New attempt to unite Japan

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A couple of years ago I tried a run of Gekokujo but eventually ran out steam mostly due to the fact that I started out in the middle of Japan and even after I had 10 cities I always had dogs nipping on my toes from both sides which only grew as my faction did. This time I almost made the same mistake as Asakura invited me to vassal and I needed reknown so for a while that is what I did, got my first castle and such but that idiot leader declared two wars each time he made peace all my enterprises were on hold making it too expensive to stay with him so I emptied my castle and turn gave up vassalship eventually after a long long time, I was able to jump on a recently defeated city Niigita by a small-ish faction. My destiny had arrived at last, it took me literally forever to clear out the Nanbu, which I had solely intended to push towards, but every other dam faction in the area wanted me to take it's territory in advance while Nanbu just did not want to die. Anways it's now mine, 30% of Japan unified at one end and all I have to do is keep pushing in one direction!

I figured my situation is so enviousness to anyone who plays this mod that I just have to share.
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made some worthy progress, everything from Hirosaki to Kofu is now under control with several forward castles in enemy lands (I had no idea non-marshall vassals would go storm trooper on the enemy castles but it seems they do)
How are you handling vassals? Like, do you have enough? Do they like you? Did you grind up relations beforehand?

Also, any trade routes you recommend? The only thing that's ever been obvious is buying dye, silk, and spice in Kyushu and selling it in Kansai.
Before I got started in any kind of land holding I bought a noble enterprise in every city, grinding faction with quests and buying drinks in the pub. If you get a business going in nearly every city you will have enough money to get into the land holding game and be able to afford the troops and upgrades. Loot in this mod seems horrible, but slave selling is a good way to make some money.

Vassals are a pain in the ass, I have a lot of feasts and send gifts when necessary. You can never give away more fiefs than your lords will accept and trying to keep people at positive relation is a chore. Some lords you can't please and they will eventually break away, but in the mean time time they are useful fodder. I've also indited a couple of lords because they just can't be happy so around -50 I get rid of them, if you do it when they are really hard negative you only lose -1 (ish) rep with your other lords. I don't give lords more than one castle usually and I hold the cities for myself. It's a bit greedy but I train troops and every new feif I take gets 100 elite peasant troops (50 melee/50 ranged) and 25 hammato guards.
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I remember in my first playthrough on 3.1 with suguroku 3.1 I couldn't finish since one side made peace and ran out of cities. 2nd playthrough I just kept all walled cities and hired everyone who came along. Lots of defections and I regretted leaving garrisons of 100 farmers, had to run all the way back to Kyushu from Kofu and put out fires everywhere. 30 elite / veteran troops seem to be good enough to deter most minor lords.

I'm sure relations with lords would be better if I had the patience to wait for the army to assemble, but its quicker shifting massive armies around by myself.
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