Sengoku Rance - banner.gif
General Information
Game Mechanics
Parameters & Formulae
Command Events
Character Clears
Commander Tips
Item Shop
Second Game Bonuses
Free for All
Extreme Games
CG Guide
Clear Game Report
Popularity Poll
Version History


Free for All is a gameplay mode that is unlocked after finishing the game once. The Free for All mode allows you to play as any house, whilst being at war with all the other houses. In the beginning you will get a short scene explaining why your country goes to war: The Shimazu brothers want to impress Kurohime, Ran is only willing to marry Souun after he unifies JAPAN, the Youkais want to be free of human subjugation, the mikos are on a quest to return Natori's belly warmer and the Hannys, as we all, do it just for fun...

Free for All is not fair. Some houses start with three provinces, while others have only one. The quality of the initial commanders is also very variable. If you pick a weak house like Akashi or Hara, expect a challenge. There are also custom features to some of the houses.

Note: You don't need to beat the Demon Army to win. So if you help them conquer JAPAN, you will win with your evil heart.

House Difficulty Advantages Disadvantages
Akashi House Very Hard
  • Every few turns (every fourth?) there is an optional event to improve Kazemaru. This randomly gives +1 to one combat stat (max 7) or +50 units.
  • Very weak commanders
  • Very low troop count (100-200)
  • Share borders with powerful houses (compared to the Akashi house)
  • Owns only 1 province
Asai Asakura House Moderate
  • Many commanders
  • Negotiation for neutral remains at 5 regardless of how many time you use it
  • Weak commander stats
Ashikaga House Hard
  • Starts off with 50000 or 100000 gold
  • Isoroku starts with Whirlwind Shot and Yamamoto Sweeping Fire
  • Shares borders with 8 other countries (Theoretically it is possible for Ashikaga house be wiped off the map before your first turn)
  • Weak commanders
Demon Army Easy
  • Strong, unique commanders
  • Demon mage units
  • Demon mages have relatively low Attack & Defense.
  • Demon troops are very expensive.
  • No, you can't play as Xavier or Miki, but there is Shikibu, Madou, Keikoku and even Shogun.
Hara House Hardest
  • None
  • Loses gold every turn due to Princess Aki (up to 3x your income per turn)
  • Sub-par commanders
  • Very low starting troop count 100-200, except Shouji and Akihime (who are still under 300)
  • Surrounding houses have units that can guarantee a loss (Rance, Suzume, Seigan)
Houjou House Easy
  • +5 troops to all Diviner/Yin Yang commanders per turn
  • Strong commanders
  • Diviners/Yin Yangs are very versatile
  • Surrounded by strong houses.
  • You will fear the Imagawa House at the start since almost all of Hannys commanders can't be harmed by Diviners/Yin Yangs like Souun or Ran!
Iga House Hard
  • +5 troops to all ninjas per turn
  • Suzume is powered up and starts with Chun Chun Shuriken
  • Average commanders, but because almost all are ninjas, there is effectively no one who can be placed on the frontline without being slaughtered.
Imagawa House Very hard
  • Can call for Hanny reinforcement allowing you to gain a hanny commander at the cost of one action fan
  • Some Hanny Commanders have attack of 8.
  • Hanny can't be harmed by Diviners/Yin Yangs or Demon Mage
  • You can get 3 action fans at turn 2 using call for Hanny, When you start the game using Imagawa House keep on restarting until you get 1 Hanny with Twin Action King and then at the first turn use both of your action fan to call for Hanny keep on trying until you get 1 more Hanny with Twin Action King.
  • Hanny are absurdly weak compared to other troop types
  • Almost all of starting commanders can't negotiate, except for Nozomi and a rare Hanny Commanders. They aren't even enough to commit a neutral action in the first turn, though.
Miko Institute Hard
  • +5 troops to all mikos per turn
  • Several strong status commanders
  • Share borders with Takeda and Uesugi house thus making it really hard to defend
  • Starts off with low troop count 200-300
  • Starts with only one province
  • Little spare National Power to start with
Mouri House Easy
  • Large starting troop sizes
  • Strong commanders
  • Monatari is cursed and can be great since units don't heal when not in use
  • Motonari is cursed and does not gain 50 max HP when annihilated and on the player's side of a battle.
  • He also doesn't gain max troops like when you play against him in the campaign.
  • As Motonari has a very low troop count in FFA, he'll do practically no counterattack damage. On the other hand, he will also take practically no % health damage, like from Miko storm.
  • Surrounded by Demon Army, Takuga, Tanegashima and Akashi houses
Oda House Moderate
  • Strong commanders (Rance has much better stats in FFA)
  • Only one starting province
  • Several starting commanders are pathetic (Nagahide, Mitsuhide, Toshii)
  • Rance and Kouhime will always be killed 100% when they have been defeated in battle.
One Eyed House Very easy
  • Commanders with absurdly strong stats
  • Omachi is a cheat by herself
  • Shares borders with only 2 other houses
  • Every few turns, Masamune has to take care of his wives (uses all fans).
  • Will have to fight Takeda as soon as they conquer one province
Shimazu House Very easy
  • Very strong commanders and high initial troop number, Special Cannon!
  • Female commanders can be recruited with 1 negotiation
  • Starts off at the bottom left of the map and shares border with only 1 other house at the start of game
  • Male commanders can only be recruited with 30 negotiation
Takeda House Very easy
  • Some of the strongest commanders in the game
  • +5 troops to all Cavalry commanders per turn
  • The only house that has Cavalry commanders
  • If you catch Ii Naomasa, you can give him Cavalry unit and get some nice bonus skills.
  • Surrounded by many strong houses
Takuga Moderate
  • Strong unique commanders
  • Unique commanders have good troop sizes
  • Starts with one province which has poor defenses
  • Must fight Mouri house to conquer first new province which has only one territory in it, making it difficult to defend initially.
Tanegashima House Moderate
  • Shigehiko and Yuzumi are powerful, especially early on
  • +5 troops to all musket units per turn
  • Akashi can be conquered without coming into contact with a new house
  • Starts next to four houses, including Mouri
  • Has only one province and it doesn't have a castle
Tenshi Sect Moderate
  • +5 troops to all monks per turn
  • Can cause Tenshi supporters to riot in enemy provinces. Appears to force the target house to take no action in their next turn. Note that this does not stop them from taking two turns during the end of one of your turns. Appears to have some limit on reusability
  • Monks restore all of their troops when your turn starts, reducing the maintenance costs for your Monk-heavy army
  • Almost all of Tenshi Sect’s commanders are close range fighters except Honda Masanobu (who has 2 Atk) causing there to be effectively no backline support for battle
  • Peasants are useless. Unless they have nice utility stats/skills, fire them immediately
Tokugawa House Moderate
  • Strong unique commanders
  • Starts next to Oda and Takeda
  • Imagawa's hanny's can cause problems early on for your back row units
Uesugi House Easy
  • Very strong commanders
  • +5 troops to all female Warriors per turn
  • Shares borders with Takeda, One-eye and Houjou house. It is advisable to neutral at least 1 of the 3 very strong houses
  • Must also contend with Asai Asakura and the Miko Institute from the start

