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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:28 am
by Sakae Wu
Gray Riders wrote:I'm considering starting a new game and play, describing things as I go as an "after action report"; it might give people a better idea of how the game works. What does everything think?

I think an aar would be great if you have time.

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:57 am
by Sun Fin
I love the idea too, big time commitment for you though!

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:03 pm
by Zyzyfer
Also like the idea, you don't have to even go into tremendous detail, even a summarized version would be great.

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:38 am
by Gray Riders
The first couple turns--especailly the first--will be overly detailed to explain how the game flows.

So, the game currently has starting periods for 190, 195, 200, 201, and 207.

A few things to note on the selection screen compared to Koei's series:
*Shi Xie isn't a huge joke--he generally has a dozen officers and three cities.
*Han Sui and Ma Teng are separate factions.
*A lot of those minor officials from the early period (usually with 1 or 2 officers including themselves) such as Lu Xun's granduncle Lu Kang are present. Some people also have way more officers than Koei's series--Dong Zhuo has over 70 in 190.

We'll play as Lu Bu in 195. We have 18 officers, which is pretty nice, but Cao Cao has 32 so we're pretty outmatched. He also has two cities and pretty much twice as many resources as us across the board.

Pre-game options are fairly standard, all with three settings: difficulty (three settings), growth (city stats and population, defaults to High, interesting), how often offcers are injured, officer lifespan (regular, longevity, and infinite), how fast officers earn deeds, and how fast officers gain experience. We'll go with Normal, High growth, low injury, and normal for the others. There are two more tabs with graphics and keyboard control options.

We get an intro but they aren't currently translated.

Here's a screenshot of the main screen (you only get this for your capital city). ... 6612E94C6/
You can click on the walking people for mostly non-translated messages, but the ones with markers have something important to say, such as special functions or a rumor on what other rulers have done or the location of a free officer. You can see an exclamation point above someone and three "." above another.

The one with the exclamation point is Wang Yue, a wandering swordmaster--there are a number of wandering NPCs that do different things. One of our officers can challenge a visiting swordmaster for combat experience. Lu Bu will handle him personally. ... 7BE0C36BF/
Here's the dueling setup. We choose what to do in each round--Special, Capture, Retreat, and Dodge Counter can only be used once. Power, Skill, and Speed have a rock/paper/scissord mechanic: power>skill>speed>power. All of them lose to Special or Dodge Counter. Capture is weak to everything, so I guess you use it if you're much stronger or very confident. I guess if Lu Bu just unleashed a special and a Dodge Counter I'd be confident of taking them down with weakened attacks.
We'll go with Special, then Dodge Counter, then three power attacks.
My first two attacks go off without a hitch. amd in round three I get an "early strike" (not sure what triggers it)--Lu Bu hits him with a throwing weapon and Wang Yue goes down. Lu Bu gains a significant amount of experience in his combat stat.

The "..." fellow in the city image is the waiter, who tells us rumors. This turn he tells us a free officer named Qin Mi is in Cheng Dou. We cannot do anything with this information, but if we have spying information on the city he mentions we're made aware of that officer and can send someone off to hire them. The waiter can also mention when cities gain new features.

So, officer stats. There are 30 stats, divided into military, duel, intelligence, governance, personnel, and diplomacy. Some stats are considered to belong to more than one category.
Military stats are infantry, cavalry, archer, navy, siege, defend, training, recruit, and pillage.
Duel stats are combat, valor, horsemanship, archery (not Archer, like the military one), capture, and calm.
Intelligence stats are strategy, tactics, calm (same one as before), scout, and debate.
Governance stats are farming, commerce, floods control, architecture, patrol, math, and recruit (again).
Personel stats are connections, virtue, charm, debate, and culture.
Diplomacy stats are negotiate, debate, charm, culture, and scout.
There is also Pillage, which doesn't seem to belong to any of the categories.

There are also skills which are a "has/doesn't have" check. These are all used in battle. Skills are Rush, Guard (infantry tactics), Charge, Shoot (cavalry tactics), Volley, Fire Arrows (archery tactics), Ambush, Blunder, Boost, Interlocking (I think it's the "chained ships" ploy), Fire, Forecast (weather control, I believe), Rockfall, Trap (lets the defender set traps before battle at the cost of gold, from what I gathered translating a Chinese tutorial), Misinform, Taunt, Settle, Break (I think it's a forced march), and Intrude (I think it's a raid or such--it tends to be warriors that have it instead of strategists). A unit can have two officers and seems to get the skills and stats of both.

