I've always meant to finish up my previous Jomon guide in the works (when Kristoffer asked me to put it on hold so he can toss in the new stuff for them way back =D). Unfortunately I wrote most of this so long ago, I forgot where the hell I was going with the rest of it. Anyway I'm going to pretend I remember so here it is =P. This guide will assume you know all the basics of the game, etc so I won't go too indepth with that. Jomon's not quite a beginner's nation anyway.
So Jomon is a nation of Samurais and NINJAS (albeit a super small role). Also there are various mythical creatures/kamis you can make use of through summons or even recruitables. Most players open up Jomon and see a bunch of overpriced resource heavy arrow fodder. In fact, before I even introduce the troop line I should point out that Jomon really NEEDS to arrow decoy. On the plus side though, when your troops DO engage into melee, they tend to kill things VERY VERY fast. If Jomon had boosts to their morale, their troops are quite feasible even well into the late game when most troops start crapping out due to summons/thugs.
Jomon has only five troops worth considering in my opinion. Ashigarus, Samurai Archers, Go-Hatamoto's, Aka Oni Sammies and Sammie Cavalry. Sohei's ARE worth a look as well because once blessed they have a nice morale to boost your troops with but I'm not too fond of their stats so I don't bother. Everything else are pretty crappy or have better alternatives (which makes them pretty crappy =D ).
Ashigaru's are your national arrow catchers. The initial squad should serve fine for that purpose. They're your cheapest recruit with some decent stats and pretty easily massed as far as Jomon troops go so if you ever need chaff in a hurry, you know where to find them.
Samurai Archers are a TRAP early game. While they are quite versatile, their high resource cost makes them unfeasible early on. However, near early mid once you got your first ring around your capital secured, making pure samurai archers isn't an awful idea as they're solid on their own and quite formidable when buffed. Think of them as mini dai bakemono's from shinuyama. For some reason they have less hp than a militia, bleh. They are also NOT a great match with your regular troops who are likely to just get shot in the back. I often use these guys in their own army, mix them with indie xbows or put them very close to the front lines so they aim better. You can also communion up wind guide for these guys but I generally don't bother. While wind guide/flaming arrow is a possible communion for Jomon and quite formidable if you get it fast enough, it's not an aim of mine.
Go-Hatamotos are your main recruit of choice. Oddly enough, they make O-ban's obsolete with their slightly lower resource cost and better damage. (HEY QM NERF O-ban RESOURCE COST) Their main fault is their map move one and the fact that they're relatively slow on the battlefield as well. However, with very good stats across the board and modest cost, you'll win a lot more than you lose with them. Just like samurai archers, these guys don't go obsolete with their good damage so you'll field them even around mid game when summons start hitting the field.
If you need to get somewhere fast, then aka – oni's are your go-to guys. In fact, before the CBM buffs on Go-hatamotos, these guys are were all I built. With good defense/attack skills and quick movement both with map move 2 and good battlefield move, they fare pretty well against archers since their high morale ensures they won't route before they get there. They are also light on the resources for Jomon and incredible troops as an “army buff chassis”.
Lastly, we have the samurai cavalry. Think of these guys are your “elites”. Their main draw is the lance. In fact … that's pretty much their only draw. But they're not too expensive for lance access so they have merits for breaking morale with their charge as long as you time them to hit roughly when your Go-Hatamoto squad does. DON'T SEND THEM UNSUPPORTED, YOU WILL BE VERY VERY SAD.
Not much to discuss when it comes to soheis. Mix them with your regular troops, bless'em for the morale squad mix since morale is VERY important for Jomon as it's your main “counter” to mass arrows.
Your mages are lackluster but not bad in terms of path spread. For LA, they're pretty darn versatile save their path spread is so low leveled that you'll probably wonder if you can do anything with these guys without communioning. Actually that's my biggest problem with Jomon's mage line, it is VERY VERY luck of the draw. You can have an amazing game if you get lucky but you can also end up digging for that earth 2 or nature 2 mage for fifty turns. Their second weakness is map move 1. This is HUGE as having your mages get to front line is SO critical around mid game and once your empire bloats, you will really start feeling this. Having a bunch of flying shoes and labs to swap them around midgame is not uncommon.
Jomon also has access to magical monks (who can be recruited off a temple in the province without a lab so if you ever get an indie priest near a fort and want to get a lab set up quicker, you can just build a temple with him and then recruit a monk for a lab! =D ) They aren't bad researchers though the signs seem largely useless as spells since the range is so crappy. I often toss lanterns on them in a fort somewhere.
