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I never got into Empire or Shogun, though I own them both they never really did it for me. However with the failure of Rome 2 I decided to get Shogun Fall of the Samurai.
I went from 23 hours played for Shogun 2, to now 96 hours in just a few short days. However while I'm enjoying it, I can't get over the Babypire hump. That's the point where you have 2-3 areas under your control, good garrisons, lots of econ buildings and trade... glorious trade. By this time I'm trading with the Europeans have at least 1 decent fleet with one foreigner ship and 4-5 of my own, but I haven't gotten to copper plated ships by this time. By now I've either switched to a modern army, or started out as one because of kneel fire pretty much any traditional army no longer matters (for the cpu).
So here is the problem, I have my one 20 stack army. I have decent garrisons, able to withstand one or more full stack armies if they have no artillery (which at this point most don't, at least not anything good), I have one fleet with around 4-5 12-14 gun wood ships and one iron clad unless I choose British, things a beast to buy. At this point if I'm not at war with someone, someone declares war on me. At which point at least two more factions declare war on me, and that's assuming they have no allies. Then the four front war begins... And it's too much for me to handle, no matter what I do. I've spent 70 hours trying to figure it out and I just haven't been able to.
I get whittled down, that is the problem. It's not one single army, or even a group of them that scare me. It's the army I defeat, and the navy that is destroying me.
For Navy, I finally figured out how to fight them and I do pretty good when I don't auto resolve. However because I'm at war with 2-3 or more factions I can't make enough ships to be everywhere. If they aren't bombarding my settlements, they're hijacking my trade routes, often with just one ship. If I slit my single fleet up I just end up getting picked off because at least 1 of the factions I'm at war with isn't using small groups of ships, they're using 5-6 stack fleets.
It's like I'm fighting against two different tactics and I a solution for both, but not at the same time.
Also on land, when I'm attacked and successfully defend I'm stuck. I can't wipe them so their army or a shell of it sticks around and instead of mindlessly attacking again they pillage my lands destroying my econ buildings that weren't already bombarded by their navies while they wait for reinforcements. Which leads to the next problem, even if my garrison is capable of wiping them out that means I need to leave my city, and often it takes more than one turn because I can't catch them when they flee the first time... That means blinking red population, or - gold income, pick your poison because you either go bankrupt and lose your honor thus your units abandon you or you face a full stack of rebellion which also will pillage your lands...
Which is how each of my campaigns end up, slowly whittled down until bankruptcy, units abandon, no cash to repair damaged buildings, no means to prevent them from being damaged again.
So what's the strategy for Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai, specifically on the campaign map. Should I got far more heavy on Navy, control trade routes, and bombard anyone who so much as looks at me funny? I could possibly see that working, small land force to repell invaders while my navy locks down a faction preventing them from growing or building until it's so whittled down I can use a small force to take their town... But will that work in situations where I'm waring against several factions?
Please help! I easily walked over Rome 2 on Legendary, and started there with FotS, but have worked by way down to Hard, I don't want to go any lower than that!