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Thread: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

  1. #1
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    The discussion in the Legendary thread regarding the difficult of playing Oda emphasized to me how important defensible provinces can be when playing campaigns. To make it easier to visualize the strategic situation and create plans for strategic movements, I created the following map:


    The map should be mostly self-explanatory, but I'll give a brief rundown on what I consider to be useful about it.

    A good example is for a Date player. The Echigo to Uzen/Ugo path is off-road and very long. As such, it is almost never used by the AI and even when it is the player will see the army coming for a very long time before it threatens either province. So Date can defend five provinces with a single army in Fukushima; with the only caveat being that the army might have to leave the castle every once in a while to deal with an army trying to use the nearby indirect route to Miyagi. Thus, Fukushima is basically a perfect choke-point. However, pushing beyond Fukushima starts opening up many different avenues of approach, particularly around Hitachi, Shimotsuke, Shimosa, Musashi, and Kozuke. The 'natural' expansion to Hitachi and Shimotsuke now requires 3 armies to defend from the previous requirement of 1. One province cannot pay for the maintenance on a full stack army (at least not those provinces, and not early in the game), so that expansion is not good for your finances. So, the proper strategy for Date is to expand quickly to take all the provinces behind the chokepoint of Fukushima, then defend at Fukushima and build up. When ready, then blitz and take Hitachi, Shimotsuke, Shimosa, Kazusa, Musashi, Kozuke, and Echigo. That entire line can be held with the same 3 armies that were required to hold the far smaller area when the frontline was at Fukushima/Hitachi/Shimotsuke. After that, the next push can take Sagami, Izu, Suruga, Kai, and North Shinano... and still require the same 3 armies to hold all fronts.

    This map also shows why Oda is so difficult to play. While the Oda east and south both contain nice choke points, the Oda are open to a very large number of approaches to the west and north. Expansion into those areas causes even more problems, as the defensive situation does not simplify until the entire central 'bulge' around Kyoto is taken. That simply cannot be done early on, so Oda are forced to live for the entire early and mid-game with a wide-open territory which can be attacked my multiple enemies from multiple points with little warning.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-11-2011 at 18:07.

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  2. #2
    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    I need to stop waiting and get this game. Too worried about bugs and expansions I guess.

    Date looks even more promising.

    Isn't there a gold mine on Sago? Wouldn't it make sense to take it when Fukushima is secured? You could take Noto from there and be in a good position to pincer others.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-07-2011 at 21:54. Reason: Translating Numbers


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  3. #3
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir View Post
    Isn't there a gold mine on Sago? Wouldn't it make sense to take it when Fukushima is secured? You could take Noto from there and be in a good position to pincer others.
    Yes. Sato is a superb province because of the gold mine and the fact that you don't need any military force to defend it. You need a strong army to take it, because by the time you get there it is usually defended by 2 full stacks which will move on you instantly. So, whatever stack you bring needs to be able to beat off twice its own numbers. Once that's done, though, it's yours and it's very easy to hold.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-07-2011 at 21:54.


  4. #4
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Map updated with a new version without all the numbers for province/castle names. Now we don't have to speak in codes...


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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Thank you for the map
    Ja-mata TosaInu

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    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Nice map.

    I also like to read your thought processes regarding to your campaigns.

    Finally found some time this week to take a look at my current Chosokabe campaign. I took Shikoku and then I invaded Buzen and took it from a minor clan (it was their only province). After that, I converted to christianity. Shimazu owns the rest of Kyushu, so they are pretty powerful (7 provinces). The neighbouring provinces on Honshu are in the hands of the Ouchi clan, which is 6 provinces strong and the Amako, 8 provinces strong, which means Buzen is a lonely province, surounded by mighty neighbours. Since my clan and the Shimazu are the only Christian clans, I tried to establish good relations with the Shimazu (Amako and Ouchi will keep hating me anyway and I don't feel like constantly throwing money at them). They accepted an alliance and military acces, only to break that treaty the next turn. They did so twice in a row, so clearly, they plan to attack me eventually.

