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Thread: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

  1. #1
    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    Please, post your strategies, hints and tips for playing with the Uesugi clan here.
    Andres is our Lord and Master and could strike us down with thunderbolts or beer cans at any time. ~Askthepizzaguy

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    Well I'm part way through a Legendary Uesugi campaign and wow it's living up to it's reputation!! Frist a few random thoughts:

    Uesugi have a deceptively bad starting location, it looks promising to the untrained eye, but contains many traps which must be negotiated in order to survive the crushingly brutal early game. So lets start with a few discussion points regarding early expansion and territorial gains:

    EXPANSION & SURROUNDING TERRITORIES

    1. Yamanouchi - your vassal. Wow great, you start with a vassal, free income, trade, and a nice secure border! ....but no, instead your vassal is basically a hate generation mechanism that will ENSURE you get into early wars you would rather avoid. If it isn't Takeda, it will be Hojo, or later Satake or Satomi, or usually two or three clans at once. They will invade Kozuka and you will have to back your ally or break the alliance and take the diplo/honour hit. Given that war with most of your neighbours seems pre-ordained with when playing Uesugi I backed my vassal, and actually ended up fighting with him and defeating a large number of Satake troops. But each game will be different so play this by ear which brings me to my next point...

    2. It is a complete bun-fight on the plains to the South and every game will have a different outcome. Playing Uesugi your fate will hinge on what happens down here and how you play the diplomatic game. There does however appear to be a few very probable events - Takeda will take North Shinano province, then will head either West into Hida or East into your vassal. Hojo will head North, and are inevitably on good terms with Takeda. If Hojo get established, dealing with the Takeda/Hojo alliance is going to prove very difficult. Diplomacy is crucial - try to get Hojo tangled up with Satomi and heading West rather than North. Takeda will have to be dealt with, but if you can take him on without Hojo breathing down your neck at the same time life is easier.

    3. Your other neighbours. Part of what makes Uesugi so mental early on is that your home province borders no less than 7 seperate clans. So choosing which way to expand early is crucial. My first attempt at Legendary I happily followed the preordained path to war with Jinbo in the Etchu province. Trouble is that Etchu province is terrible. Meager fertility and borders with 3 additonal clans (one of whom is those Ikki psychopaths) just don't make it a worthwhile investment in my mind as you won't have the cashflow to survive. My second game I went straight for Sado with it's goldmine - this seems a much sounder strategy, and works quite nicely as if Jinbo come after you, the distance to your captial mean they will probably be wiped out by one of their neighborus before their stack even gets to you (which is what happened in my game). The Ashina & Mogami clans to the East are both likely to survive the initial opening salvos and are both freindly towards you so make great buffer states. While Uzen appears an incredibly tempting target I don't think it is feasible to capture this province early on as you will be having a hard enough time just surviving. If you can somehow stabilise your Southern border and feel like taking a risk go for it - but it isn't something I would plan for until much later in the game.

    4. Ikko Ikki DLC - if you have pruchased the Ikko Ikki DLC (which you should they add a lot to every campaign) then you have got a potential Tiger by the tail. Once you take Etchu and share a border with Ikko from my experience they WILL attack you, and attack hard. But, you have a secret weapon which is your Monk you can get out lightyears before anybody else. A couple of good rebellions in Kaga or Echizen can give you the breathing space you need to capture Kaga - a magnificent high fertility province with tasty blacksmith! I would consider Kaga as an alternate recruitment center if Uzen is unavailable.


    FINANCE

    Getting your economy off the ground is very tough as Echigo is not a rich province and the temple you start with doesn't help much. The key is a two pronged approach - firstly you need to secure the Iron trade goods to the North - your trade ships should be pretty safe up here and it will bring in ~1200 per turn with 8 ships there. Secondly you need to keep the number of people you are trading with up so you can make the most of your increased trade income. This is another reason why I didn't go for Uzen, as they make a nice stable trading partner early on.

    I'd also strongly recommend getting into Sado as early as possible as it is the only province in the vicinity with a significant tax income. Kozuka is another option, and if your adventures with Takeda and the Southern clans land you this province you can get a very good tax rate out of it by upgrading to a law court. Finally as I mentioned earlier Kaga also offers a significant farming income if you can pry it from the Ikko's cold , dead, hands. Placing Metsuke in each of these three provinces should give you a nice tax base to support your army upkeep, while your trade income is used for further development and recruitment. Try not to spend more than your taxeable income on unit upkeep as all it takes is a wako pirate blockade of your capital and you can slip into bankruptcy which is BAD. Noto Province is also another solid (not exceptional) earner where you can build a market and upgrade the trade port.


