Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun is a turn-based tactical and strategic game set during this turbulent time; primarily focusing on the Japanese Warring States period and Japanese Invasion of Korea. Other armies from East Asia are also made available to simulate different conflicts across the region.
Post Reply
AlbertoC
Slitherine
Slitherine
Posts: 1645
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:22 pm

Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by AlbertoC » Mon May 30, 2016 1:55 pm

Pike & Shot and the recently released Sengoku Jidai have a quite unique system: players have, under certain conditions, limited control of their units. Entire regiments can be locked in close combat and the player won’t be able to order to disengage. This becomes even more evident when an enemy unit routs as the consequence of a charge and the player’s unit continues its charge independently from the player’s wishes. The author of Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun and Pike & Shot Campaigns, Richard Bodley Scott, explains the reasons behind his decisions.

In the days when battles were decided by hand-to-hand combat it was largely impossible for a commander to successfully order a unit to disengage and go and do something else. In fact, in the rare cases where this was attempted, it often led to a mass panic as neighbouring units thought that the retreating unit was broken and themselves broke as a result.
Even the Romans, who reportedly had a system of line replacements (although nobody has yet figured out satisfactorily how this worked) only replaced one unit with the one immediately behind it (if indeed they did so). The replaced unit did not then go off and do something else.
Likewise it was normal for troops who routed their opponents in close combat to pursue the enemy at least for some distance before being brought back under control.



What led you to implement such a feature? Would you say you were inspired by any particular game or system?


I have been playing Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance tabletop minatures games since 1971. Loss of control of units in close combat is normal in such games, as is units pursuing routed enemy (except in some rather abstracted systems such as DBx). This is because those games are based as closely as possible on the history and this was normal behaviour for troops in the era before battles were decided almost entirely by shooting. Pike and Shot and Sengoku Jidai follow the tradition of tabletop miniatures games, without all the hassle of collecting and painting figurines.

Would you say that it adds to the realism of the game?


Certainly it does.

What notable examples from history are there of this occurring?

There are countless historical examples of pursuits getting out of hand and troops either not returning to the fray soon enough to influence the result of the battle, or themselves being routed in their turn by enemy reserves. To name a few: At the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC, the victorious Seleucid right wing, under the command of King Antiochos in person, pursued the routed Roman left wing as far as the Roman camp, and failed to come back in time to save the rest of the Seleucid army, resulting in a decisive Seleucid defeat. During the Imjin War the Japanese used the Korean and Ming cavalry’s tendency to pursue in a disorganized fashion to lure them into a trap and destroy them at the Battles of the Imjin River and Byeokjegwan. In the English Civil War the Royalists lost several battles because their victorious cavalry pursued for several miles right off the battlefield and failed to return in time to influence the infantry fight. At the battle of Waterloo the Scots Greys completed their objective of routing the French 1st Corps, but then carried on without orders to Napoleon’s Grand battery, only to be counter charged by French cavalry and routed.

How does this feature affect the tactical depth of the game in your opinion? And how is the gameplay affected?

This feature increases the tactical depth of the game because it forces the player to act like a real general and allow for the fallibility of his own troops. It also increases the tension in the game play, because a local victory can soon turn into a reverse if troops pursue into danger. The player needs to take precautions to retrieve the situation if this occurs.

Are there times when the player can use it to their advantage?

Very definitely. A properly set up flank charge can roll up several units by routing one unit, pursuing into another, routing that and pursuing into another.


Image

Example: The Samurai cavalry can charge the nearest Korean infantry unit in the flank. If they rout it, they will pursue into the next unit’s flank and so on. They may succeed in rolling up several units.


Are there ways a skilled player can mitigate the effects of this?

That too. In Sengoku Jidai, infantry who originally received a charge at the halt will seldom pursue enemy infantry and almost never pursue enemy cavalry.
Careful positioning prior to charging can result in units pursuing behind the enemy flank instead of off the table. This can then leave the pursuing unit in a good position to attack the rear of the enemy line in subsequent turns.
Charging disrupted enemy front line infantry with cavalry can lead to the cavalry routing their immediate enemy then pursuing into lower quality rear echelon units and routing them too.


Image

Example: The samurai cavalry are not in a position to flank the Korean infantry, but if they charge the indicated unit and rout them, they will pursue behind the Korean line. The Koreans have no reserves, so once the cavalry come back under control they are likely to be in a position to charge the Korean infantry in the rear.

Why can’t your units always charge what you want?

