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The Great War of Prefectures

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Rating: 4.6/5 (144 votes)
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FunnyManThe Great War of PrefecturesAh, Japan. Progenitor to the weirdest and most original games you've ever seen. Home of Mario, Katamari Damacy, and more web-based games than you can shake a stick at. Truly, we owe those crazy thinkers a lot.

Kinda makes you want to hire an army and invade them, doesn't it?

Well, put down that walkie-talkie, because ZigZaGame have created a game to scratch just that itch. The Great War of Prefectures plays like a cross between Risk and a Real-Time Strategy game, with Japan's prefectures (analogous to other countries' states or provinces) serving as the territories you fight over.

The first thing you get to do when you start a game is pick your initial prefecture. It's an important choice, because the prefecture you pick will determine whether you are immediately crushed, survive but can't expand, or begin squishing all who come near you. You want a prefecture with as few neighbors as possible, but it's not quite that simple.

Pick Your PrefectureEach prefecture comes with a special power, and some are definitely better than others. For instance, some produce units for free, an immense boon when you're just starting out and haven't acquired enough prefectures to get lots of gold. Then again, maybe you'd just prefer to start in a prefecture that gets a bonus to its gold.

Whichever you choose, your first turn will be quite uneventful. Buy some units from the panel at right, then move to the second tab and pick a base for your prefecture. Bases act like secondary powers for their prefecture, and you can hover over them to read a description. Choose carefully, because you can only pick a new one if an enemy captures the prefecture and you retake it. Whichever you pick, you'll want to end your turn next (double click Finish Turn), because your neighbors are far too strong to attack just yet.

At the start of your second turn, the units you bought last turn will be available for attacking, so you might be ready to make your first conquest. To do so, click and drag to select your units, then click one of the red arrows to attack. Depending on where you are, you might want to wait another turn, because you can only move your troops once per turn. It would be rather pointless to take over another prefecture only to lose your first one.

Go forth, my minions, and KILL THEM ALL!When you do make your first attack, you'll enter the battle mode, which is where the RTS part comes in. You control your units by using the tags at bottom, one for each unit type. Drag the tag around to have your units form up in a line at that point, or click it once to change it to Will, which lets them leave formation and fight whoever they please. If you need an extra boost to defeat your opponents, double-click Strategy at bottom right to call upon an ancient Greek god for a temporary power-up. You can only do this once per battle, so if you get in dire straits again, you'll have to double-click Withdraw and make a run for it.

Analysis: When I first opened The Great War of Prefectures, it made a bad impression. The graphics—especially the tutorial—reminded me of a webpage from 1995, which is to say "brightly colored, annoying, and hard to read."

It also has one of my pet peeves in Flash games: a custom cursor that can't be disabled. I can't say if it was the game, the Linux version of Flash, my particular system, or some combination thereof, but for the entire time I played, the cursor was lagging behind the actual position of the mouse by half a second or so. Simply clicking a button was an exercise in frustration. I got about a third of the way through, saved my game, and walked away for a day, because it was driving me up the wall.

But, and this is the important bit, I came back the next day and finished it anyway. I didn't force myself to; the next time I remembered it, I wanted to play it again.

There's a certain elusive quality that some games have, a combination of fun and compelling that makes them stick in your mind. You don't always even see it right away, but it's what pulls you back in after you thought you had enough. It's the reason you say to yourself, "Oh, I'll just play one more round before I quit." Thirty rounds in a row.

Whatever it is, The Great War of Prefectures has it. Despite a bad first impression and a continuous dose of frustration (which, with luck, most of you will never see), I really liked this game. There's a fascinating little strategy game hiding behind the often-clunky interface, and if you can stick with it to the very end, you will be amply rewarded for your patience and effort.

Play The Great War of Prefectures


Haha, i beat it the

Unknown organisms

were slightly difficult but a army of green giants and green giants/samurai defeated them

Stabones April 30, 2009 3:35 PM

Definitely thought I had it won, then

the mysterious organisms showed up

and I hadn't properly set myself up defensively...needless to say I'm still fighting...

Chris S. April 30, 2009 3:52 PM

This game seemed too easy, but as the review says, sticking with it to the end was worth it. I think that my only suggestion would be for the map to be a bit smaller. I had to fight, oh, forty identical battles.


I advise starting with Aomori. Some 'meat' shields are invaluable during conquest. First take the money prefecture up top after a few days of buying just gladiators. From there, it's relatively easy to just conquer. The ability to form a full regiment in a few days is very powerful, since at that point most prefectures are about half-way building their armies. Except for the ones in an similar position down south.


This game will be fun. First place to take over: Namco HQ. Let's find out how they go the inspiration for Katamari Damacy! Then Nintendo HQ. Mario will be gotten! Then... Um... SUSHI WORLD!!! Yes, Sushi World.

