_ __ _____ _ / \ __ _ ___ ___ / _| | ____|_ __ ___ _ __ (_)_ __ ___ ___ _ / _ \ / _` |/ _ \ / _ \| |_ | _| | '_ ` _ \| '_ \| | '__/ _ \/ __(_) / ___ \ (_| | __/ | (_) | _| | |___| | | | | | |_) | | | | __/\__ \_ /_/ \_\__, |\___| \___/|_| |_____|_| |_| |_| .__/|_|_| \___||___(_) |___/ |_| _ __ _ ___ / \ __ _ ___ ___ / _| | |/ (_)_ __ __ _ ___ / _ \ / _` |/ _ \ / _ \| |_ | ' /| | '_ \ / _` / __| / ___ \ (_| | __/ | (_) | _| | . \| | | | | (_| \__ \ /_/ \_\__, |\___| \___/|_| |_|\_\_|_| |_|\__, |___/ |___/ |___/ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ \ ( N | i | n | t | e | n | d | o ) ( D | S ) / \--- \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ \_/ ---/ \---- ----/ \---- ----/ \-------------------------------------------/ Age of Empires: Age of Kings For Nintendo DS Strategy Guide/Walkthrough by iloveaoe Version 1.1 12/30/11 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. -------- Contents -------- - 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 ------- Preface ------- 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 ------------ Introduction ------------ 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. NOTE: *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 Rams. 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.) -------- Overview -------- 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 time). - 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 versa) 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 battle. 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 experience: 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 South. 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 battles. 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 yet. So in conclusion, by the end of day 11, my army was often Minamoto 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 -------- 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. I: - 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: Minamoto 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. -------- Movement 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? Oops!" 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. ------ Damage 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 easy. 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 not! - 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 Swamps. 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 31 30 30 28 27 27 26 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 32 34 28 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* Samurai. (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 Samurai. (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. ---------- Conclusion ---------- 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!