Lastly Jomon has another mage that I feel is very underused due to the difficulty in acquiring them. I'm, of course, speaking of the Ryujin's. These guys are so good that I'm almost tempted to take an earth bless just for them. (though earth bless has merits for Jomon's summons as I'll soon introduce.) In fact, I really feel a map with minor water access is VERY ideal for Jomon as they receive such a huge buff from their underwater recruits. Ryujin's have two forms. One is their regular mage form which lets them hold item slots (though only one miscellaneous!) They have above average stats and cold blooded, etc. Cold blooded can be troublesome but it's nothing you can't adapt to. Their alternate form is flat out amazing for national mages. Flying mini dragons are WIN in my book since they have the mobility your regular mages so desperately need. Their paths are great as well since water actually splashes (<= haha) well with other elemental paths. Since their dual random are 2R in F/E/A/N, there's always something you can cast with them. I'll elaborate on them in greater detail later. Similarly, don't neglect shark troops if you get them fast enough since they are very good as well with a good combo of hp/prot/stats.
Jomon's other commanders are not worth mentioning since you can recruit crappier indie versions anyway without wasting mage fort time. If you don't have a temple or a lab up in your fort, then make a ninja since they're assassins and ninjas are cool. Also they have poison stars so if you push them front they can occasionally knock off a mage. Since they have good precision, you can give them a bow to make them even better snipers but really I wouldn't bother
Next let's talk scales.
Jomon benefits from more or less, every scale but growth (as they don't really need the mass supplies nor fear old age). This makes picking scales for Jomon kind of tricky. Death 3 is a decent freebie if you don't plan on taking heavy misfortune and don't worry a lot about your eco late late game. If we were to examine each scale , the standard Order 3, Misfortune 1 or 2 will seem pretty top notch. Also for consideration could be a turmoil/prod/luck build for smaller maps as Jomon doesn't need a large amount of gold early on due to resource cap on their troops and relatively cheap mages.
In terms of chassis, the Ghost King is one of the most ideal as it covers death which Jomon can make great use of with national summons and have little natural access to. Similarly, the fact that it's a good SC chassis doesn't hurt either.
So if we were to mess around with the Ghost King we have a few variants but I heavily recommend death 4 and fire 1 to be able to summon Dai Oni's without needing item pump. Death gems are quite precious and having the savings from buying the boosters lets you possibly race for the scepter of dark regency without too much fuss. I don't really think giving a definitive layout is necessary as Jomon is pretty versatile with scales but something like
Dom 7, Order 3, Death 1, Misfortune 1, Magic 1, Dormant GK with 2F, 2W, 2A, 2E, 4D is pretty decent.
If you choose Turmoil Luck, Turmoil 3, Luck3, Magic 1, Dom 7 with 2F, 2A, 1W, 4E, 4D lets you get some blesses in as well.
While the GK is very much a great pick, I should also point out, an overlooked option is the Great Enchantress.
A favourite of mine is dormant Dom 6 Order 3, Prod 1, Misfortune 1, Magic 1. She gets 1F, 4A, 4E, 4S, 3D for a nice multi bless as well as versatility. Her greatest strength is the fact that she can drop some devastating evocation communions along with the all powerful Wind Guide.
So to start off, your first few turns will consist of recruiting lots of Go-Hatamoto's for beef and running around picking off easy provinces. I often like researching evocation for support to take heavier ones as well as the fact that it provides very useful blitz defense. However, if you're taking the Ghost King option, alteration is very helpful as well as body etherealed Go-hatamoto's are very deadly. Also make sure you pick up the shielded infantry to catch arrows for your samurais. AVOID barbarians and lizard provinces until you have the resources to build up a samurai archer platoon. Your also immediate job should be to get a water province ASAP. In fact, I would almost say, Jomon's value significantly plummets if you cannot access water. A force of go-hatamotos will easily clear tritons or atlanteans without losses. Also due to high damage and good morale, if you got a few good lance soakers, you can beat heavy cavalry as well.
What you're mostly aiming for here is the standard ring around the capital expansion strat and basically you're going to be spamming either Go-hatamoto's or Samurai Archers. Eventually you'll start mixing in Aka-oni's for mobility purposes to reach the front lines.
