FAQ/Strategy Guide by iloveaoe

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 12/30/11 | Printable Version

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Age of Empires: Age of Kings
For Nintendo DS
Strategy Guide/Walkthrough by iloveaoe
Version 1.1

Copyright 2011 iloveaoe.
Email: iloveaoe -at- gmail -dot- com

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.


- Preface
  - FAQ versions
- Introduction
- Key Strategies for playing Age of Empires, Age of Kings
- Overview
- Unit Management, Villagers
- Unit Management, Initial Military
- Military build-up, up to day 11
- Research
- Military build-up, after day 11
- Fighting battles
  - Movement
  - Damage
  - Putting it together
  - Other battle tips
- Engaging the enemy
  - If the enemy decides to fight in the North
  - If the enemy decides to fight in the South
  - In either case
  - How strong is the enemy
- Mopping up
  - Getting three stars
- My results
- Alternate strategy
- Conclusion


I have tried to be sure this FAQ is 100% accurate, but I would not be
surprised if there are some details that are incorrect.  *Please* let me know
of any inaccuracies by emailing me at: iloveaoe -at- gmail -dot- com.  Thanks!
(In this section, I will give credit to anyone who helps me correct this FAQ.)

FAQ versions

1.0    6/2/11  Initial version
1.1  12/30/11  Typo fixes only


It is not rare to see people asking for help on Yashima, the first campaign in
the game Age of Empires: Age of Kings that is quite hard.  I decided to
fashion an answer for how to beat this campaign with 3 stars.  But I want to
write a detailed walkthrough that not only describes a way to beat it, but also
includes a number of important hints and tips that should help players get
better overall.  The hope is that this walkthrough will aid players in
*understanding* some of the best ways to play this game.  Another way of saying
this might be that this is a general strategy guide for the game, that takes
the form of an in-depth discussion of one specific, hard, campaign.

  *My* strategy--not the strategy discussed in this walkthrough--to beating
  this campaign is to *carefully* attack all out from the very beginning.  If
  you do this well, you can prevent the Taira from ever really developing.
  Once you age up, you build a Castle on the Western side of the long bridge
  to the Emperor's troops, thus preventing those troops from bothering you
  unless they go all the way around the bottom.  Eventually, you'll have the
  one major battle of the campaign as you start to attack the Emperor's area
  from the South and all the Emperor's strong troops join in.  I build my
  second Town Center in the same place as the Taira's Southern Town Center,
  and also build a Castle in that area.  Using this strategy, I won with 3
  stars in only 22 days.

  However, this strategy takes very careful fighting early on, as a misstep
  when you have only a few troops can be a disaster.  Also, the entire
  campaign ends up being unpredictable, being based on the enemy movements
  from day 1 on.

  Therefore, I decided to write a detailed walkthrough for the much easier,
  much more predictable, and much more common way to fight this campaign:
  prevent the enemy from coming across the bridge to the East of your first
  Town Center until you are strong enough to come out and fight (unfortunately,
  this allows the enemy to get stronger as well).

Key Strategies for playing Age of Empires, Age of Kings

In the rest of this FAQ, I will discuss many strategies, but will identify only
a few as what I call "Key Strategies".  These are the strategies that are most
important in becoming a good player of this game.  At the risk of giving away
my "punch lines", here are the Key Strategies in one place:

KEY STRATEGY #1: Building resources intelligently creates the foundation for
                 the rest of the campaign.

KEY STRATEGY #2: Develop 3-ribbon units to devastate your opponents in battle.

KEY STRATEGY #3: A good attack requires ranged units.

KEY STRATEGY #4: Train lots of civilization-special units.

KEY STRATEGY #5: When requiring demolition of enemy buildings, use Battering

KEY STRATEGY #6: Look at your army from the enemy's point of view, and position
                 your army to leave the enemy few options to do major damage.

(Note that I state below that KEY STRATEGY #6 is the most important.)


The general strategy to beat the Yashima campaign that is described in this
Strategy Guide/Walkthrough:
  - Build resources quickly.

  - Research to allow aging up relatively quickly.

  - Maintain control of the bridge to the East of your Town Center.  Troops
    around this bridge will probably not move to the East of the bridge until
    troops from the South show up to help.

  - Build your 2nd Town Center in the South central part of the map.

  - Build your 2nd Town Center and 1st Castle in such a way to construct a
    "bridge" to help movement of troops from North to South and vice versa.

  - Attack very carefully Eastward along the Southern border of the map.

  - Destroy the Taira's Southern Town Center and build a Castle to the
    Northwest of that (not necessarily in that order, but around the same

  - Hold position and kill enemy units until you dominate the battlefield in
    the central and Southeastern parts of the map.

  - Mop up the remaining enemy units and buildings as you satisfy the
    additional goals to earn 3 stars.

Unit Management, Villagers

You start with 7 units and have a unit cap of 7, so you cannot train any new
units until you increase your unit cap or one of your units gets killed off.
So, the first thing you should do is to get your Scout Cavalry killed off, for
the following reasons:

  1) I have rarely had much use for Scout Cavalry, since they are so weak and
     do not get stronger as you age up.  Their fast movement has definitely
     come in handy when I was trying to win some campaigns in the least number
     of days and needed to do non-military tasks to get 3 stars.  But in
     general, these units are not worth it.
  2) In this campaign, there is no Black Map, nor Fog of War, so the "Scout"
     aspect is wasted.
  3) This is a very military-style campaign, so having the weakest military
     unit available taking up space in your unit cap is not wise.
  4) The most important reason: what you *really* need here is to build up
     your resources ASAP, and an extra Villager is *much* more useful than
     the Scout Cavalry.

So on day 1, run the Scout Cavalry East to the square just to the East of the
bridge, into enemy territory.  He'll be killed on the enemy's half of day 1 and
you can replace him with Villagers trained on day 2.  This is very important.

As it turns out, I also trained Villagers when my unit cap finally got to 8,
meaning that at the time, I had 4 Villagers and only 4 Military (my original 4
Military, other than the Scout Cavalry).

I will describe what each Villager should do.  This is meant to maximize
resource building (Mines, Mills, and Farms).  Note that even though it takes 3
days to get to the first Gold square, and you can build 8 Farms right off the
start, building your first Mine is so important that you should dedicate one
Villager to spend the 3 days necessary to build that Mine.  As it turns out,
that Villager will take 3 days, even if he stops and builds a Market on day
1--that is, building the Market does not slow down the building of the Mine.
Having the Market lowers the trade rate, enables 2 useful researches to help
your economy, enables enough Researches to allow you to do the 7 Researches
necessary to Age Up, and will hopefully allow training of useful units.

In general, I have found it is a good idea to build your first Mine even before
your first Mill, and you can never really get going until you have your second
Mine built.  In this campaign, with the head start of 2 Mills already built,
and the Gold-intensive Researches you'll be doing, you will always have much
more Food than Gold, so building Mines takes precedence over building Mills or
Farms.  I've debated with myself whether the precedence of Mines over Mills is
a "Key Strategy", but talked myself out of it, but the mere fact I debated
shows that this is an important strategy.

Villager 1:
  Day 1:  Build Market South of Town Center
  Day 2:  Move toward Mine to West of Town Center
  Day 3:  Build Mine to West of Town Center
  Day 4:  Move toward Mine in Southwest
  Day 5:  Move toward Mine in Southwest
  Day 6:  Move toward Mine in Southwest
  Day 7:  Build Mine in Southwest
  Day 8:  Build Mill in Southwest
  Day 9:  Build Farm North of Mill
  Day 10: Build Farm East of Mill
  Day 11: Build Town Center down the road to the East, just at the square where
          the Road turns to the South  (that is, build at the last square in
          the straight line East, do *not* move South to build)
  Day 12: If possible (that is, if no enemy is lurking and able to attack the
          Villagers), move across Bridge to one square North and one square
          East of the Bridge.  From this square, the Villagers can get to
          either the Gold square or the Wheat square, to build either a Mine or
          Mill, respectively, on day 13.
  Day 13: If possible (no enemy can attack and kill the Villagers), build Mill.
          Otherwise, build Mine.

Villager 2:
  Day 1:  Build Farm South of Northern Mill
  Day 2:  Build Farm East of Northern Mill
            (These 2 Farms are built first since they will be used to heal
             units damaged on the bridge)
  Day 3:  Build Farm North of Southern Mill
  Day 4:  Build Farm South of Southern Mill
            (These 2 Farms are built next since they enable quick movement from
             the Town Center area to the Southern part of the map, and vice
  Day 5:  Build Farm around Northern Mill
  Day 6:  Build Farm around Northern Mill
  Day 7:  Build Archery Range North of Town Center
  Day 8:  Build Farm around Southern Mill
  Day 9:  Build Farm around Southern Mill
  Day 10: Move South across Ford in River
  Day 11: Build Castle (Northwest square of Castle should be 2 squares South of
          Ford--that is, from North to South, you have Farm, Mill, Farm, Ford,
          Hills, Northwest square of Castle)
  Day 12: Build Church North of Town Center
  Day 13: Move across Bridge to help build Mine/Mill/Farms.

Villager 3:
  Trained on Day 2
  Day 3:  Move North across bridge toward Northwest Mine
  Day 4:  Build Mine in Northwest
  Day 5:  Move toward Mill in Northwest
  Day 6:  Build Mill in Northwest
  Day 7:  Build Farm to North of Mill
  Day 8:  Build Farm to South of Mill
            (Building the 2 Farms in this order enables you to move farther
             toward the Town Center on Day 9)
  Day 9:  Move South as far as possible
  Day 10: Demolish Barracks
            (Since you are going to be training Samurai at your Castles, you do
             not need "normal" infantry troops from the Barracks.  Demolishing
             it provides extra money, and eventually you will build a Siege
             Workshop there, since Battering Rams will be instrumental in
             demolishing enemy buildings.)
  Days 11-13: Either do nothing or build Blacksmith to West of Town Center,
              depending on available resources
  Days 14-20ish: Build a Siege Workshop to East of Town Center when resources
                 allow; otherwise wait patiently for military to break out
                 toward East

Villager 4:
  Trained on day 5 (if you follow my walkthrough, this is when your unit cap
  will go up to 8)
  Day 6:  Move toward Mill in Far West
  Day 7:  Build Mill in Far West
  Day 8:  Build Farm to West
  Day 9:  Build Farm to North
  Day 10: Build Farm to East
  Day 11: Build Farm to South
            (Build Southern Farm last to enable maximum move toward Mine on
             next day)
  Day 12: Move South toward Southwest Mine (already built)
  Day 13: Move toward Southern Town Center
            (Note: On one of the days you're building Farms, it is possible
             that you will not have enough resources to build the Farm.
             This is ok, delay the plan by a day.)
  Day 14: Build Siege Workshop to South of Town Center

Following these plans for the Villagers means that you will have built all 3
easily available Mines by day 7, all 5 easily available Mills by day 8, and all
Farms surrounding those Mills by day 11 (with maybe just one exception, if
Villager 4 had to wait a day).  With these resources, you should be able to Age
Up on day 10, and have a unit cap of 17.  It might seem boring, but using your
Villagers well is really the foundation to beating this campaign, providing not
only a high-enough unit cap to field a strong army early, before the enemy gets
too entrenched, but also sufficient Food and Gold to cover all the very
important expenditures necessary to make things run smoothly (Researches, Age
Up, Castle, second Town Center, training units, and more).  I can't emphasize
enough that in Age of Empires: Age of Kings, concentrating on building
resources is a key to success.

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #1: Building resources intelligently creates the
                         foundation for the rest of the campaign.

Note that the strategy described here goes overboard in building resources
early, as you would be able to get by without all these resources built so
early.  But in this walkthrough I am trying to describe a strategy that
should definitely work, and having these solid resources all in hand at an
early point in the campaign can only help make sure that you are successful.

