Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Discussion of other Three Kingdoms games (e.g. Destiny of an Emperor and Dynasty Tactics) and other games by Koei (e.g. Samurai Warriors).

Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Jordan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:22 am

https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 44BA902B7/

This is the most cursed thing I will probably ever do in this game.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Gray Riders » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:51 pm

https://old.reddit.com/r/totalwar/comme ... total_war/

Looks like the War of the Eight Princes is incoming.

Edit: Official steam page
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1102 ... t_Princes/
Edit2:
I threw together some battle tips and a few campaign notes to help out beginners. I can clarify or answer more specific questions if anyone has them. Spoilered for length.
So far I've only played on Records mode but much of this should stay true in Romance mode as well.

Some quick campaign notes:
*Because rebellions are weak I've seen a lot of advocacy for ignoring public order; the local garrison can defeat the attacks, or you can have a low level general who raises their retinue the turn before one occurs so they can destroy it then stand down again until the next one. Some argue that for this reason you should just hike taxes to Very High permanently and use the numerous rebellions to level up your characters and get bonus money from ransom and loot. The only penalty is slowed (or even stopped, depending on buildings and Reforms) population growth, which can hurt replenishment later on if you don't grab the Red Reform that raises it.
*I sort of skipped over peasant income last time for one reason; it's dependant on population (unlike the other two relying on buldings) and the higher income buildings comes with drawbacks, either in food or public order. I think the food penalty isn't really worth it outside settlements with multiple peasant income minor settlements--with the food you lose on even the lowest food market you could support another tier 5 city and probably make more money that way. That said you can make a lot of money off peasant income if you have a city built towards it, especially if you don't mind dealing with rebellions.

Now for the battles:

Army composition:
*Something to note that the game doesn't fully explain; every unit has a "mass" stat (Heroes show this on their mount stats). The heavier a unit is the better it is at pushing past lighter units and the more damage it will do when charging called impact damage. Speed is also a factor in impact damage, and impact damage is 50% armor piercing.
Luckily, although the game doesn't directly tell you a unit's weight you can tell by their movement speed:
Light infantry--38 move, 75 mass
Medium infantry--34 move, 110 mass
Heavy infantry--30 move, 150 mass
Light cavalry--65 move, 300 mass
Medium cavalry--57 move, 400 mass
Heavy cavalry--52 move, 500 mass
Elephants will probably be added later, they already have two entries for "baby" versions with 500 mass and adult with 5000.
There is one thing to be warned of; the "Charge Negation" effect Sentinels can give their retinue does not seem to block damage from high mass, only the charge bonus--heavy cavalry, especially heroes with heavy mounts, can still smash through Charge Negate lines.

Avoid two on one fights in the enemy's favor until you're experiened and know how to react to situations. Try to use a Night Attack (best option if available, in fact night attack is always good because of the morale penalty), fall back and try to get a second stack to help, or set an ambush (riskiest since the ambush may fail).

For my armies I want 1 strategist (they're basically essential) for ranged units, 1 of either a Sentinel or a Champion (for my infantry line) than either a Vanguard or a Commander (for mounted troops, Vanguard's mostly better though).