    Ouchi and Amako don't like me, because I'm Christian. I finally have my provinces under control now, after a period of turtling after the conversion to Christianity, and lots of cash are coming in from trade. The plan is now to sneak in agents in Ouchi and Amako territory to incite revolts. I keep my daimyo and a full stack of mainly ashigaru bows and spears within the walls of Buzen, while upgrading the castle. I'm also building a few Nanban trade ships so that I can control the sea. Once I have naval supremacy, I will take out the Shimazu fleets, keep inciting revolts in Ouchi and Amako territory to keep them busy and will sneak in a full stack army lead by my heir into Shimazu lands, preferably a province that isn't defended too strongly.

    My Daimyo will remain in his castle, in the hopes the Shimazu will throw their two full stack armies on the walls, while my heir will continue his conquest of Kyushu. Having endless streams of money from those trade nodes is fun.

    After the conquest of Kyushu, I will take a few provinces from the Amako and Ouchi, just to break their power. No need to destroy them entirely, I'm playing a short campaign, so I don't need all that land. Once Kyush is mine and Ouchi and Amako are weakened, it will be time to send invade Setsuku with some stacks and then go for Kyoto.
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    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Awesome map, Tincow, thanks! I was surprised that the strategic map for STW2 feels rather constricted - by mountains - compared to say RTW or MTW2. But I suspect this may have helped the campaign AI be more competitive. It almost reduces to a Risk style map - there usally being one line of entry from one Province to another, so you move from province to province, rather than roam around in the open.

  8. #8
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Quote Originally Posted by econ21 View Post
    Awesome map, Tincow, thanks! I was surprised that the strategic map for STW2 feels rather constricted - by mountains - compared to say RTW or MTW2. But I suspect this may have helped the campaign AI be more competitive. It almost reduces to a Risk style map - there usally being one line of entry from one Province to another, so you move from province to province, rather than roam around in the open.
    Yes, it has a great deal of a Risk-flavor to it, and that is exactly what I'm trying to point out with this map. I definitely think the CAI has benefited a great deal from the general lack of wide-open terrain. While the CAI will use the off-road routes on occasion, it generally only seems to happen when that route is the only land route the faction has to get to the target province. If there is a direct or indirect road route, it almost always goes that way instead. You can see this behavior regularly in the central 'pentagon' area (Kyoto-Omi-Iga-Yamato-Kawachi). There are a lot of cities very close to each other there, but oddly the roads do not form a perfect web that connects all cities to all other cities. Instead, they all share a central road hub just outside Kyoto. At the same time, the land there is relatively flat and off-road movement can still get armies from one city to another in a single turn. Despite this, the AI still tends to stick to the roads, only going off-road when pursuing an enemy army or retreating. It's clearly programmed to give road routes far greater priority than off-road routes. While this can make it a bit predictable, it also seems to be a wise programming choice, as the AI does move cohesively and aggressively to invade and attack its targest.

    This behavior is one of the reasons why the Echigo to Uzen/Ugo off-road route is really not much to worry about. The AI will pretty much only use it if the only land border between the AI and the player is Echigo/Uzen and the AI cannot get military access from whoever owns Fukushima. If the player owns Fukushima, that province will always be the target of the attack, not Uzen or Ugo.

    There are a few off-road routes that get used regularly though. Nagato/Suo to Buzen and Awaji to Awa are obvious... they are the only means of land access to the islands, so the AI doesn't have another option. In addition, the Tosa to Awa route will see activity if the player is playing Chosokabe and ends up in a very early war with the faction that controls Awa. Kyoto to Wakasa and Tamba to Settsu also seem to get a fair amount of traffic. Oddly, two of the off-road routes that seem to be the most useful, Shomotsuke to Hitachi and Omi to Iga, never seem to be used by the AI. Shimotsuke to Hitachi in particular can be extremely useful if the player has a front line at those two provinces, and only has one army to defend them both. Barring extremely high movement bonuses, the army cannot get from one castle to the other in a single turn. However, if the defensive army is parked in the middle of the two castles, in the forest, it can reach either castle in a single turn, thus allowing it to defend the area as long as both castles as not attacked simultaneously.