Some notes about later use of Villagers.  They are of course necessary to get
the 3 stars, since you must build 8 Mines for one of the stars, and only
Villagers can build Mines.  Also, you have to "destroy" all enemy Mills and
Farms for another star, and this is sometimes easier to do by destroying the
Mill and then rebuilding it, taking over the enemy Farms rather than destroying
them.  So you will have to make sure you have enough Villagers around to
accomplish these tasks.  4 is definitely enough, 3 is probably enough, if you
make sure they're in the right place at the right time.  It was not rare in the
times I fought this campaign that I sacrificed one of the 4 Villagers in the
initial fighting, in order to free space in the unit cap to train another
military unit.

I will sometimes use Villagers to take up an important square in the battle
position, or to kill off an enemy unit that is very near death.  And I also am
willing to use Villagers to build a building in a spot where they can be
attacked, as long as the attack is not sufficient to kill them--that is, unlike
other units, where I jealously guard their health and do not usually put them
in a position where they can be killed or seriously wounded, I'm not so
concerned with Villagers.  For example, on day 13 for Villager 1 above, I say
that he should build the Mill if he will not be killed.  It is not rare that no
enemy unit can get to the Wheat square *except* for an enemy Scout Cavalry.  As
it turns out, in most cases, a Scout Cavalry cannot kill a Villagers in one
attack.  Therefore, if I have determined that only the Scout Cavalry can attack
the Villagers, I will build the Mill, and the Scout Cavalry will very often
attack and seriously wound the Villagers (taking them down to maybe 20 health).
But the Mill *did* get built, and with one of my military units in the area, I
can easily kill off the Scout Cavalry and use the weakened Villagers to build a
Farm, on a safe square (no matter how weak the Villagers, they still build the
same way).  However, be very careful--if you miss the fact that a unit can
attack and kill the Villagers, you can often be stuck in a position where the
Villagers were killed, leaving a building half-built, and the closest other
Villagers unit is 5 days away.  This can throw your plans for a loop.  So
unless you're trying to get them killed, or they are not needed, keep them
safe at all times.  (More on understanding whether they will be killed or not
below, in the "Damage" section.)

Unit Management, Initial Military

You start with 5 Military units: Minamoto Yoshitsune and one each of Archers,
Men-at-Arms, Light Cavalry, and Scout Cavalry.  As mentioned above in section
"Unit Management, Villagers", on day 1 the Scout Cavalry are run into the enemy
area so they can be killed off and replaced with Villagers.  This leaves 4
military units.

This walkthrough is written to assume that the job of these 4 units is to
prevent the enemy from getting across the bridge to the East of your initial
Town Center.  Since bridges significantly increase the defense value of the
unit standing on them, the best plan, then, is to always have a unit on the
bridge.  This unit not only has a strong defense, but can only be attacked
by one enemy unit at a time (ignoring for the time being enemy ranged units).
In this way, it is easily possible to guard this bridge essentially forever.

If, however, you were to move a unit to one square to the East of the bridge,
into "enemy territory", that unit, standing on the Road, would have no boost
to defense, and would be attackable by enemy units on 3 sides.  If a unit were
attacked on 3 sides, it would likely be killed.  So the message is: don't go
past the bridge in order to defend your territory.

However, let's look at the fine points of this discussion.  It is very possible
that you could move a unit one square to the East of the bridge and survive.
This is due to the terrain in that area and the tendency of the enemy to move
all but one military unit away from the bridge to avoid being hit by your
Archers.  So, let's say there is only one enemy unit within 2 squares of the
bridge, and it is right next to the bridge.  You could take out that unit with
your Archers and the unit on the bridge, then run some other unit just past the
bridge.  If you check all the enemy units, it is very possible that only one
enemy unit could attack, due to the inability to get to the squares to the
North or South of your unit.  The square to the North is a Forest square (3
movement points), with Forest squares to the North and East.  That is going to
be a hard square to get to.  The square to the South is a Plains square (2
movement points), with Plains squares to the South and East, so it is easier to
get to.  But since the Town Center is North of the Road, it is less likely that
units are hanging around to the South of the Road.  Therefore, it is very
possible that you could analyze the situation by checking the possible
movements of all existing enemy units and determine that only one attack could
be made on your unit, so your unit would survive.  This is useful information,
and is a good exercise for you to understand positioning of your units and how
that is seen by the enemy.  But ultimately, there is no reason to put your unit
out there like that.  Moving your unit across the bridge does not gain you
anything until you are ready to move *all* your units across and attack in
earnest.  Even if moving your unit across enabled you to kill a unit (standing
2 squares to the East of the bridge, for example), it just doesn't really help.
Your units are all stuck to the bridge and the squares to the West until ready
to go on the offensive, so killing off one additional unit at some point is
immaterial, especially since your unit will take somewhat bad damage in the
enemy counterattack.

OK, so I suggest you don't go past the bridge.  On day 1, I move the Light
Cavalry to the bridge, the Scout Cavalry one square to the East of the bridge
(remember, I'm *trying* to get them killed!), the Archers 2 squares West of the
Hills square to the Northwest of the bridge, and leave Minamoto and the
Men-at-Arms alone.  I purposely don't put all the units in place on day 1 to
make sure that the enemy attacks and kills the Scout Cavalry--if I had all my
units near the bridge, the enemy might be scared away.  Also, I put the Light
Cavalry on the bridge because the only enemy that can attack the bridge are
enemy Men-at-Arms; my Cavalry have an advantage over their Infantry.

On later days, a very common position will be: Minamoto one square to the West
of the bridge, Archers one square North of that, and either the Men-at-Arms or
Light Cavalry on the bridge, with the other unit back healing on one of the
first 2 Farms built.

Here is an example of what will likely happen.  On day 1, the enemy will kill
the Scout Cavalry and an enemy Men at Arms will attack your Light Cavalry on
the bridge.  The damage to your Light Cavalry will not be much.  On day 2,
Minamoto should move up next to the bridge and use the Inspiring General power
to heal the Light Cavalry by 15 points, then the Light Cavalry can kill the
enemy infantry standing next to it.  Your Archers move into position on the
Hills and attack one of the other infantry units in range.  On the enemy's day
2, he will send some unit to attack the Light Cavalry on the bridge again.  My
experience is that the enemy is also afraid of your Archers, so will move all
other units out of range.  So you have only one unit to attack.  As it turns
out, your Archers are not very strong, so will not be able to kill the enemy
unit by themselves, although it is possible that your other units could.  But
you need to use this to your advantage!  What am I talking about?  Read on.

A very important aspect of this game is developing strong, experienced units.
Units get a "ribbon" every 3 battles (Samurai, every 2 battles!), up to a
maximum of 3 ribbons (9 battles for most units, 6 battles for Samurai).  Every
ribbon gives you a 15% bonus to both your attack and defense values.  These
bonuses can be amazing game changers.  When you show up with 3-ribbon units
against the enemy's 0-ribbon units, you outclass him totally.  An example: a
100 health Longswordsmen attacking a 100 health Longswordsmen, on a Road.  If
both units have 0 ribbons, the end result will be: attacker 75 health,
defender 50 health.  If instead the attacker is a 3-ribbon unit, the end
result will be: attacker 91 health, defender 27 health.  (For more on how
damage works in this game, see the "Damage" section below.)

Getting ribbons is a key strategy and should affect your actions.  Have a
2-ribbon unit that's been badly damaged?  Consider getting him out of the
fray and healing him (running him back to a building, using Minamoto's
Inspiring General power, using a Monk, or a combination of the three!).  Really
need to sacrifice a unit to block the main enemy force from getting through and
attacking?  Send a 0-ribbon unit rather than a 3-ribbon unit.

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #2: Develop 3-ribbon units to devastate your opponents in

To give you an idea of how seriously I take this, in the many (twelve at last
count) times I fought the Yashima campaign using the plan in this Walkthrough,
in *only one* of those attempts did I have one of my military units killed
(except the Scout Cavalry I purposely had killed on day 1)!  (To read about
the one attempt where I had deaths, see section "Putting it together" below.)
This means that by the end of the campaign, pretty much all my units had
3-ribbons, while the enemy didn't even have any 1-ribbon units.  (I do not want
to give the impression that this lack of any military deaths is always true.
In some campaigns, getting units killed--especially sacrificing them for some
greater advantage--is done.  Also, losing a unit that was just recently trained
and still has 0 ribbons is not a big deal.  And then there are campaigns like
The Siege of Acre where losing units, many units, is the only way to win.  But
in general, I really do not like losing units, especially experienced ones.)

So, what does this mean for our situation above, with the only enemy in range
of the Archers being the same one that is standing next to the bridge?  If we
attack first with the Archers, who are not strong enough to kill them, *then*
kill the unit with a unit on the bridge, *both* the Archers and the unit on the
bridge get credit for a battle!  If instead we attacked first with the unit on
the bridge, the enemy unit would be killed before the Archers had a chance to
attack.  So on day 3, I would do the following: use Minamoto's Inspiring
General power to heal the Light Cavalry on the bridge (this will *not* get
them to 100 health, though), attack with the Archers, and finally use the
Light Cavalry to kill the enemy unit.  On the enemy's half of day 3, they will
again send a unit to attack the bridge.

Therefore, at this point, at the start of day 4, your units have the following
  Archers: 2 battles (attacks on day 2 and 3)
  Light Cavalry: 5 battles, so almost 2 ribbons already! (attack on day 2
                   and 3, enemy attack on enemy's days 1, 2, and 3)

By the way, there is another good way to use Minamoto to heal, other than
having him heal the unit on the bridge.  Let's say our Cavalry was damaged
down to 58 health on an enemy attack.  Minamoto heals him 15 on the bridge,
then the Cavalry runs back to a Farm.  In the meantime, the Infantry is run up
to the bridge.  Now let's say the Infantry is damaged on the enemy's half of
the day.  We start the day with an Infantry unit at, let's say, 65 health, and
a Cavalry unit on a Farm at (58 + 15 + 20)=93 health.  In this case, we run the
Infantry back to a Farm, move Minamoto back to a square where he can heal
*both* the Infantry and Cavalry, *then* run the 100 health Cavalry to the
bridge.  In this way, we put a 100 health Cavalry on the bridge *and* will have
a 100 health Infantry ready the next day.

But what about Minamoto?  If we have him healing all the time, *he'll* never
get any ribbons.  Some thoughts on that:

  1) Since a Hero is often more useful using his Powers than attacking, gaining
     ribbons is not so important.

  2) Keeping a Hero alive, however, is very important in campaigns, as you lose
     immediately if your Hero is killed.  This would be an argument to make
     sure your Hero is strong.  However, since Minamoto has such a high defense
     value, he is unlikely to get anywhere near death unless you are silly and
     leave him totally exposed at some point.

  3) As it turns out, when the enemy finally sends some ranged units to the
     bridge area, where they could theoretically do some damage to our neat
     little strategy for holding the bridge, they instead will usually attack
     Minamoto.  This is stupid, as they do little damage and Minamoto can
     easily heal himself while healing the other units around him.  But every
     time a ranged unit wastes his attack on Minamoto, Minamoto gains credit
     for a battle.

So getting the other units to 3 ribbons is more important than getting Minamoto
there.  However, I was nonetheless able to get Minamoto to 3 ribbons as well.
For example, once the other units are either getting beat up a bit too much,
or they already have 3 ribbons, I would put Minamoto on the bridge for a day or
two.  The enemy can't resist attacking him, so he will definitely get attacked
every day at least once, and if there are any ranged units in the area, they'll
come and attack as well.  But with his ability to heal 35 health a day by
running back to a Farm/Mill and using his Inspiring General power, he can
quickly heal.  So you run him to the bridge to attack an enemy unit, then the
enemy attacks him with 2 ranged units and an Infantry unit, and voila, he's
already got 4 battles under his belt and he can heal back to full health in
only a day or two.

So, by the time I broke out past the bridge and attacked in earnest, all of the
military units in the bridge area had 3 ribbons.