Once you clear the expansion phase, you'd definitely want to start looking into evocation/alteration communions with a quick stop in Construction for Legion of Steel as it actually makes those Heavy samurai armor worth it. Your main targets are going to be Rust mist, Thunderstrike, Acid Rain, Blade wind and Astral Fire depending on your neighbors for evo. For alteration, you'll be swinging with body ethereal, luck, Quickness, Wind Guide, Destruction and Armor of Achilles. Hopefully by now you'd get your hands on those amazing underwater dragon commanders. For your fire breeds, you'd want them to be the Acid Rain spamming variety or summoning Vitrols. I often have the earth ones spamming the usual earth buffs/debuffs along with claymen. Nature ones tend to be Bone Melting Naiad Summoners. Ultimately the only ones I really don't use too often are the air ones save for a flying wind guider. They're not useless as you can swap between ice evo's and lightning depending oon who you're up against.
As you may have noticed by now, I mentioned some summons for the nation. Conjuration is a very worthwhile investment for Jomon during wartime after hitting your evocation goals as they have access to quite a wide variety of useful summons to sink their gems into. In addition to the very useful communion buffs of Summon Earthpower and Power of the Spheres, Ujigami and Kenzoku's make very useful thug pairs (blessing each other) and with a bit of reinvig and regen can do quite a number on standard troops. Vitrols, Naiad Warriors and Claymen are great for line troops while you communion from the rear and very deadly with some weapons of sharpness tossed in. In addition, it's also odd that Jomon troops don't really obsolete as quick as other nations. If anything, they get a lot better as the game goes on and you start tossing some buffs on them due to their decent stats and morale combo. Samurai Archers become a pretty standard stay as you get wind guide and flaming arrows online as their heavy armor actually becomes a boon rather than a resource heavy curse. (Though why they're still hit point 9 is a slight ridiculous) Jomon Cavalry (thanks to CBM) is easily plentiful for midgame and well worth their while. What this also means is early mid and midgame is when you need to start swinging in heavy and out muscling your neighbors. At this point of the game, the endgame SC summons won't pop up enough to warrant a threat and most nations don't have the versatility yet that Jomon can offer.
Against the majority of the nations, you want to follow a very simple plan though. Against human nations with elemental magic, you'd want to make sure your buffs counter the correct elements (Common sense is common). Your troops' heavy armor works towards your advantage heavily for this as you don't need to worry about the armor buff's malus then since you won't be casting them =D! Against death nations or dom kill nations, thankfully you have solar rays, good crowd clearers, good armor (for protection purposes as least …) and sohei's have good enough morale to just sort of stand there and smack away. Darkness is a slight worry so you'll have to be wary about those. However, death thugs you'll absolutely maul. The same is the reason why blood nations at this stage will have a hard time holding against you as well. Their summons simply won't stand up very long. Needless to say this is also why giant nations aren't to be feared. Astral nations, I recommend scripting more than one communion master or simply just brute forcing with evos. The smarter ones will definitely script some mind duels against you in hopes of knocking your masters out. However, astral nations usually don't come into powerful till later on, not to mention in LA, there isn't a whole lot of astral to worry about. (heck you're one of the contenders!) The main thing to remember here is be versatile! Know when it's better to buff your troops and when it's better to just do damage. If you can't pick between the two, then buffing is usually a safer choice. Also don't neglect your ninjas =)! They're actually somewhat decent at killing their targets for a very small price. Plus no one ever expects ninja assassins =D. Also start siphoning air gems into flying boots as that's your main way to get your ground mages around. Fort spam as soon as you can since you'll going to not only want numbers but a strong research base to make use of your heavy midgame advantage. Oddly enough, it's actually your fellow Eastern nation that can give you difficulties. Tien Chi tends to be just as versatile and just as strong midgame (and … the rest of the game) as you are, possibly even more so. You'd DEFINITELY want the various air buff/debuffs against them. I'd advise just plain steer clearing of them or just looking for an opportunity to gang them.
Ideally, your midgame should give you a healthy advantage to propel you to late game. You're going to be doing the standard endgame stuff here with a nice alternative of Dai Oni's instead of Tartarians if you have the paths for it. Heavy astral is another possibility as LA astral tends to be weak aside from the laughably overnerfed R'lyeh. There's not much else to say about Jomon's late game as it tends to look more or less the same for any nation. The main worry you'll have is that your regular mages are simply too damn slow in terms of strategic movement and mobility in the late game is one of the game swingers. The answer here is obviously those awesome dragon mages but remember how valuable they are and the fact that their elemental paths tends to fall a bit in strength later on. If forced into a war late game, try to stay offensive as much as possible, strat move one is too limited to be putting out brushfires that your dragon mages and perhaps a tengu summon could be doing.