Anonymous April 30, 2009 7:30 PM

Beat it, though wow,

with the unknown organisms was tough. What I didn't do was

use any green giants; I had a few, but I couldn't get them over to find a slot. I bet they would have helped

but what did work well:

10 snipers and 15 samurai, with a bombardment token on the point from which I was attacking. Just be sure to set your snipers to "will" so they gang up on the rolling guys and take each one out quickly. And kick your resurrection magic in when all your samurai have died. Even so, you'll have a multi stage battle to kick that last guy.


What I did was

Set up mostly EMPs in my wake. Once I had conquered almost all of Japan, I bided my time, holding the survivors in place while I got my Green Giants set up in place. Once I was done, I had a full set of Green Giants at every point that the ???s connected to. A wave of Green Giants plus the Speed Bonus cleared an entire class in one sweep. I set them to HOLD over near the Electric Organisms and they cleared out the other ones that were in their path. Even with the boss, same story. Take out all the normal organisms, then set the Green Giants to WILL and they'll flock around the Boss Organism. Superkill. No Green Giants were harmed in the making of this protip.


Green giants, samurai, ninja and the speed boost are what I used as the aomori to win.


addicted aaaaahhh!


Epic Final Strategy

75 Green Giants

25 in each of the 3 spots the Unknowns can breech

Start the fight

Immediately drag HOLD over to the snipers and invoke Speed strategy

Sit back and watch the carnage...

[Edit: Spoiler tags corrected. You must use angle brackets for spoilers. Click here for spoiler instructions. -Pam]


Seems too hard to me. I lose most fights and immediately lose territory when counter-attacked to an empty city.

I am missing something important, I guess. because it seems impossible.

BriguyZ May 1, 2009 12:28 AM

I just beat it all with Wakayama. The real trick for the end levels is:

Speed strategy with the Green Giants. You don't even need many Giants, just tell them to get the shooter guys first, and get them there with speed. I didn't try this until the final level myself, but because of this strategy it was comically easy.


It's like Risk, except without dice. I like its simplistic, colorful style (a sort of minimalism where everything's quickly identified if it isn't stacked on top of more of the same), and lagginess mainly depends on the speed of your connection and how many other things are running at the time.

My only problem is a complaint at how ever other prefecture, all being AI controlled, looks vaguely not to think separately for each one. I complain like this mainly because my second and current attempt at the game is being met with a defensive stonewall from different singular prefectures while one other one is being met with less resistance on the other side of the country. Maybe I learned more about the game when it was too late.

I started out with a graveyard on Aomori. The easy supply of skeletons was helpful in the early game, but not so much now when I'm faced with separate prefectures with dozens of knights each.

I can wait and stockpile more expensive troops, but I'm about even with the expanding domain of Osaka.


I started with the sniper generating country on the left corner of the map. I wouldn't be surprised if something's wonky with the AI since most of the countries near me just seemed to sit there while one country went a-conquering on the right side of the map. Personal strategy was to put a soldier research base in at the start so as to get access to knights, hire a few defenders (which may have been why the AI didn't bother?) and build a supply of knights so as to beat down the gladiator countries nearby. Once I had my tech levels maxed out I just put down EMPs everywhere thinking I'd see if the 15 day troops were worth the wait (oh man, they are, especially with speed).


how do you get your soldier research to advance? I already picked it at a base once to get defenders and knights. do i have to pick it again on another base to level up?



Yep, that's how you advance your soldier research. Pick research at more than one base. If you want the maximum level of soldiers(level 5), you'll need to have four research stations.

The_Corruptor May 1, 2009 2:43 PM

If you ever want to disable custom-ingame cursors: right click. Your cursor will reappear for good.

Black Ninjakoopa May 1, 2009 6:35 PM

Ick. I dislike this game greatly, mainly because you have to PRAY your troupe will even attack. Mine just sits there while I click maniacally, growling to myself. Not very fun.

Gnauga May 1, 2009 7:21 PM


The important thing is to grab grab grab as quickly as possible. To start off, it's fairly straight forward. You can easily conquer with two or three regiments of 25 and refill with skeletons from home Aomori as you need them. Make sure you upgrade soldier labs fully before anything else. The first two and last two strategies are generally the only ones I work with. You should be making a few hundred per round. What you want to do is have the skeletons act as a meat shield, shielding your short-range troops from enemy fire. That is, until you can afford defenders. Don't buy any bases until you're fairly certain that you can take on the surrounding prefectures. That way, if a prefecture is giving you serious issues, you can buy a covering fire base to take it on.