However, by that time, my initial Light Cavalry was long gone to the South.
The idea is to send one unit to the South central part of the map to discourage
the enemy from building on the Gold square there.  The enemy, of course, could
have easily built on this square on about day 3, but for some reason, never
decides to head towards it until later, when they might arrive around day 10
or so.  We send Cavalry because it can get through the mountains to get to that
area much quicker than Infantry could.  The idea, then, is to play the game on
the bridge described above, using the Cavalry unit as much as possible without
getting him too beaten up, then around day 6 or so, send him off to the South
by going across the Farms, Mill, and Ford to the Southeast of your Town Center.
Usually, by the time the unit heads South, it has 7 or 8 battles of experience,
so will be a useful unit to have in the Southern area, where most of the real
fighting will take place.  It makes sense to send this experienced unit South,
rather than a newly-trained unit, since a newly-trained unit can get its
training in the bridge area while it is waiting to break out.  That is, rather
than having a 3-ribbon unit around the bridge and a 0-ribbon unit in the South,
you can have a 2-ribbon unit in the South, and 3-ribbon unit around the bridge.

Speaking of the South central Gold square, here is some information of use only
in this campaign.  For some reason, that Gold square is of interest to the
Emperor.  He will often (though not always) send a Villager out from the
Emperor's area and that Villager will head to that Gold square, ignoring
everything else.  As long as your Cavalry gets within attack range of the Gold
square in time, the Villagers will just stop and stand there--afraid to try to
build a Mine, but for some reason not afraid to just stand there within attack
range of the Cavalry.  I can't really explain this behavior, but there is a
quirk.  If you attack the Villagers, I believe that the Emperor will take that
as his cue to start his attack (normally the Emperor just stays in his area
until provoked).  So even though the Villagers are an easy kill for your
Cavalry, and even though it would add another battle to your Cavalry's
experience, avoid attacking those Villagers too early, or you might end up
having the Emperor's Age 4 troops coming your way in the South before you are
ready!  However, there is another quirk--the Emperor apparently believes that
that Gold square is his, because if you build a Mine on it, he *also* will
take that as provocation, and start his attack.  (I am not 100% sure of it,
but I believe that the same is true of the Wheat square in the South central
area as well, so building either the Mine or the Mill in this area might get
him going.)  Note well, though, that you don't have to be *too* scared of his
attack.  His entire Age 4 army will not be able to get through the bridge that
you are holding with Minamoto, and it takes him a number of days to get to your
Southern area.  So the important thing is to keep him from attacking until it
is too late for him to attack in the South before you're ready.  I think
building the Mine or Mill on Day 13 is fine, as your military build-up in the
South should be sufficient to handle his attack.  But killing the Villagers on,
let's say, day 9, might be too early, *if* he decided to send his troops South
rather than mill around and get killed around Minamoto's bridge.

A valid question is: why don't I also send to the South the Infantry unit I
start with?  It is true that this Infantry unit will be way past the 9 battles
he needs to get 3 ribbons by the time he breaks out past the bridge, and that
seems like a waste.  However, it doesn't seem worth sending this unit South for
the following reasons:

  1) The Infantry unit, with a move of only 7, will take a while to get to the

  2) Compared to the Samurai that we are going to train at our Castle, the
     Longswordsmen unit (which is what it would be in Age 3, when we're
     training Samurais), even if it has ribbons, just doesn't compare:

     a) The move of only 7, compared to the Samurai's move of 9, is a big
        difference; the Longswordsmen would constantly be left behind as the
        Samurai were moving forward.  The more I play this game, the more I
        really appreciate large movement values--the flexibility they afford
        in how to position your troops is invaluable.

     b) The Samurai are stronger units, with higher attack and defense values,
        and get ribbons at a faster rate.  Even if the Longswordsmen had 3
        ribbons, the Samurai would match them in strength after only a few
        battles, and would surpass them forever once they had been part of 4

     c) As I discuss below, the enemy likes to send Monks to try to Convert
        your units.  Longswordsmen can be converted, Samurai can't.

Military build-up, up to day 11

In this campaign, as stated above, until I get to a unit cap of 9 or above, I
train no Military units. However, as soon as I reach unit cap 9 (day 6 or 7),
I would like to train a Light Cavalry unit on my Market, to take the place of
the Light Cavalry unit I have sent South.  This unit will join the fun around
the bridge and build up to 3 ribbons by breakout.

Note that in training a Light Cavalry unit rather than a Men-at-Arms, I am
making a choice that I am not sure about.  I can see arguments for both.
Having 2 Infantry and no Cavalry would mean that you are not vulnerable to
Spearmen/Pikemen, and their huge bonus against Cavalry.  However, you would
have no answer to an enemy Cavalry attack, except to send Minamoto himself
(not necessarily a bad thing).  As it turns out, with so many Samurai trained
later in the campaign, the units around the bridge are not that useful, except
as units to help kill off the Taira Town Center while the Samurai are taking
on the Emperor.  In that regard, having a Cavalry unit to chase down
stragglers, or units training on the far side of the Town Center, can be
useful. I'll let you decide which unit to train to help defend the bridge, then
attack the Taira Town Center.  Also, the decision is somewhat out of your hand,
since you are depending on the Light Cavalry being available at the Market--a
couple times, no Light Cavalry came available for a number of days and I
finally had to train a Men-at-Arms instead, at the Barracks (the day before
it got demolished).

Also, as early as possible, I would like to train Welsh Bowmen (or Archers, if
you haven't unlocked Welsh Bowmen yet) on the Archery Range.  At first, run
these to near the bridge and get them into the attacks so that they can gain
experience (attack with them instead of the Archers already in place, if you
can only attack with one, since the Archers in place will be sure to get 3
ribbons eventually anyway).  I think you should train 3 or 4 Welsh Bowmen
(3 for the Southern army and optionally 1 to join the Archers in the Northern
army).  In general, the units will stay in the bridge area for only one day
before going South--not much experience, but better than nothing.  I believe
that most times I played this, I trained Welsh Bowmen on days 8, 9, and 10,
and optionally on day 11.  (I think it probably works better with only 3 Welsh
Bowmen, since it frees up an extra spot in the unit cap to be used in the
fight in the South.)

(Once again, you could ask why I send the inexperienced Welsh Bowmen to the
South instead of the Archers that have either 2 or 3 ribbons by that point.
The argument is similar to why I don't send the Men-at-Arms South: Welsh Bowmen
are significantly stronger units than normal Archers, and I'd rather have the
ultimately stronger Welsh Bowmen in the South, rather than the
temporarily-stronger Archers.)

This brings up a key strategy:

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #3: A good attack requires ranged units.

I think one of the main advantages you have over the AI in this game is that
the AI doesn't use ranged units very much.  Ranged units are wonderful!

Here are some reasons why:

  - The ability to do significant damage at a distance, and take no damage in
    return, is very powerful.  I mean, I commonly have 3-ribbon, 100 health,
    ranged units that never once take damage during an entire campaign.  In
    Yashima, other than the units around the bridge that can take occasional
    potshots from enemy Archers (but that heal fairly quickly with Minamoto's
    help), I think I endured damage to my ranged units only a handful of times
    in the twelve times I fought the campaign.

  - Movement around the map can be seriously constricted without ranged units.
    Look at our all-important bridge in this campaign.  We are maintaining
    control over it with no trouble.  But if it were the AI trying to maintain
    the bridge, and me attacking, it would end badly for them.  I'd attack the
    unit on the bridge with 2 ranged units (it's possible that one ranged unit
    would be enough, in fact) then a well-chosen full-strength Infantry or
    Cavalry unit, and bye-bye enemy control of the bridge.  I'd run up a unit
    onto the now empty bridge.  The next day, same thing for the enemy unit
    one past the bridge, and so on.  Without ranged units, that bridge might
    be more or less impassable.

  - Related to the bridge situation, there are cases where some enemy unit is,
    for example, standing in the road in front of your units.  That one single
    unit is in some sense protecting the rest of the enemy army, since getting
    past that unit is hard.  In some cases, it is difficult to get more than
    one attack on the enemy unit, and that one attack might not kill the unit,
    so your whole army is waiting around with nothing to do.  Run up a ranged
    unit or two, however, and almost no enemy unit is safe from death.

  - With ranged units, you can identify and kill key enemy units.  There might
    be an especially strong enemy unit you're afraid of (like a Cavaliers, or
    a Scorpions, or an Elite Samurai).  Killing that strong enemy unit will
    require multiple attacks.  But ranged units excel in just this: you can
    rain down many attacks on a single square.

  - When destroying buildings, an enemy can mess up your plans big time by
    simply putting a wimpy unit on the building (for example, Villagers).  Now
    you first have to kill the unit, *then* attack the building.  In many
    cases, there is only one square that can directly attack the
    building--without ranged units, you could not even *attack* the building,
    let alone destroy it.  So you might choose to kill the unit on the building
    today, and hope to attack the building tomorrow, but the enemy foils your
    plans by moving (or training) another unit on the building on their half of
    the day!  But with ranged units, problem solved: a ranged unit stands well
    away and kills the unit on the building, then your strong units can attack
    the building.

  - When in Mountains or Hills, a ranged unit can attack a non-ranged unit that
    cannot even attack back on their half of the day, due to difficulties
    moving through Mountains and Hills.  Imagine an extreme case: 10 (wimpy)
    Age 2 Archers against 10 (god-like) Age 4 Champions, on a map made up of
    only Mountains.  As long as the Archers could continue to back up, they
    would prevail against the Champions, since the Archers could attack
    every day and the Champions could never attack.  I realize this is an
    extreme example, but it shows how ranged units can be stronger than
    their numbers appear.

  - Welsh Bowmen are incredibly powerful in Age 2, and solidly powerful in
    Age 3.  They are really the key to a strong Age 2 army, in my opinion.
    Unlock them and use them liberally!

  - Longbowmen are devastatingly powerful.  They have all the advantages above,
    *plus* they have a very powerful attack, with their Volley skill.  When
    playing the British, try to get to Age 3 ASAP to get Longbowmen, and try to
    take it easy on training Welsh Bowmen in Age 2 so you don't have too many
    ranged units.

OK, so we've trained some Welsh Bowmen and a Light Cavalry.  What else?
Answer: nothing (until day 12, at least).

On day 11, we're going to build a Castle.  On day 12, we'll start training
Samurai, probably every day.  So we don't want to run out of unit cap with less
powerful units when we have Samurai available.  Also, in Age 2, there are no
real great units to be trained in any case, *and* we don't really need them

So in conclusion, by the end of day 11, my army was often
  1 Archers
  1 Men at Arms
  2 Light Cavalry
  3-4 Welsh Bowmen
That's it.  I spent my money on building resources and buildings, researching,
and aging up.  I was waiting for Age 3 to start cranking out the troops.


Research allows you to improve some aspect of the game for yourself; for
example, some researches improve the statistics of your units (such as their
attack or defense values), some increase your daily income, and some increase
the defense of your buildings.

In addition, a number of researches must be done in order to age up from one
age to another.  Aging up increases the stats of all your units.  Aging up
also allows additional military buildings to be built and units to be trained.
Aging up is key in developing military supremacy over the enemy.

I will not cover all the basics of research here--see other FAQs for that.

Here I will point out that it is almost always a good idea to do as much
research as possible.  However, there *are* some campaigns where aging up is
of questionable value, especially if you are trying to win quickly and
additional military units are of more use than stronger military units.  So,
you should always temper your enthusiasm for research to make sure you have
enough money for other important things, like buildings and units.  I have
seen cases where the enemy seems to be doing almost nothing military-wise,
then ends up aging up a couple days prior to me.  It seems clear that they were
spending lots of their money on research rather than other things.  Being a
higher age than me is good for them, of course, but it comes back to haunt them
big time, in my mind, as I have instead been spending my money on improving my
economy and on military units.  Their couple days of outclassing me never comes
to anything substantive, especially since my multi-ribbon units make up for
some or all of the additional age-up bonus (a 3-ribbon, Age 2, Men-at-Arms has
higher attack and defense values than a 0-ribbon, Age 3, Longswordsmen).

I think some good general rules are:
  - As long as you are not fighting much, it is probably more important to
    build your economy than to do research and age up.  (It is almost always
    a balancing act, as you rarely can afford to totally ignore research until
    fighting begins--it might be too late by then.)
  - Once you are doing a lot of fighting, aging up can be important to allow
    your troops to outclass the enemy.
  - Once your economy is strong enough to provide all the income you need,
    research every day.

