--------------------------------------------------------------
Age of Empires II: Age of Kings Strategy Guide by Alasdair Lo
System: PC, CD-ROM
Date: 25 August, 2005
Version 1.4
--------------------------------------------------------------
Table of Contents
1. Introduction [AOK1]
3. Getting Started [AOK3]
---a. Setting Up a Game [AOK3A]
---b. Building and the Economy [AOK3B]
---c. Simple Military Tactics [AOK3C]
4. All of the Construction Options [AOK4]
---a. Buildings [AOK4A]
---b. Units [AOK4B]
---c. Technologies [AOK4C]
5. The History [AOK5]
6. Strategies for the Civilizations [AOK6]
---a. Celts [AOK6A]
---b. Britons [AOK6B]
---c. Franks [AOK6C]
---d. Teutons [AOK6D]
---e. Goths [AOK6E]
---f. Vikings [AOK6F]
---g. Saracens [AOK6G]
---h. Turks [AOK6H]
---i. Byzantines [AOK6I]
---j. Persians [AOK6J]
---k. Mongols [AOK6K]
---l. Chinese [AOK6L]
---m. Japanese [AOK6M]
7. Single Player Missions [AOK7]
---a. Frankish Campaign: Joan of Arc [AOK7A]
---b. Saracen Campaign: Saladin [AOK7B]
9. Conclusion [AOK9]
Appendix I. Feedback Information [A1]

-----------------------
1. Introduction [AOK1]
-----------------------
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings is the second Real Time Strategy Game 
which is jointly developed by Ensemble Studios and Microsoft Game Studios. 
The first Age of Empires game used to be based in Ancient times, in the 
Roman Empire. Now, this episode of the successful RTS series takes you 
to the Middle Ages. From the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the 
early Modern Times, that is, since Christopher Columbus' discovery of 
America, in 1492. The Imperial Age is obvious to this. 

This game is not just a normal Real Time Strategy. It is also jam packed 
with a practical history lesson, since the single player missions are all 
based on famous historical characters of some of the civilizations. There 
are also many historical documentations giving the general history of the 
world between 500AD and 1600AD. There are a total of 13 civilizations to 
choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Since they are 
civilizations, they require many different types of goods to sustain the 
growth. The success of the army is vital to the availability of all of 
them. There is really no perfect unit in this game. All the good units 
are very expensive. OK, let's get started on this game, shall we?

-----------------
2. Updates [AOK2]
-----------------
Version 1.4:
Added the Saladin Campaign Missions 3 and 4.

Version 1.3:
Added the Saladin Campaign Missions 1 and 2.

Version 1.2:
Completed the Joan of Arc Campaign.

Version 1.1:
Added the Joan of Arc Campaign Missions 1 to 3.

--------------------------
3. Getting Started [AOK3]
--------------------------
This section is where you will learn the basics of playing Age of Empires 
II: The Age of Kings. Before you play this game, you must install it into 
your computer. Make sure that it meets the minimal system requirements! 
(Although most computers nowadays will be having processors over 2 Ghz 
fast! So you don't even need to worry to play this game from the year 2000.) 
Once you have installed the game, restart your computer and then double 
click the Age of Empires II icon on your desktop and the game will start.

-----------------------------
a. Setting Up a Game [AOK3A]
-----------------------------
Age of Empires II features a lot of different game modes. From the Main 
Menu, choose Single Player to play single player games. You can also play 
multiplayer games by joining MSN Gaming Zone. There are lots of modes for 
you to try. They include campaign mode, random map mode and many more.

Campaign Game:
In a Campaign game, you choose a campaign from a total of 4 with an extra 
training campaign. You will start at mission 1 from each of the 4 campaigns 
chosen. You must beat the mission you are given before you are allowed 
to advance to the next one. There are a total of 6 missions for each of 
the 4 campaigns. The campaigns follow the lives of great people in the 
Middle Ages. Firstly, you get to alongside Joan of Arc, a female warrior 
who liberates France from the clutches of the Britons in the 100 years 
war. You also get to fight with Saladin, a Saracen king who wants to drive 
out the Crusaders from the Holy Land. There is also Genghis Khan, the great 
Mongol Chief who extends his empire from the Mongol steppes to Central 
Europe. Finally, we have Frederick Barbarossa, a fiery redhead who wants 
to reunite all German kingdoms to reform the Holy Roman Empire.

Random Map Game:
This game mode is available in both Single Player and Multiplayer. You 
get to fight against computer or human controlled opponents (online or 
LAN) on any map you choose. The starting points should vary a lot each 
time. You get to set the starting age, the civilization, population limit 
and other factors. Or you can just simply choose everything to be random 
and fight with anything you are given. This has got to be the most commonly 
played game mode when multiplayer is concerned.

Regicide:
In a Regicide game, each side in the battle is given a King. The King has 
little health, and cannot defend himself. It is up to his subjects to defend 
his Highness. If your King is killed, you will be automatically defeated. 
Each side is given a Castle, so getting the King inside that castle is 
the first thing you should ever do. Several Villagers are provided for 
your use in the start so you can build up defences and your own army to 
fight against any intruders and kill their King.

Deathmatch:
This is the ultimate multiplayer experience of all. Each side starts with 
a lot of resources, and they are all upgrades to the max at the final 
Imperial Age (There are 4 ages that determine the technology and troop 
quality, but I will come to that later). This is just a match of brute 
force, since it seems to be a real no-brain. If every technology is already 
researched for you, you are to build up the strongest of forces in a flash 
and fight. This really is not my kind of game. But for lazy people, go 
ahead and use ultimate brute force approach.

-----------------------------------
b. Building and the Economy [AOK3B]
-----------------------------------
Before you set off to conquer all, you must have people to build up your 
buildings and the resources to fund your large army. This is where the 
building and economy section comes in.

The 4 Different Types of Resources:
Most RTS games will just give your resources in terms of dollars, but not 
in Age of Empires II. We have Wood, Food, Gold and Stone to collect. Wood 
is primarily used to build basic buildings and Siege Weapons. It can be 
collected by chopping wood and taking the wood to the Lumber Camps. Food 
is used to train infantry. Food can be obtained by various ways. By farming, 
foraging, herding sheep, fishing and hunting. Farming and Fish Traps are 
the most sustainable sources of food. All others can run out. Gold is 
probably the most important resource. To train the stronger troops like 
Champions, Knights and Camels, to research technology and to advance 
through ages, you will need to use Gold. Gold can also be used to purchase 
the other 3 commodities in the market. To get Gold, you have to find Gold 
Mines and take any findings to Mining Camps. Trading with your allies with 
the market and Trade Cogs are also a good way to raise Gold. Finally, Stone 
is used to build certain strong defensive buildings like the Walls, Towers 
and Castles. This is why Stone is also very important. Stone is the most 
expensive commodity in the Market, and the only other way to get Stone 
is to mine them from Stone Mines (400 Stone for each lump of rock), and 
returning the findings to the Mining Camps.

Villagers and their Roles:
Villagers come in male and female in Age of Empires II. They cover a wide 
variety of tasks, and their duty replaces their normal title whenever they 
are up to something. First of all, Builders are Villagers who are 
responsible in building various buildings. Farmers plough on the fields 
and harvest the food, taking them to the Mill for storage. Fishermen will 
catch fish using simple nets along the shorelines. To catch fish in the 
middle of the water, you will need to use Fishing Boats. Foragers collect 
fruits and berries from any bushes they find. They also take the food to 
the Mill. Hunters are there to kill wild deer and boars. Shepherds herd 
Sheep from the wild back to the Mills, where they use their hooked sticks 
to kill the Sheep and collect any tasty mutton they find to the Mills. 
Repairers are Villagers assigned to fix buildings and Siege Weapons. 
Lumberjacks chop wood and carry them back to the Lumber Camps. Gold Miners 
and Stone Miners work on the Gold Mines and Stone Mines found on the map, 
and take their loot back to the Mining Camps.

Harvesting Food:
Food is one abundant resource in Age of Empires II. There are just too 
many ways to collect food. They include the Berry Bushes, the wild animals 
(Deers and Wild Boars), Fishing (Both on Shore and in the middle of the 
water), Herding Sheep and Farming (On land and in water). Only the latter 
is renewable. Whenever a Farm or Fish Trap runs out of food, it will go 
dead, and you will have to order the Villager or Fishing Boat to start 
a new one. It costs a little wood to start Farms, and you can have basically 
an unlimited food supply, since wood is extremely abundant.

Whenever you see wild animals, you can order Villagers to kill them for 
food. The animal MUST be killed by the villager if the food is to be 
collected. Otherwise, it will just die. Deer have 5 HP while Boars have 
over 30. The latter also can fight back when you attack them, so you may 
have to use several Villagers to hunt Wild Boar, or you will suffer 
casualties. Sheep are much more docile and will come to your side when 
your Villagers come near them. Never allow Sheep to run alone in the field. 
This is because an enemy can walk over to the Sheep and take control of 
them, thus losing them. Collection of Food will only begin when the animal 
is dead. To make the game realistic, the dead bodies are made to rot. You 
will notice that whenever an animal is killed, the food counter will drop 
even if no villagers are touching it. This shows that the food is rotting. 
To make the most out of your game, have several Villagers collect food 
from the dead animals, and make sure the Sheep are right next to the Mill 
before you whack them to death with that hooked stick.

All About Mining:
Both Gold and Stone can be mined. Whenever you see a lump of mud sticking 
out of the ground with some yellow spots on it, you have found a Gold deposit. 
Each tile of Gold Mine holds 850 Gold. At the same time, if you happen 
to find a bunch of small grey rocks on the ground, you have found a Stone 
Deposit. In any case, it's time to defend the area and build a Mining Camp 
to start getting these mineral resources out. It is important to guard 
Gold and Stone deposits carefully, since they are all very limited 
resources. This is why Mining Camps are likely to be attacked by the enemy, 
and you had better train several Villagers to collect the stuff from the 
ground as quickly as possible.

Building and Repairing:
Villagers are the construction units of your civilization. To build a 
structure, click on a Villager, and select build building. Select the 
building you would like to build, and move the mouse over the land you 
want the building to be placed. Click one more time and the land will be 
plotted for construction, and your villager will go over to the site to 
start putting up the building. Each building takes some time to set up. 
The more villager you use on a building, the faster it is finished. While 
you are building the structure, you can cancel it by placing the stop button. 
Note that only the unused parts of your resources are refunded to you. 
For example, if a building costs 50 Wood to build and you cancel it when 
it is 50% complete, you will be refunded 25 Wood.

Whenever a Building, Siege Weapon or a Ship gets pretty banged up, you 
can send Villagers to repair it. Just select a Villager and right click 
the damaged Building or Unit to start repairs. The Villager will fix it 
with any spare materials he has. A small portion of the resources required 
to build that unit will be used. Of course, the more damaged it is, the 
more it costs to repair it to full strength. The sad thing is that even 
Gold may have to be used when you have to fix Siege Weapons and other 
battleships. In order for ships to be repaired, they must be parked close 
to the shorelines so that the Villagers can reach it.

Supporting a Population:
In Age of Empires II, there is a limiting factor that prevents the player 
from building too many units in order to outnumber the enemy. That is the 
Population limit. The Population Limit is the upper limit of units that 
you can build. It can be set in the start of any battles. For example, 
if the limit is set to 100, then all sides cannot build more than 100 units 
in total. At the same time, the units currently in the field must have 
some where to take shelter and rest. Therefore, you will need to build 
houses to support a population. Each house holds 5 people, same goes for 
the Town Centre. You can also support populations by building Castle, and 
each Castle supports 20 people. Since there is an upper limit in the amount 
of units you train, you must train your men and Villagers carefully so 
there will be enough of different people with different roles.

Training Units for Battle:
To beat the enemy, you must first recruit an army and some civilians to 
help you with construction and so on. There are so many types of units 
in this game and they are to be trained in different buildings. The Town 
Centre is used to recruit Villagers for the cause. The Barracks is to train 
Infantry Units, namely the swordsmen and spearmen. The Archery Range is 
to train Archery units, that is, units that fights using projectiles. They 
are the Archers, Skirmishers, Calvary Archers and Hand Cannoneers. The 
Stable is to train mounted units (Units on horseback). They include the 
Scout Calvary, Knights and Camels. The Market is used to trade with other 
teams using Trade Carts. The Monastery is where religious people stay and 
meditate and so on. It is also where Monks study and are sent out to convert 
the masses. The Dock is where you build ships, whether they are Fishing 
Boats, Trade Cogs or just the pure Battleships. The Siege Workshop is where 
the Siege Units are built. There are 4 different types of units, the 
Battering Rams, Mangonels (Some giant rock catapult), Scorpions (Giant 
mobile bow and arrow) and Bombard Cannons. And finally, the Castle is where 
the unique unit of each civilization is trained. Later, you will get to 
build Trebuchets, a very powerful siege unit.

Techniques in Training Units:
It is possible for you to train multiple units in battle. To train multiple 
units, select the building from which you want the unit to be trained, 
and click the button representing the unit you want several times. The 
specified quantity of units will appear in the queue. You can also queue 
up different units this way.

Another feature of buildings is the Rally Point. You click a building with 
production capabilities and then right click a position on the map to set 
up the Rally Point there. Rally points are really the Assembly Point. Any 
units trained from that building will go over to the Rally Point to assemble. 
A use for this is to have all your troops ready in the field for battle 
the moment they have completed their training. It is also possible to set 
the Rally Point on the selected building itself. If you do that, the units 
trained from that building will be garrisoned inside the building. You 
then click the unit garrisoned inside to make him get out and fight. Note 
that units sent out cannot be regarrisoned in the building unless the 
building in question is a Castle or Town Hall.

Advancing Through the Ages:
Age of Empires takes you through a millennium, from AD 500 to AD 1550. 
As time passes, technology will be more and more complex. When you jump 
from one age to the next, the technological prowess experiences a great 
leap. Usually, more units will be available, so are more important upgrades 
to your troops. Advancing to a newer age takes resources. You must collect 
enough food and gold, and have built 2 structures of the current age before 
you can upgrade. There are in total 4 ages. They are the Dark Age, the 
Feudal Age, the Castle Age and the Imperial Age. Here are some introductions 
to the 4 ages (taken from the manual).

Dark Age
"Following the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth 
century, Western Europe plunged into an extended period of barbarity, 
lawlessness, and economic retreat that has come to be known as the Dark 
Age. The infrastructure of the Romans, including public works, courts, 
law enforcement, education, written records, coinage, and trade, largely 
disappeared. Germanic invaders from north of the Rhine and Danube Rivers 
substituted a tribal political structure based on loyalty to local strong 
warriors. A gradual recovery was fostered by three main influences: 
exceptional leaders who stabilized large areas, the Christian Church 
(operating from Rome and Ireland), which preserved and spread a modicum 
of learning, and revitalized economies based on agriculture (especially 
the wool and cloth trade)."

The Dark Age is when the Western Roman Empire has been destroyed by 
barbarian invasions of Rome in AD 478. At that time, everything became 
very disturbing and unstable in Europe, and there really are no well defined 
countries. Basically, there are very few historical records, and hence 
we are all left in the dark. Several barbarian kingdoms start to grow, 
and when state boundaries are redefined again, civilization began to begin 
again, making it bright again for all of us.

Feudal Age
"The Frankish Empire assembled by Charlemagne (or Charles Martel) in the 
ninth century can be considered the end of the Dark Age in Europe and the 
beginning of the Feudal Age. Barbarian tribal groups that overran much 
of Western Europe were giving way to better organized regional powers. 
The church in Rome was providing a unifying social fabric. Charlemagne 
attempted to revive learning and encouraged a new interest in the arts. 
His empire fractured after his death, however, and new waves of barbarians 
undid much of his work. Political and economic power shifted away from 
kings to local lords who ruled within a shifting hierarchy of vassalage. 
The common people worked the land to support the hierarchy of nobles and 
churchmen above them."

The Feudal System works like this: The King is answered by the lords of 
the land, who are answered by the lesser lords and then by the peasants. 
In return of protection by the King, the peasants are to obey their lords 
and farm in their lands and work hard for them. It really is a long chain 
of command. If I remembered correctly, the Empire of Charlemagne flourished 
in AD 768. So that should be the starting point of the Feudal Age. (Note 
that the Feudal Age in China is way back in the BC in the Western Zhou 
dynasty! People there are already obeying the Tang Emperor unconditionally 
at the same time. Hee hee... I smell inconsistency)

Castle Age
"Castles began appearing across the landscape of Europe in the ninth 
century as local lords sought to solidify their power. Castles protected 
them from neighbors and provided a safe haven from which mounted warriors 
could ride out and control the nearby country. Typical of the Castle Age 
was the conquest of Wales by Edward I of England. By placing a series of 
massive castles at strategic points throughout Wales, Edward accomplished 
his conquest with a minimum of fighting. The castles were impregnable to 
the scattered warriors of Wales. English soldiers inside could ride out 
at their leisure and control the conduct of trade, gathering of crops, 
and collection of taxes. The Castle Age witnessed a rise in population, 
economic growth, increased trade, the Crusades to the Holy Land, a new 
interest in the arts, the rise of knights, and the formation of great 
kingdoms."

Finally, the defining factor of the Middle Ages has arrived. It's the castle. 
Castles are very large stone fortresses that are used for a large variety 
of purposes like being the regional leader's residence, the local 
government house, the local supply warehouse and the local prison. Since 
Castles handle a wide variety of responsibilities, it is important for 
the lord to maintain control of his castle. Otherwise, if the castle is 
lost, all the land around it will also be lost!

Imperial Age
"The rise of great kings and their quest for empire brought about the final 
segment of the Middle Ages that can be called the Imperial Age. The feudal 
system was being replaced by kings at the head of nations in England, France, 
Spain, and Scandinavia. Trade was booming and cities were growing in size 
and power. The Renaissance was underway in Italy and spreading across 
Europe. Technology and learning surpassed that of the ancient world. 
Firearms and other innovations brought an end to the military dominance 
of knights and castles. This end of the Middle Ages can be marked by several 
important events, including the Turkish capture of Constantinople, the 
discovery of the New World, trading contact by sea with Asia, and Martin 
Luther's Reformation."

This is when things get complicated. People are starting to fancy the old 
Roman culture and the Renaissance has begun. Many new inventions and 
paintings were made at this point. People began to become open minded to 
the society and the power of the Church is weakening. This is the 
Enlightenment. It led to the splitting of the church into the Catholic 
and Protestant Churches. This Age is also when Christopher Columbus 
discovered America, and started the Spanish conquest there. The Byzantine 
Empire finally fell after more than a millennium to the Turks. The world 
is never going to be the same again! It's the start of the Modern Age.

Upgrading and Research:
When you advance to a new age, many units can be upgraded to a stronger 
version. Just click the button for the upgrade and all of that particular 
units will be replaced with the newer version. Of course, it takes time 
and resources to upgrade. Researching new technologies can also improve 
the abilities of the units you have on the field. Depending on what units 
are affected, different research will require different types of resources. 
For example, if you are researching a new armor for your units, you must 
have sufficient food and gold. If you need building upgrades, you may need 
wood and stone to carry them out. Most Armor and Weapon upgrades are found 
in the Blacksmith, and other general building upgrades are found in the 
University. Ship related upgrades are found in the Dock, and Monk related 
upgrades are to be researched in the Monastery. To improve the Villagers' 
abilities in collecting resources, simply upgrade from the Mill, Lumber 
Camp or Mining Camp, depending on what type of upgrade you need.

Trading and Tribute:
As you can see, Gold is a very valuable resource that you can never get 
enough of. However, Gold stocks are very limited in this game, and you 
will easily exhaust Gold deposits. So how do you solve the problem and 
continue to earn more gold? Simple. It's to trade. If you have a Market 
set up, you can build Trade Carts to travel to other team's markets to 
carry Gold back. The further their Market to yours, the more Gold you can 
acquire. Trading is definitely important when you are playing with allies. 
Also, if there are 3 players or more, and they are not allied with each 
other, you should leave your opponent's Market intact while you defeat 
hi. After that, change stance with him to Ally. You can then trade with 
this dead Markey to earn lots of cash. Also, Trade Carts are vulnerable 
to attack. So, make sure you station Guard Towers or units to guard the 
Trade Route to ensure that you can gain money. The same goes for the seaways 
for your Trade Cogs. (Sea trading is possible.)

When playing with an ally, you may want to pay tribute to him when he has 
problems with a resource or two. For instance, if he is lacking Food and 
you have surplus, consider paying tribute to him to help him with his 
supplies. At first, paying tributes requires you to pay a transaction fee. 
But with certain upgrades in the Market, you can pay tribute for nothing 
at all. This can be achieved in the Castle Age. But still, it's unlikely 
your opponent will become desperate until it's time for the Castle Age.

Buying Commodities from the Market:
The Market is also a place where you buy and sell goods. You get to buy 
and sell Wood, Food and Stone in units of 100. The value of a good when 
sold is always less than your buying price. The laws of economics govern 
the values of goods. The higher the demand, the higher the price. The higher 
the supply, the lower the price. For instance, if you continuously sell 
Wood, the value of Wood in the market will drop, and if you continuously 
buy Stone, the value of Stone in the Market to rise. To lower the prices 
of goods by 15%, consider researching Guilds during the Imperial Age.

----------------------------------
c. Simple Military Tactics [AOK3C]
----------------------------------
Looking Around:
Like many RTS games, Age of Empires II requires you to select units by 
clicking them or pulling out a box to selecting a group. Afterwards, you 
move your mouse over to the desired location and right click there for 
the unit to move. Each unit has its own sight range. This is the distance 
they can see things. If a certain part of the map has no one there, then 
it will be shadowed out in a fog of war. This means that you can order 
your units to go there, but you won't know what enemy units will be there. 
It is possible to see what your ally sees by researching Cartography from 
the Market. There is also a way to see what your enemy sees. It's by 
researching Spies in the Castle during the Imperial Age. However, that 
is extremely expensive and not worth it.

Different Features of the Terrain:
The battlefield is often vast, and your troops will be required to cross 
through many rough places to get to the enemies' base. All the maps will 
be either featuring a temperate climate with sufficient grass, a desert 
landscape with lots of sand and oases as well as winter landscape with 
all the snow. Of course, all of them are forms of land, and any type of 
unit can pass through. Besides, land, there are bodies of water everywhere. 
Now, in Age of Empires II, land based troops cannot swim at all. To cross 
through bodies of water, those units must be sent into Transport Ships 
for transportation. If you see green vegetation on certain parts of the 
water, then fine. Those are the shallow parts of the water. All units can 
wade or sail through them. Of course, naval units can sail through any 
body of water, and cannot sail on land. (No Hovercrafts yet, mate.) 

At the same time, there are cliffs and ridges. These are completely 
impassable to any unit. However, if you get the higher ground, then you 
can have the advantage. This is because all ballistic units get attack 
bonuses when they are firing at units at the bottom of the cliffs. Therefore 
they will suffer more, and probably cannot fire back as easily.

Grouping Units into Teams:
You may want to separate your attacking force into several teams so that 
they answer separately to your orders. To do so, just select all the units 
you want to be part of that team, and press a number from 1 to 0 on the 
Keyboard while holding the Ctrl key. The mentioned number will appear 
beneath the unit when selected. Then to select that group of unit, all 
you have to do is to key in the designated number for that group of units 
to be selected. A tactic would be to assign all infantrymen to number 1, 
archers to number 2, cavalry to team number 3. Then the 3 different types 
of fighters can move independently and flexibly, and won't be hindered 
by some clumsy formations.

It is also possible to add units to an existing team. So if team 1 is set, 
and you want more of your fighters to join up, you can simply select those 
units, and press the number corresponding to the team you want to add the 
units to while holding down the Shift key. This is one feature of the game 
that is not found in Command and Conquer. So you don't have to reset the 
team numbers again. Thanks, Microsoft.

The Use of Waypoints:
When you order units to move around on the map, they usually will try to 
move to the area while travelling through the shortest distance possible. 
This is usually not a bad thing. But what if there is a large group of 
enemies in the way, or you run into a Castle or a series of enemy defences? 
You will definitely be slaughtered before you knows what happened. You 
can always manually customize the path chosen by the units by clicking 
on each point on the map as they travel around, but this wastes precious 
time and is definitely annoying. So what do you do?

The answer is simple. Waypoints. It's just like the Rainbow Six series. 
You set a group of predefined points on the map, and the units will follow 
through the points automatically. It is quite easy to set up waypoints. 
First, you select the units you want to move. Then you hold down the Shift 
key, and scroll around the map, right clicking to set up all the way points 
you can go until you reach the destination. Once the final waypoint is 
set up, just right click that point one more time, and all of those units 
will move according to those waypoints, and you can forget about them as 
they travel for the time being.

Warning! You are under attack!
You will attack your enemies, and your enemies can attack you. When your 
units are attacked by enemies, you will be notified by a special tone on 
the speaker, and the "You are under attack!" message will appear on the 
left of the screen. The sound you hear is dependent on which types of units 
are under attack. If you engage in a battle with your enemy's soldiers, 
you will hear the sound of a battle horn. If you hear the sound of bells, 
then you must act quickly since your Villagers are likely to be under attack. 
It's time to hide the women and children!

Garrisoning Units:
It is possible to garrison units inside buildings in order to surprise 
the enemy as they come out. Sometimes, it is to enhance the attack power 
of certain buildings, notably the towers and castle. When a building is 
garrisoned, a flag appears on its roof. However, only you and your allies 
can see the flags. Allied units can also be garrisoned in buildings. However, 
if you suddenly declare them as your enemies, then they will be kicked 
out. When a unit is garrisoned in a Guard Tower or Castle, they will slowly 
regenerate health. Many buildings can be garrisoned, although only Guard 
Towers, Town Centres and Castles can be entered and exited all the time.

Barracks can garrison 10 infantrymen, Archery Ranges can garrison 10 
Archers, Stables can garrison 10 Cavalry units, Siege Workshops can 
garrison 10 siege weapons, Docks can garrison 10 ships, Monasteries can 
hide 10 monks inside. So, they are all going in units of 10. Towers garrison 
5 infantrymen or archers. Castles can garrison up to 20 of any units but 
Siege Weapons. Note that any units garrisoned inside the former production 
structures cannot attack from inside that building, and to hide them there, 
you must set the rally point on that production building.

As you garrison Archers inside towers and castles, you will notice that 
there is a number in brackets added next to the base attack power of that 
structure. This number in brackets is the Multiplier of the attack. Since 
more arrows are fired from the tower, the damage will also be multiplied. 
For instance, if a tower has attack 6(4), it means that the total attack 
is 6 times 4, a total of 24.

The Usage of Relics:
In the Middle Ages, people are so influenced by the Church that they would 
like to visit them and get blessed with some imaginary holy power and 
whatsoever. The same applies to Age of Empires II. When a Relic is 
garrisoned inside a Monastery, people around the known world will be so 
astounded that they will pay you gold in small amounts time after time. 
That's it, a method of collecting unlimited Gold! If you find a Relic, 
better hurry up and go get it! Please note that the average infantryman 
is not able to perform such delicate tasks. So you must send a Monk over 
to pick it up. (Just select the Monk and right click on the Relic.) Then 
ask him to place the Relic into the Monastery, and the Relic will be placed 
inside, allowing you to earn Gold slowly but surely.

Relics are not just simple cash cows. (Although the Church really cashed 
in by those foolish mortals those days!) If you manage to find all the 
Relics on the map and place them in one of your Monasteries, a countdown 
timer using years as units will appear. Now, you can start play a defensive 
game. If the timer runs out and you still have the Relics inside, you will 
automatically win. (This occurs only if you allow Relic Victories.)

Converting Enemy Units and their Buildings:
Every RTS must have a unit that is responsible for taking control of the 
enemies' things and placing them to your side. No, there are no Engineers 
or Capture Building abilities as in Command and Conquer. However, remember 
that a lot of people in the Middle Ages are motivated by their faith in 
their leader or their religion. So, all you need is a little persuasion 
to make the enemy come over to you. Such is the role of the Monks in Age 
of Empires II: the Age of Kings.

Monks are to convert enemies. To convert enemies, select a Monk and then 
right click the enemy you want to convert. The Monk will walk in range 
of the enemy, and wave his magic staff or whatsoever and there will be 
some funny tenor or base church singer oooing at the enemy. It will take 
sometime for the enemy to be brainwashed, and if your Monk doesn't get 
killed, the enemy will come to your side just in time. Whew. This is a 
risky exercise. Once a Monk has completed his little ritual of sorts, you 
will find a certain gauge on the status bar at the bottom of the screen. 
It slowly goes up from 0 to 100 percent. This is the faith of the Monk. 
He has to rest for a short time before he can convert again.

It is possible for all Monks to convert enemies that have brains, that 
is infantrymen, archers, cavalry. However, to convert units with no brains 
(like buildings and siege units) or units with as much brains as you (other 
Monks), you will need to research certain technologies in the Monastery 
such as Redemption. To convert Siege Units or buildings, the Monk must 
stand right next to the enemy item the whole time, so if the enemy will 
keep his Siege Weapon on the move, then tough luck. Buildings definitely 
will be much easier that way. Note that any units or buildings converted 
to your side, they maintain any stats they have, and cannot be upgraded.

Healing your units:
As in all RTS, there must be a unit that can give your units health refills. 
It's never any fun to lost HP and find it to be permanent right? This is 
why there are always medics available. However, in the Middle Ages, there 
are no such things. It is only after the Renaissance that the doctors became 
real doctors again. But before then, it is often dependent on the person's 
willingness to fight against their disease, God's will or simply their 
faith that whether they will live or die.

Did someone say faith? That's right. Monks can also heal your own units 
back to full health. Just move your injured units to the Monk and he will 
start waving the magic staff and you will find your unit's health filling 
up again. The Monks heal very slowly, and cannot heal themselves, so you 
are recommended to have at least 2 Monks to be self-sustaining. It also 
seems that Monks can heal units garrisoned inside buildings if they are 
close enough. Try it out and see for yourself.

Movement Tactics:
When a unit is on the move, he can be asked to patrol, guard or follow 
the enemy. When you ask a unit to patrol, he protects an area that you 
assign him to. He will attack any enemies that come into range, but he 
will not follow them non-stop once they leave his area. It's like a loyal 
guard dog. To order a unit to patrol around an area. First order him to 
move to a spot inside the area you want to patrol. Then click the patrol 
button on the command bar at the bottom of the screen. Right click the 
area you want to patrol the other extreme of the unit's patrol path. The 
unit will then move back and forth between the point he is initially on 
and the point you designate just now. Way points also work with patrols. 
You can hold down shift and designate few points for the unit to move.

If you are annoyed that your enemy is always hacking down on your economic 
units, notably the Villager or Trade Carts, you can send units to guard 
them. To guard, simply the select the unit you want to use, and click the 
guard button in the bottom bar. Then right click the unit you want him 
to guard. Then, the unit will follow the target so that it is always within 
his line of sight. This helps in stopping any ambushes.

You can also order your units to follow an enemy unit. To do so, click 
the unit, and then the Follow button. Then right click the enemy unit you 
want him to follow. This way, your unit will always stay within a certain 
distance from that enemy to ensure that he is always in his line of sight. 
Scout Cavalry units are most useful for this, and if you are lucky, you 
may be able to find your enemies' camps.

Combat Stances:
In Age of Empires II, you can assign your units to different stances. This 
is their attitude towards the other troops. The default stance is the Attack 
Stance. The unit will move to attack any enemies that come into their sight, 
and they will continue to follow the enemy until he is destroyed. There 
is no limit to the distance travelled, so you will find an unattended unit 
moving a long way across the map under Attack Stance. If you set a unit 
into the Defensive Stance, he is in Defensive mode. He will stay in one 
area and only attack enemies that come within his line of sight. This is 
just like guard mode, only that the unit is not guarding anything. Use 
this if you want to leave a group of units unattended for a short time. 
When ranged units are ordered to Stand Ground, they stay in one position 
and attack enemies only if they come into their range. This stance is 
recommended by Archers and other ranged units. If you set your units to 
No Attack Stance, they will not attack at all, even if they are being 
attacked by enemy units.

Formations:
Whenever there are more than one units ordered to move around together, 
they will be arranged in formations. The strongest units are always placed 
closest to the enemy, while ranged units and Siege Weapons are placed at 
the back. There are 4 different types of Formations. Line Formation is 
the default formation. Units are placed in a line and are packed together 
tightly. This formation is what you see in those movies of the ancient 
times like Alexander. If you have a group of infantrymen and archers only, 
you should consider this since the archers can fire from the back. 

Box Formation is recommended if you have vulnerable units like Monks and 
Siege Weapons. Stronger units like the cavalry will surround the weak units 
in a box in an attempt to protect them from attackers. When units are 
arranged in a Staggered Formation, they are arranged in lines, but they 
are a little bit scattered. This helps minimize damage from siege weapons, 
in particular the Magonel when they are packed together in a Line Formation. 
Finally, there is the Flank Formation. Your units will separate into 2 
discrete groups that attempt to charge from 2 sides and surround the enemy 
while attacking. Only use this if you have a cavalry based force.

-----------------------------------------
4. All of the Construction Options [AOK4]
-----------------------------------------
In Age of Empires II, you get a wide variety of things to build, train 
and research. Each civilization can train different things to make them 
different from each other. Of course, every side has its own unique unit. 
Here are all of the things you can build in the game.

--------------------
a. Buildings [AOK4A]
--------------------
Town Center
"All villages and towns had an administrative center that was the seat 
of governmental power and leadership. During the Dark Ages this might have 
been the local leader's home. Later it might have been the town hall or 
local lord's manor house. The town center was often the place where 
important supplies were stored, especially food surpluses. The 
destruction of the town center usually meant the loss of the town's 
governmental infrastructure. If this could not be restored, the town or 
village ceased to function."

The Town Center is like the Construction Yards and Command Centers of other 
RTS games. It's like the heart of your operations. Why? It's because that 
it is used to recruit villagers, deposit all the 4 resources at the 
beginning of the game, to advance through the ages, to research technology 
that enhances your production units, that is your villagers and increases 
your buildings' line of sight. Each side must start with a Town Center 
in the beginning of a game, and more Town Centers can be built around the 
map so that you can build extra bases from Castle Age then on. (So if you 
lose your Town Center during the Feudal Age, you will be in serious trouble! 
But don't worry, it's basically impossible for it to be destroyed then, 
given the weak units available.)

The Town Center also features an alarm bell. Ringing it during an enemy 
attack will cause all the Villagers to take shelter inside the Town Center 
to fire at the enemies. There is a button made especially for that on the 
Town Center. Town Centers also are the Villagers' quarters. Each Town 
Center supports 5 units of population, much like houses. Up to 15 human 
units can be garrisoned inside the Town Center to heal or support its fire. 
As long as one villager or archer is garrisoned inside the Town Center, 
it can fire arrows at the enemy. It's like a mini-castle. Of course, the 
more archers garrisoned inside, the stronger is its attacking power. Like 
the Towers, Town Centers can have their attack power and range upgraded 
by Fletching, Bodkin Arrow and Bracer in the Blacksmith.

House
"During the Middle Ages in Europe, peasants often kept farm animals in 
a separate room or on the ground floor of their houses. Merchants and 
craftsmen also used ground floors as a place of business with living areas 
above. Lords lived in larger manor houses with kitchens separated to reduce 
the risk of fire. The homes of lords in the Dark Ages were fortified before 
the advent of castles."

Houses are where your Villagers and soldiers live outside of battle. (I 
am a bit surprised by this revelation. If you are supposed to be fast and 
always on the move, why build places of permanent residence?) They are 
very important in production, since the more you have built, the more 
population you can support. Each house supports 5 units of population for 
the price of 50 Wood. (Man, must be a very crowded house!) 

Whenever you are attacking an enemy, you should always target the Houses 
as well as his production facilities, since the smaller the population 
he can support, the fewer the units he can train to fight back at you. 
Houses are very vulnerable to attack, so you should better build them far 
behind the entrance to your camp, or you will lose the ability to create 
new soldiers when the need arises. When the population limit has been 
reached, your upper limit in population will no longer increase when you 
build more houses. But it's always a good idea to build in excess.

Meanwhile, you will be notified when you will need to build an extra house 
to support your population. In Single Player missions, you may be provided 
with equivalents of houses like Yurts and Pavilions. Those also support 
5 units of population each.

Mill
"One of the early industrial enterprises of the Middle Ages was the grinding 
Mill. Handed down from antiquity, this technology greatly sped the 
otherwise backbreaking process of grinding wheat and other grains into 
flour. Mills used water, wind, and animal power to turn the grinding stone. 
Grain was converted into flour and the mill owner kept a percentage of 
the flour as compensation. Mills might be owned by a local lord, a monastery, 
or a local entrepreneur. The profits of mills led to conflict and 
competition, and the right to grind grain for a community had to be paid 
for and defended. Millers could become modestly wealthy. They became part 
of the rising middle class of merchants and craftsmen that grew in 
importance as the Middle Ages progressed."

The Mill is where the wheat is ground into flour by a wind powered grinder. 
It is also where food is stored by your civilization in Age of Empires 
II. Whenever the Villagers have collected berries, fish, meat or grain 
to the extent that their hands are full, they will carry all that they 
have and put it into the nearest Mill. The Mill is also where you research 
upgrades to improve your farms. You can research the Horse Collar, Heavy 
Plow and Crop Rotation. These newfangled farming techniques serve to 
increase the amount of food provided by farms. Of course, always build 
Mills near food sources to reduce collection time. An ideal way of 
configuring Mills is to build a Mill, and have it surrounded by 8 farms. 
This is the most efficient way to set up Farms.

Farm
"The technology of farming was carried forward into the Middle Ages and 
improved. Northern European soils were often rich glacial deposits hidden 
under dense forests. Over the course of the Middle Ages, much of this land 
was cleared and converted into farms. Key technology improvements in 
farming were the improved horse harness, the heavy plow, and crop rotation. 
The new horse harness did not choke the animal and increased pulling power. 
The heavy plow could cut into the dense soils. Farms in Europe were largely 
communal affairs where each family received the produce of several rows 
in the field. The production of some rows went directly to the local lord 
as his rent."

Farms are where, well food is grown. In this case, I am betting on corn 
or rice since the stuff grown is green. Farms provide a renewable mean 
of food. This is because it only requires wood to build up farms, and the 
there are plenty of trees to go round in the game.

Once the berries, fish, deer, wild boar and sheep have been collected and 
exhausted, you can start resorting to farms to gather more food. A farm 
has a limited amount of food, and once it is built, the food is already 
available for collection. (It seems that the building process of this 
building is the part where the Villagers sow the seeds and let the crops 
grow.) The amount of food is limited, and you can check the amount of food 
left on each farm by selecting the farm. Once the food reaches zero, the 
Farm becomes "dead" and you will hear a notification sound. Then just order 
the Villager to rebuild the farm and it will start again. You can increase 
the amount of food available on farms by researching the Horse Collar, 
Heavy Plow and Crop Rotation in the Mill.

Mining Camp
"Mining continued throughout the Middle Ages, especially for iron, salt, 
copper, tin, gold, coal, and silver. The invention of gunpowder greatly 
increased demand for sulfur and saltpeter. By 500 AD, valuable surface 
deposits were rare and mines had to be driven into the earth. The desire 
to improve mining productivity and safety led to many important technology 
improvements. Early tramways for pulling ore carts out of mines 
foreshadowed railroads of the future. The demand for more powerful mine 
shaft pumps to pull out water and push in fresh air eventually led to steam 
engines."

Mining Camps are where the miners of Age of Empires keep their tools, and 
also is the place where the Villagers take their findings in the Gold and 
Stone Mines. For your information, Gold Mines are denoted by pieces of 
mud that stick out of the earth with chunks of golden stuff on it. Stone 
Mines are denoted by pieces of grey lumps of stone sticking out of the 
earth. You should also build the Mining Camps right next to the deposits 
to speed up the collection rate. Of course, all minerals are limited, and 
you can click on the Gold Mine or Stone Mine to determine how much Gold 
or Stone is left in the mine.