Changes between this and the normal game[]

Apart from combat mechanics, the gameplay is extremely stripped down compared to the normal game.

  • There is no satisfaction, affection, power ups or other character changes.
  • Units do not increase in size from winning battles.
  • Units do not automatically heal from not acting.
  • There's no declaration of war, you're at war with everyone (unless there's a neutrality agreement, see below)
  • The enemy turn order is mixed up. It's not unusual to see house A attack, then house B, and then house A again during the same turn.
  • Battle preparation is not possible.
  • Covert action is possible, but due to the random turn order it doesn't necessarily prevent all attacks.
  • Most provinces have fewer territories to conquer, some only a single one.
  • You have only two action fans. Having two commanders with Twin Action King raises this to three.
  • Having two commanders with Twin Intelligence King allows you to see a list of commanders belong to a house.
  • Most units are quite weak, so get used to seeing stats in the 3-5 range.
  • Your initial army is partially random.
  • At the start of the game, a random enemy country is picked and given a 99% chance of winning any offensive Ai vs Ai battles.

Some new features were added.

  • You can construct and demolish buildings, one in each province.
  • You can construct barriers in each province.
  • You can make an enemy country temporarily neutral.
  • Certain formerly uncapturable commanders (Ootomo Sourin, etc) may now be captured. Leaders of nations (Yukihime, etc) and other important commanders (Ranmaru, Yamamoto, etc) will also join other houses once defeated.