I like the Blacksmith researches--the ones that are only able to be researched
if you have built a Blacksmith.  These researches increase the attack or
defense values of your units.  However, in general, I really only like these
researches in Age 3 and 4.  Age 2 does not usually last very long, and it
always seems like just about the time I have done the Blacksmith researches, it
is time to age up, and I have to again do the Blacksmith researches for Age 3.
Also, Age 2 always seems to end up being more about the economy than combat,
and there are some very important Age 2 researches to help with your economy.
Age 3, on the other hand, always seems to be the "age of combat", with lots of
fighting, and Blacksmith researches can come in very handy when you are doing
a lot of fighting.  Remember that I strongly counsel developing 3-ribbon units,
and if you add to these strong units *additional* bonuses through Blacksmith
researches, your units will significantly outclass the enemy.

Now let's discuss research in this specific campaign.

Since the plan I am outlining does not have any significant fighting early on,
I believe there is no compelling reason to try to age up as quickly as
possible.  Ideally, we should try to get to Age 3 and do as many Blacksmith
researches as possible by the time we've starting fighting in earnest, but
until then, the exact stats of our units is somewhat unimportant.

With that in mind, I concentrate on building my economy at the start, as
explained above.  When there is available money to do valuable research, I do
it.  When there isn't, I don't.  The way this works out, I end up aging up on
Day 10, one day before I have a Villagers in the right area to build a Castle.
(Remember that the Castle could only be built in Age 3, so the timing is
perfect here.)

Here are the researches to be done in my plan:

  Day 1: Horse Collar (increases your food income)

  Day 2: Coinage (increases your gold income)
    This is the 1st day this research is available, since our Market was built
    on day 1.

  Day 4: Advanced Mining (increases your gold income)
    This is the 1st day this research is available, since our first Mine was
    built on day 3. (You will have to do a Trade at your Market or Town Center
    to be able to afford this.)

  Day 6: Trading (improves trade rate)

  Day 8: Town Watch (improves Town Center defense and unit's sight)
    This research is essentially useless, as
      1) We don't expect the enemy to ever attack our Town Center, and even if
         they do, we expect no significant damage, and 
      2) With no black map and no fog of war, we can always see all units so a
         unit's sight value is immaterial.
    But there is no other useful research available, and we need one more
    research to be able to age up, so this one at least has *some* tiny value.

  Day 10: Age up!

  All 5 days after the Blacksmith building is built: Do a Blacksmith research
    The best order to do the researches is not clear.  Leather Armor is
    probably the least important, assuming you are planning on trying to make
    sure your ranged units are always out of range of the enemy; Iron Casting
    is a great one although it is expensive; Chain Mail Armor and Chain
    Barding can be quite useful when you finally meet the enemy in the South.
    In most cases, I always research the 2 researches that increase attack
    before the 3 that increase defense, since based on my tactics (described
    in "Fighting Battles" below), I am usually doing most of the attacking.
    In *this* campaign, however, where your Age 3 units are going to be
    fighting Age 4 units, and *lots* of enemy units, it is possibly more
    important to be able to present a solid defense that can't be broken.

  Every day from there on: Research something (or age up) every day
    You have sufficient money at this point to easily research every day, so do
    it.  Other combat-related researches are Redemption (to increase the Heal
    ability of Monks) and Sanctity (increases Monks' defense).  I think doing
    Redemption first is useful, but after that, I do some researches to
    increase my income.  I do this not because I need more income, but because
    these will increase my unit cap a bit, and I am usually running up against
    my unit cap by this time.  (Note that I have read a number of times that
    your unit cap is *not* affected by researches, but that is not true--in
    this campaign, after I've already built all the Mines/Mills/Farms possible
    a number of days previous, and am in the middle of hard fighting, if I do
    either Shaft Mining or Heavy Plow, my unit cap increases.)  In any case,
    eventually do all 11 researches necessary to age up.  In Age 4, I research
    only combat-related researches (I always finish the campaign before I run
    out of those).  By the time I am Age 4, a lot of what needs to be done is
    destruction of buildings, so rather than the 2 Blacksmith researches that
    increase overall attack values (Bracers and Blast Furnace), I will likely
    first choose the 2 researches that increase attack values specifically
    versus buildings (Flaming Arrows and Sappers).

Military build-up, after day 11

On day 11, if you follow my plan, you build a Castle.  On day 12, then, you can
use that Castle to train Samurai every day.  Samurai are very powerful Infantry
units, so no other Infantry units are necessary, in my opinion.  The Samurais
trained on the first few days will probably stay in the South, but at some
point, one of the Samurai might be sent to the North, if desired.  From the
Castle as I've positioned it, a newly-trained Samurai can be on the
all-important bridge in the North on his second day of life.  Even though he
gets to the bridge so much later than the others, he can get ribbons quickly
(every 2 battles), and is powerful enough to stand on the bridge for a couple
days straight without getting *too* beat up.  3 ribbons, here we come!

In general, training your civilization-special unit at a Castle is almost
always a good idea.  Some units are more useful than others, I suppose, but
they all have special features that make them very useful in your army.

  - Feel *very good* "spamming" Samurai and Longbowmen

  - Feel *good* spamming Throwing Axemen (movement of 7 is a bit of a
    drawback, but otherwise, these are killer Infantry units) and Mangudai
    (relatively weak, but their First Strike skill, plus the fact they can
    attack from afar, makes them very difficult to kill, and makes for an
    incredibly maneuverable army)

  - Feel the least good spamming Mamelukes (very good units, but I'm not in
    love with an army with too many Cavalry units, since swamps can inhibit
    movement, and pikemen and buildings are somewhat impervious to them)

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #4: Train lots of civilization-special units.

For the Yashima campaign, other than Samurai, if the Market allows training
of Knights Templar soon after getting to Age 3, train one--these units are
very powerful with their Zeal skill that allows them to heal themselves after
every battle.  It is funny watching the enemy send some ranged unit forward to
attack the Knights Templar and seeing the Knights Templar's health go from 100
all the way down to 97 (it actually went down further, but then automatically
healed back to 97)!  Persian Elephants are powerful as well, but I don't really
like their movement of 7--it seems like the point of Cavalry is to move fast.

Also at the Market, getting troops like Viking Berserkers or Celtic Woad
Raiders is usually quite useful, but in this specific campaign, we've got
Samurai, so don't really need other Infantry.  Training Berserkers or Woad
Raiders in the Yashima campaign would not be a mistake, but is not really
that helpful either.

What about something like Scorpions or Onagers to guard the bridge to the East
of our first Town Center?  I believe that these units have their place, but in
general do not like them much.  The key drawback is the fact they can't move
and attack on the same turn.  When I am attacking the enemy, I am constantly
moving forward, pushing him back every day.  In such a situation, these Siege
units can only attack every other day usually, and sometimes not even that, as
the enemy can simply avoid attacking within range of them.  So already you have
units that cannot attack every day, meaning your army is effectively smaller.
But then that means that we are also not following key strategy #2: these units
cannot get experience and thus earn ribbons very fast, due to their lack of
ability to attack frequently.

But in the case of guarding the bridge in this specific campaign, wouldn't they
be useful?  You could put them in place and leave them there all the way until
breakout.  They would build up 3 ribbons probably, and would be devastating
killing machines.  Yeah, but why?  The enemy never threatens to actually push
you off the bridge, so Scorpions or Onagers are more powerful than necessary.
Also, since one hit from them would kill anything, most likely, the unit on the
bridge would get less experience (no one to attack).  As I explained above,
attacking first with Archers, then killing with the bridge unit gets
experience for *both* units.  Also, the enemy has a tendency to stay out of
range of powerful units like these, so having a 3-ribbon Scorpions near the
bridge might actually push the enemy into doing an all-out attack in the South
(which, as we'll see below is harder for us).  So I can definitely see that
using a Scorpions or Onagers around the bridge in this campaign could be
successful, but I know that I personally would then be very frustrated when it
came time to attack over the bridge and my Scorpions/Onagers went into every
other day mode.  Scorpions have the added drawback they can't attack buildings,
so you might find yourself using the Scorpions to attack the Villagers on a
building so that other units can attack the building--your super-powerful,
3-ribbon, unit being used to kill some Villagers because there was no other
unit to kill them.  With ranged siege units, you have to plan very carefully to
move them to a place that you think will be in range of some enemy the next
day, but then the enemy can just move in a way to avoid being in range.  I know
*I* would.

The AI is not very smart, I admit, but I have fought battles with the AI where
I was *never once* attacked by the enemy's ranged siege units.  In all the
times I fought the Yashima campaign, the enemy built a Scorpion a number of
times and an Onagers a couple times, but almost every time I was able to avoid
being in range until I was able to attack them directly and either kill or
critically wound them.

(Let me digress for a moment to discuss the one time the enemy was "successful"
in using some Scorpions *and* Onagers: when he set them up to attack the
bridge to the East of my Town Center, but out of range of my archers!  If I
put a unit on that bridge, and they were attacked with Scorpions, Onagers,
*and* another unit, I would almost surely lose them.  So I *had* to retreat
off the bridge, leaving Minamoto on the square just to the West of the bridge.
If the enemy had then simply moved his Scorpions and Onagers one square
forward, I would have been in trouble, having to retreat again.  Luckily, he
instead said, "My Scorpions and Onagers have nothing to attack, I'll move them
around randomly."  So even though the enemy took the bridge, I was able to
take it back the next day, and the enemy didn't move his Scorpions and Onagers
back again.  So Scorpions and Onagers *would* have been very useful for the
enemy, if used correctly.  But as I pointed out above, the enemy could have
done the same thing with smart use of Archers.)

So, given my respect for ranged units, I have a hard time totally
disrespecting such powerful ranged units as Scorpions and Onagers.  But I
don't use them much, and do not miss them.

On a related note, many of the same arguments are why I don't bother with all
the ranged units that cannot move and attack on the same day, like
Crossbowmen, Turkish Janissaries, and Chinese Chu Ko Nu.  I just cannot put up
with units that I'm not able to attack with on a given day.  In general, I am
constantly attacking, constantly pushing the enemy back, and in such an
environment, Crossbowman and the like can only attack every other day, and not
even *that* often if you don't position them well or if the enemy just avoids
putting any units in range.  There are situations where the battle front is
somewhat stationary, and in those cases Crossbowmen will be more powerful than
Archers.  But then when the front starts to move again, the Crossbowmen are
often a liability.  I think it is possible that certain specific situations
might prefer Crossbowmen to Archers, but those same situations would probably
prefer Scorpions to Crossbowmen.  So the only time I fight with Crossbowmen
and their like is when I am provided them at the beginning of a campaign (like
the "Battle of the River Crossings" campaign).

Another unit that I would like to train in this campaign are Monks.  I
considered having one Monks in the North and one or two in the South, but
as it turns out, the South takes the main brunt of the battle, so having two
Monks in the South is really enough.  At one point, for example, the enemy
double-attacked one of my Samurais and got him to 25 health.  I ran him back to
a building and healed him with 2 Monks, and he was almost back to full health
the next day.  You know my passion for key strategy #2, getting units to 3
ribbons, and that can only happen if you maniacally make sure to keep
experienced units alive.  It is much easier if you can heal units in place to
keep them alive, rather than running them back to heal on buildings.

Also, let me make something clear.  In this game, the amount of damage a unit
does when it attacks is directly proportional to its health.  A unit at 80
health will do exactly twice the damage as that same unit would do if it were
at 40 health.  (This is maybe obvious, but is not true, for example, in the Age
of Kings sequel, Age of Empires: Mythologies.)  Therefore, for your strong
multi-ribbon units to be effective, you have to try to keep them at high
health.  Monks serve this purpose.

What about using Monks to Convert the enemy units?  I do this rarely, for
multiple reasons:

  - Conversion success is random, and I don't like to leave my fate to chance.

  - Once again, based on key strategy #2, the enemy doesn't usually have units
    I'm all that interested in, since they're almost always 0 ribbon units.  I
    try to always outclass the enemy, so what do I want one of his relatively
    weak units for?

  - Moving a Monks up to try the Convert usually gets it out of position and
    liable to attack and death.

