for the bow upgrade due to my archer heavy army, I also selected retainers that boosted sword infantries defence and bow units accuracy.
The battle commenced and we all went about setting up our armies formation ready for battle, a 60 second remaining countdown initiated luckily I had my army all set up but one the opponents seemed not to notice this until the battle suddenly started for him, we all quickly noticed the farm that could be captured however none of us made a move for a brief while. After a couple of minutes I decided to move my lines forward to encourage a move by my enemy and for craig and mark to follow my lead, however neither of these things seemed to happen, after a few more minutes of almost nothing I noticed 2 units of enemy yari cavalry moving towards the right, I decided I would take them out I moved 2 units of my yari cavalry toward them with my general just behind them, I moved my cavalry close towards the enemy and suddenly noticed my generals unit was a bow cavalry unit, that's probably what the bow upgrade I got did, so I moved my general into range and had my cavalry guarding them after they had been weakened I moved my cavalry in and they were crushed surprisingly quickly, I then moved my cavalry back into position. After this little skirmish the enemy decided to make a move and both enemy armies marched forward, craig and mark still hanging back at this time, the enemy immediately engaged my katana samurai whilst under fire from my archers, I then moved off to manage my cavalry on the flanks and when I went to my left flank I realised some enemy light cavalry were quickly making their way into the side of one my archers units, I made my yari cavalry charge in to try and crush them but they just weren't quickly enough and only hit the enemy just after they had hit my archers, while distracted by this even mreo cavalry appeared at the right and my weakened yari cavalry were quickly crushed and the enemy pushed forward to attack my general, due to it now being a bow cavalry unit meant its melee abilities weren't quite up to scratch and sadly my general was injured and had to leave the battlefield, this then distressed my entire army and they turned and ran. Craig and mark were still yet to make a move and with the combined forces of both enemy armies they were no match and were crushed with ease, I think if we had lined our armies up a bit better with my early victories in the small cavalry skirmishes and by making the enemy incapable of flanking us we might of secured victory but it was definitely the misalignment which ruined us.
The time was now 6 and it was time to go so we all stood up and left Shogun 2 Total War for now at least, we then spoke to craig and mark and they gave us t-shirts, sadly there was only one medium and that was the only one me and one of the other guys could fit into but craig kindly offered to send one to my home address as he has many at his house, so we then made our way down the stairs asking about any possible expansions only to be told they couldn't say, and then made our way to the train station and discussed our single player experiences as well as our multiplayer clash and then when we went our separate ways and the our day of Shogun 2 was over, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and if any events happen in the future I'd definitely try to attend, I'd also like to see thanks to craig, mark and all the others who were there to help us and answer our questions today as well as all the programming and design staff who made the game and hope that I can one day I will be good enough to work with them after I've finished my university course and I am greatly anticipating the release of the full game.
If anyone has any questions I'll try and answer them to the best of my ability from my brief, amazing encounter of the game.