    AGENTS

    A well executed agent strategy is absolutely key on Legendary difficulty as you can't afford to be walking armies off into the fog of war as there is no reload button if they get ambushed! As a general thing I will try and prioritise the following:

    Ninja - at least 1 per active army stack. Early on that means just a single ninja and I would actually recommend placing your first sake den in Etchu (as it is a rubbish province and will need the happiness boost too). I'd aslo rank this first agent up in assassination to deal with any Ikko monks who wander into your provinces and for bumping off army generals. While incredibly useful you probably won't have the cash to sabotage armies or buildings early on.

    Metsuke - one for each of your key income provinces (Sado/Kaga/Kozuka) really you should be building markets which means you should be building these guys. You won't have the cash to be bribing playing Uesugi so don't worry about that.

    Monks - while not overtly that useful they can save you a huge amount of wasted upkeep on garrisoning freshly captured provinces. There is also nothing wrong with demoralising the enemy and if you are playing with the Ikko Ikki DLC at least 1-2 of these guys will be mandatory to keep the Ikko religion spread under control and for sparking the odd rebellion. Given that you will need a temple in every city that plans to produce warrior monks there is no reason not to have a couple of these guys floating around.


    RECRUITMENT & ARMY STRATEGY

    Firstly - write off getting warrior monks into your army for any intial expansion. They take too much research time and are too expensive (the one exception bieng the free one you receive from research). Instead spam Ashigaru like they are going out of business, plenty of Yari but also some bows for both skirmishign and castle defense. I also added in a few units of Yari Samurai here and there, as the building is a prerequisite for Naginata warrior monks anyhow. Naginata Samurai would be nice, but I personally could never find 2000 koku spare to upgrade my Yari Dojo until well into the game. A great feature of Uesugi is that Kenshin seems to pick up +morale attributes like crazy, he'll also get a helluva lot of battles under his belt - I got him up to 4 stars before I had my 6th province. An army of mostly rank 3-4 Yari Ashigaru, +3 morale, and stand & fight is more than capable of dealing with Samurai stacks in a pitched battle if employed correctly.

    I would strongly recommend upgrading the castle in Echigo and using this as a recruitment center (capital gets +1 slot). I would then go for either Uzen or Kaga as your primary recruitment center for melee troops. But early game you are going to be stuck with unupgraded, unexerienced Ashigaru so keeping your commanders alive and getting some command stars is crucial. Also look for chokepoints on the map and construct Castles there - North Shinano is a great example, an upgraded castle with a lot fo bow ashigaru can break stacks coming from the South/West. Likeise Kaga in the West is another great chokepoint. Expanding South into the plains is tough, and not to be taken lightly.

    Once you have got the cashflow to incorporate warrior monks into your stacks you should be laughing.


    Regarding navies - I tend to ignore them early on playing Legendary as the AI just spams ships like nothing on earth. Build a fleet if you feel your trade nodes are under threat but make sure you aren't spending more on upkeep than you are earning from the node.


    REASEARCH

    I went straight for the Monastary tech which gave me the free Warrior Monk - that Warrior Monk unit has won at least two battles with it's devastating warcry ability. An amazing force multiplier and you need those techs anyway. The early Bushido techs are nice - but you won't have the cash available to be building or fielding Naginata Samurai so I would prioritise the free Warrior Monk. When picking up the Bushido arts I'd go straight for Way of Earth for the extra amunition (for seige defence) and unit resupply. From there I'd head straight down the Spear tree (or possibly bow if going for lots of bow monks) while filling out some economic techs as needed. Don't forget to establish your supply of Cotton (only one source) for the Yari Master Dojo.

  3. #3
    Heaps Gooder Member aimlesswanderer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    On VH/VH, I found that for many years I was stuck defending Echigo against a steady stream of Takeda (once a year or 2), Jinbo (for 5 or so years until they got wiped out) and a few Hojo stacks. My troops and daimyo got heaps of experience, and sometimes didn't always have time to recover from the last siege (camps are good). I had hardly any income, and couldn't really afford anything, let alone take a province. Upgrading Echigo castle was critical, as the free defensive units, towers, taller walls and larger area were crucial. My monk was an expert demoraliser, and was crucial to keeping an eye on the all too numerous approaches, especially because he was the only agent I had for ages.

    I only got a navy (apart from a few trade ships) after they started landing stacks on me, and they were there to stop that, and that's about it.

    Eventually, after 10 years or so, I took Fukushima (they declared on me), and after that I headed NE and took over those nice provinces, which gave me a decent income for the first time. After that, it was steady progress against the Hojo and Takeda, and after an income hiccup at RD, on to Kyoto and the shogunate.
    "All things are born from darkness, and all things return to darkness". Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind


  4. #4
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    After some limited exposure to Uesugi, I find that the turning point of the Uesugi campaign is whether I can quickly establish an alliance with Takeda after it absorbs North Shinano.