That said, I actually did try (and succeed) on one Convert in Yashima.  I
should discuss it.  For the same reason I am not interested in getting any of
the enemy's weak units, I am especially afraid of the enemy converting my
strong ones.  Therefore, when the enemy has Monks in the area (and in the
Yashima campaign, the Emperor seems to like training Monks), I try to keep
strong units that can be converted out of range of the Monks.  This is not
easy, due to Monks movement of 9, but I do my best.  The key is that Samurai
and Minamoto cannot be converted, so I put those units up front, since they
are immune to the Monk's conversion ability.  (I *thought* that Knights Templar
could not be converted either, but I think that might only be in some of the
campaigns where the Knights Templar are British, since I believe I saw an
attempt by the enemy in Yashima to convert them.)

So, in the Yashima campaign, an enemy Monks ran around my units and
successfully converted a 100 health, 3-ribbon, Cavaliers!  Usually, this means
I have to take half my army in the area and concentrate on killing my
ex-friend--half my units because the unit is so strong (and in the case of
Cavaliers, I rarely use Pikemen, so have no especially good attacks against
them).  But all of my troops were at full health or 90+ health, so my Monks
didn't really have any pressing Healing they needed to do, and I thought,
"I'll try to Convert my Cavaliers back, and if it fails, *then* I'll have to
come up with a plan to destroy them."  Luckily, the Convert worked!  (I'm
wondering whether your chances are better if you are reconverting troops that
used to be part of your army.)

In addition, my fear of conversion means that I will often go out of my way to
kill Monks I can get to.  Like I might take 3 attacks to fully kill some Monks,
while only making one attack on some relatively strong enemy military unit,
leaving it alive and reasonably dangerous.  Normally, it would make more sense
to attack both units twice, seriously weakening each, but a Monks at 1 health
can still Convert.  Be careful in this campaign to avoid getting strong troops
converted by Monks!

The last type of units I want in my army in this campaign are Battering Rams.
These are incredibly useful in tearing apart an enemy's Town Center complex.
Compared to Onagers, they can move and attack in the same day.  Also, they are
quite powerful, very often being able to destroy an enemy building in one
attack.  In the Yashima campaign, all Taira buildings (except Town Centers or
Castles, if they build them) are usually destroyed by a 100 health Battering
Rams in one attack.  The Emperor's Town Buildings, however, require more than
one attack, unless your Battering Rams have a number of ribbons, which is
unlikely.  With the Taira, however, it is *so* useful to be able to, *the same
day the Battering Rams can arrive*, completely destroy a Barracks or other
military building.  In both the North and South, if you build the Siege
Workshop on the side of the Town Center closest to the enemy, they will
sometimes be able to attack and destroy an enemy building on their second day
of life.  It is true that Samurai do good damage to buildings as well, so in
this specific campaign, having Samurais in place of Battering Rams would not
slow you down too much.  But in general, when you have to do building
demolition, Battering Rams are for you!  (Onagers on the other hand, have to
be first moved into a location to attack, and then when they attack, they will
actually take 2 days (or maybe even 3 for strong buildings) to destroy the
building.  Battering Rams: destroy a building on day 2 of their life, then
another on day 3; Onagers: get into position on day 2, attack the building on
day 3, destroy the building on day 4, move to get into position again for
another building on day 5, attack the second building on day 6, destroy the
second building on day 7!  Battering Rams beat the Onagers hands down.)

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #5: When requiring demolition of enemy buildings, use
                         Battering Rams.

In conclusion, then, at breakout, my Northern army would probably be:
  1 Archers
  1 Welsh Bowmen
  1 Knights 
  1 Longswordsmen
  1 Battering Rams
  Maybe 1 Samurai
All but the Battering Rams would have 3 ribbons at breakout.

My Southern army is more variable, but at the time I first made contact with
the enemy would look something like:
  3 Welsh Bowmen
  1 Knights
  Maybe 1 Knights Templar
  3-5 Samurai
  2 Monks
  1 Battering Rams
Some of these would have some ribbons, but generally, since they are being
trained in the South, they will have little experience.

As the campaign went on, new military units would probably be mostly made up
of Samurai, and another Battering Rams in the North (to help destroy the Mines
and Mills to the North of the Taira's Northern Town Center, while the other
Battering Rams in that area are crossing the bridge to destroy the Emperor's
buildings).  Cavalry can come in quite handy during the "expansion of the
South" phase, since you have wide open spaces, and the Knights Templar turn
out to be very good at holding the Mountain pass between the Taira's 2
Town Centers, but Cavalry just doesn't remain as useful once the campaign turns
into a hard slog against the Emperor.

I'm sorry if I'm slighting your favorite units!  There are definitely good
places for many units, but in my mind, they don't fit into this campaign as
well as the units I've mentioned above.  And I'm not even discussing 
Age 4-specific units, since the campaign is over only a few days after I become
Age 4, so there is no real chance to get any such units into the fight.

Fighting battles

Before we talk about how we're going to finally move forward and attack the
enemy in the Yashima campaign, I think it is now time to discuss what is
*the* most important Key Strategy in the game:

+-+-+-> KEY STRATEGY #6: Look at your army from the enemy's point of view, and
                         position your army to leave the enemy few options to
                         do major damage.

This is absolutely key.  It is no good to perform a strong attack on the enemy,
eliminating 2 of his units, let's say, if the position your troops are in means
that the enemy will kill or seriously wound 3 of *your* units on his half of
the day, including, let's say, one of your ranged units, and your one single
Villagers (which you were planning to use to build a Castle the next day).
Much better to perform a less strong attack on the enemy, killing only 1 of
his units, say, but leaving him no easy way to attack back, so you only take
a few small injuries on his half of the day.

This sounds easy, and it *will* get easier once you're used to it, but it
*must* be considered at all times.  Ending your day in a position that affords
the enemy no effective attacks is an incredibly effective strategy.

As I said, one of the keys here is understanding the enemy unit's positions
and capabilities.  Put yourself in the enemy's shoes, thinking
  "What would *I* do if I were him?"

An example:
  "Ok, let's see how would I attack my position if I were him.  Hmmm...oh look!
   He can get his Cavalry unit around the edge there and attack my Welsh
   Bowmen.  And he can get a double-attack on my Infantry unit there, killing
   it, which will then allow him to attack my Cavalry with his Pikemen, almost
   killing it.  Ouch!  But wait, if I add one extra Infantry unit to that
   square right *there*, not only does that block the Cavalry unit from
   attacking my Welsh Bowmen, but it also blocks one of the squares that were
   going to be used to double attack my Infantry.  They'll only be able to
   single attack the front line, and not kill anything."

Unfortunately, it is very hard to give actual examples of this, since it
requires a detailed description of the units in play, as well as an exact
description of the terrain of all the squares in the area.

Note that there are two pieces of information that are crucial if you want to
do this correctly:
  1) Knowing where all the units can move
  2) Knowing how much damage a given unit will do to another

We will discuss these two in the next two sections.


Each unit has a move value; it is shown on the unit's information next to a
sort-of "boot" symbol.  Movement values:
  7  Most units (including Elephants)
  8  Villagers (after the Leather Soles Age 1 research)
  9  Samurai, Monks, and Celtic Woad Raiders
 10  All Cavalry (except Elephants and Scout Cavalry); all horse-based ranged
     (Horse Archers, Mangudai, Genghis Khan)
 12  Scout Cavalry

Each square of the terrain costs a certain number of movement points to enter:
  1  Road, all buildings
  2  Plains, Desert, Bridge
  3  Hills, Forest, Ford, Swamp
  4  Mountains

Using this information, you can calculate at any time where a given unit can
move on its turn.

As it turns out, this is actually done for you by the game: move the cursor to
the unit, then hold down the B button.  The squares in yellow are where the
unit can move to or attack, while the squares in red are those that the unit
can attack but cannot move to (so the yellow squares are surrounded by red
squares).  This is very useful and saves much calculation if you're just trying
to figure out whether there are any units close enough to your Villagers to
attack them when they build a Mill, for example.  However, the squares shown
by the game are those that the unit can move to *with the current position of
all units*.  This is a key distinction, since it means that you cannot trust
what you see if there are any units that might either get in the way or get out
of the way.  So, for example, you use B and see that a specific enemy Knights
can attack your Villagers building that Mill, so you are hesitant to send your
Villagers to their death.  However, if you move some unit into the path that
the Knights would take, it is very possible that the Knights can no longer get
to the Villagers.  If you actually do perform the move for that unit, then
hold down the B key for the Knights, the game will now show you that the
Villagers are safe.

Or are they?  Remember that the B button is only showing you based on current
position.  If the enemy on his half of the day attacks and kills your unit
that is blocking the Knights, and kills it without using those Knights, the
Knights will then be able to move through and kill the Villagers.  Unless you
have another blocking unit...

Another way to mess up using the B button is that you might check the Knights
using the B button and see that they can't get to the Villagers, but then, as
part of your movement, you move a unit that was blocking the Knights (and you
didn't *realize* was blocking the Knights), clearing the way for the Knights
to kill your Villagers.  You might notice this too late: after you've made
most or all of your movements, you check the Knights movement possibility and
see the bad news that given the new position, your Villagers are toast.

Therefore, you can't really trust the B button--instead you need to do your
own calculations, *before* moving any of your units.

You need to work out what your final position will be, then check and see,
given the enemy units that you haven't killed, where they can move to.  If one
of the enemy Cavalry can get to one of your Ranged units, your position is
probably not good, for example.

As I've said above, this is part of seeing your position from the perspective
of the enemy.  You want to understand exactly what all the attack possibilities
the enemy will have are, and try to make sure that none of those possibilities
are especially bad for you.  Just guessing, without really *knowing*, where
enemy units can move to will leave you sorry: "That unit could get there?

There is one special-case of movement to keep in mind in this campaign: enemy
troops can move through their ally's buildings, but cannot stop in them.
The specific case that came up a number of times in this campaign as I was
fighting it was that the Emperor's troops can move through the Taira buildings,
but cannot stop in them to fight.  An example of when this came up was in the
Southeast of the map, when taking over the Taira's Mill in that area.  On a
given day, I might use a Samurai to destroy the Farm to the West of this Mill,
use the Battering Rams to destroy the Mill, then move a Villagers in to
rebuild the Mill.  In this way, I could steal the other 3 Farms away from the
Taira in one single turn.  But the enemy always seems to want to kill Villagers
that are building something (in fact, the enemy always seems interested in
killing any unit it can).  These Villagers look to be quite vulnerable, since
all an enemy has to do is get to one of the other 3 Farms surrounding the
Villagers to kill them easily.  And in fact, it was often true that there was
at least one of the Emperor's troops that was on or near the Road to the North
of this Mill that in fact *could* get to the Farm to the North of my Villagers.
*However*, since they were the Emperor's troops, and the Farms were owned by
the Taira, those troops could *not* move into that Farm to attack my
Villagers!  So the Villagers were safe from attack.  (If there had been Taira
troops around, that would be different story, of course, since those troops
*could* attack the Villagers from any of the 3 Farms.  So be careful!)  Note
also that not being able to stop in an ally's buildings also means that the
Emperor's troops cannot heal in Taira buildings.


Each unit has an attack and defense value.  For example, a basic Light Cavalry
unit has attack 150, defense 150.  An Archers unit has attack 150, defense 100.
These values are very often modified however, with either bonuses or
anti-bonuses.  A Light Cavalry attacking a Men-at-Arms would have both values
increased by 33%, moving both to 200.  That same Light Cavalry attacking a
building would have both values decreased by 50%, moving both to 75.  There are
many reasons these values are increased or decreased, and in a perfect world,
you'd have them all memorized, and be able to quickly calculate the new values
for any situation.

But this is probably more than is really necessary, since the game will
calculate it for you and show you for any attack.  Move a unit up next to an
enemy unit, select Attack, and the game will show you the numbers it will use
(along with a "recommendation" from your "advisor").  You can then click
somewhere else on the screen to cancel that attack.  Using this method, you can
understand most of your options.

