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Old July 19th, 2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Guiding Jomon

I noticed on JimMorrisonís list that Jomon is rated pretty low in almost every category. This got me wondering if Jomon was as bad as everyone says. So I started trying to figure out how to make Jomon shine. Maybe they wonít blow everyone away, but here are some ideas to help Jomonís strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.

Without a doubt, Jomon has some serious weaknesses:
No Shields!
None of your troops have shields. This means they get torn up by missile fire. Furthermore they are not particularly fast, so they will have to take several rounds of withering missile fire before they reach melee.
Resource-intensive Troops
All your troops cost a lot of resources, so in order to keep up with other nations youíll have to invest in productivity scale, otherwise your troops will be outnumbered.
Weak, Old Priests
Your Kannushi is your only priest. They arenít very powerful priests, and they die like flies due to old age.
Weak Mages
The Master Shugenja comes with 1E1N + 2?, which practically speaking means youíll get a lot of mages with 1 pick in 4 different paths. Sometimes youíll get 2W, 2A, or 2F, but this is pretty rare. What is more common is 2E or 2N, and occasionally youíll get a 3E or 3N. The Onmyo-ji isnít much better: 2S + 2?, but astral isnít an option for the randoms, so youíll get the same odds as the Master Shugenja for double paths.
Inaccessible Summons
All the troops from earlier ages that you can summon canít be summoned by your national mages. There are some other summons which you can summon, but the whole branch of Oni summons will require pretender magic.

However, Jomon does have some strengths also:
Cheap, Dangerous Troops
So none of your troops have shields, and they cost a lot of resources, but they are not very expensive in gold. This means if you can solve the resource problem you can field a lot of them, while saving a portion of your money for other things. Furthermore, once your troops get into melee they can hold their own pretty well. Here is a summary:
Ashigaru - Chaff. Never recruit them. With the right scales you'll get a bunch volunteering anyway.
Samurai Archer - Your only archer. Useful in early game, but too expensive in resources to be effective against other archers as the game progresses. Use selectively to augment your armies.
Samurai (Naginata) - Cheapest in resources of the Samurai types at 21, but you lose defense and attack. Not worth it, even though the Naginata does a lot of damage. Hire Go-Hatamotos instead.
Samurai (Katana) - Ok but you can get much better troops (Aka-Oni Samurai) for not that much more.
O-Ban - These cost the most resources of any of the footsoldiers, but have a lot going for them too: better attack and defence than regular Samurai, and heavier armour. Mapmove 1 is a pain, however.
Go-Hatamoto - Slow and expensive in resources like the O-Ban, they carry a heavier sword (No-Dashi) and so can do a lot of damage. Good for opponents with thick armour.
Aka-Oni Samurai - These guys have a the best attack and defense of the bunch, and have mapmove 2. They are a little more expensive, but still fairly cheap. They don't have the heavy armour though. These are the guys I recruit the most.
Samurai Cavalry - Decent, but not overwhelmingly great cavalry. Use in small numbers to surprise your opponent or outflank.
Sohei - Your first sacred Samurai type. They are not as good in attack or defence as the Aka-Oni, but are able to be blessed. Not really worth it.
Yamabushi - Second sacred Samurai type. They have a Naginata, so have a lower attack and defence score than the Sohei. However they are also correspondingly lower in resources. Sometimes I recruit them early, but in general not worth it.
Cheap, Diverse Mages Recruitable Anywhere
So your mages are weak, but they are also cheap: 160 gold is the most youíll spend on a mage, and they are recruitable anywhere. Finally they are diverse, which means that (with a little planning) you can do a lot with them.
Ninjas
Ninjas are far from being the best assassin out there, but at least you have an assassin, and one that is pretty cheap for all that.
Good Summons
Even without counting the death summons youíll have a hard time summoning without crafting your pretender to do so, you have some good summons at your disposal:
Kappa - The Kappa is an easy way into the sea. Yes it takes awhile to amass them, and youíll have to find a source of water gems before you can start summoning, but the fact remains: you have an easy summon which can get you into the water. If you pick up Ryutaro the Son of the Dragon King youíll have a commander to lead them into the deeps (otherwise youíll have to rely on rings of water-breathing etc.).
Tengu - The Tengu comes in various flavours, and most of them are great at offense, but pretty fragile. This means you have to be pretty careful how you use them. However, you have deadly flyers who can Ďattack rearí to take out enemy mages, or get past that blockaded siege gate, or jump around the map into whichever combat theyíre needed in. Furthermore, they can fly during a storm, so if someone is trying to protect themselves from flyers that way it wonít work. Alternately you can throw up your own storm, if the enemy has flyers, which means you can fly and he canít (with a few exceptions).
Dai Tengu - Thereís a lot to like about this guy: 3A, so he can cast various helpful spells normally more difficult to cast; heís a priest in a land where the only other priests are old guys; he brings a retinue of Tengus with him, some armoured. He can hop around the map causing all kinds of trouble. Unfortunately thereís a big price tag: 55 Air gems. Ouch!
Kitsune - The Kitsune is a fun summon, though probably overpriced. She is the only spy at your disposal, and is very stealthy (+30). She also has 3N + ?. I canít figure out exactly how many randoms she gets - Iíve seen ones with one random, and ones with 3 randoms. If only she was an assassin also, so that she could try to charm commanders, but no. With some gems she could make a nuisance of herself by casting Howl, etc. when your enemy least expects it.
Nushi - The Nushi is Jomonís version of the Naiad. The difference is that sheís a little easier to summon (2W 1N vs. 3W) and has slightly different picks (one nature is replaced with one death). The importance for you is that she is a step up the water ladder to higher summons, etc.

