Total War Three Kingdoms - How To Play as Gongsun Zan
Total War: Three Kingdoms features several different warlords players can choose to play as in a campaign. These warlords come with different playstyles and are set apart by their units, buildings, starting positions, and approach to how players can utilize these skills. One of the leaders you can choose to play as is Gongsun Zan, the iron fist general. You're going to want to play him if you're a player who focuses harder on military approaches to their Total War game. We're going to break down how to best strategy this warlord and what you can do to establish yourself as a fearsome force.
Playing Gongsun Zan in Total War: Three Kingdoms
Gongsun Zan is no stranger to war. He's established himself in the north of China and has been defending its borders from any invaders who would have otherwise attacked the country. Now, he sets his eyes on the homeland, interested in protecting them from themselves. While Gongsun Zan can undoubtedly approach the negotiation table, you're more than likely going to settle most of your differences on a battlefield. When Gongsun Zan starts, you'll want to establish his dominance immediately by attacking the nearby enemy cities and establish him as the reigning leader of the region.
Many of these forces are incredibly weak, and conquering them should only take you a matter of turns depending on how many units you lose during each engagement and need to recharge. If you find yourself in the middle of needing additional forces, Gongsun Zan has many different armies he can raise and use to help him utilize your position. You don't want to go into the negative income by summoning these armies, though. It's not a good idea to start with more troops than you can support, weakening you when there's no one left to attack.
Rationing Gongsun Zan's Armies
Because you may have noticed how much Gongsun Zan relies on his aggressive approach, you're likely already working your way through the Military Doctrines reforms tree. If you haven't, you should be doing so. You'll want to establish as many perks as possible for your army to use, and the more available you have, the more massive, stronger forces you can have your disposal.
You'll also notice that keeping money is going to become an issue as you grow your forces. The best method to keep yourself afloat is reaching out to the larger factions in the campaign and establish trade deals with them. Liu Bei would be an excellent resource for this, as he and Gongsun Zan were old friends, meaning they have a stronger companionship with one another at the start. Additionally, you'll want to split your focus to the Infrastructure & Economy and the Philosophy & Trade reform trees. Both of these are going to assist Gongsun Zan as he requires more money to build his forces, and the Philosophy & Trade tree can help him develop better deals between his allies.
Gongsun Zan is all about war, and as such, you should prepare to fight your way through China to bring about peace to the nation. A unit you'll want to utilize as Gongsun Zan is the white horse archer cavalry. Not only are they a powerful unit, but they're going to receive an additional benefit under Gongsun Zan's command due to his passive of giving his calvary stronger armor. While these units are archers, you can use them to quickly zip around the battlefield and decimate an enemy's groups in the back, weakening them from multiple sides. Do not rely on them too much, because after their cavalry charge they're exposed, as they are archers.
When you're pushing your way through the country, you have multiple choices of what direction to go. Gongsun Zan starts in the northernmost region, and you can use this to your advantage to choose which direction you go down through the map. While going straight down is an option, you may find it easier to venture towards the west of the starting position, as it'll take you closer and closer to the capital. If you can build a straight bridge from the capital to Gongsun Zan's starting province, you'll have more options available to you when you get closer to the end game, and you want to expand further. It's also easier to defend.
For those who are interested in consistently seeing battles in Total War: Three Kingdoms, and want to conquer China to bring it to a peaceful end, you're going to have fun with Gongsun Zan. You have to remain aggressive and continually keep finding yourself fighting to stay powerful with this character correctly and win.