When you're assigning a task the game tells you what stats are relevant, but not in what way. So I don't know exactly what the different dueling stats do. I can make guesses on what stats do, of course.

Below a screenshot of Lu Bu's stats and skills page. Some of them are higher than you'd expect, especially Charm and Tactics. ... BD4381128/

The next tab is profile--this seems to be connected to the "captain" system where we can assign officers the ability to lead special units. He has nothing there right now.

Next is Features. These are little bonuses that raise stats, often including reputation and infamy (I do not know what either does) as well as stats. Lu Bu has two that are unlocked from the start--Lechery (heh) and Three Heroes Fighting Lu Bu. He can later unlock Flying General by getting his Deeds to 6000 and 200M Shooting, which unlocks at 196 AD according to the requirements, but it may require an event or something.

Fourth is a list of items they have. He already has his halberd and Red Hare, but also a Dragon Bow (+8 archery) and Chain Armor (lowers damage taken, presumably in duels).

Fifth is Individual. It says what items he likes, his parents, the leader of his family, his reputation, health, age, all those things. We also see that polygamy is alive and well--there's space for three spouses! He's currently married to Diao Chan and Lady Yan.

Sixth is Relations. He has no "Rapport" with his own force, oddly. He has no sworn siblings. He likes Chen Gong, Gao Shun, Zhang Liao, and Wei Xu, but hates Zhang Fei.

The last page is "bio". It has separate entries for the novel, historical records, and "other". It's not currently translated.

Some quicker notes on our other notable officers:
*Zhang Liao is an amazing cavalry commander (93) and a good infantry commander (83) with great dueling stats and incredibly high Calm, with his other Int stats good as well. He knows plenty of skills.
*Gao Shun is a great Infantry commander (93) and also good with archers (82). He's actually not great with cavalry (68) or dueling (79 average). His Int stats are medicore but he can gain access to a special unit at 3,000 deeds--Heavy Spearmen. They can be hired in only in Pu Yang, it seems, and even then only once we research Shields (we start with it, though) and Mail Armor (we can start researching it immediately if we want) and the city has developed enough to recruit then--more on that when we discuss the city but let's just say we will probably not have Heavy Spearmen in time for the fight with Cao Cao.

Currently, most units in the game are special units--you can unlock one new regualar unit for cavalry and archers and two for infantry. Everyone has access at all times to the three basic units: light infantry, light archers, and light cavalry.

We already have a decent number of technologies, thankfully. In 190 everyone seems to start from scratch with no technologies, but after that many are already done. In general later scenarios also seem to have more developed cities from the start. Thanks to our starting technologies we have access to a fourth unit type outside the basic three--armored knights.
Unfortunately cavalry is much more expensive than other units and armored knights even more so. We can recruit 715 light infantry for 135 gold, but the same number of armored knights costs 1,018 gold instead! They're very strong, though, so once we have a few cities and more gold coming in we'll consider hiring a division of them for Lu Bu to lead.
We have a lot of good cavalry commanders, but since cavalry is so expensive we can't take full advantage yet. Luckily most of our military officers are at least competent--60s or above--with another unit type.

Cao Cao's obviously got us outmatched in domestic officers. We can just about match him in terms of military leaders (Cao Cao himself is just as good with Infantry as Lu Bu is with cavalry, while Cao Chun and Xiahou Yuan are 90s cavalry leaders). One odd thing is that Yue Jin doesn't seem to be here yet--there's a Wei officer named "Le Jin" in later scenarios that is clearly him, as he has the "Five Elite Generals" feature.

Next we look at the spying page: ... 71CDD0FF5/
We have different percentages of coverage for each city which gives us varying amounts of information--it's 100% for our own, of course. We assign an officer to oversee our spy network and how much gold they get a month, and the spying power grows from our cities. We can hire free officers in cities we do not control with enough information on them--I think it needs to be 30% or so.

Our best spying officers are needed for other tasks, so we allow Du Shi to do it--she's not great at it but she's not great at anything else. We give her the minimum gold for now.

Here is the search screen. ... 20C3CF40D/
China is divided into six regions and we can have one officer searching in each--aside from free officers they can also find items. We can only search cities we have enough spy info on, so right now we can only search Pu Yang. I'll send Yan Shi (62 Connections and 67 Virtue, the two relevant stats, but she's poor at everything else) to do so. These--and most other tasks--are continued until you run out of money or can't do anymore work so we don't need to tell someone to search or work on the farms every turn, a very nice feature.