There are some strategies that just wonít work with Jomon:
Archers
Everyone seems to love the Samurai Archers, and Iíll admit they have their strong points. However, they have horrible synergy with your other troops, and they are incredibly expensive in resources. So expensive that thereís no way you can win a face-off against another nation with good archers. Think about Longbows - your average Longbow costs 12 gold 6 resources, compared to 11 gold 27 resources for the Samurai Archer. At that rate the longbows will outshoot your samurai almost 5 to 1. You will lose.
Bless Strategy
The main problem here is unexceptional troops, combined with weak priests. Besides, you need some good scales to produce your troops, so you canít support a really powerful blessing without shooting yourself in the foot.
The Ulm Approach
What I mean by this is fielding as many Samurai as you can and running towards your opponent. Unless youíre fighting an opponent who doesnít have access to missiles, your troops will die in droves.

So how do you make a strong showing with Jomon?
Well, your biggest problem, at least in the early and middle game, is your vulnerability to missile fire. You need a solution as fast as you can get one. Early game you can abuse decoying to minimize losses, but once you start fighting a real enemy it will become more of a problem. At this point you may be tempted to stack up an Air bless, but donít do it. It wonít work.
The best solution is going to be Arrow Fend, but this is not an easy spell to get or cast (since you have no 3A mages). Storm will do you some good, but is not as effective as Arrow Fend, though easier to use (through the Staff of Storms). To get a solution you will need fast research and plenty of gems.
Thus the early game is particularly crucial: you need to expand fast, and you need to build additional fortresses fast, so you can get your research kicked into high gear early.
This will also help you produce large numbers of cheap but resource-intensive troops. I find that an army of 10 Archers, 10-15 Samurai, and an Ashigaru or two to decoy can take out most indies pretty easily. For the tough indies, like Knights, you can throw some Ninjas their way (once you have a second castle, and so can afford to not recruit a mage for a couple of turns) and hopefully avoid the fight with the army altogether.
Once you have two or three castles you should be able to kick your research up fairly quickly, and produce lots of troops.
You are also going to need a strong gem economy, and you are well placed to get it, with mages capable of getting two picks in Air, Water, Fire, Nature, Earth and Astral. You donít have a water or Astral income at first however, so youíll have to get lucky in order to get much going in those areas. Accordingly, youíll want to get Thaumaturgy 2 fairly early on.
The easiest/cheapest route to reproducible missile protection is a 2A Master Shugenja/Onmyo-Ji improved with a Bag of Winds, and a stack of gems, casting Arrow Fend. This will require Construction 4 and Enchantment 6, which is a lot. You can get Storm (through the Staff of Storms) sooner: Construction 6, but it isnít going to be as effective. Eventually your Dai Tengus can cast Arrow Fend without boosters, but this will cost Conjuration 6 and Enchantment 6, and 55 Air gems for the summon. The period of time it takes you to get missile protection is your period of greatest vulnerability.