The priority target system is there to enhance the realism of the game.
Firstly, it prevents units from charging one enemy unit while ignoring a more pressing threat from another unit. This helps to compensate for the IGOUGO system – in reality the other enemy units would not stand by idly while your unit attacked the unit of your choice. Because of this, no sane unit commander would order the attack against the non-priority target, and if he did, the troops might not obey. The player is supposed to represent the C-in-C, and although he gets to move all the units, he cannot override the tactical priorities of the unit commanders – in reality he would not have time to do so.
Secondly it prevents units facing a line or chequerboard of enemy units from ganging up on one unit while ignoring the enemy directly to their front. Allowing this would be very unrealistic.
Most infantry cannot charge cavalry. This is because their historical tactical doctrine would not allow them to do so. The normal behavior of infantry in the presence of enemy cavalry was to adopt a defensive posture to repel any attack. To avoid micromanagement, the game assumes this happens automatically, it does not require you to issue an “adopt defensive formation” order.
Even when the cavalry are already engaged in close combat, disciplined infantry would not normally charge them. This is because cavalry combats were not in reality the static affair that they appear to be on the map. In real life the cavalry would not be in one position long enough for the infantry to attack them, and if the infantry were foolish enough to break defensive formation to attack them they would be putting themselves at risk of a counterattack which they would not be able to repel because they would no longer be in the correct formation. Hence they would not risk it.


So you have little control of your units most of the time after the initial deployment?


This is not true at all.
In the early stages of the battle you have full control of all of your troops. As the battle develops and you commit units to hand-to-hand combat, you lose control of those units for a variable length of time while the combat continues, but you regain control of them once the combat and any pursuit that may occur is over.
This is part of the realism of the simulation and follows Motke’s famous dictum: “No plan survives contact with the enemy”.
However, you still have full control of all troops not in hand-to-hand combat or pursuing, and proper tactical use of those is what will usually decide the issue. In fact locking enemy units in hand-to-hand combat can keep them pinned long enough for you to set up and execute a flank attack on them.
It is a stark fact that skilled players will almost always beat less skilled players in Pike and Shot and Sengoku Jidai. This clearly demonstrates that they have enough control over their units to achieve this.

AlbertoC
Slitherine
Slitherine
Posts: 1645
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:22 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by AlbertoC » Mon May 30, 2016 2:00 pm

What about you: do you like this system?

Tell us what you think! Feel free to discuss it here!

GShock112
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 4:44 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by GShock112 » Mon May 30, 2016 2:35 pm

I am still in the learning phase here but I love the system though I think it would be a lot easier if the UI was more finely developed to help tackling the complexity of these mechanics.

Here's what I learned so far:
I have noticed that patience pays and it's better to be attacked than to attack whenever possible.
Spears not necessarily beat cavalry.
Before engaging in a prolonged melee it's better not just to look at the 2 next phases of hand to hand but also to what may happen in the meanwhile. This means you can engage in a situation where you know you'll lose in 2 or 3 rounds when you know support will come (pin enemy then attack from the rear while he's engaged and beating your first unit).
What I saw in a gameplay video on youtube about missile units not being effective is not true. Concentrating fire on enemy crack troops can make the difference when hand to hand combat begins.
Side/Rear flank is more important than multi-side frontal engagements but the latter reduces combat power of the enemy while at the same time splitting your losses to multiple units and concentrating his on just that single unit.
Some things are truly unpredictable and must be taken into account all together: an evasion or a fall back may change the outcome of an entire flank battle.
Those +50 a general gives in combat bonus are extremely important and the position of the generals is critical to have the free 45° turn.

Considering the various games I've played in this scenario, I'd say many things here are revolutionary and quite accurate indeed.
It's necessary to get rid of the idea that spears will always beat cavalry and judge whether it's better to break an enemy unit and lose yours in pursuit or wait to break it when you can really take advantage of it.

Conclusions: I just love it.

rippa75
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 2:07 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by rippa75 » Mon May 30, 2016 4:15 pm

The control: very intersting question!
it's true that was largely impossible to successfully order a unit to disengage and go and do something else but I think an unit disciplined and trained cound, like a roman legion, at certain condition, might stop by the commander.
It's possible to immagine the possibility of try to controll an unit, perhaps subjected to heavy conditions?

GShock112
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 4:44 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by GShock112 » Mon May 30, 2016 6:15 pm

In SJ there's another form of control that happens BEFORE melee is joined: the ZoC.

It is the nature of the japanese warrior (of both classes) not to cower in battle.
Impossible to disengage from melee and quite hard to withdraw in face of a direct opponent.

