Game History & Playerbase Demographics


Last updated: 13 november 2011


New players who are interested in the game's history and who want to know more about where other players come from, will be interested in the information shown on this page. Beware though, it is a long read with lots of information.

The Information listed here, is of analyses, that were primarily made on data of round 1 to round 17.

The information was received from the following samples, surveys and other stored data:

What was stored?
Initially I did not keep track of where players came from. In the first three rounds I generally knew where people came from, because I knew who they were. There weren't a lot of players then in the game and virtually everyone who played, I knew from other forums that I had visited, or from other online games that I had played myself.

Somewhere in round 3 I noticed that two new players joined and that they used the same password. I figured that was a strange coincidence and I suspected someone had registered two accounts. I figured that the next person who might cheat, would be more clever and use different passwords for both accounts. So I knew, I had to think about more ways of keeping track of player data. It is in round 3, that I changed the registration page and other pages, to include a piece of code that fetched and stored among others the IP and agent data and stored it in a sql table. I tested this new code on the players of round 3 without them knowing so.

I had to search on google, about what to do with these fetched IP's and I finally found a good whois database after hours of searching on google. I noticed the IP's of the 2 new accounts were the same and I tracked the IP to a place near Sydney Australia. That is when I was certain that the two accounts were held by one and the same person. I promptly deleted both accounts, but a lot of damage had been done, so I decided I had to restart the round. Fortunately till this day it was the only restart ever made.

I did not check the table very often and most of the stored data was deleted after each new round, but eventually I got more thorough and I decided to store the usernames, passwords, locations and providers of regulars in a textfile. I haven't stored data about all the players of all the rounds, but data of most of the regular players are stored in this textfile.

I only stored the clans who won the rounds in another textfile, but in some cases I also stored the username of whoever won the round. I did not store all the end rankings of the rounds.

Round 1 to 17 IP Tracing Sample

Where did the players come from?
Players come from pretty much all over the world really. The list below displays the countries of origin of the traced IP adresses. Please note that the percentages are rounded.

As is made apparent from this list, most players are from countries such as: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Indonesia.

Biases in the sample
Although the players come from all over the world, there are a few biases in the statistics.

Shugo is a browser based game, so an internet connection is required. That means countries where internet is absent, or less frequently used, are underrepresented. Apparently many people from underdeveloped nations in South America and Africa still don't have access to the internet. Asia too is underrepresented compared to Western Europe, The United States and Canada, but not as bad as say Africa and South America. This bias is also found if you look at a lower view, namely at a continental level. Countries like Malyasia and Indonesia have greater access to the internet than say Cambodia or Thailand, even if you take in the consideration that these are also more populous countries. Eastern Europe is also far less developed than Western Europe and this shows in the statistics and if you look closer, then some countries within Eastern Europe are also overrepresented compared to their neighbours. Despite other biases, on the whole the statistics give a pretty accurate view of the availability of internet in the world.

The first obvious bias is that English is the "lingua franca" on the internet. Despite the fact that I am Dutch myself, the language used to communicate in the game is English. What this means, is that countries where English is more common to be used as a first or second language are overrepresented. This may explain why for example more players come from the United Kingdom compaired to lets say Germany.

The second bias is the fact that there are not millions of players who have registered, so even one player can distort the view considerably. Friends tend to tell friends about the game and this explains why so many players in the past have come from the United States, Canada and Brazil.

The third bias in the statistics is the overrepresentation of the Netherlands, even if you take me out of the list, than the Netherlands are still overrepresented for such a small country. I do not personally know the other Dutch players who register, so I assume the overrepresentation of the Dutch is caused by a good form of chauvinism.

March 2010 Survey

What kind of players visit?
Where players come from, who they are, what kind of computer they have, and from what parts of the internet they come from, differs a lot.

I researched the visitors of the website statistics in the month march of 2010. The following parts show the findings.

Operating System of the Players

Browsers of the Players

How did people find the website
A lot of visitors bookmarked the site when they visited it. Bookmarking happened in 99% of the visits. 96% of all the visitors who searched for Shugo used google as their search engine, Yandex was a very distant second and Yahoo a distant third.