    In my current game, I actually talked Takeda into breaking their alliance with Hojo in order to ally with me! This keeps Takeda very busy for a long time, while I can direct my effort into fruitful pursuits.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    After four disastrous legendary attempts have little to add so far to Jungle Rhino's points.

    As he says Etchu is not worth occupying for itself and making Jinbo a vassal does get you +1 honour (I always got Kenshin up to max 6 honour within a couple of years) - and in one game they then conquered 4 additional provinces before collapsing under the Ikko Ikki onslaught - but usually they'll only last a few turns and will get you at war with the Ikko ikki and Hatakeyama.

    Had some very bad experiences with ships though - getting that NE trade node is attractive but going there will get you noticed by the Date who seem pre-programmed to attack.

    Next go I may just build one bow kobaya to take me to Sado and that will be it.
    Last edited by Jacobin; 04-29-2012 at 23:06.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    This campaign I just ignored Jinbo who after three turns not just gave me a peace treaty but a trade agreement and marriage - and then paid me 1750 koku for 5 turns military access and became a firm ally for a few turns until Takeda conquered them.

    Fortunately only Takeda and Hojo declared war on the Yamanouchi this time and having left them to be conquered while I was invading Sado island I retook Kozuke and was able to negotiate alliances with the Satake and Satomi for long enough to kill the Hojo.

    However typically everything then went pear-shaped: now a vast Ikko Ikki horde is amassing in Suruga to attack the provinces I took from the Hojo, The Takeda had declared war but did nothing for years until I captured Kai upon which 4 stacks of doom commanded by Shingen appeared from nowhere, the Satake and Satomi betrayed me and even the Shimazu have just declared war.

    So my only hope lies in the full stack under Kenshin which is on its way to Hitachi and with which I plan to fight all the way up the east coast while laying waste and abandoning everything behind me.

  7. #7
    Member Member Jarmam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    It seems the key to Uesugi lies in fully utilizing the power of their starting province's defensive capabilities. If the enemy comes from the west he can sabotage nothing without going through your castle first, and if he comes from the east there's a bridge right there which is like having three castles at once on the defense. Also you start out with stupidly good diplomatic relations with all neighbouring clans (including Takeda), which means you can choose which way to expand: To Ikko's lands, making a triangular defense between your capital, Ikko's capital and North Shinado (once things sour with Takeda) or to Date's lands, using your capitol as an unbreakable unharrasable barrier while you crawl eastwards in the beginning.

    You can ally with basically whomever you want, so directing where the early-game threat will come from is fairly managable. Taking the goldmine island+having allies in either east or west while you go the opposite way means the campaign is actually somewhat managable. You gotta commit to whatever approach you take. You just have to be willing to take the -1 honor blow from sacking your vassals. They are absolutely worthless and serve only to draw you into wars you have no interest in.

    There is a lot of replayability in this campaign. We should really pool together experiences in a thread. Its very hard to see a clear red line to victory with Uesugi. In my current campaign I just went the coward's route and did the triangle-defense while teching +25 acc Bow Monks and +5 armor Warrior Monks, so after 60 or so turns I still only have 10ish provinces (but I can support 3 stacks of Monks/Samurais, since Metsuke are so easy to rank up now, excellent change). It also really depends on how the map develops. Hojo/Takeda/Imagawa getting entagled with Oda seems set in stone, but Ikko is the Joker times 600, as they can do anything with completely unpredictable outcomes. In my current game they had 7 provinces after 10 turns which makes them impossible to deal with if they decide you're going down (fortunately they went for Oda, win-win for me).

    Good fun!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    Yes I finally did get to domination (or so near to to it that playing on became boring) but it was much harder to predict and plan for than any previous clan I'd played.

  9. #9
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    Here are five ways of the opening of Uesugi.



    (1) North Eastern Backyard

    This is the most generic way to start the Uesugi campaign. By having our back secured to the sea, we will be able to reduce the number of armies and expand effectively - just like the Date clan. Initial enemies are all busy with their respective enemies, so it is quite likely that we will be able to defeat them while they are weak / absent. It might be a good idea to take on Honma (Sado Island) first as Honma is an ally of Hatekeyama. And Honma's AI loves to carry out landing attacks with tiny forces.

    However, if you know a little background of Uesugi Kenshin and wish to role play, this is probably the worst, as it involves attacking friendly clans. (Kenshin follows the path of Righteousness, a rarity in Sengoku Jidai.) For example, Honma helped Kenshin's father to take back his rulership of Echigo at the lowest point of his life. You would be a total ass to attack Honma. :D

  10. #10
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips



    (2) Hokuriku's Dragon

    This is what Uesugi Kenshin tried to do in history. He made a campaign west, toward the Ikko-Ikki controlled Kaga. Ikko-Ikki, peasant and samurai rebellions who believe in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, is a different branch from Kenshin's "traditional" (Zen) Buddhism.

