A beginner's guide to province specialisation
What to build where is a question complicated by the plethora of province specialities in STW2. This guide looks at what types of settlements should be developed to take advantage of the specialities. The specialities encourage the dispersion of buildings around ones territory. This trend is reinforced by the tight limits on the building slots available in towns and the cost of increasing the number of such slots (both the direct cost of upgrading the castle and also indirectly the economic growth cost - across all provinces - of such upgrades via increased food consumption).
This guide outlines the various types of settlement to aim for, grouping them into three - those for troop recruitment, those for agent recruitment and others. It ends with a checklist for use when overseeing the development of your lands.
To see which provinces have what bonuses, twcenter linked a very nice map:
There's a beautiful and informative interactive map available at:
I. Troop recruitment
It makes sense to specialise troop recruitment to only a few provinces. Ideally these would be provinces with specialities that provide relevant bonuses. Concentrating troop recruitment in a few provinces also removes the cost of constructing duplicate encampments and dojos – all of which should ultimately be fully upgraded.
Main training camp
Most melee infantry should be trained here.
The best locations are (in order)
(1) Province with a smith (Satsuma, Bizen, Kaga, Sagami, Iwate) for either +3 armor or +4 melee attack.
(2) Province with a Holy Site speciality, dedicated to the Shrine tree (+5 morale bonus for Great Shrine).
(3) Province with Iron (for -30% recruitment cost)
(4) Capital (for extra recruitment slot)
The troop producing town should have an encampment for a -10% recruitment cost bonus, probably upgraded to an armory for +2 armor (especially if a bow training camp – ie a crafts specialist - is not available). I would build a sword dojo first, as there are no katana ashigaru – yari ashigaru can defeat enemy cavalry well enough – and then an encampment, adding a spear dojo last. These three building slots will require upgrading the town to a castle, at no inconsiderable cost. However, this will also give three troop recruitment slots, making training an army faster. The dojos should be upgraded so that ultimately samurai recruitment times are reduced to one turn. A stables could be added as the fourth slot if required (e.g. there is no horse speciality province near by).
Ultimately, almost all troops should be trained in smith provinces. However, gearing up your capitol, Great Shrine and iron provinces for troop production may be prudent. They could be used to produce garrison units (ashigaru) when the smith province cannot train troops quickly enough.
If cited in a smithing province, should a Master Armourer or a Master Weaponsmith be built? Opinions differ on this. The weaponsmith is likely to be superior for pure melee fights (+4 attack is bigger than +3 armor, assuming melee kill rates are determined by the difference between attack and melee defence + armor as in past games). However, armor will protect your men against archer fire. I would prefer +3 for elite melee units that I expect to be protected from archery in reserve and then brought out to break the enemy (e.g. katana infantry and no dachi; yari and katana cavalry). However, for archers or melee infantry to be deployed on the frontline and subject to archery, the armor is preferable (e.g. archers and yari infantry). Early in the game, when you mainly deploy lightly armored ashigaru (including archers), the armor bonus may well be more valuable to you. Consequently, I would recommend your first smith province have a Master Armourer, and your second a Master Weaponsmith. Which one to train Naginata infantry would be a toss up and probably depend on how you plan to deploy them - as a shock reserve elite or as your frontline.
The first building I would put in my first smith province would be a sword dojo, as I find yari samurai less useful than katana samurai (yari ashigaru can substitute for them in a pinch). The second building is a choice between a spear dojo and an encampment, but I would tend towards the former to get naginata infantry. The third building would thus be an encampment. When deciding whether to upgrade the encampment to an armory or a jujitsu dojo, a similar issue arises over armor vs melee as with the master armorsmith vs master weaponsmith. However, in this case, since the bonuses are equal (+2 armor vs +2 melee attack), the armor may be preferred as it also has a value outside of melee, against missile fire. For the fourth building, one could put in a bow dojo to provide more armor for your Samurai archers. However, a higher priority might be obtaining upgraded cavalry. Ideally, cavalry would fit better with your second smith province with the master weaponsmith rather than master armorsmith. But if I had only one smith province, I would put in a horse dojo instead of an archery one.
Archer training camp
Archers should be trained in provinces with the crafts speciality for 20% higher accuracy from Master Bowmaker. There are 4 such provinces are Buzen, Hoki, Echizen and Hitachi. If you do not control one, then designate another province for the task. It will be hard to squeeze in a fourth building into your main troop producing province and archers benefit less from smithing bonuses (which do not enhance the killing power of the archery).
Their encampment could be upgraded to a hunting lodge for +5% accuracy; -10% recruitment cost, but an armory for +2 armor may be more attractive (so the archers have a little more survivability against counterfire). Optionally, a stables could be added to allow the recruitment of horse archers.
Put your siege engine workshop in this province too - they will benefit from the accuracy bonuses (thanks to Kaigen on twcenter for this point).
Cavalry training camp
Training horse units in provinces with the War Horse speciality can give a +5 charge bonus (with a Warhorse studs). There are four such provinces: Higo, Awa, Mikawa and Kai.
These provinces will need a spear and/or sword dojo plus a proving ground for +5 charge and -10% recruitment cost.