Search Terms
The most common search term was, surprise, surprise "" (the domain of the old website), the second most common search term was the word "shugo", again no surprise really. Other common search terms were: "feudal", "japan", "clan", "clans", "daimyo", "sekigahara", "sengoku", "online game", or names of various clans such as: "Takeda", "Hatakeyama", "Akamatsu", "Mori", "Akita", "Uesugi" and so on.

External Pages
People tended to come from various other sites:

However over the years both random visitors and players have come from many other external sites. Here are but a few of them who came and visit in the year 2009:

A list of some of the external pages from whence visitors came from in 2008:

How did players get to know about Shugo?
Word of mouth, forums, search engines and email seem to be the most common used ways how knowledge of this game spreads across the globe. A Polish admin informing his visitors about the site, a Brazilian who informs his friends via email, a Canadian telling his neighbours about the game, an American who found the site with a search engine and who posted his find on a forum. That is how more and more players have come and visited over the years.

Who are the players?
When you look at the list of entry pages, it becomes clear that a lot of players tend to use irc and email to communicate with others over the internet. The players also play other online games, they tend to roleplay a lot on forums, they store a lot of images and some tend to have a love for Japanese history. Not every player is fluent in English and a lot of players are college or university students.

Most players are men, usually between the ages of 20 to 45 years old. While women have been known to play Shugo, I estimate less than 10 percent of the players are women. People who play Shugo tend to be highly educated men, who are fond of roleplaying games and strategy games. Players are attracted to Shugo, because it is a strategy game like no other.

Round 1 to 17 Rankings

Which clans have won rounds?
I made a table of the clans that won the most rounds. Rounds 6 and 15 were excluded from this table, because round 6 was a beta test and round 15 was the shortest round ever (it only lasted 12 days).

Takeda1, 10, 17Kanto
Mori7, 11Tsugoku

table observations & conclusions
A few observations and conclusions can be made from this table.

prominent names
A lot of players pick a prominent clan with a well known name. Some clans are perhaps better known than some other clans, because these names are familiar to players, who have played games like for instance Shogun Total War. It is for this reason that names like Takeda, Mori and Shimazu so often end up in the rankings, simply because these clans get picked often when people register.

best regions
The best regions to start at, are slightly to the east or west of Kyoto. It is perhaps for this reason that clans like Mori and Takeda have won so often. Though it needs to be reminded that there are other clans who start out in those regions who haven't won a round.

Regions in the far north and the far south are slightly more disadvantageous, because these are far from Kyoto. Clans that start in the periphery may have an easy start, because they have few nearby enemies, but they do meet with greater difficulty later in the round. The increased difficulty later on in the round, is caused by the fact that they are far removed from Kyoto and hence have to travel far to get to Kyoto, potentially meeting many enemy clans on their way to Kyoto.

Likewise being situated at Kyoto or quite near to Kyoto is very disadvantageous. Clans who start near Kyoto, tend to become a target, because of the fact that obtaining a hold on Kyoto is a victory condition. As everyone tries to grab Kyoto, so clans near Kyoto tend to get attacked a lot. Just how much of a disadavantage it is, to start in the Kinai region can be made apparent by the fact that no clan who starts in the Kinai region has ever won the game.

Being situated next to a mine, a port, or another wealthy region is advantageous, because of the large amounts of koku that is required, to recruit large armies.

other prominent names
Clans like Oda or Tokugawa have never won a round, because the Oda clan often ended up in the hands of a newbie. So a good clan and a good place to start, is not a guarantee for victory! You do need to be a good player, to be able to win a round. The Tokugawa clan is known as the Matsudaira clan in the game and this original family name of the Tokugawa clan is perhaps not well known, hence the Matsudaira clan rarely gets chosen.

changes to the map
It should also be noted that the map in the game has changed often. The map was changed in rounds: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18 and 19. So a clan that won in those early rounds, is not necessarily a good clan with an easy starting situation in today's rounds.

two-front war
It is best to avoid a war on two fronts in the mid stage of a round. Clans who got involved in a war on two or multiple fronts have rarely won a round. Therefore the clan being led by a player who is an able diplomat or the clan who is situated in an area away from the possibility of opening a war on two fronts is in an advantageous position.

optimal characteristics of a player
A good player who can achieve victory, is therefore, patient, a good diplomat, and able to manouver his or her armies with great efficiency.