    While Jinbo is very easy to defeat, and Hatekeyama in Noto can be dealt with by Ikko-Ikki or a incited rebellion, the Ikko-Ikki tend to gather a large army rather quickly. Their Loan-Sword ashigaru is a natural predactor of yari ashigaru. But if you go west soon enough the resistance will be much smaller.

    The biggest problem of this approach is what happened next. First, you have to convert the Ikko Buddhists back to traditional, which takes quite some time. Your territory is now stretched very thin, and you can easily get attacked by multiple powerful clans at the same time. Even with Echizen and Kaga, you are probably not rich enough to support multiple military campaigns. Your home is likely to be left vulnerable. Frequent wars and slow progress will follow this opener.

  11. #11
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips



    (3) Tiger of Kanto

    Besides Ikko-Ikki, Uesugi Kenshin has to deal with the often powerful Takeda-Hojo-Imagawa alliance. The first two often expand north and declare war on Uesugi's vassal quickly. Therefore, if we do not want to fight Ikko-Ikki first, we may as well fight Takeda and Hojo first. In history Uesugi Kenshin met his nemesis Takeda Shingen this way. The Hojo was no match on the field and had to hide in their castle.

    Taking on two "Great" clans at a time is of course quite a challenge, but since you can quickly force a peace treaty after one good battle, it is quite likely that you can divide and conquer the trio effectively.

    But again, the problem is what happens next - you have now a lot of vulnerabilities. Nearby clans could easily swarm you and you might have to give up a good number of provinces.

    If you wish to role-play Kenshin, you are a little too war-mongering. You fight Takeda because you want to stop their invasion to the north, not to invade them. So being a warmonger does not fit Kenshin's profile too well.

  12. #12
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips



    (4) Conquest of Kyushu

    Now here is a wild but familiar one - no matter which clan you play, you can always grab a ship and sail to northern Kyushu, for the heavenly profits of four foreign trade that is easily equivalent to the tax income of 20 provinces. Shoni and Sagara will become your enemies, and Sagara normally has more than one full stack by the time you get there. There will be tough fights and you cannot go to Kyushu with just 1/3 stack of army. Once you deal with them, and start pumping trade ships in Hizen, the campaign is yours to enjoy.

    Echigo and Tsukushi are 7 seasons of sailing apart. You will have to hold off Ikko-Ikki, Takeda and Hojo long enough. This is quite an interesting challenge.

    And I guess Uesugi Kenshin would approve this campaign since Bishamonten was originally a deity of fortune.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltz View Post
    (2) Hokuriku's Dragon
    Quote Originally Posted by Maltz View Post
    The biggest problem of this approach is what happened next. First, you have to convert the Ikko Buddhists back to traditional, which takes quite some time. Your territory is now stretched very thin, and you can easily get attacked by multiple powerful clans at the same time. Even with Echizen and Kaga, you are probably not rich enough to support multiple military campaigns. Your home is likely to be left vulnerable. Frequent wars and slow progress will follow this opener.
    Converting the ikko doesn't costs much, when you do it soon. The place is easy to defend (20 units will be enough and you can also use them to prevent revolts), so money isn't a problem if you wait. If you hurry, money will be a problem, as the clan isn't popular and you need a bigger army to conquer. However, Uesugi can conquer approximately as fast as the Oda before realm divide, but it's more difficult. (Oda are better, but they don't have such a good position to attack)

  14. #14
    War Story Recorder Senior Member Maltz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    By the way, I am doing a Uesugi story based on my current campaign on Legendary, Domination.
    Welcome to take a look.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Uesugi guides, hints and tips

    I recommend going down to Kyushu (just like what maltxd said) and start from there. Don't worry about Echigo because the Takeda will take it anyway. Also, before going down to Kyushu (southern island), take all your force and attack Sado. Take it from the Honma because it has gold mine and provides you with lots of income. Plus, no one will really attack it so it's pretty safe so it's really safe and there is no need for an army there.

    Advantages of taking Kyushu:
    1) Isolate from the superpower clan (Date, Hojo, Takeda or even Oda)
    2)Easy to conquer, Shoni and Ouchi aren't that powerful if you attack them early on (say, 1551)
    3)Secure 3 of the six trading post that gives you incense and cotton (or silk, i forgot).

    However, if you want a challenge, I will recommend tying to fight the Takeda and taking the Northern part of Japan. It will be pretty difficult though. (I tried on Legendary and failed twice )

    Anyway, that's it for me. Have fun with the campaign!

    Joggerx35

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