Total War: Three Kingdoms - How To Play as Kong Rong
Total War: Three Kingdoms pits nearby factions against one another as they attempt to establish dominance in a disorganized and shattered China. Players have the opportunity to choose which warlord they want to play as, and many of these unique factions feature identifying features to make them stand out. A warlord who starts on the wrong foot is Kong Rong. When players start with this warlord, they're going to find no shortage of enemies, as the faction begins surrounded by the Yellow Turban bandits and the Han Empire. Here's the best way to advance with Kong Rong, and how to achieve victory as this warlord.
Playing Kong Rong in Total War: Three Kingdoms
While Kong Rong is designed to appear like a wise, sharp leader who prefers talking to his adversaries than fighting them, you're going to begin your first few turns with him attempting to establish yourself as a suitable faction against your enemies. You start the game surrounded by both the Han Empire and Yellow Turban Bandits. Both are eager to fight you for your territories, and you're going to have to push back.
Because you're surrounded you want to find the best direction to expand and quell the uprising forces. Of the choices, you'll want to push Kong Rong's army to the west. From here, you drive back to the edge of the continent and take the settlements other troops won't be able to acquire unless they push you there. Regardless if they can, they're going to have a tough time reaching these locations because they'll be too far back. Advancing back to the west and then bringing Kong Rong's main force back to the west is going to go a long way to make your start that much more successful.
Negotiations and Team Work
Despite starting in the thick of combat, Kong Rong excels at meeting other faction leaders at the table and discussing with them suitable agreements that benefit both sides. You'll want to press the advantage of his silver tongue and not waste any time getting on their good side. The quicker you can do this, the faster you'll have the opportunity to get on their positive side so you can work with them. You'll want to lean on Lei Bui, as he and Kong Rong have a positive history with one another.
You'll want to watch Kong Rong's Trade Monopoly bar located at the top left, under the faction icon. For every army Kong Rong has in play, they're going to reduce faction-wide trade by 35 percent. For those who were eager to expand with their armies and dominate, you may want to hold back on those ambitions. Instead, you need to focus on reaching out to other empires and establishing workable trade networks to expand your net worth. When you're in a comfortable position, build an army or two to take a nearby area. After you've conquered it, dismiss the military and go back to working with a minimal sized force as possible.
Focusing Trade and Networking
You cannot negotiate enough as Kong Rong. It's not only because he's good at it, but his entire faction benefits from many trade deals. When everything is said is done, he won't have the biggest army in all of China, but he'll have worked with almost everyone to some capacity. You'll want to establish the Philosophy & Trade reform trees as quickly as possible, and then move up through the Infrastructure & Economy reforms. While the trade deals you make are significant early on, and into the mid-game, you don't want to rely on the other factions to establish your end-game income. Use it as a momentum to become a self-sustaining government.
To take over China with Kong Rong means to benefit many factions. As the ending draws to a close, some factions you were allied with are going to be odds with each other. Rather than staying out of it, you're going to receive the most from choosing a distinct ally and working with them to take over the other side. You'll need to pick your bets appropriately, though, as siding with the wrong person may leave you exposed.
Kong Rong offers a unique playstyle for players interested in an unorthodox approach to conquering China. You're going to start off fighting in a war, but then you're going to find the real battles happen in the negotiation menu and befriending your neighbors.