The +4 attack from the smith province (and +2 armor from the armory in it) is comparable to the +10 charge bonus obtained here, so recruiting cavalry would be an option (and desirable if you do not own a warhose speciality province). However, having a fourth construction slot in the smith province will take time and money. While there are only three slots or less, prioritising the infantry makes sense (they are more numerous and don’t have such a good second best bonus as +10 charge to fall back on). In the interim, if you do not control a War Horse speciality province, it may be best to use a mundane province as your cavalry trainer. Having a stables early on to produce light cavalry to chase routers is a very high priority.
Warrior monk training camp
If you have two Hallowed Ground provinces or like warrior monks, it makes sense to use one for producing warrior monks. Upgrading a Hallowed Ground province to a Fortified monastery will provide +4 XP, which is far better than the +4 armor from smithing. (XP gives +4 to melee attack, +3 to melee defence, +8 to missile reload skill, +3 to morale and+8 to missile accuracy.)
This will require a monastery (L2) plus a naginata dojo and/or bow dojo. An encampment upgraded to an armory for +2 armor is desirable.
Kisho ninja training camp
If you have two ninja tradition provinces or like kisho ninjas, you could follow upgrade the sake den chain up criminal syndicate (via gambling hall) to be able to train kisho ninjas. In a ninja tradition province, upgrading the speciality will provide considerable experience benefits to kisho ninjas:
Mountain hideout (+1 XP) => Ninjitsu school (+3 XP) => Ninja clan fortress (+5XP)
II. Agent recruitment
Where possible, agents should be recruited in relevant speciality provinces for rank bonuses (up to +2 rank).
The relevant building chain can be fully upgraded for an additional +2 rank bonus, ultimately allowing +4 rank agents to be recruited. However, the ultimate building will be unique and require some research investment.
The number of each agent is capped at five and you can recruit one agent for each province with the relevant building chain. Given the usefulness of each kind of agent, it makes sense to aim to hit these caps by building five markets for metsuke, five sake dens for ninjas and five temples for monks. Typically, these will be dispersed across provinces not dedicated to troop production. There is some value in combining sake dens and markets in the same provinces. These will be your five "tax towns" - high income provinces that will provide more tax benefits from the placement of a metsuke (with only 5 metsuke, you can only place them in five provinces).
Metsuke trainer town
This requires the philosophical tradition speciality. There are five provinces with the philosophical tradition speciality (Tsukushi, Settsu, Kyoto, Suruga and Kozuke) dispersed across Japan. With just a school, these can provide +1 rank metsuke. This could, by upgrading to a magistrate and then a law court, increase to a +2 bonus. However, players with only one such province may prefer to specialise the province for research.
Maxing out the market chain to get one kabunakama would ultimately provide another +2 ranks for metsuke.
Ninja trainer town
This requires the ninja tradition speciality. There are only thee such provinces – all clustered in central Japan (Kii, Omi, Iga). Upgrading to the Burakumin village and then Smuggling Network will provide +2 rank ninja.
Maxing out the Sake Den chain to an Infamous Mizu Shobai District will provide a further +2 ranks. However, those with an economic focus may want to forgo the +2 rank bonus by putting the Infamous Mizu Shobai District in a richer province (e.g. with gold mine or fully upgraded market) to take full benefit of the +25% increase to the tax rate.
Monk trainer town
This requires the Hallowed Ground province speciality. There are five such provinces: Aki, Yamato, Ise, Shimotsuke and Uzen. One would follow the Holy Shrine path, ultimately receiving +2 rank to new monks from the Great Shrine.
Maxing out the temple building chain to a Famous Temple will provide a further +2 ranks.
III. Other specialist provinces
The university town
This requires the philosophical tradition speciality, following the School (+10% chi research) => library (+20%) => Confucian Academy (+33%) path. As discussed above, this may well become your metsuke training town.
The naval base
This is for producing naval units, so after a trading port, a military port and ultimately a drydock would be constructed.
It would benefit greatly from being in an area with a naval tradition and following the pirate path: merchant lair (+1 XP) => pirate cove (+3 XP) = > pirate fortress (+5 XP)
Five provinces, mainly on the west, have the Naval Tradition speciality (Hizen, Bungo, Bingo, Inaba and Echigo)
As the Lastdays suggests, a second choices would be a craft speciality province for the accuracy bonus. Coming a poor third would be a province with the pine forest speciality (Tosa, Fukushima) for -10% ship recruitment cost.
The Nanban Quarter town
Provinces with ports that are not to be naval bases might instead become Nanban ports. This would increase trade income and, when upgraded to a Nanban Quarter, build Nanban trade ships, which are are more effective in sea combat than the Japanese military vessels. This normally requires conversion to Christianity, although such buildings may be captured from Christian clans. If not Christian, constructing a Temple and putting a monk to work will be required to counter-attack the effect of Nanban buildings in converting the population to Christianity.
The five tax towns
Your five metsuke are probably best deployed in towns to increase taxes. As Slaists has suggested in another thread, these tax towns should be in provinces that have high income potential, although you probably also want to pick ones that you will own reasonably early in the game, to get the benefits over a longer period. Good candidates for this are gold producing provinces, ninja speciality provinces, provinces with high value trade goods and high agricultural yield provinces. Nanban Quarter towns will be suitable for this, as will the towns you choose to place your Kabunakama and Infamous Mizu Shobai District. These towns will want to develop all buildings in the market chain (and probably ninja chain too). They will therefore have fully developed castles and thus may be useful secondary producers of troops in the late game if need be (there will be free building slots after markets and ninjas).