The Mining Camps are also where you research mining technologies to 
increase the speed in which the Villagers mine the Stone and Gold. To be 
precise, Gold Mining and Stone Mining are researched during the Feudal 
Age while Gold Shaft Mining and Stone Shaft Mining are researched during 
the Castle Age. Why on earth must Gold Mining and Stone Mining be researched 
in those camps if the Villagers have been mining during the Dark Ages! 
(I guess they were just picking the minerals off the ground and the surface 
during those different times. Check the description above to find out.)

Lumber Camp
"The great forests of Dark Age Europe were an important natural resource 
that was converted into wood for building and firewood for fuel. Lumber 
was cut from tree logs at a lumber camp. The early lumber camps were highly 
labor-intensive. A log was laid perpendicular to the ground above a pit. 
With one man above ground and one in the pit, a long iron saw was used 
to rip boards from the log. In the Middle Ages, better technology was 
developed to use water or animal power to drive iron saws and increase 
productivity."

The Lumber Camp looks like a pile of wood with a crane above it for all 
civilizations. It must be where those lumberjacks camp out while off work. 
It is also where the Villagers assigned to be Lumberjacks take all their 
findings from the pine, oak or whatever trees to add to your stockpile. 
I don't need to tell you what trees look like, but you will be interested 
to know that all trees carry 100 Wood. Wood is limited, but there really 
are so many trees to last several long rounds of battles, so let's just 
consider them to be unlimited in supply, OK? (Since Farms are built by 
wood, we can also consider Food to be unlimited in supply.)

Please also try to build Lumber Camps as close to the trees as possible 
to minimize collection time. You are also advised to build them right next 
to a large forest. As time passes, you will notice that the collection 
time is slowly increased. This is because as trees disappear, the trees 
behind will be chopped down. The distance traveled increases. So be ready 
to scrap old Lumber Camps and build ones closer to the trees at the back. 
Finally, you get to research lumber techniques each age to improve the 
speed of the Lumberjacks. They are Double Bit Axe, Bow Saw and 2 Man Saw. 
(I have never seen villagers sawing the trees though.)

Dock
"The emergence of deep-draft merchant ships led to the construction of 
docks where these ships could tie up and unload. Ships of this new design 
could not be dragged ashore easily for unloading. Associated with docks 
were the shipyards where ships were built."

I am amazed that the Dock is considered to be an Economic Structure. It 
builds more military ships than economic ships. For your information, you 
can use Docks to build Fishing Boats during the Dark Age; Galleys, Transport 
Ships and Trade Cogs during the Feudal Age, War Galleys, Demolition Ships 
and Fire Ships during the Castle Age; Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships, 
Fast Fire Ships, Cannon Galleons and Elite Cannon Galleons during the 
Imperial Age. As you can see, most of these units are used to attack enemies 
from the water, so it's really shocking for me. Of course, some of those 
units mentioned above are in the same line as their predecessors in the 
previous age, and substantial research is needed to upgrade the ships to 
the newer versions. At the same time, ship related technologies are also 
researched in the Dock. There are Careening (Castle Age), Dry Dock 
(Imperial Age) and Shipwright (Imperial Age).

If you click a Dock of an ally or an enemy, you will find that beneath 
the title in the bottom bar, there is an icon of Gold with a number next 
to it. That is the amount of Gold your Trade Cogs will get when they pay 
that Dock a visit. That's right, Trade Cogs are another way for you to 
acquire unlimited Gold. The further away the Dock, the more Gold your Trade 
Cogs will return. Of course, Trade Routes in the sea are also vulnerable 
to attack by enemy ships, so you must send ships to guard them.

A final economic function for the Dock is to collect food from the water. 
Fishing Boats get to venture into the water to find fish schools. That 
is when they start collecting food, and then return their catches to the 
dock. This time, the distance rule does not apply as the Docks must be 
built on the shorelines.

Fish Trap
"Dried and salted fish were valuable commodities in the Middle Ages because 
they were a source of protein that could be transported and stored. Cod 
caught off Iceland and Norway was an especially valuable resource. Fishing 
technology improvements included the fish trap that allowed the netting 
of fish migrating up rivers and in coastal areas."

I almost forgot about another valuable food source. Farms are to grow grain 
and vegetables on land. And what about the sea? When the schools of fish 
are exhausted, will the fishing boats have any more meaning to exist? Or 
shall they be declared redundant and fired? The answer is definitely no. 
Fish Traps are the solution. They are the renewable source of food in the 
water. Since Villagers cannot swim, it's up to the Fishing Boats to build 
the Fish Traps. Farms can be built in a flash, but the case is not the 
same in Fish Traps. It takes a considerable amount of time to set up a 
fish trap. (To be precise, each percent takes maybe a half second to fill 
up, while the Farms are done in less than a few seconds.) However, the 
good thing is that those food stocks are out of reach from most land and 
ranged units, and it's easier to guard them from ships than when on land.

The food carrying capacity of Fishing Boats is around 20 each go, and is 
almost on par with that of the Villagers. Also, each Fish Trap carries 
around 700 Food, and hence they don't have to be replaced that often. (This 
may also be the reason why there are no technologies to increase the amount 
of food provided by a Fish Trap.) When a Fish Trap runs out of food, you 
hear the same sound that would be played when a Farm is exhausted. Just 
select the Fishing Boat and right click the expired Fish Trap and a new 
one will be built to replace the one that is used up. (Don't worry, traps 
do not die, they are made of dead material already!)

Market
"As the Dark Ages gave way to better economic conditions, the exchange 
of produce and craft goods increased. Towns of all sizes set aside an area 
for a market where farmers and tradesmen could set up stalls for selling 
their merchandise. One or more days each week were designated market days 
and became the social highlight of the typical workweek. The market was 
also a place for the exchange of ideas, entertainment (bards, acrobats, 
musicians), and the spreading of news."

Markets are really pure economical structures, since most of the activities 
there involve the usage of Gold. Whenever you select a Market, you will 
get to buy commodities from it. Gold is the official currency accepted 
all around the world in Age of Empires II. You mainly get to buy Wood, 
Food and Stone in the market. Since the supply of the former 2 is much 
more abundant than the latter, you will be buying Stone all the time to 
build more and more Towers and Castles. 

The laws of supply and demand apply to all transactions. The more of the 
same commodity sold to the Market, the higher the Supply, as a result, 
the market price of that item will drop. On the other hand, the more of 
the same commodity bought from the Market, the Demand will be seen to be 
rising, and the market price of that item will be increased. You can lower 
the market price of the commodities by researching Guilds during the 
Imperial Age. Unfortunately, you can only research that once.

The Market is also used to research trade related technologies. You get 
to research Cartography and Coinage in the Feudal Age and Banking in the 
Castle Age. You get to build Trade Carts to. See your allies' or fallen 
enemies' markets? Click on them, and you will find a Gold icon with a number 
next to it. This shows how much Gold your Trade Cart will collect when 
it pays that Market a visit. The further away the Market, the more Gold 
you can get. Hence the quest for unlimited Gold. Of course, Trade Routes 
are often treacherous, so have some units to guard the convoys.

Blacksmith
"Iron-working technology had been learned by the barbarian tribes of Europe 
prior to the fall of Rome and was carried forward into the Dark Ages. Iron 
working was done at the blacksmith, named partially for the black iron 
worked there and for the black soot that covered the workers each day. 
At the blacksmith iron was forged and hammered into tools, weapons, shields, 
and armor. The ability to make superior weapons and armor became a highly 
prized and well ewarded skill. Blacksmiths, armorers, and weapon makers 
moved into the rising middle class."

The Blacksmith is the workshop where swords, arrows, shields and plates 
of armor are forged using hot iron over burning coal. In the world of Age 
of Empires II, the Blacksmith is also where you research upgrades to your 
units' weapons and armor. In doing so, their Attack power, Armor, Pierce 
Armor will be upgraded, and they can withstand much better against enemy 
attacks. The Blacksmith becomes available as soon as you reach Feudal Age. 
There are a total of 5 different types of upgrades available. One is related 
to the infantry and cavalry's attack power, one is related to infantry 
armor, one related to cavalry armor, one related to the attack power and 
range of the archers, and finally one related to the armor of archers.

At first, the Blacksmith upgrades do not require Gold. However, once you 
reach the Castle Age, all upgrades will require you to pay gold in addition 
to food. In the Feudal Age, you can research Forging, Scale Mail Armor, 
Scale Barding Armor, Fletching and Padded Archer Armor. In Castle Age, 
you can research Iron Casting, Chain Mail Armor, Chain Barding Armor, 
Bodkin Arrow and Leather Archer Armor. In the Imperial Age, you can research 
the Blast Furnace, Plate Mail Armor, Plate Barding Armor, Bracer and Ring 
Archer Armor. The availability of the upgrades varies with civilization, 
so you must check your technology tree to find which ones are there for 
your research. These technologies have got to be the most important in 
the game, this is because a little difference in attack power or armor 
can determine your civilization's strengths and weaknesses.

Monastery
"Monasteries were closed religious communities to which particularly 
devout priests, scholars, and believers withdrew for a life of prayer, 
study, and service. Monastic life was embraced by several religions, 
including Christianity and Buddhism. Residents of monasteries became 
known as monks. In parts of Dark Age Europe, monasteries were the only 
remaining centers of learning. Irish monks, for example, were instrumental 
in preserving much ancient knowledge and spreading it back into Europe 
as the Dark Ages waned. Over time monasteries grew rich in donated land. 
They became very important local institutions as a source of educated men 
who could serve as administrators. They also provided health care and 
emergency relief from their stockpiles of food."

Monasteries are the places where the Monks reside, teach, receive training, 
meditate and provide free food. The Church's influence really is extremely 
great. However, in Age of Empires II, they are only used to train Monks. 
I find it questionable that Monasteries are used as Economic Buildings. 
After all, Monks have more military uses than economic ones. They heal 
your wounded soldiers with their magic and can attempt to convert the 
enemies, making them join your side. Monasteries are available from the 
Castle Age onwards, since the healing abilities can make your troops self 
sustaining, it is very important to race towards the Castle Age in 
multiplayer games. (Assuming you start at the Dark Age.)

Of course, the Monastery is where learning is done, and besides Monks, 
you have access to many types of technology. Most of them are related to 
the Monks' ability and your units' ability in dealing with Monks. In the 
Castle Age, you can research Redemption, Fervor, Sanctity and Atonement. 
During the Imperial Ages, you get to research Block Printing, Illumination 
and Faith. All of these upgrades require lots of Gold, and sometimes may 
cost you up to a thousand every time. 

Monasteries are also places where you store Relics. You use Monks to find 
Relics on the map, pick them up, and take them back to the Monastery for 
storage. When a Relic is stored inside a Monastery, you will slowly get 
an unlimited supply of Gold. When you have found all the Relics and placed 
them into Monasteries, you will be given a countdown timer. As long as 
you can keep the Relics in the Monastery for the given number of years 
(in game years, not real years!) You will automatically win the game.) 
So at that point, let's play defensive.

University
"During the bleakest days of the Dark Ages, learning was all but 
extinguished in much of Europe. A scattering of priests and monks in 
isolated monasteries carried forward the ability to read and write and 
kept books alive by copying old manuscripts. Charlemagne attempted to 
reverse this trend by creating a school to train men who could help him 
control his empire, but this experiment largely disappeared under a new 
wave of barbarian invasions from the north and east. The first centers 
of higher learning were associated with great cathedral towns such as 
Cambridge, Oxford, Padua, and Paris. Future priests and church leaders 
received training in Latin, the Bible, Christian philosophy, and other 
Christian writings. Medicine, science, and mathematics did not enter the 
curricula until much later. Graduates of these first universities led the 
Church and provided a pool of educated men who served generations of 
European kings as advisors and administrators."

The University is where people learn and study new technologies. And no, 
there are no scholars or units like that in Age of Empires II. The University, 
like the Blacksmith is there for you to research technologies and only 
technologies. This time round, these upgrades are all related to buildings 
and towers. Some are related to ballistic weapons. Universities are 
available during the Castle Age. (People are ignorant before that! They 
just believe in the Church's teachings!) When it comes to defenses, the 
University has technologies that increase the hit points of buildings by 
a certain percentage. There are also upgrades that transform your old Watch 
Tower to stronger versions. Same goes for the walls. Certain upgrades 
greatly improve the accuracy of the archers, and another one gives you 
insight into the world of gunpowder!

In Castle Age, you can research Ballistics, Murder Holes, Heated Shot, 
Masonry and the Treadmill Crane. In the Imperial Age, you get to research 
Siege Engineers, Architecture and Chemistry. You can also upgrade your 
Stone Walls into Fortified Walls in the Castle Age. Watch Towers are to 
be upgraded into Guard Towers in the Castle Age, and Keeps in the Imperial 
Age. Once Chemistry is researched, you get to learn how to build Bombard 
Cannons. Again, different technologies are available to different 
civilizations. So don't be surprised if you don't have some of the techs.

Wonder
"One distinguishing cultural characteristic of the great Middle Age 
civilizations was architecture. Buildings in Japan, Scandinavia, Britain, 
Constantinople, and Arabia looked quite different and employed different 
construction techniques. In many cases, particularly noteworthy buildings 
stand as icons for the building civilization, marking it for all time as 
a culture that achieved greatness, if only temporarily. Examples of such 
Middle Age cultural icons are the Cathedral at Chartres, Charlemagne's 
Palace, and the Hagia Sophia at Constantinople."

What's a Wonder of the World, you say? It's some famous monument that shows 
the world the glory of your civilization and the wonders of your culture. 
Different civilizations have different Wonders. For example, the Saracens 
have some weird spiral tower, the Byzantines have a very large cathedral 
with a dome roof, and the Mongols have an enormous towering tent that is 
supposed to be the mobile residence of the Great Genghis Khan himself.

Wonders are extremely expensive to build. You will need 1000 Wood, 1000 
Food, 1000 Gold and 1000 Stone in order to build one. The Wonder takes 
a long time to build, and while you are building one, the opponents will 
be notified by a weird low pitch tone. Why? It's because one of the ways 
to win in Age of Empires II is to build a Wonder, defend against enemy 
attacks and keep the Wonder standing for a number of years (in game years!) 
Wonder victories are recommended if you are so sure that your camp is 
heavily fortified, and you have control over a lot of the map's resources. 
(Or simply if you know your opponent is playing at a very slow pace.) That 
way, your opponent will be caught with his pants down and may not be able 
to save enough resources to build a sizable attack force before the Wonder 
is up. And then, just hold the enemy back and let the time run out.

Barracks
"Weapons were made and stored and soldiers drilled in the barracks. During 
the late Middle Ages, the barracks was incorporated within a castle complex. 
It became also the part of the castle where professional soldiers lived, 
ready to help defend the castle or maintain order in the surrounding 
countryside."

Barracks are well, Barracks. This is where you train your infantrymen. 
There are currently 2 lines of infantrymen that you can train. One is the 
general fighter, while the other is the spear wielding guy who specializes 
in taking down cavalry. This is the only military building with production 
capabilities during the Dark Ages. At first, you can only train Militia. 
Then in the Feudal Age, you get to train Men-at-Arms and Spearmen. In the 
Castle Age, you get to train Long Swordsmen and Pikemen. In the Imperial 
Age, you get to train 2-handed Swordsmen and Champions. The Barracks is 
also a place where you research 2 infantry upgrades. One increases the 
line of sight of all infantrymen, and the other increases the infantrymen's 
speed. They are Tracking, researched in the Feudal Age and Squires in the 
Castle Age.

Stable
"As the Middle Ages continued, the rise in importance of mounted warriors 
created demand for large numbers of horses, which were bred and maintained 
at the stable. A variety of horses were bred, including horses for 
long-distance travel, fast horses for quick movement, and the heavy charger. 
Scout and light cavalry units needed quick horses with lots of stamina. 
Heavy chargers of great strength were required to carry fully armored 
knights into a charge. Mounted warriors trained at the stable as well, 
learning the skills of fighting from horseback with spear, lance, sword, 
flail, mace, and hammer. In other parts of the world, camels and elephants 
were bred and maintained for mounted combat."

The Stable is where horses are bred, and this is also the place where you 
train cavalry units. The Stable is a Feudal Age unit, but you have to note 
that the one unit available at that time is not worthy for mass production. 
It's at the Castle Age that when the units are worth it. There are a total 
of 3 lines of units available for training in the Stable. One is the fast 
moving mounted scout (with a long line of sight), one is the standard 
mounted warrior and one is the anti-cavalry mounted unit. In the Feudal 
Age, you only get the Scout Cavalry, which is great for scouting but very 
pathetic for attacking. Then in the Castle Age, you get to train Light 
Cavalry, Knights and Camels. In the Imperial Age, you get to train Cavaliers, 
Paladins and Heavy Camels. At the moment, there is one and only upgrade 
available for research in the Stable. It's the Husbandry technology. It's 
to increase the speed of all cavalry units.

Archery Range
"Missile weapons like the bow carried over into the Middle Ages from ancient 
times in most areas of the world. Northern Europe was an exception for 
many centuries because the dense forests of the region nullified the range 
advantage of bows. Throwing weapons like axes, javelins, and knives were 
more popular there. As the forests were cleared, use of the bow spread. 
Training with missile weapons took place at the archery range. The training 
of bowmen was especially favored in England, where every town had an archery 
range and competitions were held each week to encourage practice. From 
its large pool of archers, England could easily recruit several thousand 
expert longbowmen for armies going to France. As crossbows and early 
firearms came into use, men were trained to operate these weapons at a 
modified archery range."

An Archery range consists of a long hall with rows and rows of targets 
for people to practice their archery. (By firing arrows at the targets 
of course.) In Age of Empires, this is where military Archers are trained. 
All Archers require wood to be trained, and the serious fighters also 
require gold. There are 4 lines of archers available. One is the standard 
archer, one is the guy who throws spears in battle, one is the mounted 
archer, and the fourth is the unit which uses the early versions of firearms. 
Archery Ranges are available for construction in the Feudal Age. In the 
Feudal Age, you can train Archers and Skirmishers. In the Castle Age, you 
can train Crossbowmen, Elite Skirmishers and Cavalry Archers. In the 
Imperial Age, you can train Arbalests, Heavy Cavalry Archers and Hand 
Cannoneers. I'm sorry, but the Archery Range does not provide any upgrades 
for Archers. You can consider trying the Blacksmith and University.

Siege Workshop
"The construction of castles and fortified towns created demand for 
artillery engines that could knock down walls and open the fortification 
to assault by troops. Without such artillery weapons, the taking of a castle 
required a long and costly siege that eventually starved the defenders 
into surrender. The ability to lay siege was constrained by the length 
of the campaigning season, the cost of providing supplies to a besieging 
army, the losses from disease in camp, and weather. Battering rams, 
trebuchets, and other siege engines were used to break into the 
fortification quickly and decide the issue. Siege engines were built at 
a siege workshop."

In the Middle Ages, many camps and towns are equipped with weapons better 
for defending than attacking. As a result, direct charges will often result 
in many deaths. Therefore, the best way to beat the foe is to burn his 
crops, cut off his supplies and trap him in his safe haven. Eventually, 
they will starve and will be forced to surrender. That's the definition 
of a siege. The Siege Workshop is where all the big toys are given to you! 

They are the equivalent of modern day armored units. Since Castles only 
started to creeping up during the 1000s, in the Castle Age, Siege Workshops 
will not be available for use unit then on. There are a total of 4 lines 
of units available. There is the ram, the mobile mini catapult, and the 
gigantic mobile bow and arrow and the portable cannon. In the Castle Age, 
you start with Battering Rams, Magonels and Scorpions. In the Imperial 
Age, you get to use Capped Rams, Siege Rams, Heavy Scorpions, Onagers, 
Siege Onagers and Bombard Cannons! Please note that Siege Weapons are 
definitely the most expensive units in the game. You need lots of Wood 
and Gold to build them. As for the cost of upgrading from a weaker version 
to the next, don't ask!

Castle
"The first castles appeared in Europe in the ninth century as an improvement 
of the local lord's stronghold. Castles were tactically defensive but 
strategically offensive. Because they were so difficult to capture if 
adequately defended, they provided a secure base from which a mobile force 
of warriors could extend political control. A local lord installed himself 
inside with a professional force of fighting men to serve him. Castles 
spread across Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries in response to 
weak central authority and barbarian raids from the north and east. Kings 
spent the rest of the Middle Ages trying to take back control of castles 
raised by local lords. The development of dependable mobile heavy artillery 
in the fifteenth century finally made castles obsolete."

The Castle in the Middle Ages has a lot of uses. It is a home, an army 
camp, a local government office, a lookout place, a prison and a food store. 
There is just a lot of things happening inside, right? It serves well as 
a Military Building in the Age of Empires II world. It really is a home, 
in the respect that it supports a lot of people at once. In fact, your 
population can be increased by 20 just by building a Castle, compared to 
5 for individual houses. A Castle is a lookout in the fact that it has 
a very high base attack power of 11, and it is multiplied by 4 from the 
get go. So, you get a very powerful defensive structure that can fire so 
enemy arrows that can stop most infantry charges. That's not all. Castles 
can be used to garrison troops, and the people living inside will restore 
health faster than those garrisoned in towers. Cavalry can go in too!

That's not all. Units with arrow firing abilities can increase the attack 
of the Castle. Since there are 20 spaces for garrisoned units, you can 
garrison 20 Archers inside the Castle and increase the multiplier up to 
20! When we take account the effect of tower upgrades, we get (11+4)*20. 
That is a total of 300 attack. Of course, since this takes a massive 20 
off your total population, you must make sure that your population limit 
is higher than 100 beforehand. Since Castles make very good Defensive 
Structures, you should place them at strategic points.

The Military Uses of the Castles are to defend against enemy attacks 
(obviously!) and the production of each civilization's Unique Units. The 
Standard Unique Unit is available during the Castle Age. In the Imperial 
Age, that unit can be upgraded to the Elite Version. At the same time, 
the most powerful long range Siege Unit in the game, the Trebuchet is 
available then. Some general upgrades are also available then. The biggest 
disadvantage of Castles are their costs. It costs a whopping 650 Stone 
just to build one. Better start saving.

Palisade Walls, Stone Walls, Gates and Fortified Walls
"Barbarian tribes were migrating across Europe during the Dark Ages, being 
displaced by other migrations from the East and searching for land to settle. 
Warrior bands roamed the landscape seeking plunder. In these turbulent 
times, defensive precautions were taken. Villages were fortified with 
palisades - walls built of wood. Although stone walls were preferable, 
wood was abundant and easy to use, and a palisade could be erected in a 
fraction of the time a stone wall would take. At night the villagers would 
bring all their livestock, goods, and tools inside the palisade for 
protection."

"Larger and more advanced civilizations upgraded their defenses to stone 
walls when they could. A well-built stone wall offered protection against 
raiders because it could be broken down only by a determined effort. To 
capture a walled town or castle might require a long siege or a battering 
by powerful siege engines. Stone walls were expensive and time-consuming 
to build but worth the cost when guarding valuable locations. One famous 
set of stone walls from the Middle Ages were those guarding the land 
approaches to Constantinople. These walls withstood intermittent assault 
over a period of a thousand years. They were partly responsible for 
deflecting barbarian tribes from the north and east toward Rome, even 
though Constantinople may have been a more attractive prize. The other 
famous stone wall of the Middle Ages was the Great Wall of China. Originally 
constructed in ancient times, it was extended and rebuilt in places by 
several dynasties. The frontier of China was so long that the Great Wall 
could not be defended sufficiently to be a shield. It did serve to provide 
warning of Mongol attack. Most importantly, it slowed the advance and 
withdrawal of raiders across the frontier, giving the imperial armies a 
chance to intercept."

"The fortified wall was an upgrade of the stone wall accomplished by 
building fighting positions into the wall so that defenders could be more 
effective in repulsing assaults. Strong points and bastions allowed 
defenders to shoot at enemies at the base of wall, where they might 
otherwise be safe. The three lines of stone walls outside Constantinople 
were fortified with hundreds of towers, helping to make the defenses 
impregnable until the advent of cannon."

"Gates were built into walls to allow access to a fortification. Because 
gates could be the most vulnerable part of a defensive position, extra 
care was taken to make them strong. A common type of gate was the portcullis, 
a heavy metal grid that was raised by a winch. The portcullis was in place 
by grooves in the stonework of the gateway and by its own weight. A long 
narrow passage, open from above, was usually placed behind the portcullis. 
Attackers who managed to get past the gate would then remain vulnerable 
to fire from soldiers in the narrow passage."

All of the above structures are there to surround your base, and literally 
walling them out to keep them from entering your base. The Palisade Wall 
is made completely of wood, and each wall section has just a little over 
200 HP. This makes it very easy for enemies to breach. I suggest you don't 
build this type of wall at all. Unless it's the Single Player games, where 
the enemies are so dumb that they will only attack the non blocked off 
areas of your camp. The only advantage of this type of wall is that it 
is made of Wood, so it only requires Wood.

Stone Walls, which are available in the Feudal Age are a major improvement 
over Palisade Walls. They are made of stone, and have over 1000 hit points 
per wall section. This makes it very difficult to breach until it's the 
Castle Age. At that time, Stone Walls can be easily broken down by Battering 
Rams. You can construct gates on your wall sections. The orientation of 
the gates is to be determined by the computer. You move the mouse cursor 
near the wall section, and the computer will automatically orient your 
gate so that it is parallel to the existing wall section. Gates can be 
locked to prevent it from opening unnecessary during enemy attacks.

Once you reach the Castle Age, the Stone Walls can be upgraded into 
Fortified Walls. Fortified Walls have much more HP than Stone Walls, but 
are just as vulnerable to Battering Rams. The upgrade costs stone. So it's 
up to you as to whether research it.

Outpost
"The world of 500 AD was far less populated than the world of today, and 
there were great expanses of empty and desolate land. To keep watch at 
the frontier, lords established outposts that would provide early warning 
of attack and report movements of settlers and trade caravans. As the land 
became more populated and more settled, outposts were replaced by 
establishing castles and communities on borders."

Age of Empires II has a Fog of War. This means that you can only see what 
is going on in the parts of the map within your units and structures' lines 
of sight. If you move out of an area, the area will be swallowed up into 
the fog and you cannot see a darn thing. This has got to be quite an annoying 
feature. If you want to keep an eye on a region, and do not want to keep 
units there, you can simply build Outposts. Outposts are buildings that 
just stay there, doing nothing, and has an extensive line of sight. They 
are just there so you can keep an eye over the fields in certain remote 
areas that enemies might venture into.

It seems that the line of sight of Outposts increases with Age, regardless 
of upgrade. In the Dark Ages, you can only see just a little spot of land 
in the Dark Age. Then in the Feudal Age, that spot becomes a small patch. 
In Castle Age, it becomes a large patch, and in the Imperial Age, it becomes 
an enormous patch! You can research Town Watch and Town Patrol to increase 
the sight range of these buildings. Sounds like a great deal eh? No! 
Outposts are often the targets of attack by the enemies since they don't 
have anyone firing arrows from the inside to stop intruders. By the time 
you know the enemies are coming, they are already dismantling your outpost, 
and everything goes black on screen there. So, you still don't know from 
which way he will attack your base, and you will have to waste resources 
in building one again.

Watch Tower
"Some of the earliest fortified stone structures were simple watch towers. 
From the watch tower a local lord could keep a large area in view. The 
stone structure made it impregnable to assault except by a major force. 
The lord could withdraw into the tower, putting his animals on the bottom, 
stores and treasure on a second floor, living on upper floors, and fighting 
from the top. The Normans were famous for building stone watch towers across 
their lands in Normandy and England to provide military and political 
control."

Every single Real Time Strategy Game must have a protective turret that 
helps guard your base while you are away, right? The Watch Tower is that 
protective turret. Available in the Feudal Age, the Watch Tower has someone 
watching over your base for you that fires arrows out at intruders. Sounds 
great, right? The big problem is that in the Feudal Age, the archers inside 
the Watch Towers are not so accurate. Besides that, they have a minimum 
range, which means that they cannot fire at enemies that are too close. 
It's possible for a small group of Men-At-Arms to outrun all those arrows, 
and reach the base. At that point, they can hack your tower down without 
much help at all.

The Watch Tower may seems worthless in the Feudal Age, but fortunately, 
upgrades are available. In the Feudal Age, the only upgrade you will get 
is Fletching, which is a technique in making better arrows. This increases 
the range and attack power of the Watch Tower by 1 and only 1. But what's 
the point of having a better range and attack if it can't hit the enemies 
anyway. There are good things in store for this tower, but they are only 
available in the Castle Age. So, it's time for you to establish these towers 
first hand and play the waiting game. What's are the upgrades you say? 
Well, let's read the description of the next tower.

Guard Tower
"The defensive tower continued to evolve during the Middle Ages by getting 
stronger, taller, and better designed for fighting defense. Whereas some 
earlier watch towers had been square, guard towers were usually round to 
eliminate a sharp corner that could be knocked off. Fighting positions 
at the top of a guard tower were improved to protect defenders. Hoardings 
extended out from the top, allowing defenders to reach the bottom of the 
guard tower with missiles. Entrances to guard towers were made more 
elaborate and more easily defendable."

The Guard Tower is the upgrade to the Watch Tower. It is available in the 
Castle Age. You must research the particular upgrade in the University 
before you can use it. Once the upgrade has been researched, all existing 
Watch Towers will be converted into the new Guard Towers, and the Watch 
Tower option in the Villager will be replaced by the Guard Tower option. 
Guard Towers are not the most important upgrade to the Watch Tower. There 
are 2 upgrades that must be researched in the University before others. 
They are the Ballistics and Murder Holes upgrade. Once you have researched 
Ballistics, all arrows fired by the Guard Tower will be made to be much 
more accurate than before. Then fast moving units will be less likely to 
evade your arrow fire. The second upgrade mentioned, Murder Holes, allow 
the people stationed inside the Guard Towers to fire directly down at the 
enemies attacking their base. This means all the nasty stuff that used 
to happen in the Feudal Age will no longer happen again. A third upgrade 
that is also useful is the Bodkin Arrow technology. This increases the 
attack power and range of Guard Towers by 1.

Oh, there is one thing I forgot to mention about the Guard Tower. If you 
garrison units inside them, they will slowly regenerate HP, however, their 
health will not recover as quickly as they are when compared to Castles. 
If you garrison units that can fire arrows, notably Crossbowmen inside 
the Guard Towers, they can add support fire to the guard that is already 
stationed there. At first, Guard Towers have a base attack of 6. When it 
is full to the brim with Crossbowmen, the attack will become 6(4), an entire 
24. Let's take in account the 2 upgrades available so far to the tower. 
It will be (6+2)(4), a total of 32 attack.

Keep
"The central and strongest building inside a castle was called the keep. 
This was the last bastion of defense inside if the walls and outside towers 
were taken. The remaining defenders withdrew into the keep for the final 
defense. The keep was a mini-castle often constructed in place of a castle 
to cut expenses. Although much smaller than castles, keeps could perform 
the same function on a smaller scale. They were very difficult to capture 
except by a large and well-equipped army."

Guard Towers are the final step to towers alongside the Fortified walls 
in the Castle Age. But there is actually an even stronger defensive building 
for certain civilizations. Once you have reached the Imperial Age, the 
option to upgrade to the Keep will be available to the Britons, Celts, 
Teutons, Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, Chinese and Japanese. Keeps look 
like Guard Towers, but they are built with the Imperial Age Architecture. 
Once you have finished with the research on Keeps, all existing Guard Towers 
will be upgraded to Keeps. It is really surprising that Microsoft decided 
to name the Imperial Age towers Keeps. I mean, the Keep is the large building 
in the center of the castle where the owner sleeps in and it is where the 
soldiers perform their final defense duties if they are completely 
surrounded. It is definitely not a tower of sorts!

The upgrades for towers don't stop at the Castle Age. You can research 
the Bracer in the Blacksmith to increase the attack and range of Keeps 
by 1, and you can research Chemistry to allow Keeps to fire flaming arrows, 
adding one extra attack point to the Keep. Now, let us do the math, shall 
we? We have a Keep, with an attack power of 7, upgraded to the max with 
7+4= 11. You then garrison 5 Arbalests inside. This multiplies the attack 
power by 4 again. So, the total attack power indicated by the game will 
become 7+4(4), this means the final attack power of the Keep is 44. The 
Keep is still not be ultimate tower of the game. If you are lucky to play 
as certain civilizations, you will have the honor of building something 
even tougher than the previous one. Let's see below.

Bombard Tower
"By the end of the Middle Ages the development of cannon had changed 
military engineering by making standard castles obsolete. Their high 
vertical walls were particularly susceptible to direct cannon fire aimed 
at their base. Military engineers responded by building new structures 
that were less susceptible to cannon fire and by mounting cannon within 
these structures to augment their defensive positions along coasts, at 
important river crossings, and at other strategic points. These new bombard 
towers swept the approaches to harbors and towns, making them more 
difficult to attack."

The Bombard Tower is the ultimate tower of Age of Empires II. It looks 
a lot like the Keep, but instead of firing arrows, the Bombard Tower has 
cannon portals sticking out that fire cannon balls at the enemies. Very 
few civilizations have the ability to build Bombard Towers. Only the 
Teutons, Byzantines, Turks and Chinese can do so. The road to building 
Bombard Towers is very tough. You must be in the Imperial Age, and have 
researched Chemistry. The button Bombard Tower will then appear at the 
University. You will have to research that one in order to get the Bombard 
Towers. What's more, the existing Keeps will not upgrade to Bombard Towers. 
It's just that the Bombard Towers appear as a separate construction option 
in the Worker. Bombard Towers themselves are expensive. You need to pay 
the usual Stone, and now, Gold is required.

For those who can afford it, Bombard Towers really are a solid investment. 
Since you have researched Ballistics and Murder Holes, the cannons can 
fire extremely accurately at any enemy that dares to draw near to you. 
Even the toughest Siege Weapons, namely the Capped Rams and Siege Rams 
will be broken into pieces long before they reach your towers. So, it's 
about time for you to engage in trading with your allies to get the spare 
gold and Stone to build these. Once you build a line of Bombard Towers 
over all the mineral resources you find (Stone, Gold) your enemies will 
definitely be much weakened.

----------------
b. Units [AOK4B]
----------------
Militia
Cost: 60 Food, 20 Gold    Hit Points: 40     Attack: 4     Armor: 0/0
"Local peasants and workers called up for military duty in times of 
emergency made up the militia. These temporary soldiers were usually 
equipped with second-rate weapons and armor. They returned to their normal 
occupations when the emergency had passed. Levies of militia were often 
used as second-line troops when great lords assembled their vassals for 
a campaign. The militia was available for less demanding fighting and other 
tasks in support of the main army. England's Harold Godwinson stood his 
ground in 1066 at Hastings with only his vassals. If he had fallen back 
and called up the Anglo-Saxon militia, known as the furd, some historians 
believe he would not have lost his kingdom to William the Conqueror. For 
much of the Dark Ages there were only small professional armies in the 
West. Militia led by strong leaders and their few retainers carried on 
much of the Dark Age fighting."

Militia are the amateur soldiers who have lives besides fighting battles 
for their leader. They are the one and only soldier in the Dark Age. They 
attack with their little maces, and receive no upgrades during the Dark 
Ages. The only good use of them is to scout out the enemy's base in the 
start of the game and hurt their economy by killing Villagers. However, 
they start to receive upgrades during the Feudal Age. But if you really 
are obsessed with using infantrymen, I suggest that you upgrade then.

Men at Arms
Cost: 60 Food, 20 Gold    Hit Points: 40     Attack: 4     Armor: 0/0
"Men who had received weapons training and wore armor of some sort in battle 
were referred to as men-at-arms. By definition, all knights were 
men-at-arms, but not all men-at-arms were knights. The class of men-at-arms 
also included professional fighting men of no nobility called sergeants 
and knights in training called squires. The armies of feudal lords were 
divided into two distinct groups, the men-at-arms of all classes and the 
peasant militia. The trained fighting men provided the principal fighting 
power of the army. Men-at arms on foot fought with swords. This was an 
effective weapon and helped distinguish the men-at-arms from soldiers of 
lower social standing like spearmen, skirmishers, and missile troops. 
Men-at-arms wore armor, usually from head to toe, and were highly trained. 
They were especially effective against spearmen if they could close under 
the spear points. They fought beside dismounted knights under certain 
conditions, such as castle assaults. During the Hundred Years War, the 
English often fought dismounted because the French knights usually 
outnumbered them by a large margin. On the open battlefield, a man-at-arms 
was at a great disadvantage against a mounted knight. Knights kept a body 
of men-at-arms on retainer to help maintain local order within the local 
fief and to accompany the knight when called up for military service."

Things are starting to look up for our standard infantrymen during the 
Feudal Ages. It costs 100 Food and 40 Gold to upgrade Militia into Men 
at Arms. Not only the barbaric looking Militia can be upgraded to some 
better looking swordsmen called Men at Arms, we get an attack bonus. Men 
at Arms are effective at razing buildings now with it. 

Now they are stronger, you can consider mounting offensives against the 
enemy bases with Men at Arms. However, there is one new threat. It is the 
Archer. The inclusion of the Blacksmith in the Feudal Age means that attack 
powers of the Men at Arms can be improved. The Scale Mail Armor increases 
the armor and pierce armor of Men at Arms by 1, while Forging increases 
the attack power of Men at Arms by 1. There is also an upgrade called 
Tracking which improves the Men at Arms' line of sight.

Spearmen
Cost: 35 Food, 25 Wood     Hit Points: 45     Attack: 3     Armor: 0/0
"The medium infantry of medieval armies were often spearmen wearing 
half-armor, usually a helmet and armor on the upper body. As the Middle 
Ages advanced, the role of the spearman became more important. Armies 
learned to employ large formations of spearmen as a counter to heavy cavalry 
attacks because horses would not charge home against a bristling wall of 
spear points. Spearmen were most effective when emulating the ancient Greek 
phalanx, a dense box of men that could extend several spear points in a 
chosen direction. As towns grew in importance toward the end of the period, 
they fielded large contingents of trained spearmen. These were very 
effective in battle for the cost of their equipment and training. Spearmen 
were originally deployed in a defensive posture, but the best of the 
spearman armies, such as the Swiss, Scots, and Flemish, learned to maneuver 
and take the offensive."

Spearmen is the start of a new line of infantrymen appearing from the Feudal 
Age. They are of course, armed with spears, and are used to poke at the 
horses, bringing them down. They are of course, the anti cavalry units. 
The thing is, the importance of spearmen are basically non-existent in 
the Feudal Age, since the only cavalry unit you have to deal with is the 
Scout Cavalry, which is a very pathetic excuse for cavalry. But still, 
the Blacksmith upgrades still work on them. The Forging Technology 
increases their attack by 1, the Scale Mail Armor Technology increases 
their Armor and Pierce Armor by 1. The Tracking technology in the Barracks 
increases their line of sight by 4. That's all you need to know. There 
is something better coming in the Castle Age.

Long Swordsman
Cost: 60 Food, 20 Gold    Hit Points: 55     Attack: 9     Armor: 0/0
"The weapon of choice for noble warriors was the long sword. Being skilled 
with a sword was a social distinction because good swords were expensive 
and difficult to make. Men-at-arms of lower classes trained with shorter 
swords and less expensive weapons. Long swords were reserved for the 
nobility. The ceremony of becoming a knight involved being dubbed with 
a long sword by the new knight's lord."

By the Castle Age, we get to use infantrymen with long swords and a shield. 
It costs 200 Food and 65 Gold to upgrade from Men at Arms to Long Swordsmen. 
There is a great jump in Attack for the Long Swordsmen, as they now have 
9 attack compared to 6 for Men at Arms. They still maintain their attack 
bonus against buildings. There are some more upgrades for infantry in the 
Castle Age that you will be interested in. Researching Squires in the 
Barracks increases the speed of the Long Swordsman, while researching Iron 
Casting in the Blacksmith will increase their attack by 1. Researching 
Chain Mail Armor will increase the Long Swordsman's Armor and Pierce Armor 
by 1. At this point, your infantry can be ready for tough battles. You 
should keep away from the cavalry and archers at all costs though.