A tactic I like to use once I've maxed out my strategies is

Send in a full regiment of skeletons. Once you're down to almost none, revive all of them with the Eos strategy. This effectively doubles your numbers and is a good way to get rid of excess skeletons, while inflicting serious damage on your foes. Make sure you revive them BEFORE they're entirely dead. There's a time gap between casting the strategy and the game counting your skeletons as revived.

@Black Ninjakoopa: Remember to set them all to WILL. Click the bubble with the picture of the troop type and HOLD in blue letters. They should attack whatever is closest to them. If they're set to hold, they will stand evenly spaced out and attach whatever comes within arm's reach.


Walkthr...Analysis, more like.

Note: the formal tone is overused intentionally.

In a future long ago, the prefectures of Japan will have launched into a battle royal, with each one attempting to conquer the others. You must command one of them, and restore order to the country.

Deployment of Troops:

Battalions of the same kind of troop will line up and move at your discretion while under the "Hold" command, but when given the "Will" order will aim for the nearest target. While under "Hold", they will not move from their designated spot. Ranged attackers told to "Will" tend to cluster around one target, while those on "Hold" will only fire at any horizontally aligned enemy.

Basic tactics become apparent: Defenders, when set forward, can block ranged attacks for anything behind them, while fast soldiers like Gladiators and Ninja can move behind enemy lines and engage Archers in direct combat. Get them there during "Hold", then switch to "Will" and they will surround the nearest Archer.

This system can be easily mastered in the early game, when you only have Gladiators and Archers available; later on, varied types of units will require faster co-ordination. (Medics and Mechanics should always be set to "Will", so they can always go where they're needed)

Early Game:

The major difficulties you will face here are either keeping your forces in line and mastering the limited combat system. For picking your starting prefecture, either choose an easily defensible or coastal one, to avoid being attacked by multiple other prefectures. Putting a Graveyard on Sacred Ground will supply you with 5 Skeletons per turn; a great asset for attacking all but a Marshy or Rivery prefecture. Boosting Soldier Labs can get you an early Knight (Spearman?) or two, or a defensive base to assist your reserve forces.

Picking a Magnetic Field from day 1 is risky, but will be less risky if one of your early conquests has a defensive bonus. Remember that you do not have to conquer new land every day, so it will be safer to spend a few days stockpiling troops and funds beforehand.

The Midgame:

Here, few powers will emerge, conquering many prefectures. Always move your remaining troops outward, to protect contested areas. Conquering a prefecture only to have it taken back the next day accomplishes nothing.

Remember to keep Skeletons moving throughout your prefectures: they become less useful compared to Knights and even a similar number of Gladiators, but can be tough defenders especially when set to "Will". Choose more Soldier Labs first and Strategy Labs second. Put them and Magnetic Fields in areas with little danger of attack, while Cannons, Hospitals and Covering Fire should be used in prefectures that will see more attack. For prefectures intended for a Magnetic Field, surrounding the intended prefecture can have you attack it from all sides and ensure that there will be no counterattack.

Strategies in combat are always helpful; unless you plan to speed up your Gladiators/Ninja to attack the enemy Archers, force your opponent to use theirs first, so that yours will end last.

Your opponents may seem timid at first, but they will hesitate to attack if a nearby prefecture can capture their newly vacated one. It can be helpful to click on specific troops to send in to battle, causing enough damage for a rival to finish them off; if they overextend themselves, you can re-take the prefecture before they have a chance to collect their revenue.

The Endgame:

If you have kept the bulk of your forces on the frontlines, this stage of conquest should go smoothly. Having gathered more prefectures, and thus, more revenue, feel free to invest in the more expensive troops, with a couple of Defenders or Medics added for extra security. If you have gotten this far, both forms of research must have been finished, thus securing your superiority.

As before, the best attack is not always the fastest: even one Green Giant is more than a match for several Gladiators or Knights, and is a force to be reckoned with. If you find yourself with a surplus of revenue, you can always fund more troops in nearby prefectures, or send them to the ones that get vacated after an attack. If you can consolidate your forces after conquering a rival's prefecture, then you will oust them eventually. After that, the only thing left to do is to ensure the defeat of the remaining prefectures, and complete dominion shall be yours.

A New Challenger Has Arrived!

Who dares make the display shake so awkwardly during what should have been a congratulatory credits screen? Ah yes, now that all of Japan has been united through war, of course it must unite against a new foe now.

Very well, I shall aid you once more. Two methods arise to defeat this overpowered menace: as you must wipe them out yourself, by this point you can fund armies full of Samurai and Snipers, or wait the tediously long time until you have twenty-five Green Giants in one place. As the most dangerous of the Unknown Organisms is the Electric variety, using the Speed strategy to fight them off is of paramount importance. At this point, the only suggested course of action is to use your superior spending power to fund superior manpower.

