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Thread: An "ouroboros of strategic mundanity"? Countering agents in Realm Divide

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    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default An "ouroboros of strategic mundanity"? Countering agents in Realm Divide

    This isn’t the first time agents have soured a Total War campaign for me. In fact, it’s happened in every campaign I’ve played since picking up the series with Shogun 2 in 2011. On a Total War campaign map, your units are either leaders (Lords in Warhammer, generals in most previous games) who shepherd armies, or agents, who offer more specialized functions. They can spread religion or influence in a region, increase the populace’s happiness or production or technology research rate. They can also, more critically, assassinate other agents and leaders, sabotage cities, and inflict casualties on armies. Playing against a campaign map covered with AI enemies all but guarantees that eventually you’ll spend a chunk of every turn dealing with a neverending stream of agents. Which is done by countering them with your own agents. And so on ad infinitum. It’s an ouroboros of strategic mundanity. - Wes Fenlon, PC Gamer
    How do you counter enemy agents during Realm Divide - and would you prefer it if agents worked differently in Shogun II?

    If I understand how agents work correctly, there's a rock-paper-scissors dynamic: metsuke defeat ninjas, monks counter metsuke, ninjas beat monks. This suggests that a player who each type of agent should have the right tools to handle enemy agents - or so I thought. Then Realm Divide happened and every AI faction sent their agents in a swarm. My agents handled the first wave, but they were slaughtered by the next wave and the enemy agents kept coming. My generals were easy prey. Enemy agents sabotaged three or four buildings a turn, every turn. Soon my income was dropping and the repair cost each turn exceeded my income (especially when you add the cost of repairing the warships defending my trade fleets). An income of 6,000 a turn dropped to -1,000. As you can see, I'm not a very skilled Shogun II player!

    What do you do? Do you use your agents repeatedly so they are high level when Realm Divide happens? Do you construct a lot of agent-producing buildings, to counter the enemy agent swarm with your own? Do you delay Realm Divide until you have saved a big pile of money, so -1,000 income isn't a problem? Do you use a mod which changes how agents work, or do you have a different solution?

    Also, do you prefer a Total War game in which agents do active missions (such as assassination and sabotage) or where have more passive roles (such as providing information on enemy armies and training your units)?
    Last edited by Alwyn; February 07, 2021 at 06:09 AM.

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