Pikeman
Cost: 35 Food, 25 Wood     Hit Points: 55     Attack: 4     Armor: 1/0
"The success of spearmen against cavalry led to innovation in the equipment 
and tactics they used. Pikemen were an innovation of towns and communities 
that did not have the resources to field large armies of heavy cavalry. 
Pikes were cheap and could be quite effective with training. One important 
change was the lengthening of the weapon shaft. Where the spear had been 
6 to 8 feet long, the pike had a shaft up to 18 feet long. The longer weapon 
meant that more spear points could be extended beyond the bodies of the 
men in the front rank. Pikemen combined with crossbowmen or hand cannoneers 
to make a useful combined arms unit. The pikemen prevented cavalry from 
overrunning the group, while the missile troops caused casualties to the 
enemy at range. Working together, this combination dominated battlefields 
at the end of the age. As firearms improved after the Middle Ages, the 
pikeman component became less necessary. The bayonet made the pike 
component obsolete and allowed the musketeer to defend himself against 
cavalry."

Pikemen are the upgrades of spearmen. Instead of using spears, they now 
use extremely long poles with even sharper blades at the end to bring down 
the rider's horse from thrice the range. It costs 215 Food and 90 Gold 
to upgrade Spearmen to Pikemen. However, the Turks don't get to upgrade.

Once we hit the Castle Age, you will have to counter many different Unique 
Units. One of them is the War Elephant. They have insanely high HP and 
high HP. This is why Pikemen's extra attack bonus against elephants will 
really come in handy. Of course, this does not mean that Pikemen can defeat 
War Elephants in one on one combat. Use a few more and watch those behemoths 
fall. For most encounters against cavalry, you should learn from the movies. 
This means that you place a line of Pikemen in the front supported by the 
Archers by the back, and this can stop charges of Knights. (As long as 
you guys are not insanely outnumbered). You should use the Archers behind 
you to deal with the enemy Archers. May the better side win. Pikemen also 
have their fair share of upgrades. They get the Squires Technique in the 
Barracks to move faster, the Iron Casting Technology to increase their 
attack by 1 and the Chain Mail Armor to increase their Armor and Pierce 
Armor by 1.

Two Handed Swordsmen
Cost: 60 Food, 20 Gold    Hit Points: 60     Attack: 11     Armor: 0/0
"As armor improved, so did weapons. The two-handed sword was an innovation 
that allowed a man to swing with the power of both arms, not just one. 
This was a long and heavy sword, and it required a strong and well trained 
man. The two-handed swordsman was a formidable adversary in hand-to-hand 
combat. Two handed swordsmen used no shield and relied on the power of 
their attack to overcome an opponent's shield and armor. Although he struck 
fewer times, each swing had the potential of being a mortal blow, regardless 
of the armor and weapons of the defender."

You had the long swords back in the Castle Age. Now, once we come to the 
Imperial Age, the swords continue to be more refined, and they are 
continuing to get longer and longer. By that time, they are so heavy that 
a swordsman will have to use both hands to carry the sword and swing. He 
may appear weaker without the shield, but actually, these men are much 
stronger than their predecessors. It may be the Imperial Age, but the 
upgrade cost of 2 Handed Swordsmen are still extremely cheap. You only 
need 300 Food and 100 Gold to upgrade. Two Handed Swordsmen are available 
to all civilizations, except one. They are the Persians. Poor, poor 
Persians, I guess infantry's just not for you, eh? Two Handed Swordsmen 
get even more upgrade boosts in the Imperial Age. The new Blast Furnace 
technology increases their attack by a whopping 2. The Plate Mail Armor 
increases their Armor by 1 and their Pierce Armor by 2. Two Handed Swordsmen 
will be created 25% faster if you research Conscription in the Castle.

Champion
Cost: 60 Food, 20 Gold    Hit Points: 70     Attack: 13     Armor: 1/0
"Among the best swordsmen there were a few who, through their renown on 
the battlefield and in tournaments, achieved the status of champion. Such 
men became war leaders and rose in social standing thanks to abilities 
so highly regarded at the time. Lords kept champions on retainer for status 
and because staged fights between elite warriors were used on occasion 
to resolve disputes. Having a great champion in your pay or as a vassal 
was the Middle Age equivalent to having a good lawyer. Champions were 
professional warriors who might also be members of the nobility. A 
successful champion might gain a noble title through tournament victory, 
battle honors, or marriage. A minor knight in England named John Marshal 
was so successful in tournaments that he rose to become a high-ranking 
noble of great wealth thanks to prizes and successive marriages to admiring 
women of means."

The moment has finally arrived. In the Imperial Age, we get 2 upgrades 
for the standard sword wielding infantry unit. First we have 2 handed 
Swordsmen, now we have the Champion. Champions are the best standard 
infantry in the game available to all sides. (OK, every side except the 
Persians.) It costs another 750 Food and 350 Gold to upgrade all existing 
Two-Handed Swordsmen to Champions.

They got the most HP and finally have base Armor. They still attack by 
swinging their swords with both hands. Champions can be upgraded by the 
same respect as the 2-Handed Swordsmen. Use these as counter-counter units. 
That is, against those units which are designed to counter standard troops. 
(Like Pikemen and Skirmishers) You can try to challenge Imperial Age 
Cavalry, but I guess you will only have limited success. I only have one 
question really. If a Champion are supposed to be the best of the best, 
how can you train so many Champions at once? Surely they will argue with 
each other about who's the best and kill each other!

Woad Raider and Elite Woad Raider *****CELTIC EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 65 Food, 25 Gold    Hit Points: 65,80     Attack: 8,13     Armor: 0/0
"Woad is a plant found in the British Isles from which a blue pigment can 
be extracted. Celtic warriors painted themselves with this pigment prior 
to battle to look more fearsome and unnerve their enemies. Celtic warriors 
had been raiding more developed areas of Britain and Europe since ancient 
times. The Scots, for example, were originally Irish raiders who took lands 
from the Picts in north Britain that became Scotland. When the English 
sought to conquer the Celts inhabiting Ireland, Wales, and Scotland during 
the Middle Ages, the Celts were at a great disadvantage against the English 
mounted knights. The Celts often turned to guerrilla tactics, raiding 
English settlements and withdrawing before English armies. Raiders 
painted with woad devastated the borderlands. A renowned woad raider was 
William Wallace of Scotland who rampaged through Northern England for a 
decade."

Woad Raiders are the Celtic Exclusive Units. They are a bunch of warriors 
who use some blue plant paint to paint their faces to scare the enemies. 
They move exceptionally fast and have higher hit points than the Long 
Swordsmen, but have 1 less Attack. Once you reach the Imperial Age, Woad 
Raiders can be upgraded to Elite Woad Raiders at a considerable sum of 
1000 Food and 800 Gold. It costs less Food than the jump from Long Swordsmen 
to Champion but much more Gold. So, let's do a side by side comparison 
with the Champions. For one thing, Champions have the same attack and higher 
armor, but Elite Woad Raiders get 10 more HP than the Champions. However, 
Woad Raiders come at a higher price for reduced armor and a slightly higher 
HP. (5 more Food and 5 more Gold), so I suggest you refrain from using 
these units in the first place.

Throwing Axeman and Elite Throwing Axeman *****FRANKISH EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 55 Food, 25 Gold               Hit Points: 50,60    
Attack: 7,8          Range: 3,4          Armor: 0/0,1/0
"The Franks took their name from the axe that was their preferred weapon 
in ancient times. They continued to use the axe into the Dark Ages and 
their warriors were especially noted for their ability to throw this axe 
in battle. The axe was well balanced and could be hurled a good distance 
by a strong man. Franks carried several axes into battle, holding on to 
one for hand-to-hand combat. As they advanced they could pick up axes thrown 
previously to replenish their supply of missiles. Throwing axemen were 
especially good against light troops wearing little armor. Carrying axes 
was also useful for dismantling fortifications."

Here's a new innovation for Franks. Ranged infantry. Throwing Axemen are 
infantry units who throw axes at the enemy. How on earth they are supposed 
to carry an infinite number of axes I will never know. Ranged infantry 
units sound promising until you see how bad their attack is. Throwing Axemen 
have only 7 attack while the Elite Throwing Axemen have 8. This is much 
much lower than those of the Long Swordsmen, 2 Handed Swordsmen and 
Champions. They may have range, but you can only have that much of a head 
start against other infantry units. What annoys me is that in spite of 
being a thrower, Throwing Axemen do not have attack bonuses against 
infantry units. This makes the Throwing Axemen much better for defending 
than attacking. 

Would you want to train these units? No way! Instead stick to Champions 
and use Cavalry. They are the Frank's strong point. Anyway, if you are 
interested in nutters who throw axes in battle, consider dishing out 1000 
Food and 850 Gold to upgrade them to the elite version.

Teutonic Knight and Elite Teutonic Knight *****TEUTONIC EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 85 Food, 40 Gold               Hit Points: 70,100 
Attack: 12,17                          Armor: 5/2,10/2
"At the height of the Christian Crusades into the Holy Land, German 
crusaders formed an order of warrior monks called the Teutonic Knights. 
This order gave up crusading in the Eastern Mediterranean and turned its 
attention to Eastern Europe. Through conquest they brought Christianity 
to the Baltic region and forests of what became Prussia. They built castles 
from which they could control the surrounding countryside. The Teutonic 
Knights were committed warriors who carved out an empire that lasted into 
the twentieth century."

I have read history books about the Crusades. It seems that different groups 
of knights are trained to protect pilgrims and fight against the Muslims 
and defend Jerusalem back then. I only know 3 groups. They are the Knights 
Templar, Knights Hospitaliers and Teutonic Knights. The Teutonic Knights 
are Knights that travel on foot. They attack with swords, like the other 
guys, wear a cool cape, and do massive damage. They have lots of hit points 
and extremely high armor. In fact, the transition from Teutonic Knight 
to Elite Teutonic Knight features a very high jump in Attack, Hit Points 
and Armor. What could be better? They are the only standard infantry unit 
that can take down the strongest Cavalry Unit, the Paladin. You will 
definitely pleased to know that the upgrade from normal to elite costs 
1200 Food and only 600 Gold. Hee hee.

There is only one catch in all this. Teutonic Knights move very slowly, 
making them extremely vulnerable to conversions by Monks. The manual says 
they are weak against archer attacks, but I tend to disagree. After all, 
if you have 2 Pierce Armor, that should make them as strong as standard 
Knights. So, the only thing you need to worry about are the Monks. In that 
case, you must escort Teutonic Knights with Arbalests and Cavalry Archers. 
Researching the Faith technology in the Monastery helps a lot in preventing 
the enemies from converting your troops. I of course recommend that you 
use Teutonic Knights to replace the Champions AND Pikemen, and I promise 
that you will have many happy returns. May God be with you.

Berserks and Elite Berserks *****VIKING EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 65 Food, 25 Gold               Hit Points: 48,60
Attack: 9,14                           Armor: 0/0, 2/0
"Late in the eighth century Viking sea raiders from Scandinavia appeared 
suddenly in Northern Europe. They raided and plundered coastal communities 
for the next 150 years. Most of the progress made by Charlemagne in uniting 
Northern Europe and beginning a rebirth of civilization was erased by the 
turmoil they caused. The Vikings were known for their great seamanship 
and ferocity in battle. Witnesses claimed that Viking warriors would 
occasionally go "berserk" and attack with nearly inhuman zeal, oblivious 
to all danger. Such behavior was terrifying to behold and very difficult 
to withstand. The ability to go mad with battle lust was a powerful 
attribute during a period of widespread superstition."

Berserks are a weird breed of fighters. They share the same type of attack 
bonus as the Champions, against Buildings. They have one special attribute. 
They are so enthusiastic for battle that they will slowly regenerate Health 
over time. The thing is that the speed of regeneration is often not enough. 
So, we can neglect that for the Castle Age. Long Swordsmen have just as 
much attack as the Berserk, and with 7 more HP. However, it's at the Imperial 
Age that the Berserks really shine. Elite Berserks may have 10 HP less 
than Champions, but they do have 1 more attack and 1 more Armor. With this, 
a fully upgraded Berserk is much more likely to defeat a fully upgraded 
Champion at that point. The upgrade to Elite Berserk may cost a lot of 
food (1300) but the Gold required is only 550! Only train Elite Berserks 
when they are available. Ignore normal Berserks. Remember that. Note that 
Berserks are one of 2 Viking Exclusive units.

Huskarl and Elite Huskarl *****GOTHIC EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 80 Food, 40 Gold               Hit Points: 60,70
Attack: 10,12                          Armor: 0/4,0/6
"Within the Germanic tribes that overran the Western Roman Empire and 
brought in the Dark Ages, including the Goths, tribal leaders kept a 
personal retinue of warriors known as huskarls. These men served their 
chiefs fanatically in return for a large share in any plunder the tribe 
could grab. Huskarls trained for battle continuously and had few other 
duties. A chief had to be successful in acquiring plunder, however, or 
risk being removed or abandoned. As the Dark Ages progressed, huskarls 
were absorbed into the feudal system as vassals of lords. They remained 
a lord's or king's personal fighting force but often became responsible 
for their own support on lands given to them by their chief. This system 
replaced much of the sharing of plunder."

Most infantry units are considered to be weak against archers since they 
usually have no pierce armor. But the Goths are given something that opposes 
this trend. They are the Huskarls. Huskarls are fast infantry units with 
a very high pierce armor. As a result, they are excellent in taking arrows 
and taking down Archers. Another good thing is that Huskarls are very cheap 
to be upgraded. It costs only 1200 Food and 550 Gold for them to be 
transformed into the Elite Huskarls. 

Now we have the ultimate question. Is it feasible to replace Champions 
completely with Huskarls? The answer is yes and no. Yes, they have 
exceptionally high Pierce Armor that no other infantry unit can match and 
the same HP as 2 Handed Swordsmen and Champions respectively, but their 
attacks are slightly weaker against other standard infantry units. At the 
same time they are much more costly. My solution is to have half of your 
standard infantrymen to be comprised of Huskarls and the other to be 
Champions. You can have Huskarls completely replace Champions if and only 
if the opponent is a civilization that relies very heavily on archery and 
nothing else. (for example, Britons)

Samurai and Elite Samurai *****JAPANESE EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 60 Food, 30 Gold               Hit Points: 60,80
Attack: 8,12                           Armor: 1/0,1/0
"When knights were coming into dominance as lords and warriors in Europe, 
a similar social and military change was taking place simultaneously in 
Japan. A weak central government and a scramble for control of land gave 
rise in Japan to a local military ruling class called the samurai. These 
men of noble birth trained continuously in the military arts, as well as 
various cultural arts. They put great emphasis on honor and tradition, 
as did European knights with the code of chivalry. Samurai fought with 
a variety of weapons, including the bow and their unique curved swords 
made of the strongest steel. They sought out high-ranking enemies on the 
battlefield for personal duels and were trained to seek death in battle 
to increase their aggression and avoid hesitancy."

Samurais are well, Samurais. They are Japanese warriors that also serve 
as the Ruling Class. They have one weird attribute. They have attack bonuses 
against other unique units. This sounds well until you find out that certain 
unique units are Archers. (Longbowmen, Janissaries, Chu Ko Nu, Mangudai), 
one of them is also anti infantry (Cataphracts)! This basically takes away 
any advantages the Samurais could have. Now, let's compare them with the 
standard infantry units. Namely the 2 Handed Swordsman and Champion. For 
one thing, they have weaker attacks and higher cost. The only edge the 
Samurais have over Champions is that they have 10 HP more. But is the 5 
extra Gold worth it? My advice is to not even bother with these guys. If 
you do, remember that it costs 950 Food and a massive 875 Gold to upgrade 
Samurai into Elite Samurai. Bleh!

Archer
Cost: 25 Wood, 45 Gold               Hit Points: 30                    
Attack: 4          Range: 4           Armor: 0/0                         
"The bow remained an important military weapon after the fall of Rome, 
although less so in areas of Europe covered by dense forests. Archers could 
fight from a distance, from behind walls or other cover, and from ambush. 
They were usually not decisive in battle on the attack because they could 
not physically take ground from the enemy like infantry could. They acted 
mainly as defensive troops and as light troops that disrupted enemy 
formations prior to the decisive moment when the armies clashed 
hand-to-hand. If barrages of arrows could cause casualties and drain the 
fighting spirit of the enemy prior to the clash, friendly troops had a 
better chance of breaking the will of the enemy and being victorious. 
Archers were also very useful when both defending and attacking a castle."

Archers are people who attack the enemies by firing arrows at them. 
According to the above description, Archers continued to be used after 
the fall of the Roman Empire. (After all, there must be some effective 
way to hunt animals!) But for some weird reason, the Archery Range is not 
available until you have reached the Feudal Age. Archers attack with rather 
sharp arrows, sharp enough to pierce through the armor and skin of enemy 
soldiers. Hence Archers are effective anti-infantry units. 

It seems that bows are complex weapons, hence they are subject to human 
error. Even if the target is standing still, there is still a fixed 
probability that the arrow will miss the target! So to improve your chances, 
use more. That's definitely obvious. Please note that the Archers of Feudal 
Age are deadly inaccurate. If the target is constantly moving, chances 
are that 80 to 90 percent of the arrows would miss. This is why when you 
are under attack from Archers in the Feudal Age, always move your units 
in a perpendicular path to the flight path of the arrows. Don't run in 
the opposite direction, or the arrows are more likely to hit.

Even in the Feudal Age, there are upgrades for the Archer. The 2 upgrades 
are both found at the Blacksmith. There is the Fletching Technology, where 
you know how to make the flights of the arrows smoother. This increases 
the Attack and Range of all Archers by 1. There is also the padded archer 
armor. This increases the Armor and Pierce Armor of Archers by 1.

Skirmisher
Cost: 25 Food, 35 Wood               Hit Points: 30                    
Attack: 2          Range: 4           Armor: 0/3                         
"Many armies of the Middle Ages used lightly armored skirmishers in support 
of the main fighting force of armored fighting men. They could be difficult 
to control and of little value on the battlefield, but some armies used 
them effectively. Skirmishers were deployed in front of the main battle 
line and engaged the enemy with bows, slings, and javelins. The intent 
was to disrupt the enemy force and cause casualties before the main battle 
lines clashed. The skirmishers would retire to the side of the main battle 
and harass the enemy as practical. They could also be useful in pursuit 
of a beaten enemy because they could move more quickly than men wearing 
armor. If caught in battle against men-at-arms, however, they could not 
stand and routed quickly."

The mighty programmer created Archers. They are very tough against 
infantrymen. Now, people will definitely gripe to the developer if those 
monsters can't be stopped. Hence there is a second line of units, which 
specialize in throwing spears at the enemies. These are the Skirmishers. 
They are units who are equipped with considerably high Pierce Armor to 
withstand the archers' attacks. They purpose is to counter the Archers. 
I have no idea how this works. What they are throwing are just spears. 
Come on. However, since there are no other alternatives in the Feudal Age, 
you better train some of these to repel the Archers' invasion. It's not 
that tough since Skirmishers are cheap. They cost only Food and Wood to 
train. Just be aware that although they throw projectiles, these 
projectiles are much less damaging than arrows since they travel at slower 
speeds. So, pull back when the Men at Arms come.

They may not used bows, but Archer upgrades apply to the Skirmisher too. 
There is the Fletching Technology, where you know how to make the flights 
of the arrows smoother. This increases the Attack and Range of all 
Skirmishers by 1. (There are no feathers at the back of spears!) There 
is also the padded archer armor. This increases the Armor and Pierce Armor 
of Skirmishers by 1.

Crossbowman
Cost: 25 Wood, 45 Gold               Hit Points: 35                    
Attack: 5          Range: 5           Armor: 0/0                         
"The crossbow was a missile weapon consisting of a bow on its side attached 
to the end of a wood stock. The stock was held against the shoulder like 
a modern rifle and a trigger fired the weapon. The crossbow had been 
invented in ancient China but was not used widely in Europe until the Middle 
Ages. It fired short quarrels, stones, or metal balls rather than arrows. 
It was a powerful weapon but limited to a shorter range than the best bows. 
It was simple to use, relatively cheap to make, and deadly. A peasant with 
only a few hours of crossbow practice could easily kill an elite knight 
encased in armor worth a fortune who had trained for war throughout his 
life. The knights in Europe at one point attempted to get the Church to 
ban the weapon. Richard the Lionhearted, King of England, died from a 
crossbow quarrel wound received during a siege."

The Crossbowman represents a significant leap from the Feudal Age over 
the Archers. It costs very little to upgrade. All you need is 125 Food 
and 75 Gold. The Crossbowman gets 1 extra attack and 1 extra Range over 
the Archer. Crossbowmen are great for reinforcing Towers and Castles. It's 
best to have them at the rear of a line of Long Swordsmen or Pikemen so 
that they can be relatively protected. Another important point is the 
availability of one important upgrade for the Archers in the new University 
structure. It's called Ballistics. With this new upgrade, Crossbowmen can 
have much better aim. This enables them to hit targets much more accurately 
with a lower miss rate. There are also 2 Blacksmith upgrades to improve 
your Crossbowmen. You get the Bodkin Arrow, which increases the Range and 
Attack of Archers by 1, and the Leather Archer Armor which increases the 
Armor and Pierce Armor of Crossbowmen by 1.

It may interest you about how King Richard I died. Apparently, he was 
besieging a castle, and the enemy is firing arrows at him at his men. Richard 
was relaxing and letting them waste their arrows when one bolt hit him 
in the neck killing him! At least this is what the Horrible Histories book 
said. Believe it or not.

Elite Skirmisher
Cost: 25 Food, 35 Wood               Hit Points: 35                    
Attack: 3          Range: 5           Armor: 0/4                         
"In many Middle Age armies skirmishers were the rabble that was thrown 
in at the start of a battle and then often overrun by the heavy cavalry 
of both sides. A few armies trained elite skirmishers who could disrupt 
enemy formations, fall back, and support the main friendly fighting force 
from the sides. An army that could put elite skirmishers in the field to 
support its main army had an advantage over an army that did not. The Swiss, 
for example, often employed up to a quarter of their force in a skirmish 
role. Elite Swiss skirmishers supported the dense phalanxes of Swiss 
pikemen by disrupting enemy troops before the pikes made their attack. 
In an emergency, the skirmishers could take cover under the rows of pointed 
pikes and then stand up once more to engage a withdrawing enemy."

Elite Skirmishers are upgrades to Skirmishers. They gain 1 Pierce Armor, 
1 Attack and 1 Range. They are still units that are used to counter Archers. 
However, due to the appearance of much tougher cavalry that are much more 
resistant towards arrows, Skirmishers are basically obsolete in the Castle 
Age and you most likely not need them. But hey, if you must upgrade, you 
will need 250 Wood and 160 Gold. However, the Turks are left out at this 
upgrade. They got the shaft again! The same upgrades for Crossbowmen apply 
to Elite Skirmishers. There is one in the University. It's called 
Ballistics. With this new upgrade, Elite Skirmishers can have much better 
aim. This enables them to hit targets much more accurately with a lower 
miss rate. There are also 2 Blacksmith upgrades to improve your Elite 
Skirmishers. You get the Bodkin Arrow, which increases the Range and Attack 
of Archers by 1, and the Leather Archer Armor which increases the Armor 
and Pierce Armor of Elite Skirmishers by 1.

Cavalry Archer
Cost: 40 Wood, 70 Gold               Hit Points: 50                    
Attack: 6          Range: 3           Armor: 0/0                         
"Archers mounted on horses originated in ancient times on the great plains 
of Asia and continued to make up the bulk of the armies from this region 
throughout the Middle Ages. The Mongol armies that conquered most of Asia, 
the Middle East, and much of Europe were predominately cavalry archers. 
For the time they were a unique combination of firepower and speed. They 
could cross almost any kind of terrain quickly, strike unexpectedly, and 
withdraw if necessary before heavy cavalry or infantry units could react. 
The Mongols especially mastered the tactics of hitting, running, and 
ambushing, avoiding hand-to-hand fighting until the enemy was completely 
demoralized. Cavalry archers were most effective on open ground with plenty 
of maneuvering room. They were least effective against fortified positions 
that could not be starved out and required a hand-to-hand assault."

Here's one new and interesting class of units available during the Castle 
Age. Now that Cavalry units are in when you have the Knights. There are 
also Archers that have taken on horse riding. They move much faster than 
normal Crossbowmen, and deal more damage. The only weakness is their 
slightly shorter range. However, the extra HP should help in balancing 
this. A new technique is available now. Since they move so fast, you can 
run up into some unsuspecting infantry, open fire, they give chase, and 
you run back a few steps. You fire again. You repeat until all the infantry 
giving pursuit are all dead. This hit and run tactic is effective, but 
requires plenty of room. You had better research the Ballistics technology 
beforehand, and you don't have to be that frustrated.

Cavalry Archers have the weirdest line of upgrades due to them being a 
hybrid unit. First of all, a certain upgrade in the Stable actually works 
on them. It's the Husbandry Technology this increases the speed of Cavalry 
Archers by 25%. The other upgrades are to be researched in the Blacksmith. 
The programmers of this game have decided not to give both Cavalry and 
Archer upgrades to the Cavalry Archers. It's the Archer upgrades that make 
them stronger. You get the Bodkin Arrow, which increases the Range and 
Attack of Cavalry Archers by 1, and the Leather Archer Armor which increases 
the Armor and Pierce Armor of Cavalry Archers by 1. By then your range 
should be mean enough for all the hits and runs.

Arbalest
Cost: 25 Wood, 45 Gold               Hit Points: 40                    
Attack: 6          Range: 5           Armor: 0/0                         
"The arbalest was an advanced crossbow made of steel. The greater tensile 
strength of steel gave the weapon greater power."

Arbalests are the most powerful foot archers in the game, that is, if you 
count only the standard ones. They have 5 more hitpoints over the 
Crossbowmen, and 1 more attack. The Range remains the same. It is getting 
a little bit expensive to have all Archers upgrade to use steel made 
crossbows. It costs 350 Food and 300 Gold for this upgrade, and it is not 
available to all civilizations. Only the Britons, Vikings, Saracens, 
Byzantines, Mongols, Chinese and Japanese have them. I guess the nature 
of the civilization is practically determined by all this. Arbalests get 
more upgrades in the Imperial Age. 2 of them are in the Blacksmith. The 
Bracer further upgrades the Attack and Range of Arbalests by 1. The Ring 
Archer Armor upgrades the Armor of Arbalests by 1 and their Pierce Armor 
by 1 as well. And finally, there is this upgrade called Chemistry. The 
technology of making things burn artificially is given to the arrows. They 
now can fire flaming arrows!

Heavy Cavalry Archer
Cost: 40 Wood, 70 Gold               Hit Points: 60                    
Attack: 7          Range: 4           Armor: 1/0                         
"Cavalry archers could be a devastating force when skilled and properly 
used, but they were as susceptible to archery fire as their enemies. One 
innovation intended to make them less vulnerable was to equip them with 
helmets and chest armor. This created the heavy cavalry archer, which was 
less nimble than its unarmored counterparts but able to engage in combat 
while taking fewer casualties. The Byzantines made extensive use of heavy 
cavalry archers in the engagements with horsemen from Persia and great 
plains to their north."

Heavy Cavalry Archers do live up to their name once you get to the Imperial 
Age. They have 10 more hit points than the normal Cavalry Archers, and 
they finally wear armor. They are just as fast as their predecessors, and 
can attack from even further. However, the upgrade to Heavy Cavalry Archer 
really is expensive. It costs 900 Food and 500 Gold to do so, and it is 
also available to everyone except the Teutons and Vikings. There are no 
horse specific upgrades for Heavy Cavalry Archers, so you will have to 
use the Blacksmith again. The Bracer further upgrades the Attack and Range 
of Heavy Cavalry Archers by 1. The Ring Archer Armor upgrades the Armor 
of Heavy Cavalry Archers by 1 and their Pierce Armor by 1 as well. The 
Chemistry technology works wonders for them too. They fire flaming arrows 
and get 1 extra point of attack.

Hand Cannoneer
Cost: 45 Food, 50 Gold               Hit Points: 35                    
Attack: 17          Range: 7          Armor: 1/0                         
"Following the development of cannons, small hand-operated gunpowder 
weapons began appearing in Europe in the fourteenth century. These early 
firearms were small iron tubes mounted on a wooden stock. They were 
inaccurate and slow to load. In the early fifteenth century the hand cannon 
was made smaller, the stock was redesigned so it could be held against 
the chest, and a mechanism was added for inserting the slow-burning match 
into the chamber. This weapon was effective only in volleys at close range. 
In the middle of the fifteenth century the first recognizably modern 
firearm, the arquebus, was developed. This employed a wheel lock to bring 
the slow match in contact with a powder pan connected by a tube to the 
chamber. Lead and cast iron balls fired from the arquebus were lethal. 
Firearms of the Middle Ages had an inferior range and rate of fire in 
comparison to the best bows and crossbows. Firearms improved gradually, 
however, and became more and more popular, despite their high cost. They 
became status symbols. Important lords engaged in an arms race, attempting 
to field more firearms of more modern design than their competitors."

It has been a long wait, but firearms are starting to be developed during 
the Imperial Age. Hand Cannoneers are units who fire hand cannons. They 
are extremely deadly towards infantry units, but are extremely inaccurate 
when firing from a long distance away. Ballistics doesn't seem to have 
much effect on them either. Since the hand cannons make use of gunpowder, 
you must first research Chemistry in the University. Afterwards, check 
your Archery Range. There will be an option for you to research Hand 
Cannoneers. After the research is complete, you can train these guys for 
combat. Hand Cannoneers are best for keeping infantrymen away from you. 
This is because they are more likely to hit the target when they are close. 
A line of them is almost impenetrable to armies of Champions and Pikemen.

However, you still have to watch out for Knights since they can get close 
and you have very low HP. Since they are so obscenely powerful, there are 
no upgrades available that can further increase the Hand Cannoneers' attack. 
However, the Bracer still increases their range and the Ring Archer Armor 
still serves to improve their armor.

Longbowman and Elite Longbowman *****BRITON EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 35 Wood, 40 Gold               Hit Points: 35,40                 
Attack: 6,7          Range: 5,6           Armor: 0/0, 0/1               
"The longbow was very tall, 5 or 6 feet long, and crafted from a single 
piece of wood, commonly yew. It fired 3-foot-long arrows at a great range 
and, in the hands of an expert, could be extremely accurate. Edward I 
(Longshanks) of England grasped the value of this weapon and the English 
thereafter employed large contingents of longbowmen in their Middle Age 
armies. All sports other than archery were banned on Sundays in Britain 
to ensure that archers practiced. The long bow was used effectively in 
long-range barrages against massed troops, firing thin pointed arrows 
called bodkins that could pierce armor. Arrows were fired simultaneously 
by thousands of archers and aimed at a distant area rather than a specific 
target. Enemy troops within the area were forced to receive the barrage 
with no cover but their armor and shields. The barrage caused casualties 
and reduced enemy morale. The most famous examples of this tactic were 
the great English victories at Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt during the 
Hundred Years War. French knights recalled with horror the awful sound 
of thousands of arrows in flight and the sky turning dark from their 
shafts."

Longbowmen are the elite archers that are exclusive to the Britons. They 
are noted for their extremely long range. In fact, this is made even better 
since the British archers get range bonuses in the Castle and Imperial 
Ages. Their attacks are also tougher than standard Crossbowmen. There's 
more. They also cost less Gold to train than the standard Archers. This 
definitely means that you should exclusively train Longbowmen once you 
hit the Castle Age. If you want to upgrade to the Elite Longbowmen in the 
Imperial Age, a considerable price has to be paid. You will need 850 Food 
and 850 Gold to upgrade, but that should be really worth it.

There is only one disadvantage in using Longbowmen. It is their rate of 
fire. They fire once, then pause much longer than other archers before 
firing the next arrow. This means there will be some extra time for the 
enemy to catch up and when that happens, you would be rather doomed. Don't 
even bother hitting and running with these guys. The computer does that 
a lot in the Joan of Arc campaign and they quickly got massacred all of 
them when no knights are around. The obvious trick is to have the Longbowmen 
positioned way back in the column and take advantage of their range only 
then. As for defending your camp against intruders, Longbowmen rock.

Janissary and Elite Janissary *****TURKISH EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 60 Food, 55 Gold               Hit Points: 35,40                 
Attack: 15,18          Range: 8            Armor: 1/0, 2/0               
"Some of the best units in the Turkish armies were the janissaries. These 
men were slaves captured as children and raised under Islam to be fanatical 
warriors. They wore distinctive white headgear and marched into battle 
accompanied by music. They fought on foot with a variety of weapons, 
including early firearms when these weapons reached the Middle East. The 
military was their entire life and they took great pride in their ability. 
They led the successful assault into Constantinople and the unsuccessful 
Turkish attacks against Malta and Vienna."

Janissaries are the slave gunmen of the Turks. I read about them in the 
history books. In the Age of Empires, they are armed no less with Hand 
Cannons. They are better than Hand Cannoneers in the respect that they 
have superior attack, better armor and they have no minimum range at all. 
Which means when the enemy gets close, these guys don't need to withdraw 
and back up. Just keep on shooting. It costs only 850 Food and 750 Gold 
to upgrade Janissaries into Elite Janissaries. Always have some of these 
to support your Crossbowmen, since the Turks do not have Arbalests. 
Remember not to let Cavalry get close and you will be fine.

Mangudai and Elite Mangudai *****MONGOL EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 55 Wood, 65 Gold               Hit Points: 60               
Attack: 6,8          Range: 4            Armor: 0/0, 1/0          
"The Mongols were united by Genghis Khan, who took them off on a campaign 
of conquest that reached from the Pacific to the Mediterranean to Central 
Europe. The Mongols were superb horsemen and each warrior kept a stable 
of ponies so that fresh mounts were always available. The strength of the 
Mongol armies was the horse archer firing a composite bow from the saddle. 
The best of these archers, called the mangudai, used great tactics to catch 
enemies at a disadvantage. They used feints and traps to wear out enemy 
cavalry and shoot it to pieces. Slower troops could be shot to pieces at 
range with little risk. Enemy armies were exhausted and shattered without 
ever coming to grips with the elusive mangudai. The main weakness of the 
Mongol army was that only great leaders could keep it together. When the 
great Khan or later leaders died, the army dissolved into factions 
bickering for primacy."

Once you hit the Castle Age, you will find that there is a new line of 
units called Siege Weapons. One of them, the Battering Ram has 
exceptionally high Pierce Armor, so that can destroy several Towers with 
ease before they start to be worn down. The unique Mongol Cavalry Archer, 
the Mangudai goes against this trend. Why is that? It's because they are 
given with an extremely vital bonus. It's the attack bonus against Siege 
Weapons. This is great. A useful tactic in thwarting Ram attacks is to 
garrison some Mangudai in a castle near the front lines to add support 
fire. When you start noticing Siege Rams and Trebuchets appearing, you 
quickly ungarrison, circle around the enemy units and spray those weapons 
full of arrows. Then they will be much less likely to breach your defenses. 
Now, let's do a side by side comparison with the Cavalry Archers. Elite 
Mangudai may have 10 fewer HP than Heavy Cavalry Archers, but their attack 
is certainly superior, and that bonus definitely serves them well. So, 
it is definitely feasible to train Mangudai only and ignore the Cavalry 
Archers. And finally, it costs 1100 Food and 675 Gold to upgrade from normal 
Mangudai to the Elite Mangudai, compared to 900 Food and 500 Gold for Heavy 
Cavalry Archers.

Chu Ko Nu and Elite Chu Ko Nu *****CHINESE EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 40 Wood, 35 Gold               Hit Points: 45,50           
Attack: 8          Range: 4           Armor: 0/0                   
"The crossbow was invented in China in ancient times and the chu ko nu 
was an improved crossbow invented there during European Middle Ages. The 
chu ko nu was something like a semi-automatic crossbow. It was fitted with 
a magazine of bolts. When the operator pulled back the bowstring, a new 
bolt was automatically loaded. When the bowstring reached its limit, the 
weapon fired automatically. The operator pulled back as quickly as he could 
to maintain a rapid fire. The weaknesses of the weapon were a short range 
and weaker power compared to larger single-shot crossbows."

The first time I read the instruction manual, I had no idea what the Chinese 
exclusive unit is. Chu Ko Nu? That takes 3 words! But after all, it turned 
out to be the name of the weapon. (I am a Chinese, and hence have some 
history books about the weapons used.) These mean things are basically 
the forerunners of the submachine guns. The normal Chu Ko Nu start with 
a rapid burst of 3 before a short pause, before firing another burst. Elite 
Chu Ko Nu will become meaner than that since they fire even faster! 
Therefore, it's just natural that the only thing that improved for the 
Chu Ko Nu is the rate of fire and HP. (For your information, Elite Chu 
Ko Nus fire 4 arrow bursts!) Otherwise, gamers around the world will gripe 
to Microsoft for overpowering them.

It's about time we do a side by side comparison of the elite Chu Ko Nu 
and the Arbalest. For one thing, the only thing inferior for the Elite 
Chu Ko Nu is the 1 range deficit. Otherwise, Chu Ko Nu are superior in 
everything else, and cost less Gold. So the conclusion should be very 
obvious. It is definitely all right to train Chu Ko Nu exclusively and 
ignore any standard Archers. One tactic in using Chu Ko Nu is to train 
some and group them separately from the standard attack force of 
infantrymen and cavalry. Have them moving by the sides. Once the battle 
ensues, have your Chu Ko Nu swoop in and nail them all. The attributes 
of Longbowmen and Chu Ko Nu are inversely related. Longbowmen get longer 
range for slower fire and weaker attacks while the Chu Ko Nu get less range 
for stronger defense and nastier attack power. Oh and finally, it may 
interest you to know that it's quite expensive to upgrade Chu Ko Nu to 
Elite Chu Ko Nu. You need 950 Food and 950 Gold for that useful transaction. 
But you would have saved a little Gold by not upgrading the Archers, right?

Scout Cavalry
Cost: 80 Food    Hit Points: 45     Attack: 3     Armor: 0/2
"The importance of fast horse units for scouting had been learned in ancient 
times and carried forward into the Middle Ages. Even Middle Age armies 
built around heavy knights maintained a force of lightly armored scout 
cavalry to act as the eyes of an army on the march. Scout cavalry employed 
horses bred for stamina and speed. They would range far in advance and 
to the flanks of an army to gather information about enemy movements. Scout 
cavalry were less useful in battle because the men wore little armor and 
light weapons. They were very useful, however, once an enemy was defeated 
and routing. Then scout cavalry were effective in running down fleeing 
survivors and capturing equipment, wagons, and prisoners."

Scout Cavalry are the Cavalry units that you will all start with. They 
are trained in the Feudal Age. Scout Cavalry have very long lines of sight 
so they can see very far around them. Their main purpose is to run around 
the map and revealing as much of it as possible, and possibly to find the 
enemy base. When a Scout Cavalry is built, its stance is set to Stand Ground 
by default. This is because these guys' attack power are very pathetic. 
They are bound to lose to Men at Arms in one on one combat. The sound made 
by their sword implies that it may be made of rubber! The only good thing 
about these cavalry units is that they have considerable Pierce Armor. 
I guess this is to protect them from being hurt by Watch Towers and Archers 
back in those times. Even so, there are already upgrades available for 
the Scout Calvary in the Blacksmith. They are Forging, which increases 
the Attack of the Scout Cavalry by 1. There is also the Scale Barding Armor, 
which increases the Armor and Pierce Armor of Scout Cavalry by 1.

Light Cavalry
Cost: 80 Food    Hit Points: 60     Attack: 7     Armor: 0/2
"As Middle Age armies grew larger and campaigned farther afield, the 
importance of scouting grew. Many civilizations developed light cavalry, 
an improvement on scout cavalry, for this role. Light cavalry were better 
trained and better equipped for fighting. In battle they could be used 
to harass or charge enemy infantry or support their own knights in a charge. 
Light cavalry wore only partial armor and a shield and fought most commonly 
with a spear. Civilizations that could not afford extensive armor for 
warriors, such as barbarian groups from the East, put large contingents 
of light cavalry into the field."