How many rounds have there been?
23 rounds have been played between march 2008 and november 2010.

Has a round ever lasted long enough for the Portuguese to arrive?
This has happened only once, namely in round 2. Round 2 finished shortly after 1543. This also means that no round has ever gone on until the final year. The average duration of a normal round is about 45 days, or 45 game years. So if a round started in the year 1477, then it would usually be over in the year 1522 and the observant reader will notice that is before 1543.

What was the best round?
Opinions on this differ. Most regular players agree that round 10 was the most entertaining round ever, while a few other regular players regard round 11 to be the most entertaining round. The busiest round ever would have to be round 12, when more players registered, than in any other round, of the rounds played between march 2008 and november 2010.

I am generally of the opinion that it was round 10, that was the best round of all the rounds played between march 2008 and november 2010. There are a few reasons for that answer.

It was after round 6 also known as second beta, that the game started to become more like it is today. That is because I made a lot of changes to the original game code in the Christmas holiday of 2008/2009. What happened afterwards is that apparently some American guy posted a link to the website on a Romance of the Three kingdoms roleplaying forum and this attracted a lot of new players in round 8, when a lot more people started to take notice of Shugo. These players who appeared in round 8 for the first time, kept on returning to the game and by round 10 there was for the first time a large number of veteran players. This large pool of veteran players and newbie players who were regular players is what made things interesting.

Most of these players only had played for about 2 rounds and where thus still relatively new to the game. With the map being crowded as it was then, deception and intrigue were used by many like a well oiled sword. Allegiances to other players constantly shifted, because of this situation. Whoever was in the lead one year, might be at the bottom of the rankings the next year. You never quite knew or could foresee what would happen next and that was, what made things fun and interesting. There were also some events in round 10, that made this round more different than any of the previous rounds that had been played thus far.

Next follows a short history of what happened in round 10 and what clan ultimately won and why.

short history of round 10
Round 10 started on july the 7th 2009. The round started in the game year 1477. A lot of players signed up and quickly gobbled up the remaining lands on the map, including some land of inactive clans.

early stage
Somewhere about the year 1485 large scale chaos and mayhem erupted as more and more clans started to come out of protection mode and waged war on other players, this particularly happened a lot in the Kanto plains in the east and in the west on the Tsugoku peninsula. By 1488 (only 11 real days after the round had started), this expansion lulled, when a lot of Daimyo and generals were suddenly assassinated, including Daimyo of some clans that had already grown quite wealthy and powerful after these early years.

second stage
Three powerblocks emerged from this general mayhem:

(the Kyushu alliance)
The first alliance was made up of three clans situated on the island of Kyushu, namely Otomo, Shimazu and Shoni. This alliance initially appeared to be the most tightly knit and stable of the three powerblocks.

(the western alliance)
The second alliance was also situated in the west, but this time on the Tsugoku peninsula and the island of Shikoku. It was weakest of all the three powerblocks. Mori, Akamatsu, Kono and Chosokabe tried their best to stop the onslaught of the Kyushu clans, however with a reluctant Chosokabe and with Akamatsu betraying the alliance, things quickly deteriorated for these western clans. Mori was particularly hit hard by Shoni.

(the eastern alliance)
In the east some clans expanded their realm at the cost of other clans. Friends became enemies, only to become friends again as allegiances turned to meet the constantly changing situation in the east. Some towns changed hands numerous times in this stage. Eventually though an uneasy truce was set about in the east, with power mainly revolving around clans like Takeda, Oda and Nambu.

third stage
Clans in the east and the west were eagerly awaiting on what Hatakeyama would do, who held Kyoto at that stage and was steadily expanding his realm in the centre of Japan. Unbeknownst to many however, Hatakeyama had become inactive shortly after he had taken Kyoto. Both Bessho and Akamatsu were vassals of Shoni and this meant Shoni had the ability to move his armies within reach of Kyoto. With Hatakeyama finally eliminated, due to his inactivity and with Shoni armies in reach of Kyoto, he must have seen it as an easy victory. Perhaps a little too easy this time.