Next up, we don't want Yuan Shao attacking. We send Diao Chan to send him a gift--the specifics for how much we pay him are made once she arrives at his capital in Ye. Once he has a good relation we'll try to sign an alliance for a year or two.

Here is the city development screen. ... B27D7DBB7/
You can choose one officer for each stat (support raises on it's own--it might be affected by Security?) and have them use 50, 100, or 200 gold per turn. 200 gold is twice as effective as 50, and 100 is 50% more effective than 50, so 50 is slow but the most efficent.

For now I go with this: ... 64FD64F9C/
*I'm assuming Security raises Support and Support raises population and my manpower. Both will be important so I want Zhang Liao getting that up quickly.
*Minimal agriculture for now--early game food isn't a huge concern from what I've seen so far, we get plenty at harvest for how much our troops use up. I don't want to ignore it though.
*We don't have anyone too good at flood control but again, ignoring it is probably a bad idea.
*We want gold desperately, so I'm putting full investment in it. Chen Gong is pretty good at Commerce, too.

There IS an emergency option if we have a resource shortage; we can take out a loan. There are two options--Boss Wei and Boss Mi--but the lengths and interest rates vary on whether we want food or gold. Right now we can take 10,000 gold for six months or 20,000 for a year. I am not confident of being able to repay either right now so we won't do it.

Here is the city stats page: ... 16226C22C/

Most of this stuff is pretty simple. It doesn't show how much we make each season until that season passes and we can see how much we made that turn, which is rather annoying. Reservists is our recruitment pool. As I mentioned in an earlier post it refreshes every season, not increases. Use it or lose it.
Not shown is that Pu Yang is currently a "small" city. We can upgrade it once it has 4,000 in every domestic stat and 200,000 population. This will cost 5,000 gold.

The second tab has city features, which vary from city to city. These give bonuses once we reach certain development milestones and sometimes technologies--in fact many technologies are only used to unlock city features. Here are Pu Yang's: ... D7DBC5B68/

Intro just has some untranslated information on the city, presumably it's history.

There's also our force page. It currently basically mirrors the city page except there's a "culture" stat. I don't know what--if anything at the moment--it does. It also has tabs for diplomacy and technology. Diplomatically we're hostile with Cao Cao, disliked by Li Jue, and nobody else cares about us. The tech page shows what we've researched, but a few techs are missing.

Research takes a certain number of turns depending on the technology, costs gold (cost is lowered depending on the officers used, but I'm not certain what effects that--it might be their "math" stat but I am not certain), and requires two officers who meet a specific stat requirement for that tech. For a simple exaple, the tech Compass give an advantage to spying and requires the officers each have 55 in both Architecture and Math. Chen Gong is the only officer we have with both, so we cannot research Compass.

If we research Steel Blade we can recruit Heavy Infantry--if we research Spears we can recruit Spearmen. Steel Blades also raises the attack of our infantry units by 5, while spears gives 2 attack to infantry and cavalry.
Heavy Infantry have much higher defense, especially against ranged units, but Spearmen have more attack. Comparing stats I suspect Heavy Infantry would win in a fight between them. The game doesn't tell us exactly how expensive either is, but they're both rated 2 out of 5 upkeep. Looking at the actual files, which are in unencrypted text, they seem equally expensive, that's a bit odd as Heavy Infantry look a lot stronger, but it's possible a point of attack is worth more than a point of defense.

Either way we are not researching either of these, instead we want Battering Rams so we have some offensive siege weaponry. It requires 60 infantry and 50 siege, we have a few officers that meet that but the only ones that aren't busy are Lu Bu himself and Gao Shun, so we give them the job. It will take 4 months and costs 1,648 gold (base cost of 2,000).

The last thing we want to do this turn is recruit more soldiers. ... 6DA5AC6DB/
We'll recruit two sets each of light infantry and light archers. All our good recruiters are busy but these guys will do well enough for now. Next turn we'll drain what's left of the recruitment pool.

I'll quckly explain the appointment screen before I end the turn. ... DD8CC5353/
Prefects are the city governors--we only have one city so no go.
Our councilors give us bonuses to various tasks if their stats in that area re good. I see no reason to change our current set.
Rank lets us give our officers titles if they've won enough deeds. Everyone starts at 0 deeds so nobody is qualified yet.
Captain lets us give "seals" to allow officers to lead special units. I am not sure how we get these seals yet. Possibly we gain one when we unlock the unit and certain officers can also recruit these units on their own, so once Pu Yang can recruit Heavy Spearmen we can give the capability to another of our officer's along with Gao Shun's innate ability to use them?