Once you have achieve missile protection you can go on the offensive, and start developing heavy weapons support, in the form of Evocations. Your weak mages can throw around a surprisingly diverse range of dangerous artillery, such as Magma Eruption (with Summon Earth Power), Falling Fires (with Pheonix Power), Astral Fires (with an Astral booster), Blade Wind, etc. Later on they can cast Pillar of Fire and Ice Strike, and your 2A mages can cast Thunder Strike during a Storm. The best thing about most of your mages is that they have 1N, so they can all also cast Eagle Eye, to give you precisely targetted spells.
As you develop these attacks you can field an army which is large, deadly, almost immune to missiles, and is backed by powerful elemental attacks. In other words, able to hold its own.
Developing Conjuration is a must for the late game. Your best shot for SCs is Elemental Royalty. With the right pretender design you will be able to summon just about all of them. Your best shot for a strong late game is a strong early and middle game, so that you have a strong gem economy and strong research.

Donít forget...
Jomon is multi-talented. It doesnít just do one thing. Switch up your tactics by sometimes having a Storm up, and sometimes not, and having a squad of archers to make your enemy regret it. Donít forget your Ninjas - give them a deadly missile weapon and leave them in your enemiesí path, then cut down his commanders. Summon Kitsunes and start causing unrest in his troop production facilities. Summon Kappas and get a foothold in the water. Have an assault team of Tengus ready to jump into a combat situation and change the variables, or make short work of taking that fortress (flying units get a bonus during sieges). Part of your strength is the ability to throw something at your opponent they donít expect. If you play it in a predictable way you wonít be able to stand.

So with all this in mind, what about pretender design?
There are three things you need in a pretender: first, you need enough paths to help your mages become more powerful by forging boosters, etc. especially for the late game. Secondly, you need good scales, so that you can produce a lot of troops, and so that you can give your magic a boost. Thirdly, and perhaps less importantly, it would be nice to have a combat chassis to help with expansion, etc.
Magic
The minimum you can get away with is 4 Air 3 Earth. This will enable you to forge Air boosters, and Earth Boots. It will also enable you to forge a Staff of Elemental Mastery, which will be a very useful item.
Scales
You can afford to take Turmoil, since you donít need a lot of money. I always take Luck, so that I get lots of extra gems and windfalls of money. Often having Luck 3 and Turmoil 3 will give you just as much money, just a little more unpredictably, than Order 3. In addition you need to take Production, and at least a point of Magic. Unfortunately after this there isnít much left over.
Chassis
Take a Celestial General. He isnít an SC right out of the box, but he can be outfitted to hold his own. You can just afford to take him awake, with a Dominion of 4, which is kinda low. However, I donít like to use him in expansion before making sure he is kitted out effectively - itís too easy to lose him. If you make Construction a research priority you can give him a Frost/Fire brand, Vine Shield, Ring of Regeneration, Pendant of Luck, etc. early in the second year. I usually use Boots of the Messenger instead of Earth Boots, because you need reinvigoration. Later on he can do a lot of damage to conventional armies by casting Rain of Stones repeatedly, until everyone is dead.
Of course, by early in the second year dormant pretenders are awake anyway, so maybe you should give yourself 150 design points and get Magic 3 rather than 1 (although thatís a lot for a single point more research) and more Dominion. But I tend to prefer him awake - that way I can get more research early, or site-search manually (you really need those gems).

