Clan Hojo (Purple)

The Hojo clan is one of the easiest clans in the game. It has probably the richest provinces in the whole Japan (Musashi and Hitachi) and copper deposits in Shimotsuke. It borders only two clans: Uesugi and Takeda, which makes it easier to start the game. Strategically, their home province of Shimoza is well insulated from enemies unlike Imagawa's or Takeda's and the province of Musashi has a river, therefore is easily defensible. Hojo's provinces are all in one pool and not divided like Takeda's lands which makes it easier to plan the strategy.

From the construction standpoint, Hitachi is of primary importance to Hojo due to abundant iron sand deposits which makes it possible to build an armoury. The armoury will allow the clan to train armoured troops which will last longer in battles.

One help from the developers does Hojo have is the lower cost of castles which helps greatly in the long run. It allows Hojo to add a defensive strategy (wait and develop) to the arsenal of offensives.

Kazusa gives bonus to all emissaries trained in this province. It is not of great help since Hojo is more of fighting clan which is in excellent position to take everything by force without a resort to diplomacy and dark side.

Two negatives which Hojo faces is their neighbours: Uesugi and Takeda are arguably the strongest clans in the game, therefore, unless certain steps are taken, Hojo will have hard time fending off the greedy enemies.

Strategy:

As mentioned before, Hojo has two strategies available: defensive and offensive. The defensive strategy is basically contained in reinforcing as the first move Musashi and (as the second move) Hitachi. Put some extra archers and yari in Musashi and they can greet Takeda cavalry on the bridge. Hitachi is less defensible because it has plains. However, unless Uesugi turns wise and attacks Hitachi in the first season, you will have more than enough time to do all things necessary hold this province. Send your emissary to both Uesugi and Takeda and make peace with them (although Takeda is likely to attach Musashi anyway).

It can be suggested to invest primarily in Hitachi since this province is capable to train armoured troops due to iron sand deposits in the province. In addition, since it a coastline province, you can build a port there and easily transport troops all over Japan to facilitate your quest to become the Shogun.

So there you are developing your provinces in peace. After you build a watchtower in Musashi, you can watch Takeda, Imagawa and Uesugi fight for Shinano and drain their resources and when you feel comfortable, attack and crash the winner. The attack can be directed at Echigo to divide and conquer Uesugi, or Mutsu to take the rich province, or Kai to enjoy gold deposits of Takeda.

Another possible and probably more challenging strategy for Hojo is the offensive strategy. All it takes a precise calculation and speed in making your first move. I suggest attacking Uesugi's home province of Mutsu as the first move. For doing this, in the first season you move your daimyo to Hitachi and your emissary to Musashi. Then you attack Mutsu in the second season with all forces from Hitachi and Shimotsuke (you can also add one unit from Kozuke) and propose an alliance to Takeda. You are likely to win in Mutsu since this province is not as defensible as Shinano or Kaga due to its landscape of rolling hills. If you are lucky, you kill Uesugi daimyo in the battle. If not, you starve him out in the four following seasons in the besieged castle.

Now you have ronin in all Uesugi provinces which makes them attractive targets. Donít' get too greedy Ė you will have hard time subduing peasant revolts since it is not easy to absorb all provinces quickly without sacrificing loyalty in your newly acquired lands. In the meantime, Takeda is likely to attack you notwithstanding your alliance with him. So while holding Mutsu, you quickly move all available troops to Musashi and attack Kai with full force. You can take this province from Takeda, but unlikely to hold. Holding Kai is not the goal, the goal is to put back Takeda in his development of the clan. You just take the province, destroy the buildings and retreat. After that, Takeda is not a threat for years to come.

Don't forget to make an alliance with Imagawa while attacking Kai. Your emissary is likely to be of the first honour level which makes him less vulnerable to ninja attack (which is likely to happen in Imagawa lands). As soon as you ally with the treacherous Imagawa, move your emissary to Oda lands and make peace with him. Your peace with Imagawa is not likely to stay for a long time since you will fight with him over Shinano shortly.

Now you have weakened Takeda and a lot of ronins on former Uesugi lands. Reinforce Musashi and Kozuke and swallow the lands of Uesugi. That will give the a great boost in koku income and your clan will quickly become unrivalled in economic development. What provinces to develop? Well, I would devote a lot of investments to Hitachi which would gradually become my home province, and Sado (for the same reasons as Hitachi. In Dewa I would build a port and the gold mine and gradually upgrade its rice fields. Echigo has silver deposits. Mutsu has rich farmlands which dictate their development. In Shimosa I would develop unarmoured units. It could be monks, yari cavalry or archers. In Kazusa I would develop the production of special units. You take Echigo, you can either take Shinano or attack Takeda lands of Sagami and Kai. If you take Shinano, you more or less control all of the Easter Japan and in addition you can train bonus honour cavalry units there. You can divide and conquer Imagawa with no sweat and effort at all and when you take Totomi, you should quickly develop training facilities for archers there.

A separate force from Sado can march through Noto to Kaga and after you take provinces between Kaga and Shinano (Etchu and Hida), you are in great shape to start developing bonus honour monk production in Kaga to face your ally Oda (which will be by this time not so alliance minded).

Further your conquest is more of rolling over the remaining clans to the South. Oda by this time is likely to be at war with Mori, so it helps greatly to your cause. So ally with Mori and attack Oda. When you take Oda lands, you will have two valuable additions: Kii which gives bonus to monks produced there and Yamashiro which gives bonus to all troops trained near the emperor.

By this time, your clan will have unrivalled level of economic and military development and your intuition and skill will lead you to conquering all Japan.

Written by
Ise no Tora
15 March 2001