Once we end the turn we're taken to the map. Officers and armies move along day by day for the month, a bit like ROTK IX. We can speed this part up to 2X or 3X speed. ... 2CECEED32/

We're going to be losing money this early by combining this development with recruiting and research, but I want to get a good foundation set up. I'll drop expenses once our gold drops low--we start with a pretty good amount so we can last a while.

Diao Chan arrives at Ye and opens discussions with Yuan Shao. ... A1F42517D/

It shows up how likely our current offer is to be accepted and what effects it will have. Yuan Shao has no real opinion of us, but if we offer him 10,000 food we'll like us by 10. We offer him 20,000 of our 97,200 food to get to +20 relations. Negotiation takes a few days so it hasn't kicked in when our next turn starts. It's a lot of our food, but our army only takes about 2000 food a turn so it's not a huge issue this early.

Each turn we get a log of what happened last month. ... 3695853C2/

Officers who aren't busy will often visit each other and receive experience or carry out small tasks and give minor bonuses to your city stats. They're very industrious! None this turn, though.

Our new troops from last month are not experienced so they'll need drills. We put quite a few officers on the job so they should be fully trained by next season. Each unit type can have up to three officers drilling them at once. This turn is a lot shorter since city developments and other long-term tasks are already assigned.

A day or two into the month negotiations with Yuan Shao end. We now have better relations. The diplomacy screen now lists him as "Friendly", but we need to get him to "Intimate" for an alliance to be signed.

Here we are on turn 3. ... 68B158108/
You'll notice the yellow circles around the Watchtower and the Farm. Those are proposals, where we send officers who meet the requirements to handle issues to raise city stats, including Support.

The farm has a rat problem and wants someone with a good Combat value--evidently Pu Yang has a serious ROUS problem. Wei Xu is sent to handle it. The Watchtower also wants a combat character to handle a problem with "villains" harassing the population. Cheng Lian gets this one.

There's also a new "!" visitor. It's the doctor Dong Feng, who gives us the medicine "Twotooth". Some doctors will treat injured officers, others give us medicine.
Medicine is very useful--some types extends an officer's lifespan, but this one is used to treat injuries. Lu Bu thanks him kindly.
The other notable and fairly common visitor type is merchant caravans. We can buy or sell food with them but they also sell items.

Before ending turn 3 we send Diao Chan off to meet Yuan Shao again. They'll know each other quite well by the end of the game. We'll give him 12,000 food this time.

A new season (and new background music) is upon us. Pu Yang made 2,522 gold with a commerce value of 1361. We have 2,743 new recruits this season.

This turn's report has examples of our officers doing helpful things on their own. ... 2CF3454D8/

Cao Xing (who is one of our better officers actually--quite good at leading bow units) has managed to get a small food donation for the city from a local merchant, and Hao Meng visited Chen Gong to study naval tactics. Also note a glitch--the log reports officers gaining huge amounts of reputation for completing proposals, but they don't actually receive it.

The farm has a proposal but we have no available officer who qualifies--it requires at least 40 flood control. These proposals are often pretty good to complete so it can be worth taking an officer off development work to handle it. In this case we have Zhang Miao leave his farming work to handle it. Qin Mi takes over for the turn--his farming is terrible but it's better than nothing.

Also, a free officer--Bao Shao--has appeared in Pu Yang. He is not especially interested in working for Lu Bu--everyone has a "very low" chance of hiring him. We'll try, though.

Next turn, despite the "Very low" chance of success Wei Xu managed to hire Bao Shao. We also finish researching Battering Rams. ... 3E7C47F79/
Bao Shao is quite bad, one of the few officers I've seen in the game without any stats of 60 or above--even classic Koei punching bags like Cao Bao are pretty decent. I'm not sure who this guy even is--the only Bao Shao I can find on the officer database on the site is Bao Xin's son.
He's still useful to us, though, because he's less terrible at farming and flood control than a lot of our officers. Him and Zhang Miao can research the cheap tech "Gathering" for a bonus to our harvest--it takes 2 turns so it'll be done by then. Gathering costs 1,000 gold base but the two knock it down to 772.

Zhang Liao has almost maxed Security so I drop his funding down to 50.
With the harvest approaching I also jiggle the city's development a bit--I swap Chen Gong over to farming and give him full funding for the season while Hou Cheng takes over commerce. He's not great at it, but he'll do for now.