Light Cavalry is the upgraded version of the Scout Cavalry. This upgrade 
is really a great leap from the old times. The Attack is more than doubled 
to 7 (You now hear the nice clinking sound when they attack the enemies), 
while the Hit Points has increased to 60. Monks will start to appear in 
the Castle Age, so the Light Cavalry are also resistant to conversion by 
enemy Monks. Once you advance to the Castle Age from the Feudal Age, the 
line of sight of Light Cavalry will be increased by a lot. This makes them 
much effective as scouts. It is rather cheap to upgrade from Scout Cavalry 
to Light Cavalry. It only costs you 150 Food and 50 Gold. 

Everyone gets to upgrade, except the Teutons! Since this kind of Cavalry 
only requires food but not Gold, you can consider massing thee units if 
you are desperate or short of cash. There are even more upgrades available 
in the Castle Age for Scout Cavalry. The Iron Casting technology in the 
Blacksmith increases their attack by 1. The Chain Barding Armor increases 
the Light Cavalry's Armor and Pierce Armor by 1. There is also the Husbandry 
Technology in the stables, which increases their speed, making them even 
better scouts than before.

Knight
Cost: 60 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 100     Attack: 10     Armor: 2/2
"The knight was a heavily armored and mounted warrior who had achieved 
certain minimums in training and position in Middle Age society. When made 
a knight, the warrior was often given land to support his military expenses 
in return for a pledge to serve his lord on campaign for so many weeks 
each year. By parceling out land in this manner, a high lord controlled 
a hierarchy of soldiers that could be called upon when needed. Knights 
spent most of their time fighting or training for fighting. They practiced 
war in tournaments, competing for prizes and honors. Because few others 
could afford the equipment and training for war, knights dominated Middle 
Age battlefields for centuries. The evolution of new tactics featuring 
pikemen, longbowmen, crossbowmen, and primitive handguns brought the 
dominance of heavy cavalry to an end."

As the Castle Age comes, a new line of cavalry units is available. It's 
the Knight. These mounted units are the first "serious" cavalry units you 
will find. This is why you require considerable Gold to train one. They 
have superior hit points and attack. They also have 2 Armor with their 
2 Pierce Armor. Consider building these in large quantity. They are deadly 
towards most units, whether they are infantry units, archers or Siege 
Weapons. The only enemies you have to look out for are Pikemen and Camels. 
Everyone gets to use Knights, even those civilizations living in the middle 
east and far east. So all's fair for love and war.

Basically the same upgrades for Light Cavalry apply to Knights. The Iron 
Casting technology in the Blacksmith increases their attack by 1. The Chain 
Barding Armor increases the Knight's Armor and Pierce Armor by 1. There 
is also the Husbandry Technology in the stables, which increases their 
speed by a little.

Camel
Cost: 55 Food, 60 Gold    Hit Points: 100     Attack: 5     Armor: 0/0
"The camel was a useful mount for warriors in desert regions of the world 
because it could move quickly across sand and could go long periods without 
water. In addition, horses shied away from the presence of camels. The 
Saracens made good use of camels during the Crusades; camel riders appeared 
out of the desert to raid Crusader outposts and caravans and then escaped 
back into terrain that horses could not cross."

Camels are the second line of new cavalry units available in the Castle 
Age. I can tell that they are quite serious attackers since they require 
Gold. Since camels live in the desert, they are only available to 
civilizations with access to desert, and there are only 6 dedicated 
civilizations; namely the Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols 
and Chinese. The description of how horses shy away from Camels is quite 
true for Age of Empires II. Camels are equipped with attack bonuses for 
Cavalry Units (well, except other Camels, maybe.). They are the 
anti-cavalry cavalry units. Their only weakness is that they have no base 
armor whatsoever, and have weaker stats than the Knight. But still, they 
aren't as weak against infantry and archers as the instruction manual 
stated. Therefore, if you are lucky enough to play as the above 
civilizations, I suggest you train a quarter of your cavalry to be Camels.

The same upgrades for Light Cavalry apply to Camels. The Iron Casting 
technology in the Blacksmith increases their attack by 1. The Chain Barding 
Armor increases the Camel's Armor and Pierce Armor by 1. There is also 
the Husbandry Technology in the stables, which increases their speed by 
a little. It's weird here since Husbandry is supposed to be a horse breeding 
technique, but not Camel breeding.

Cavalier
Cost: 60 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 120     Attack: 12     Armor: 2/2
"There was a hierarchy among knights based on feudal rank and fighting 
prowess. A lowly knight might achieve great social standing through 
battlefield commendation, tournament victory, or marriage. Elite knights 
were made members of important orders, like the Order of the Garter or 
of the Golden Fleece. Such elite men were known as chevaliers or cavaliers. 
The first cavaliers were selected for their political power and fighting 
prowess. As the centuries passed, the orders became more of a social elite."

Cavaliers are the stronger version of Knights that are available in the 
Imperial Age. Their hit points and attack power have been increased by 
20% over their predecessors. The upgrade cost is 300 Food and 300 Gold. 
Every civilization gets this upgrade, well, except the Saracens. So, those 
Arabs better use more Camels instead. In the Imperial Age, there are 2 
more ultimate upgrades for Cavaliers, and they are the Blast Furnace, which 
increases the attack of Cavaliers by 2, and the Plate Barding Armor, which 
increases the Armor of Cavaliers by 1 and their Pierce Armor by 2.

Paladin
Cost: 60 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 160     Attack: 14     Armor: 2/3
"The ultimate fighting knights were paladins, the cream of the cavalier 
class. Paladins were champions for their lords and their orders of 
knighthood. These men were of the highest social class and elite warriors. 
They often made up the personal bodyguard of a great king and were sworn 
to protect his life with their own."

Paladins are the champions of the cavalry and hence the ultimate standard 
cavalry unit. Their upgrade is a significant jump from the previous one. 
Paladins get a whopping 40 more HP than the Cavaliers and also 2 more attack. 
In order for Pikemen to defeat these, they have to outnumber them 2 to 
1. The cost of this upgrade is definitely expensive as hell. You need 1300 
Food and 750 Gold for this jump. The sad thing is, only a few dedicated 
civilizations get to train Horses to be such champs. They are the Celts, 
Franks, Teutons, Byzantines and Persians. It's all right to consider those 
civilization Cavalry civilizations, which makes this upgrade a must. As 
strong as Paladins are, they are still vulnerable to Elite Teutonic Knights 
and War Elephants. This is simply because of their superior armor. The 
Blast Furnace increases the attack of Paladins by 2, and the Plate Barding 
Armor increases the Armor of Paladins by 1 and their Pierce Armor by 2.

Heavy Camel
Cost: 55 Food, 60 Gold    Hit Points: 120     Attack: 7     Armor: 0/0
"The heavy camel was an especially experienced warrior and camel rider 
who wore some armor. They were used by desert civilizations of the Middle 
East who fought against archers from the Byzantine Empire and horse archers 
raiding down from the steppes of Asia."

Heavy Camels are the upgrades of standard Camels in the Imperial Age. They 
are said to be wearing armor but this does not apply in Age of Empires 
II. It costs 325 Food and 360 Gold to upgrade. Their HP are the same as 
Cavaliers though. If you want to beat Paladins, you must as well outnumber 
them 2 to 1 as for Pikemen. As for infantry and archers, just attack the 
same way for Camels. The Blast Furnace increases the attack of Heavy Camels 
by 2, and the Plate Barding Armor increases the Armor of Heavy Camels by 
1 and their Pierce Armor by 2. Since the Heavy Camels have no base armor, 
the latter upgrade should be taken with a higher priority. What a pity 
there are no further upgrades to this cool unit. I would like to see a 
Super Heavy Camel in the Stable.

Mameluke and Elite Mameluke *****SARACEN EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 55 Wood, 85 Gold               Hit Points: 65,80           
Attack: 7,10          Range: 3           Armor: 0/0,1/0               
"The mamelukes were slaves trained as warriors by various Arab leaders, 
partially because early believers in Islam would not fight each other. 
Slave warriors got around this ban. The mamelukes were well trained and 
highly motivated. A mameluke army from Egypt won a rare victory against 
the Mongols in Syria, turning these barbarian horsemen back from the Nile 
and North Africa. In time the mamelukes rose up against their Arab rulers 
and took control themselves. When Napoleon invaded Egypt in the eighteenth 
century, he defeated a mameluke army at the Battle of the Pyramids."

There was this ranged infantryman called the Throwing Axeman who is 
extremely bad in attack and cannot run very fast. It seems that there is 
also ranged cavalry now. Mamelukes are Camels who throw daggers at the 
enemy. They are extremely effective against Mounted Units. They are also 
one of my favorites. Heavy Cavalry Archers are just as fast and have ranged 
attacks, but their arrows just bounce off the Knights as they run back. 
However, with Mamelukes, you can hit and run from them with much more 
effective results. This is particularly important in fending off those 
nasty War Elephants from Persia. The only drawback is that Mamelukes are 
quite expensive. For slave warriors this is surprising. Luckily the upgrade 
from Mameluke to Elite Mameluke is extremely cheap, namely 600 Food and 
500 Gold. Comparing Mamelukes to Camels would be like comparing apples 
to oranges since their attacks are way different in nature. I advise you 
to train both types of units to offset the lack of advanced cavalry units 
of the Saracens. The Husbandry Technology works on them as well.

Cataphracts and Elite Cataphracts *****BYZANTINE EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 70 Food, 75 Gold               Hit Points: 110,150
Attack: 9,12                           Armor: 2/1
"The Byzantine army carried on many of the military traditions of the old 
Roman Empire into the Middle Ages. This was a professional force that was 
well trained and well led. Officers studied tactics and command. The army 
was organized into formal units that maintained their own traditions for 
centuries. The best units in the Byzantine army were partially armored 
cavalrymen called cataphracts. They fought with several weapons, 
including the bow and sword. With plains to the east and north of their 
empire, the cataphract was ideally suited for combat against the unarmored 
cavalry of their enemies. The Byzantine army went into decline partially 
because it lost the plains of Asia Minor from which it had drawn both horses 
and cavalrymen for service as cataphracts."

We have a standard issue unique Cavalry Unit for the Byzantines. They are 
the Cataphracts. Cataphracts are cavalry with an attack bonus against 
infantry! Now that Knights are already good against infantry units, 
Cataphracts bring it one step higher. What's more, they are resistant to 
Pikemen. It takes 4 fully upgraded Pikemen to bring down a Fully upgraded 
Elite Cataphract! So, basically, the Cataphract's sole weakness is the 
Camel, and only 6 civilizations get to use them. So, it's really hard to 
stop Cataphracts, making them one of the most powerful units in the game. 
If you read the instruction manual, you will find that Cataphracts are 
weak against Knights. A possible reason is that their HP and Attack are 
inferior to them. But Cataphracts are just 1 Attack lower than Knights 
and Elite Cataphracts are just as powerful as Cavaliers, and only 10 HP 
behind Paladins. Their Armor is the same. Since most civilizations don't 
have Paladins, you can feel free to train Cataphracts in place of Knights. 
Since Cataphracts are so powerful, upgrading them to the Elite Cataphract 
is very expensive at 1600 Food and 800 Gold.

War Elephant and Elite War Elephant *****PERSIAN EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 200 Food, 75 Gold               Hit Points: 450,600
Attack: 15,20                           Armor: 1/2,1/3
"The last civilization in the Middle East to employ war elephants was Persia, 
who got their elephants from India. The war elephant was a powerful 
complement to an army, especially against troops with no experience against 
them. They were very difficult to kill, but remained difficult to control 
also. If they could be directed into an enemy formation, the enemy troops 
almost always fell back in disarray."

Oh God, there's no stopping them. They are coming to get me! The Persian 
War Elephant is one of the meanest cavalry units in the game. They have 
obscenely high HP, and obscene attacks. These are literally Siege Weapon 
Cavalry. If you don't know how to counter them, you are most likely dead 
if your opponent sends in a large Horde of War Elephants. These guys ram 
down anything that gets in the way and moves on to destroy. The only unit 
with the needed attack bonus is the Pikeman, and you still have to outnumber 
each War Elephant by at least 3 to 1, which means that if your population 
is limited, you really can't stop these guys. Fortunately for you, War 
Elephants are extremely slow. This makes them vulnerable to conversion 
by Monks. Therefore, it's a good idea for you to station Monks at the 
entrances to your base as soon as you hit Castle Age if one of your opponents 
picked the Persian side. On the other hand, if you are playing as Teutons, 
Turks, Byzantines or Chinese, guard strategic points with Bombard Towers.

Luckily for all the upgrade for War Elephants is extremely high priced 
at 1600 Food and 1200 Gold. Even though they don't use swords, Forging, 
Iron Casting and Blast Furnace still works for them. Oh my god! This gives 
them a massive 24 attack.

Scorpion and Heavy Scorpion
Cost: 75 Wood, 75 Gold               Hit Points: 40,50           
Attack: 12          Range: 16         Armor: 0/6                   
"The scorpion represents a light artillery weapon that fired large 
arrow-like bolts, small stones, or iron balls. These weapons came in a 
variety of sizes and looked like large crossbows. Scorpions might be 
mounted on tripods or more substantial wooden frames. They were used 
primarily in siege attacks but could also be deployed in a set position 
on a battlefield. They were useful against massed enemy troops, especially 
cavalry, and against fortifications."

Scorpions are one of 4 mechanized units in the game. They are built in 
the Siege Workshop. Scorpions are basically gigantic bow and arrows on 
wheels. They have excellent range and fire gigantic bolts at the enemy. 
The bolt can travel very far, and cause damage to any units that they touch 
on the way. Because of this, you might as well control the Scorpions 
manually. Have the Scorpion positioned in the rear, and when the horde 
of enemies come, have them target the ones at the back. The bolt can then 
fly forward into the group and cause damage to every single unit in the 
line! This is especially effective against infantry units that are always 
on the move. Therefore, it's always good to have them as support for your 
own close combat units. Sure, Scorpions may appear to have excellent Pierce 
Armor, but tell you what, arrows from Towers and Castles can shred them 
very quickly as you know it, so don't attack structures with Scorpions.

Scorpions are quite cheap, and only have one upgrade in the Imperial Age. 
It is the upgrade for the Heavy Scorpion. You will be pleased to find out 
that it costs 1000 Food, 1100 Wood and absolutely no Gold at all! Heavy 
Scorpions are available if you are playing as Celts, Franks, Vikings, 
Teutons, Goths, Turks, Persians, Mongols, Chinese and Japanese. Only 3 
civilizations get the Shaft for this unit.

It seems that the Blacksmith upgrade for archers apply for this unit. 
Fletching, Bodkin Arrow and Bracer can improve their attack and range. 
Chemistry increases their attack by one more and allow them to fire fiery 
bolts. Siege Engineers give them 1 more range.

Mangonels, Onagers and Siege Onagers
Cost: 160 Wood, 135 Gold             Hit Points: 50,60,70      
Attack: 40,50,75         Range: 7,8,8        Armor: 0/6,0/7,0/8
"The mangonel was an improvement on the ancient catapult that was used 
to throw stones and other missiles, usually in a siege attack against a 
fortified position. The mangonel usually fired directly at a target, using 
a bar to stop the throwing arm when it was vertical. This threw the missile 
directly forward. Mangonels were used to fire one large stone or a basket 
of smaller stones. They were often assembled on the spot for use, but were 
also built on wheeled frames for easier movement. The onager was an 
improvement of the mangonel; it was larger, more powerful, and hurled a 
heavier payload for greater distance. The siege onager was the largest 
upgrade of the onager line of weapons. It had the longest range and did 
the most damage."

I always dreamed of a Middle Ages RTS game where you use Catapults instead 
of artillery. I guess my wish has been granted. Mangonels are the stone 
lobbing Siege Units in this game. They are used to haul lots of rocks at 
the enemy at once. They have decent range, but don't have as much as 
Scorpions. Units that are moving are very likely to evade all those rocks. 
However, they are excellent as Archer support units. Build one or 2 along 
with your Archer brigade and you can pepper the enemy Archers with the 
Rocks. This can discouraging them from standing still in one spot, thus 
firing at you, and it is also very likely for you to heavily injure and 
kill lots of enemy archers. This works fine for most archers, except for 
Longbowmen (Long Range) and Chu Ko Nu (Very high HP). During Base Assaults, 
it's a good idea to haul rocks over the walls to hit those nasty Archers 
and Monks on the other side. 

However, don't ever use these guys to support close combat units. The rocks 
thrown cannot tell the difference between friend or foe. If your units 
are in the way, they are very likely to kill them as well! Mangonels are 
better at damaging buildings than Scorpions, but they are still quite slow. 
A building constantly being repaired can rarely be destroyed by Mangonels. 
And don't even think about attacking Towers or Castles, since they get 
shredded real quick.

Mangonels are just the Castle Age version. In the Imperial Age, you get 
to upgrade to a better version, the Onager, and the spelling is not even 
related to Mangonels in any way! It costs only 800 Food and 500 Gold to 
upgrade. Everyone gets them, except the Turks, again! That's not all, if 
you are playing as Celts, Teutons, Saracens or Mongols, you get to build 
Siege Onagers for a massive 1450 Food and 1000 Gold, these units are even 
more powerful, and can even cut through forests. So you can sneak up on 
the enemies from new directions. Just use the Attack Ground function to 
attack a certain area of land. This technique is also useful if you can 
predict where the enemies will be in the next moment. But manual control 
is definitely required. Oh and finally, the Chemistry upgrade works for 
these units. They will now fire rocks that are glowing red hot, and will 
have 1 extra Attack. The Siege Engineers is to increase their Range.

Battering Ram
Cost: 160 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 175     Attack: 2     Armor: 0/180
"The most direct way to attack a stone wall or other stone fortification 
was to knock it down with a battering ram. The typical ram was a stout 
log mounted on wheels or suspended from a frame so it could swing forward 
and backward. The frame was brought up to the wall or gate to be battered 
and then men heaving in unison repeatedly slammed the ram head into the 
target. The battering ram frame required a roof of some sort to protect 
the crew from above. This was often covered with wet animal hides to retard 
fire. Given enough time, any obstruction could be knocked down, opening 
a breach for assault."

Yay, one of the symbols of Middle Ages warfare has finally arrived in the 
Castle Age. Battering Rams are what you use to ram down the walls. They 
may have pathetic attack, but that's just so that they are specialized 
in what they are doing. Destroying walls and buildings are their specialty. 
However, the effects are rather periodical. You see them run up to the 
building, and the ramming begins. However, the target's HP will drop 
gradually but quickly, and over 100 HP is lost each time. They have 
obscenely high pierce armor, and each arrow fired at the Battering Ram 
will only deal 1 HP damage! Battering Rams may look sluggish, but they 
have more brains than Scorpions and Mangonels. They actually answer with 
human voices rather than some pathetic mechanical sounds whenever you 
select them! They also have the brains to stand up to the Towers, and hence 
is my favorite Siege Unit. Yes, build at least 4 before attacking the enemy 
base, and you won't regret it! However, you still have to defend them from 
close combat units, particularly Knights and Long Swordsmen.

Capped Ram
Cost: 160 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 200     Attack: 3     Armor: 0/190
"Rams were simple and effective weapons for breaking into fortifications. 
The typical battering ram was a stout log mounted on wheels or suspended 
from a frame so it could swing forward and backward. Any wall could be 
knocked down given enough time. Capping the point of a battering ram with 
iron greatly improved the battering ram. The capped ram did more damage 
and lasted longer before needing replacement."

It's the Imperial Age. The demand for Siege Weapons has definitely 
increased. And of course, the Battering Ram will be improved. Once you 
research the Capped Ram upgrade for a cheap 300 Food and 250 Gold, the 
ends of the Rams will be capped with a metallic Goat's head. So, it really 
is a Ram now. When they attack enemies, they make this lovely ding sound 
instead of the horrible sound of wood hitting something hard. It also seems 
that there is a new feature known as the area effect. When you order a 
Capped Ram to ram a Fortified Wall section, you will find that 4 wall 
sections are being damaged simultaneously. Hence they are much more 
efficient in taking down even the thickest of walls. Since every 
civilization gets to use Capped Rams, you better start upgrading and don't 
get left behind! But the best of the best is still not there.

Siege Ram
Cost: 160 Food, 75 Gold    Hit Points: 270     Attack: 4     Armor: 0/195
"The ultimate battering ram was the siege ram. This was a large engine 
that was heavily protected and designed to hit with a powerful force. Siege 
rams were often prefabricated weapons that were hauled to the site of the 
siege and assembled on the spot."

Lovely, just lovely the ultimate Battering Ram is here. Siege Rams start 
capped, and the outer covering looks more metallic than ever. They are 
presented with a gigantic boost in HP over the Capped Ram, and are more 
resistant to arrows than ever! Their area effect of damage is also much 
more substantial than Capped Ram. Now, they may be able to damage 6 
Fortified Wall Sections at once, and even if a building is behind the Ram, 
it will be damaged as long as it is ramming. If you have Siege Engineers, 
researching it is really a must, since they deal 20% more damage to 
buildings. 8 civilizations get to use the Siege Ram. They are the Celts, 
Vikings, Turks, Saracens, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols and Chinese. I 
guess Europeans all get the shaft here. If you want to upgrade, be prepared 
to shell out lots, 1000 Food and 800 Gold. Then consider building as many 
as 6 of these and watch the enemies' camp being reduced to rubble.

Bombard Cannon
Cost: 225 Wood, 225 Gold               Hit Points: 50              
Attack: 40          Range: 12           Armor: 2/5                   
"Gunpowder reached Europe from China by the thirteenth century and 
primitive cannons appeared first in the fourteenth century. Bombard 
cannons were large, ponderous, and dangerous to fire because the guns 
tended to break and because gunpowder was of uneven quality. They were 
used mainly in sieges where the time was available to set them up and fire 
them at a fixed target. By the fifteenth century, bombard cannons firing 
stone or iron shot were making castles obsolete. Cannons could bring down 
vertical stone walls quickly by firing shot at high velocity directly into 
the lower wall sections. Giant bombard cannons manned by European 
mercenaries were instrumental in the Turkish attack that finally captured 
Constantinople in 1453."

In the Imperial Age, gunpowder is finally invented, and we now have people 
who man the cannons, firing at enemy structures. They are of course, 
effective against enemy buildings, and out range all of them. However, 
you will first need to research Chemistry in the University, to get the 
option to research Bombard Cannons before you can train Bombard Cannons. 
Bombard Cannons are extremely expensive, and have extremely low hit points, 
so you must surround them with Cavaliers before you make your move. Bombard 
Cannons are also effective against enemy Siege Weapons, however, you will 
have to manually control the Bombards. You predict where the Siege Weapon 
will be and then target that part of the ground. If you are right, the 
cannon ball should hit the Siege Weapon at the right time, shattering it. 
As for Trebuchets that are unpacked, you are in for a treat. No escape 
from the cannon balls whatsoever. But still, not all civilizations get 
this upgrade. You must be playing as Franks, Teutons, Goths, Saracens, 
Turks, Byzantines or Persians to get this unit.

Trebuchet
Cost: 200 Wood, 200 Gold               Hit Points: 150             
Attack: 200          Range: 16           Armor: 1/150               
"The most powerful of the Middle Age nongunpowder siege engines was the 
trebuchet. This was a large catapult-like weapon with a long throwing arm 
and missile bag suspended by ropes. When released the arm swung up and 
the bag was brought up and forward. Centrifugal force acting on the 
suspended bag increased the range and height achieved by the released 
missile. Stones fired by the Trebuchet plunged down on their target and 
did great damage to the tops and roofs of walls, towers, and other 
structures. Trebuchets were expensive and complicated machines, requiring 
specialists to build and operate. They could only be moved in parts and 
required assembly before use. Edward I of England refused the surrender 
of Stirling Castle in Scotland on one occasion so that he could watch his 
most recently acquired Trebuchet in action."

You will definitely like this. Trebuchets are the REAL Catapults, unlike 
the Onagers, which are mini catapults. They deal massive damage to 
buildings and have extremely long range. They area available on the get 
on in the Castle. They are also cheaper than Bombard Cannons, which is 
a surprise. It seems that there are in total 2 states of the Trebuchet. 
The unpacked state is the state where the Trebuchet comes out in. It looks 
like a wooden kit on wheels. It has no attack, but a better standard Armor 
than the unpacked version. Whenever you order the Trebuchet to attack, 
it will start unpacking itself, and the crew will start assembling the 
Trebuchet on the spot. After a short wait, the Trebuchet will start hurling 
rocks at the target. 

Whenever you have to be on the move again, you will have to pack up again, 
and this takes even more time. A single boulder is thrown each time, but 
the damage is much higher than that of Onagers. However, you should be 
aware that the rocks tend to be inaccurate. They tend to miss sometimes. 
It seems that Onagers and Bombard Cannons are exceptional against 
Trebuchets. If you see some coming, you better send Cavalry up front to 
hack them to pieces before they can get in range. (Bombard Cannons only 
have 4 less range than Trebuchets.) Vital upgrades for the Trebuchet 
include Siege Engineers, which give them 1 more range and allow them to 
deal 20% more damage to buildings. Another one is Chemistry, which allows 
them to hurl glowing red rocks at the targets, aside from the visual effects 
it does almost nothing, but adding 1 to the attack. How's that 1 Attack 
going to make a great difference with a 200 Base Attack I ask.

Fishing Ship (Cost: 75 Wood)
"The technology of shipbuilding, sailing, and navigation improved 
substantially during the Middle Ages. One result of these advances was 
a greater range and efficiency for Fishing Ships. The rich waters off the 
coasts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia provided a bounty of seafood that 
could be preserved by drying and salting. Preserved fish, especially cod, 
became an important trade good in the late Middle Ages."

Fishing Ships are well, ships that specialize in catching Fish. They are 
available from the Dark Age already, and are the only available ships back 
then. They serve as another source of food for your civilizations. They 
can fish on schools locate deep inside the water and bring them back to 
the dock for addition to your stockpile. Fishing Ships get to build Fish 
Traps from Feudal Age onwards. Fish Traps are a renewable source of food, 
sort of like Fish Farms. If you are playing as a good naval civilization, 
it will be wise to build your Docks rather spread out on the shorelines. 
Then the Fishing Ships can gather much more quickly from more schools.

Trade Cog (Cost: 100 Wood, 50 Gold)
"The demands of trade along the northern coasts of Europe led to the 
development of new types of ships with wide beams, deep drafts, square 
sails, stern rudders, and large cargo space. Ships of this new design were 
called cogs and they dominated Middle Age sea commerce from the Baltic 
Sea to the Western Mediterranean. Because these ships could not be drawn 
up on a beach easily, ports required piers extending out into water 
sufficiently deep to keep the cogs afloat. The Far Eastern equivalent to 
the trade cog was the Chinese junk, a much more advanced ship not surpassed 
in the West for many centuries."

Trade Cogs are the seaborne equivalent units of the Trade Carts. They 
perform trade with other Docks, and bring back Gold for your use. Whenever 
you see a Dock, whether it's that of a friend or enemy, click on it. There 
will be a Gold icon with a number next to it. That's the amount of Gold 
you will collect when the Trade Cog pays them a visit. The Gold will only 
be added to your stockpile when the Trade Cog calls into your own Dock. 
Of course, the seas are treacherous and your Trade Cogs are definitely 
vulnerable to attack by enemy ships, so make sure you position some of 
your own battleships along the way to protect your Trade Cogs. If you have 
an ally, start trading once you have hit the Feudal Age. All that extra 
Gold will determine whether you can own the game in the long run.

Transport Ship (Cost: 100 Wood)
"Trading ships of all kinds were requisitioned when armies were moved 
overseas. Such ships were usually modified into transports to better 
accommodate troops, horses, livestock, siege equipment, and supplies. 
England was invaded on several occasions during the Middle Ages, including 
the early Saxon/Angle/Jute invasions, numerous Norse invasions (the Danes 
ruled much of England temporarily), and the later Norman invasion of 1066. 
The Normans also invaded Sicily and southern Italy. Many of the Crusades 
involved sea movement from France to the Holy Land. The English brought 
armies into France several times during the Hundred Year's War."

Transport Ships are ships that well, used to transport your units over 
water. Transport Ships are available from the Feudal Age onwards. They 
start with the ability to transport 5 units. In the Castle Age, you can 
research Careening to increase the capacity by 5 units. In the Imperial 
Age, you get to research Dry Dock to increase the capacity of the Transport 
Ship by another 10! Of course this upgrade is limited to some civilizations, 
namely the Celts, Britons, Franks, Vikings, Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, 
Persians, Chinese and Japanese. Transport Ships that are loaded have a 
flag on top of them. If you are fighting on naval focused maps, you can 
consider having some "dud" Transport Ships along with the ones that really 
carry the strong hitters. Load those duds with maybe a single weak unit 
and send them over to distract the enemy ships. When they are away, you 
can send the rest of your real army in. Of course, Transport Ships traveling 
alone are often suspicious, so you can mix the real and dud ones together 
to confuse the enemy. It's really luck, as there is no way for the enemies 
to tell what has been loaded in a Transport Ship.

Galley
Cost: 90 Wood, 30 Gold               Hit Points: 120             
Attack: 6           Range: 5            Armor: 0/6              
"Warships largely disappeared in Europe during the Dark Ages because no 
civilization other than the Byzantines possessed the wealth and 
organization necessary for maintaining any sort of navy. As the centuries 
passed, a few small warships again appeared in the Western Mediterranean. 
These were oar-powered galleys used primarily for scouting and chasing 
down pirates that plagued sea trade. The best warships in the West were 
built and maintained by the Byzantines, who alone had carried on their 
shipbuilding traditions since ancient times."

Galleys are the first naval units with real attack powers. They are 
available in the Feudal Age. Each Galley is rather small in size and fires 
arrows, one at a time to the enemy. Don't expect to break through the 
enemies' lines just yet with these. Instead, target the enemies' Fishing 
Ships, Trade Cogs and Fish Traps. Galleys are affected by the Archer 
upgrades in the Blacksmith. Fletching will increase the range and attack 
of Galleys by 1. The good stuff has not come out yet. Let's wait until 
the Castle Age before considering any all out naval battles.

War Galley
Cost: 90 Wood, 30 Gold               Hit Points: 135             
Attack: 7           Range: 6            Armor: 0/6                 
"The war galley was a larger and improved fighting ship. It carried a larger 
contingent of marines and archers. When necessary, the equivalent of a 
war galley was created by putting fighting towers at the stern and bow 
of trading ship. These provided better protection and a height advantage 
for archers when closed with an enemy ship."

War Galleys are the standard battleship units during the Castle Age. It 
costs 230 Food and 100 Gold to upgrade existing Galleys to War Galleys. 
War Galleys are much larger than Galleys and they fire large bolts instead 
of arrows. They may seem more powerful but you have to take in account 
the 2 anti-ship units available in the Dock as well. They are the Fire 
Ships and Demolition Ships. Fortunately, strength by numbers often work 
well for War Galleys. There are more Archer related upgrades available 
for War Galleys. The Bodkin Arrow increases their Range and Attack by 1. 
The Ballistics upgrade enables them to fire much more accurately. The 
Careening Upgrade provides them with better armor.

Galleon
Cost: 90 Wood, 30 Gold               Hit Points: 165             
Attack: 8           Range: 7            Armor: 0/8                 
"The galleon was a sailing ship outfitted for war, the largest fighting 
ship used in the West prior to the mounting of cannons on board. This large 
and sturdy ship carried a large contingent of fighting men and possibly 
some heavier siege artillery. The crew would attempt to board and capture 
an enemy ship in hand to hand fighting. Catapults or large crossbows 
provided additional firepower."

Galleons are just the Imperial Age Galleys. Their upgrade costs 400 Food 
and 315 Wood. Great, no Gold required. This upgrade is a big jump from 
the War Galley since the Hit Points have substantially increased, so did 
the Pierce Armor. Galleons definitely will win over the War Galleys in 
one on one combat. Galleons are still affected by Blacksmith upgrades. 
The Bracer will increase their range and attack by 1 more, and once the 
Chemistry upgrade has been researched, all the bolts fired by Galleons 
will be burning, and this adds 1 more attack with the new visual effects. 
So, the most fully upgraded Galleon will have 50% more of its initial attack 
power. Finally, if you have the Dry Dock upgrade, you can make Galleons 
move even faster and swoop in on the enemy. Fast Fire Ships and Heavy 
Demolition Ships are still a threat, so build in numbers.

Fire Ship and Fast Fire Ship
Cost: 75 Wood, 45 Gold                 Hit Points: 100,120        
Attack: 2,3         Range: 2            Armor: 0/6,0/8             
"The Byzantines alone in the West carried forward the ancient traditions 
of ship building into the Middle Ages. Their improvement over the trireme 
was the fire ship, a narrow and fast warship powered by both oars and lateen 
sails. The fighting power of these ships was provided partly by marines, 
archers, and catapults, but the secret weapon of the Byzantine navy was 
Greek fire. This extremely volatile mixture was squirted out of hoses from 
the bow of the fire ship and ignited on contact with air. Fire was a 
devastating weapon against wooden ships and the enemies of the Byzantines 
could not stand up to fire ships spraying Greek fire. Other civilizations 
acquired the secret of Greek fire at times, but it was so closely guarded 
and dangerous to use that it is lost today. The fire ship was improved 
over the years to increase its speed, maneuverability, and armor. 
Constantinople was successfully defended by its navy of fast fire ships 
for many centuries."

What are ships made of in the Middle Ages, class? Wood! Does fire burn 
well on wood? Yes! So, that's why Fire Ships get to be the anti ship naval 
unit in the Castle Age. The threat of War Galleys has never been that great. 
This is why there is a counter to the common ship. Fire Ships spray fire 
onto the enemy, and have a continuous attack, so don't be intimidated by 
the pathetically low attack since the Rate of Fire so extremely fast. Fire 
Ships are definitely fit for their use, since a Fire Ship can beat a fully 
upgraded Galleon in one on one combat. Everyone has the starting version 
of the Fire Ship, except the Vikings.

In other words, if you are fighting a naval battle, and your enemy is tight 
on his population, building Fire Ships en masse may be the key to 
controlling the water. When you hit the Imperial Age, Fire Ships can be 
upgraded to Fast Fire Ships if you are playing as Britons, Franks, Teutons, 
Goths, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols and Japanese. It's quite cheap to 
do so, at only 280 Food and 250 Gold. The only weaknesses are Demolition 
Ships and when they are outnumbered by Galleons.

And at the same time, one thing about this mysterious chemical known as 
Greek Fire. It's some liquid that can be splashed out through tubes. It 
ignites on contact, and it can burn on water! So you cannot put it out 
that way. However, sand can smother the flames, vinegar can put it out, 
and a certain chemical called potash works too. But what is the most common 
liquid containing this compound? It's your own urine! But don't expect 
those people back in the Middle Ages to pee on those flames.

Demolition Ship and Heavy Demolition Ship
Cost: 70 Wood, 50 Gold                 Hit Points: 50,60     
Attack: 110,140                          Armor: 0/3,0/5        
"Kings and civilizations without a naval tradition turned to a simple 
expedient when facing a naval engagement. They loaded an expendable ship 
with combustibles and a skeleton crew. The doomed ship was then sailed 
into contact with enemy ships and set alight. When done properly, 
demolition ships burned fiercely and exploded, setting adjacent enemy 
ships on fire also. Wooden ships sealed with pitch and outfitted with 
flammable rigging and equipment were at great risk to fire and explosion 
(once gunpowder was aboard). A demolition ship could damage or destroy 
ships many more times more powerful and valuable and could be
used against seaside buildings. Demolition ships eventually were made 
larger and filled them with explosives of greater power, especially 
gunpowder. This heavy demolition ship resulted in greater explosions and 
a greater chance of damaging or destroying one or more enemy ships. It 
could be devastating against a large target or many enemy ships caught 
traveling close together."

Demolition Ships are the suicidal units of the navy. They are packed full 
of explosives, and they charge into the enemy ships, destroying itself 
and blowing the target up. There is a certain degree of Area Effect, so 
a bunch of ships packed closely together can be heavily damaged. At the 
same time, they have Attack Bonus against Buildings. But still, it's 
wasteful to use Demolition Ships to attack enemy Docks if no ships are 
parked by it. If there really are lots of ships being built, you can really 
impede the opponent's route to naval conquest. 

However, the Demolition Ships in the Castle Age are still not strong enough, 
and can rarely impede the enemy's advance. It's in the Imperial Age that 
Demolition Ships truly shine. It costs very cheap to upgrade Demolition 
Ships to Heavy Demolition Ships. You need only 200 Wood and 300 Food to 
upgrade. Heavy Demolition Ships have much heavier pierce armor (so as to 
withstand all those nasty bolts from the Galleons) and are much more likely 
to deliver the cargo to the final destination. Their Area Effect is even 
greater. This means that even the largest formations of Battleships can 
be severely weakened with a couple of Heavy Demo Ships. All civilizations 
have this option, except the Japanese, unfortunately. Careening and Dry 
Dock are definitely essential if you want to use Heavy Demolition Ships 
effectively, as their Armor and Speed can both be increased, making them 
harder to stop. Let's yell Kamikaze! Oh wait, the Japanese don't have them.

Cannon Galleon and Heavy Cannon Galleon
Cost: 200 Wood, 150 Gold                 Hit Points: 120,150        
Attack: 35,45         Range: 13,15       Armor: 0/6,0/8             
"Primitive cannon were first mounted on ships in the fourteenth century. 
These were mounted in the stern or bow for firing forward or aft. Small 
weapons were mounted on the rails for use against enemy crews in close 
action. The first ship built specifically for carrying cannon appeared 
in 1406. Effectively mounting a large number of cannons on a ship took 
many years to work out. It required new designs to compensate for the 
enormous weight of the guns high on the ship's sides. Tackle had to be 
designed to allow the guns to be fired and reloaded safely. Safe procedures 
were also needed for storing and accessing powder. Useful cannon galleons 
did not appear until late in the Middle Ages."

When the Imperial Ages have arrived, it's time to bring in the heavy 
Artillery. The land has it, so does the sea. Cannon Galleons are Galleons 
that fire cannons. They have a long range and are best at destroying enemy 
buildings far from the shore. To get the Cannon Galleon, you must first 
grasp the basics of Gunpowder. You have to first research Chemistry. Then 
the option to research Cannon Galleons will appear in the Dock. Well, every 
civilization with the exception of the Britons has this ability. You only 
need to pay Food and Wood for this technology. Afterwards, the option of 
Cannon Galleons will appear. On the other hand, if you are playing as the 
Vikings, Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols or Japanese, you 
can upgrade to Elite Cannon Galleons, which are more powerful and can fire 
from a longer range, hence able to take down buildings faster.

No matter which type of Cannon Galleon you are using, you are certainly 
better off attacking stationary targets, since any unit with half a mind 
would move aside to dodge the cannon ball. (Use Attack Ground if you think 
you will be lucky enough to predict where the enemy ship will be at the 
time of impact. But it requires manual control.) These Galleons also have 
a minimum range, so any ship that is too close cannot be hit (You know 
which ships I am talking about. Something along the lines of Fire or 
Demolition would light up your lightbulb). This is why you must guard your 
Cannon Galleons with both Fire Ships and Galleons, as time permits. If 
you are fighting in maps that require naval battles, keep the enemy on 
land is paramount to success. This is why you must target their docks above 
all else. Then you can start mainland bombardment after that. Poor, poor 
Britons, they are the ones left out on the fun.