I have a few recommended Strategist retinues that can last all game:
*This one is only if you have flaming arrows: 1 Archer (not militia as they have much less ammunition--if using militia you might need 2 and 1 less crossbow unit), 4 crossbows, 1 trebuchet. If it's not raining 1 archer unit can take down a decent number of towers if led by a high Cunning character.
*2 archers, 4 crossbows (flaming arrows--if you don't want to bring trebuchets)
*2 trebuchet, 4 crossbows (very powerful but expensive early on)
*1 trebuchet, 5 crossbows (trebuchet are overpowered so this is a "fairer" set)
The skill giving you flaming trebuchet shots is incredibly valuable, and 2 archer militia or 1 full archer with flaming arrows can destroy quite a few towers in dry weather--AI towers only seem to shoot the nearest target (unlike regular units) so infantry in Shieldwall or Turtle formation can screen for your archers to protect them. The trebuchet can be very useful too, of course, especially with flaming shot (the solid shot does worse against towers than you'd expect). Once a tower's fire damage is above 50 stop shooting--it'll burn down on it's own at that point so save ammo.
Crossbows are great in sieges. They can shoot at normal archers without risk of return fire and cause very heavy damage to the enemy's infantry lines. Once your trebuchets/flaming arrows have eliminted the enemy towers your crossbows can inflict great damage.
It's usually best to group your missile troops by range (don't group Crossbows with normal archers but Onyx dragons should be fine) and have the groups focus their shots on a single target to break it as quicly as possible--it's okay to have multiple groups shooting at the same target, I recommend splitting them to avoid having lower ranged units accidentally run past your infantry and get killed. In field battles I suggest you have your crossbows kill any Defenders of Earth first--second priority is usually enemy commanders, especially Vanguards or Champions who are most likely to break through your frontline. After that they can start killing enemy ranged units.

Next we'll talk about your infantry/cavalry, which need to be discussed together due to one important fact; one of the most important tasks is eliminating the enemy's cavalry, as that is what frees your own cavalry up to deliver the winning blow.

The simplest way is to place spears or Ji on your flanks, as two units stretched out as far as possible and spaced a apart a little (not enough that an enemy unit could run between them) with other troops closer to the front (so the AI would have to circle around a lot to reach them--flanking cavalry is lazy) will stop most cavalry flanks--I find the enemy will only go around if it has lots of cavalry--more than the AI usually brings. Once the enemy cavalry is beaten you can bring them around to engage the enemy infantry line. Ji or Spear Warriors may work better than spearguards for this; they generally won't get shot at much so going for higher damage when they flank could be advantagous. Upgraded Ji units can also fight better in sieges by going into their Spearwall formation.

The other is to rely on cavalry superiority. The AI uses it's commanders in frontal attacks so you can usually combine your commanders with you to win the mounted engagemen handily--the AI may peel off infantry to assist--missile fire (since it's back will be exposed) can drive them off, or if you have enough cavalry units one can break off and charge the infantry in the back once it's attacked your troops. A full six units of cavalry is expensive but especially early on two generals and two normal cavalry should be able to stop the enemy's flank--I find the AI doesn't usually use tons of horses.

Either way once the enemy cavalry is beaten your own mounted forces can hit the enemy's lines, run down their ranged, or carry out any other mission.

Sometimes if the AI doesn't have much cavalry or in smaller battles it won't try to flank and will send them head on. If this happens and your frontline isn't "charge reflectors" I suggest shooting the enemy cavalry with archers or crossbows to rout them before they can charge.

Next, which infantry should you use for your frontline? Very early on I like Sabre Militia or Axe Bands if they're available (I feel Axe Bands are better because they have advanced formations), since the shield means they won't melt to ranged units (Ji Militia are not so lucky). Later on either Spearguard or Jianguard, depending on which class my infantry specialist is.

Champions can consider either six Spearguards or four Spearguards and two Ji (the Ji should be on your flanks where they won't get shot much); higher level Ji units (I.E not militia) may perform better in siege assaults than Spearguard thanks to the Spear Wall formation, which seems to greatly boost their combat potential.
Some workable Sentinel retinues are four sword infantry and two Ji Militia, or four sword infantry and two militia archers for flaming arrows if you don't have a strategist with flaming arrows (Huang Zhong and Taishi Ci are Sentinels who can recruit full Archers, I believe), and of course six sword infantry, especially if you plan to use your own cavalry instead of charge reflectors to stop the enemy's flanking attack.

The cavalry commander doesn't have a ton of options--if you have good faction specific cavalry I'd use them. Jade Dragons are great but take a lot of Reforms to get. If you're planning to use charge reflectors to protect your flank you can give your cavalry officer two Ji militia (or faction specific replacement), if you want to stop it with cavalry superiorty you will of course want a full (expensive) six cavalry units.

