Nobunaga's Ambition: Iron Triangle is a PS2 and Wii entry in Koei's long-running Nobunaga's Ambition strategy game series that was released in North America on January 27, 2009. One of Koei's historical simulation strategy games, it puts the player in the role of a Japanese warlord during the Warring States era with the goal of unifying Japan.
Domestic and Diplomatic
Gameplay in Iron Triangle is a mixture between real-time and turn-based strategy. By pausing time, the player can make strategic decisions related to building structures, drafting troops, recruiting officers, and engaging in diplomatic relations with other factions. Each action requires a specific amount of resources, such as gold, as well as the assignment of at least one officer to see it through. However, none of these actions will be carried out until time is allowed to start again. As time progresses, the actions assigned will be completed, and the officers will return home once their tasks are done.
Combat is handled in real-time. When a player chooses to march their forces, they must select an officer to lead the force, the type of soldiers, such as infantry, calvalry, or muskets, tactics, and general behaviors, such as whether or not to pursue a retreating enemy. Once a unit is ready, the player must then assign a target for them, whether it be a base or an enemy unit.
When units engage in battle, they will strike at each other automatically and attempt to deplete each others' ranks. Special tactics can also be used to deal extra damage to the enemy, and can be either triggered manually by the player or set to trigger automatically. Soldiers that are not taken into battle will remain behind to defend the fortress and fight back invaders.
Modes of Play
There are three basic modes of play in Iron Triangle:
- Unification Mode: The player must unite all sixty fiefs within Japan under his or her control
- Local Mode: A smaller-scale mode in which the player must only unite the fiefs within the player character's region.
- Challenge Mode: A series of unlockable challenge scenarios. In each, the player must complete a specified objective within a given time limit.
Victory and Defeat
To win the game, the player must accomplish either of the following:
- Capture all of the bases on the map.
- Capture more than fifty percent of the bases on the map and enter alliances with the forces in charge of those that remain.
The game is lost when any of the following occur:
- All of the player's bases are lost.
- The player's daimyo dies with no next of of kin.
- The game reaches the year 1700.
When starting a new game in Unification or Local Mode, the game will also ask the player to select a scenario that determines the starting year, the playable factions, and their control over the map at the start of gameplay. When the game is first started, there are five scenarios to choose from:
Battle for Owari
Begins May 1555 - Begins five years prior to the historical Battle of Okehazama, in which Nobunaga Oda routed the much larger force of Yoshimoto Imagawa, when Yoshimoto led his men toward Kyoto through Nobunaga's home territory of Owari.
Dragon vs. Tiger
Begins September 1561 - Begins with the Battle of Kawanakajima, in which the forces of the rivals Shingen Takeda and Kenshin Uesugi clashed.
Begins June 1570 - Leading an attack against the Asakura clan, Nobunaga is caught off guard by the rebellion of Nagamasa Azai, his brother-in-law, forcing him to fight off both the Asakura and the Azai.
Like a Dream
Begins January 1582 - Having survived the ordeal, Nobunaga is left standing as the most powerful warlord in all of Japan. The unification of the land under his power is within reach, but little does he know that his officer Mitsuhide Akechi has other plans. Historically, Nobunaga died in a coup in June of 1582, but the player can rewrite that history.
A Time of Heroes
Begins March 1557 - A fictional "what if" scenario that pits the most famous officers of the era against each other.