Finally, some thoughts about Research Priorities:
Construction 4
Pretender Equipment
Air boosters
Equipment for your Ninjas
Thaumaturgy 2
Site Searching Spells
Alteration 3
Mistform
Mirror Image
Stoneskin/Ironskin
Enchantment 6
Arrow Fend
Construction 6
Staff of Elemental Mastery
Staff of Storms
Starshine Skullcap
Banner of the Northern Star
Evocation
Arcane Probing
Battlefield Magic
Conjuration
Summon Earthpower
Voice of Apsu
Summons

Of course, all this is fluid, depending on the specific situation. If my expansion is rapid enough early I will skip Alteration until needed; if I am in combat early against a missile-heavy foe I will forego Enchantment until I have the Staff of Storms; if things are especially peaceful (i.e. everyone is killing each other) I may put less into Evocation and more into Conjuration. You donít want to put off Conjuration too long, lest your opponents get all the Elemental Royalty before you get there.
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  #2  
Old July 19th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

Seems to me that arrow fodder with shields are available to everyone from independents. Just put them in front of the Samurai, and the "big" problem of enemy archers gets reduced pretty quickly.

I also find the sacred samurai pretty good with a light bless. I usually end up with enough gold that they seem worth recruiting as much as resources allow. They are not to base one's whole strategy on unless playing against the AI or a very small map, but still, I think they're worth it if you think Aka-Oni samurai are worth it, which I do.

Mage power players won't think so, of course.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

Nice guide! This nation is surely challenging to play... maybe a little frustrating if things don't go well in early game.

Would you please be more specific on how would you kit a Ninja for an assassination attempt, to help a n00bie?
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Old July 19th, 2008, 05:13 PM

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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

My personal experience suggests you should just be building armies of longbow samurai and ignoring all the rest 90% of the time.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 06:39 PM

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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

my personal experience with dominions in general is that guides that say you don't need much money are wrong.. always ways to spend it... if only to build more castles to build more troops and mages.

saying others can field more (5 on 1) archers than you cus yours are 21 resource is just wrong.. that is why you take production (while others might have sloth) and when you have your 3th castle (which you need with any nation to pump mages more races usually can't use all that combined production anyway... then you can just pump all those archers from 3 castle (or more)

While I can't say that this guide is wrong in which troops you should use (I never played Jomon, never appealed to me) the reasoning/logic behind choices is at least flawed somewhat. (and I just believe Sombre in he says archers are what one should use.. but that is one of my weak points )

PS I wonder what general idea about kitting assasins is too. I haven't played much nations which have them as recruitables but I use the merc sometime. I don't the assasins I've used effective so I dont'kit them out (loosing stuff) then again.. they PROBABLY aren't effective because I haven't kitted them.

The tip to use bows seems very good (I was thinking melee weapons and armor most of the time) might try that. A strong bow should help against most mages.

PS I like your clear research priorities, can all those spells be cast out of the box by mages or are boosters needed?
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Want a blend of fantasy and sci-fi? Try the total conversion Dominions 3000 mod with a new and fully modded solar system map.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

Good guide. You may want to mention that Jomon's Master mage has a 42% chance of being able to make fetish. If you can find 2 water boosters, they can make clams 42% of the time too.

I haven't played Jomon yet but this guide certainly stirred my interest.

Not sure if A4 is absolutely essential since indie inf can shield your shieldless inf.

Not sure about samurai longbow vs. other troops but suspect you'll need both rather than either extreme.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 08:08 PM

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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

It's always nice, and in MP perhaps essential, to be able to make air boosters and storm staves (not to mention all the nice air armors). I have a hard time not taking at least A4 on my pretender if I don't have an easy way to get it otherwise.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

Hmmm, let me clear up a few misconceptions...