Champions VS Sentinel:
Champions are powerful in battle thanks to being large-sized shock cavalry. Sentinels can do good damage thanks to their heavy mass from being mounted but not as much, being more "tanky". Unfortunately their small unit size hurts with that. A few sentinels with unique weapons can be different (Xu Huang is pretty beastly).
Sentinels can have access to Flaming Arrows--a Sentinel army could go with four Jianguard and two Militia Archers to help in sieges (Taishi Ci and Huang Zhong can recruit full Archers, in fact).

Spearguard are a good unit for field battles because they slaughter cavalry--including enemy commanders--and in their Circle formation (if you have access to it--I think you need a rank 5 strategist) can hold out for a long time against infantry thanks to great melee defense (only in Circle, though) and heavy armor for the upgraded variants. During sieges they can use Turtle to approach safely, but their weakness fighting infantry hurts (although experienced heavy spearguard should still be able to punch through low level sabre units), so you'll want ranged units to do a lot of work to help them out.
During deployment you can put them in turtle, spread them out, then switch to Circle to get a fairly well spaced out line for your front.

Jian Swordguard are much more vulnerable to cavalry, making shooting down enemy generals (and any cavalry in the centre) a bigger priority, but they perform much better against infantry, especially with the Brave skill giving them Charge Negation, and are better during siege assaults. They have the same useful Circle formation. Spreading them in Shieldwall then turning to Circle will put units closer together than doing it with Turtle for Spearguard--I'd prefer to space them out manually a little more during deployment.

Using cavalry:
The ideal situation is to charge an infantry unit from behind. Also good is one that's currently moving since it stops them from bracing. You can charge Ji or Spears from behind but check to make sure they're not actually facing towards you and are actively fighting--I've sometimes had units that seemed engaged in melee but weren't, causing heavy cavalry losses. When attacking archers it's safe to go in a loose formation--the charge will still break them apart and it'll save your troops lives.
Against infantry without either Charge Negation or Charge Reflection Medium and Heavy cavalry can often win with a head on attack, though--especially in a Wedge. It's less effective but it can work.
Unless it's urgent (a chance to catch a Ji or spear unit while it's moving is one example--a cavalry wing wreaking havoc can cause the AI to split off infantry to chase them and are often unable to cover every side) you should wait for the unit to get together and form up before attacking, then choose the right formation; normally you should spread your cavalry thin--you can often hit multiple units this way, potentially routing two enemy forces. However, if the enemy is in a formation with lower frontage and lots of rear ranks it can be better to hit them with a Wedge formation to smash through, or for just killing a single infantry unit. A few seconds after the hit take it out of Wedge to get your armor back.
If you have to fight spears or ji frontally, then do not order an attack--walk near them and engage normally. The bonus against cavalry is fairly small so it's mostly charge reflection you must worry about. You can do this with one mounted unit then have another hit the enemy from behind to decide the issue.

Retreat them a few seconds after impact, especially Strategists should retreat almost immediately. Tougher cavalry can hang in a while and see if the enemy breaks. Going into Guard mode seems to help cavalry withdraw a bit better, but it might just be me.


However, you're not REALLY limited to three retinues; you can bring a second army with only one or two retinues. They won't be able to help in a night battle but there are several uses to this support stack:
*Providing units useful for siege battles (for instance, a bunch of archers with flaming arrows to support an army with only crossbows, Swordguard to help a Spearguard army--a Sentinel could bring four Swordguard and two flaming arrow archer militia).
*Luring enemies into ambushes--if you place your main army in ambush between your support stack and an enemy army the AI may try to attack your small army and get ambushed!