Shoni managed to capture Kyoto, but he didn't yet have the required wealth to become Shogun. In the previous rounds this often meant, that a clan in a situation similar to the situation Shoni was in, would simply take some more land, to eventually meet the wealth requirement and thus win the round, but this time it would be different. In 1492 both Shimazu and Otomo saw an opportunity and turned on Shoni and attacked him. Shoni's strength and resources quickly dwindled as Shoni was attacked on all sides.

With the eastern clans fighting eachother yet again, and Shimazu and Otomo wreacking havoc on Shoni, Asai saw an opportunity to take advantage of this situation and he captured Kyoto from Shoni in 1494. Meanwhile Nambu and Mogami were busy devouring the remaining lands of the inactive Hatakeyama. This grab of Kyoto turned out to be an ill fated move of Asai and the very next year Asai's forces were being hammered down by numerous clans from all over Japan, even Nambu managed to sneak in an attack. Within the span of just a few years, Asai's realm was down to a mere quarter of its previous size. Ninja's managed to burn Kyoto twice in 1496, which at that time was still held by Asai. In 1497 Kyoto was captured by Nambu, who in turn lost it the very same year to Shoni.

fourth stage
When the dust settled around Kyoto, six strong clans emerged in Japan as potential candidates to become the new Shogun. Otomo, Takeda, Shimazu, Mogami, Oda and Nambu all managed to hold quite a large number of towns and were by far the wealthiest and most powerful clans in Japan. Ota who was Kyoto Kanrei at that time and Akamatsu who had many allies and vassals were also seen as somewhat powerful clans, despite the fact that they didn't nearly have as much towns as the six top clans in the rankings. The other remaining clans in the game basically held on for dear life, hoping not to lose what little they had left to any of the bigger and more powerful clans.

Who would emerge victorious? Noone could tell as the six most powerful clans flip-flopped for top position in the rankings.

end stage
War broke out between the eastern clans and the Kyushu clans when Otomo attacked and captured Kyoto. The eastern clans gradually emerged victorious out of this war. Mogami and Takeda managed to push back Otomo and Shimazu all the way to Kyushu island.

In the end Mogami and Takeda were closely tied together in the rankings, with Nambu being a distant third. Takeda finally won in 1504 with a last minute surprise attack on Kyoto, bringing the 10th round to a close.

What was the busiest round?
That would have to be round 12. In round 12 I counted more than 80 registered players, more than 30 of which logged in around midnight local time (Central European Time).

Player numbers have dwindled after round 15 only to make a slight resurgence after round 18. The primary reason for the drop in numbers after round 12 is because the server settings of the initial website of couldn't handle more than 25 players login at the same time, which caused a lot of nuisance. The game was then and still is free and no adverts ran on the website at that time. I also made few changes to the game code in rounds 15 to 18, causing the game to get old and perhaps repetative to some veteran players. Another possible explanation is that some players didn't have as much spare time on their hands with their new jobs, and these veterans weren't replaced with new players.

Who are the best players?
A Canadian player won more rounds than any other players. A close second is an American player. Another guy who won a lot of rounds came from Croatia.

Have newbie players ever won their first round?
Not counting round 1, the answer is yes. I know of at least three rounds where a player won the very first round they played. So it is possible to win a round, even if you are new to the game, though the odds are stacked in favor of the veteran players.

Testimonials of the Administrator

Does the administrator also play Shugo?
The answer is, yes I do.

I consider myself a veteran player and have played in every round, though in some rounds I was more active than others. I rarely end up in the top of the rankings, but I have actually won round 3 and round 15.

As you can determine, just because I created the game doesn't mean I always win. Knowing the inner workings of the game and the mechanics is not much of an advantage. It is only an advantage compaired to newbie players. I try my best to win of course, but alas my plans often end up getting foiled by other experienced players.