    One other important thing to note about the AI's road usage habits is that it makes ambushing the AI a very real method of defense if the threat radius from the ambush spot covers the road route the AI is using. For this reason, I've been thinking about adding markers for these good ambush spots on road routes to this map. Is that something people think would be useful, or would it be too likely to clutter up the map and make it hard to read? I've also considered adding markers for bridges along the road routes, but have held off for the same reason.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-08-2011 at 13:37.


  9. #9
    Liar and Trickster Senior Member Andres's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    You could take away all the lines off the map and use a "clean" map and place markers on that one for ambushes and bridges. Then I could print several maps (your maps and that resources map) and put them on my desk or hang them on the wall while playing, making me feel like a real general. Is it easy to sit on a desk with a katana in your belt? Maybe a bottle of sake next to me too; they should include that in the special edition of the game.

    I'm happy the AI doesn't do naval invasions too often. So far, I had one naval invasion in my Date campaign. A full stack of Mori landed in Ugo. At the time, I had hit realm divide and all my armies where in the region Owari-Mino-Mikawa-Omi; my nearest full stack army (that was formed by combining most of my garrisons (consisting of ashigaru mainly) was several turns marching away). Suffice to say that it took me a long while to kick the Mori out of my lands. If another factions would have landed a full stack of mostly samurai, let's say in Echigo or Hitachi, I would have gotten in really big trouble and it would have set me back a lot of turns.

    I usually play on normal difficulty though; does the AI use naval invasions more often on the higher difficulty settings?
    Last edited by Andres; 07-08-2011 at 13:49.
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  10. #10
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    In my experience, the AI only does naval invasions if they do not share a land border with their enemy. The farther away the enemy's lands are, the more likely a naval invasion is to occur. They do happen though, and I've had to defend against them in all of my Legendary games (bar my Oda failures). They almost always land forces behind my front line, often far behind near completely undefended castles. Thus, naval invasions mean that war with a distant clan is still a threat that needs to be taken into account when making strategic moves. Due to the inability to reload from an earlier save, this in particular makes navies more important on Legendary difficulty. If you have a castle that is vulnerable to a naval invasion and cannot get an army there to defend it in 1 to 2 turns, you need to give serious consideration to keeping a fleet in whatever position is necessary to intercept any naval invasion. For example, when I play Date, I typically keep one fleet on each of the two main coastlines. The fleet holds position off the coastline of my front line province and advances with the front line. The job of those fleets is to keep any naval invasions from slipping behind the front line to land in my rear provinces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres View Post
    You could take away all the lines off the map and use a "clean" map and place markers on that one for ambushes and bridges.
    Without the routes, though, would that information even be useful? There are many bridges and ambush sites that are totally useless because the AI never goes anywhere near them. The key would be to list only the ones that are worth giving some strategic consideration to, which to me requires being able to see where they are places with respect to the access routes.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-08-2011 at 13:59.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Thanks for putting this together, very interesting.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Great work. The final version has pulled together into an excellent resource.

    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow View Post
    Without the routes, though, would that information even be useful? There are many bridges and ambush sites that are totally useless because the AI never goes anywhere near them. The key would be to list only the ones that are worth giving some strategic consideration to, which to me requires being able to see where they are places with respect to the access routes.
    Here's another suggestion to add to my earlier ones on that subject: make a second map, include the roads and province names, drop the landing zones, add the roadside ambush zones as shaded areas. You could also add the bridges to this second map if you are still interested in displaying them. Without the sea zones and with this larger base image, that should work without becoming crowded.

    It's not vital to make a second map though. The current map shows the most useful information for strategic pondering outside of the game.
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    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Quote Originally Posted by frogbeastegg View Post
    Here's another suggestion to add to my earlier ones on that subject: make a second map, include the roads and province names, drop the landing zones, add the roadside ambush zones as shaded areas. You could also add the bridges to this second map if you are still interested in displaying them. Without the sea zones and with this larger base image, that should work without becoming crowded.

    It's not vital to make a second map though. The current map shows the most useful information for strategic pondering outside of the game.
    I don't see how that would help though, as the landing zones wouldn't really overlap with the ambush areas. The clutter would be from adding the ambush zones into the road/castle mix, but I don't see a way to separate those as information about the ambush zones locations would be useless without the road/castle locations alongside it.