Finally, some suggestions and notes on controls:
*Use the detailed stats rather than the small breakdown. The breakdown doesn't give you nearly enough information on how a unit works.
*You can group units with the G key, and lock these groups by clicking the icon above the grouping. Locked groups will move together at the speed of the slowest unit and maintain formation when given a move order. In addition, when given an attack order will automatically target separate enemy units.
*Hold spacebar in battle and try working with the various UI elements; locking some of them in permanently can be helpful, a few options like Hide Foliage make fighting in forests far less annoying.
*You can order units to move and keep their current relative placements without grouping them by holding the ALT button and dragging with the left mouse button. So you can maintain a formation while moving (they won't march in step with each other unless Locked in a group). You can help CTRL and move the mouse to change the formation's facing. This is hugely useful if you have a complex formation you don't want to redo after having to move.
*I recommend going to the "Interface" options menu and disabling "Default skirmish" and "Default to run". Both options will cause you problems--the skirmish AI is terrible and running everywhere will quickly tire your units.
*Putting Guard mode on ranged units will prevent them from chasing a target that moves out of range...usually. It's a little broken right now.
*One thing to watch out for is grouping your ranged units then one of them runs out of ammo and charges hand to hand when you give the group an order to attack. If you use groups for your ranged units keep an eye on ammo and remove empty units.
*Mind your fatigue. Tired units begin to move and attack more slowly (both melee and ranged) and lose charge bonus, so it's better to walk instead of run when needed. Running tires units three times as fast in Records mode. This is especially notable with cavalry, since losing charge bonus, speed, and attack rate makes them much less effective--this is why Ma Teng's fatigue-immune cavalry are so terrifying.
*One of the most important parts of a battle is choosing the ground. This is part of what makes trebuchet's so useful--their great range lets you force the enemy to come to you. You want to avoid the enemy having a wood-covered approach, for instance, which will weaken the effect of your ranged fire. Being able to put your own forces behind treelines, on the other hand, is quite useful. Taking the high ground is also wise if possible.
*Know the difference between "routing" and "shattered". A routing unit can eventually rally and come back, but a shattered unit is going to flee straight off the field and nothing will stop them. You can "encourage" a routing unit to stay away by shooting it a bit or sending cavalry to chase it, hoping to cause enough damage that it pushes into the shattered state.
*The AI will often stack it's cavalry on one flank, particularly when it doesn't have many of them.
*Kill enemy trebuchets ASAP and don't bunch your troops up until they're gone. If an enemy army has a trebuchet I recommend trying to ambush them so you can destroy it quickly.


Finally, here's a screenshot demosntration of a two on two retinue battle set up in Custom Battle on hard to explain some of my ideas. I use Sun Jian and Kong Rong with a mix of militia aganinst Dong Zhuo and Han Sui with two Xi Liang Heavy cavalry and a swarm of sabre militia to demonstrate some deployment basics.

https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 5D10CAF64/

My front has sabre militia--if the enemy had ranged the shield would help. Once the enemy gets somewhat close my troops can counter charge--be careful NOT to charge beore the enemy cavalry has commited so they won't turn around! If you're unsure you should stay defensive--higher tier militia with Shieldwall or Circle formations have a big advantage, as do higher level Sentinels with the Brave skill so they can negate charges.

The Ji militia aren't shoulder to shoulder with themselves or the frontline--this way they cover more ground and the AI cavalry is more likely to attack them, as both units do. The one further to the top pretended to be going around but then did indeed charge into my Ji militia. Despite the weakest Ji unit fighting some of the strongest heavy cavalry I won handily. One of the Xi Liang has a decent amount of men left so I know it'll return later.

My archers focused their fire on Dong Zhuo, routing him before he reaches the line. I turn them on Han Sui is won't smash through as badly but will be hard to kill in melee. I also watch for the enemy cavalry to rally and return so my archers can shoot them again if needed.

https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ ... A972278D3/
With the enemy cavalry handled, my side Ji can move around and hit the enemy in the side while my generals move to the back for a charge.
Unseen is that my archers on my left are moving around so they can shoot the enemy from behind.


https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 68DF32F89/
Here I demonstrate a trick--your ranged can shoot over your lines to hit enemies in the back in situations like this--VERY useful! Crossbows are even better because of their improve accuracy. You can see my flanking archers on the left side of the screen as well, firing towards the rear of the enemy on the right.

Despite Dong having the bonus of Hard level (about 10% to most AI stats) and a more expensive army, Sun Jian and Kong Rong won a Heroic victory.