PvK - Decoying using small groups of independant shield-wielding infantry is fine up to a point. Especially early in the game this works fine. However, once your 100+ strong army is facing down another one, and it comes to protracted melee, your small shield squad is probably going to be either overrun or right next to your unshielded samurai, at which point you will start taking heavy losses. So decoying will work in the early game, and with smaller fights, but for larger battles as the game progresses it will (in my experience) be insufficient on its own.

Tifone - I wouldn't want to spend much on kit for assassins: you have other priorities for your gems. However, an ethereal crossbow or a bow of war can be pretty deadly with a prec. of 14, and both of them are only 5 gems (3 with a dwarven hammer). Of course both of these are Construction 6. Before that your best bet is probably Longbow of Accuracy.

Sombre - I think the 'hordes of longbow samurai' strategy is why this nation is rated as low as it is by most people. I think it can do better.

Aezeal - I didn't say you didn't need money. Everyone needs money. In fact (as I think I said) you can get almost as much money from good events as from an Order scale. What I said is that your troops and mages aren't that expensive, which is true. Compare, for example, to Pangaea: most expensive mage 330 gold, 35-75 gold for elite troops; or Abysia: 330 gold again for most expensive mage, 30 and 55 for top elite troops; or Patala: 450 for most expensive mage and 20 - 45 gold for your better troops.
Compared to these (which are just a sampling) you are paying a lot less with Jomon to buy as many of your best troops as you can, plus your best mage. Using the build I describe I rarely run out of cash, even with aggressive castle-building.

Aezeal - no offense, but I think your logic is flawed wrong re. archers. So they can take sloth while you have to take production - you don't think that's a disadvantage for you? that's 240 design points difference! If you have 3 castles pumping out archers what's to stop them from having 3 castles also? then you are still outgunned 5 to 1. The point is that your Samurai's melee skills and good melee weapon are largely irrelevant if you're in a shooting war, and you are paying 27 resources for that equipment.

Ming - good point about fetishes and clams. The only problem with clams is you don't start with a water income - but the hope is you'll find one quickly enough. Two water boosters should be easy enough. I agree that longbows have their place - but I'm going against the prevailing wisdom, which is that all you need is longbows.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 09:48 PM

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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

What is stopping them doing so is CASH!!! Other nations usually spend most cash if they train a few mages and then buy loads of low resource troops in either the capitol (some good cap only troop) or the castle closest to the front.. and then cash is gone.

Since you have about the same cash you can just train those archers in 3 castles (getting less per castle due to high resources, but in the end same amount to cash is spend)

BTW on the cash issue.. the fact their mages are more expensive probably means you need MORE of yours to field the same power (and it's the power that is needed, more low powerspells to offset their highpower spells) which means more castles to train more mages/turn (which also is more cash)
If you THINK you have to much cash: more castles and more mages is always a good idea
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Want a blend of fantasy and sci-fi? Try the total conversion Dominions 3000 mod with a new and fully modded solar system map.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Guiding Jomon

Plus if they went Sloth 3, they get 55% resources, and Prod 3 gives you 145% resources, which is over 2.5/1 resources in your favor. Now the battle is at less than a 2/1 ratio, and the samurai armor starts to show its worth in an archer fight.

BUT, be that as it may, I agree that just making archers won't cut the mustard. While they are excellent missile troops, it still comes down to the fact that the strength of Jomon's conventional army is in their shock infantry. Practically every one of their units is a slight variant of a shock troop. Personally I would make armor/protection spells the #1 buffing priority. Who cares if they can hit you with arrows if you have 20 Prot, right? Also, you have access to gobs of 2S mages, who can spam Body Ethereal until the cows come home. 20 Prot ethereal samurai should dominate the early game. Also, these should likely be your primary battlemages after some time. Once you can field enough of them to set up strong Communions, all those scattered paths at 1 suddenly become endless diversity of top end evocations. Want to cast Blade Wind? Easy. Want to cast Thunder Strike? Got it covered. Need some Magma Eruption spam? Gotcha.

Now I think I want to try these guys out again, I love the flavor of Jomonese culture.
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