I also play the game to get a feel of how the changes made to the game code work out. Another reason for me to play the game, is that it allows me to keep a good watch on the game and the general mood of the players. I also play the game, to check for bugs in the game code. One final reason is that I play the game to keep an eye on potential cheaters, playing the game allows me to see with my own eyes more unusual circumstances that may occur.

Aside from playing Shugo, I also have been known to mail and chat on irc with some of the regular players. I keep a small record of emails from countries like Canada, the United States, Italy, Croatia and the Netherlands.

Where does the name Shugo come from?
When I first decided to create this game in september 2007, I didn't initially have a name for my new game to be. The inspiration for creating this game came from me playing Shogun Total War and the initial game code bore a lot of resemblance to the Shogun Total War grand strategic map. It has since changed a lot and some players have mentioned that Shugo resembles more of a blend between games like Shogun Total War, Nobunaga's Ambition and Samurai Warriors.

The problem was that all the domains with the word "Shogun" in it, were already occupied, so I had to think of an alternative name. The second name I initially had my hopes set on, was the word "Daimyo", but alas these domains too were all occupied. As I looked on a wiki page for some inspiration I came across the term "shugo-daimyo", but I figured that was too long of a name for people to remember, so instead I decided the name should be "Shugo". It is a Japanese word, which roughly translates as "governor". It seemed to me to be an appropriate choice as the initial gameplay centered a lot on provinces, which were administered by governors.

So the name Shugo came about by chance. It bears no ties with the Shugo Chara anime whatsoever.

How Japanese is Shugo?
The answer is "very little". While the game is set in the Japan of the Sengoku period, Shugo has little to no actual ties with modern Japan.

I do not speak or write Japanese. Only the Latin and Swedish based alphabets can be used in the forums or chat, because only these letters and symbols can be stored in the sql table. Attempts have been made by one player to try Japanese in the forum, but these posts were rendered as Mojibake (unintelligible characters). Only once has someone from Japan actually played the game and he was actually an American on vacation in Japan at that time.

Have bugs occured during gameplay?
Yes bugs have occassionally popped up after beta rounds. With the exception of the assassination bug, most bugs did not seriously affect gameplay.

Have players cheated, hacked, or otherwise caused harm to the game?
Rarely do players cheat or hack. The vast majority abide by the rules of the game and will report a bug, if they happen to find one. Some players even helped moderate the game.

That said, exceptions are there, but they are very rare.

Out of the hundreds of persons that played Shugo, in all four persons were caught when they were found to have two accounts. Three persons used a proxy site (Malyasia, United Kingdom, United States) and one Australian simply registered a double account in round 3. A Canadian woman had her account deleted, because she was incredibly verbally abusive in the forum.

A bot from Thailand had its two accounts promptly deleted and is since blocked from the website by the captcha and other measures. The bot's probable intention was to harvest emailadresses, which conincidentally it never did manage to find.

The most serious hack attempt came from a Romanian, who managed to corrupt data of a single user account through a loophole in the registration form. The loophole was removed in a matter of minutes and the account was restored to its original state only seconds after the hack had occured. A less serious hack attempt, occured when someone tried to find the login page to the sql database, as became apparent from the many 404 errors caused by this. Neither hacker has since returned, to try again and hopefully never will.

I run a tight game, but I cannot guarantee that I can detect every single cheater. I do manage to catch them eventually, it is only a matter of time before they slip up and get caught.

With regard to the other rules of the game, I tend to be very lenient and tolerant with what is said in the forums or the chat channels. People are entitled to their opinion, whatever it may be. I do not ban someone, just because they get angry or frustrated in a rare heated debate, or are prone to cursing. I do however have little tolerance for serious flaming of other players, but I have thus far only once actually had to delete a person's account for breach of this rule (the Canadian woman).

Generally speaking players tend to be witty, helpful, informative and entertaining. So there is often little need to enforce the rules.