Barriers automatically block attacks from your opponents. The higher level the barrier, the higher the probability that an attack is blocked. Upgrading the barrier of a province requires a fixed 10 construction. If you fail to build it, the points that you have contributed to it won't be subtracted. The max level is nine.

Neutrality pacts[]

You can make an adjacent enemy house temporarily neutral. The cost is 5 negotiation + 3 per previous use. It will initially last for 10(?) turns, and can be extended an addition 2 turns with an action. Neutral houses won't attack you. You can not break the agreement, it must expire over time and the game will keep track of the reamining turns for you. Due to FFA's mixed up turn order, it appears that it is sometimes possible for two or more turns to be taken off of the counter during the end of one of your turns. If there are no non-neutral houses left on the map the game ends, so be careful if you don't want to win prematurely. The Demon Army can be made neutral just like any other house.


You can build one building in each province. There are several types with different effects. If you control at least 10 provinces you can also upgrade some building types for higher efficiency. Building, upgrading and destroying a building each take one action.

  • Mansion: +1 (+3) troops to each commander.
  • Free market: +3% (+9%) income.
  • Shopping district: +200 (+1000) income.
  • Hospital: Heals 10 (50) troops per commander.
  • Buddha statue: Grants items when enough are constructed (see separate section)
  • Control center: Increases troop limit by 200 (no upgrade)

The base income is national power * 30. Shopping districts are more efficient than markets while your income is low. However, hospitals and mansions are far superior to both. With a full roster of medium-sized units, a single regular mansion produces units worth ~2000 gold per turn. With 15 wounded commanders, a regular hospital can save ~500 gold per turn. (There's also a normal action to heal 25 troops in each unit.) Suggested mix is to have just enough hospitals that you don't have negative cash flow from healing, and the rest as mansions.

Buddha statue effects[]

Buddha Statues are one of the possible buildings to construct. They provide no benefits on their own, building a certain number of them unlocks specific items. Collecting an item requires an action, and the items must be collected in order. If you destroy a statue it no longer counts, so uncollected items may become locked again. You will not lose items already collected, however.

Example: You build four statues. This unlocks both the emperor ring and power golden bear, but you can only pick up the emperor ring. After you pick up the emperor ring, you can pick up the power golden bear. If you instead destroy one of the statues, the power golden bear becomes locked again (not enough statues) and you cannot collect it. If you raze all the statues, you still keep the ring.

The numbers required for each item are:

  • 2 Statues: Emperor Ring
  • 4 Statues: Power Golden Bear
  • 6 Statues: Popularity Staff
  • 8 Statues: Mysterious Murasame
  • 10 Statues: Oiuchi Fang
  • 11 Statues: Ryuuguu Sword Urashimaru
  • 12 Statues: Uesugi Charge Unit
  • 13 Statues: Half-Gold Statue
  • 14 Statues: Emperor Sword
  • 16 Statues: World's Tactics
  • 18 Statues: Emperor's Headband

Any Buddha Statues beyond 18 have no value as no further items are awarded.


This mode contains two challenge battles on the left and right sides of the map.There are two "secret" Clear Game Report achievements for clearing both challenges, but they will show on your report only after you have cleared them. Note that in my game i could conquer every country by the 55th turn but waited until turn 133 to earn money for the challenges, most of your units (except for those used in the 2 first battles) should have around 1800 units. Also note that although I passed the levels a few times, this is based on my playthrough so you may sometimes end up with something a bit different but equally nasty. The reward for both fights is 1 skill book 2 of every kind (including action book). Perhaps the easiest way to build up troops for these challenges is to stock up on level two mansions after cornering your last enemy country. Beyond that several houses have unique bonuses that can increase the troop numbers of certain units every turn. They are Uesugi (Female Warrior units), Houjou (Diviner/Yin Yang units), Takeda (Cavalry units), Tanegashima (Musketeer units), Miko Institute (Miko units), Iga (Ninja units), and the Tenshi Sect (Monk units).

Challenges count as troop battles, so units fighting in them are exhausted. They will not be able to defend this turn.

Campaign of Bunroku[]

The Campaign of Bunroku challenge (the one on the left side of the map, on the demon army's territory) consists of 8 battles, all except the two last battles aren't very hard, and even the last two aren't as hard as expected. As the enemies stats are very low, the main problem is how to use your units effectively. I'll recommend the number of units for each fight and they will total to 30, however you may not need as many to win depending on the size of your units and their stats/abilities.