So, to understand how much damage you're going to do in a given attack, the
calculation is actually fairly easy.
  a) Calculate how much attack strength the attacking unit has by multiplying
     its health percentage by its attack value.

       Example: Light Cavalry unit with no bonuses, health 80:
                  80% of 150 = 120 attack strength

       Example: Light Cavalry unit attacking Men-at-Arms, so 33% bonus,
                health 75:
                  75% of 200 = 150 attack strength

  b) Calculate how much defense strength the defending unit has by multiplying
     the unit's health percentage by its defense value.

       Example: Light Cavalry unit with no bonuses, health 80: 
                  80% of 150 = 120 defense strength

       Example: Archers with no bonuses, health 95:
                  95% of 100 = 95 defense strength

  c) Compare the attack strength versus the defense strength.  If they are
     exactly equal, the defending unit will lose exactly half its health.
     If the attack strength is equal to or greater than double the defense
     strength, the defending unit will be killed.

       Example: Attack strength 75, Defense strength 75:
                  Defending unit will lose exactly half its health
                  (So a unit at 80 health would go down to 40 health)

       Example: Attack strength 150, Defense strength 48:
                  Defending unit will die.
                  (So a unit at any health will go down to 0 health
                   and disappear)

     All other possibilities work on the straight line from killed
     (attack >= 2 * defense) to almost not touched (attack <= .1 * defense,
     for example).

     For the mathematically-challenged, I'm not sure what a good way to
     explain this is, so I must use some math:

       Percentage of          Attack strength
       defending unit's  =  --------------------  * 100
       health lost          2 * Defense strength

     Example: Attack strength 100, Defense strength 150:
                Defending unit will lose 33% of its health
                (So a unit at 90 health would go down to 60 health, or
                 a unit at 45 health would go down to 30 health)

     Example: Attack strength 180, Defense strength 100:
                Defending unit will lose 90% of its health
                (So a unit at 80 health would go down to 8 health)

     Example: Attack strength 30, Defense strength 120:
                Defending unit will lose 12.5% of its health
                (So a unit at 80 health would go down to 70 health.)

Then comes the counter-attack.  In most cases, when a unit attacks another
unit, if the defending unit is not killed, it gets an automatic counter-attack.
The result of the battle, as shown by the game, includes this counter-attack
damage as well.  Figuring out how much counter-attack damage is done is pretty
easy, since it uses the same calculation as above: determine the attack
strength of the counter-attacking unit, the defense strength of the attacking
unit, and do the math.  Remember to use the now-decreased health value of the
counter-attacking unit when determining its attack strength.

Here are some examples:

  Example: Men-at-Arms attacks Men-at-Arms
    Attacker: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    No terrain bonuses
    Attack strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Attack calculation: ( 150 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 50% of health lost
    Now, Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 50 health
    Counter-attack attack strength: 50% of 150 = 75
    Counter-attack defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Counter-attack calculation: ( 75 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 25% of health lost
    So result:
      Attacker reduced to 75 health
      Defender reduced to 50 health

  Example: Men-at-Arms attacks Welsh Bowmen
    Attacker: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    Defender: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 80 health
    No terrain bonuses
    Attack strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Defense strength: 80% of 125 = 100
    Attack calculation: ( 150 / (2 * 100) ) * 100 = 75% of health lost
    Now, Defender: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 20 health
    Counter-attack attack strength: 20% of 175 = 35
    Counter-attack defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Counter-attack calculation: ( 35 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 12% of health lost
    So result:
      Attacker reduced to 88 health
      Defender reduced to 20 health

  Example: Men-at-Arms attacks Welsh Bowmen standing in Mountains
    Attacker: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    Defender: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 80 health
    Terrain bonus: +40% to Defense value of Welsh Bowmen
    Attack strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Defense strength: ( 80% of 125 ) + ( 40% of 125) = 150
    Attack calculation: ( 150 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 50% of health lost
    Now, Defender: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 40 health
    Counter-attack attack strength: 40% of 175 = 70
    Counter-attack defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Counter-attack calculation: ( 70 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 23% of health lost
    So result:
      Attacker reduced to 77 health
      Defender reduced to 40 health

  Example: Welsh Bowmen attacks Men-at-Arms, from 2 squares away
    Attacker: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 80 health
    Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    No terrain bonuses
    Attack strength: 80% of 175 = 140
    Defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Attack calculation: ( 140 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 47% of health lost
    Now, Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 53 health
    No counter-attack!  (Since Welsh Bowmen attacked from a distance)
    So result:
      Attacker stayed at 80 health
      Defender reduced to 53 health

  Example: Welsh Bowmen attacks Men-at-Arms, from adjacent square
    Attacker: Welsh Bowmen, 175 Attack, 125 Defense, 80 health
    Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 100 health
    No terrain bonuses
    Attack strength: 80% of 175 = 140
    Defense strength: 100% of 150 = 150
    Attack calculation: ( 140 / (2 * 150) ) * 100 = 47% of health lost
    Now, Defender: Men-at-Arms, 150 Attack, 150 Defense, 53 health
    Counter-attack attack strength: 53% of 150 = 80
    Counter-attack defense strength: 80% of 125 = 100
    Counter-attack calculation: ( 80 / (2 * 100) ) * 100 = 40% of health lost
    So result:
      Attacker reduced to 48 health
      Defender reduced to 53 health

Hopefully these examples will be enough for you to do these calculations on
your own.

Note that bonuses make a big difference in the calculations, but as I said, the
game usually shows you the bonuses.  For example, if that 150/150 Men-at-Arms
had 2 ribbons, giving it a 30% bonus, it would be shown by the game as 195
Attack and 195 Defense when you click on it.  Similarly, if you have done
Blacksmith research (like Chain Mail) that increase your attack or defense,
those increases are shown by the game when you click on the unit.  So as you
add bonuses and anti-bonuses into the calculations, it does not necessarily get
harder to calculate.

OK, so I guess if it takes me this long to explain damage, it must not be *too*
easy :-).  But on the other hand, if you just keep in mind the basics, you can
somewhat easily estimate the damage without doing the actual calculations: a
60 health, 195 attack unit attacking a 75 health, 150 defense unit will cause
the defender to lose approximately half of its health, since 60% of 195 and
75% of 150 are approximately equal.  Similarly, a 40 health, 150 strength unit
attacking that same 75 health, 150 defense unit will cause the defender to lose
around 25% of its health, since 40% of 150 is approximately one half of 75%
of 150.

Let me give one example of when these calculations can be very useful and
pretty easy.  You want to move your Villagers to build a Mill, like the Mill in
the South central part of the Yashima map.  You check all the enemy units and
see that the only unit that can attack your Villagers is a Scout Cavalry.  You
click on your Villagers and see that they have a Defense value of 75, and click
on the Scout Cavalry and see that it has an Attack value of 100.  Now, you
remember that Cavalry get a 33% bonus against Infantry, and Villagers are
considered Infantry.  Therefore, that Scout Cavalry will actually have an
Attack value of 133 instead of 100.  Assume both units are at 100 health.
So the Attack strength is 133, the Defense strength is 75; 133 is *not* greater
than or equal to 2 * 75, so your Villagers will be hurt badly, but will *not*
be killed.  This means the Mill will be successfully built.  So go for it!

Putting it together

So, when you understand which units can move where, and the damage that
different units can do to one another, you can understand, *before you've moved
one unit*, what the end result of all your moves will be.  Once you understand
the end result of your moves, you can see exactly what the enemy's options will
be on his half of the day.  If the enemy will have options that will allow him
to severely damage or kill important units, you should probably rethink your
plans and see if there is another possible set of moves that will leave the
enemy with fewer opportunities to badly damage you.

Do not be afraid to retreat!  I rarely retreat, but when it is necessary, I
definitely do it.  This will happen when you are analyzing your position and
your enemy's position, and realize that there *is no* good move for you to make
to attack him and also leave yourself safe against his attack on his half of
the day.  At this point, look to instead retreat to a good defensible position
where the enemy can do minimal damage against you.  As it turns out, the enemy
often will back off when you retreat.

In one of the many times I was fighting this campaign while writing this FAQ,
I found out the hard way what happens when you're not careful with your
positioning.  I was a bit bored/over-confident the 5th or 6th time I was going
through, and flippantly threw my forces at the enemy when I met him--things
seemed to be going my way.  But I left myself in a bad position and the enemy
quickly killed one of my strong units and seriously damaged another.  (As I've
said previously, I almost never lose a unit that I'm not purposely
sacrificing.)  I was somewhat shocked and tried to fight back, but essentially
losing 2 strong units in one day weakened my entire position, so my attempt at
getting back in control also left myself out of position and I lost more units
again.  My position was now hopelessly compromised, and I finally realized that
the only option was a full retreat, probably all the way back to my Town Center
(if the enemy played well).  I would have to rebuild my forces from around my
Town Center.  (As it turns out, when I retreated so precipitously, the enemy,
instead of pursuing me and attacking my resources (Mill/Farms/Mines) and
buildings (Castle), which were now wide-open to attack, simply backed off and
allowed me to get my forces built up and back in good formation.)  I let my
concentration wander for 2 days, and my entire attack fell apart!  All of a
sudden, it was the enemy whose forces that were earning ribbons, while I was
having to train brand-new troops somewhat far from the front.  I suddenly
understood why people had said they had such a hard time with this campaign.
But once I got my troops back in good position, and every other time I fought
the campaign, I concentrated on positioning and things always seemed somewhat

Do maximum damage to the enemy on your half of the day while leaving him
minimum possibilities to do damage to you on his half of the day and you'll be
an Age of Empires: Age of Kings expert!

Other battle tips

All of the tips below are less important than key strategy #6 presented above
in this section--that is, if you don't follow key strategy #6, you'll probably
be in bad shape even if you follow all the tips below.  So keep that in mind!

Some of these seem pretty obvious, but...

- When possible, try to attack with every unit every day.  When planning your
  attack on a given day, if some unit of yours has only one possible enemy unit
  it can attack, try to make sure it gets that chance.  It is very important to
  get as many attacks as possible.

- If you are going to attack an enemy unit with both a ranged unit and a
  non-ranged unit, attack with the ranged unit first.  In this way, the ranged
  unit does damage first, then the non-ranged unit can either kill the enemy
  and take no counter-attack damage at all, or seriously damage the enemy and
  take minimal counter-attack damage.

- Keep in mind which units have bonuses against which others.  Attack enemy
  units when you have a bonus whenever possible, and avoid attacking when you
  have an anti-bonus.  If you have a Knights and a Longswordsmen against an
  enemy Pikemen and Longswordsmen, use your Cavalry against the Longswordsmen
  and the Longswordsmen against the Pikemen, rather than the opposite.

- It is more efficient to kill a training unit rather than do damage to an
  existing unit.  If the enemy has a 80 health Knights and a training
  (therefore 50 health) Knights, if you can do the equivalent of 60 health
  damage to one or the other, it is better to kill the training unit (result:
  one single enemy, at 80 health) than to attack and seriously damage the other
  unit (result: two enemy units, one at 100 health and one at 20 health).
  Remember that training units, if they are allowed to live through their
  training, do the equivalent of healing 50 health on their half of the day!
  Killing that unit avoids this healing.

- Try to use squares that increase your defense value whenever possible.
  Getting the 40% bonus to defense that a Mountain/Bridge square provides can
  really make your units hard to kill!

- Putting ranged units on Hills or Mountains squares increases their range
  by 1, so this is obviously a good idea.  But in some cases, you might see
  that your ranged unit does not need the extra range and think, "What does it
  matter?  They can kill that unit from the Mountains, or from the Road.  I'll
  just put them on the Road."  This can be a big mistake.  Now, in this
  specific campaign, Yashima, we are fighting with no Black Map or Fog of War,
  so you can do your homework and be sure that your ranged units can't be
  attacked, and leaving them in the Road would be fine then.  But when you
  might not be able to see all possible enemy units, you can sometimes not be
  sure whether your ranged units might be attacked by the enemy or not on their
  half of the day.  If the enemy *is* able to attack, if your ranged unit is in
  the Mountains, it gets a 40% defense bonus, which will decrease the damage
  taken.  Also, if attacked by an enemy ranged unit, if your ranged unit is in
  the Mountains, his increased range will make it almost sure that you will get
  a counter-attack on him (the only exception would be if the enemy was the
  English, and the enemy ranged unit was attacking from a Hills/Mountains
  square, and the Firing Line Hero Power had been used).  But if the enemy unit
  is standing in a Hills/Mountains square and you're stuck on the Road, you
  might get no counter-attack.  In fact, if your ranged unit is stronger than
  the enemy ranged unit, the mere fact that there was going to be a
  counter-attack might mean that the enemy won't bother to attack at all.