Longboat and Elite Longboat *****VIKING EXCLUSIVE*****
Cost: 100 Wood, 50 Gold                   Hit Points: 130,160        
Attack: 7,8            Range: 6            Armor: 0/6,0/8             
"The Viking raiders of the ninth through eleventh centuries were especially 
terrifying because they could strike anywhere along the seacoast and even 
upriver. They had this capability thanks to their longboats. These ships 
were long, narrow, and of shallow draft, but were surprisingly seaworthy. 
They used oars and a single square sail for propulsion. Longboats could 
be taken into very shallow water and beached. Only a coast with high bluffs 
or rocky shoreline was safe from them."

Longboats are the second Viking unique units. They are built at the Dock 
once a Castle has been built. You have seen Longboats in Hagar the Horrible 
comics, haven't you? Anyway, to satisfy their looting purposes, Longboats 
are manned by a bunch of warriors who fire lots of arrows at the enemy. 
In order for the Vikings to have this unit, they have to forgo the Fire 
Ship. So, the superiority of the Vikings' navy is rather questionable. 
At least take away something else for your stupid balancing issues! All 
of these arrows sound effective until you learn that the Attack listed 
above refers to the total attack of all the arrows. As a result, Longboats 
are not that superior when compared with the mainstream Boat Units. (5 
less HP than the War Galley, Galleon). But still, since there are so many 
arrows at once, the Rate of Fire is faster. This makes them good at hit 
and run attacks, and nothing else. Hurt the enemies' Fishing Boats, if 
anything else. Since Vikings don't have Fire Ships, you might as well build 
these to support your main Galleons, however, Fire Ships burn through them 
all the time. Fortunately, the upgrade from Longboat to Elite Longboat 
requires very little gold. It only takes 750 Food and 475 Gold to upgrade 
Longboats. Have fun raiding!

Villager (Cost: 50 Food)
"The great percentage of people in the Middle Ages were peasants, serfs, 
and lowly villagers who gathered the food and did most of the work. They 
supported a relatively small class of religious leaders and nobleman who 
controlled the wealth and power of the community. The life of the peasant 
and serf was hard but improved as feudalism gave way to social systems 
that allowed the workers to retain more of their produce. Many peasants 
moved into the middle class of the growing cities. Those who remained on 
the farms saw their production and wealth increase thanks to specialization 
and many technological improvements in agriculture."

Villagers are the standard production units in Age of Empires II. You must 
start with several Villagers in the beginning of each game, and you are 
to assign them to different roles. Villagers come in male and female in 
Age of Empires II. They cover a wide variety of tasks, and their duty 
replaces their normal title whenever they are up to something. 

First of all, Builders are Villagers who are responsible in building 
various buildings. Farmers plough on the fields and harvest the food, 
taking them to the Mill for storage. Fishermen will catch fish using simple 
nets along the shorelines. To catch fish in the middle of the water, you 
will need to use Fishing Boats. Foragers collect fruits and berries from 
any bushes they find. They also take the food to the Mill. Hunters are 
there to kill wild deer and boars. Shepherds herd Sheep from the wild back 
to the Mills, where they use their hooked sticks to kill the Sheep and 
collect any tasty mutton they find to the Mills. Repairers are Villagers 
assigned to fix buildings and Siege Weapons. Lumberjacks chop wood and 
carry them back to the Lumber Camps. Gold Miners and Stone Miners work 
on the Gold Mines and Stone Mines found on the map, and take their findings 
back to the Mining Camps.

Upgrades for the Villagers are found in the Town Center. In the Dark Ages, 
the Loom upgrade increases their armor. However, at the start of the game, 
you should concentrate on training as many Villagers to gather Wood and 
Food first than wasting time researching this not so effective technology. 
At the start, try assigning 6 Villagers to chop wood, and let there be 
4 Villagers gathering food from the land. (Foraging, Herding Sheep, Fishing 
etc.) When you are beginning to accumulate those resources, start sending 
Villagers out to gather Gold. In the Feudal Age and Castle Age, you get 
the Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart, which increases the speed of Villagers and 
the amount of resources they can carry. If you have enough Villagers, you 
can research those. Otherwise, ignore them for now and continue gathering.

Relic
"The influence of religion in daily life during the Middle Ages, especially 
in Europe, was exemplified by the attraction and trafficking of religious 
relics. The burial sites of saints became the focus of pilgrimages. A church 
or monastery that owned even a few bones from a saint or a small piece 
of the true cross drew pilgrims. In time a market for saintly bones 
developed and rich men competed to acquire such relics and endow them to 
local religious institutions. Attracting pilgrims and believers was good 
for the local economy. (Ha ha!) The most famous relic of the period is 
the Shroud of Turin, purported to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. 
This shroud was acquired in the Middle East and brought to Italy in the 
late Middle Ages."

In multiplayer maps, you will often find some tiny little monument thingies 
every where. Those are Relics. They are denoted by white spots on the 
minimap. Relics are so delicate that only specially trained personnel can 
touch them. Those units are the Monks. So once a Relic is discovered in 
"Public Territory", consider stationing some troops nearby to secure it. 
Once you hit Castle Age, quickly build a Monastery and train a Monk. Have 
him pick up the Relic and deposit it into the Monastery. Then people from 
all around the world will come and marvel at that piece of cross, bones 
of a saint or whatever, and some will pay you Gold for their troubles. 
As a result, you will find your Gold consistently increasing once a Relic 
is placed inside. Finding Relics is one of the many ways to win games. 
If all Relics have been controlled by you, you will be given a countdown 
timer. If you can keep all Relics safely inside the Monastery for the given 
number of years (in game, of course), you and your allies will automatically 
win! So let's play defensive at that point.

Monk (Cost: 100 Gold)
"Religion was a powerful force during the Middle Ages, whether it was Roman 
Catholicism of the West, Islam in the Middle East, or Buddhism in Asia. 
The missionaries and teachers of religion were mainly monks, men who took 
vows of poverty and who dedicated their lives to spreading their message. 
Middle Age conflicts often derived from religious differences and were 
led or supported by contingents of monks on each side. The Crusades, for 
example, were multiple attempts by European Christians to wrest control 
of the Holy Land from the hands of Islamic Arabs. Large numbers of monks 
accompanied the Christian crusading armies."

Remember that in the Middle Ages, holy men still have lots of influence 
over the masses. (both people and the one to do with the Christian activity!) 
This makes Monks good supporting advisors in battle. Monks are quite 
important in Age of Empires II since they are the Engineer, Medic and 
Hijacker two in one. They convert enemy units and turn them to your side. 
When a unit is converted, a certain gauge on the Monk will go down to 0%. 
That's their Faith meter. The Monk must rest for a while before they can 
regain the Faith needed to perform another conversion. They also use their 
magic power to heal units. Monks are to be trained in Monasteries, and 
all of their upgrades are available in the Monastery. Sanctity gives them 
50% more HP, Fervor increases their speed. Atonement allows them to convert 
other Monks (Crazy, but true!). Redemption allows Monks to even convert 
Buildings and Siege Units. However, the Monk must be standing right besides 
the building or Siege Weapon in order to convert it. Don't even think about 
converting Towers or Castles, pal! Illumination increases the time taken 
to regain the Faith. Finally, Block Printing gives the Monks extra 
conversion range, making him more likely to succeed.

Oh one more thing. Monks are the only units that can pick up Relics. If 
you are looking for extra cash or even Relic Victories, Monks are really 
good. Also, Monks can carry Relics onto Transport Ships. If that ships 
sinks, the Relic will not be lost. Instead, it will reappear on the shore 
closest to the site where the ship has sunk.

Trade Cart (100 Wood, 50 Gold)
"The trade cart represents the wagon, pack horses, and other means of land 
transport used for the overland trade of goods during the Middle Ages. 
One important land trade route was the movement of wool from England across 
the Channel into France. The wool was manufactured into cloth and this 
cloth was carried into Italy to exchange for spices and silk from the East. 
The most famous land trade route of the age was the Silk Road, from China 
to Constantinople and the Levant. Camel and horse trains carried silks 
across forbidding desert terrain in exchange for Western gold and silver."

Trade Carts are the units which travel between markets, do their trade, 
and bring their earnings back to your Market and generate extra cash, or 
Gold in this case. Markets are available since the Feudal Age. You will 
want to research Cartography immediately, so you can find your Allies' 
Market as soon as possible. Then click on their Market. See the Gold icon 
with the number next to it? That's the amount of Gold each Trade Cart will 
carry when it pays it a visit. Markets that are further away give more 
Gold than closer ones. If you are into trading, I suggest building 3 to 
5 Trade Carts if you have the population and Gold to spare. Trade Carts 
come with no defenses and are vulnerable to enemy attacks. So you should 
place some units in the may to guard against potential troublemakers. If 
you are lucky enough so that you and your ally are positioned on the same 
side of the map, then don't even bother.

-----------------------
c. Technologies [AOK4C]
-----------------------
Technologies are options that can be researched in order to improve your 
civilizations. There are technologies for infantry units, archers, 
cavalry, siege weapons, buildings, villagers and monks. Let's start with 
the Building Technologies. As before, the "history" of each item as 
indicated in the instruction manual will be added into my own descriptions.

Town Watch (75 Food, Town Center)
"Each town and community was responsible for its own defense for much of 
the Middle Ages, relying on the local lord and his retinue of soldiers 
for protection. The danger from bandits, raiders, or unfriendly neighbors 
was real. Communities developed a town watch that scouted the nearby 
countryside regularly. The town watch reported danger to give the community 
time to prepare what defense it could."

Town Watch increases all your buildings' Lines of Sight by a total of 4 
units. It is available for research in the Feudal Age. However, it's likely 
you will still be short of villagers at this point, so hold this for later.

Town Patrol (300 Food, 200 Gold, Town Center)
"As communities grew they had more to defend and more resources with which 
to defend. The town watch grew into a town patrol usually provided by the 
local lord as part of his responsibility for the community's safety. Town 
patrols ranged far from the community to crossing points or passes where 
enemies might appear. Longer ranged patrols meant earlier warnings and 
more time for preparation against attack."

Town Patrol is the next step in the building line of sight upgrade. It 
increases the line of sight by 4 again. This is available in the Castle 
Age. Feel free to research this as soon as you have the Gold to spare.

Masonry (175 Wood, 150 Stone, University)
"Europeans of the Dark Ages and later had to relearn the techniques of 
masonry exhibited by the Roman ruins that surrounded them. Roman bridges 
and aqueducts stood for many centuries after the Roman Empire was gone, 
but the barbarian immigrants could not repair or duplicate these structures. 
The craft of masonry was gradually reclaimed and then advanced. The great 
achievements of European masonry in the Middle Ages were the cathedrals 
that appeared across the region."

Masonry is the first building defensive upgrade available in the University 
at the Castle Age. With better building skills, all buildings will have 
an extra 10% HP and 1 extra building armor. You do the math. All 
civilizations get the technology, except the Byzantines. But this doesn't 
mean they are backward in any way. It's just that Byzantine buildings get 
30% extra HP already in the Castle Age.

Architecture (200 Wood, 300 Stone, University)
"The rebirth of masonry allowed the architecture of the Middle Ages to 
advance as well. New techniques for vaulting and support made possible 
the great cathedrals that stand as icons for this age. The famous 
architectural feature of this age was the flying buttress. This new element 
shifted part of the great weight of a cathedral's roof onto supports outside 
the walls, allowing great airy vaults to open over the center of the church. 
Massive load-bearing pillars left long open spaces between which beautiful 
stained glass windows could be placed."

Architecture is one step above masonry. Now professionals get to design 
the buildings, making their internal structure better and hence increasing 
their HP by a further 10%. Note this 10% is not added onto the structure 
based on its base HP. It's 10% of its UPGRADED HP. So, a Castle originally 
gets 4800 HP, under Masonry it gets 5280. Then after researching 
Architecture, it gets 5808 HP. This is a 21% increase. However, not everyone 
gets it. Only Britons, Franks, Vikings, Goths, Turks, Persians and Chinese 
have them. Well, this really is a surprise. Byzantines could do without 
it since all buildings get 40% more HP than other civilizations in the 
Imperial Age! That's total defensiveness for you!

Treadmill Crane (200 Wood, 300 Stone, University)
"The construction of castles, cathedrals, and other major building 
projects required the invention of new techniques, as well as the 
re-discovery of ancient technologies. A critical tool known to the ancients 
but lost to the Europeans of the Dark Ages was the crane. The simple crane 
was a long pole with block and tackle gear that was used to pull loads 
to a height. The treadmill crane was an improvement over the simple version. 
It used a large circular treadmill upon which men walked. Gears converted 
the horizontal circular motion into vertical turning, providing power to 
wind ropes around a drum and pull up heavy loads. A variation of the 
treadmill crane employed a capstan that men could push against, like those 
used on sailing ships to raise anchors."

Treadmill Cranes are construction tools. Cranes help a lot in building. 
Once you research this, Villagers will build buildings 20% faster. It's 
of course, available in the Castle Age. Celts, Franks, Teutons, Goths, 
Saracens and Turks have them. How rare. If you are planning to expand 
outwards through towers and castles, this may be for you.

Hoardings (400 Wood, 400 Stone, Castle)
"Men fighting from the top of sheer castle walls could not shoot or 
otherwise attack enemies at the base of the wall without exposing 
themselves to arrows. Castles were improved with hoardings, which were 
fortifications and crenellations that extended out from the tops of walls 
to protect defenders. They could now more safely attack men below or those 
climbing up. Hoardings made castles more difficult to capture."

Hoardings strengthen castles by providing 1000 more hit points. These 1000 
points are subject to the effects of Masonry and Architecture. This means 
that when those 2 technologies are researched, Castles get 1210 more hit 
points. If you have the Stone to spare, researching this should be placed 
in a high priority since they are much tougher to crack. But not all 
civilizations have this luxury. Celts, Britons, Franks, Teutons, Vikings, 
Turks, Saracens, Byzantines, Persians and Mongols get to upgrade. Things 
do look interesting for Byzantine castles at this point. Let's do the math. 
(4800+1000)*1.4 = 8120! That's insane I tell you!

Loom (50 Gold, Town Center)
"The invention of the loom and the ability to weave cloth was an important 
ancient technolog y that was quickly recovered during the Dark Ages. Good 
wool clothes were an important asset that lengthened life expectancy in 
the Northern European climate. Raising sheep for wool and then making cloth 
was one of the early important industries of the Middle Ages."

The Loom is just a way for people to weave their clothes. This is supposed 
to add 1 Armor and 1 Pierce Armor to all Villagers, but like that's going 
to make a difference. You are better off ignoring this technology in the 
Dark Age until you have enough villagers to collect resources.

Wheelbarrow (175 Food, 50 Wood, Town Center)
"The simple wheelbarrow, or one-wheeled hand cart, was a significant 
invention at a time when most people worked with their hands in an 
agricultural community. There was little industry in the early part of 
the Middle Ages. The economy was powered largely by people growing crops, 
herding livestock, gathering, and building. The wheelbarrow provided an 
important productivity improvement."

Wheelbarrows are the first upgrade in the Feudal Age that makes your 
Villagers more efficient. They will move faster and carry 3 more Resources 
each time. Research this as soon as you can, assuming you have all the 
Villagers you need to do everything.

Hand Cart (300 Food, 200 Wood, Town Center)
"The hand cart or simple wagon pulled by a horse or other animal was an 
improvement in land transport and boosted productivity. A man with a cart 
could carry the load of many men and more cheaply. The demand for carts 
was a boost to the economy itself by creating jobs for horse breeders, 
harness makers, cart makers, and wheelwrights."

Hand Carts are the second step up for your Villagers in the Castle Age. 
They move even faster and can carry up to 20 units of resources now. Again, 
you should give high priority to researching this, since it costs no gold.

Gold Mining (100 Food, 75 Wood, Mining Camp)
"The search for gold and silver since ancient and even prehistoric times 
meant that by the Dark Ages there was little of these precious metals to 
be found on the surface. To find more, it had to be mined from underground. 
The technology of gold prospecting and gold mining advanced during the 
early part of the Middle Ages, driven by the need for currency and demand 
for jewelry."

If the Villagers were mining Gold since the Dark Ages, what is the point 
of this upgrade in the Feudal Age? They must have been picking Gold up 
from the ground in the Dark Age. Anyway, this makes all Villagers mine 
Gold 15% faster. But since wood and food are still in limited supply, better 
hold it back until you have enough to spare.

Gold Shaft Mining (200 Food, 150 Wood, Mining Camp)
"When sources of gold and silver near the surface were exhausted, miners 
developed technology for going deep underground. This involved building 
lifts to send men down and bring ore up. It required pumps to pull water 
up and push air down. And it required new tunneling techniques for shoring 
up mine galleries and shafts to prevent cave-ins. Some of the richest silver 
mines were found in Eastern Europe."

The people have gone one step further in the search of Gold. They are now 
willing to go deep underground to find them. This new technique continues 
to increase the Villagers' Gold Mining speed by another 15%. Every 
civilization has it, except the Teutons, Goths and Japanese. I guess these 
guys are getting the shaft again! (No pun intended.)

Stone Mining (100 Food, 75 Wood, Mining Camp)
"The principal building material in Europe during the Dark Ages was wood, 
which was available in abundance. Next most useful was stone salvaged from 
decaying Roman buildings that no one knew how to repair. As civilization 
coalesced in this area once more, the construction trades revived and stone 
became more desirable and affordable as a building material. Stone mining, 
or quarrying, required technology for making stone-cutting tools and 
moving stone from the quarry to the building site."

Stone mining, eh? I just don't get it. You see rocks all over the place. 
On the ground, on hill sides, everywhere! Why is stone such a limited 
commodity in Age of Empires II? Anyway, Stone Mining increases the 
Villagers' Stone Mining Speed by 15%.

Stone Shaft Mining (200 Food, 150 Wood, Mining Camp)
"The demand for stone escalated rapidly when castles were being built 
across Europe, towns were being fortified, and the increasingly wealthy 
Roman Catholic Church began building its great cathedrals. Stone cutting 
became an important trade. New technology was needed to get to desirable 
stone because the easily reached surface sources were rapidly exhausted 
in some areas."

You are kidding me, right? You are going to go that far just to find some 
pointless bits of rock? Who could "stone" become exhausted, it's just a 
bunch of rocks! Anyway, Stone Mining makes the Villagers mine stone another 
15% faster. Research this first if you are aiming at castles. Britons, 
Franks, Vikings, Saracens, Turks and Japanese are left in the dark with 
this. They really get shafted again. No pun intended again!

Double Bit Axe (100 Food, 50 Wood, Lumber Camp)
"The double-bit axe had blades, or bits, on both sides. It was a large, 
heavy axe that speeded the cutting of trees. With two cutting edges, 
woodcutters could switch bits when one became dull and then sharpen both 
at the same time. Cutters worked faster and more efficiently with the 
double-bit axe."

I thought the Villager was supposed to cut with both blades of the axe 
so that they can be sharpened together when they have worn out. But now, 
they are to be used in alternation. One goes blunt, the other is used to 
chop wood and while the other blade is sharpened again. The process is 
repeated. As a result, the Villagers can chop wood 20% faster in the Feudal 
Age. Wood is an important resource then, so it's a must.

Bow Saw (150 Food, 100 Wood, Lumber Camp)
"The bow saw had a rounded handle like a bow with the saw blade connecting 
the bow ends. The bow saw was a more precise tool than previous saws. 
Woodcutters using it got more usable wood from each tree by reducing waste."

Instead of using axes, the Villagers use saws. Why hadn't they thought 
of them. It's definitely less laboring to cut wood with Saws than by the 
hard chopping motion of axes. As a result, they chop wood 15% faster.

Two Man Saw (300 Food, 200 Wood, Lumber Camp)
"The large two-man saw allowed two men to work together taking down a tree 
and increased the productivity of both. One man pulled the saw toward him 
with both hands and cut the tree. The second man rested but kept his hands 
on the saw. When the first man finished his pull, the second man pulled 
the saw back and the first man rested. The two-man saw cut with each back 
and forth motion and had big teeth and cut deeply, bringing trees down 
in quick time. Because each operator could use two hands when pulling, 
they could handle the large size and pull."

The ultimate wood cutting upgrade is here. This new tool is still used 
today, and can be found in many lumber mills. It's not the power of one, 
but the power of two. Villagers cut wood another 10% faster. However, they 
are still appearing to be chopping wood with their axes. Britons, Teutons, 
Vikings, Goths, Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, Persians, Chinese and 
Japanese have this technology. (And the Celts are supposed to be a Siege 
oriented organization, and they can't gather wood as fast.)

Horse Collar (75 Food, 75 Wood, Mill)
"During the Dark Ages oxen were the prime source of animal power on farms, 
even though horses were recognized as being stronger and easier to use. 
The available harnesses for horses, however, choked the animal, and 
therefore seriously limiting its pulling power. A chest horse collar was 
invented in the East, possibly China, and gradually worked its way to Europe. 
This was an important innovation for European farming because it 
tremendously increased the pulling power of horses. This reduced the time 
needed to plow land and led to more land being taken into cultivation."

This Feudal Age technology features a collar tied around a horse's chest 
so that it can pull the plough. It shortens the time to smooth the soil 
and adds 75 Food to each farm, so you don't have to replace it as often. 
This technology is to be of high priority since 75 Food and 75 Wood are 
easy to come by in the Feudal Age, and all the Sheep, Shore Fish, Deer 
and Wild Boars will be rather exhausted.

Heavy Plow (125 Food, 125 Wood, Mill)
"Following the implementation of the chest horse collar, the next important 
innovation for European farming was the heavy plow. This was a large wood 
and metal plow that could bite deep into the dense, rich soil deposited 
on the European plains following the last Ice Age. The heavy grasses in 
these areas defied previous attempts to plow. The heavy plow pulled behind 
strong horses bred for power broke open these soils. This opened vast tracks 
of land that proved very productive and greatly increased food production. 
Populations climbed as a result."

With the Heavy Plow, the rich soil can be turned up with better ease, and 
the same plot of land can grow more food. As a result, each Farm can store 
125 more Food than before. At the same time, the Villagers can carry 1 
more food each. But what has that to do with Plow? Research this as soon 
as you reach the Castle Age.

Crop Rotation (250 Food, 250 Wood)
"With experience over time farmers noted that food production gradually 
declined on fields where the same crops were planted year after year. 
Experimentation showed that proper crop rotation could restore high yields. 
Farmers of the Middle Ages did not understand the science of this result 
but developed a practical plan through experience. Planting the same crops 
over and over depleted specific nutrients that a plant needed in quantity. 
Through crop rotation, different plants were found to restore the nutrients 
needed by something else. Alfalfa, for example, restores nitrogen to soil 
from which it has been depleted by other crops. Planting alfalfa restored 
the soil for the next year and made good winter feed for livestock."

It's a bit too early for the Industrial Revolution, but it seems that once 
you hit Imperial Age, farmers will tend to plant different crops every 
year, so the different nutrients can be restored to the soil. This increases 
the productivity of Farms by a further 175 Food. Franks, Teutons, Goths, 
Vikings, Byzantines and Persians have this technology. The funny thing 
is that Britons and Chinese don't have it, even though the first is the 
initiator of the Industrial Revolution while the latter has been recorded 
to use Crop Rotation according to my Chinese history book. But still, 
Chinese Farms get 45 extra food over others. Maybe this is why it's left 
out for those "balancing" issues.

Coinage (150 Food, 50 Gold, Market)
"Money degraded during the Dark Ages in Western Europe because the 
barbarian tribes that took control were largely illiterate and had no 
system of government that could administer the making of coins. Those coins 
that exist from this era are very crude copies of Roman coins and usually 
of low-value metals. The rise of Charlemagne's empire and other strong 
kings created the stable administrations that could successfully provide 
coinage. A stable and available supply of money was a great boost to 
economic growth. The most useful European coins were silver pennies, 
roughly the size of the modern U.S. 10-cent piece, and smaller 
denominations made of copper and bronze."

During the Dark Ages, there is no systematic method of using coins to pay 
for goods. As a result, lots of pathetic bartering are used. Not everyone 
has everything that everybody else needs, so you will need to pay a service 
charge of 30% whenever you pay tribute to your allies. The invention of 
coins slightly helps since the service charge will be reduced to 20%. Only 
research this if you have allies that desperate need donations.

Banking (200 Food, 100 Gold, Market)
"The loaning of money for interest, or usury, was long prohibited by the 
church in the West and this proved a handicap for economic growth. The 
religious laws were avoided by a number of ploys, and non-Christians were 
often allowed into a community to provide this service. Preaching a pogrom 
against money-lending Jews or other non-Christians was a convenient way 
for more than one king to clear off a large debt. The religious and political 
climate changed gradually, especially in the great trading cities of Italy 
where the first of many great merchant banking firms came into existence."

With the banks established, it's much easy to lend money, deposit money 
and transfer money. The cost of transferring to a different account is 
almost nil since it happens instantaneously. As a result, it will be 
absolutely free to pay tribute to your allies. Of course, if you are playing 
a one on one match, or have no allies at all, don't even bother researching 
this as it only serves to waste Gold.

Guilds (300 Food, 200 Gold, Market)
"Political and economic power during the Dark Ages was held by barbarian 
chiefs. This power eventually shifted to kings, churchmen, and powerful 
nobles. Near the end of the Middle Ages the middle class of townspeople 
grew more important and took a share of this power. One innovation of the 
middle class was the creation of guilds. Guilds controlled a specific 
enterprise such as cloth trading, butchering, or iron making within a town 
or region. They set the prices and determined who would work in the business. 
Outsiders were blocked from working. In return for a monopoly, usually 
bought from the king or town, they provided a superior product. Controlling 
trades through guilds resulted in high standards of living for guild 
members, a quality product, and high prices."

Guilds are practically Trade Workshops. People there sit down and discuss 
one particular trade at a time, and thus are able to strike bargains and 
so on. As a result, the trading fee will be decreased to 15%, the prices 
of all commodities will be lowered in the Market, and every time you buy 
a good, the price will not increase as fast. Not all civilizations have 
this technology. Celts, Britons, Teutons, Goths, Turks, Byzantines and 
Persians have these. I guess Asians are left in the dark for this one. 
But still, I have never ever heard of such workshops in the Far East.

Cartography (100 Food, 100 Gold, Market)
"There was a revival of European learning after the Dark Ages that started 
mainly in the monasteries of the Christian Church, particularly in Ireland. 
The west Europeans were far behind the educational standards of the 
Byzantines, the Saracens, and the Chinese. Part of this revival was an 
interest in geography that became even more pronounced when the Crusaders 
and adventurers brought back tales of exotic trade goods and riches beyond 
the horizon. Kings and churchmen commissioned maps and cartography, the 
science of map making, became a newly prized skill."

Once you excel in map making, you can quickly map out the locations of 
all your trade partners. As a result, you get to see what your allies see. 
If you have any allies at all, you might as well research this as soon 
as you have the Market. All the extra land seen by them will certainly 
save lots of time for your Scout Cavalry. If you don't have allies, don't 
even think about it. Sigh, it seems most of the upgrades in the Market 
are pointless if you are playing without any ally.

Conscription (150 Food, 150 Gold, Castle)
"Lords of the Middle Ages had the ability to call up their vassals and 
the peasant militia for limited service. Conscription was the next 
evolution in acquiring men for military service. It allowed a lord to put 
men into military service for an extended period, not just a few months 
of campaigning each year. In some parts of the world, a man might be 
conscripted for many years of service."

You may start to get the picture. Picture a scene where the people of your 
villager are called to fight for the Emperor and his wife, kids and so 
on run after them weeping to see them off. They may be sent to fight for 
years on end, against their will! This is what Conscription is. Since the 
governments back then can quickly yank capable people from their homes 
and force them to join the military service, Infantrymen, Cavalry Units, 
Archers and Unique Units will be created 33% faster. It seems that every 
single civilization gets to conscribe men to join up. This is why you must 
research this as soon as possible in the Imperial Age. (I have read many 
Chinese verses about people being conscribed back then!)

Sappers (400 Food, 200 Gold, Castle)
"Men who specialized in the techniques of attacking fortifications became 
known as sappers. They dug the trenches to bring weapons up close and they 
undermined walls to cause their collapse. Armies without a contingent of 
sappers were handicapped when attempting to take a castle or fortified 
town. Many sappers worked as mercenaries for the highest bidder."

Sappers are there to give your Villagers extra attack power over buildings. 
They deal 15 more damage. This makes them quite good for "human" siege 
units. The funny thing is, this technology is only available to limited 
civilizations. They are the Britons, Teutons, Goths, Vikings, Turks, 
Persians, Mongols and Chinese. The drawback is that the Villagers are still 
vulnerable to enemy infantry and archers. So you must defend them the same 
way to defend Siege Units when trying to rush the enemy's structures with 
a contingent *snigger* of villagers!

Spies/Treason (200 Gold per enemy Villager/400 Gold per use, Castle)
"Advanced civilizations of any age gathered information about potential 
enemies as part of their foreign policy. Much of this intelligence was 
gathered overtly through the normal channels of trade and diplomacy. 
Prudent civilizations with hostile neighbors actively enlisted spies and 
informants to monitor enemy activity. During the Middle Ages the Byzantines 
and Mongols were especially active in employing networks of agents among 
their enemies. Spies gave early warning of enemy forces marshalling for 
attack or searched for weaknesses in enemy defenses."

Middle Ages have long been an age of espionage. But there are no spies 
that are trainable in Age of Empires II. Instead, you get to see what 
everyone else sees in the map, making the Fog of War useless. Sounds great? 
Wait until you see the price tag! It costs 200 Gold per enemy villager. 
This means that you are likely to pay thousands of Gold for the ability 
to see it all. Worth it? Definitely not! On the other hand, Treason is 
available in Regicide games. It reveals the location of Kings on the map. 
The position of the Kings will be shown as red crosses on the minimap for 
a short period, so you definitely should click on those portions of the 
map and memorize them. The good thing is that the enemies will not be 
notified when you use it, and are unlikely to move the King.

Tracking (75 Food, Barracks)
"As the Dark Ages passed and barbarian clans became trained armies, 
military techniques improved. The new armies were better prepared for 
campaigning and maneuver. One result of these improvements was being less 
susceptible to surprise and ambush."

With this upgrade, all infantrymen can tell where the enemies have been 
judging by their tracks. They become more far sighted with an extra 4 line 
of sight. This is one of the upgrades of the Feudal Age that should be 
taken with high priority.

Squires (200 Food, Barracks)
"Prior to becoming a knight, young men put in a long apprenticeship as 
a squire. Squires were assigned to a knight for their training in weapons 
and social graces. In return they cared for the knight's equipment and 
horses, dressed him for combat, guarded him, and accompanied him into 
battle. All knights were squires at an early age, but not all squires became 
knights. Squires without noble birth, financial backing, or the support 
of superior lord might live out their life without becoming a knight. 
Squires fought alongside the knights, although their weapons and armor 
were of a lower standard. The support of squires made armies more 
effective."

Squires are basically knights in training. They are also an existing 
knight's service. I don't know how this works, but for some strange reason, 
researching Squires in the Castle Age makes infantry move 10% faster. Celts 
and Franks don't get to research Squires. I am really surprised that all 
those Middle Eastern and Asian civilizations get this upgrade too! Squires 
are supposed to be exclusive to Europeans.

Scale Mail Armor (100 Food, Blacksmith)
"Scale mail armor was made of layers of rounded metal scales that overlapped 
each other in a cascade, something like a covering of overlapping leaves. 
This partially protected the wearer from both missiles and hand weapons. 
A blow against scale mail armor was partially deflected and the layers 
of scales absorbed much of the energy of the blow. Scale mail armor was 
an improvement over leather."

What's the big idea? Overlapping metal scales? Anyway, it's to be expected 
since this is a Feudal Age technology for the infantry. Scale Mail Armor 
is there to increase the Armor and Pierce Armor of infantry by 1. It costs 
quite a large amount of food, so you will be interested in gathering an 
army and amassing resources before you research this upgrade.

Chain Mail Armor (200 Food, 100 Gold, Blacksmith)
"Armor made of linked metal chains was an improvement over a cascade of 
metal scales. It had greater integrity and held up better after taking 
some damage. Whereas a row of scales might come loose after a blow, chain 
mail armor stayed largely intact. Because the linked chains were smaller 
than the scales they replaced, chain mail armor was more flexible and 
comfortable to wear. While an improvement, chain mail armor was also more 
expensive and time-consuming to manufacture."

Chain Mail Armor is the infantry armor upgrade of the Castle Age. This 
increases the Armor and Pierce Armor of infantry by another 1. Remember 
to build up your army before researching this upgrade.

Plate Mail Armor (300 Food, 150 Gold, Blacksmith)
"Armor made of large metal plates was the best defense obtainable against 
missiles and hand weapons. It was stronger and absorbed more energy. Large 
sheets of hammered steel were fashioned to fit the wearer's body. Making 
plate mail armor became an important craft. Specialists in Italy received 
orders for armor from all over Europe. The booty from battle or tournaments 
included valuable armor. Armor required regular oiling to prevent rust 
and this was the duty of squires indentured to knights. Plate mail armor 
appears ponderous today but was actually reasonably light and well designed 
for mobility. Athletic knights could perform handstands wearing armor. 
Knights could mount their horses without much difficulty and did not 
require cranes for a lift."

The plot, er I mean plate thickens with this ultimate infantry armor upgrade. 
I have no idea what they still use the word mail in its name. The ultimate 
armor, available in the Blacksmith in the Imperial Age increases all 
infantry's armor by 1 and pierce armor by 2. It seems that this armor upgrade 
is available for all, except for the Goths!

Forging (150 Food, Blacksmith)
"Iron tools and weapons were hammered out of iron bars through forging. 
The bars were heated in the forge until they were red hot. At this point 
the metal could be shaped by hammering. The hot bar was held against an 
anvil and pounded into the desired shape. In the hands of an expert smithy, 
the process of continually heating, hammering, and cooling created quality 
tools and sharp, sturdy weapons. Men who worked the forges were called 
blacksmiths because they worked with black iron and got quite dirty during 
a day's work."

So, this is the job description of a blacksmith. They forge weapons and 
tools by pounding hot iron bars against anvils. Researching this gives 
Blacksmiths an idea of what they are supposed to do, and increases the 
attack of Infantry and Cavalry by 1 in the Feudal Age.

Iron Casting (220 Food, 120 Gold, Blacksmith)
"The ability to pour molten iron into a mold to create complicated shapes 
was called iron casting. This was useful for making iron tools and weapons 
that could not be easily made by forging or to speed the process of 
manufacturing. The secrets of iron casting were discovered in China many 
centuries before this technology reached Europe. The ability to cast large 
metal objects became especially important when manufacturers were trying 
to figure out how to make cannons."

Interesting, so pounding hot iron comes before pouring molten iron into 
moulds. What's new. I always thought the latter came first since the Stone 
Age. Anyway, this is a step up in weapon technology, available in the Castle 
Age. It increases the attack of Infantry and Cavalry by 1.

Blast Furnace (275 Food, 225 Gold, Blacksmith)
"The Saracens and later the Japanese made the first high-quality steel 
through the laborious process of folding iron over and over and hammering 
it. A tremendous number of repetitions of this process removed a very high 
percentage of impurities in the metal creating steel. The Saracens and 
Japanese were both known for the sharpness and strength of their best swords. 
Innovators learned to speed the process of making steel through a blast 
furnace. By blasting oxygen into the furnace when iron ore was being smelted, 
the temperature of the mixture was raised and more impurities were burned 
off. The result was steel, a useful material for weapons because it could 
hold a sharper point and did not fracture as easily as iron."

The in game description of the Blast Furnace is wrong. Iron is not really 
folded again and again in the heat. Iron ore is heated in a blast furnace 
to create an intermediate substance called pig iron, which is then heated 
in the steel creating furnace to form steel. Steel is an iron alloy 
containing 99.8% iron and 0.2% carbon. Anyway, steel weapons are definitely 
tougher than pure iron weapons since the carbon atoms in the middle of 
the iron makes the steel less likely to deform, and infantry and cavalry 
will have 2 extra attack in the Imperial Age. It is the Byzantines' turn 
to get the shaft on this one, so no Blast Furnace for them.

Fletching (100 Food, 50 Gold, Blacksmith)
The provision of feathers or other wind foils at the rear of an arrow was 
called fletching and this innovation improved the stability of an arrow 
in flight. Fletching increased the range and accuracy of the arrow. Well 
made arrows were essential to the success and effectiveness of archers.

Fletching is the first upgrade for Archers in the game. It's just a method 
of attaching flights to the back of the arrows. I am just amazed. So people 
actually used arrows without a suitable flight in the past! Ridiculous. 
This is also the only Blacksmith technology in the Feudal Age that requires 
Gold. It increase the range and attack of Archers and Towers by 1.

Bodkin Arrow (200 Food, 100 Gold, Blacksmith)
"The bodkin arrow was an innovation that made archers of all types more 
effective against men wearing armor. The bodkin was simply a straight point 
intended to puncture, rather than a typical broad point intended to slice 
as it penetrated. The broad point was fine for hunting or use against 
unarmored targets, but armor effectively dissipated its energy. The bodkin 
concentrated its power in the point and could penetrate any armor at a 
sufficiently short range. The English longbowmen at Agincourt lofted 
barrages of bodkin arrows down upon the dense ranks of French knights. 
The bodkins, aided by the force of gravity, penetrated helmets, shoulders, 
legs, and arms when they struck perpendicularly to the face of armor."

A new innovation in the Castle Age is here. Bodkin Arrows are arrows that 
are designed with a straight point that punches through armor of Knights. 
As a result, archers are much better than before. This gives Archers and 
Towers 1 extra attack and range. Since you will really start to use Guard 
Towers in the Castle Age, I suggest that you research this as soon as 
possible when you have the resources to spare.

Bracer (300 Food, 200 Gold, Blacksmith)
"The bracer was a hard leather guard worn on an archer's forward hand. 
This improvement had the duel advantage of supporting the wrist, which 
would grow quite weary after many shots, and protecting the inside of the 
arm from the fletching of launched arrows. Without protection, the arm 
could be cut over the course of many shots and weaken the archer to the 
point of taking him out of combat. The bracer was an important improvement 
for archers that made them more effective."

The Bracer is an accessory for Archers, which supports their wrist and 
protects it from friction of arrows. As a result, Archers can pull even 
back and gain 1 Attack and 1 Range. Same goes for the towers. This upgrade 
is of limited availability. This is because Celts, Franks, Teutons and 
Persians don't get this upgrade. So their towers will be at a slight 
disadvantage since they are more likely to be out shot.

Padded Archer Armor (100 Food, Blacksmith)
"Archers and skirmishers were not expected to engage in hand-to-hand 
fighting so they rarely wore armor early in the Middle Ages. They also 
needed flexibility of arm movement and might be required to move about 
a battlefield quickly. When available, however, these troops would add 
protective clothing that did not interfere significantly with their 
fighting ability. One early type of light armor was simply padded cloth, 
worn on the torso, that provided some protection from blows or missiles."

Apparently the Blacksmith is also involved in comfortable clothes 
production. Padded Archer Armor is not even made of metal, and they are 
still researched in the Blacksmith. This upgrade increases the Armor and 
Pierce Armor of Archers by 1 during the Feudal Age.

Leather Archer Armor (150 Food, 150 Gold, Blacksmith)
"Padded armor for light troops was improved with an outer layer of leather 
over the cloth padding. Leather was light and flexible but provided more 
protection than simple cloth."

What on earth? Leather is not metal. It's just processed cow skin, and 
such armor is still researched at the Blacksmith. It should be researched 
in the Tailor instead. Hee hee. Anyway, enough talk. This increases the 
Armor and Pierce Armor of all Archers by 1. If you are playing as a 
civilization whose strong point are the Archers, say Britons, Mongols or 
Chinese, then you may think about researching this before Chain Mail Armor.

Ring Archer Armor (250 Food, 250 Gold, Blacksmith)
"As the Middle Ages progressed, light troops were more aggressively 
employed in battle. They supported pikemen phalanxes and were put into 
combined formations with these units. Crossbowmen needed to get close to 
the enemy to shoot. During assaults on fortifications and castles, they 
were exposed to enemy fire. In conjunction with their more aggressive roles, 
the armor that light troops wore was upgraded to ring, or chain mail. This 
was the lightest and most flexible of the metal armors and minimized 
interference with fighting, while providing better protection than padded 
leather."