  • Fight 1 - 2 Foot soldiers, 1 Warrior. Each of them has 300 hp, and variable action fans/special abilities. Use 1-2 units. A single unit of Warriors at about 1000 can handle this alone easily.
  • Fight 2 - 2 warriors in the front row, and in the back row 1 warrior and 2 archers. Each has 500 troops, and again, they have variable special abilities. Use 2 units.
  • Fight 3 - 5500 hp Peasant, 450 hp warrior in front row, and 5500 hp peasant, 500 hp archer, and 6500 hp archer in the back row which can 1h-KO your weaker units and has a fondness for shooting divines (you can use this to your advantage by bringing a fast Diviner/Yin Yang and having them shield themselves), but has low action points with only 2 or 3. Use 4 units.
  • Fight 4- 5500 hp warrior and 450 hp foot soldier in front row, and 3500 hp warrior, 3500 hp archer, 2000-4000 hp Diviner/Yin Yang in back (Depending on your units you may be able to win even if it launches a shikigami, or you may have to start over). Use 5 units.
  • Fights 5 and 6 are both one 5500 hp peasant and one 450 hp foot soldier. Use 2-3 units. If you have a couple decent size (1500+ Warriors) with decent stats they can win by themselves.
  • Fight 7 - 5500 hp warrior, 8450 hp foot in front row, and 3500 hp warrior, 7500 hp foot soldier, and 5000 hp Diviner/Yin Yang in back row. 6 units. Isoroku or a musketeer with Penetration Shot are excellent at killing/weakening the Diviner/Yin Yang as they can ignore Foot Soldiers.
  • Fight 8 - Same as fight 7, only an archer instead of a Diviner/Yin Yang. your very best 6 units. An alternate encounter switches the 3500 warrior to the front and swapping the 5500 warrior with a 2500 hp ninja unit.

Russo-Japanese War[]

The Russo-Japanese War challenge (the one on the right side of the map, on the Dokuganryuu house territory) this challenge has 3 very hard fights in the beginning but after them, you are as good as done.

The recommend units here sum to 31 so use 2/3 maximum values, and 1 minimum (probably fight 1).

  • Fight 1 - ninja, warrior, and monk, each with 300 troops. 1-2 units.
  • Fight 2 - two foot soldiers, each with 1000 troops, and a warrior with 800 troops in front row, and a miko with 300 troops in back. 3 units. The miko unit has Battle Rating Down 2.
  • Fight 3 - two foot soldiers, each with 1000 troops in front row and a musket with 800 (This Musketeer always has Special Cannon, thus if possible you want to drop him before he can fire. Fortunately his attack power is relatively low but it can still cripple weaker units) in front, and an archer (8500 troops) and a tactician (500 troops) in back. 5-6 units.

NOTE I have seen fights 4 & 5 in reverse order or both fights with cavalry(confirmed), there may be other types as well so be ready for anything as those two are the hardest fights in the challenge. Also note that the ninjas you can meet have the Assassination ability so they can be very dangerous.

  • Fight 4 - Three ninjas (2000 troops each) in front, and in back a foot soldier (5300 troops), ninja (2000 troops), and a tactician (500 troops) in back. 6 units.
  • Fight 5 - Three cavalry (1700, 1800, and 1000 troops respectively) in front, and a foot (7000 troops), archer (3500 troops), and tactician (500 troops) in back. 6 units, your strongest. One of the cavalry units may have Battle Result Up 1 or 2. Also the archer unit can have Accurate Shots (like Uruza), so it's best to bring units with three or more actions to this fight.
  • Fight 6 - Two Beast types (2000 troops each, weak panda units), and a foot soldier (8000 troops) 3 units. The Beast units are pathetic, they only attack once for next to no damage. You could probably win this one with a single decent Foot Soldier and maybe a Diviner/Yin Yang to block the enemy Foot Soldier's attacks.
  • Fight 7 - Foot soldier (9000 troops) in front, three mikos (1000 troops each) in back. 4-5 units. The Foot Soldier is not overly powerful and lacks any potent special so it may be best to target the mikos first. Bear in mind though that this is like attacking a Castle which is the only difficult element to this fight. If you have anyone that boosts preparation (like Kenshin) or can use Battle Result Up/Down then save them for this one.

Individual Walkthrough[]

Build mansions to keep your army strong and growing. Even if you can't beat someone now you will be able later.

