A conflict brought on by a dispute over the succession of the Shogun between two powerful clans and their allies ignited a war shortly after the enthronement of Emperor Fusahito. The war erupted near Kyoto and quickly spread to outlying provinces. Many temples and mansions were burned to the ground. The imperial court finances dried up as a result of the war, further weakening central authority.
Daimyo rose up to fill the powervacuum. Some clans were easily subdued, while others were able to expand their influence.
Japan that emerged from the Onin war has become a politically unstable country and is ravished by military conflict.
Now the people desperately seek someone strong enough to unite the whole of Japan under a central authority and bring peace to the nation once more.
The start situation varies for each clan. Upon registration you get 2000 koku in your treasury, 10 scientific advances, and an army with a general and 2 yari ashigaru. This army is located within the province mentioned in the clans overview for the clan that you chose. From here you can expand your realm and conquer an empire. If you register later in the round you get an extra 100 koku in your treasury for each year beyond the start year. You start with two family members, a brother and a sister. The brother is the general of your first army. The sister you can arrange to marry a samurai of another clan.
Time in the game moves forward in seasons and years, where 1 gameyear is equal to 1 real day and 1 season is equal to 6 real hours. The game starts in the year 1467 (at the beginning of the Onin war) and ends in the year 1603, or earlier, if someone takes the Shogunate and reinstates central authority in Japan. A game year starts with spring season and ends with winter season.
A new game year begins at midnight (Central European Time).
The switch from summer time to winter time (-1 hour) occurs at 3 a.m. summer time on the last sunday of october, while the switch from winter time to summer time (+1 hour) occurs at 2 a.m. winter time on the last sunday of march. Be aware that this means that weather effects of battles are not affected during the daylight savings switches, because in the game it is mid spring during the switches.
Every clan begins at a different location. The combination of start location, crest and personality of a clan is what makes each clan unique in the game. There are 140 playable clans in the game.
The crest of a clan is used to distuingish the clan from others clans. Though most crests are unique, there are some clans who share a similar crest.
Of great importance is the personality of the clan. There are 9 personalities and each gives a different bonus either to the clan's economy or military.
There are two ways to get generals. Either you assign a male adult member of the family to an army, or you recruit a free famous samurai from the region near your base. Free generals do pop up at random from time to time.
Your generals are your most valuable asset, without a general you will not be able to field an army, so take good care of them.