Finally, the Blacksmith finally has got back on topic in the Imperial Age. 
Ring Archer Armor is actually the flexible version of the Chain Mail Armor 
designed for Archers. It increases Archers' Armor by 1 and Pierce Armor 
by 2. So, they are more likely to withstand much better damage against 
other Archers. But still, the Skirmishers are more or less obsolete by 
Imperial since the Knights do a better job at running up to them. Celts, 
Franks and Mongols do not have this upgrade.

Chemistry (300 Food, 200 Gold, University)
"The science of chemistry was very crude during the Middle Ages and devoted 
almost entirely to finding ways to convert base metals into gold. This 
study was called alchemy and practitioners were called alchemists. 
Alchemists occasionally stumbled upon useful chemicals by accident. The 
most significant result of chemistry experiments was the European 
acquisition of gunpowder, which had been invented many centuries earlier 
by the Chinese."

The above description taken from the manual is wrong. The person who 
stumbled into gunpowder in China is actually cooking up a medicine with 
sulphur when the mixture caught fire. That's the first gunpowder. Anyway, 
with Chemistry researched, liquids that cause fire will be invented. As 
a result, every single arrow shot out will be on fire, and all projectiles 
hurled by Onagers will be glowing red hot. The final effect is 1 extra 
Attack to all those units affected. Another important use of this invention 
is to provide gunpowder related units, namely the Hand Cannoneer, Bombard 
Cannon, Cannon Galleon and Bombard Tower. Most civilizations have at least 
one of the above options available once Chemistry is researched. Except 
the Britons! So, if you are playing as Britons, this upgrade is to be taken 
with the lowest possible priority while for the rest, research it once 
you have the resources to do so.

Ballistics (300 Wood, 175 Gold, University)
"Missile weapons grew increasingly important as the Middle Ages proceeded, 
culminating in the development of firearms and cannons. Before these 
innovative weapons there were longbows, crossbows, and a variety of siege 
engines throwing rocks, spears, and arrows. Practical men studied how these 
missiles performed in flight and worked to improve velocity and accuracy. 
This was the science of Ballistics, the study of the motion of projectiles 
in flight. This experience led to improvements throughout the age as part 
of the arms race among weapons, armor, fortification, attack, and defense."

People who build Watch Towers during the Feudal Age will feel the annoyance. 
The tower shoots arrows out, and the enemies approaching can dodge the 
arrows just by continuing to move forward. But this frustration will be 
taken away once Ballistics is researched. Ballistic improves Archers' and 
Towers' accuracy by a lot. Now, the only way for you to dodge the arrows 
is to manually control the units. So, once you hit Castle Age, build a 
University and research this quick.

Murder Holes (200 Food, 200 Stone, University)
"Hoardings were fortifications built at the top of castle walls and towers 
from which defenders could fight. They needed to be beyond the vertical 
plane of the wall so they could attack enemies at the base of the wall. 
At the bottom of the hoardings were trap doors called murder holes. These 
could be opened and defenders could shoot arrows and drop stones, boiling 
water, or burning sand directly down. Without murder holes, enemies up 
against the bottom of a wall were relatively safe."

Another annoyance in the Feudal Age. The Watch Tower stops shooting at 
enemies when they get close enough. The result: Lots of Men at Arms hacking 
away at the base of the Watch Tower until it falls. Frustrating, right? 
Well, this second problem with towers will be rectified once the University 
is built. Murder Holes eliminate the minimum range of all towers and Castles. 
Any one who gets to the base will have arrows dropped down on him. As a 
result, Guard Towers can become more reliable than before. However, due 
to this, the programmers decided to add Siege Weapons in the Castle Age, 
notably the Battering Ram. That's another threat.

Heated Shot (350 Food, 100 Gold, University)
"Coastal gunners who engaged ships learned to heat their cannonballs in 
furnaces until they were red hot. If a heated shot lodged in the woodwork 
of a sailing ship, it could set the ship afire. The wadding in the barrel 
of the gun had to be sufficiently thick to not burn away before the cannon 
could be fired. If the shot burned through the wadding too quickly, the 
gun could go off before being properly aimed. In such a case the gun might 
explode rather than fire. Heated shot that plunged through decks was 
especially dangerous. It could lodge deep in the ship where the crew could 
not reach it with water before fire had taken hold. If fire reached the 
powder magazine, the ship would explode."

Heated Shot causes towers to deal 50% more attack damage against Ships. 
This is great and all, if you are fighting a map that is designed for sea 
battles. If there is absolutely no water, don't even bother researching 
this. If researched, this works wonders. People will think twice before 
challenging your towers by the sea. Britons, Celts, Goths, Teutons, Vikings, 
Turks, Persians and Chinese get this useful upgrade. It's great for Teutons, 
Turks and Chinese because they get Bombard Towers. Watch the ships sink!

Siege Engineers (500 Food, 600 Wood, University)
"Men who specialized in designing, building, and operating siege weapons 
were called siege engineers. These weapons were marvels of their age and 
complicated to operate. Hitting a narrow stone wall from a distance with 
a plunging stone shot was a difficult problem. Kings prized men who could 
solve it."

Siege Engineers can design all Siege Weapons so they are more efficient. 
Therefore, they can gain 1 Range, except for Rams and deal 20% more damage 
to buildings. Celts, Britons, Franks, Teutons, Vikings, Saracens, Mongols 
and Japanese get this upgrade. Have fun with the rams, boys!

Husbandry (250 Food, Stable)
"In an age dominated for centuries by knights, the breeding and provision 
of horses, a branch of animal husbandry, became an important skill. Knights 
needed heavy chargers to carry them into battle but also dependable lighter 
horses with stamina for campaigning in the country. Scouts and light 
cavalry needed fast and nimble horses when traveling cross-country in enemy 
territory. Horse breeders of the Middle Ages selected for these traits, 
and horses of different abilities were the result."

So, husbandry is just a method of breeding horses that have good traits. 
So, eventually every horse will get the fast run gene and they will all 
move 25% faster. That's the effect on all Cavalry units, including Camels. 
Have fun breeding good Camels! Everyone gets this, except the Teutons and 
the Vikings. So, Cavalry is just not for you two civilizations!

Scale Barding Armor (150 Food, Blacksmith)
"Barding was armor placed on horses. Scale barding armor was made of layers 
of rounded metal scales that overlapped each other in a cascade. This 
partially protected the horse from both arrows and hand weapons. A blow 
against the armor was partially deflected, and the layers of scales 
absorbed much of the energy of the blow."

Now, I get it. Barding is armor for the horses, but not for the horse rider. 
So, not only is the rider dressed in Scale Mail Armor, the horse is also 
covered up to metal scales. This upgrade, no matter how insignificant in 
the Feudal Age, increases the Armor and Pierce Armor of cavalry units by 
1. The sole beneficiary is the Scout Cavalry!

Chain Barding Armor (250 Food, 150 Gold, Blacksmith)
"Armor made of linked metal chains was an improvement over a cascade of 
metal scales. It had greater integrity and held up better after taking 
some damage. Where a row of scales might come loose after a blow, chain 
barding armor stayed largely intact. Because the linked chains were smaller 
than the scales they replaced, Chain Armor was more flexible and 
comfortable to wear."

Chain Barding Armor is the first step up for Cavalry in the Castle Age. 
This increases the Armor and Pierce Armor for all Cavalry by 1. For 
civilizations with stronger cavalry, upgrade this before Chain Mail Armor.

Plate Barding Armor (350 Food, 200 Gold, Blacksmith)
"Armor made of large metal plates was the best defense obtainable against 
missiles and hand weapons. It was stronger and absorbed more energy. Large 
sheets of hammered steel were fashioned to fit the body of the horse."

Plate Barding Armor is the final step up for Cavalry Armor. It gives another 
1 Armor and 2 Pierce Armor for Cavalry in the game. However, this upgrade 
is limited in supply, Britons, Franks, Teutons, Saracens, Turks, 
Byzantines, Persians and Chinese get them. Taking into account all the 
upgrades for Cavalry, I have to say that the Franks and Persians are the 
only civilizations that have the "perfect" Paladin.

Fervor (140 Gold, Monastery)
"The strongest religions inspire great passion and fervor among their 
faithful. The result is a high degree of commitment and effort, especially 
among the teachers and interpreters of the group."

What has Fervor got to do with a Monk's speed? I guess it's the passion 
for the job that makes them run faster. As a result, Monks will move 15% 
faster when you give them this upgrade.

Sanctity (120 Gold, Monastery)
"To achieve sanctity was to achieve a holiness of life and character. The 
holy men of the great religions of the Middle Ages strove for sanctity 
through their obedience to sacred texts, their vows of poverty, and their 
respect for all living things. Through sanctity they inspired those of 
other religions or those less committed."

Sanctity makes the lives of Monks more "holy", and so, they are sort of 
like, er, protected by some holy powers that give them 50% more HP. By 
the way, this upgrade, although trivial is limited in availability. Mongols, 
Persians and Vikings don't get it. So, they must be hypocrites!

Redemption (475 Gold, Monastery)
"The ability of someone fallen from the faith to redeem himself or herself 
was a powerful act of forgiveness on the part of a religion. Religions 
that were forgiving and allowed redemption had an advantage over those 
that did not."

I have no idea what has Redemption to do with the job, but with this upgrade, 
Monks get to convert buildings, and Siege Weapons. However, the range is 
limited. Monks cannot convert Town Centers, Castles, Monasteries, Farms, 
Fish Traps, Walls, Towers, Gates and Wonders. Given such limitations, you 
should ask your Monks to convert mainly the military production structures. 
This useful technique is only available to those faithful, they are the 
Teutons, Saracens, Turks, Byzantines, Chinese and Japanese. Wow, that's 
a little too narrow in scope. If you have it, do it quick.

Atonement (325 Gold, Monastery)
"Several of the most successful religions reach an atonement, or 
reconciliation, between their all-powerful god and the common men and women 
on Earth. This was an important feature that strengthened the faith of 
believers and attracted converts."

This is even weirder at this point. By strengthening the bond between God 
and man, Monks can convert enemy Monks. How ridiculous. The weirder thing 
is that this upgrade is not available to all. Teutons, Vikings, Saracens, 
Turks, Byzantines, Mongols, Chinese and Japanese get this upgrade. I see 
it now. Western Europeans always get the shaft on the varieties of things 
that are convertible to them!

Illumination (120 Gold, Monastery)
"The strength of any religion is its ideas and the faith that these ideas 
encourage. The message and spread of these ideas can be enhanced by their 
presentation. During the Middle Ages religions used icons, impressive 
churches, music, and artwork to help spread and strengthen their message. 
Enduring symbols of this effort from the Middle Ages are the illuminated 
manuscripts copied laboriously by hand in the Scriptoria of isolated 
monasteries."

Illumination of holy manuscripts for some strange reason allows Monks to 
recover their faith 50% faster. What on earth? Maybe it's the glowing things 
they read that make them want to convert the masses more. Britons, Franks, 
Teutons, Goths, Saracens, Byzantines, Chinese and Japanese have them. I 
don't really know what's going on with the distribution of Monk upgrades.

Faith (750 Food, 1000 Gold, Monastery)
"Civilizations can conflict ideologically, as well as militarily and 
economically. When the Christian Crusaders invaded the Holy Lands, for 
example, they encountered the ideas of Islam, as well as new weapons, 
tactics, and desirable goods."

This is one expensive, but helluva important upgrade in the Imperial Age. 
The whole point is to strengthen the faith of your men so they are 50% 
more resistant against being converted by Monks. If only you have 1000 
Gold to spare. So tell your Villagers and Trade Carts to hurry up!

Block Printing (200 Gold, Monastery)
"Block printing, an old Chinese invention, made possible the printing press, 
one of the great inventions of the Middle Ages. This made possible the 
wide dissemination and easy storage of information on an amazing scale 
that continues to accelerate today. The first book printed was the 
Christian Bible. The important texts of other religions soon followed."

Block Printing is there to increase your Monks' conversion Range by 3. 
So, they can convert from further away, and are less likely to be killed 
by Knights. This is a more practical upgrade for the Monks than Faith. 
Britons, Franks, Teutons, Vikings, Saracens, Byzantines, Persians and 
Japanese have it. For some reason, the Chinese don't have it. It just 
doesn't make sense. My guess it's due to game balance. (Same goes for the 
absence of Crop Rotation. It's just showing the developers' ignorance 
towards what really happened in history.)

Careening (250 Food, 150 Gold, Dock)
"Barnacles and seaweed attached themselves to the underside of wooden 
hulled ships over time. These "passengers" slowed the ship down as they 
spread across the hull, making the ships ever more inefficient. Ships of 
the age were careened periodically to scrap off these obstructions and 
reseal the bottom. Careening required unloading the ship, dragging it up 
onto a sandy beach sideways, and pulling it over to expose the bottom. 
Crewmen worked in shallow water scraping and resealing seams with new pitch. 
Careening was usually done in conjunction with tides to help float the 
ship off, and a ship needed to be careened twice to be cleaned on both 
sides."

So, scrapping barnacles off ships' hulls increases the armor and pierce 
armor of ships by 1. At the same time, Transport Ships will be able to 
carry 5 more units with this upgrade. This is quite an odd name to pick 
for this upgrade. But anyway, every single civilization knows how to do 
it. If Naval Battles are on in the map you are using, research this quick. 
That Gold shouldn't be too hard to be spare, right?

Dry Dock (600 Food, 400 Gold, Dock)
"Ships needing extensive repairs were sailed into a new structure called 
a dry dock from which the water could be pumped. This left the ship dry 
and accessible to workmen from all directions."

It seems that once an easy pit stop for the ships has been invented, Ships 
can move 15% faster. At the same time, Transport Ships carry 10 more units. 
This technology is available for everyone but Goths, Teutons and Mongols.

Shipwright (1000 Food, 300 Gold, Dock)
"Men who built and designed ships were called shipwrights. Their value 
to sea coast communities increased as the demand for sea trade and war 
ships increased. Expert shipwrights built sturdier ships at a lower cost."

Once the correct experts are hired to build ships, they can make better 
use of wood, and the same ship will take 20% less wood to build. However, 
this consumes a lot of food in return, so you should only use this if you 
are to fight heavy naval battles with a shortage of wood. Franks, Teutons, 
Vikings, Saracens and Persians cannot get this. What? And I thought Vikings 
are supposed to be resourceful at sea.

---------------------
5. The History [AOK5]
---------------------
Age of Empires II is supposed to be an educational experience as well as 
an entertaining one. This is why the History is provided in the main menu. 
Here is the entire content of the History.

Aztecs
Political control of the populous and agriculturally rich central valley 
of Mexico fell into confusion after 1100. Gradually assuming ever-greater 
power were the Aztecs, probably a northern tribe that had migrated to the 
valley and occupied a minor town on the shore of the great central lake. 
They were a society that valued the skills of warriors above all others, 
and this emphasis gave them an advantage against rival tribes in the region. 
By the end of the 15th century, the Aztecs controlled all of central Mexico 
as a military empire that collected tribute from rivals.

The Aztec culture drew upon the experience of those that came before it 
and invented little that was new. They had an advanced agriculture that 
supported a very large population. They built immense buildings of grand 
design and flourished in many arts. They were adept metal workers, but 
had no iron. Lacking any suitable draft animal, they made no motive use 
of the wheel.

One of the distinctive features of the Aztec culture was its penchant for 
sacrifice. Aztec myths dictated that human blood be fed to the Sun to give 
it the strength to rise each day. Human sacrifices were conducted on a 
grand scale; several thousand in a single day were not uncommon. Victims 
were often decapitated or flayed, and hearts were cut from living victims. 
Sacrifices were conducted at the top of tall pyramids to be close to the 
sun and blood flowed down the steps. Although the Aztec economy was based 
primarily on corn (or maize), the people believed that crops depended on 
the regular provision of sacrificial blood.

The incessant demand for sacrificial victims meant that the Aztecs 
tolerated loose control over satellite cities because frequent revolts 
offered opportunities for capturing new victims. During times of peace, 
"garland wars" were arranged strictly as contests of courage and warrior 
skill, and for the purpose of capturing victims. They fought with wooden 
clubs to maim and stun, rather than kill. When fighting to kill, the clubs 
were studded with obsidian blades.

Despite their great agriculture and arts, the Aztecs appear in retrospect 
to have been a waning society. They passed on no significant technology 
or ideas of religion or political theory. Their civilization was brought 
to an abrupt end by the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century. 
Already devastated by European disease passed by early traders, they fell 
to a small Spanish army armed with steel weapons, firearms, and riding 
a few horses. The cruelty of the Aztecs contributed to their downfall by 
making it easy for the Spanish to enlist allies among the non-Aztecs in 
Mexico.

Britons
Following the withdrawal of the Roman legions to Gaul (modern France) 
around 400, the British Isles fell into a very dark period of several 
centuries from which almost no written records survive. The Romano-British 
culture that had existed under 400 years of Roman rule disappeared under 
relentless invasion and migration by barbarians. Celts came over from 
Ireland (a tribe called the Scotti gave their name to the northern part 
of the main island, Scotland). Saxons and Angles came from Germany, 
Frisians from modern Holland, and Jutes from modern Denmark. By 600, the 
Angles and Saxons controlled most of modern England. By 800, only modern 
Wales, Scotland, and West Cornwall remained in largely Celtic hands.

The new inhabitants were called Anglo-Saxons (from the Angles and Saxons). 
The Angles gave their name to the new culture (England from Angle-land), 
and the Germanic language they brought with them, English, replaced the 
native Celtic and previously imported Latin. Despite further invasions 
and even a complete military conquest at a later date, the southern and 
eastern parts of the largest British Isle have been called England (and 
its people and language English) ever since. 

In 865 the relative peace of England was shattered by a new invasion. Danish
Vikings who had been raiding France and Germany formed a great army and 
turned their attention on the English. Within 10 years, most of the 
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had fallen or surrendered. Only the West Saxons 
(modern Wessex) held out under Alfred, the only English ruler to be called 
"the Great." 

England was divided among the Vikings, the West Saxons, and a few other 
English kingdoms for nearly 200 years. The Viking half was called the 
Danelaw ("under Danish law"). The Vikings collected a large payment, called 
the Danegeld ("the Dane's gold"), to be peaceful. The Danes became 
Christians and gradually became more settled. In time the English turned 
on the Danes, and in 954 the last Viking king of York was killed. England 
was united for the first time under an English king from Wessex.

In 1066 the Witan ("king's council") offered the crown to Harold, son of 
the Earl of Wessex. Two others claimed the throne: Harald Hardrada (meaning 
"the hard ruler"), King of Norway, and Duke William of Normandy. The 
Norwegian landed first, near York, but was defeated by Harold at the battle 
of Stamford Bridge. Immediately after the victory, Harold force-marched 
his army south to meet William at Hastings. The battle seesawed back and 
forth all day, but near dusk Harold was mortally wounded by an arrow in 
the eye. Over the next two years, William, now "the Conqueror," solidified 
his conquest of England.

During the remainder of the Middle Ages, the successors of William largely
exhausted themselves and their country in a series of confrontations and 
wars attempting to expand or defend land holdings in France. The Hundred 
Years War between England and France was an on-and-off conflict that 
stretched from 1337 to 1453. It was triggered by an English king's claim 
to the throne of France, thanks to family intermarriages. The war was also 
fought over control of the lucrative wool trade and French support for 
Scotland's independence. The early part of the war featured a string of 
improbable, yet complete, English victories, thanks usually to English 
longbowmen mowing down hordes of ornately armored French knights from long 
range.

The English could not bring the war to closure, however, and the French 
rallied. Inspired by Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who professed divine 
guidance, the French fought back, ending the war with the capture of 
Bordeaux in 1453. The English were left holding only Calais on the mainland 
(and not for long).

Byzantines
The Byzantines took their name from Byzantium, an ancient city on the 
Bosphorus, the strategic waterway linking the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. 
The Roman Emperor Constantine had renamed this city Constantinople in the 
fourth century and made it a sister capital of his empire. This eastern 
partition of the Roman Empire outlived its western counterpart by a 
thousand years, defending Europe against invasions from the east by 
Persians, Arabs, and Turks. The Byzantines persevered because 
Constantinople was well defended by walls and the city could be supplied 
by sea. At their zenith in the sixth century, the Byzantines covered much 
of the territories of the original Roman Empire, lacking only the Iberian 
Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), Gaul (modern France), and Britain. 
The Byzantines also held Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, but by the middle 
of the seventh century they had lost them to the Arabs. From then on their 
empire consisted mainly of the Balkans and modern Turkey. 

The first great Byzantine emperor was Justinian I (482 to 565). His ambition 
was to restore the old Roman Empire and he nearly succeeded. His instrument 
was the greatest general of the age, Belisarius, who crisscrossed the 
empire defeating Persians to the East, Vandals in North Africa, Ostrogoths 
in Italy, and Bulgars and Slavs in the Balkans. In addition to military 
campaigns, Justinian laid the foundation for the future by establishing 
a strong legal and administrative system and by defending the Christian 
Church.

The Byzantine economy was the richest in Europe for many centuries because
Constantinople was ideally sited on trade routes between Asia, Europe, 
the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea. It was an important destination point 
for the Silk Road from China. The nomisma, the principal Byzantine gold 
coin, was the standard for money throughout the Mediterranean for 800 years. 
Constantinople's strategic position eventually attracted the envy and 
animosity of the Italian city-states.

A key strength of the Byzantine Empire was its generally superior army 
that drew on the best elements of the Roman, Greek, Gothic, and Middle 
Eastern experience in war. The core of the army was a shock force of heavy 
cavalry supported by both light infantry (archers) and heavy infantry 
(armored swordsmen). The army was organized into units and drilled in 
tactics and maneuvers. Officers received an education in military history 
and theory. Although outnumbered usually by masses of untrained warriors, 
it prevailed thanks to intelligent tactics and good discipline. The army 
was backed by a network of spies and secret agents that provided information 
about enemy plans and could be used to bribe or otherwise deflect 
aggressors.

The Byzantine navy kept the sea-lanes open for trade and kept supply lines 
free so the city could not be starved into submission when besieged. In 
the eighth century, a land and sea attack by Arabs was defeated largely 
by a secret weapon, Greek fire. This chemical weapon, its composition now 
unknown, was a sort of liquid napalm that could be sprayed from a hose. 
The Arab navy was devastated at sea by Greek fire.

In the seventh and eighth centuries, the Arabs overran Egypt, the Middle 
East, North Africa, and Spain, removing these areas permanently from 
Byzantine control. A Turkish victory at Manzikert in 1071 led to the 
devastation of Asia Minor, the empire's most important source of grain, 
cattle, horses, and soldiers. In 1204 Crusaders led by the Doge of Venice 
used treachery to sack and occupy Constantinople.

In the fourteenth century, the Turks invaded Europe, capturing Adrianople 
and bypassing Constantinople. They settled the Balkans in large numbers 
and defeated a large crusader army at Nicopolis in 1396. In May 1453, 
Turkish sultan Mehmet II captured a weakly defended Constantinople with 
the aid of heavy cannon. The fall of the city brought the Byzantine Empire 
to an end.

Celts
The Celts (pronounced "kelts") were the ancient inhabitants of Northern 
Europe and the builders of Stonehenge 5000 years ago. Julius Caesar had 
battled them during his conquest of Gaul. The Romans eventually took most 
of Britain and the Iberian Peninsula from them as well. At the end of the 
ancient Roman Empire, the Celts occupied only parts of northwestern France, 
Ireland, Wales, and parts of Scotland. During the course of the Middle 
Ages, they strengthened their hold on Scotland and made several attempts 
to take more of England.

The Irish remained in small bands during the early Middle Ages. By 800 
the four provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster had risen 
to power under "high kings." Viking raids began in 795 and then Viking 
settlements were established in the middle ninth century. The most 
important of these was at Dublin. Brian Boru became the first high king 
of all Ireland around 1000. In 1014 the Irish defeated the Danes of Dublin 
at Clontarf, although Brian Boru was killed.

An Irish tribe called the Scotti invaded what is now southern Scotland 
during the early Middle Ages, settling permanently and giving the land 
its name. They pushed back and absorbed the native Picts who had harassed 
the Romans to the south. The Scottish kingdom took its present shape during 
the eleventh century but attracted English interference. The Scots 
responded with the "auld (old) alliance" with France, which became the 
foundation of their diplomacy for centuries to come. Edward I of England 
(Longshanks, or "hammer of the Scots") annexed Scotland in 1296.

William Wallace (Braveheart) led a revolt of Scotland, winning virtual 
independence at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Defeated the next 
year at Falkirk, Wallace waged a guerrilla war until he was betrayed, 
captured, and executed in 1305. Robert the Bruce declared himself king 
of Scotland after murdering his main rival. He drove out the English, 
winning the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Edward III of England recognized 
Scotland's independence in 1328, but war between the Scots and English 
carried on for several centuries. The crowns of the two countries were 
united in 1603, long after the Middle Ages were over.

No prince in Wales proved strong enough to unite the country. In the late 
thirteenth century, Edward I took over the government of Gwynedd, one of 
the strongest Welsh principalities in Wales. He proceeded to build five 
great castles in Wales, effectively placing the country under English rule.

Chinese
China was reunited in 581 AD after a long period of internal war by the 
founders of the Sui dynasty. For most of the 1000 years that followed, 
China was one of the largest and most advanced civilization in the world. 
Because of its geographic isolation from the West, it was able to develop 
and maintain a unique culture that spread its influence over much of Asia.

An emperor generally held supreme power as the son of heaven. Natural 
disasters or other calamities were taken as proof that the mandate of heaven 
had been withdrawn, however, and could justify revolt. Mandarins were 
conservative civil servants who operated most of the government at the 
local, province, and imperial level. Mandarins earned their positions by 
passing detailed civil service examinations based mainly on the works of 
Confucius. The T'ang dynasty ruled China from 618 to 907. China under the 
T'ang was large, wealthy, and powerful. There was extensive foreign trade 
and interest in the arts among the upper class. Printing and gunpowder 
were invented. The last 100 years of T'ang rule witnessed tumultuous 
peasant revolts, however, and wars between local military rulers that the 
imperial court could not end. The years from 907 to 960 were known as the 
Five Dynasties period. Northern China was held by barbarians, and southern 
China split into 10 rival states. From one of these, an army general named 
Zhao Kuang-ying seized power and unified the southern states, founding 
the Song dynasty. His descendants reunited China within 20 years.

The Song dynasty ruled at least part of China until 1279. This was another 
period of cultural brilliance, and it was considered the great age of 
Chinese landscape painting. There was a dramatic improvement in economic 
activity, including a large overseas trade. Population and cities grew, 
food production grew faster than population, a money economy developed, 
and industrial output increased. No city in Europe could approach the 
populations of Chang An, Beijing, and Guang Zhou, all with more than 2 
million inhabitants.

The wealth of China attracted enemies, however, and the Mongols began 
attacks in 1206. By 1279 they had completed the conquest of Song China 
and moved the capital to Beijing. The dramatic economic improvement of 
the Song dynasty ended with the Mongol conquests and the estimated 30 
million deaths that they caused. The Mongol Yuan dynasty reunited China 
and reestablished it as a great military and world power. Chinese influence 
was spread into Asia. Hanoi was captured three times and tribute was 
extracted from Burma. Trade with India, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf was 
developed. Marco Polo visited China during this period.

Natural disasters and higher taxes in the fourteenth century caused rural 
rebellions. A Buddhist monk rose to be one of the leaders of the Red Turbans, 
a secret society opposed to the emperor in Beijing. The rebels seized 
Nanjing in 1356 and drove the Mongols from Beijing 12 years later, 
establishing the Ming dynasty. The Ming presided over another cultural 
flowering and established a political unity that outlasted the Ming and 
continued into the twentieth century. The Ming clamped down a strict 
conservatism and isolation, however, discouraging change and innovation, 
banning foreign travel, and closing the Silk Road.

Some of the most noteworthy aspects of medieval China are the technologies 
that were invented there, usually many centuries before a similar 
technology was invented in, or transmitted to, the West. Important Chinese 
inventions included the compass, the wheelbarrow, the abacus, the horse 
harness, the stirrup, the clock, iron-casting, steel, paper, moveable type 
(printing), paper money, gunpowder, and the stern-post rudder.

Franks
The Franks were one of the Germanic barbarian tribes known to the Romans. 
In the early part of the fifth century, they began expanding south from 
their homeland along the Rhine River into Roman-controlled Gaul (modern 
France). Unlike other Germanic tribes, however, they did not move out of 
their homelands but, rather, added to them. Clovis, a Frankish chieftain, 
defeated the last Roman armies in Gaul and united the Franks by 509, 
becoming the ruler of much of western Europe. During the next 1000 years, 
this Frankish kingdom gradually became the modern nation of France.

The kingdom of Clovis was divided after his death among his four sons, 
according to custom. This led to several centuries of civil warfare and 
struggle between successive claimants to the throne. By the end of the 
seventh century, the Merovingian kings (descendants of Clovis) were rulers 
in name only. In the early eighth century, Charles Martel became mayor 
of the palace, the ruler behind the throne. He converted the Franks into 
a cavalry force and fought so well that his enemies gave him the name of 
Charles the Hammer. In 732 the Frankish cavalry defeated Muslim invaders 
moving north from Spain at the Battle of Poitiers, stopping forever the 
advance of Islam from the southwest.

Charles Martel's son, Pepin, was made king of the Franks by the pope in 
return for helping to defend Italy from the Lombards. Pepin founded the 
dynasty of the Carolingians, and the greatest of these rulers was Charles 
the Great, or Charlemagne, who ruled from 768 to 814. He expanded the 
Frankish kingdom into an empire and was responsible for a rebirth of culture 
and learning in the West. Charlemagne's empire was divided among his 
grandsons and thereafter coalesced into two major parts. The western part 
became the kingdom of France. Later kings gradually lost political control 
of France, however. Central authority broke down under the pressure of 
civil wars, border clashes, and Viking raids. Money and soldiers could 
be raised only by making concessions to landholders. Fiefs became 
hereditary and fief holders became feudal lords over their own vassals. 
By the tenth century, France had been broken into feudal domains that acted 
as independent states.

In 987 the French nobility elected Hugh Capet their king, mainly because 
his fief centered on Paris was weak and he was thought to pose no threat. 
He founded the Capetian line of kings, who worked slowly for two centuries 
regaining the power by making royal roads safe, adding land to their domain, 
encouraging trade, and granting royal charters for new towns and fiefs 
in vacant lands. By allying themselves with the church, the Capetians took 
a strong moral position and benefited from the church's cultural, political, 
and social influence. Royal administrators were made loyal to the king 
and more efficient by eliminating the inheritance of government offices.

Beginning with Philip II in 1180, three superior rulers established France 
as one of the most important nations in Europe. They improved the working 
of the government, encouraged a booming trade, collected fees efficiently, 
and strengthened their position atop the feudal hierarchy. Although a 
national assembly called the Estates General was established, it held no 
real power and was successfully ignored.

From 1337 to 1453 France and England fought the long conflict called the 
Hundred Years War to decide ownership of lands in France that had been 
inherited by English kings. The eventual French victory confirmed the king 
as the most powerful political force in France.

Goths
The Goths were a Germanic tribe on the Danube River frontier known to the 
Romans from the first century AD. Pressured and then displaced when the 
Huns moved west out of Central Asia, the Goths moved west into Europe and 
over the Danube River to escape the oncoming hordes. After taking part 
in the fall of Rome, they vied with other barbarians for the leavings of 
the Western Roman Empire during the Early Middle Ages.

The Goths originated on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to the best 
of our knowledge, and split into two groups as they migrated south across 
Central Europe. The Visigoths, or West Goths, settled in modern Romania 
during the second century. The Ostrogoths, or East Goths, settled farther 
to the east on the northwest coast of the Black Sea. In 376 AD the Visigoths 
were driven from modern Romania by the Huns and moved south across the 
Danube. Their strength was estimated at 60,000 men, women, and children. 
They defeated a Roman army from Constantinople, settled briefly south of 
the Danube, and then pushed into Italy. In 409 they sacked Rome under their 
king Alaric and then moved north into Gaul. The Romans gave them 
southwestern Gaul. From there they eventually extended their rule into 
all of modern Spain and Portugal.

The Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnish rule and followed their cousins 
into Italy late in the fifth century. They were encouraged to invade by 
the Eastern emperor, who wanted deposed the barbarian then ruling as 
viceroy. Under Theodric, king of modern Switzerland and the Balkans already, 
the Goths entered Italy in 488, completing its conquest in 493.

Theodric's kingdom did not last long following his death in 526. Using 
a struggle for succession as an excuse, the Byzantines sent an army to 
Italy in 536 led by their great general Belisarius. The Byzantines hoped 
to regain Italy and restore the old Roman Empire in the West. The war dragged 
on, devastating the countryside in conjunction with plague and famine. 
In 552 the Ostrogoths were finally defeated in Italy. They ceased to exist 
as a separate group by the late sixth century when northern Italy was 
invaded by a new group of barbarians called the Lombards.

The Visigoth kingdom lasted somewhat longer. In the late fifth century 
Clovis of the Franks pushed the Visigoths out of France and over the 
Pyrenees Mountains. Following the death of Clovis his kingdom fragmented 
and the Visigoths were temporarily left alone. In 711 a new threat appeared 
from the south. Islamic armies crossed over from North Africa and destroyed 
the last Gothic kingdom in four years.

The Goths are remembered for being the first to sack Rome and thereby 
beginning the final collapse of the ancient world order in Europe. Their 
admiration for Rome and attempts to preserve it, however, allowed much 
of the Roman culture to survive. For example, the modern languages of Italy, 
France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania are derived from Latin influenced 
by later settlers. They are not variations of German, as was the case in 
England.

Huns
The Huns were a nomadic people from around Mongolia in Central Asia that 
began migrating toward the west in the third century, probably due to 
climatic change. They were a horse people and very adept at mounted warfare, 
both with spears and bows. Moving with their families and great herds of 
horses and domesticated animals they migrated in search of new grasslands 
to settle. Due to their military prowess and discipline, they proved 
unstoppable, displacing all in their path. They set in motion a tide of 
migration before them as other peoples moved to get out of their way. This 
domino effect of large populations passed around the hard nut of 
Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire to spill over the Danube and 
Rhine Rivers, and ultimately overwhelm the Western Roman Empire by 476.

Finding lands to their liking, the Huns settled on the Hungarian plain 
in Eastern Europe, making their headquarters at the city of Szeged on the 
Tisza River. They needed large expanses of grasslands to provide forage 
for their horses and other animals. From this area of plains the Huns 
controlled through alliance or conquest an empire eventually stretching 
from the Ural Mountains in Russia to the Rhone River in France.

The Huns were superb horsemen, trained from childhood, and some believe 
they invented the stirrup, critical for increasing the fighting power of 
a mounted man charging with a couched lance. They inspired terror in enemies 
due to the speed at which they could move, changing ponies several times 
a day to maintain their advance. A second advantage was their recurved 
composite bow, far superior to anything used in the West. Standing in their 
stirrups, they could fire forward, to the sides, and to the rear. Their 
tactics featured surprise, lightning attacks, and the ensuing terror. They 
were an army of light cavalry and their political structure required a 
strong leader to hold them to a purpose.

The peak of Hun power came during the rule of Attila, who became a leader 
of the Huns in 433 and began a series of raids into south Russia and Persia. 
He then turned his attention to the Balkans, causing sufficient terror 
and havoc on two major raids to be bribed to leave. In 450 he turned to 
the Western Empire, crossing the Rhine north of Mainz with perhaps 100,000 
warriors. Advancing on a front of 100 miles, he sacked most of the towns 
in what is now northern France. The Roman general Aetius raised a 
Gallo-Roman army and advanced against Attila, who was besieging the city 
of Orleans. At the major battle of Chalons, Attila was defeated, though 
not destroyed.

The defeat at Chalons is considered one of the decisive battles of history, 
one that could have meant collapse of the Christian religion in Western 
Europe and perhaps domination of the area by Asian peoples.

Attila then invaded Italy, seeking new plunder. As he passed into Italy,
refugees escaped to the islands off the coast, founding, according to 
tradition, the city of Venice. Though Roman forces were depleted and their 
main army still in Gaul, the Huns were weak as well, depleted by incessant 
campaigns, disease, and famine in Italy. At a momentous meeting with Pope 
Leo I, Attila agreed to withdraw.

The Hun empire disintegrated following the death of Attila in 453 with 
no strong leader of his ability to hold it together. Subject peoples 
revolted and factions within their group fought each other for dominance. 
They eventually disappeared under a tide of new invaders, such as the Avars, 
and disappeared from history.

Japanese
Located 100 miles off the mainland of Asia, at its closest point, Japan 
was a land of mystery at the edge of civilization. Isolated at first by 
geography and later by choice, the Japanese developed a distinctive culture 
that drew very little from the outside world. At the beginning of what 
were the Middle Ages in Europe, the advanced culture of Japan was centered 
at the north end of the Inland Sea on the main island of Honshu. Across 
the Hakone Mountains to the east lay the Kanto, an alluvial plain that 
was the single largest rice-growing area on the islands. To the north and 
east of the Kanto was the frontier, beyond which lived aboriginal Japanese 
who had occupied the islands since Neolithic times.

Some believe that by the fifth century AD the Yamato court had become 
largely ceremonial. Independent clans, known as uji, held the real power 
behind the throne. Clan leaders formed a sort of aristocracy and vied with 
each other for effective control of land and the throne. In 536 the Soga 
clan became predominant and produced the first great historical statesman, 
Prince Shotoku, who instituted reforms that laid the foundation of
Japanese culture for generations to come. In 645, power shifted from the 
Soga clan to the Fujiwara clan. The Fujiwara presided over most of the 
Heian period (794 to 1185). The new leadership imposed the Taika Reform 
of 645, which attempted to redistribute the rice-growing land, establish 
a tax on agricultural production, and divide the country into provinces. 
Too much of the country remained outside imperial influence and control, 
however. Real power shifted to great families that rose to prominence in 
the rice-growing lands. Conflict among these families led to civil war 
and the rise of the warrior class.

Similar to the experience of medieval western Europe, the breakdown of 
central authority in Japan, the rise of powerful local nobles, and conflict 
with barbarians at the frontier combined to create a culture dominated 
by a warrior elite. These warriors became known as Samurai, ("those who 
serve"), who were roughly equivalent to the European knight. A military 
government replaced the nobility as the power behind the throne at the 
end of the twelfth century. The head of the military government was the 
Shogun.

Samurai lived by a code of the warrior, something like the European code 
of chivalry. The foundation of the warrior code was loyalty to the lord. 
The warrior expected leadership and protection. In return he obeyed his 
lord's commands without question and stood ready to die on his lord's behalf. 
A Samurai placed great emphasis on his ancestry and strove to carry on 
family traditions. He behaved so as to earn praise. He was to be firm and 
show no cowardice. Warriors went into battle expecting and looking to die. 
It was felt that a warrior hoping to live would fight poorly.

The Kamakura period (1185 to 1333) was named after a region of Japan 
dominated by a new ruling clan that took power after civil war. The Mongols 
attempted to invade Japan twice, in 1274 and 1281, but were repulsed both 
times. A fortuitous storm caused great loss to the second Mongol invasion 
fleet.

Koreans
When Europe fell into its Dark Age, Korea had been divided into three 
competing kingdoms: Koguryo to the north, Paekche to the southwest, and 
Shilla to the southeast. In alliance with China, Shilla conquered the other 
two kingdoms in the 7th century and then expelled their erstwhile Chinese 
ally. The central authority of Shilla disintegrated in the 8th-9th 
centuries, however, under pressure from local lords. Korea was unified 
once again as Koryo in the 10th century and after that, recovered territory 
reaching up to the Amnok River border with China in 993. The civilian 
nobility was thrown out of power by a military coup in 1170 and military 
rule then lasted for sixty years.