I notice at this point that Lu Bu is getting experience points in just about everything--I suspect city governors gain exp from the tasks their officers complete, so Lu Bu's going to end up a lot better at commerce than he started at.

I end the turn and take a look around the map. It seems a merchant will be visiting Pu Yang next turn, and down south I spot...this: ... 9061532FC/

He's identified as a "seer".

This turn Lady Yan discovers another free officer, Xue Ti. He's a good farmer and a decent infantry commander. He's no more interested in working for us then Bao Shao was but we'll try. Lu Bu visits him personally.
The merchants have no particularly interesting items.

Next turn Lady Yan find an item--Annals of Yan Zi. Lu Bu fails to hire Xue Ti, but I'll continue trying until he joins us or flees the city. Harvest this year is 31863. Zhang Liao has a slightly better chance of hiring Xue Ti (Low instead of very low) so we'll let him handle it from now on. My doctor friend Dong Feng returns with a new medicine that extends life. I happily take it.

This season I decide to begin building up the city walls. Hao Meng gets the task.
I also start research on Steel Blades--1,000 gold for +5 infantry attack and a new unit is a pretty good deal, I think. Song Xian and Wei Xu get the job. It'll only be two months.

Next turn we're starting to gain information on Chen Liu from our spies, we now have information on the city's officers.

In September 195 our spy network breaks into Ping Yuan--we can now search it. I doubt anyone is there, but I nonetheless send Qin Yi to search it--he might find items and he doesn't have any more important jobs right now. I might recall him after I take a second city, he's an okay infantry leader.

In October, a free officer, Liu Yan, wanders in. I think this is the one who worked for Shu-Han and was executed after accusing Liu Shan of seducing his wife. He doesn't want to join us either (I wonder if more powerful forces have an easier time or if hiring free officers is just going to be pulling teeth if they don't match your compatibility?). He's good at commerce so we'll start trying.
Xue Ti is starting to come around, though, probably because of his "rapport" raising every time we try and fail.
I decide to add about 480 light cavalry this turn.
We're also done with research for a while. Our gold is running a bit low and revenue gains from increased commerce are slowing.

In December, Yan Shi finds an officer who wants to join us, but... ... CD6E1CE9F/

It's this guy. He's decent but I'm really not sure I trust him considering his history. Ugh, I need non-cavalry commanders, though. I may regret this but I have Lu Bu go to hire him.

In the south, Liu Bei and Yuan Shu are battling one another. ... A9931E615/

Yuan Shu wins and Liu Bei's force retreats and Yuan Shu's army advances on Xiao Pei. Hmm...

January 196. Hua Tuo is visiting Pu Yang. He offers to tend to any injured officers, but nobody is hurt.
After last year's work many of our officers now qualify for titles. These increase their pay but also the number of troops they can lead and higher ranks give other bonuses.
*Gao Shun is named City Commandant
*Zhang Liao is named Horse Captain
*Chen Gong is named Magistrate's Financial Officer
*Zhang Miao is named Magistrate's Secretary
I drain this season's draft pool. It's gone up thanks to the beginning of year population growth to over 3,000.

Chen Liu in 196: ... 261E8F62E/

So, Yuan Shao is currently friendly but we do not have a formal alliance. Liu Bei is now occipied with Yuan Shu--they're the only people who can reach us. I think it's time to march on Chen Liu. However, it's possible the AI doesn't care about good relations and Yuan Shao will attack us from behind if we march now. His army can reach Pu Yang is less than a month so there's no time to turn our main force back if he attacks unless we take Chen Liu very fast.

Our spy information on Chen Liu isn't enough to know troop numbers but we can guess; he had the same number as us when the scenario started and assuming the AI doesn't cheat too much on normal we're probably comparable now. I do have officer information and it seems most of his best officers are not present, aside from Cao Cao himself. We always know what technology other factions have researched--Cao Cao has not unlocked any advanced units. Yuan Shao is ahead of us in the technology game, but everyone else is lagging behind us so I suspect the AI doesn't prioritize research very highly.

The other possibility is to invade Xu province--whoever wins the Yuan Shu/Liu Bei dustup will be weak, so we can leave a decent defense force behind to protect Pu Yang and take a smaller host--say 18,000--to attack Xiao Pei. This will let us match Cao Cao in city count, although our cities are worse. We could then finish off Liu Bei. It might be hard to recruit his officers, though--prisoners aren't super easy to hire. From my experience in a prior game if we hire Liu Bei he'll be able to fairly easily hire all his old officers (I defeated Gongsun Zan as Yuan Shao and he had a huge advantage in hiring them compared to my other officers).

