Oh, the AI definitely attacks, Mr. 2000! It's just that it doesn't attack blindly, like it used to do in Empire. In the hill scenario, I actually lured him down by harassing him with cavalry and archers so that he had to attack. And I regularly lose close matches. It's not a perfect AI, of course, but it's exactly the AI it needs to make Shogun 2 a viable single player game.
I'm still playing on normal difficulty but the AI is pretty solid. It still sometimes does stupid things and I've won battles I should have lost as a result, but when you are pushed to the limit by an army 2/3rds your size you know the AI isn't a pushover.
Ruskov, yeah, the multiplayer was really screwy over this past weekend. Before then, I hadn't been having problems, so I'm hoping it's just some sort of server end junk they'll work out soon. I couldn't care less about that "dishonorable coward" thing, since a) everyone has it, and b) I can't figure out where we're supposed to see another general's profile anyway.
Defeating an enemy with morale rather than attrition is central to King Arthur too. It makes capturing battlefield locations key. Not that morale worked quite the same way. Sadly, they are moving to a more TW system for KA2.
Wow! Tom Chick loves a Total War game? I got to get this now. I was quite hesitant to take the plunge with Shogun 2. But listening to Bill Abner's initial impression and your positive impression of it, just placed my order with my local retail store.
Shogun 2 is easily my favorite of the Total War series, just edging out Rome. The narrowed scope really allowed the developers to communicate a specific theme and context. There's a cohesiveness here that just wasn't possible at the scale of some previous entries. I'm surprised that I like it so much because I thought I had no interest in the setting at all, but the narratives that emerge while playing really stroke the imagination of a virtual daimyo.
Tom, you need to ambush something with Kisho Ninja. That could be number 11.
They throw explosives and can blow up units, it's ridiculously awesome. Better, when defending a stronghold use them as range attackers on the parapets (or whatever the equivalent is) against the approaching hordes.