The Mongols invaded in 1231, initiating a 30-year struggle. The Mongols 
were often distracted by their wars in China and elsewhere but eventually 
brought enough power to bear that Koryo made peace with the invaders in 
1258. Under the Mongols the Koryo maintained their distinct culture and 
were inspired to demonstrate their superiority to their conquerors through 
a burst of artistic accomplishment.

Land reform, the rise of a new bureaucracy, the diminishment of Buddhism, 
and the rise of Confucianism around 1400 were part of the creation of a 
new kingdom, the Choson, that would rule Korea until the 20th century. 
China heavily influenced the Choson politically and culturally. Korea 
became an important center of learning, aided by the invention of movable 
type and the woodblock technique of publishing around 1234.

The greatest test of the Choson dynasty was invasion by samurai armies 
from Japan in 1592 that ostensibly planned to conquer China. Although seven 
years of fighting left much of the Korean peninsula devastated, the 
Japanese were forced to withdraw because their fleets could not keep open 
sea lines of supply and reinforcement back to Japan. The great Korean 
admiral Yi Sun-Shin defeated the Japanese at sea. One key to the Korean 
naval victories was their innovative turtle ships, the first cannon bearing 
armored ships in history. The Japanese had no answer for these slow but 
powerful weapons.  

Mayans
The Mayans occupied the Yucatan peninsula, modern Honduras, and modern 
Guatemala. They date back perhaps to the second millennium BC, but peaked 
between 600 and 900 AD. Though they lived on lands of marginal agricultural 
value, they created monuments and ceremonial centers nearly as impressive  
as those in Egypt. The extent of the ceremonial building is surprising 
because their religion was relatively simple. Their architecture was also 
less developed, though undeniably impressive, compared to contemporary 
advances made elsewhere in the world. They invented a unique written 
language that is only being deciphered today. Three Mayan books survive 
to the present, the remnants of a much larger number destroyed by Europeans 
who feared they contained heresy.

The Mayans were very proficient in mathematics and astronomy. The 
understanding and predictability of star and planet movements was critical 
to the calculation of their calendar and the dating of important ceremonies. 
They lived in small hamlets that have not survived but congregated at their 
centers for important events. Noble warriors and priests controlled their 
society.

The Mayans went into decline in the tenth century, perhaps due to earthquake 
or volcanic eruption. Many of their important ceremonial sites were 
thereafter abandoned. Warriors from central Mexico then invaded their 
territory and they broke into small town groupings in the rain forest. 
The last Mayan center was captured by the Spanish in the 17th century, 
but as many as two million people of Mayan descent reside in the Yucatan 
today.

Mongols
The Mongols were nomads from the steppes of Central Asia. They were fierce 
warriors who fought each other over pasturelands and raided developed 
civilizations to the east and south. At the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, the Mongol clans united and began a campaign of foreign conquest. 
Following in the hoofprints of the Huns, their predecessors by a thousand 
years, they carved out one of the largest empires the world has yet seen.

The Mongols inhabited the plains south of Lake Baikal in modern Mongolia. 
At its maximum, their empire stretched from Korea, across Asia, and into 
European Russia to the Baltic Sea coast. They held most of Asia Minor, 
modern Iraq, modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, parts of India, 
parts of Burma, all of China, and parts of Vietnam.

The Mongol clans were united by Temuchin, called Genghis Khan ("mighty 
ruler"), in the early thirteenth century. His ambition was to rule all 
lands between the oceans (Pacific and Atlantic) and he nearly did so. 
Beginning with only an estimated 25,000 warriors, he added strength by 
subjugating other nomads and attacked northern China in 1211. He took 
Beijing in 1215 after a campaign that may have cost 30 million Chinese 
lives. The Mongols then turned west, capturing the great trading city 
Bukhara on the Silk Road in 1220. The city was burned to the ground and 
the inhabitants murdered.

Following Genghis Khan's death in 1227, his son Ogedei completed the 
conquest of northern China and advanced into Europe. He destroyed Kiev 
in 1240 and advanced into Hungary. When Ogedei died on campaign in 1241, 
the entire army fell back to settle the question of succession. Europe 
was spared as Mongol rulers concentrated their efforts against the Middle 
East and southern China. Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis, exterminated the 
Muslim "Assassins" and then took the Muslim capital of Baghdad in 1258. 
Most of the city's 100,000 inhabitants were murdered. In 1260 a Muslim 
army of Egyptian Mamelukes (warrior slaves of high status) defeated the 
Mongols in present-day Israel, ending the Mongol threat to Islam and its 
holy cities.

Kublai Khan, another grandson of Genghis, completed the conquest of China 
in 1279, establishing the Yuan dynasty. Attempted invasions of Japan were 
thrown back with heavy loss in 1274 and 1281. In 1294 Kublai Khan died 
in China, and Mongol power began to decline in Asia and elsewhere. In 1368 
the Yuan dynasty in China was overthrown in favor of the Ming.

In the 1370's a Turkish-Mongol warrior claiming descent from Genghis Khan 
fought his way to leadership of the Mongol states of Central Asia and set 
out to restore the Mongol Empire. His name was Timur Leng (Timur, "the 
Lame," or Tamerlane to Europeans and the Prince of Destruction to Asians). 
With another army of 100,000 or so horsemen, he swept into Russia and Persia, 
fighting mainly other Muslims. In 1398 he sacked Delhi, murdering 100,000 
inhabitants. He rushed west defeating an Egyptian Mameluke army in Syria. 
In 1402 he defeated a large Ottoman Turk army near modern Ankara. On the 
verge of destroying the Ottoman Empire, he turned again suddenly. He died 
in 1405 while marching for China. He preferred capturing wealth and engaged 
in wholesale slaughter, without pausing to install stable governments in 
his wake. Because of this, the huge realm inherited by his sons fell apart 
quickly after his death.

Persians
The Persian Empire had existed for many centuries when the Middle Ages 
began. It had been reassembled following the conquest by Alexander in the 
fourth century BC and the subsequent breakup of his empire in later 
centuries. The Persians had been fighting the Romans since the third 
century AD.

The Persian Empire stretched from Mesopotamia to India and from the Caspian 
Sea to the Persian Gulf, encompassing the modern nations of Iraq, Iran, 
and Afghanistan. They fought the Romans, and later the Byzantines, for 
control of modern Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Arabia. 
The capital of the Persian Empire was Ctesiphon, called Baghdad today.

During the third and fourth centuries, the Romans made several attempts 
to subdue the Persians. In 364 a peace treaty was signed between the two 
that allowed the Persians to consolidate their power to the east and north. 
Beginning with the sixth century, the Persians began attacking the 
Byzantine Empire in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and modern Turkey. The war 
between the two powers went back and forth. In 626 the Persians besieged 
Byzantium itself without success, and the Byzantines were able to invade 
Persia the following year. Peace was made between the two exhausted empires 
in 628.

The Persians were unprepared for the fury of the Islamic Arabs in the 
seventh century. The Sassanid dynasty of Persia ended in battle in 636. 
The Persians did not have a capital with defenses comparable to those of 
Constantinople. Muslim conquest of Persia was complete by 651.

Saracens
The name Saracen applied originally to nomadic desert peoples from the 
area stretching from modern Syria to Saudi Arabia. In broader usage the 
name applied to all Arabs of the Middle Ages. These desert nomads erupted 
suddenly in the seventh century and established a far-reaching empire 
within a century and a half. Their conquest was fueled by faith and high 
morale. Following the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, their intent was 
to change the religious and political landscape of the entire planet.

By 613 the prophet Mohammed was preaching a new religion he called Islam. 
Largely ignored in his home city of Mecca, he withdrew to Medina, built 
up a strong following there, and returned to attack and capture Mecca. 
Following his death in 632, his teachings were collected to form the Koran, 
the Islamic holy book. In 634 his followers began their jihad, or holy 
war. Within five years they had overrun Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Their 
tolerance of Jews and Christians eased their conquest because these people 
had been suffering some persecution under the Byzantines.

In the next 60 years, both North Africa to the west and Persia to the east 
fell to Islam. In the early eighth century, Saracens from Tangiers invaded 
the Iberian Peninsula and conquered the Visigoth kingdom established there 
after the fall of Rome. In Asia they took Asia Minor from the Byzantines 
and attempted to capture Constantinople with a combined attack from land 
and sea. The great walls of the city frustrated the land attack and the 
Saracen fleet was defeated at sea. In the west, Charles Martel of the Franks 
stopped a Saracen invasion of modern France in 732 at Poitiers.

Frustrated in the west, the forces of Islam turned east. By 750 they had 
conquered to the Indus River and north over India into Central Asia to 
the borders of China.

In 656 the Muslim world fell into civil war between two factions, the 
Sunnites and the Shiites. They differed on several points, including who 
should be caliph and interpretation of the Koran. The result of the 60-year 
war was that the Islamic state broke into pieces, some governed by Sunnites 
(the Iberian Peninsula) and others by Shiites (Egypt and modern Iraq). 
The new Islamic states acted independently, thereafter.

Muslim Spain developed into one of the great states of Europe during the 
early Middle Ages. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in relative 
harmony, and a rich culture rose out of these multiple influences. There 
was a flowering of the arts, architecture, and learning. By 1000, however, 
Muslim Spain had divided into warring factions. This civil war facilitated 
the slow reconquest of the peninsula (the Reconquista) by the emerging 
states of Castile and Aragon, completed finally in 1492.

Asia Minor and the Middle East were conquered by Muslim Turks in the early 
eleventh century. In response to a call for aid from the Byzantines, a 
series of Crusades was launched from Europe to regain Palestine from the 
Turks. The independent Muslim states in the area lost Palestine and the 
Eastern Mediterranean coast to the First Crusade. In the last part of the 
twelfth century, the great Saracen leader Saladin succeeded in uniting 
Egypt, Syria, and smaller states, and he retook Jerusalem.

The Muslim states remained independent long after the Middle Ages and 
eventually developed into the modern Arab nations of the Middle East and 
North Africa. They went into economic decline, however, when the European 
nations opened trade routes of their own to Asia in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries.

Spanish
The history of Spain in the Middle Ages is written in three principal 
chapters: the creation of Visigothic Spain, then Muslim Spain, and then 
Reconquista, the reconquest of Spain by Christians.

The Iberian peninsula was an appendage of the Roman Empire that was 
discarded as the empire disintegrated because it could not be defended 
in the face of barbarian invasions that brought devastation to the streets 
of Rome itself. The peninsula was occupied in large part by one of the 
migrating barbarian groups, the Visigoths, who had come most recently from 
the southwestern plains of modern Russia, displaced by the Huns. The 
Visigoths became Christian and occupied the center of the peninsula for 
several centuries.

When one of the Visigoth lords appealed to Muslims in North Africa in the 
8th century for aid against the king, the door was opened for Muslim 
expansion across the Straits of Gibraltar. Within 50 years the Muslims 
had taken most of the peninsula, leaving only small areas in the mountains 
and to the north outside their control. Muslim, or Moorish, Spain quickly 
developed into one of the most advanced European civilizations of the 
Middle Ages. It prospered in relative peace thanks to good agriculture, 
trade, coinage, and industry. It benefited from the spread of learning 
throughout the Muslim world. Cordoba became the largest and most 
sophisticated city in Europe after Constantinople, featuring a population 
of over 500,000, wonderful architecture, great works of art, a fabulous 
library, and important centers of learning.

Peace and prosperity were disrupted by internal disruption, however, as 
important local rulers competed for overall power, and by external attack, 
both from the Christian north and Muslim North Africa. By the middle of 
the 13th century, Muslim Spain was reduced to a single kingdom centered 
on Granada. The Christian kingdoms of the north gradually ate away at Muslim 
power, though their effort was often dispersed when they fought with each 
other. Portugal split off and created a separate kingdom. Muslim Granada 
survived for several centuries thanks to liberal tribute paid to the 
Christians to its north and to clever diplomacy that played their enemies 
against each other. In 1469, however, Isabel I of Castile married Fernando 
II of Aragon, uniting the two competing Christian kingdoms and 
foreshadowing the end of Muslim Spain.

Spain of the Middle Ages was a world of contrasts. It featured the great 
advantages of a multi-ethnic society, merging Latin, Jewish, Christian, 
Arab, and Muslim influences into a unique and rich culture. At the same 
time, however, many of these same cultural forces clashed violently. When 
two different cultures clash, the result is often grim. The reconquest 
dragged on for eight centuries, mirroring the Crusades in the holy land 
and creating an atmosphere that became increasingly pitiless and 
intolerant. The Christian warriors who eventually expelled the Muslims 
earned a reputation for being among the best fighters in Europe.

Granada fell to the forces of Aragon and Castile at the start of 1492, 
a momentous year, as under the patronage of Queen Isabel, Christopher 
Columbus subsequently discovered for Europeans the great continents of 
the New World and their native populations.

Teutons
The origin of Germany traces back to the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy 
Roman Emperor in 800. Upon his death the empire was split into three parts 
that gradually coalesced into two: the western Frankish kingdom that became 
France and the eastern kingdom that became Germany. The title of Holy Roman 
Emperor remained in Charlemagne's family until the tenth century when they 
died out. In 919 Henry, Duke of Saxony, was elected king of Germany by 
his fellow dukes. Hisson Otto became emperor in 962.

The Holy Roman Empire that Otto I controlled extended over the German plain 
north to the Baltic, eastward into parts of modern Poland, and southward 
through modern Switzerland, modern Austria, and northern Italy. From the 
outset, the emperors had a difficult problem keeping control of two 
disparate regions-Germany and Italy-that were separated by the Alps.

The Holy Roman Empire was successful at first because it benefited the 
principal members, Germany and Italy. The Germans were not far removed 
from the barbarian condition. They had been conquered by Charlemagne only 
a century earlier. They benefited greatly from Italian culture, technology, 
and trade. The Italians welcomed the relative peace and stability the 
empire ensured. Italy had been invaded time and again for the previous 
500 years. The protection of the empire defended the papacy and allowed 
the city-states of Italy to begin their growth.

The imperial armies were manned partially by tenants of church lands who 
owed service to the emperor. A second important contingent were the 
ministriales, a corps of serfs who received the best training and equipment 
as knights but who were not free men. These armies were used to put down 
revolts or interference by local nobles and peasants or to defend against 
raids by Vikings from the north and Magyars from the east.

Because Germany remained a collection of independent principalities in 
competition, German warriors became very skilled. The most renowned German 
soldiers were the Teutonic Knights, a religious order of warriors inspired 
by the Crusades. The Teutonic Knights spread Christianity into the Baltic 
region by conquest but were eventually halted by Alexander Nevsky at the 
battle on frozen Lake Peipus.

A confrontation between the emperors and the church over investiture of 
bishops weakened the emperors in both Germany and Italy. During periods 
of temporary excommunication of the emperor and outright war against Rome, 
imperial authority lapsed. The local German princes solidified their 
holdings or fought off the Vikings with no interference or help from the 
emperor. In Italy, the rising city-states combined to form the Lombard 
League and refused to recognize the emperor.

Political power in both Germany and Italy shifted from the emperor to the 
local princes and cities. The ministriales rebelled, taking control of 
the cities and castles they garrisoned and declaring themselves free. 
During desperate attempts to regain Italy, more concessions were given 
to the local princes in Germany. By the middle of the thirteenth century, 
the Holy Roman Empire existed in name only. The throne remained empty for 
20 years. The German princes cared only about their own holdings. The 
Italian city-states did not want a German ruler and were strong enough 
to defend themselves.

Future emperors in the Middle Ages were elected by the German princes but 
they ruled in name only, controlling little more than their own family 
estates. Germany remained a minor power in Europe for centuries to come.

Turks
The name Turk refers to two different Muslim groups of the Middle East-first 
the Seljuks and then the Ottomans. The Seljuks, nomads from the steppes 
near the Caspian Sea, converted to Islam around the tenth century. 
Approximately 70,000 Seljuks started as mercenaries to fill the ranks of 
the Islamic army of the caliph of Baghdad. These mercenaries converted 
to the Sunni branch of Islam. In 1055 they became the real power behind 
the caliph in Baghdad and began extending their rule. Their leaders took 
the title sultan, meaning "holders of power." By 1100 they controlled most 
of Anatolia (taken from the Byzantines), Palestine, the lands surrounding 
the Persian Gulf, the holy cities of Arabia, and as far east as Samarkand.

In 1071 the Seljuks achieved a stunning victory over a Byzantine army at 
Malazgirt in modern Turkey, which led to Turkish occupation of most of 
Anatolia. At nearly the same time, they successfully captured Jerusalem 
from its Egyptian Muslim rulers. These two events shocked the Byzantines, 
the papacy, and the Christian Europeans. The result was the Crusades, which 
carried on for the next 200 years.

The Seljuk Turks were worn down by the recurring wars with the Crusaders, 
even though they were successful ultimately in regaining control of 
Palestine. They were threatened simultaneously by the activities of the 
Assassins, a heretical sect of Islam. Internally, Islam entered a period 
of introspection because of the popularity of Sufi mysticism. During this 
period of exhaustion and weakness, they were attacked suddenly by the 
Mongols and collapsed. Baghdad fell to the invaders in 1258 and the Seljuk 
Empire disappeared.

Islamic peoples from Anatolia (modern Turkey in Asia Minor) were unified 
in the early fourteenth century under Sultan Osman I and took the name 
Osmanli, or Ottomans, in his honor. The Ottomans swore a jihad against 
the crumbling Byzantine Empire and took their campaign around 
Constantinople into the Balkans. In 1389 the Serbs were defeated. In 1396 
a "crusader" army from Hungary was defeated. Ottoman successes were 
temporarily halted by the Mongols under Tamerlane, but he moved on with 
his army and the Ottomans recovered.

Sultan Mehmed II ("the Conqueror") at last captured Constantinople on May 
29, 1453. The great walls of Constantinople were battered by 70 guns for 
eight weeks and then 15,000 Janissaries led the successful assault.

The Ottomans pushed on into Europe following the capture of Constantinople 
and threatened a sort of reverse Crusade. They were stopped by a Hungarian 
army at Belgrade in 1456, however. Attacks on Vienna were repulsed in 1529 
and again in 1683. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire 
reached up into Europe to Budapest and Odessa and included all of Greece 
and the Balkans, the lands surrounding the Black Sea, Asia Minor, the Levant, 
Arabia, Egypt, and most of North Africa. The Ottoman Empire remained a 
significant world power until World War I in the twentieth century.

Vikings
The Vikings (meaning "northmen") were the last of the barbarian tribes 
called Germans by the Romans to terrorize Europe. Spreading out from their 
homelands in Scandinavia, they struck suddenly across the seas from their 
dragon boats (called such because of the dragon heads carved on the bow 
and stern). They began by raiding, pillaging, and withdrawing before any 
serious armed resistance could be mounted, but they gradually grew more 
bold. Eventually they occupied and settled significant parts of Europe.

Being pagan, they did not hesitate to kill churchmen and loot church 
holdings, and they were feared for their ruthlessness and ferocity. At 
the same time, they were remarkable craftsmen, sailors, explorers, and 
traders.

The Viking homelands were Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They and their 
descendants controlled, at least temporarily, most of the Baltic Coast, 
much of inland Russia, Normandy in France, England, Sicily, southern Italy, 
and parts of Palestine. They discovered Iceland in 825 (Irish monks were 
there already) and settled there in 875. They colonized Greenland in 985. 
Some people think that the Vikings reached Newfoundland and explored part 
of North America 500 years before the voyage of Columbus.

Vikings began raiding and then settling along the eastern Baltic Sea in 
the sixth and seventh centuries. At the end of the eighth century, they 
were making long raids down the rivers of modern Russia and setting up 
forts along the way for defense. In the ninth century, they were ruling 
Kiev and in 907 a force of 2000 ships and 80,000 men attacked Constantinople. 
They were bought off by the emperor of Byzantium with very favorable terms 
of trade.

Vikings struck first in the West in the late eighth century. Danes attacked 
and looted the famous island monastery at Lindisfarne on the northeast 
coast of England, beginning a trend. The size and frequency of raids against 
England, France, and Germany increased to the point of becoming invasions. 
Settlements were established as bases for further raids. Viking 
settlements in northwestern France came to be known as Normandy ("from 
the northmen"), and the residents were called Normans.

In 865 a large Danish army invaded England, and they went on to hold much 
of England for the next two centuries. One of the last kings of all England 
before 1066 was Canute, who ruled Denmark and Norway simultaneously. In 
871 another large fleet sailed up the Seine River to attack Paris. They 
besieged the city for two years before being bought off with a large cash 
payment and permission to loot part of western France unimpeded.

In 911 the French king made the Viking chief of Normandy a duke in return 
for converting to Christianity and ceasing to raid. From the Duchy of 
Normandy came a remarkable series of warriors, including William I, who 
conquered England in 1066, Robert Guiscard and his family, who took Sicily 
from the Arabs between 1060 and 1091, and Baldwin I, king of the crusader 
kingdom of Jerusalem.

Viking raids stopped at the end of the tenth century. Denmark, Sweden, 
and Norway had become kingdoms, and much of their king's energy was devoted 
to running their lands. The spread of Christianity weakened the old pagan 
warrior values, which died out. The Norse were also absorbed by the cultures 
into which they had intruded. The occupiers and conquerors of England 
became English, the Normans became French, and the Rus became Russians.

Medieval Weapons
The traditional and popular understanding of European warfare in the Middle 
Ages held that mounted knights dominated European battlefields during the 
years 800 to 1400. Knights were encased in plate armor and charged with 
lances, scattering, skewering, and riding down any foot troops in the way 
as they closed with each other to decide the battle. The era of the knight 
came to an end when infantry reestablished a prominent battlefield role 
with new weapons (firearms) and revived skills (formations of massed 
pikeman). This view was fostered by the art and limited accounts of the 
era that featured the mounted nobility while ignoring the commoners and 
peasants who fought on foot. The perception that knights dominated and 
that warfare consisted mainly of cavalry charges is false.

Foot troops were an important component of all armies in the Middle Ages. 
They fought in hand-to-hand melees and as missile troops (bows of various 
types and later handguns). Foot soldiers were critical for both sides in 
sieges against castles and fortified towns.

Warfare in the Middle Ages was dominated actually by sieges of one sort 
or another. Battles on open ground between armies were infrequent. Armies 
played a sort of chess match, maneuvering to take important castles and 
towns, while avoiding engagements where a large and expensive force might 
be lost.

On those occasions where pitched battles did occur, knights could be
devastating. A determined charge by armored knights was a powerful force. 
It was more likely, however, that victory went to the side making best 
use of the three major army components together-melee infantry, missile 
troops, and cavalry. Also important were the factors that have always 
influenced battle, such as intelligent use of terrain, troop morale, 
leadership, discipline, and tactics.

Dark Age Armies
The Germanic tribes that overran the Roman Empire at the start of the Middle 
Ages fought primarily on foot with axes and swords, while wearing little 
armor other than perhaps helmets and shields. They were organized into 
war bands under the leadership of a chief. They were fierce warriors but 
fought in undisciplined mobs. The disciplined Roman legions had great 
success against the Germanic tribes for centuries, in part because 
emotional armies are usually very fragile. When the Roman legions declined 
in quality at the empire's end, however, the Germanic tribes were able 
to push across the frontier.

Not all Germanic tribes fought on foot. Exceptions were the Goths, who 
had adapted to horses when they settled previously north of the Black Sea. 
Both the Visigoths and Ostrogoths learned about cavalry by being in contact 
with the Eastern Roman Empire south of the Danube and barbarian horsemen 
from Asia. The Eastern Roman armies put a greater emphasis on cavalry 
because of their conflicts with mounted barbarians, the Parthians, and 
the Persians.

Following the fall of Rome, most fighting in Europe for the next few 
centuries involved clashes of foot soldiers. One exception might have been 
the battles of Britain's Arthur against the invading Saxons, although we 
have no evidence that his success was due to using cavalry. Arthur may 
have halted Saxon progress in Britain for 50 years, perhaps because of 
cavalry or the use of disciplined troops. Another exception was the 
Byzantine army that recaptured North Africa from the Vandals and almost 
restored Italy to Eastern Roman control in the sixth century. The strength 
of the Byzantine army of this period was cavalry. The Byzantines benefited 
also from both superior leadership and an understanding of tactics that 
the barbarians lacked.

Fighting in these first centuries rarely involved groups that could be 
described as armies. They were the same war bands as before, small by 
Byzantine or Asian standards and employing limited tactics or strategy. 
The main military activities were raids to obtain loot in the form of food, 
livestock, weapons, and slaves. Aggressive tribes expanded by devastating 
the food production of enemies, starving them out, and enslaving the 
survivors. Battles were mainly clashes of war bands, fighting hand to hand 
with axes and swords. They fought as mobs, not the disciplined formations 
typical of the Romans. They used shields and helmets and wore some armor. 
Leather armor was common; only chieftains and elites wore chain mail.

In the early eighth century, Visgothic Spain fell to the warriors of Islam, 
many of whom fought as light cavalry. At the same time, nomadic Magyars 
from the Hungarian plains increased their mounted raids on western Europe. 
In 732 a Frankish infantry army was able to defeat a Muslim cavalry raid 
near Poitiers, ending Muslim northward expansion. Charles Martel, warlord 
of the Franks, was impressed by the Moorish cavalry and began mounting 
part of his army. This conversion continued later in the century under 
the great king of the Franks, Charlemagne. Frankish heavy cavalry was the 
genesis of the mounted knight that came to typify medieval warfare.

Annually for 30 years, Charlemagne conducted military campaigns that 
extended the size of his empire. The Frankish army consisted of both 
infantry and armored cavalry, but the cavalry was his most valuable force 
and the part that got the most notice. It could move quickly and strike 
hard against foes fighting mainly on foot. Charlemagne's campaigns were 
economic raids, burning, looting, and devastating enemies into submission. 
He fought very few battles against organized opposition.

The Vikings fought exclusively on foot, except that it was their habit 
to gather horses upon landing and use them to raid farther inland. Their 
raids began in the late eighth century and ended in the eleventh century. 
The descendants of Viking raiders that became the Normans of northwestern 
France adapted quickly to the use of horses and became some of the most 
successful warriors of the late Middle Ages.

In the early tenth century, the Germans began developing the use of cavalry
under Otto I, both as a rapid response force against Viking raids and to 
repel mounted barbarian raids from the East.

By the end of the tenth century, heavy cavalry was an important component 
of most European armies except in Anglo-Saxon England, Celtic lands 
(Ireland, Wales, and Scotland), and Scandinavia.

Knights
By the time of Charlemagne, mounted warriors had become the elite military 
units of the Franks and this innovation spread across Europe. Fighting 
from a horse was most glorious because the mounted man rode into battle, 
moved quickly, and trampled down lower-class enemies on foot. When cavalry 
faced cavalry, the charge at speed and resulting violent contact was 
exhilarating. Fighting while mounted was most prestigious because of the 
high cost of horses, weapons, and armor. Only wealthy individuals, or the 
retainers of the wealthy, could fight mounted.

Kings of the late Dark Ages had little money with which to pay for large 
contingents of expensive cavalry. Warriors were made vassals and given 
fiefs of land. They were expected to use their profits from the land to 
pay for horses and equipment. In most cases, vassals also supported groups 
of professional soldiers. At a time when central authority was weak and 
communications poor, the vassal, aided by his retainers, was responsible 
for law and order within the fief. In return for his fief, the vassal agreed 
to provide military service to his lord. In this way, high lords and kings 
were able to raise armies when desired. The elites of these armies were 
the mounted vassals.

As the Middle Ages progressed, the elite mounted warriors of western Europe 
became known as knights. A code of behavior evolved, called chivalry, which 
detailed how they should conduct themselves. They were obsessed with honor, 
both at war and at peace, although mainly when dealing with their peers, 
not the commoners and peasants who constituted the bulk of the population. 
Knights became the ruling class, controlling the land from which all wealth 
derived. The aristocrats were noble originally because of their status 
and prestige as the supreme warriors in a violent world. Later their status 
and prestige were based mainly on heredity, and the importance of being 
a warrior declined.

Chivalry
When first used, the term "chivalry" meant horsemanship. The warrior elite 
of the Middle Ages distinguished themselves from the peasants and clergy 
and each other by their skill as horsemen and warriors. Fast and strong 
horses, beautiful and efficient weapons, and well-made armor were the 
status symbols of the day.

By the twelfth century, chivalry had come to mean an entire way of life. 
The basic rules of the chivalric code were the following: Protect women 
and the weak. Champion justice against injustice and evil. Love the 
homeland. Defend the Church, even at the risk of death.

In practice, knights and aristocrats ignored the code of chivalry when 
it suited them. Feuds between nobles and fights over land took precedent 
over any code. The Germanic tribal custom that called for a chieftain's 
property to be split among his sons, rather than pass to the eldest, often 
triggered wars among brothers for the spoils. An example of this was the 
conflict between Charlemagne's grandsons. The Middle Ages were plagued 
with such civil wars in which the big losers were usually the peasants.

In the late Middle Ages, kings created orders of chivalry, which were 
exclusive organizations of high-ranking knights that swore allegiance to 
their king and each other. Becoming a member of chivalric order was 
extremely prestigious, marking a man as one of the most important of the 
realm. In 1347 during the Hundred Years War, Edward III of England founded 
the Order of the Garter, still in existence today. This order consisted 
of the 25 highest-ranking knights of England and was founded to ensure 
their loyalty to the king and dedication to victory in the war.

The Order of the Golden Fleece was established by Philip the Good of 
Burgundy in 1430 and became the richest and most powerful order in Europe. 
Louis XI of France established the Order of St. Michael to control his 
most important nobles. The Orders of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara 
were founded to drive the Moors out of Spain. They were united under 
Ferdinand of Aragon, whose marriage to Isabella of Castile set the 
foundation for a single Spanish kingdom. He eventually became master of 
the three orders, although they remained separate.

Becoming a Knight
At the age of 7 or 8, boys of the noble class were sent to live with a 
great lord as a page. Pages learned basic social skills from the women 
of the lord's household and began basic training in the use of weapons 
and horsemanship. Around the age of 14 the youth became a squire, a knight 
in training. Squires were assigned to a knight who continued the youth's 
education. The squire was a general companion and servant to the knight. 
The duties of the squire included polishing armor and weapons (prone to 
rust), helping his knight dress and undress, looking after his belongings, 
and even sleeping across his doorway as a guard.

At tournaments and in battle, the squire assisted his knight as needed. 
He brought up replacement weapons and horses, treated wounds, brought a 
wounded knight out of danger, or made sure of a decent burial if needed. 
In many cases the squire went into battle with his knight and fought at 
his side. A knight avoided fighting a squire on the other side, if possible, 
seeking instead a knight of rank similar to or higher than his own. Squires, 
on the other hand, sought to engage enemy knights, seeking to gain glory 
by killing or capturing an enemy knight of high rank.

In addition to martial training, squires built up their strength through 
games, learned to at least read, if not write, and studied music, dancing, 
and singing.

By the age of 21, a squire was eligible to become a knight. Suitable 
candidates were "knighted" by a lord or other knight of high standing. 
The ceremony for becoming a knight was simple at first, usually being 
"dubbed" on the shoulder with a sword and then buckling on a sword belt. 
The ceremony grew more elaborate and the Church added to the rite. 
Candidates bathed, cut their hair close, and stayed up all night in a vigil 
of prayer. In the morning the candidate received the sword and spurs of 
a knight.

Knighthood was usually attainable only for those who possessed the land 
or income necessary to meet the responsibilities of the rank. Important 
lords and bishops could support a sizable contingent of knights, however, 
and many found employment in these circumstances. Squires who fought 
particularly well might also gain the recognition of a great lord during 
battle and be knighted on the field.

Tournaments
Mock battles between knights, called tournaments, began in the tenth 
century and were immediately condemned by the second Council of Letran, 
under Pope Innocentius II, and the kings of Europe who objected to the 
injuries and deaths of knights in what they considered frivolous activity. 
Tournaments flourished, however, and became an integral part of a knight's 
life. Tournaments began as simple contests between individual knights but 
grew more elaborate through the centuries. They became important social 
events that would attract patrons and contestants from great distances. 
Special lists (tournament grounds) were erected with stands for spectators 
and pavilions for combatants. Knights continued to compete as individuals 
but also in teams. They dueled against each other using a variety of weapons 
and held mock melee battles with many knights on a side. Jousts, or tilts, 
involving two charging knights fighting with lances, became the premier 
event. Knights competed like modern-day athletes for prizes, prestige, 
and the eyes of the ladies who filled the stands.

So many men were being killed in tournaments by the thirteenth century, 
that leaders, including the pope, became alarmed. Sixty knights died in 
a 1240 tournament held in Cologne, for example. The pope wanted as many 
knights as possible to fight on the Crusades in the Holy Land, rather than 
be killed in tournaments. Weapons were blunted and rules attempted to 
reduce the incidence of injury, but serious and fatal injuries occurred. 
Henry II of France was mortally wounded, for example, in a joust at a 
tournament held to celebrate his daughter's wedding. 

Challenges were usually issued for a friendly contest, but grudges between 
two enemies might be settled in a fight to the death. Tournament losers 
were captured and paid a ransom to the victors in horses, weapons, and 
armor to obtain their release. Heralds kept track of tournament records, 
like modern baseball box scores. A low-ranking knight could amass wealth 
through prizes and attract a wealthy wife. 

Military Orders
During the Crusades military orders of knights were created to support 
the Christian goals of the movement. They became the fiercest of the 
Crusaders and the most hated enemies of the Arabs. These orders carried 
on after the Crusades in Palestine ended in failure.

The first of these orders were the Knights of the Temple, or the Templars, 
founded in 1108 to protect the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The Templars 
wore a white surcoat supplanted with a red cross and took the same vows 
as a Benedictine monk-poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Templars were 
among the bravest defenders of the Holy Land. They were the last Crusaders 
to leave the Holy Land. In the following years they grew wealthy from 
donations and by lending money at interest, attracting the envy and 
distrust of kings. In 1307 King Philip IV of France accused them of many 
crimes, including heresy, arrested them, and confiscated their lands. 
Other European leaders followed his lead and the Templars were destroyed.

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Hospitallers, were set up 
originally to tend to sick and poor pilgrims visiting the Holy Sepulcher. 
They converted shortly into a military order. They wore a red surcoat with 
a white cross and also took the vows of St. Benedict. The Hospitallers 
set a high standard and did not allow their order to become rich and indolent. 
When forced out of the Holy Land following the surrender of their great 
castle, the Krak des Chevaliers, they retreated to the island of Rhodes, 
which they defended for many years. Driven from Rhodes by the Turks they 
took up residence on Malta.

The third great military order was the Teutonic Knights, founded in 1190 
to protect German pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Before the end of 
the Crusades they had turned their efforts toward converting the heathens 
in Prussia and in the Baltic States.

Heraldry
To distinguish knights on the battlefield, a system of badges called 
heraldry was developed. A special badge was designed for each nobleman 
to be shown on his shield, surcoat, flags, and seal. A surcoat decorated 
with a knight's badge became known as a coat-of-arms and this term came 
to describe the badges themselves. An independent organization known as 
the College of Heralds designed the individual badges and ensured that 
each was unique. Badges were recorded by the heralds in special books under 
their care.

Coats-of-arms were handed down from one generation to the next and would 
be modified by marriage. Certain designs were reserved for royalty in 
different countries. By the late Middle Ages towns, guilds, and even 
prominent nonnoble townsmen were granted coats-of-arms.

On the battlefield, combatants used coats-of-arms to distinguish friend 
and foe and to choose a worthy opponent in a melee. Heralds made lists 
of knights about to fight based on their badges. Heralds were also 
considered neutrals and would act as intermediaries between two armies. 
In this manner they might pass messages between the defenders of a castle 
or town and its besiegers. After a battle, heralds identified the dead 
by their coats-of-arms.

Medieval Weapons
For most of the Middle Ages, the technology of weapons was little changed 
from that of the ancient world, remaining primarily variants of the club, 
knife, spear, axe, and arrow. An important innovation was the heavy mounted 
horseman using the lance. The mounted knight was significantly more potent 
than any cavalry of the ancient world. The closest ancient equivalent may 
have been the Companion cavalry of Alexander the Great.

By the tenth century Europe had bypassed the ancients in most areas, 
including weaponry. The evolution of the heavy horseman triggered 
corresponding innovation to defend against him. This resulted in new pole 
arms to ward off or engage knights.

The longbow and crossbow were innovations in the West. The crossbow was 
known to the ancient Chinese, however. The revolutionary technology of 
the Middle Ages was the development of gunpowder weapons, both cannons 
and hand weapons, discussed later.

Cavalry Weapons
Since the first appearance of cavalry around 1000 BC, mounted troops have 
fulfilled several important roles in battle. They acted as scouts, 
skirmishers, a shock force for melee combat, a rear guard, and the pursuit 
of a retreating enemy. Cavalry were divided into several different 
categories depending on equipment and training, and some categories were 
better suited for certain roles than others. Light cavalry wore little 
or no armor and was best suited for scouting, skirmishing, and acting as 
a rear guard. Heavy cavalry wore armor and was better suited for use as 
a shock force that charged the enemy. All types of cavalry excelled at 
pursuit.

Knights of the Middle Ages were heavy cavalry, and the code of chivalry 
emphasized their role as shock troops charging enemy cavalry and infantry. 
From the thirteenth century on, the term man-at-arms was used to describe 
armored warriors fighting on horse and on foot. The new term applied to 
knights as well as squires, gentry, and professional soldiers. The 
advantages of knights in battle were speed, intimidation, power, and height. 
As the Middle Ages progressed, the equipment of knights improved to enhance 
these advantages.

Weapons
The spear, and later the larger lance, was the weapon with which cavalry 
opened a battle. It was ideal for stabbing opponents on foot, especially 
those in flight. The presentation of the spear in front of a mounted 
horseman added greatly to the intimidation caused by an approaching charge. 
Much of the force of the horse could be transmitted through the spear point 
at the moment of impact. The charging knight became a thundering missile.

Historians disagree on the importance of the stirrup to the rise of knights. 
The stirrup first appeared in Asia and reached Europe in the eighth century. 
Some believe that it was critical to the rise of knights because it allowed 
the rider to brace himself and his lance, thereby transmitting the entire 
force of the charging horse through the lance point. No one argues with 
the advantage of this force multiplication, but others suggest that the 
high saddle developed in Roman times allowed riders to transmit this power 
before the stirrup appeared. The Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts William's 
conquest of England in 1066, shows the highly regarded Norman knights using 
their spears mainly as overhand stabbing or throwing spears, not as couched 
lances. By this time the stirrup had been known in Europe for at least 
two centuries. For the remainder of the Middle Ages, the mounted charge 
by knights holding couched lances was the epitome of combats for knights. 
It was not always the correct tactic, however. 

The initial charge by knights often resulted in the loss of spears or lances, 
or the charge ended in a general melee. In either case, knights switched 
to another weapon. This was usually their sword. The cavalry sword evolved 
into the saber, a wide, heavy blade that a man standing in his stirrups 
could swing down with tremendous force on the head and upper body of 
opponents. Swords were the weapons that knights prized most highly because 
they could be carried on the person, prominently displayed, and 
personalized. They were the most common weapons for hand-to-hand combat 
between knights. Good swords were also expensive, so ownership was another 
distinction of the nobility.

Other choices of melee weapon included the hammer and mace (evolutions 
of the club), the axe, and the flail. Hammers and maces were popular with 
fighting churchmen and warrior monks trying to obey the letter of the 
Bible's admonition about shedding blood, which edged weapons were prone 
to do. Under no circumstances did knights use missile weapons of any kind. 
Killing an opponent at range with an arrow, bolt, or bullet was considered 
dishonorable. Knights fought worthy foes of the same rank when possible 
and killed face to face or not at all.

Armor
Chain mail armor was worn by the late Romans and by some of the invading 
Germanic tribes, including the Goths. Chain mail remained popular with 
the nobility of medieval Europe until more protective plate armor came 
into use in the thirteenth century. The change was made in part because 
an arrow or sharp sword point could pierce chain mail. A cloth tunic, called 
a surcoat, was worn over the chain mail, especially during the Crusades 
to reflect the sun.

