Bushido – The Use of Samurai

Disclaimer: I, in no way, claim to be a player capable of Emperor+ games. This article is meant mostly to the players playing Monarch and below.

Spoiler for Authors note – Bushido and Samurai
”Bushido” is japanese and means “The Way of the Warrior”. It was a codex that all samurai followed in order to have their honor intact.

“Samurai” is the name of the medieval Japanese warrior caste, and is deprived from the japanese verb, “to serve”.

The impression most of us have of Tokugawa of Japanese is, to be honest, a ridiculous AI leading a rather mediocre nation. The reason to this is that the Japanese civilization has absolutely no economic traits or uniques (unless counting the rather late-game Shale Plant, which is underpowered, imo). The Japanese only have one leader, Tokugawa, who is Aggressive and Protective, a trait combo that almost any warmonger loves, especially once gunpowder units come around.

The problem for the japanese civilization is that gunpowder is not accessible early enough. Simply waiting as a rather inferior civilization until you can get your fingers on rifling doesn’t sound too inspiring, and since you have no real economic skills as Japan, you might not even be the first to rifling at all!

The solution, I think most of those who play/random Japan choose, is that of the Early rush. Gaining a second capital is a very nice bonus early on, and the traits of Tokugawa makes the rush easy.

However, an early rush to put out a nearby neighboor is not always possible. You might find yourself next to Sitting Bull, your nearest neighboor to far away or in other ways have your rush made too difficult.

Or, you may rush an early opponent and find the other neightboors becoming too strong, even for your war veterans.

The solution to these problems lie in the Japanese UU: the Samurai:
The Samurai is a maceman with three major changes:
It has access to the Drill promotions (and stats with D I),
It has an innate 2 first strikes,
And it requires Iron instead of macemen, requiring only Iron or copper.

This makes Iron Working a high priority tech when playing Japanese.

When attempting to utilize Samurai in the most powerful way, one should prioritize certain techs:
[INDENT]Bronze Working early, in order to see if an axerush is possible.
Iron Working early, in order to localize Iron and connect it.
Machinery, since this is a required tech to train Samurai
Construction, since this is a required tech to train Catapults, the first siege weapons.
… and Civil Service, since this is also required for Samurai.

Furthermore, one should, after having the necessary techs for Samurai, emphasize on:
Feudalism, since this tech opens up the Longbowman, a solid defending unit that benefits alot from the Protective trait Tokugawa has.
Feudalism also unlocks the civics Serfdom and Vassalage.
While Serfdoms’ increased worker speed may seem a little vague, this makes it possible to use fewer workers to connect your newly conquered cities/nations with your homeland, as well as improving new cities faster.
Vassalage is the real gift here though, granting +2 xp to all new units, as well as granting X free units. Both of these bonuses are very effective when waging enormeous amounts of war.
Engineering, since the tech opens up the Trebuchet, a siege unit very effective at attacking and bombarding cities, and the Pikeman, who can work as cover from horses, or a cheap medic who can handle itself.
Currency and Code of Laws, obiously for the economic potential of courthouses, money trading and traderoutes. Also, the Caste System civic is unlocked by CoL, making Specialist Economies easier to run, especially in new cities that have no slot buildings.
Alphabet, since this tech is a huge help in remaining on par with the AIs techwise, for two reasons:
1) Techtrading is possible, and
2) Cities can build “Research” when they have nothing better to do.[/INDENT]

Promoting the Samurai:

[INDENT]Since Tokugawa is Aggressive, Samurai start both with Combat I, as well as the Drill I they have innate. This leaves open several paths of promoting, two of them being rather obvious:
Pure Combat is, suprisingly, Combat II, III, IV and V.
Pure Drill is Drill II, III and IV.
Now, there are a number of other promotion lines as well as precautions one can make:
If your enemy has no metal, only horses, he will be using mounted units, who ignore first strikes (apart from the Elephant unit). This render Drill ineffective (D IV provides +10% against mounted, else nothing). In that case, choosing the Combat line, maybe flanked by the Formation promotion seems best.

If your enemy has no horses, only metal, the situation is just the opposite, since your enemy will not be using mounted units (again, elephant is the exception). This makes Drill a far more reasonable choice. Since you will most likely be facing Axemen and Swordsmen, having beelined Samurai yourself, first strikes are really going to matter, since the battles against axes and swords are 8.8v5 or 8.8v4. AFAIK, a first strike from a Samurai with Combat I (which is free), can provide up to 1.96 damage. Since the Samurai has two of these innate, one can have fair odds of dispatching axes and swords on open fields with no wounds from out the box. Adding Drill II, and possibly III and IV later, makes this a ridiculously good line. Drill really shines here.

If your enemy has longbows, you should analyze whether he has metal, horses or both, and follow that strategy, except bring more siege, and perhaps a couple of CR Samurai aswell.

If your enemy has maces, you should bring some Samurai that have the Shock promotion, as well as either Drill or Combat line (Combat is best against an Agg enemy, since you will want to have a higher base strength than the enemy maceman).

If your enemy has Crossbowmen, you should bring along some yourself, and promote them with cover (since yours already start with Drill I, Cover will be available at 2 xp). Alternatively, bring a Samurai with Cover and Drill, or Cover and Combat.

If your enemy has archers only, you won’t have to bring siege. Choose pure Combat or Pure Drill, perhaps with a Cover promo on top. Note that Combat effects the strenght of the Samurai itself, so when facing Archers (base strength 3), a Combat Promotion can be worth more than a Cover or CR promo, if the archer has enough modifiers (bringing it to or above modified strength 8):[/INDENT]

Spoiler for Math: Combat vs others

Combat vs Cover (or CR II): 8 * .1 = .8 > 3 * .25 = .75.
Combat vs CR I: 8 * .1 = .8 > 3 * .2 = .6.

Please note that this math is not always true, since, per example, 9.6 vs 3 is worse than 8.8 vs 2.5. Its’ effect is mainly at higher modifiers for the archer, such as: 9.6 vs 9.4 is better than 8.8 vs 8.65

Please, comment and provide feedback, and correct me if I do my math wrong or you think I am missing something.

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