How many persons have played Shugo?
I lost count! I do know that in the rounds 12 to 15 there were about 25 to 30 regular players. I kept track of about 90 players in a textfile, but there have definitely been more registered players than that.

How many persons have visited
On average about 10,000 unique IP adresses visited the old website each year.

Of all these visitors most are just your every day random visitor. A small percentage of these actually registered for the game, other visitors came in hoping to find historic information about certain Japanese clans. Some were interested in the blog that used to be found in a subdirectory of the site.

And last but not least there were other kinds of visitors. Out of the 10,000 or so yearly unique IP adresses, a small portion make up the following kind of visitors:

What is the weirdest most unique visitor ever?
That is hard to say. It could be anything really.

There was a visitor from France with a really old browser and OS (Windows 95, Internet Explorer 2), which got a giggle out of me, because IE2 is unable to render css.

A visitor from Botswana, a country in Africa where very few people actually have internet.

A visitor from Maynmar, who visited days after I made a comment about the Birmese government on some now long discontinued forum, which may have offended the Birmese government, if they ever read the comment that is. When I mentioned this visit in the blog, about two weeks later I got this visit from NNIC. I stumbled on these two visitors basically by accident, because at first I wasn't able to trace the whereabouts of the IP, that is what made me suspicious of what was going on. I initially assumed it to be an attempt to cheat (proxies). This accidental discovery ultimately made me aware that "big brother" is watching afterall, though apparently they come in pairs and they're mainly interested in watching eachother's moves.

Who is the most annoying visitor ever?
Again hard to say. It could be the Canadian woman who was flaming in the forum, or the guy who hotlinked the mons on a Ukrainian forum.

A better candidate is probably the Thai who worked for a travel agency. I see it as very disreputable for him trying to convince Japanese and German tourists, that it was a good idea to go to a WW2 memorial ceremony in Amsterdam, and make your clients belief it is a festival (that's such a faux pas, even after 60 or more years).

Though this Chinese person was likely not a visitor, in an indirect way, that is, an old player of Shugo, who I kept contact with by mail, got his hotmail account hijacked. The Chinese con artist from Hong Kong, who hijacked the hotmail from one of the old American players, also sent spam to my gmail. I notified the FBI of this Chinese con artist. I was also able to inform the American whose hotmail was hijacked through irc. So your administrator is sometimes also forced to fight crime, despite the fact that this American no longer played Shugo and it is probable to assume that the con artist, never knew what Shugo was, or who I was for that matter. What gave this con artist away was his sudden poor command of English and the fact that I traced his IP adress to some internet cafe in Hong Kong. Kind of an odd coincidence if you know the person from the game, a born and raised American, and you know that he likely hasn't been abroad in years.

To summarize my experiences: I see a lot of things happening that most users of the internet are probably not aware of.

Thankfully though, it does mean that on the whole only about 1 percent of all the visitors are up to no good, the remaining 99 percent tend to be OK, and sometimes good friends.

What were the funniest experiences in the game ever?
Again hard to say really, because there were many such experiences.

I think the funniest thing that happened, is what occurred somewhere in rounds 10 or 11. Some of the new players started asking more and more questions in the in-game forum on how to play the game. Initially I answered these questions, but I wasn't around all the time, so some veteran players began to help these new players.

Eventually someone, I can't remember who exactly, started to give hints and tips to players that also had quite funny so-called fictional sponsors at the end of the messages. This caught on and other veteran players joined and also started to give these funny hints and tips numbers at the end. There were about 20 of these messages and about half of those were stored by me, to be used as the "hint of the day".

Some of these Public Service Announcement messages had amusing anecdotes to actual historic events of the Sengoku period, while yet other messages contained witty references to things that had happened in previous rounds of the game.

Irc chat
Other amusing moments occured in the irc chat channel. Sadly I can't remember all of the chats and discussions, that took place in the channel. Most of these chats took place in the late evening (local time), which tended to be the most inactive times in the game. Here people often tended to wait before the day change, when their turns where replenished. Many players then inmediately proceeded to login. A few of these chat sessions were quite rowdy but fun, most were just entertaining where people discussed things that had happened in the game or elsewhere.