So I completed the Demo and I'm honestly still pleased with how everything worked out. Even with the more watered down management system, it was fun to fiddle with my armies. Start off with cheaper units to fill the ranks, over time add more effective units in and at some point just remove all the cheap units and replace with all elites.
Game review. Added some terms for relevance but mind the spelling.
Land Units - Broken into three*three basic levels so I'll start with the warriors then cover the weapons.
- Ashigaru (militia/men at arms), Samurai (Samurai), Hero units (generals and special units) by melee, cav and ranged. These handle nicely in their places. Ashigaru providing numbers but one v one no match for Samurai in either combat or morale. Their standard armor is leather (2) but some go as high as early mail (4). Samurai are the first units you'll have that have any real fashion of armor that would be counted as standard. All Samurai units except No-Dachi have to start patch-plate (5) armor which is early plated armor with small plate sections but goes up to (9) which is is full plate armor with mail links and even able to withstand musket fire to a degree. Cavalry has been reworked a bit in that a successfull charge means a crushing impact vs a failed charge meaning the cav getting stuck in a melee they most likely will lose. This is a good change up from ETW where even successful charges meant little unless used against militia.
- With weapons there is a rock paper scissors deal going on which takes a bit of explaining.
*Bow units are most effective at range and from side or rear while hardly useful from the front unless against Ashigaru. If charged by anything other then other bowmen, just expect that bow unit to be lost. Matchlock units are much the same as bows but they are just as effective no matter where they hit the target. A nice touch was that if you fire on low armor units, the rounds have a habit of going through the front rank and hitting the rank behind them. This means that when charged by Ashigaru, matchlock units can break the enemy morale in the volley then stand in the melee long enough for the Ashigaru to break and run. This means that when attacking matchlock units, you have to use Samurai or cav as Ashigaru will just get eaten up and gain you nothing. A an army of matchlocks with bows behind will turn any Ashigaru army into a pile of corpses. However this same force against a Samurai/Cav army will be wrecked rather quickly. The best tactic for charging Matchlock units is to narrow your ranks so that the opening volley hits a smaller profile. While more focused, the rounds won't punch through the front rank of Samurai thus saving most of the unit. Then just before you order charge you can widen your unit for maximum impact projection.
*Melee, be it Katana, Dachi, Yari or Naginata are of course best up close. But there's a trick to it all! Much like in RTW, long arms block shorter arms from effective charges but are better once the melee has begun. However, the Yari is better against cav, the Katana and Dachi better against bowmen and other melee, the Naginata... well I don't know to be honest... I never needed them so I didn't really test them out. I think they are maybe meant for anti-armor or as a middle ground between the Yari and Katana/Dachi. Its possible that with the demo they just having finished with some of the units, I just don't know. On the plus side, the Yari spearwall wrecks cav and the Dachi have an insane charge beat only by the top line cav.
*Cavalry... Okay this has gone back to working much like the cav of RTW. Yari cav has good charge but weak melee, katana cav has weak charge but good melee and bow cav has weak charge/melee but has ARROWS... I know, you didn't see that coming.
Thats all for the now, I'll post up a better review later or just ask questions. I know there are a few TW players on DITL.
Jinsei wa cho no yume, shi no tsubasa no bitodesu