Having at least one hospital is great - I use 1/5 of my provinces as hospitals.

Houjou House[]

Good strategy: a single good foot soldier unit (your starters are good enough for it) in front and 3 Diviners/Yin Yangs in the back, or 2 Diviners/Yin Yangs and the tactician with [Defeated Warrior Hunt]. With two Diviners/Yin Yangs you can use one to shield the one who will cast shikigami, very useful since the enemy commonly doesn't use more than one ninja.

Ran isn't great. Soon you will prefer to use the old guy Diviner/Yin Yang instead.

Don't waste too much money, you will get poor quickly. Manage it wisely. Use your first 2 Fans to get Buddha statues, by turn 2 pick the Emperor Ring and equip it on Soun, and now you can use him as your leader troop and he can even beat Omachi! (Since she normally starts by using a shield. Otherwise, DAMN!) Demolish the Buddha Statues as soon as you can and build whatever you want. (Mansions for me.) Make a peace deal with the One-Eyed House - they are tough, and you can't capture any youkai.

Warning: The other houses will know when you use Soun and attack when you cant use him. They are pure evil.

Now hold against Takeda and capture some commanders using your tactician. It will be good if you beat the hanny kingdom and face Takuga, as you can get some comanders there too.

Remember, 99% of Hannys have [Absolute Spell Guard], but you can beat them with your weakest recruits. If Takeda takes them, reload the game.

Recruit anyone. Even if they can't fight they can be used as meat shields sometimes, as their troops regenerate automatically.

Capture houses toward central Japan, keep your peace with the One-Eyed House. If you lose it you can restart it and get 12 extra turns, but it will cost more and more each time. Make peace with Takeda if you want, but they have the best comanders to capture.

Try to not border many enemies at once, or you will be doomed. Don't border Mouri either; let them capture Tanegashima and Akashi. Once they do, border them and make a peace deal until the Demon Army/Shimazu reaches you around turn 50.

Once you have a confortable position and a big piece of land, destroy your buildings and place 6 Buddha statues in their place. You will get power golden bear and the popularity staff, now destroy these statues and place the buildings back. Don't worry as much about losing your mansions, as you get +5 troops for each Diviner/Yin Yang unit per turn.

Try to take 10 provinces now, so you can upgrade your buildings. Fight the northem side as you keep the peace with the south. Once you conquer it all beat the south and win the game.

You dont need to beat the Demon Army, you win once you beat the others.

Masochism: Keep a country alive so you can beat the Demon Army.

by opeterdadju

Iga House[]

Good strategy: 1-2 good foot soldiers in the front and 3 ninjas in the back, or 2 ninjas and the tactician with [Defeated Warrior Hunt] in the back.

Ofensive strategy: 1 footsoldier and ninjas in every other space, if they have low stats dont even place them and atack with less characters.

Build a mansion and wait for the right opportunity to conquer Hara or the Tenshi Sect. The lower province of the Tenshi Sect is a problem to defend, so take the upper one first.

Once you can build 2 Buddha statues, do it and pick the Emperor Ring. Use it on Inukai and demolish the statues, then use Inukai as much as you can. It will probably take a long time to have six provinces.

Capture the circle around Iga. Owari is not a problem for your ninjas; once you have 6 provinces, build Buddha statues in every one of them, and give the popularity staff to Suzume. She will be stronger than Inukai one day.

Do whatever you need to get 10 provinces so you can upgrade your buildings. Establish 7-8 mansions and 2 hospitals, and you will get a great amount of troops and manage to beat the game. The Buddha statue bonuses for 8 and 10 statues are useless in FFA mode.

by opeterdadju

Miko Institute[]

This will be a slow, hard game, so expect hell and suffering like the free ho you are.

You are poor!!! Don't upgrade your troops because you will feel the pain in every coin you spend.

Yes, you receive 5 Mikos each turn. You will have to win with healers- learn to live with it.

Miko Institute's starting area will be a battlefront until the very end, so build barriers and develop your national power since you will need it for recruiting and the small upgrade will be essential for you.

Don't let any good character die. Goemon, Himiko, Natori, Souma, etc...they will all be essential.

In most (but not all) games, Takeda will attack you and take your first territory. Restart if this happens.

Keep peace with Takeda. Keeping peace with Uesugi too would be great, but you may not be able to maintain it. You will learn why in the end.

