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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Guides & Articles » Scissors-Paper-Rock
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Topic Subject:Scissors-Paper-Rock
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 12-30-10 09:00 AM EDT (US)         


Everyone knows this game. Scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, and rock smashed scissors. Each is superior to another, but vulnerable to the third.

The units in most military games- Shogun II included- use this principle in one form or another. On modern battlefields, the principle applies as well, but the distinction is more blurry and the roles ill-defined. Tanks beat infantry, but dug-in infantry and mechanized infantry have a lot of anti-tank weaponry. Helicopters beat tanks, but tanks can shoot down helicopters that hover. Air Defense artillery beats helicopters, but infantry can kill Air Defense Artillery rather easily.

In Shogun II, your Scissors, Paper, Rock are Cavalry, Archers, and Spearmen. Three distinct unit types, each specializing in countering one other unit type.

Katana Cavalry are your Scissors. Like scissors, they use steel blades to furiously hack down opposing units. The horses give them an impressive mobility, and katanas are weapons that are suitable to one-handed use, allowing the samurai to guide his horse with the other hand. Their charges may not be totally spectacular, but they are very effective when used correctly.

Katana Cavalry is most effective against foes with unwieldy, blunt weapons of wood. Bows are but long pieces of wood tied with string, and with no pointy end. Thus Archers are the Paper to the Scissors of the Katana Cavalry.

And like Scissors, Katana Cavalry are vulnerable to spearmen. Spearmen are armed with long wooden staves as are the Archers, but the spears of the spearmen have a sharp steel blade at the end. This gives the spearmen the choice to ground the butt of his spear and impale the oncoming cavalry, or to use its length to pick the riders out of the saddles and butcher them on the ground at their leisure.

Archers are your Paper. As said above, they are vulnerable to the Katana Cavalry, which is mobile enough to make volleys of arrows much less effective. Plus up close and personal, bowmen are very weak against the katana-wielding horsemen.

Archers are at their most effective against large, relatively slow-moving targets. The blocks of spearmen standing in close formation are perfect archer targets. Thus the Paper of Archers can cover the Rock of Spear Infantry in a shower of highly-effective missiles relatively cheaply and easily. They can wipe out Katana Cavalry as well, if those horsemen are stupid enough to sit still under a barrage of heavy arrows, but their primary focus is disrupting and destroying Spearmen.

Spearmen are the Rock of the game. Large blocks of men, armed with spears that look like they can cut as well as stab. The Japanese spear was more than just a tool to keep enemies at bay- it was a well-designed weapon for infighting as well as distance-keeping. Spearmen usually form the backbone of any army, being relatively cheap and easy to recruit. And Spearmen can eliminate the mobile threat of the Katana Cavalry.

So those are the basic military units, and their relationships. Mastering that simple principle will allow you, as daimyo, to master the battlefield, and defeat your foes to become the one true Shogun of Feudal Japan.


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AuthorReplies:
Legion Of Hell
Centurion
posted 12-30-10 10:25 AM EDT (US)     1 / 8       
Nicely done.

It'll serve me well for I know little about Shogun history.

General Rawlinson- This is most unsatisfactory. Where are the Sherwood Foresters? Where are the East Lancashires on the right?

Brigadier-General Oxley- They are lying out in No Man's Land, sir. And most of them will never stand again.

Two high ranking British generals discussing the fortunes of two regiments after the disastrous attack at Aubers Ridge on the 9th May 1915.
EnemyofJupitor
HG Alumnus Superbus
posted 12-30-10 01:38 PM EDT (US)     2 / 8       
Yes, it's always good to get the basic principles down

I wonder where Sword-wielding infantry come in- presumably good against pikes but horrible against cavalry?

And I shall go Softly into the Night Taking my Dreams As will You
GeneralKickAss
Ashigaru
posted 12-31-10 00:46 AM EDT (US)     3 / 8       
Interesting, I seldom look at the relationships that way.

Swordsmen would probably come between spearmen, archers and cavalry. Swords beat spears and of course bows up close, but the sheer bulk and momentum of cavalry charges aren't easy to stop with swords.

Nice first article to get this section rolling!

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pinguin333
Ashigaru
posted 12-31-10 04:28 AM EDT (US)     4 / 8       
Funny, I've always seen RTW as the same 4-way rock paper scissors spears>cavalry>archers>swordsmen>spears Nice to see that the developers actually intended it that way

I wonder how gunpowder infantry fits in. In one of the movies I noticed gunpowder units together with swordsmen and spearmen, so I have no idea whether they replace one or if they are an addition. Although, you couldn't make a Shogun game and then replace samurai in the later ages. People with pitchforks and torches would be standing outside your office within a day of the release
Gunpowder infantry being an addition to the roster would make it a 5-way rock-paper-scissors, kind of like rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock (since I've spotted at least one other dutchman here, the reference shouldn't be too obscure with the series running here for the past 6 months)
Aftermath
HG Alumnus
posted 12-31-10 09:05 AM EDT (US)     5 / 8       
Funny, I've always seen RTW as the same 4-way rock paper scissors spears>cavalry>archers>swordsmen>spears Nice to see that the developers actually intended it that way
Yeah there has always been some form of the Rock, Paper, Scissors system in the Total War games. Although in the NTW/ETW incarnation of the series it seemed to get a little lost.
I wonder how gunpowder infantry fits in. In one of the movies I noticed gunpowder units together with swordsmen and spearmen, so I have no idea whether they replace one or if they are an addition. Although, you couldn't make a Shogun game and then replace samurai in the later ages. People with pitchforks and torches would be standing outside your office within a day of the release.
I think it's unlikely that the Gunpowder units will be classed as infantry in the same way Samurai will be. They will more likely be classed in the same manner as Archers; weaker in melee and vulnerable to cavalry.

And nice article Terikel, where better to start than the foundations? Valuable information to those who are new to the series and Total War veterans on a refresher course.

A f t y

A A R S

:: The Sun always rises in the East :: Flawless Crowns :: Dancing Days ::

"We kissed the Sun, and it smiled down upon us."

[This message has been edited by Aftermath (edited 12-31-2010 @ 09:06 AM).]

CommanderVideo
Ashigaru
posted 06-21-11 11:09 PM EDT (US)     6 / 8       
I don't know about you, hut matchlock units absolutely tear up ANYTHING that charge them, whether it be sword units or spears or cavalry... Plus if they are on gaurd mode if the center of the line is charged te rest of the line continues firing... I would classify it as the unfair "cherry bomb" that kids would say when you were a child and in elementary school

00DATACOMPILED11 11 COMMANDERVIDEOENGAGE1--MISSIONREQUEST1--PERSONALINFORMATIONPLEASE11 11 CANNOTDO1NOPERSONALINFORMATIONAVAILABLE11 11 COMMANDERVIDEODISENGAGE1--THECOMMANDER1
Liam_the_Spartan
Banned
posted 07-02-11 07:14 PM EDT (US)     7 / 8       
Is there a reason this hasn't been put on the site or has it just been forgotten?

Now that the game is out would you like to change anything? Like scissors can sometimes beat scissors? Yari Cav> Katana Cav.

And maybe include some units that lose against most others, but weaken them for another unit to destroy? Like matchlocks.

[This message has been edited by Liam_the_Spartan (edited 07-03-2011 @ 11:10 AM).]

Natalinasmpf
Banned
posted 12-25-11 02:42 AM EDT (US)     8 / 8       
Except in defence during sieges. Hot damn.
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