I'm putting it to the thread. Do we:
*Attack Chen Liu next month
*Attack Xiaopei after the battle there concludes
*Wait another year and build our strength further, formalize an alliance with Yuan Shao, and watching for an opening.

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:17 am
by Sakae Wu
Gray Riders wrote:I'm putting it to the thread. Do we:
*Attack next month Chen Liu
*Attack Xiaopei after the battle there concludes
*Wait another year and build our strength further, formalize an alliance with Yuan Shao, and watching for an opening.

Nice write up, you seem to have a really good grasp of the game already. It was very informative also.
I see some similarities to X with the skill list, city layout and a few other things.
I wondered if they showed results from battles between the AI? I might have missed that~
Overall it looks pretty good to me.

I initially thought going after Xiaopei would be the best bet, but as long as he's busy with Yuan Shu he's not a threat, and they'll probably only weaken each other further if you leave them alone for a bit.

If you can secure the alliance with Yuan Shao that would take a major threat out of the equation and give you time to buy some better units to deal with Cao Cao. I'm guessing he's expanding west? (not sure)
So, for what it's worth, I'd probably go option 3. Although another year seems a little too long to stand pat.

Edit: They also had Armored units in Rotk X and they made a huge difference in battles.
But they were only available in a few cities

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:51 am
by Gray Riders
Sakae Wu wrote:I wondered if they showed results from battles between the AI? I might have missed that~

The game tells you when a faction is destroyed but not when AI battles occur; I was watching the map and saw Yuan Shu run his force into Zhang Fei's, routing them a few days later.

If you can secure the alliance with Yuan Shao that would take a major threat out of the equation and give you time to buy some better units to deal with Cao Cao. I'm guessing he's expanding west? (not sure)
So, for what it's worth, I'd probably go option 3. Although another year seems a little too long to stand pat.

Cao Cao hasn't moved quite yet--from what I can tell the only people who have are Zhang Yan taking Luoyang from Zhang Ji and Yuan Shu's current invasion of Xiao Pei. The AI seems to want to leave good defenses or prepare diplomatically before attacking--in my Yuan Shao game Han Fu and Liu Bei both made concerted efforts to win me over before they started attacking.
This works to our advantage because the only people that can attack me are Yuan Shao (which we're diplomatically working on), Liu Bei (whose occupied) and Cao Cao himself. Cao Cao has to worry about me, Yuan Shao, Zhang Yan in Luoyang, and Zhang Ji in Chang An.

Waiting another year isn't a huge problem--turns are pretty fast, really. What would be great would be if Cao Cao sends out troops to either attack someone else or occupy a free city so we can get a good blow in. I'm not too worried about the attack right now, though--as I mentioned the AI doesn't protect it's commander and the commander's defeat is an instant loss in battle (which I think they should change to a morale penalty, myself).

Edit: They also had Armored units in Rotk X and they made a huge difference in battles.
But they were only available in a few cities

This game has a special unit called Nanman Raiders with incredibly high defenses. Both their ranged and close defense are 120, and the next highest defense any unit has is 100 ranged defense for Wu's Elite Guard--definitely Wutugu's rattan troops that ROTK X's Armored were also based off of.

By the way: There are War Elephants down in Nanzhong. :D

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:53 am
by Zyzyfer
I vote to secure that alliance with Yuan before you have a go at Cao Cao.

Thanks for the write-up so far, seems like a decent game so far. Love that insane reputation gain bug...they do get something though, right?

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:08 am
by Sun Fin
I agree with the others on the alliance before invading. I also think game sounds good, when it's got a full English translation I think I might pick it up!

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:46 pm
by Gray Riders
Formalizing an alliance has overwhelmingly won, so we'll do that. I might take my forces out and see if I can get Cao Cao to meet me in the field so I can try damaging his army and getting some prisoners (I think you can take gold and food from defeated armies as well--I only had one "proper" field battle and the rest were capturing cities), but I won't pursue and assault Chen Liu just yet.
Zyzyfer wrote:I vote to secure that alliance with Yuan before you have a go at Cao Cao.

Thanks for the write-up so far, seems like a decent game so far. Love that insane reputation gain bug...they do get something though, right?

I checked the officers after the report and they had some reputation--it's possible they got it from other jobs but I suspect they gain a small amount from the proposals.

Sun Fin wrote:I agree with the others on the alliance before invading. I also think game sounds good, when it's got a full English translation I think I might pick it up!