    I'll add the ambush zones onto the existing map as a new layer to see how they look. If it seems acceptable to me, I'll post it.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow View Post
    I don't see how that would help though, as the landing zones wouldn't really overlap with the ambush areas. The clutter would be from adding the ambush zones into the road/castle mix, but I don't see a way to separate those as information about the ambush zones locations would be useless without the road/castle locations alongside it.
    Two colours of blobs plus parchment background will result in a rioting patchwork, a cluttered colour-scape which is harder for the eye to fade into background awareness. That in turn will make the road lines harder to pick out without viewer concentration.

    Pick an opaque, quite pale colour for the ambush spots. Then it will be visual background for the bolder road lines, same as the landing zones are now. You'll be aware of them when you look at the map, but will need to focus to bring them sharply into contrast to the point where they stand out to the same level as the roads. If you are focusing like that on an area then it's one you are keenly interested in, and so you don't need to see the wider road network. It's the principle of repeating a trick which has worked once instead of trying to extend it to the point where it risks overreaching.

    If you don't see the map in the same fashion, maybe this derives from the way my dodgy vision works? Hope the explanation makes some sense.
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    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    One other option that might work would be to use small icons instead of color sprays. Perhaps a small pine tree or a pair of cross swords or something.

    Nevermind, I just loaded up the map and looked at it. There are ambush spots near roads absolutely everywhere. No matter what representation method I chose, I'd end up covering half the lines on the map with it. That wouldn't be useful.
    Last edited by TinCow; 07-08-2011 at 23:23.


  16. #16

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Maybe use a different colour/shade for parts of the routes that can be reached from ambush points ?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Brilliant map.

    Makes me realise that in some respects the map is too small and that gameplay is in many ways closer to STW1 than to the more recent TW games from RTW onwards.

    That is to say there is far less movement on the map - once roads have been built and generals have movement bonuses only the castles up in the north east are more than one turn from their neighbour.

    And there is little point holding bridges and mountain passes when your army can get beaten and the castle behind them still get taken in the same turn - much safer to keep your armies in castles.

    So you see a lot less proper battles in the open field between cities and a lot more siege battles which the AI is still crap at.

    Add in that you seem to be constantly battling on the same battlemap and battles get boring really quickly and you reach for the autoresolve button more often.

    What it really needs is a big map mod - quadruple the campaign map size and have one month turns (and a later starting date - 1545 was too early and 1560 would have been better historically) and it would be very much more interesting game.

    But without moddable maps - or pretty much moddable anything - they're going to lose me much sooner than in any of the other TW games.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    I'm not sure what you are talking about. This is the first TW game since Medieval 1 where I actually had some bridge battles. As seen from the map, Japan actually has chokepoints, unlike Europe. You can hold bridges and mountain passes without opposing factions just bypassing you and going straight for your cities.
    Last edited by andrewt; 07-25-2011 at 21:30.

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    Uber Fowl Member TheDuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir View Post
    I need to stop waiting and get this game. Too worried about bugs and expansions I guess.

    Date looks even more promising.

    Isn't there a gold mine on Sago? Wouldn't it make sense to take it when Fukushima is secured? You could take Noto from there and be in a good position to pincer others.

    Get it! I just did.. and I haven't experienced a bug yet after about 6 hours of play (having a great time so far).. CA seems to have solved their quality problems.. and that is excellent.. I've always loved these games.. but was quite wary until I'd see the first patch.. but the last few games have just gotten better and better quality-wise (not to mention being a blast to play and pretty to boot).
    Last edited by TheDuck; 08-06-2011 at 08:31.
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  20. #20
    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    Just found this map, incredibly useful for the planning stages when your campaign is just getting off the ground. Thanks a lot for the work you put into this TC.

  21. #21
    Member Member Oleander Ardens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chokepoint and Province Access Map

    An excellent map, maybe you could have a talk with our dearest froggie to include it into the guide. I too found it very neat, as it allows you to easily plan offensive moves and defensive points. It certainly makes you appreciate the advantage of interior lines and good roads.

    OA
    Last edited by Oleander Ardens; 08-22-2011 at 16:12.
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