Here is a larger battle where I demonstrate a cavalry screen:
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 5D633867B/
Because the AI doesn't use generals as cavalry, doing so gives me an advantage in a cavalry battle.
Note that if the AI doesn't divide their cavalry (if you can see them during deployment or at a distance it's easy to notice, harder on maps with lots of forest or hills) it makes sense to put your anti-cavalry screen all on that side while placing your own mounted troops on the opposite side so they can hit the enemy's flank unopposed.

In this case we can see even in deployment that the AI push all their cavalry on one wing. In this case it seem to be good to position my right flank's protective Spearguard and Ji over there instead but the AI isn't completely stupid--leave a flank open and it may move cavalry over to that side. That can play into your hands, though, if you have a strong cavalry screen on the same side that can wipe his divided horses out easily.

Also be warned that side guards are not flawless--especially when the AI sends lots of cavalry (three or more) there's always the chance one gets smart. It can be worth having two crossbow unit target any cavalry that seems likely to get around your guard, or to send strong cavalry of your own to stop them.

I spread the frontline Spearguard out in Turtle than switched them to Circle--they'll hold out a good while against pretty much anything (if you see Yellow Dragons though shoot them). My trebuchet targets the enemy ranged, which is also the priority target of my crossbows. I should have kept my crossbows a little further back (since they have good range); this close the AI generals can sometimes form a wedge and poke through into them between the gaps, though if this happens I can have my other crossbows shoot them to rout them quickly--very few units last long against focused crossbow attacks.

One other fun trebuchet tip; by holding Alt you can order Trebuchets to shoot at the ground. You can actually use this to fire at enemy units engaged with your line and cause minimal friendly fire! It requires a thick" blob" of enemies, often formed wen the AI sends several infantry units to engage one of yours. If you order the trebuchet to shoot at the ground in the middle of the enemy mass (close to the edge away from your own troops, of course) it'll hit them while only lightly damaging your own unit (better with higher level, more accurate trebuchets). Stone shot instead of flaming shot is probably a bit safer due to not having as large a radius area.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Jordan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:07 am

War of the Eight Princes is an absolute DREAM COME TRUE for me. I never expected they would do something that bold. They're already getting a lot of flak for it, but I love it. I've always wanted to see a game dip its toe into that period and the subsequent one.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:32 am

Gray Riders wrote:I threw together some battle tips and a few campaign notes to help out beginners. I can clarify or answer more specific questions if anyone has them. Spoilered for length.


Thanks for taking the time to write all of that up! A lot of helpful tips that will come in handy in my next go around.
Work's been crazy busy so I haven't had much spare time to play. Shopping for a newer laptop as well.

I'm sure I'll have some questions down the line, but I appreciate your well written guide :)
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby PeanutButterToast » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:01 am

Jordan wrote:War of the Eight Princes is an absolute DREAM COME TRUE for me. I never expected they would do something that bold. They're already getting a lot of flak for it, but I love it. I've always wanted to see a game dip its toe into that period and the subsequent one.


Forgive my ignorance here, but why would they be getting flat for doing this period of history? I've seen nothing but excitement for it on the sites I visit. What makes it a bold move? Regardless, I'm stoked.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Tarrot » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:11 am

PeanutButterToast wrote:
Jordan wrote:War of the Eight Princes is an absolute DREAM COME TRUE for me. I never expected they would do something that bold. They're already getting a lot of flak for it, but I love it. I've always wanted to see a game dip its toe into that period and the subsequent one.


Forgive my ignorance here, but why would they be getting flat for doing this period of history? I've seen nothing but excitement for it on the sites I visit. What makes it a bold move? Regardless, I'm stoked.


On reddit there's translated comments from China about how the period is more of a shameful period, so they really don't like it. I think its pre-emptive downvoting of the new DLC or something like that.