That may not be too long a wait since they said the new translation (done by a professional english localization company) is coming around this month. I'll let everyone know when the update hits.

Edit: Update spoiler; we've fought our first battle...

Edit 2: We're in trouble thanks to an act of god. Not fatally, though, and opportunity has knocked.

In mid January Xiao Pei falls to Yuan Shu's army.

In February, Lu Bu's daughter, lady Lu Ling Ju, comes of age and joins her father's army. ... E97156F29/

She's okay.

In March, Yuan Shao conquers Bei Hai, destroying Kong Rong.Diao Chan convinces Xue Ti to join us! I give him one of the items we found, the Fan Sheng's Manual, raising his loyalty from 86 to 94 and his Farming from 73 to 79.

An Artisan, Guo Da, visits in April. He offers to build us a "fine weapon" for 2,000 gold. It turns out to be a +3 combat twin blades. Not worth it.

Elsewhere, Yuan Shu has lust Ru Nan to Liu Biao and Yuan Shao has occupied Shang Dang. Liu Yao has occupied Guang Ling, and Wang Lang has taken Jian An.

In April we march out, hoping to engage Cao Cao in battle outside Chen Liu. Order of battle:
*Lu Bu and Diao Chan, 6,494 light cavalry
*Zhang Liao, 5,500 light infantry
*Gao Shun, 5,500 light infantry
*Cao Xing and Chen Gong, 5,000 light archers
*Lu Ling Ju and Hou Cheng, 5,000 light archers

Cao Cao rides out to meet us... ... 43EC2A9C7/
Cao Cao brings about 28,000 to meet our 26,000. Our armies stare one another down.. ... 4D4E765C4/ ... 9A475FBBC/

This forest is key to my plan. I hope to lay an ambush there and bait Cao Cao into it. ... 81808FF1F/

Day 2, Cao Cao advances on us. Gao Shun and Zhang Liao lay ambush in the forest. I sure hope it doesn't have a high failure chance. Our bow units will try to bait Cao Cao's cavalry into attacking them and being ambushed. Lu Bu can't lay ambush or I'd have hidden him. As is he'll serve as a mobile reserve. ... 1A09DDB7C/
Our army in position.

Cao Ren closes and tries to taunt Ling Ju into attacking him but fails. On our turn she fires on him.

Zhu Ling and Cao Ren advance into our ambushes. Xiahou Dun unleashes flaming arrows on Gao Shun's unit. It begins to rain. ... 492E2EA36/

Our arrow units fire on Cao Ren and Gao Shun attacks him--Cao Ren is nearly done for. Lu Bu uses "Intrude" and launches a raid on Li Dian's troops on the right flank, damaging and demoralizing them. Zhang Liao inflicts heavy damage on Zhu Ling. Cao Cao's forces focus on Lu Bu, but don't do too much damage. ... 5CA3C6B90/
Gao Shun goes into ambush again.

Lu Bu uses charge, smashing through both Li Dian and Cao Ren's units. Cao Ren is routed and Lu Ling Ju provides support fire on Li Dian, whose unit is confused. Morale shifts in my favor. ... 109E98C86/

Cao Cao focuses attacks on Lu Bu. Lu Bu destroys Li Dian and most of our other units move up--Lu Ling Ju withdraws because I make a small mistake but next turn she will return. Gao Shun leaves the ambush and Intrudes Man Chong's unit. ... 60ACA0A8E/

This turn Lu Bu withdraws and we focus fire on Cao Cao; Zhang Liao even pushes him into a fire.
Looking at the troop numbers left we're winning decisively. ... 6421600BB/

Cao Cao tries to taunt Lu Bu, but fails. His other units attack Gao Shun with modest success.

Xiahou Dun manages to taunt Gao Shun. Gao Shun's attack does 4 times the damage he takes so it was a mistake on Xiahou Dun's part. ... 4E9A9B48F/
Zhang Liao routs Cao Cao, battle over. Zhu Ling is taken prisoner.

Portmortem on the battle:
*I was too reckless with Lu Bu's cavalry charge--I thought I'd be able to withdraw him next turn, but Cao Cao surrounded him and prevented that.
*My other mistake--more minor--was I should have had Gao Shun and Zhang Liao withdraw a square and set up another ambush.
*I was hoping to take more prisoners or steal some gold and food, but unfortunately not. Maybe if I had completely annihilated Cao Cao's army instead of just routing Cao Cao himself. Still he suffered vastly greater losses than us, so I consider this a victory.

