A G E  O F  E M P I R E S: 
   Age   of   Kings
         DS

FAQ/Guide by Wolff Dobson
greenexec AT gmail.com


AGE OF EMPIRES: AGE OF KINGS DS 

I love this game and was playing along and got a little stuck on
Japanese mission 4, and then I discovered there wasn't a complete FAQ
for this game. 

Here is a list of tactics I used plus a recounting of my own trials on
campaigns 2, 3, 4, and the tricky ones on 5.

Table of contents:
  * STRATEGY TIPS
  * MINAMOTO
  * KHAN
  * SALADIN
  * RICHARD
  * NOTES

STRATEGY TIPS

1. Good Formations

For the first three or four campaigns at least, you can use what I
call "Good Formation" and you will radically increase your chances.
Good Formation is great for advancing into enemy territory slowly but
surely.  Good Formation is how to stay alive on the maps where you get
no reinforcements.  (This assumes third age or better---at second age
you have many fewer choices and usually not a lot of capacity for
building up a big collection of units.)

First, pikemen in the front.  Pikes are tough units that can withstand
an enemy cav charge and can withstand a turn of arrows without dying.
Behind them, stack up your archers and crossbowmen.  On either flank,
maybe one square behind your pikes, place your cavalry.  Behind this
put your support troops, like monks and trebuchets.

So, for example

 [Enemy here]

   PPP
  CAAAP
  CHTCC
   MSM

P = Pikeman (or strong foot unit)
A = Archer or other missile unit
C = Cavalry of any sort
H = Hero
T = Trebuchet or onager (I prefer Trebs)
M = Monk
S = Siege engines, support troops

Smaller versions of this will work, but this is the basic idea---strong
foot units backed up by archers and cav.

This formation basically makes you nigh invincible to attacks from
equal or lesser forces.  It's not particularly offensive, but when
you're attacked, you can crush your opponents with your archers and
send your pikes back to get healed up while you do counter-charges
with your reserve cavalry and/or heroes.  If you find yourself in a
situation where you need to just survive, Good Formation can be a
lifesaver.  If you're looking to advance against a heavily-armed town,
again, this is your best friend.

Pikes are cheap, but if you have the cash, you can frequently replace
them in places with samurai.  Elite Samurai are tough, very reliable
troopers that are basically gold except against heavy cavalry or very
heavy missile fire.

3. Concentrating force

This game really rewards force concentration---basically, making a mob
of guys and keeping them together.  It's very tempting to go off and
score local victories with errant cavalry charges or letting your
archers fall behind while your samurai rush ahead.  However, unless
you have a big advantage in force or production, this is eventually a
loser.  You're better off moving everyone up together.

My brother and I call assembling your troops "making an FFEM", or
making a Fighting Force of Extraordinary Magnitude.  It's good to
spend a turn or two getting your forces strong and in order before
advancing.  Sending one samurai into a nest of monks and archers is a
recipe for quick death.  Sending four samurai into the same nest with
an archer behind them makes all the difference.

2. Advancing across bridges

You will find yourself in several campaigns trying to advance across a
bridge into enemy territory.  On maps without production, you should
just move slowly and make good use of your long-range missiles.

On maps with production, though, there's a trick that helped me. 

So, here's your map:

Enemy  ]R[  Your side 
Area   ]i[
        =
       ]v[
       ]e[
       ]r[

Here's what I suggest for your first stage: Jam up the bridge with a
strong unit, like a Pike or even your hero.  Then, build a town right
at the foot of the bridge as fast as you can.  The final layout will
be like this:

Enemy  ]R[ 
Area   ]i[TA
        = B*?
       ]v[TS
       ]e[
       ]r[

* Town Center
S siege workshop
B Barracks
A Archery range
? Whatever you want
T Tower

The towers are optional if you're producing faster than your enemy.
Use the siege workshop and the archery range to build some ranged
units and put them in the towers while you build an FFEM (Fighting
Force of Extraordinary Magnitude). 

When you're ready, advance across the bridge in Good Formation
(see above).  Establish a beachhead and then, wherever makes sense,
build a castle on the other side.  Then fill the castle with siege and
archers and you should be good to go.

Sometimes it can feel wrong to be building a town in an area that
doesn't give you four building squares, but often the ease of getting
fresh troops to the front outweighs this.  Plus, once you're on the
other side of the river, you can demolish the town and move it
forward.

4. Kill the archers

Enemy missile weapons are really annoying, and here I will call every
kind of missile unit an "archer".  Archers, in real life and in the game,
serve to force your enemy to move (as standing still will kill them),
either moving away or towards the archers.  In bad cases, archers are
forcing you to rush forward before you're ready.  Then the archers run
away and you get slammed by the enemy cavalry.

On maps where there is no production, you can gain a huge advantage if
your murder the enemy archers.  It's worth sacrificing a cav here and
there or enduring some painful hits if you can be sure you do in an
archer 100% (i.e. don't let them heal).