- Use Villagers or Monks to kill especially weak enemy units.  This can be the
  one extra attack that enables you to make your optimal attack with your army.

- Use Villagers or Monks to take up space in your position.  In the case of
  Villagers, if they are exposed to attack, you will likely lose them to the
  enemy attack, but better you lose some non-essential Villagers than some
  other important military unit.  In the case of Monks, they have a large
  defense value, so they might be seriously damaged if left exposed, but not
  killed.  Remember that Monks do the same healing whether they are damaged or

- Use as many chances as you can to get your troops battle experience.  For
  example, you might have some unit running to the front from your Town Center
  and they are passing an enemy Town building whose Town Center has been
  destroyed.  There is absolutely no advantage to destroying that building, but
  if you *do* attack it, the attacking unit gets credit for a battle.  They are
  on their way to ribbons (and you know by now how much I love those ribbons!).
  Another example: Ranged units, on their way somewhere, have a chance to
  attack an enemy Mine on the other side of a river.  Since ranged units do
  such little damage to buildings, and Mines are pretty strong, this attack
  feels pretty pointless.  But it gains the unit experience, so go for it!
  Note, however, that this concept can be taken too far.  Imagine a 100
  strength, strong, enemy unit standing on that same Mine.  If your ranged unit
  does his "free" attack, he *does* gain 1 battles-worth of experience.  But so
  does the enemy unit, *and* the enemy unit will heal back some or all of the
  damage on his half of the day since he is standing on a Mine.  So you've also
  given "free" battle experience to a dangerous enemy unit.  (This is similar
  to my point above about how stupid the enemy is to attack Minamoto, when he
  is standing behind the bridge, with ranged units.  It does almost no damage,
  which Minamoto quickly heals in any case.  The main thing this accomplishes
  is to help Minamoto get ribbons.)

Engaging the enemy

OK, so we've given ourselves a very good foundation, and strong armies in both
North and South.  Also, we understand how to fight battles, by looking at our
position from the perspective of the enemy.  It is now time to move forward and
start to attack.

Since our units around the bridge in the North are somewhat few in number, and
the enemy usually has many units on his side of the bridge, attacking him on
that front will be unlikely to work well.

The South is another story.  With 3 ranged units, 1-2 Cavalry, 2 Monks,
and 3-5 Samurai, we are ready for the enemy (we'll also be training more
Samurai when possible).  Move toward the East toward the Taira Town Center, but
do it carefully to avoid important losses.

How the fight in the South goes will be strongly determined by the enemy's
decision of which area to send its troops.  Most of the times I have fought
this campaign, the enemy sends most of its units to the area around the Taira's
Northern Town Center.  The remaining times, they sent their units to the South
instead.  It is definitely harder to fight this campaign if the units are sent
to the South.  I will discuss both possibilities.

If the enemy decides to fight in the North

This is the more likely possibility in my experience.  Both the Emperor's and
the Taira forces "mill around" in the area of the Taira's Northern Town Center.
Essentially, if they don't have anyone to attack, they seem to just mill
around, rather than figuring out that if they went South, they *would* have
someone to attack in another day or two.

In this situation, move your Southern forces forward carefully, ideally never
getting any of them in range of the Emperor's units.  You can usually get to a
place, somewhere about half-way between your Southern Town Center and the
Taira's Southern Town Center, where your units cannot be attacked by any of the
enemy's units, but from where your units will be able to get to and attack the
Taira's Town Center area the next day.  The enemy, if it cannot get to you to
attack, will likely just mill around, such that you can then not only attack
the Town Center area, but *still* be out of range of the enemy.  So you can
attack aggressively one day, then, if the enemy decides to come your way,
retreat the next day to a defensible line to the South (and maybe West) of the

Something that can help immensely here is the "mountain pass" between the
Taira's two Town Centers.  This mountain road is surrounded by Mountains on
both sides of it, making it very hard for enemy units to get around one of your
units blocking the road.  That is, if you move one of your strong units into
one of the Mountain Road squares, it is very possible that the enemy will only
be able to get one single attack against the unit, since to get around to the
side of your unit, they have to run up to the square in front of your unit,
then go either East or West into a Mountain square (4 movement points), then
South again into another Mountain square (4 more movement points).  With a
strong unit standing on a Mountain Road square that increases that unit's
defense by 40%, the enemy will have a very hard time getting past that unit.
After your blocking unit takes some damage one day, you can move it back and
heal it, moving a new, 100% unit forward to take its place.  The enemy is not
usually smart enough to move units to a square that *will* be able to flank
your unit the next day, so simply holding the same Mountain Road square day
after day is usually possible.

Another major tactic that I always use is to build a Castle on the Southern
end of the Mountain pass.  I usually build the Castle with its Southwest
corner square one square to the East and North of the Northeast Swamp square.
Have a Villagers available to swoop in and build this Castle as soon as it is
practical.  Of course, the enemy will try to kill the Villagers building the
Castle, so make sure they are safe from attack on the day they are building.
This can fairly easily be done by your blocking unit in the mountain pass,
but if you haven't established a blocking unit, you can position a strong unit
next to the Villagers, making an attack from that square impossible.  Remember
to watch out for ranged units that could kill your Villagers!  On the other
hand, in this campaign, the enemy almost never attacks buildings, so once
you've built the Castle, it will stay there forever, essentially stranding the
enemy to the North of the mountain pass.

So some of your units attack and destroy the Southern Town Center, while others
are defending the mountain pass.  "Defending" is one way to put it, but the
other way to say it is that your units attack and kill the units that come to
the mountain pass; that is, the enemy will send units to you to be killed.
With your strong units in the area, new Samurai being trained at the Castle,
ability to heal units in the Castle and with your Monks, and 2 or 3 Welsh
Bowmen, you can fairly simply just hold your ground and slowly kill all the
units sent to fight you.  (Note that it will likely be in your best interest
to attack along a front of 2 or 3 units, rather than just the one unit in the
pass.  In this way, you can kill the enemy faster and more efficiently.  But,
as always, only do this if your units are safe from major damage in subsequent
enemy attacks.)

If the enemy decides to fight in the South

This possibility is less likely.  However, if the enemy decides to fight you in
the South, you will have to deal with it (or, if it proves too difficult, play
the campaign again and hope for the Northern option).

This must be fought very carefully.

I have seen one case where the Taira troops were sent South to attack me before
I was really ready.  That is, they were sent early enough that I was not able
to get across the bridge and defend on the East side of the bridge (actually, I
would have been *able* to get across and defend, but I would not have been able
to get a strong enough defensive position and would have lost units), and had
to let the enemy come across the bridge and attack my Town Center area.  This
looked scary, as they had me outnumbered and I didn't like them attacking my
Town Center area, but as it turns out, since they came so early, there were no
Emperor's troops coming to back them up, so I simply had to let them come in,
then attack them all out with all my units, including new Samurai being trained
every day.  With all my buildings available for healing (as well as having
Monks), and no serious enemy reinforcements to arrive any time soon, it was
relatively easy to kill them all with no loss of life on my side.

However, in my opinion, it would not be a good idea to fight the Emperor's
troops this way.  They are strong enough, and have sufficient Elite Samurai,
that if you let them into your Town Center area, you would take serious
damage.  Luckily, though, by the time the Emperor's troops might come to you in
the South, you are strong enough to set up a very solid defense to the East of
the bridge.

Another aspect to this is that you want to build the Mine and Mill/Farms in the
South central area to increase your unit cap.  If you stayed back and didn't
get those built, or abandoned them and the enemy attacked and destroyed them,
you would have a harder time fighting with the resultant 3 or 4 less units.
This is another reason to fight to the East of the bridge.

Hopefully you have been able to build the Mill in the central South, and
especially the Farm to the South of that Mill.  Using these two buildings as
places to heal and also as blocking squares, you can put together a very
strong defensive line.  Stack 3 Samurai (or 2 Samurai and a Cavalry on some
days) from South to North from the edge of the map toward the North.  The unit
farthest North of the 3 could be on the Farm to the South of the Mill, or one
square East or West of it.  If the Farm is part of the line, one advantage is
that you can put your Knights there and that way they can't be converted
(units can't be converted if they are standing on a building).  Put the
Welsh Bowmen two squares back from this line, so that they can attack all 3
squares in front of your line.  In between the front line and the Welsh Bowmen,
you can put your Monks to heal the front line troops.  All of your possible
front line troops have movement values that are large enough to enable them to
retreat from the front to your Town Center area to heal (as well as having the
availability of the Mill and any Farms around it).  This line works
surprisingly well, especially since you have Welsh Bowmen pounding any enemy
unit that moves to the front.  And with the existence of the Mill and Farm(s),
the enemy will never get around to flank you from the North.  You will
definitely take damage from the Emperor's superior troops, but with a new
Samurai showing up most days, the healing going on, and your Samurai's ability
to get ribbons quickly, if you make sure to always have units that can't be
one-hit-killed on your front at the end of your half of the day, you should be
able to hold the line long enough to wipe out the enemy force.

Once you have routed the enemy and can move forward, do so at top speed.
Your objectives are pretty much the same as if the enemy had stayed in the
North: destroy the Southern Town Center and build a Castle on the Southern end
of the mountain pass.

In either case

Whether the enemy decided to fight in the South or the North, you should
eventually have a Castle on the Southern end of the mountain pass, and have
destroyed the Southern Town Center.  Once the time is right (you can see when
this is by plotting out exactly how many attacks you can make and what enemy
units would be left afterward and in what position), attack Northward with
troops from your Castle area and at the same time Eastward with your original
troops around the bridge to the East of your original Town Center--yes, they
finally get to come across the bridge and attack!  With your troops coming
from both directions, if you wait until the enemy has been sufficiently
weakened, you should be able to decimate his forces in a day or two and start
to destroy his Northern Town Center.

It probably goes without saying, but once you're in control of the South, move
your Battering Rams forward to help in the destruction of the Southern Town
Center, as well as the Mill/Farms just to the East of that.  And your Battering
Rams in the North assist in the destruction of the Northern Town Center, as
well as the Mine and Mill/Farms to the North of that.

How strong is the enemy

A very important fact in this campaign is that even though the enemy outclasses
you for much of the time (the Emperor's troops are Age 4 from the beginning,
whereas you will be Age 3 for most of the time you are fighting him), the enemy
really does have limited ability to train new troops.  Sure, if you sit around
and wait until day 40 to attack, the Emperor will have quite a large force (I
am definitely recommending not doing this, of course).  But no matter how many
of the Emperor's troops you are up against, if you can get past the Emperor's
first wave of attacks, you will face limited resistance afterward.  For
example, the Emperor's forces contain 4 Elite Samurai from day 1.  These are
seriously strong units, especially against your Age 3 units.  But unless the
Emperor builds a Castle (which he definitely will do eventually, but it was
never really early enough to make a difference in my fights), he will never
train another Elite Samurai.  Get rid of the original 4, and you're done facing
Elite Samurai!  And even if the Emperor builds a Castle, my experience is that
he might only train an Elite Samurai there every 4 or 5 days, and I was almost
always in a position to attack and kill the training unit.

So the dirty secret here is that the Emperor is not at all as strong as he
looks.  This isn't surprising when you look at his resources.  Now, I don't
know how much Food and Gold the Emperor begins with, but he cannot have a very
high income.  At the start of the campaign, he starts with 1 Mine and no Mills.
He will eventually (but amazingly slowly, sometimes taking until around day 20
to finish!) build the 2 Mills, and corresponding 8 Farms, available right near
his Town Center.  If you deny him the Mine and Mill in the South central area,
he will be stuck with only these resources for the entire game!  Just 1 Mine,
2 Mills, and 8 Farms to try to fund an Age 4 army!  He would have to save up
for many days just to do one research.  Compare this to your 3-4 Mines, 
5-6 Mills, and 16-20 Farms by the time you and he begin to fight.