In May, Zhang Yan is finished off as Yuan Shao takes Luo Yang. An officer named Zheng Rong neters the city; she's reasonably willing to join us if we send Zhang Liao.

Zheng Xuan visits the city to "compare notes on Misinform". Lu Bu speaks to him but doesn't gain the skill--presumably he gained experience points towards it.

In August, Cao Cao occupies Wan.

In September there is a flood in Pu Yang! Not good. Economic damage is very heavy. It triggers several proposals to help deal with the aftermath.
The good news is we now have full information on Chen Liu from our spy network. It is vulnerable.

It is now October. We haven't formalized the alliance with Yuan Shao but we have no choice--Cao Cao is growing and we aren't, and Chen Liu is vulnerable to attack. We march!

Order of Battle:
Lu Bu and Chen Gong, 5,000 light archers
Zhang Liao, 5,000 light infantry
Gao Shun, 5,000 light infantry
Cao Xing and Diao Chan, 5,000 light archers

However, we have a complication: ... 8CA9C520E/
Our army re-routed to deal with this new threat.

Yuan Shu outnumbers is slighty, but his units are weaker thanks to inferior leadership and technology.

We once again lay ambush, and Ji Ling and Li Feng walk into it. Gao Shun uses Intrude on Li Feng while the rest of our troops hammer Ji Ling. The battle is still ugly, partially because Yuan Shu fires tons of fire arrows everywhere and it turns into a fiery bath. We still win in the end, partially thanks to Diao Chan using Misinform on Yuan Shu's big cavalry unit and sending them running away for a few turns, partially because Zhang Liao manages to confuse Yuan Shu after he returns by getting above him on a hill and dropping a rockslide on him, which confuses Yuan Shu's unit and does pretty good damage. This battle is over. Sadly all of his officers escape. ... D2E39D66C/
Yuan Shao takes advantage of the opening and conquers Xiao Pei.

196 is done. It was a pretty ugly year, all told. Yuan Shu's attack was a severe blow to us. Oddly, I think buying that 2,000 gold weapon was my biggest mistake. The flood hitting Pu Yang was far from helpful, too.

Yuan Shao is growing absurdly fast, which is more than slightly concerning.

Oddly, I think I focused too much on growth early on. It may have been best to put all my early gold into allying with Yuan Shao and building my army. Well, it's too late for regrets.

The only good news is that if we ally with Yuan Shao we're completely covered now; we'll be able to throw everything we have at Cao Cao and try to take his cities as rapidly as possible.

No vote this time because we have no options. We need to ally with Yuan Shao and capture Chen Liu. Unfortunately, testing suggests we need relations at 60 before we can try and that's a while off.

One battle note is that the AI seems to always target your commander if possible, so giving them a unit with high ranged defense, like Heavy Infantry, might be a good way to draw fire from your more vulnerable units.

Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:40 am
by Zyzyfer
Gray Riders wrote:One battle note is that the AI seems to always target your commander if possible, so giving them a unit with high ranged defense, like Heavy Infantry, might be a good way to draw fire from your more vulnerable units.

This isn't really unheard of with these games, targeting the "most vulnerable" unit. It was somewhat averted in my experience with Koei's ROTK XI and XIII, but only in the sense that the commander's unit lost relevancy. I think some of the older titles like III and IV from Koei actually may have used something more like Last Warlord. I know in III the AI would 99% of the time shove the commander in the castle, and I think IV might have forced you to choose a supply unit, which if defeated meant you lost all your food for the battle.

Some interesting things about this are that you can play as a bad ruler but still kick butt. And you also can usually abuse the high priority placed on your commander to do weird things like, for instance - if he's got decent enough but not Lu Bu levels of War - to trigger a huge string of duels during battles.

Rambling aside, it sounds easy enough to "abuse" but nothing new to Three Kingdoms games.


I must admit, I am worried about Yuan Shao's expansion. He is probably overpowered in this scenario. It seems like the game designers occasionally overcompensated/overcorrected certain aspects we have come to expect. Maybe Yuan Shao is one such case.

Also, if you can only recruit about 3,000 troops per season at the moment, does that mean your losses are about 3 seasons worth of troops then? XIII was annoying for these drafting limits, but they at least attempted to balance it with the wounded stuff. If a couple of battles set your recruitment back 3 seasons, it seems to suggest that rapid early expansion may be preferable if you have the officer corps to do so.

Battles seem interesting, but with only the screenshots to view, would you say that any tactics stand out as overpowered/underpowered?