Please, post your strategies, hints and tips for playing with the Date clan here.
Please, post your strategies, hints and tips for playing with the Date clan here.
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Played a few rounds with the Date to get a feel for them. It was the first time i'd had a go since launch and I can easily say, while they've probably got one of the easier starting positions, they have got to be the odds on favorite in the "most annoying" faction pool.
The Date starting Position:
Take a good look at that province. It's huge. It'll take you two full turns just to get from the town to the borders, let alone the enemy castle. That in of itself might take 1-2 turns as well. Launching an offensive campaign as the Date is something you don't do lightly nor without planning, otherwise you're going to be caught in enemy territory in the winter.
But it's not all bad. You start on very good terms with the minor to the south and at war with the minor in the north, the Mogami. While not a push-over (they've got claws, so watch it!) they're not exactly something to dread either. They offer a chance for expansion right from the word go and are the obvious path from the starting gate.
You also start with a smith in very close proximity to the only trade route in west honshu. The Mogami control quality stone that everyone needs for building citadels in the late game.
1. Plan absolutely everything.
Due to the immense travel times of the Date, you'll want to take an extra moment each turn and decide who is going where, and when, several turns in advance. Marching from the Date's only starting town and moving to the Northern Mogami stronghold will take you no less than four turns. You might also meet opposition along the way, which can delay you longer.
Set out so that you can arrive either in Summer or Autumn. Arriving in winter is fine, so long as you don't press "end turn" you won't suffer from attrition. If you can win and get in the castle, no harm done!
Normally roads are something you wouldn't even consider until a cash dump mid-game, but here? I could see justifying them, but I'd still wait until around turn 20 to build them. You are at war at the start, and that's not something to neglect - for reasons I'll mention later.
2. Deal with the rebels on turn one.
The Date are one of the clans who begin the game in the midst of a civil war for control. Some, like the Oda, are advised to ignore the rebels from the outset, since you've got bigger worries. However, when I ignored the Date Rebels t hey retreated deeper into the province (off the roads) and hid in the forests, raiding my farms. It took an incredible amount of time to pin them down (5 turns) and completely derailed my campaign. By the time i'd dealt with them, the Mogami had already grown quite powerful and were a real challenge.
In the following campaign I dealt with them swiftly and immedietly turned my attentions north. The result? The Mogami were not in nearly as good of a position, and I was able to press an advantage after I won on the battle map.
3. Choose between war or Trade.
This is really dependent on your battlefield skills and your proficiency against the AI. Due to your proximity to the western trade node, I had a crazy idea to blitz through to a castle upgrade and a trade port. Of course, this cost 3600 koku, which would have really made the fights against the Mogami much easier. I was still able to win against them while we were on even footing, but focusing on a trade blitz early on set my income up really nicely once i'd knocked them out.
I'm sure people who have played much more than me can tell me all the ways this was a huge risk in the early game, and I completely agree with you, but getting trade established inside of turn 15 was just so tempting I couldn't pass it up. I trusted in my own ability to beat the Mogami, but I won't lie, some battles were pretty close in the margin of victory. Still, I found a double market with early trade got me some real nice cashflow.
Definitely something to experiment with for those of you who feel you're good field commanders!
4. The Luck of the Draw
Date campaigns normally go two ways and are entirely reliant on factors out of your control (assuming you win the first battles against the Mogami, that is. ). In the early game the Uesugi like to be a bit chaotic, and whichever way they decide to move first can really upset your plans. If they decide to move west, they'll knock out the minors that border you and put themselves in contact with you. This can even mean they'll take the last Mogami province, bottling you up at 2 provinces held.
If you find the Uesugi are muscling in on your conquests take a deep breath and don't panic! You were going to come to this point eventually anyway. Early Uesugi efforts to expand will be moving in a lot of directions. Keep an eye on who they are warring with while you quietly build a force that is both respectable and capable of meeting them head on. Once they've got themselves in a scuffle, see if you can grab a province before they know what hit them.
Here, I was able to bounce across the border from Uzen to Miyagi and take the town with practically no blood shed. The Uesugi were so preocupied with the Takeda they couldn't manage a counter attack for 8 turns. 8 Turns! That was more than enough time to piece together a defense force and make a stand.
Last edited by Monk; 06-09-2011 at 13:39.