Develop your national power and recruit new soldiers for your first target: Asai-Asakura. You are stronger than them, but your neighbors will attack you once you attack. Don't let Uesugi take it before you; reload the game if this happens. Use Himiko because she is strong.

Once you conquer Asai-Asakura, build 2 Buddha statues and give the Emperor Ring to Goemon. Natori doesn't need the stats and Himiko has 6 flags already.

From this point on, anything can happen. I can't help you with that.

Realize that you can beat countries who have more troops than you. You may be able to defeat enemy commanders with larger unit counts because battles take commander stats into account.

Build barriers and mansions everywhere- you may not manage to get 6 provinces to get the Popularity Staff. At least this way, you are receiving more troops than your opponents each turn.

Once the Demon Army reaches you, read the paragraph below. I promise you will be surprised.

Victory 1: Now shit bricks. Your objective is to keep peace with both the Demon Army and the other surviving house (normally One-Eyed House, but it could be Takeda, Houjou or Uesugi instead). Next, help the former win by attacking the latter. Finally, when only you and the demons are left, you will win. You like the game again now, don't you? You can win even if you only have two provinces.

Victory 2: Block the Demon Army's path way keep peace with them and the remaining house. Wait until you have enough troops to win and defeat the Demon Army first. You can conquer every province this way. Controlling Asai-Asakura, Mamushi Oil Field, and Owari will do it.

Victory 3: If Shimazu or Mouri beats the Demon Army, wait until you have enough Miko troops to attack them.

by opeterdadju

Hara House[]

As the weakest house, it is essential that your current and future provinces are maxed out in barriers early on. Defend instead of attacking, because your starting entourage will only be enough to act once. Only buy mansions at the start, and spend all your money the turn you get them, because Akihime can and will spend over your income if you have money stored. Building and using Buddha items is entirely up to you.

Your task is to siphon off as many commanders from opposing houses. Keep your commander with defeated warrior hunt alive at all times, and use him whenever possible. Focus fire on any enemy commander that seems strong or may be useful. You may end up with glass cannons in the beginning at best, but keep at it, and use the better commanders to capture the strongest ones (with stats 7 or so). Useless monk commanders can be hired then fired for extra income.

Hara Shouji and Akihime are relatively strong commanders early on. Use the former for offense and the latter for saving money in healing.

Don't be hasty. Simply defend, or attack if you have enough troops, but do not attempt to take over provinces until you are confident you can win. Neutral the houses that seem strong (Oda can be considered one) and long lasting, and instead target weaker houses that you can easily capture commanders from (such as Iga). Recommended troops to target are Diviners/Yin Yangs (who only really rely on int stats) and ninjas.

As the war progresses, likely both dokuganryuu and shimazu will start devouring neighbouring countries. (Occasionally demon army will manage to defeat shimazu and become the second superpower instead). At this point it will become tough. Surround any houses that are still surviving so you can siphon off any good commanders they get. Ensure that both dokuganryuu and shimazu/demon army have a clear route to each other so they will begin fighting one another and wear themselves out. You may have to lose a territory if you manage to block the two of them.

The next step is deciding who to side with; as the weakest house you will find trouble even defending against one of the superpowers. Recommended country to fight is shimazu which has human commanders to capture, but either country will do. Switching sides is possible if you want to keep both houses in check (by focusing on one house, the other will end up with almost max numbered troops, more so if you had not allowed both houses to fight by blocking them) and if you require a breather and have surrounded a house, you can neutral both superpowers without ending the game prematurely. After this point it's mostly brute force. If you are confident you can slack with the barriers and simply attack as much as you can.

Playing as a weak faction[]

A weak faction will often start with 1 starting territory, low income and strong neighbors. Your only chance in this kind of game is to play defensively and upgrade your barrier to max level. You should also be taking advantage of neutrality pacts, unless you're on a challenge run where you avoid them.

  • Barriers are strong. Even a level 1 barrier can protect you from many attacks. Build them at chokepoints if you're struggling, have borders with many different enemies, or don't have enough good units to fight many battles in 1 turn.
  • You won't always come out on top with the random stats of starting units, so take advantage of Defeated Warrior Hunt and capture decent units that can improve your force.
    • You should have some units with good Search for scouting. Negotiation and Construction will help too. Try to capture troops that have 0 NP cost after selling their troops.