Cavalry and champions are both great for murdering archers.  Do it
today!

5. Kill the monks

Monks double your trouble.  On certain maps and when the computer is a
little broke, the AI will make squads of 4 or more monks who will go
around converting your guys and healing up the bastards you've been
trying to kill.  They're force multipliers for the enemy so you
should remove them as soon as possible.

6. Kill the farms before the towns

This is just obvious thinking, but sometimes you get all caught up
trying to burn down a town that you forget you should turn off the
spigot first.

7. Remember that siege units can't cross a ford.

A ford are the little rocky river-crossings.  I forgot this about a
dozen times and found myself with a castle and a trebuchet locked onto
an island.

This is silly, of course---in real life, engineers would build
trebuchets and battering rams on the spot.  When they needed to move
on to the next battle, the engineers would disassemble the siege
machinery and carry the valuable bits with them in horse carts.

MINAMOTO

Japan Mission 2: Ichi no Tani

This was hard the first time, but the second time I kept my troops in
Good Formation and had no trouble once I took out the archers.  In
short:  

First take EVERYBODY up the right (east) side of the map.  You'll get
harassed by archers and stuff, but keep your troops together and
generally let them come to you.  When you get to the swamps, send some
samurai over the swamps and get the monk.  Bring him back through the
swamps while everyone waits for them to get back.  Pick off archers
with cavalry if you can, but don't get very aggressive.

Now, get your Good Formation together and advance slowly up the main
road north.  Move very slowly, keep your pikemen in front and
archers/cavalry behind, and siege engines way in back.  You'll meet a
few lines of resistance, but just take them down bit by bit and use
 and your monks behind the lines to keep everyone alive.

When you can see the castle and are just out of range of the scorpion
inside, send a bunch of guys over the mountains to the west (archers
on the mountain tops, samurai and cav over the hill) and mop up
stragglers over there.  Explore that area west and behind the castle
and make sure you have killed everyone.

Then attack the castle with your footsoldiers and samurai and it goes
down quickly.  All three stars!

Then there's that next one.  Yeah, you know what I mean.  Japan, Yashima.

Japan Mission 4: Yashima

This is really hard because up until this point, you've not had a
really dedicated resistance that can reinforce itself.  There are two
civs you're up against (this is key) and they're not very aggressive
but, oh, lordy, are they a tough nut to crack.  This mission took me
75 turns at least, and my hand cramped.  In retrospect, it shouldn't
have taken that long.

First thing:  Block the bridge with Minamoto to stop grunt-rush.
Build villagers, send them off to the islands and whatnot to build out
all your resources.  Fairly early on, send a villager and/or some
cavalry over the mountains to the south and set up villages there.  You
can build a town there, too, but put it as far east as you can
(towards the bridge). 

During the Third age, focus on getting rich and getting tech.  You can
try a few scout-ish attacks over the bridge to stop him from building
farms, but, honestly, you probably won't get far.

Once you reach the Fourth Age, you can go offensive.  You need to
attack both across the bridge in the north a little and in the south a
LOT.

In the south, demolish your town and build it right next to the bridge
(see "Attacking across a bridge" above in Strategy Tips).  There's not
a great 4-space spot, but you'll get three useful ones and that's all
you really need.

Send your villagers across the bridge along with some cav, some
samurai, and some monks.  As quickly as possible, set up a castle on
the purple side of the river.

At the same time, build a castle near your bridge that you stopped-up
with Minamoto.  Start pouring troops, especially samurai and pikes,
over the bridge.  Back them up with archers and crossbows, and use
Minamoto in the back to heal people up.  (A monk wouldn't go amiss,
here, either.)

The emperor and the other purple guys will be infuriating at this
point.  They will build monks like mad and start converting your
troops.  You can thwart this by A) killing monks as soon as you can so
there aren't big groups of them, and B) use elite samurai who are
invincible to conversion.  You will also end up with knots of
entrenched missile guys on the mountain ridges---they are very
difficult to dislodge, although once you have your trebuchets, you can
advance on them en masse and take them down. 

Now, START BURNING FIELDS.  Towns are fine, but it's the fields and
mines in the south that you need to get rid of.  Build on them as soon
as possible afterwards so you get the bonus unit cap.  Build siege and
monks at your southern town along with horses.  Get some trebuchets
from your castle along with elite samurai, preferably three of them
once your unit cap is high, and then put samurai and cavalry in front
of them and advance, turn by turn, towards the purple southern town.
Burn the town down, then get the fields behind it.  Once you've burned
that town, you've won and it's just a grim mopping-up.  Advance with
lots of siege and lots of archers and samurai and go crazy.  I found
the trebs very helpful here.

Right before you burn the last city, the Emperor will appear and try
to run to a boat.  You have basically two turns to kill him, so be
ready by bringing up lots of archers when you're sieging the last
city.  Be sure to destroy the eastern-most parts of the last city so
you can chase the Emperor with some cav as necessary.

As astoundingly frustrating as this mission was, it's very hard to
lose since you have lots of resources and easy choke points to defend
when the going gets tough, and the purple guys have nowhere to expand
to.  It allowed me to develop my strategies with lots of hopeless
incursions.

Minamoto Mission 5: Khan

This is fun.  My only advice is to draw Khan far away from his boat
before you attack him since when he hits 50% health he runs back to
his boat.  For me, I had no warning since I attacked him near his boat
and, whoops, there he went without a second chance.

KHAN

Khan Mission 1

The only thing hard about this mission is that you are now facing two
empires in two directions.  The northern guys are pretty weak, though,
and you have help.

First, I'd suggest stealing your "friend"'s resources by sending your
villagers north to build farms and mines.  Then run south and get the
rest of your resources.

You'll get a couple of weak attacks during the second age, but it
should be no trouble.  I let my buddy wreck their town up there while
I held off the south through the third age and sent my scout cavalry
to die burning the southern guys' mines.  You'll have to advance
across the southern bridge, but I don't even think you'll need to
build a castle; it's very easy and your enemy will build pikemen to
try to stop you.  Build archers and your own pikes and you're all
set, plus Khan himself to back him up.

Khan mission 2

You need to convert all the chieftains for full points.  Map is
basically four corners, with warlord chieftains in every corner.  The
key observation here is to realize that the enemy warlords don't move
unless you trigger them crossing into their territory.  Thus, you can
go really slow, making Good Formations and healing everyone between
conquests.

First move, use Nomadic travel on some horses and a monk.  Use the
horses to ride into the mountains in the SW, then use the Monk to run
up and convert the first warlord.  In my case, he went down fast.
Reinforce your position for the one turn you need to last while the
war lord is converting by pulling more people into the mountains and
blocking the pass.  Hope your monk doesn't die---if he does, you need
to bring up expensive troops like Horse Archers to soak up the AI's
attention for that turn.

After you now own all the dudes in the SW plus your own, reconsolidate
your position using Good Formation rules: Pikemen in front, archers
behind, cav in reserve and on flanks.  I got rushed by the NW guys and
basically just withstood them for two turns, eliminating most of the
enemy except a few Manguadai because they're freakin' stacked and I
had nothing to ace them.  Then, again, with the Nomadic Travel and
sent a monk over the mountains, avoiding the main force, and converted
the warlord.

I spent a few turns spent doing nothing but healing, getting everyone
to full strength, then Good Formation advancing until I could see the
guys in the NE.  Again, Nomadic Travel and a cav rush into the middle
of their territory to find the their warchief, then a monk dash in to
convert.  No dice, though, and had to send the other three monks in
and withstand two turns of punishment (eliminating most of NE's
forces) to get the convert, finally.

I paused a while healing, but eventually the SE guy wandered over the
ford to mug me from the south; I had left some guards just in case.
Given that I had about 14 troops vs. his 5, it was short work to
finish his guys off and then send my monks down to convert.

Khan mission 3

You have to build the Wonder (a big tent) and defend it.  There are
some other side goals about building 4 mines, uncovering the map, and
finishing quickly.

I screwed this one up and got no stars (but was close to getting two
when the flag fell).  Essentially, you should probably do what the AI
does---build a town at the foot of the road, build a barracks and
mills/mines on all the resources on your side of the river.  Use the
barracks to build a lot of pikemen and guard your bridges, using Khan
to provide Patron of Arts and boost quickly into the 4th age.

Of course, I didn't do that.  Instead, I started with monks and a
stable and proceeded to be an utter jerk to the nearby civs.  I built
a mine on the far side of the river on Blue's territory and used my
scout cav to axe enemy villagers.  This was fun, but was slow and I
had to work so hard to protect my assets near Blue that I lost time
advancing ages.  Arguably, I held him back too, but the truth is that
it just let Purple get ahead.

One of the annoying things is that most of your farms are near the
river, so you'll constantly be rebuilding them when they get burned by
Blue's archers.  There's little to do but basically hold them off,
although when you become cash-rich you can invest in all kinds of
siege stuff and arbalests and it becomes much easier.  Orange will
sometimes come over the north bridge and burn farms, but Khan or some
camels can pop any one visitor easily.

The other thing I did, which was kinda smart, was place my second town
next to the ford on the far east of my territory, one space away from
the ford to Orange.  Orange keeps trying to build a town and castle on
the other side of the ford, but you can keep sending troops and arrows
across and, later, build a mine there.  I also built a castle on
Oranges's side and started sending out Mangaudai along with pikes and
whatever else I could buy at the market.  (Woad raiders?  Sure, why
not?)  Orange is under constant pressure from Purple and Blue so you
can pretty much bottle him up before you reach the 4th age.  I had
taken over his fields and mines by the next age, and you can sidle up
the east side of the map and get an easy steal of Purple's mine, too
(equals 4 mines, plus exploration credit!  Two stars!).

One oddity of the AI is that, when pressed, they basically ignore your
villagers and favor instead making angry gestures at your towns across
the river.  Baffling.  In the middle of a huge knot of trouble, I was
able to burn Orange's main mill and replace it with my own and no one
seemed to care.  Literally entire civilizations rode by and ignored
me.

No matter what strategy you choose you win, though, because you have a
massive head start in tech.  You should be able to coast to the 4th
age without breaking a sweat, and then amass a considerable fortune
and build the wonder.  The "surprise" is, outta nowhere, Blue and
Orange (and probably Purple) get a huge troop reinforcement and some
siege machinery.  You have to wait out a dozen or more turns while
they lumber slowly towards you.  If you have good long-range siege
stuff (cannons, a trebuchet, heavy scorpions) and some cav and pikes
to mop up, this will be a breeze.  I built my second castle between my
two cities and constructed all my towers while I waited.  I also
concentrated on killing the enemy trebuchets early.

It was sort of boring.  I went over and started building more mills
where Orange hadn't noticed open grain and then used Khan and his
nomadic travel to visit Purple.  I think it might be fun to go back
and try to win on Bloodshed instead of by building the Wonder.

Khan mission 4

This is another easy one, as long as you use the skills you have.
It's very long, though, and it's a bloodshed scenario---wipe out two
other civilizations (the Shah and Kiev).

The three stars are easy to get; get to the Imperial Age first
(trivial, assuming you research every turn you can, which you should
anyhow), find all the ruins and capture all the relics.  The ruins are
pretty much the last thing you do as at least two of the ruins are
tucked behind enemy lines.

Hint: there're ruins in the NE corner where you start---collect ruins
by ending your turn on them.

Build a ton of villagers first, then use your Light Cav and Khan to
bop around the map exploring.  You'll soon see that the bad guys are
on the far side of a river to the north, and that there's really only
one bridge.  If you survived Japan mission 4, you know what to do:
Build a town at the foot of that bridge.  (I actually built one at the
crossroads nearby, then built another one at the bridge so I could
really crank troops across the gap.)  Make lots of pikes and archers
and establish control of your side of the bridge.  You'll get
attacked, but fortunately the Shah and Peter of Kiev hate each other,
too, so they'll be burning each other's mines and stuff while you
expand.

Basically, don't let anyone get a foothold past the bridge (or fords,
or ridge of mountains), and keep a few guys patrolling in the deserts
to the west (I had one cav unit, one pike, and some villagers) so you
can send in reinforcements if the Shah gets all crazy on you and
starts sneaking guys onto your territory.  This gives you 2/3rds of
the map and 2/3rds of the resources, so by the 3rd age you should be
sending in Good Formations across the bridge and then build a castle
or two over there.  You should be fine, since you'll have a heavy tech
advantage and, if you have a town or two just across the bridge,
plenty of reinforcements.  Do economic damage when you can (grab those
two mines just across the bridge) and make sure you send in some
onagers and lots of archers to keep the pikemen at bay.

I also built two castles on the tiny bit of land right next to Kiev's
town in the far NW.  It's just across all the fords and near the ruins
and relic over there.  I lost some villagers setting it up, but after
that I just kept making Mangaudai and harassing those farms over there
so that my main bridge attack went smoothly.  By the time you're up at
a 40 unit cap, you should be controlling the battlefield.

This is pretty easy, just long---a lot like Japan Mission 4, but since
you already know how to beat that, this is cake.

AI foible: The Shah decided he needed several siege engines when I was
shredding him with pikemen.  It was bizarre---here he makes three
onagers with no support troops, yet doesn't even fire them at me most
of the time.  It actually was a bit of snooze just to burn all the
towns with your War Wolves at the end.

Also, I found it faster and easier to build a town next to each relic,
then build a monk to go retrieve it than build three monks and walk
them slowly all over the map.

Khan Mission 5

This one was scary but fun.  It's a callback to the early Kublai Khan
mission 5 for the Japanese, only this time you're the Mongols and
you're badly outnumbered and get no villagers or towns.  You're the
Mongol horde and you're like locusts, shredding everything before you.

The big thing to remember is A) you're going to get some
reinforcements if you can wait it out, and B) you need to concentrate
your force.  Your first sortie is pretty weak, although you should
endeavor to ace any crossbowmen nearby.  Run away north and west when
the going gets tough.  It's just not sane to try to advance very far
into the wall of samurai and archers.  Keep your trebuchet alive with
the monk if you have to, and kill that mine for some easy econ damage.

The second boatload is pretty strong---a lot of Mangaudai and camels
plus another monk.  Again, your monk is very valuable for healing.  I
used one of my battering rams plus one other unit to start murdering
villagers and burning farms way west and north---the Japanese will not
be able to rebuild.

Start burning down the town with the camels, Mangaudai and siege
engines packed together, and try to get both parts of your forces
together.  Use your ranged weapons to pick at samurai as they get
close.  Once the town is down, get your forces together.  You won't
really have any pikemen to speak of unless you get lucky and convert
some (although I stuck to healing up my tattered forces mostly), but
you can still make a wide wall of horses with your siege engines
behind them.  The twin trebuchets can cover one another as you
advance, and you can use Nomadic Travel to rush some camels and
Mangaudai up to kill the enemy crossbows before they get shots off.

The third boatload should put the nail in it if you haven't
accidentally gotten Khan killed.  You can just burn down the temple if
you want at this point, but it's fun to try to rush the other town
with everything you have and go for some bonus stars.  Again, all you
really need to do is keep everyone together and use those three
trebuchets to level the buildings.  With careful healing, you should
have enough mojo to shred the remaining town and castles.

This was the first mission where I really figured out what to do with
battering rams.

Amusing AI moment: I had burned both towns and was advancing up the
peninsula towards the two castles.  In-game, it's basically a
desperate group of Japanese samurai doing a last stand at two castles
against a sea of slavering, ululating, bloodthirsty Huns.  The AI
decides it'll put down a town right there to make more troops and I'm
a little scared since my guys are quite beaten-up.  Fortunately, the
Japanese commander apparently looked at the plans for the barracks and
archery range and shouted, "You NINCOMPOOPS!  I said I wanted a
UNIVERSITY!"  Sure enough, they built a little tiny Harvard to hold
off the horde.

Other silliness: I left a battering ram behind the horde and used it
to destroy all the leftover farms and unclaimed buildings.  He was
sort of beaten-up and not much use, so I mentally nicknamed him "The
Brave Little Toaster" and, after he ran out of things to do, I sent
him up to do the final blow to the last Japanese castle.  He was the
Little Siege Engine That Could.

SALADIN:

Saladin Mission 1

For a "Hard" mission, this one is pretty easy to beat but tricky to
get all three stars (I got two; finished too slow). It's mostly hard
because the terrain makes siege engines all-but-useless and the TC
limit is low and one of your towns is only mosques.

They key to get three stars is to realize that there are actually 6
relics on the map but you only need 4, and to have a little
foreknowledge of the map. There are two easy relics, one right next to
you and one far to the SW in the desert. Build two monks early on and
go and get them.

The other two are tricky. There is one that's close as the crow flies,
but it's mired in swamps and staggeringly slow to get to, and you have
to pass through lots of enemy territory. You can spend less time
screwing around trying to get it and concentrate on shredding Bilbeis,
the town just east of Cairo. (Shredding Bilbeis is an optional star,
but fast and mandatory as they're a big pain in the patookis.) To
shred Bilbeis, you just need to make a bunch of archers, one or two
pikes, and fill the rest up with cav. Move them forward in formation
and use Saladin's Rain of Arrows or Hit and Run to boost your success,
then burn the city and the nearby mines and farms.

While you're doing that, make a bunch of villagers and build mines and
mills in the desert and near Bilbeis; it's easy and after the fall of
Bilbeis you'll be way ahead of everyone.

I'd also suggest removing your blacksmithy and switching it to a
market once you've got the 3rd-age tech bonues, then switch it back to
a blacksmith when you hit the 4th age as you'll have lots of money.

At that point there's a third relic on an ismuth in the NE, and there
is a ford to get Orange. As Bilbeis is falling, make pikes and archers
and send them, along with the monk, across the ford east and south of
your city (not the one right next to your city). It's slow going over
the swamp and you'll get hassled by archers, but you need to get to
the west side of Orange's city so you can hit the city from all
sides. You'll need lots of arbalests and archers to break down the
city.

Once Orange has fallen, you can hustle your monk over to the
swamp-infested relic, but it's a long road back. Alternately, you can
work forwards with a wave of Malamutes and archers and start
containing Blue while spawning new guys at Cairo and running them to
attack Alexandria, but if you want to finish in under 26 turns, I
think this might be a loser (but fun).

An alternate strategy that I thought of but didn't try is, directly
after the fall of Bilbeis, demolish Cairo and reconstitute it in the
desert in the west and assault Alexandria (dark blue). I don't think
that's faster than breaking down Orange, but it might be, and there's
a relic right next door to it. Alexandria is pretty tough, though, and
might be too hard. Again, you'll have to send a squadron of
footsoldiers and monks over the ford, this time the ford right next to
Cairo, and attack Alexandria from the east, too.

Saladin Mission 2: Rise to Power 2

This is pretty easy to get two stars, hard to get three (finish
quickly). 

Your main goal is to take down the castle that's just round the corner
from where you start.  This is touch-and-go, but you can basically do
it with cavalry and swordsmen.  I built a town right next to my first
town just a bit down the road so I could run fresh troops in faster.
Markets are good, here, so you can grab elephants and other fun stuff.
I think right near the end of this castle I built another town west of
the bridge and put in archers and towers (see below).

Send your monk out, get the relics nearby, and remember they don't
actually need a mosque to return to---just seizing them is all you
have to do.  

Once you kill the castle, build your castle on that spot, then build
archers in the town just west of the bridge to Syria (blue).  Park
some archers in the town and some siege equipment in the castle.  Use
the archers and siege (and a pike or two) to guard the bridge against
blue while you take Saladin, a villager, and some cavalry to Orange
land to the east.  Build troops at the castle, too, to help
(Mamelukes!  Whee!).  Burn Orange's fields, replace them with yours,
and soon you'll have a big unit cap and you can start idly pushing
back blue over the bridge while you shred Bastra with Saladin.

Blue is then screwed once you build your town on Bastra's ashes, and
it's mostly a race to see if you can get up the road fast enough (and
burn all his farms on the way) and take down the town.

Saladin Mission 3: Reynald's Raiders

This was just fun, if totally silly.  You'll be hauling those carts
back and forth across the maps while trying to keep your team
completely alive.  

The game is made or broken in the first few turns.  Since you don't
get to pick troops, you have to use a lot of camels against his guys.
Camels kick booty, though, so it's all good.

First thing:  You need to take care of the damn templars.  They've got
Zeal, so they keep coming back to life if you don't hit them hard.
You should hit them with camels/Mamelukes and pikes.  On that first
turn, you should set the bulk of your troops in a long line just north
of Reynald's landing.  Use a pike or camel to take a poke at the first
Templar across the ford.  

To distract the enemy, on that same first turn, bring everybody out of
the eastern-most town to sit on the ridge, but not too close.  Keep
your horse archers back a bit.  Also, run everyone out of the
western-most town to attack the castle.  You should be able to burn
the castle in three or four turns with the guys you have there and
take out that the knights in it.

Reynald will rush you on the next turn and you'll take some hits, but
since you're in a line you can't get surrounded and everyone only gets
hurt once.  On that second turn, run everyone remotely hurt back to
town or back to the cart and then hit back, esp. at the Templars.  You
should crush them and eliminate several units.  If you can get ahead
on this first wave, you're good.

There's not a heck of a lot of time pressure, so move everyone up
together and don't be afraid to leave people back at town to heal
between missions.  You'll get just a little cash, and I used to buy
some monks, some more pikemen, and some crossbows.  Once I had a lot
of guys, I just ranged up and down the road while Reynald kept showing
up with new guys who I could munge easily.  It's good to surround your
cart with troops on every move (you just need four as Reynald never
thinks to bring archers) as Reynald can appear at surprising times.
Once you've won the first two or three rounds, though, you should be
fine. 

I checked---even if you stand where Reynald appears, you can't trap
him.

Saladin Mission 4: Horns of Hattar

This is very interesting; sort of a different style for this game.
The Templars and Reynald slink away pretty easily, so you have to plan
ahead a bit.

You have lots of ground troops in the middle and some fast troops on
the outside.  This is a fine formation.  Take the fast troops
(Mamelukes, some cav) and run them on the west and east of the main
body of troops.  They won't see much action for a few turns, and
that's OK, since once they meet the Templars it'll hurt.  Just move
your ground troops forward in formation and use Saladin to back them
up with Aura of Invincibility or Hit'n'Run.  Don't let them separate
much and watch out for the crossbows---advance on them when you're
ready to take them all at once.

With your fast troops, get to the starred attractions (Reynald,
Templars, and some relics) and kill them, then wheel around to pincer
the remainders of Reynald's army.  You should end mopping up a few
Zealous knights who will prove tough due to their regeneration (they
get a few percentage points back after each attack), so only hit them
with your freshest troops.  Three stars, babeee.

Saladin Mission 5: Jerusalem

Holy crap, how annoying.

Took me three major tries and several try-it-until-you-lose bits.

Two big thoughts:

1. GRUNT RUSH. Every other map has encouraged you to hold it back,
   assemble your troops, get everything organized, keep your heroes to
   the rear. Not this one. This is a good old-fashioned Zerg sprint,
   where you take your crappy men-at-arms and you run like a mother
   towards him and use Saladin as a bludgeon.

2. You need to do constant econ damage to your enemy to keep him
   down. For me, around turn 14 I surpassed his production capacity
   handily, but I had been running dead-even or a little ahead since
   about turn 5. The Crusaders start with some farms and mines in the
   backfield where you can't get them, and they also build a wonder
   upon reaching the fourth age, but if you play it right they
   shouldn't ever get more than the mines and fields surrounding
   Jerusalem and the ones they start with. If the Crusaders are ahead
   of you significantly on the production curves in the Scoring chart
   by turn 10, you should just pack it in and start over.

Here's how the game goes if played right:

1. Turn one: In the SW corner, run one villager towards the nearby
   field and build a mill. Run the other one up along the road
   east---he'll build a castle next turn. Take your man-at-arms, run
   him up the road east, too, and he will discover the nearest
   town. Bring Saladin up behind him. Jaffa: Build a barracks, run
   man-at-arms east towards the other town.

2. Turn two: Build more farm, send Jaffa guy off to build farms. In
   the south, build a castle about a square away from the enemy
   town. This is your primary production point for the next ten
   turns. Every turn hence, build either a Mameluke or longswordsman
   before you build anything else. Use Saladin and his man-at-arms to
   start burning the fields north of the town. Remember: econ damage
   before anything else. As noted in the general comments, burn the
   fields before the town. Jaffa: Build a more farm/mill, man-at-arms
   heads towards the mine north of the town and/or takes a swipe at
   the church (freakin' monks!). Research the farm bonus (horse
   collar) if you can.

3. As soon as you can, build a longswordsman in the castle, use Sal
   and the arms guy to break down that mill. Use the longswordsman
   and/or man-at-arms to take down his stupid pikeman he'll
   build. Next turn, build a Mameluke, then send it to burn the mine
   just east of town. Meanwhile, build more villagers back at your
   town and more soldiers at Jaffa.

From here, you need to make sure you have some random mix of infantry
near Jaffa taking pokes and swipes at whomever gets spawned at the
northern enemy town and making sure they don't build any mills or
mines. In the south, you should keep pouring swordsmen and Mameluke
(you need both) out of the castle and surrounding the town, squishing
any farm or mine building. There are two farms near the south town and
one mine---those should be rubble very early. Basically, every turn,
try to burn a farm or mill on his side. Meanwhile, you should have 3-4
villagers building a farm, mine, or mill EVERY TURN.

You'll want to build a market in your own southern town pretty soon to
get access to some archery and, around turn 8 or so, see if you can
afford a blacksmith in the same town. However, your unit cap is going
to stay pretty low for a while so you can pretty much just make
infantry in Jaffa and Mameluke and swordsmen in the castle, with a
random grab at any cool-looking troops in the market. I think I had
one set of Turkish Janissaries when the southern town fell; the rest
were infantry or Mamelukes.

Saladin will get beat-up---he's an arrow magnet. Just pull him back to
the castle when he's getting hurt, but don't be afraid to use him at
80% health to take down an onager or something really annoying.

Use every stupid AI trick in the book, too, the favorite being to
knock an enemy down to about 5-15% health, then ignore him. The AI
likes to use these weak dudes to attack your mills or mines, which is
fine, since it will take them 8 turns or something to defeat it and it
keeps the AI from building better units.

The AI will do things like send monks after relics. If you have loose
troops you can go mug the monks, but, honestly, whatever makes him
happy and keeps those monks away from me. Also, the AI really wants to
build a castle near the river just southeast of the northern town. I
just let it, but kept the pressure on the mills and mines so it
couldn't build anything there, then took it down during the siege of
the northern town.

Summary:
1. Don't build any buildings near your town on the first turn;
instead, get a mill and get set up for a castle near the southern
enemy town.

2. Grunt-rush enemy mills and mines and use castle built on turn 2 to
make troops to burn more mills and mines, then remove barracks from
southern town.

3. Eventually build a market at southern town and get some siege or
archers from it. Then, when you have spare cash, a blacksmith is nice.

4. Just hold off the northern town with pikemen and other infantry
from a barracks at Jaffa for ten turns, stopping them from building
mines or mills.

5. Any time things are getting complicated near southern town, pull
Saladin back to your castle. ALWAYS BUILD FRESH TROOPS at the castle
every turn. By turn 14 you should be pulling visibly ahead in
production; should be even up until this point.

6. Burn southern enemy town around turn 15-18 or so. You will then be
rushed by Templars. Use your huge herd of Mamelukes to remove
them. Build a town center here and take over any remaining buildings,
then build a siege workshop and an archery range.

7. Use leftover Mamelukes and swordsmen to remove mills and farms east
and south, while everyone else takes down northern town. Should fall
around turn 22 or so. Build another town center here.

8. You should advance to the 4th age just about the time you're
getting ready to attack Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a piece of cake if
they have no resources, so bring up any siege engines you have and
some archers and take down both castles and the town center. This part
is easy.

Saladin Mission 6

I didn't do well on this, but basically you can close up for two turns
or so, then use Saladin's Hit'n'Run to zoom your Light Cav and
Mamelukes up to zap some water carts and use your camels and your
pikes to kill the Templars.  Honestly, the Templars are pretty scary
and you have totally the wrong mix of troops to kill them.  I won with
one star on turn 5, but I think you could do a better job.  I'm open
to hints. 

The crossbows I think are actually a false target on this map---they
actually don't hurt your troops much and killing them has no payoff
since the scenario is over as soon as you kill your third water cart.

RICHARD

If you can beat Jerusalem, you can win the remaining Richard
missions.  The last few are just all about losing most of your troops
in ugly rushes against overwhelming odds, but winning because you
fulfilled the mission.  Most are short, though, so you can do a lot of
trial-and-error. 

Richard, the One Like Mission 6 of Saladin

The key here is to reduce your surface area.  So, as fast as you can,
contract your water carts into a ball.  Then, around them, put
scorpions and crossbows.  Use your cavalry to destroy enemy archers
and your Templars, backed up with your scorps and crossbows, to take
out Mamelukes.  I won on turn 8 (you just have to live that long) with
essentially no troops left but Saladin just gave up and went home.

Richard, Siege of Acre

Irritating!  I tried this a couple of different ways.  Saladin will
just keep getting troops and building new ones, so you're
hosed---again, even if you win the mission you'll be in terrible
shape.

On the first turn or so, take your Templars and Richard plus a longbow
or two east, and use everyone else just to make a wall and pick off
anyone who gets too close to your siege engines.  Don't advance on
Acre, much.

With your Richard-led squad, attack the mine.  When the mine burns,
send someone over the top and draw off Saladin's personal guard.  This
will trigger Saladin into joining the fight, so you need to then run
like hell back to your main force just as you get reinforcements.
Saladin will then drift forwards north of Acre and you can take him
out with your archers later.

As you get reinforcements, remember that all you have to do is burn
the town center.  Everything else doesn't matter.  You get a lot of
battering rams, so as you clear out a space in front of Acre, don't
hesitate to run them forward to clear a single path to the town
center.  You only need to hit the town center twice with a battering
ram, so keep a longbowman in reserve and use Richard's range-increase
power to knock out the troops Saladin builds on the town center, then
ram away.

I have no idea how to get three stars here---I can do it fast or I can
kill the mines, but not both.


Richard, Jerusalem

Oh, great, freakin' Jerusalem again.  You have a massive force, to
start with, and a monster unit cap, so it's not so bad.  First, build
a town in the NE right near where you spawn.  Send 3/4ths of your
troops west to kill Jaffa and capture its buildings.  Send the other
quarter to mill around near your town and mop up all the damn
Mamelukes Saladin will send after your town.

Around the time Jaffa falls, you have enough troops to make a sortie
east to get rid of Saladin's castle.  Saladin will slink away and you
will probably not get the star, but not having Saladin or that castle
around is neat-o.

Eventually you will find yourself in a bad state.  You will own the
north 1/3rd of the map and Saladin will have the south 2/3rds and most
of the resources, plus he's sending Imperial age units after you.  You
have two advantages: 1) you're smarter than he is, and 2) his towns
are far away from you.

Build castles next to any bridge you're having trouble holding.  Leave
a villager and some archery in the castles---the villagers to repair,
the castles to defend and to create more archers.

Go take out his fields over the hills in the far NE; it's easy econ
damage and he'll waste a lot of troops trying to stop you.

Tech up as fast as you can.  Upon reaching the 4th age, you can
attack.

Because of the unit cap, you will either be facing lots of dudes in
the east (from Jerusalem) or lots of dudes from the west (from
Ascalon), but not both at the same time.  The Jerusalem attack is
easier to hold off---there's basically one bridge and you have a town
right near it.  You can hold it off with a bunch of cheap pikemen,
archers, and a coupla monks.  When this happens, build like crazy in
the west, mostly camels, Templars, and longbowmen, plus 2-3 siege
rams.

Take Richard and burst across the bridges to the south with all your
cavalry and archers, and send the siege rams after them.  Destroy
every mill and mine you see.  Build on them if you can, since Saladin
will be slow to remove them.  Use your siege rams to pop farms and/or
the castle he's built over there and build more rams if you are
running out.  Use longbowmen and Richard's range-increaser to hold off
new arrivals from Ascalon.  Concentrate on making sure Saladin loses
as much production capacity as possible.

Eventually, you can break Ascalon and then capture it.  You might lose
your fields in the NE and/or lose a castle that was defending one of
your bridges, but it's a great trade to lose those in return for
Ascalon and all the fields and mines between it and Jaffa.  Now you're
in the turn 20 position of the original Jerusalem map---you have
everything to the west, and he just has Jerusalem.  You will win!

It's a cinch from here to get three stars.

NOTES

I loved this game.  It was like crack cocaine for me after a while.  I
was sad to finish it, but it was also getting repetitive.

Make more, Backbone/Ensemble/Microsoft!  I want a sequel!

Please send me comments, questions, or improvements.

This guide is (C) 2006 Wolff Dobson.  This may be not be reproduced
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