The Taira are different, and have more resources available (though not as many
as you...), but are the same age as you are.  They have more ability to train
new units, but those units are not as worrisome.  Also, they tend to train
units in a "safe" manner, meaning they train more units in the North than the
South, I assume because the Southern units are more under attack.  Thus, it
usually ends up being surprisingly easy to destroy the Southern Town Center.
If at the same time you started your attack in the South, the Taira
concentrated on training as many units in the South as possible, you could have
some serious problems.  Trying to hold the mountain pass against the Emperor's
troops at the same time as trying to keep the South from getting out of your
control with newly-trained enemy units could be a real challenge.  But instead,
the Taira often seem to take a defeatist view that there is no use training
troops only to have them possibly get killed while training, so they just
abandon the Southern Town Center.

Mopping up

As I wrote above, once you've eliminated the initial push of the Emperor's
forces and united your Southern and Northern forces, you're on your way to the
win.  It is just a question of mopping up what is left.

By this point, you should have a strong army of more than 20 units, most of
which have either 2 or 3 ribbons.  And your overall position is strong, with
strong troops all along your front--you have no weak points in your front.

By contrast, the enemy (the Taira *combined* with the Emperor) has probably
5-10 units (maybe up to 15 as you start your mopping up).  His troops are
spread out, probably have a surplus of Villagers, and it is likely that not
even one of his units have even 1 ribbon.

So I don't feel like I have to write much about this part of the campaign, as
it should be cakewalk.  But I'll make some general comments, in the spirit of
making this a "full" walkthrough.

Your troops that are attacking the Southern Town Center, and the Mill complex
next to that, should stay in that area and attack North toward the Emperor's
Town Center.  There might be an enemy Castle to destroy there, but this is not
hard with your Samurai and Battering Rams.  However, if the enemy wants to make
things hard for you in this area, he can often do it, as his Castle blocks
movement quite effectively.  But when push comes to shove, if you are careful
with your positioning, you will be able to continually make progress every day,
eventually destroying a possible Castle and all units sent to fight you.

Your troops that cleared out the central area of the map will need to destroy
the Taira Town Center, and all the Taira Mines and Mills in the area.  In
addition, troops should be sent across the bridge to the East to get to the
Emperor's Town Center.  Training an extra Battering Rams to be sent to the
Emperor's Town Center area is a good idea.  (This means you would have 2
Battering Rams attacking the Emperor's Town Center, and 1 Battering Rams
attacking the Taira's Northern Town Center and surrounding Mines/Mills.)

Once you converge on the Emperor's Town Center, attack everything in sight.
Use ranged units to attack enemy units on buildings, then Samurai or Battering
Rams to attack the building.

I guess I have a hard time getting very specific in this part of the
walkthrough, since you can't lose at this point.

Getting three stars

To get three stars for winning this campaign, don't forget to fulfill the
optional goals *before* destroying the Emperor's Town Center!

1) You need to build a Mine on every Gold square on the map except for one.
The one Gold square to skip is the one just to the North of the Emperor's
Town Center complex--that one is very hard to get to, so you might as well get
the other ones instead.  So don't forget to destroy every Mine, and rebuild
them with Villagers.  It is actually easy to be caught concentrating so hard
on killing the enemy that you end up being short on Villagers available to
build Mines near the end.  So try to keep track of this requirement.  Note
that you get credit for this star the day that you choose to build the final
Mine, not the next day when it is actually fully built.

2) You need to either destroy or capture every enemy Mill and Farm.  It is
unclear to me how picky the game is on this point, as the game never shows you
this star until you finish the campaign, so you're never quite sure if you've
got it until it is too late to do anything about it.  In any case, I have had
no problem with this star if, as I said, I simply make sure that I leave no
existing Mills/Farms that are owned by the Taira.  It is, of course, easier to
capture a fully-built-out Mill complex than to destroy all 5 buildings, but if
you don't have a Villagers in the area, sometimes the "destroy it all" option
is the one to go for.  The Mill nearest to the Emperor's Town Center can be a
real pain, since your mobility in the area is seriously impaired as long as all
those Farms are in existence.  So if you happen to have a Villagers in the area
on just the right day, and the Villagers aren't in danger of being killed while
building, go ahead and capture the Mill complex.  Otherwise, just destroy it
all to get it out of the way and allow you to more easily attack the Town
Center complex.

3) Killing the Emperor is actually quite easy, when the stupid guy finally
decides to run away.  I have had cases where I had to wait a number of days for
him to finally decide it was time to run.  I have yet to determine an exact
algorithm for when he decides to run, but will attempt to describe what I have
seen.  Many times, he did not run until the Wonder had been destroyed, the
Town Center had been damaged, and the way was clear for him to run from the
Town Center building directly to the East and onto the peninsula in the
Northeast.  If you have some troops blocking his escape, it seems like he will
not try to run.  And if you keep attacking the Town Center, you will eventually
destroy it, ending the campaign without the star for killing the Emperor.  It
was not rare that I had destroyed *all* buildings except the final Town Center
before he finally decided to run.  And I would attack the Town Center, but only
enough to damage it but not destroy it (use your knowledge of how much damage
you will do).  However, one time he ran when I had only slightly damaged the
Wonder, and hadn't yet damaged either the Town Center or the Stable to the
East of it.  When he runs, he seems to appear 3 squares to the East of the Town
Center, seems to attack any unit in the square to the South of that, then ends
his turn.  So he doesn't *really* run very hard, and since you are so
incredibly overpowering at this point (you should be Age 4 by now), it is
pathetically easy to kill him.  You could easily do it with just your ranged
units (maybe even with 1 single ranged unit?).  And your Samurai in the area
could probably kill him 3 times over.  (Although I will point out that the one
time he ran early, it was much harder, since I first had to destroy the
Stable to the East of the Town Center, and *then* could go get him.  And
with the Wonder still there, it would have been harder to get ranged units
into position to attack him.  It was still quite easy to kill him--2 attacks
from a Samurai--but for the only time I played this, I did not kill him the
day he appeared, instead killing him on the second day of his life.)

My results

I fought this campaign many times using the plan outlined above, to make sure
it worked well.  Here are my results, in terms of the number of days it took to
win the campaign with 3 stars, in chronological order:
  31 days

As you can see, I won this campaign faster and faster as I played it more, even
though I was using the same strategy.  I guess maybe I got more used to the
critical days when I engaged the enemy in the South, and played it more and
more solidly, knowing what the main goals were (building the Mill/Farms and
Castle near the Taira's Southern Town Center).

I also fought this campaign using the alternative strategy described in the
next section.  (Essentially, the only difference between the alternate strategy
and my "normal" strategy is sending Minamoto to the Southern army instead of
leaving him in the North.)  My results:
  30 days
Yes, my results seem to show that it is less effective to send him South,
although these results are hardly scientific proof.  I must say that it did
*feel* like it was more difficult to fight this campaign with him in the
South--see the next section for more on this.

An aside:
The last two results show how variable the AI can be.  During the 34 day
result, the AI did a number of things that were, in my experience, unusual
for this campaign:
  1) The Taira built a Mill and the 4 surrounding Farms on the Wheat square
     just to the Southeast of the bridge that is East of my 1st Town Center.
     (Usually, the AI leaves it alone, I guess with the idea it is too close
     to the bridge and therefore in danger.)
  2) The Taira built not 1 but 2 (!) Castles, both in safe locations and early
     enough that I couldn't do anything about it, then started training *many*
     (Usually, the Taira even building 1 Castle is a surprise, and that is
     usually too late to make much of a difference, *and* they don't train
     more than a few Samurai in any case.)
  3) The Taira trained *many* ranged units.
     (Usually, they train *some*, but not many.)
  4) The Emperor's forces built the Mine on the Gold square to the South and
     a bit East of the Emperor's Town Center, giving them significantly more
     income to work with, and they used that income to train many Elite
     (Usually, that Mine is always built by the Taira, leaving the Emperor
     somewhat cash-strapped, and the Emperor rarely trains more than 1 or 2
     Elite Samurai.)

The next time I played, the 28 day result, none of the above happened, and in
fact, the Taira pretty much completely abandoned their Northern Town Center
without a fight, allowing me to easily build the Mill and 4 Farms near the
bridge quite early, and to fairly easily build a Castle on the *Northern* end
of the mountain pass while the fight in the South was still raging.

Alternate strategy

I realized that it seemed wasteful to have Minamoto, my Hero, stuck standing
around the bridge in the North, while the *real* action was taking place in the
South.  Therefore, I devised an alternate strategy to the strategy described in
the rest of this FAQ.

The alternate strategy is the same as the one described in the rest of this FAQ
except that around day 10, Minamoto heads South through the
Mill/Farms/Castle/Town Center "bridge" I have built to enable relatively quick
movement between the Northern area and the Southern area.

This one single change in the strategy causes the following repercussions:

  - Since I was going to send Minamoto South, I tried to get him on the bridge
    a bit more, to gain battle experience and therefore ribbons.  After
    thinking about it more, I think this is a good idea, as we definitely need
    to make sure Minamoto is strong enough to avoid getting killed in the
    fighting in the South.  But putting Minamoto on the bridge more means that
    the other units get *less* experience early on.

  - Without Minamoto helping (and especially healing) around the bridge to the
    East of your Northern Town Center, it is *much* harder to easily hold that
    bridge.  I believe that you need 2 military units to take his place, since
    units can now only heal 20 per day instead of 35 per day, and you cannot
    simply throw Minamoto on the bridge when you get in trouble (he is pretty
    much indestructible standing on a bridge!).  So once you reach your unit
    cap, that one extra unit in the North will mean one less unit in the South.

  - Minamoto can now of course add his Hero Powers to the combat in the South.
    However, if you are using one of his Hero Powers on a given day, that means
    you are not using him in the combat.  This essentially removes one attack
    that day from your Southern army (in addition to the one attack lost due to
    needing an extra unit in the North, as mentioned above).

  - The enemy seems much more likely to attack in the South if Minamoto is
    there.  I guess maybe they are drawn toward the enemy Hero, with the idea
    that killing that one unit wins the campaign for them.  As I've mentioned
    above, it is harder to fight this campaign when the enemy comes South than
    when they stay in the North.  The three times in all the times I fought
    this that the Emperor's army came straight South from their Town Center
    area when they first started to attack were all times that Minamoto was in
    the South.

  - It is possible that you can train only 1 Monks instead of 2 when Minamoto
    is in the South, since Minamoto can help heal the units.  This would
    reinstate an extra unit in the unit cap, making up somewhat for the points
    I made just above.  On the other hand, this might end up somewhat *forcing*
    you to use Minamoto to heal units, taking away some flexibility.
    Personally, I *still* prefer to train 2 Monks.

  - If Minamoto is killed, you lose the campaign, no matter how good the rest
    of it is going.  If he is in the Northern area, there is essentially no
    chance of him being killed.  In the Southern area, it is much more likely
    (although of course with careful positioning, you should have no problem
    keeping him alive).

Overall, I think it is better to leave Minamoto in the North.  When you think
about it, the main idea of moving him South is to have your Hero in the combat
area, where theoretically he can be of great use.  But in the North, he *is* of
great use, either using his healing power every day (on sometimes 2 units) or
taking his turn on the bridge (in essence, *also* helping the other units to
heal, since they are able to stay standing on their buildings instead of coming
to the bridge).  You have essentially no worries of losing control around the
bridge with him there, but without him, things can get more iffy.

Maybe you can experiment with moving him to the South and see what you think.
I can definitely understand how boring it seems to take your Hero and have him
spend most of the campaign doing almost nothing that seems very exciting.


I believe that following this strategy guide should guarantee that any player
can earn 3 stars on the Yashima campaign.  In addition, my hope is that
following this strategy will help players learn good fundamental skills that
can be used to play better in any of the campaigns.  Good luck and have fun!