SJ mods this beautifully for both cases: you can't touch a unit engaged in melee and if you withdraw in face of an enemy you must take a morale check.

DonCzirr
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by DonCzirr » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:09 am

I only have P & S so far but I am really liking the system and I enjoy being surprised at times by the interesting actions of the troops in different situations ....

It will take more play time to be sure .... but I have not seen anything that is outlandish or seems to contradict history ....

I also see some of this in FOG .... and so far am happy with the overall results - even though I may be using very foul language on my FOG and P&S officers during the battle :)
Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern !

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100032812112896

RodyMetal
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 3:35 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by RodyMetal » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:23 am

I just he love the system, and it indeed add the realism to the game, which is why P&S and S:J are my favorite tactical games.
Limited control at certain stages doesn't mean lack of tactics and strategy in the game, it force you to use real tactical decision from beginning, I once flanked and routed several enemy infantry units which were pinned by prolonged melee fight with only one cavalry unit, the domino effect in the moral system for me is well balanced and feel real and right.
Unlike other games such as Total War, which initial plan has no impact on later battle, because it is easy to shuffle your units and pull them back from battle any time with no real hit on the moral.

GShock112
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 4:44 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by GShock112 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:41 am

RodyMetal wrote:I just he love the system, and it indeed add the realism to the game, which is why P&S and S:J are my favorite tactical games.
Limited control at certain stages doesn't mean lack of tactics and strategy in the game, it force you to use real tactical decision from beginning, I once flanked and routed several enemy infantry units which were pinned by prolonged melee fight with only one cavalry unit, the domino effect in the moral system for me is well balanced and feel real and right.
Unlike other games such as Total War, which initial plan has no impact on later battle, because it is easy to shuffle your units and pull them back from battle any time with no real hit on the moral.
The one thing the player must learn is to look at the second (and sometimes even third) line of the enemy. If you succeed in having a breakthrough on a side, a flank or the center, even if you manage to disrupt or fragment the units next to the unit you routed, you risk to lose the pursuing unit. If the pursuit goes well, even if it's long and in the meanwhile you can't touch the pursuing unit, you'll find it in the back of the enemy and if it's a cavalry unit it is sure to be a winning factor.

The unpredictability of what happens when a unit routs is a major fun factor in this game and it's quite realistic indeed.

Miletus
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:47 pm
Contact:

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by Miletus » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:32 pm

Coincidentally I'd just posted the comment (below) in the main Sengoku forum before seeing this. I really like the P&S control system, but dislike the introduction of generals, sub-generals, allies etc. in Sengoku:

"I know I'm going to get slaughtered for this, but after playing loads of Sengoku Jidai over the past fortnight I have to say that I don't really like the new command and control system - i.e. generals with specific units under them, and all that that entails.

Of course, I recognise that this has been put together with great attention to detail and to historical veracity. I fully appreciate the work that's been put in. My preferences are purely personal, and for me the simple and intuitive system in Pike and Shot is far more to my taste. I suppose I err on the 'fun' side of wargaming, and don't like getting bogged down in detail. For me, as a non-grognard, the new game just doesn't seem to flow in the way the original Pike and Shot does. I hope this isn't the shape of things to come.

Having said all that... This is still a very fine game, clearly a labour of love, and I'll continue to play it from time to time. Who knows, maybe the new system will grow on me, though I rather doubt it!"
Cheers,
Miletus.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls -
just answer the door already!"

DonCzirr
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by DonCzirr » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:39 pm

Hmm ... personally - that sounds like a nice addition to me and gives me further inspiration to buy Sengoku.

To each his own ....

Perhaps in P & S, it will be like FOG where you have to buy certain modules to get "features" like fog of war etc .... then you can opt out of those modules / features ...
Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern !

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100032812112896

GShock112
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 4:44 pm

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by GShock112 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:29 am

Coming from the same system and adapting to changes is never easy... I had never seen P&S before and I'm quite thrille but obviously some change had to be done because the japanese medieval warfare is totally different from the others in the rest of the world.

Rosseau
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:27 am

Re: Sengoku Jidai - The question of control

Post by Rosseau » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:28 pm

Sengoku has been a great primer for me on playing the P&S games. The latter have so many units and weapons I had not time to study them. But I am enjoying Sengoku without reading the manual (very bad).

I like how certain units have that staying power, and it seems the combat results are right-on, although I would have no idea if they weren't. Just a clean and balanced game system with units that are easily moddable. I should be getting to P&S maybe by Thanksgiving :wink:

Post Reply

Return to “Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun”