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 under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright If you are paying to read this, you're a fool.