For about first 10 turns enemy armies will deploy 3-4 units in battles. Formations will be wacky, sometimes they won't even have a front line. This is a great chance to shine for Diviners, if you have them. Enemy numbers will be similar to yours, so you can take chances and grab some land even from your stronger enemies. But you'll be open to counterattacks and your other enemies will try to take you starting territory. Last locations will have all 6 slots deployed, so if you are not able to take it, you've just wasted a lot of time and money.

To earn money, build a hospital or a shopping district. A district may be better if most your losses are on cheap-to-replace Foots or you really need to buy troops for a good commander, but otherwise, hospitals are usually more practical. If you have Mikos, they're great money-savers at the beginning. If you capture Monks, recruit them for their high troop counts, then sell all their units on the next turn and dismiss. You probably will even need to use flags on "heal 25 troops on every unit" actions.

You probably won't have enough units to scout until you recruit some prisoners, but you probably won't need it. AI always tries to send uninjured units (except when he defends his last province), so dealing enough damage to his important uniques may make sure you won't see them for some time. AI has trouble healing troops, so prolonged wars will weaken it greatly. As will capturing and killing commanders.

Strong unimportant uniques are easily noticeable and great targets for capturing. They won't die while on AI's side and can only be captured. Important uniques of course cannot be captured until they become ronins. But mostly you'll be capturing generics. You need to watch everyone's damage-dealing closely in battles to see if someone's stats are good. You can easily see the difference between attacking a 3 DEF unit and a 7 DEF unit. Same with ATK. Now, for the types:

  • Warriors - Get units with at least 6 ATK. High SPD is great, DEF is preferable, but you can make use of glass cannon Warriors too.
  • Foot Soldiers - Don't release them, Foots die more often than any other type because they are in the most danger of being annihilated. In mid-game you should have at least 4 Foots with at least 5 DEF because you'll need to protect your back line. Not always though. When fighting really strong opposition, where you fear you Foot WILL get annihilated, it may be better to sacrifice worse Foots. That's when your 1,000 troop 3 DEF stacks may come in handy.
  • Archers - Garbage. I struggle to use even 8 ATK Archers, Volley is bad, Foot Soldier Snipe is usable, but situational. No, really, sometimes Foot Soldier Snipe is the only thing to deal good damage to guarding Foots.
  • Ninjas - Good enough ranged units. They're fast, so can cripple strong enemy units before their turn, may have more turns than other units, giving more turns to your side and giving less to the enemy and can break preparations. This is the main reason to have them in reserve. Assassinate is good, but don't count on it. On the downside their damage is pretty bad. I probably won't take Ninjas with less than 7 ATK.
  • Monks - Skills are situational. If they have good stats (mostly ATK) then take them, otherwise Warriors are better.
  • Mikos - Good in early game and defensive battles, will alleviate your money problems. At least 6 INT. All of the above Miko discussion applies.
  • Tacticians - Really good. I'd even take 5 INT Tacticians. I haven't seen generics with Battle Rating Down, but we all know how buffs change the flow of battle. If you're playing DHR, where you can upgrade them, then all the better.
  • Tebasaki - Godsend. You can compare them to Warriors with 2 ATK higher then theirs. And this is without taking in to account better speed, ability to attack backrow and chance to have Battle Rating Up. Even 3 ATK Tebasakis can be used, you'll probably get better ones.
  • Musket - Wouldn't advise. Having a unit with only 1 action is bad, most of your damage often comes from the front line and Warriors should out-damage Musket users in 2 attacks. If you really need someone busted down then you could. I mostly just don't like them. Except Special Cannon.
  • Diviner - Amazing in early game, where they'll fire off all of their Shikigamis. Later, they'll be used only for Guard Shikigami.
  • Mage - Generic Mages exist only in DHR. Can be used against Foots because of their magical attack. Damage is fine. INT 5 will probably be enough.
  • Peasants - Once upon a time I captured a Peasant with 8 in all stats. I didn't recruit him.

After getting 10 territories, you'll be able to upgrade buildings. Mansions are strictly better than other buildings money-wise, you just don't get the value from them while struggling in the beginning. But AI's troops are always increasing, so you'll need mansions to keep up. So it's finding the balance between present value of healing troops and recruiting troops to good units and future value of having many large usable troops.

FFA ends at any instance where you don't have any enemies. So if you are left only with houses that are neutral to you, you instantly win. That's mostly the case when there are 2 enemies left and you neutralized one of them, because double-front wars are stupid (challenging) in FFA.