Personally, I'd much rather have a show based on the War of the 8 Princes than a Total War game on it. The court intrigue is much more interesting than the battle and faction intrigue.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:31 am

Nice trailer, a sense of family and divided as they wait outside, conflicting emotions as battles rage, Nanfeng's teasing reveal at the end

It is a good move as seems well suited given importance, being the follow on from 3kingdom era allows a degree of flow, the big characters, multiple factions including big tribal threat, powerful females (I assume that is Jia Nanfeng in the banner). I assume they will be very careful around Sima Zhong given events were not his fault.

I probably won't get it as tend to tailor my total war buys to what era interests me (warhammer, will get three kingdoms) as strategy games are not my forte. Maybe if strong reviews and the quest lines are there, I might be tempted. Pleased for those who never thought they would see such a thing

My selfish concern with this kind of thing is always that the focus gets split (which why I oppose the idea with DW's), even the 190 era for total war is still unfilled (hello western and southern faction, tribes), now they are trying to cover two major era's. Will this lead to two excellent eras or unfinished gaps in both and a feeling of what might have been? Though in terms of selling, seems like a good move by CA as not sure 8 princes by itself would have got huge pull (might do in future with something like this) but could sell well as DLC
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Wed Jul 17, 2019 3:48 pm

I can’t believe they’re actually going Western Jin and beyond. I can’t believe JIA NANFENG is going to be in a game! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

My heart is going to explode. Is this real life? :shock:

Now would be a great time to finish my Jia Nanfeng bio because she’s sure to be depicted as a villain. The YouTube comments for the trailer are already blaming her for the whole war. :?
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby Jordan » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:19 pm

PeanutButterToast wrote:
Jordan wrote:War of the Eight Princes is an absolute DREAM COME TRUE for me. I never expected they would do something that bold. They're already getting a lot of flak for it, but I love it. I've always wanted to see a game dip its toe into that period and the subsequent one.


Forgive my ignorance here, but why would they be getting flat for doing this period of history? I've seen nothing but excitement for it on the sites I visit. What makes it a bold move? Regardless, I'm stoked.


Chinese people (I'm generalizing here) tend not to like it. They wanted more 3k content. Many Chinese people view the Sima family with disdain and dislike that China fell to "barbarians" partly or entirely as a consequence of the Sima family civil war. They view this civil war as shameful, and it's not represented much in Chinese media or fiction, in contrast with the Three Kingdoms and Late-Han civil war.

In the West, few people know all of that cultural and historical context. As far as I've seen, the trailer has been received with overwhelming positivity. It's also selling well on Steam. IMO, there is a big cultural divide here, which is to be expected of a game that has two very different major markets. CA took a bold move. I think it will pay off, but it hasn't been met without (some) criticism.

My opinion is that this DLC isn't zero sum. They can add it and continue to add more content to the Three Kingdoms period scenario(s). And I personally think they will. I think they wanted to get this one out first so they could auspiciously release it on August 8th.

I'm biased toward Jia Nanfeng. To me she gets a bad rap and was more competent than most of the other princes: she held power longer than any of them. Once she was dead, the Empire was well and truly screwed. You would think that considering how much the histories bash Jia Nanfeng, they would consider her ouster, Sima Lun, to be a hero. Instead he's considered to be an avaricious, incompetent and unintelligent usurper. This is probably an equally unfair assessment considering his skill at political scheming and the utter embarrassment of Sima Zhong as Emperor (making Lun's usurpation fairly justified). IMO, though, the negative assessment of Lun is somewhat of an admission that the Empire was better off under Jia Nanfeng's thumb. Unfortunately, I don't believe she is playable, nor are any of the non-Chinese factions or bandits like Zhang Chang playable. Seems like we're only playing as princes. I'm ok with that I guess. I also think Sima Ai and Sima Liang did nothing wrong lol.
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Re: Total War: Three Kingdoms Discussion Thread

Unread postby PeanutButterToast » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:40 am

Thanks y'all for answering. I supposed I sorta get it? Probably not, but regardless I am super excited for this. I'll be honest though. I was kinda hoping for a Southern Campaign DLC. Oh well.
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