Once you have managed the three-way assault to finally destroy the menace at its nest once and for all, allow me to congratulate you on your superlative victory with a shower of liquid rainbows fired from giant robot cannons and a box of pockey sticks. You earned them!


An addendum to said Walthr- uh, Analysis:

The Unknown Organisms in the post-game actually do attack, and will push you back unless you know what will happen and prepare for it in advance, meaning you either played it before unprepared or read something here. The aliens will attack Hokkaido, Toyama and Nagasaki, so it would be helpful to wait to conquer the last one until you've built up enough Green Giants, Samurai and Snipers. If you put a Soldier Laboratory there and lose it, you won't be getting any more Samurai.


finished it with 3 waves of troops:
a wall of green giants
medics and samurai.

Its was annoying how the small organisms kept spawning and the giants were too slow to get them, good thing I had the samurai :P

Marbles May 2, 2009 5:44 PM

Arg. I'm the only state left against a Shiga that controls all of Japan, less one island...

Anonymous May 2, 2009 6:43 PM

Speed + 25 giants = win!win!win!


What I did was...

Use Mie and a warrior upgrade. I started in that bottom/middle corner. And just expanded like crazy.

And now I'm stuck.

At the beginning of the ??? invasions. I can get the middle one, but then i'm completely suck


Jp! I tried to be unspecific, so as not to just tell everyone to do what I did, but there really is just one or two ways to win the whole game.

To conquer the Unknown Organisms' areas without having to take back the places they'll certainly attack, you'll have to know where they'll appear in advance. When that happened to me, I actually started over again, putting Covering Fire on those prefectures ahead of time.

You can prepare for the onslaught with prefectures full of nothing but Samurai and Snipers, or if you're willing and patient, wait for some Green Giant backup and get them into position before you conquer the last prefecture. Make sure you can hit them first with 25 troops at a time. If you're using Green Giants, use the Speed strategy to get them at the back to attack the Electric Organisms; if you aren't, use Zeus to revive your attackers. For the Boss Fight, unless you have at least a half-dozen Green Giants, you'll probably need to attack from all three areas. It isn't as hard as it first appears, especially if you've been sneaky and seen them coming.

Also, something odd about Magnetic Fields and Ninja Villages:

When they say "Every 3 days" or every 15, they don't mean "every 15 days after you picked this base", they mean day 15, day 30, and so on. If you've conquered almost everywhere at day 42, you might consider waiting until day 45 to amass Green Giants to prepare for the post-game invasion.

Anonymous May 15, 2009 4:09 PM

Every time I have all the organisms killed and my big green dudes are working over the big boss and just before his health is gone, it says the organisms won. I have most of my guys alive and this has happened several times. What gives?!?!?

Anonymous May 15, 2009 4:23 PM

Nevermind. I just beat the game.


A walkthrough for the end:

When you own all the prefectures except one buld up defense around the one prefecture you don't own. Wait a while so you gain money and green giants. When you have enough money/green giants, invade the last prefecture. When the aliens come, buy samurais and snipers in the prefecture that they can attack. Start moving your green giants toward those prefectures (from now on I'll refer to them as the "main prefectures") and try not to lose the main prefectures. When all your forces are assembled, attack the three islands the aliens (not the one shaped like the sun) if you fail, defend the other islands and keep attacking until you capture the islands. As soon as you surrounded the boss, move your strongest soldiers to the islands. Then attack the main island the main island with ALL three prefectures. Keep moving\placing soldiers and attacking the main island until you win.


Finished it for the second time (took me about 50 in-game days). Absolutely addictive and the bad thing is this is not a short game. Phooey..!!

Be warned, you'll most likely to get stuck playing this game for hours. :P

Starting from Aomori/Hokkaido seems to be the best and try upgrading troop levels quickly. Once you get the samurai, things will get easy.

Ooh...invest in green giants after that!


this game is awesome but very repetitive


The key for me is that I use Conveing Fire and attack a group that hasn't made a move yet and using Attack up, 99%, it works.....

And another thing, Use things that can help you on defence if you are a beginner...

If you are good, you will conquer everything

Places I have won with my strategy(not nagasaki or okinawa)



I managed to beat the unknown organisms with just samurai and green giants. the trick is to use either the freeze or speed strategy against them.

NukesRus March 19, 2012 8:11 PM

I knew using Green Giants would be way too easy. I went the old fashion way, Bullets and Swords. My strategy:

2 rows of Snipers, and the rest Samurai, or just all Samurai, doesn't matter. When the match starts, set the Snipers to will, and Samurai on Hold at enemy lighting organisms. When your troops reach the UO's strong grey ones, use the strategy shock, and walk right past them. Once you reach the shock units. Samurai to Will, and sit back. You win.


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