"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success.. such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything"
~ Nikola Tesla
The Date clan will always be close to my heart since it was the first in which I became Shogun . No-Dachi samurai seemed like a bit of a let down for me, but with top weaponsmith upgrades plus the charge bonus they still bring a smile to my face every once in awhile. It's been a couple of months since this game, but I'll do my best to remember. In my expierence the Mogami are easy if you rush them immediately after dealing with the rebels. The large area is definitely a bit tedious (In my first try at the Date the Mogami managed to maneuver around my army attack Iwate because I couldn't catch them ) but once the Mogami are finished you can get a moment to breath. During this interim I suggest getting some trading ships going.
The Uesugi are generally preoccupied with others, so the Hatakeyama are the next stepping stone to the Shogun's palace. For some strange reason or another the Hatakeyama in Miyagi seem to usually have near full stack of Yari Samurai to meet me in my games. This army can sometimes be a little difficult to tackle since my own usually only have several samurai units, mostly ashigaru. I've managed to beat it in straight up battles, but this can be an ugly, costly battle so an ambush is my advice, especially if your army is particularly ashigaru-laden. I have yet to play a Date game where the Hatakeyama don't pull this full samurai stack out of seemingly nowhere, but perhaps someone else this is not the case. At any rate, the Hatakeyama can be an annoyance if they aren't completely destroyed because of their navy, or possibly even a threat since in one game of mine they landed a large invasion force in Iwate long after I forgot about them and moved on to other more pressing opponents.
My game in which I became Shogun benefitted from a rare circumstance. I decided to ally with the Satomi after conquering the rest of Mutsu. The Satomi proved to be rather aggressive after acquired a rather interesting shape. They basically took every province that bordered my own, including taking the Uesugi's province of Echigo destroying them so I did not encounter them really. They took no other provinces than ones that bordered me so they formed a thin line blocking my westward expansion. I took this as a opportunity to expand myself economically and technologically without the interference from anyone else. Regardless if you become sheltered like I did, I suggest taking awhile to build yourself as described sometime after taking over Mutsu. I eventually got inolved with wars again when the Hojo and Satomi decided to have a gentlemanly scuffle over some broken porcelain or some other reason that was not elaborated upon.... anyways I landed an invasion force in western Kanto and took everything of the Hojo's. Sagami became something of second capital, being the basis of all of my lands across the thin, purple line of Satomi lands.
You'll probably end up taking Kanto not too long after taking all of Mutsu, and after this point it's kind of a free-for-all. I built a second army in Iwate and used it to take Sado and begin a second front in Etchu and the provinces west of Echigo. After stopping with most of Kansai and Chubu in my control I decided to turtle again and wait for Gunpowder Mastery.I can't say enough how useful that is to have, especially after the Realm Divide (Which had of course happened by now). This gives you a very cost effective unit, the Matchlock Ashigaru. They can be almost instantly be created in large numbers since any level castle can make them, and with some Yari Ashigaru to hold the enemy they can be pretty devasting. They're also pretty useful for adding numbers to take pesky Kyoto. In my game, I had one stack of my regular mix samurai and ashigaru, supplemented by two large stacks of largely Matchlock Ashigaru. They pretty much made mincemeat of the Shogun's Samurai. Before you know it, you'll have a fancy new flagship for your navy.
Overall the Date are pretty simple since they only have one direction to expand in- west. Their distance from the Ashikaga is a blessing for me, since it gave me the opportunity to develop lots of high-expierence units with plenty of new toys to start knocking on Kyoto's door with . Taking Mutsu and Kanto first and second respectively is my preferred strategy since the Uesugi often get taken out by somebody else. Just take time after your conquests to consolidate your holdings and the Date aren't too difficult.
It is possible to be too much smarter than your opponent. If you give credit for more subtlety than he has, he can achieve tactical surprise by doing the obvious.
Some brief tips for Date:
1. In early game don't train Katana Samurai. They are too expensive to maintain. Ashigaru is enough to handle eary game. If you want to improve the quality of your army, it is better to wait for No-Dachi samurai, which under Date's special discount is very reasonably priced (and you can later make them +5 armor thanks to the capital's bonus). You can replace all Yari Ashigaru with these beasts.
2. Rush for Ugo as soon as you defeated the rebels. It is possible to take it on Spring 1546.
3. Do not declare war on Hatakeyama as this will put Honma against you. They could be a pain. Either wait for someone else to finish them, or incite a rebellion in their province and take over the rebel province. Selling military access to Hatakeyama is a great way to boost initial income.
Last edited by Maltz; 04-11-2012 at 05:27.