Helmets also evolved from simple conical designs, to large metal buckets, 
to large sculpted pieces designed to deflect arrows. Later, helmets could 
be bolted to the armor worn on the body.

Full suits of armor weighing up to 60 pounds appeared in the fourteenth 
century. Plate armor was well designed and knights retained a surprising 
amount of agility. An armored knight on the ground was not helpless and 
could easily stand up. There are accounts and depictions of armored men 
doing handstands and other gymnastics in lighter moments. Later suits put 
increased emphasis on deflecting missiles and reinforced areas most 
exposed to blows. Elaborate full suits of engraved plate armor appeared 
late during the age and were more ceremonial and prestigious than 
practical.

Armor was a large expense for a knight who equipped himself and a squire. 
An important lord had to provide armor for many knights. The making of 
armor was an important business, and a large market in used armor developed 
during the Middle Ages. Common soldiers on the victorious side of a battle 
could make a substantial sum by stripping dead knights of their armor and 
selling it.

Horses
Knights took special pride in their horses, which were bred for speed and 
strength. They required extensive training, as well, to be manageable 
during a charge and melee. Horses were trained to charge with minimal 
guidance, freeing the knight to hold his shield and lance. Historians 
disagree as to whether the horses of knights were the heavy horse thought 
necessary to carry the weight of a fully equipped knight or a smaller horse 
valued for its speed and agility.

Horsemanship was another characteristic by which the elite knights 
distinguished themselves from the commoners. It was practiced while 
hunting, a popular leisure activity of the nobles that carries on today 
in the traditional foxhunt.

Missile Weapons
Bows of one type or another played an important role in battle throughout 
the Middle Ages. They were used as direct fire weapons against individual 
targets on battlefields and during sieges. In some cases they were used 
as area fire weapons.

Missile fire allowed men to cause casualties at range. Archers were used 
as light troops to cause casualties and weaken enemy morale due to losses 
before melee combat. If the enemy force could be weakened or shaken, the 
chances of winning the melee were enhanced.

Bows
Bows used during the Middle Ages were of various types, including the short 
bow, the composite bow, and the longbow. The short bow was 3 to 4 feet 
long and rather easy to make and use. It was employed widely and the most 
common bow encountered. It had medium range, power, and accuracy and 
required substantial experience and training for effective use.

The composite bow was of Asiatic origin. It was made from a composite of 
wood or bone strips bonded together. The lamination created a more powerful 
bow, but one that required more strength and training than the common bow. 
This relatively short bow was the preferred weapon of horse archers, 
especially the Mongols and other horse peoples from Asia. A variant of 
the composite bow was curved forward at the tips during manufacture (by 
steaming and bending the laminate). This recurved bow generated more power 
and required a high degree of strength and skill.

The longbow originated in Wales and spread to England. It was a 6-foot 
bow made from a single piece of wood, usually from the yew tree. The longbow 
shot a 3-foot arrow (cloth yard). These were fitted with broad tips for 
use against infantry (for piercing leather armor and causing lacerations) 
and narrow tips for use against armored men (to pierce mail or plate armor). 
Shooting the longbow required extensive training and practice; men 
experienced with the weapon could get off six well-aimed shots in a minute. 
Longbows had a long range and were quite powerful. Large contingents of 
experienced longbowmen were a devastating force on many battlefields of 
the Middle Ages. They could fire individually aimed shots or rain down 
a barrage of arrows into an area.

The English encouraged the use of the longbow by sponsoring archery 
tournaments throughout the land. All other sports were banned on Sundays. 
This created a large pool of experienced bowmen from which they could 
recruit. Each English shire was required by law to provide a number of 
bowmen each year. There was usually no shortage of applicants because the 
pay of soldiers was so good relative to other work.

Crossbows
The crossbow was known in ancient China but seems to have been reinvented 
in Europe around 900. It had good range and was more powerful than most 
bows, but it took much more time to load. An average crossbowman fired 
2 shots per minute.

The bow of the crossbow was held horizontally and fired with a trigger 
that released the taut bowstring. To load, the front of the weapon was 
pointed to the ground and held in place by foot. The bowstring was pulled 
up and back with both hands or with the help of cranks. The crossbow fired 
a quarrel, or bolt, which was much shorter than a typical arrow. The quarrel 
did have flights (feathers) for stabilization in flight and had a sharpened 
metal point.

Crossbowmen often carried a pavise shield into battle to provide cover 
while they loaded. This was a tall shield with wooden braces attached. 
A force of crossbowmen set up a wall of such shields and bent down behind 
the wall to load. When they shot, only the crossbows and their helmeted 
heads appeared over the wall of shields. If forced to fight in the open 
against a comparable force of longbowmen, they were usually forced to 
withdraw.

The crossbow was a deadly weapon and was very popular for the simple reason 
that it took little training to operate. Relatively raw soldiers could 
become proficient with a crossbow very quickly, and a well-aimed shot could 
kill a knight in armor who had spent a lifetime in combat training. The 
crossbow was considered unfair in some circles (those of the knights, 
primarily) because it took so little skill. Richard I of England, the 
Lionheart, was wounded twice by crossbow bolts. The second proved fatal. 
The idea of such great men being killed easily by common soldiers or worse 
was appalling to the nobility. In the twelfth century a pope tried to get 
the crossbow banned for being inhumane.

Hand Weapons
Foot soldiers armed with hand weapons were the third principal component 
of medieval armies, along with cavalry and missile troops. Melee infantry 
fought hand to hand and were important both in pitched battles and during 
sieges. Infantry consisted of peasants, common soldiers, and dismounted 
knights.

Hand Weapons
The Franks of the Dark Ages fought with a throwing axe called the francisca, 
from which their tribe took its name. Their neighbors, the Saxons, fought 
with a large, one-sided knife called a scramasax, from which they took 
their name.

With the development of the heavy cavalryman came the heavy sword, which 
was used in hand-to-hand fighting on foot as well. Variants of the sword 
included a two-handed version that required a lot of space to wield. 
Men-at-arms employed a variety of weapons on foot, including axes (both 
one-handed and two-handed), maces, flails, and hammers. A variant of the 
mace was a spiked ball fastened to a shaft by a chain. As armor improved 
to reduce the effect of sword blows, crushing and puncturing weapons became 
more favored.

Pole Arms
The basic spear was a useful weapon throughout the Middle Ages because 
it was cheap to make and simple to use. Common foot soldiers and peasants 
could be armed with it and pressed into battle service. In most cases such 
an expedient was of little use, but with experience and some training large 
bodies of spearmen could be effective.

Pole arms evolved through the medieval period and eventually reached a 
point where formations of foot troops skilled in their use were extremely 
effective. Advanced pole arms consisted of a spear point with one or more 
weapon faces below the point. This additional weapon might be a large long 
blade, an axe, a billhook, a hammer, or a spike.

Long pole arms evolved in response to the mounted knight and resulted in 
a revival of a formation something like the ancient Greek phalanx. Horses 
would not charge a disciplined formation of men that bristled with extended 
pole weapons. A dense formation of pole arms held high also served as some 
protection from arrows.

Foot soldiers first learned to stand behind wooden stakes set in the ground 
to ward off cavalry. They then learned to deploy spears, pikes, and other 
pole arms to ward off cavalry. This allowed the formation to move and take 
its anti-cavalry stakes with it, in effect. In a melee, the various 
attachments at the end of the pole were used to pull horsemen off their 
mounts, push them off, or cause wounds to the rider or horse. Although 
armored men were not helpless when prone on the ground, as some have thought, 
they were at a disadvantage, at least temporarily, to men wearing little 
or no armor before they could rise.

As the towns grew in the second half of the Middle Ages, they built up 
their own militias of troops for defense and for feudal military service. 
Pole arms were popular weapons with the town militias because they were 
relatively cheap to provide and effective for the cost. Town militias 
trained with these weapons and developed useful battlefield tactics. In 
time, formations of pole-armed men learned to be aggressive, not simply 
defensive. Massed formations of pikeman could physically attack other 
infantry and even cavalry. The Swiss lacked the pastureland to support 
horse armies but became famous as pikemen. They often served as mercenaries 
in other continental armies. The lowland cities of Flanders and the 
highlands of Scotland also fielded pike units that were highly regarded.

Medieval Armies
The first medieval armies were tribal war bands carried over from ancient 
times. These evolved into feudal armies made up of a lord's vassals and 
their respective retainers. Fief holders were required to provide a period 
of military service each year. This began as weeks or months of service 
by the vassal accompanied by professional soldiers he retained personally. 
The armies of later kings and wealthy lords consisted of a higher proportion 
of professionals and mercenaries. Late in the period, vassals sent money 
instead of actually serving in armies, and this "martial tax" helped kings 
to support armies year-round.

Service in feudal armies was a matter of duty and honor for the knights. 
In a warrior society, knights lived for the opportunity to fight. Success 
in battle was the main path to recognition and wealth. For professional 
soldiers, often the sons of the aristocracy left with little when the eldest 
began inheriting everything, fighting was a job. It was duty for peasants 
also, when they were called up, but certainly not an honor.

By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many commoners joined the ranks 
for pay that was often much better than that for more peaceful employment. 
A strong attraction for a commoner to become a soldier was the prospect 
of loot. Tribal warriors stayed loyal to their warrior chief and fought 
for him so long as he provided them with a living and loot. These ideals 
of the war band carried over into the feudal age. Low-ranking knights and 
professional foot soldiers longed for the opportunity to take part in the 
assault against a rich town or castle because strongholds that resisted 
were traditionally looted. A soldier could gather up many times his year's 
pay during the sack of a city. Pitched battles also offered opportunities 
for gain. The armor and weapons of the dead could be sold and captured 
knights could be ransomed.

Organization
The organization of feudal armies was kept simple in comparison to the 
large national armies of more modern time. There were no permanent 
regiments, divisions, or corps until the very end of the age. When a feudal 
army was summoned, each vassal traveled to the meeting point with any 
knights, archers, and footmen that he was required to bring. At the meeting 
point, the contingents would be reassembled by role. The knights and their 
squires kept and marched together, as did the archers and footmen.

Special units, such as engineers and the operators of siege artillery, 
were usually professionals hired for the campaign. Christian mercenaries, 
for example, operated the artillery employed by the Turks against 
Constantinople.

Being a mercenary soldier was a respected profession in the late Middle 
Ages. Warrior entrepreneurs formed mercenary companies that allowed a rich 
lord or city to hire a ready-made competent fighting force. Mercenary 
companies existed that were all of one skill. For example, 2000 Genoese 
crossbowmen served in the French army at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. Other 
mercenary companies were mixed forces of all arms. These were often 
described in terms of the number of lances they contained. Each lance 
represented a mounted man-at-arms plus additional mounted, foot, and 
missile troops. A company of 100 lances represented several hundred 
fighting men. This system was the origin of the word "freelance."

Command hierarchy within a feudal army was flat. Not much maneuvering was 
anticipated so there was little provision of large staffs to support the 
commander and pass orders.

In 1439 Charles VII of France raised Royal Ordinance Companies. These 
companies were filled with either knights or infantry and were paid from 
tax revenues. Each company had a fixed complement of men; their armor and 
weapons were chosen by the king rather than left to personal choice. This 
was the beginning of modern standing armies in the West.

Supply
There was little provision for food and medical supplies. Medieval armies 
lived off the land, to the detriment of everyone residing in an area they 
occupied or passed through. Having a friendly army march through was no 
better than having the enemy pass. Medieval armies did not linger in one 
area for long because local supplies of food and forage were quickly 
exhausted. This was a particular problem during sieges. If an army laying 
siege did not make arrangements to have food and supplies brought in, it 
might have to lift its siege to avoid starvation long before the defenders 
had to surrender.

Sanitation was also a problem when an army stayed in one place. A medieval 
army brought along many animals, in addition to the horses of the knights, 
and sewage problems led to dysentery. Feudal armies tended to waste away 
to disease and desertion. During his campaign in France, Henry V of England 
lost an estimated 15 percent of his army to disease at the siege of Harfleur 
and more on the march leading up to Agincourt. At the battle itself, he 
lost only 5 percent. Henry V died of disease related to poor sanitation 
at another siege.

Deployment for Battle
Most battles were set-piece affairs where the two sides arranged themselves 
before the fighting began. Campaigns of maneuver and meeting engagements 
were rare. Prior to battle, commanders divided their forces into 
contingents with specific tasks in mind for each. The first separation 
might be into foot soldiers, archers, and cavalry. These groups might be 
divided further into groups to be given individual missions or to be held 
in reserve. A commander might arrange several "battles" or "divisions" 
of knights, for example. These could be launched individually as desired 
or held in reserve. Archers might be deployed in front of the army with 
blocks of infantry in support. Once the army had been arranged, the only 
major decisions were when to send in the prearranged pieces. There was 
little provision for pulling back, reforming, or rearranging once the 
fighting started. A force of knights, for example, could rarely be used 
more than once. After they had been committed to action, they were usually 
reinforced or withdrawn. A full charge by heavy cavalry caused such 
disruption, lost equipment, and loss of horses that the force was 
essentially spent. The Norman knights at Hastings were reformed for further 
attacks, but they did not launch a full charge because they could not 
penetrate the Saxon shield-wall.

Superior commanders made use of the terrain to their advantage and 
conducted reconnaissance to evaluate the enemy's strength and weaknesses.

Ransom
The ultimate rewards from successful battle included honors and grants 
of fiefs. The proximate rewards included booty from looting bodies, 
ransacking captured towns and castles, selling the armor and weapons of 
the dead, and ransoming high-ranking prisoners. Knights were expected to 
pay ransoms to save their lives. One of the highest recorded ransoms was 
more than US $20 million paid to a German prince for the release of Richard 
I of England, captured during his return from the Crusades.

At Agincourt the English were holding a large group of French knights at 
the rear for ransom. During the battle, a French contingent raided toward 
the rear of the English and briefly panicked Henry V. He ordered the 
execution of the held French knights to prevent their release, thereby 
forgoing a fortune in ransoms.

The capture of knights was recorded by heralds who kept a tally of which 
soldiers were responsible and thereby due the bulk of the ransom. The 
heralds then notified the prisoner's family, arranged the ransom payment, 
and obtained the prisoner's release. The popularity of ransoms seems 
remarkably civil but masks a darker story. Low-ranking prisoners of no 
value might be killed out-of-hand to eliminate the problem of guarding 
and feeding them.

Strategy
Medieval military strategy was concerned with control of the economic basis 
for wealth and, thus, the ability to put armies in the field. At the start 
of the era this meant primarily ravaging or defending the countryside 
because all wealth originated in the fields and pastures. As the age 
progressed, towns became important control points as centers of wealth 
from trade and manufacturing.

Holding and taking castles was a key element of war because they defended 
the farmland. The warrior occupants of the castle controlled the 
neighborhood. As towns grew they were fortified also. Defending and taking 
them gradually became more important than fighting for castles.

Field armies maneuvered to take the key fortified points and ravage the 
countryside, or to prevent the enemy from conducting such a campaign. 
Pitched battles were fought to end the destruction of enemy invasions. 
The Battle of Hastings in 1066, for example, was fought by the Anglo-Saxons 
to stop an invasion by the Normans. The Anglo-Saxons lost and the Normans 
under William spent the next several years establishing control of England 
in a campaign of conquest. The Battle of Lechfield in 955 was fought between 
the Germans and Magyar raiders from the East. The decisive victory of the 
Germans under Otto I brought an end to further Magyar invasions. The defeat 
of the Moors in 732 by Charles Martel ended Muslim raids and expansion 
out of Spain.

The battles of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt, all fought during the 
Hundred Years War between the English and French, were all attempts by 
the French to stop English incursions. The French lost all three battles 
and the English raids carried on. In this case, however, the raids did 
not establish permanent control for the English and the French eventually 
won the war.

The Crusades were attempts to take and hold key strong points in the Holy 
Land from which control of the area could be maintained. Battles in the 
Crusades were fought to break the control of one side or the other. The 
victory at Hattin in 1187 by the Saracens under Saladin made possible the 
recapture of Jerusalem.

Battle Tactics
Medieval battles evolved slowly from clashes of poorly organized war bands 
into battles where tactics and maneuvers were employed. Part of this 
evolution was in response to the development of different types of soldiers 
and weapons and learning how to use these. The early armies of the Dark 
Ages were mobs of foot soldiers. With the rise of heavy cavalry, the best 
armies became mobs of knights. Foot soldiers were brought along to 
devastate farmlands and do the heavy work in sieges. In battle, however, 
foot soldiers were at risk from both sides as the knights sought to engage 
their enemies in single combat. This was mainly true of foot soldiers early 
in the period who were feudal levies and untrained peasants. Archers were 
useful in sieges as well, but also at risk of being rundown on the 
battlefield.

By the late 1400's commanders were making better progress in disciplining 
their knights and getting their armies to work as a team. In the English 
army, knights gave their grudging respect to the longbowmen after the 
archers demonstrated their value on so many battlefields. Discipline 
improved also as more and more knights fought for pay and less for honor 
and glory. Mercenary soldiers in Italy became well known for long campaigns 
during which no appreciable blood was spilt. By that time soldiers of all 
ranks were assets not to be discarded lightly. Feudal armies seeking glory 
evolved into professional armies more interested in living to spend their 
pay.

Cavalry Tactics
Cavalry was divided typically into three groups, or divisions, to be sent 
into battle one after another. The first wave would either break through 
or disrupt the enemy so that the second or third wave could break through. 
Once the enemy was running, the real killing and capturing could take place.

In practice, knights followed personal agendas to the detriment of any 
commander's plan. The knights were interested primarily in honor and glory 
and jockeyed for positions in the first rank of the first division. Overall 
victory on the field was a secondary concern to personal glory. In battle 
after battle, the knights charged as soon as they saw the enemy, dissolving 
any plan.

Commanders dismounted their knights on occasion as a way to better control 
them. This was a popular option with the smaller army that had little hope 
in a contest of charges. Dismounted knights bolstered the fighting power 
and morale of common foot troops. The dismounted knights and other foot 
soldiers fought from behind stakes or other battlefield constructions 
designed to minimize the impact of cavalry charges.

An example of undisciplined behavior by knights was the Battle of Crecy 
in 1346. The French army greatly outnumbered the English (40,000 to 10,000), 
having many more mounted knights. The English divided into three groups 
of longbowmen protected by stakes driven into the ground. Between the three 
groups were two groups of dismounted knights. A third group of dismounted 
knights was held in reserve. Genoese mercenary crossbowmen were sent out 
by the French king to shoot into the dismounted English army while he tried 
to organize his knights into three divisions. The crossbows had gotten 
wet, however, and were ineffective. The French knights ignored their king's 
efforts at organization as soon as they saw the enemy and worked themselves 
into a frenzy, shouting, "Kill! Kill!" over and over. Impatient with the 
Genoese, the French king ordered his knights forward and they trampled 
down the crossbowmen in their way. Although the fighting went on all day, 
the dismounted English knights and longbowmen (who had kept their 
bowstrings dry) defeated the mounted French who fought as an undisciplined 
mob.

By the end of the Middle Ages, heavy cavalry had been reduced to roughly 
equal value on the battlefield in comparison to missile and foot troops. 
By this time, the futility of charging well-emplaced and disciplined 
infantry was well understood. The rules had changed. Stakes, horse traps, 
and trenches were routinely employed by armies to protect against cavalry 
charges. Charges against massed ranks of pikemen and archers/gunners left 
only a pile of broken horses and men. Knights were forced to fight on foot 
or wait for the right opportunity to charge. Devastating charges were still 
possible, but only when the enemy was in flight, disorganized, or out from 
behind his temporary battlefield defenses. 

Missile Troop Tactics
For most of this era missile troops were archers using one of several types 
of bow. At first this was the short bow, then the crossbow and longbow. 
Archers had the advantage of being able to kill and wound enemies at range 
without joining in hand-to-hand combat. The value of these troops was well 
known in ancient times, but the lessons were temporaryly lost in the Dark 
Ages. The land-controlling warrior knights were supreme in the early Middle 
Ages and their code demanded hand-to-hand combat with a worthy enemy. 
Killing with arrows at a distance was dishonorable to the knights so the 
ruling class did little to develop this weapon and use it effectively.

It became apparent gradually, however, that archers were effective and 
very useful, both in sieges and in battle. More and more armies made room 
for them, if grudgingly. The decisive victory of William I at Hastings 
in 1066 may have been won by archery, although his knights traditionally 
get the most credit. The Anglo-Saxons held a hillside and were so packed 
into their shield-wall that the Norman knights had great difficulty 
penetrating. The fighting flowed back and forth all day. The Anglo-Saxons 
ventured out of their shield-wall, partly to get at the Norman archers. 
When the Anglo-Saxons came out, they were easily run down. For some time 
it seemed that the Normans must fail, but many believe that Norman archery 
was winning the battle. A lucky shot mortally wounded Harold, the 
Anglo-Saxon king, and the battle ended soon thereafter.

Foot archers fought in massed formations of hundreds or even thousands 
of men. When within a hundred yards of the enemy, both crossbow and longbow 
shots could penetrate armor. At this range, archers shot at individual 
targets. It was maddening for the enemy to take this damage, especially 
if they could not respond. In the ideal situation, the archers disrupted 
the enemy formation by shooting into it for some time. The enemy might 
be safe from cavalry behind stakes, but it could not block all the arrows 
or bolts coming in. If the enemy left its protection and charged the archers, 
friendly heavy cavalry would respond, hopefully in time to save the archers. 
If the enemy formation just stood its ground, it might waver eventually 
to the point that cavalry could charge effectively.

Archers were actively encouraged and subsidized in England because the 
English were at a population disadvantage when waging war on the mainland. 
When the English learned how to use large contingents of bowmen, they began 
winning battles, even though they were usually outnumbered. The English 
developed the arrow barrage, taking advantage of the range of the longbow. 
Instead of firing at individual targets, the longbowmen fired into the 
area occupied by the enemy. Firing up to 6 shots a minute, 3000 longbowmen 
could put 18,000 arrows into a massed enemy formation. The effect of this 
barrage upon horses and men was devastating. French knights in the Hundred 
Years War spoke of the sky being black with arrows and of the noise of 
these missiles in flight.

Crossbowmen became prominent in mainland armies, especially in the militia 
and professional forces raised by towns. With a minimum of training, a 
crossbowmen became an effective soldier.

By the fourteenth century the first primitive handguns were appearing on 
the battlefield. When these worked, they were even more powerful than bows. 
The difficulty in using archers was protecting them while they shot. To 
be effective they had to be fairly close to the enemy. English longbowmen 
carried stakes onto the battlefield that they pounded into the ground with 
mallets in front of the spot from which they wished to shoot. These stakes 
gave them some protection from enemy cavalry. They relied on their 
firepower to fight off enemy archers. They were at a disadvantage if 
attacked by enemy foot soldiers. Crossbowmen carried a large pavise shield 
into battle. This came with supports and could be set up in walls, from 
behind which the men could shoot.

By the end of the era, crossbowmen and pikemen were working together in 
combined formations. The pikes kept enemy hand-to-hand troops away while 
the missile troops (crossbowmen or handgunners) fired into the enemy 
formations. These mixed formations learned how to move and actually attack. 
Enemy cavalry had to withdraw in the face of a disciplined mixed force 
of pikemen and crossbowmen/gunners. If the enemy could not respond with 
missiles and pikes of their own, the battle was probably lost.

Infantry Tactics
The tactic of foot soldiers in the Dark Ages was simply to close with the 
enemy and start chopping. The Franks threw their axes just before closing 
to disrupt the enemy. Warriors relied on strength and ferocity to win.

The rise of knights put infantry into a temporary eclipse on the battlefield, 
mainly because disciplined and well-trained infantry did not exist. The 
foot soldiers of early medieval armies were mainly peasants who were poorly 
armed and trained.

The Saxons and Vikings developed a defensive posture called the shield-wall. 
The men stood adjacent and held their long shields together to form a 
barrier. This helped to protect them from archers and cavalry, both of 
which their armies lacked.

Infantry underwent a revival in those areas that did not have the resources 
to field armies of heavy cavalry-hilly countries like Scotland and 
Switzerland and in the rising towns. Out of necessity, these two sectors 
found ways to field effective armies that contained little or no cavalry. 
Both groups discovered that horses would not charge into a barrier of 
bristling stakes or spear points. A disciplined force of spearmen could 
stop the elite heavy cavalry of the richer nations and lords, for a fraction 
of the cost of a heavy cavalry force.

The schiltron formation was a circle of spearmen that the Scots began using 
during their wars for independence around the end of the thirteenth century 
(featured in the motion picture Braveheart). They learned that the 
schiltron was an effective defensive formation. Robert Bruce offered 
battle to the English knights only in swampy terrain that greatly impeded 
the heavy cavalry charge.

The Swiss became renowned for fighting with pikes. They essentially revived 
the Greek phalanx and became very proficient at fighting with the long 
pole arms. They formed a square of pikemen. The outer four ranks held their 
pikes nearly level, pointing slightly down. This was an effective barrier 
against cavalry. The rear ranks used bladed pole arms to attack enemies 
that closed with the formation. The Swiss drilled to the point that they 
could move in formation relatively quickly. They turned a defensive 
formation into an effective attacking formation also.

The response to massed pikemen was artillery that plowed through the ranks 
of dense formations. The Spanish appear to have first done this effectively. 
The Spanish also fought the pikemen effectively with sword and buckler 
men. These were lightly armed men who could get in among the pikes and 
fight effectively with short swords. Their buckler was a small and handy 
shield. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Spanish also first experimented 
with the combination of pikemen, swordsmen, and handgunners in the same 
formation. This was an effective force that could take on all arms in 
varying terrain, on both defense and attack. At the end of this era the 
Spanish were the most effective fighting force in Europe.

The Mongols
The nomadic horse peoples of Mongolia assembled the world's largest land 
empire in a series of military conquests spread over a few generations, 
beginning in the twelfth century. In the course of their conquests, the 
Mongols fought most of the other world powers of medieval Asia and Europe, 
winning in almost every case. Their empire was built entirely on military 
conquest, thanks to an army that was unlike any other in the world. They 
were thought invincible by most of their opponents. Their campaign into 
Europe turned back only after a death in the ruling family. The possible 
claimants to the throne headed home with their forces and never returned.

The Mongol Army
The Mongols were nomadic herders and hunters who spent their lives in the 
saddles of their steppe ponies. They learned to ride and use weapons, 
especially the composite bow, at an early age. For hunting and war, every 
able-bodied male under the age of 60 years was expected to take part. The 
armies of the united Mongol tribes consisted of the entire adult male 
population.

They fought under a strict code of discipline. Booty was held collectively. 
The penalty was death for abandoning a comrade in battle. This discipline, 
together with leadership, intelligence-gathering, and organization, 
raised the Mongol force from a cavalry swarm into a true army.

The Mongol army was organized according to a decimal system, with units 
of 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000 men. These numbers for units were probably 
rarely approached due to casualties and attrition. The 10,000-man unit 
was the major fighting unit, like a modern division, capable of sustained 
fighting on its own. Individual soldiers identified most with the 1000-man 
unit of which they were a part, the equivalent of a modern regiment. 
Original Mongol tribes fielded their own 1000-man units. Conquered peoples, 
such as the Tatars and Merkits, were broken up and distributed among other 
units so that they could pose no organized threat to the ruling family.

Genghis Khan created a personal guard unit of 10,000 men. This unit was
recruited across tribal boundaries and selection was a high honor. In its 
early stages it served as a form of honorable hostage-holding. It grew 
into the family household and the source of the growing empire's ruling 
class.

Mongol soldiers at first received no pay other than booty. Advancement 
was based on merit. Once the rapid conquests slowed, a new system of pay 
was put in place. Officers were later able to pass on their posts to heirs.

Each soldier went on campaign with approximately five horses, allowing 
quick changes and rapid movements. No comparable armies moved as rapidly 
as the Mongols until the mechanized armies of the twentieth century.
 
The Mongols fought mainly as light cavalry archers (unarmored), using the 
compound bow. This was a compact weapon of impressive range and penetration 
power. They employed Chinese and Middle Easterners as siege engineers.  
Infantry, garrison troops, and heavy cavalry (wearing armor) that used 
lances came from the armies of subjected peoples.

Mongol Tactics
The Mongol armies relied on firepower, the ability to move quickly, and 
a reputation for ruthlessness that came to precede them. All of their 
opponents moved much more slowly and deliberately. The Mongols looked for 
opportunities to divide an enemy force and overwhelm the pieces with rapid 
bowshots. They sought to surround or encircle enemies and achieve local 
superiority of numbers. Horses of mounted enemies were wounded, 
dismounting the riders and making them more vulnerable.

The Mongol light cavalry could not stand against a heavy cavalry charge, 
so they feigned flight to draw the knights into exhaustive charges that 
left them vulnerable. The fleeing Mongols turned rapidly and became the 
hunter. They excelled in setting ambushes and surprise attacks. Mongol 
army leaders made great use of scouts and synchronized force movements 
to catch the enemy at a disadvantage.

The Mongols made extensive use of terror. If the population of one city 
was massacred after capture, the next city was more likely to surrender 
without a fight. This proved the case, as city after city surrendered upon 
the approach of Mongol armies.

Castles
Fortifications and earthworks had been employed for defense since the Stone 
Age. True castles did not appear in Europe until the ninth century, however, 
partly in response to Viking raids and partly as a manifestation of 
decentralized feudal political power. From the ninth through the fifteenth 
century, thousands of castles were constructed throughout Europe. A 1905 
census in France counted more than 10,000 castle remains in that nation 
alone. During the feudal period, local nobles provided law and order, as 
well as protection from marauders like the Vikings. Castles were built 
by the nobles for protection and to provide a secure base from which local 
military forces could operate. The obvious defensive value of a castle 
obscures the fact that it was primarily an offensive instrument. It 
functioned as a base for professional soldiers, mainly cavalry, which 
controlled the nearby countryside. At a time when the centralized authority 
of kings was weak for a number of reasons, a network of castles and the 
military forces they supported provided relative 
political stability. 

Castle Evolution 
Beginning in the ninth century, local strongmen began dotting the landscape 
of Europe with castles. These were first of simple design and construction 
but evolved into stone strongholds. Many of these belonged to kings or 
the vassals of kings, but the majority appear to have been built out of 
self-interest by local nobles. They were justified by barbarian threats, 
but the nobles employed them to establish local control. This was possible 
because Europe had no strategic defenses and no strong central authorities 
at the time.

An example of the castellation of Europe was the Poitou region of France. 
There were three castles there before Viking raids began in the ninth 
century and 39 by the eleventh century. This pattern was repeated across 
Europe. Castles could be built quickly. Until the appearance of cannon, 
castle defenders had a great advantage over any attackers.

Widespread castle construction and the maintenance of large bodies of 
soldiers for their defense resulted not in peace and mutual defense against 
invaders but incessant warfare.

The Evolution of the Castle
The earliest castles were of a type called the "motte and bailey." The 
motte was a broad, leveled mound of earth, typically 50 feet high. A large 
wooden tower was built atop the motte. Below the motte was an enclosure 
within a wooden palisade called the bailey. Here were placed storehouses, 
stock pens, and huts. Both the motte and bailey were small islands 
surrounded by a water-filled ditch, excavated to construct the motte. A 
bridge and steep narrow path connected the two parts of the castle. At 
a time of danger, the defensive forces withdrew into the tower if the bailey 
could not be held.

In the eleventh century, stone began replacing earth and wood in castle 
construction. The wooden tower atop the motte was replaced with a round 
stone fortification called a shell keep. This grew into a tower or keep. 
A curtain wall of stone enclosed the old bailey and the keep, and was in 
turn surrounded by a ditch or moat. A single fortified gate protected by 
a drawbridge and portcullis led into the castle. The best-known example 
of a basic keep-type castle is the original Tower of London, built by 
William the Conqueror. This large square structure stood by itself at first 
and was whitewashed to draw attention. Later kings improved this castle 
with the curtain walls and other improvements seen today.

Castle design advanced when crusaders to the East returned with news of 
the fortifications and siege engines they had encountered in their travels. 
Concentric castles were designed that enclosed a central keep within two 
or more rings of walls. Walls were strengthened first with square towers 
and then with round towers. The angled corners on square towers were easy 
to shear off, making the whole tower very vulnerable. Round towers were 
more resistant to attack. Embattlements were added at the top of walls 
and towers to make fighting from above more effective.

Cannon appeared in Europe in the early fourteenth century, but effective 
siege artillery was not used until the middle fifteenth century. Castle 
designs changed in response to the power of cannon. High perpendicular 
walls were replaced by low sloping walls. By the middle of the fifteenth 
century castles were in decline because of the rising power of kings. In 
the eleventh century William the Conqueror claimed ownership of all castles 
in England to get them out of the hands of nobles. By the thirteenth century 
it was necessary to ask a king's permission to build a castle or strengthen 
an existing one. Kings worked to demilitarize castles to minimize their 
usefulness to potential rebels.
 
Castles were abandoned as living quarters for nobles and fell into ruin. 
Fortified towns were increasingly important because the wealth of the land 
had shifted to the cities.

Castle Construction
Construction of a castle might take less than a year or up to 20 years 
to complete. For several centuries castle-building was an important 
industry. Renowned master masons were in high demand and gangs of castle 
builders moved from site to site. Towns wishing to build cathedrals had 
to compete for skilled workers with lords wishing to build castles.

Construction of Beaumaris Castle in North Wales began in 1295. The design 
was symmetrical, with no weak points. At the height of its building, it 
required the effort of 30 blacksmiths, 400 masons, and 2000 laborers. 
Laborers did most of the excavation, carrying, lifting, well-digging, and 
stone-breaking. This particular castle was never completed. The massive 
castle at Conway, built in Wales by Edward I of England, took 40 months 
to build.

Castle walls were masonry shells filled with stone rubble and flint mixed 
with mortar. Wall width ranged from 6 to 16 feet. 

Castle Defense
The basic principal of castle defense was to maximize the danger and 
exposure of any attackers while minimizing the same for defenders. A 
well-designed castle could be defended effectively by a small force and 
hold out for a long period. A stout defense allowed well-supplied defenders 
to hold out until the besiegers could be driven away by a relief force 
or until the attacker was forced to fall back by lack of supplies, disease, 
or losses.

Keep
The keep was a small castle often found within a large castle complex. 
This was a fortified building that often served as the castle lord's 
residence. If the outer walls fell, the defenders could withdraw into the 
keep for a final defense. In the case of many castles, the complex began 
with the keep, which was the original fortification on the site. Over time, 
the complex might have been expanded to include an outer wall and towers 
as a first line of defense for the keep.

Walls
Stone walls were fireproof and protection against arrows and other missiles. 
An enemy could not climb sheer walls without equipment such as ladders 
or siege towers. Defenders on top of the walls could shoot down or throw 
objects down against attackers. Attackers wholly exposed in the open and 
shooting up were at a great disadvantage against defenders largely 
protected and shooting down. The strength and protection value of castle 
walls was increased where possible by building on cliffs or other 
elevations. Gates and doors in castle walls were minimized and given heavy 
protection.

Towers
At the corners of and perhaps at intervals along a long wall, towers were 
placed as strong points. Towers extended out beyond the vertical plane 
of the wall face, allowing defenders in a tower to shoot along the face. 
From a corner tower, defenders could shoot along two different wall faces. 
A gate might be protected by towers on each side. Some castles began as 
simple towers and evolved into a greater complex of walls, an inner keep, 
and additional towers.

Battlements
Walls and towers were often improved to provide greater protection for 
defenders. A platform behind the top of the wall allowed defenders to stand 
and fight. Gaps were built into the upper wall so defenders could shoot 
out or fight while partially covered. These gaps might have wooden shutters 
for additional protection. Thin firing slits might be placed in the upper 
walls from which archers could shoot while almost completely protected.

During an assault, covered wooden platforms (called hourds) were extended 
out from the top of the walls or from towers. These allowed defenders to 
shoot directly down on enemies below the walls, or drop stones or boiling 
liquids on them, while being protected. Hides on top of the hourds were 
kept wet to prevent fire. Stone versions of hourds, called machicolations, 
might be built over gates or other key points.

Ditches, Moats, and Drawbridges
To accentuate the height advantage of the walls, a ditch might be dug at 
their base, completely around the castle. Where possible, this ditch was 
filled with water to form a moat. Both ditches and moats made direct 
assaults against walls more difficult. Armored men risked drowning if they 
fell into even relatively shallow water. Moats made undermining a castle's 
walls difficult because of the risk of the mine collapsing during 
construction and drowning the miners. In some cases, attackers had to first 
drain the moat before moving forward with an assault. Then the ditch had 
to be filled in places to allow siege towers or ladders to go up against 
the wall.

Drawbridges across a moat or ditch allowed the castle occupants to come 
and go when necessary. In time of danger, the drawbridge was raised, 
reestablishing the ditch and sealing the walls. Bridges were raised by 
a mechanism within the castle that was protected from the attackers.

Portcullis
A portcullis was a strong grating that slid down the walls of the castle 
gate passageway to block the entrance. The gate of a castle was inside 
a gatehouse, which was a strong point in the castle defense. The passageway 
of the gate might be through a tunnel in the gatehouse. The tunnel was 
blocked by one or more portcullises, in the middle or at the ends. The 
winding mechanism that raised the portcullis was in the top of the gatehouse 
and heavily guarded. The portcullis itself was usually a grating of heavy 
timbers or iron. Defenders and attackers could both shoot or stab through 
the grating.

Barbican
A strong castle had both an outer gate and inner gate. Between the two 
was an open area called the barbican. This was surrounded by walls and 
designed to be a trap for any attackers who got through the outside gate. 
Once inside the barbican, attackers could only go back out the outer gate 
or fight their way through the inner gate. In the meantime they would be 
targets for arrows and other missiles in the open.

Defenders
A relatively small number of men could guard a castle in peacetime. At 
night any drawbridge was raised and the portcullis was lowered, effectively 
locking the door. Under threat of an assault, a much larger force was needed 
to defend a castle.

Competent archers and crossbowmen were needed to shoot from the walls and 
towers at attackers making an assault or just preparing for one by 
attempting to drain the moat or fill the ditch. Each attacking casualty 
lowered the morale and fighting power of the attackers. Heavy losses from 
missile fire could cause the attackers to break off.

If the attackers managed to actually close for hand-to-hand fighting, a 
strong fighting force of swordsmen was needed to hold them off. Men were 
needed to throw down rocks or pour hot liquids from the hourds. Men were 
needed to make repairs to damaged wall sections or put out fires started 
by flaming missiles. An aggressive defense looked for opportunities to 
sortie out from the castle and raid the besieging army. A quick raid that 
burned a siege tower or trebuchet under construction delayed an assault 
and lowered the morale of the attackers.

In times of emergency, local peasants were enlisted to help with the defense. 
Although untrained as soldiers and not skilled usually with the bow or 
sword, they could help with many of the other tasks.

Castle Siege
Capturing or defending strongholds was a common military activity during 
the late Middle Ages because of the proliferation of castles and fortified 
towns and their strategic importance. Although a small force could hold 
a castle, it took a large force to take one. The attacker had to have a 
sufficiently large army to control the countryside around a castle, fight 
off any relieving force, and assault the stronghold directly or at least 
hold the siege tight. This was an expensive proposition.

As an army approached the castle, the locals usually withdrew inside, 
taking anything of value with them, especially food and weapons. If the 
siege was expected to be a long one, however, peasants not capable of 
fighting might be refused entrance to conserve food. There were many 
recorded instances of people being thrown out of towns under siege to 
preserve food. When English king Henry V besieged the city of Rouen, the 
defenders expelled the weak and the poor to conserve food. The English 
refused to allow these unfortunates through their lines. Old men, women, 
and children huddled between the city and the English army for months, 
scrabbling for scraps and dying of starvation, until surrender was 
negotiated.

As an army approached, the possibility of surrender and terms might be 
negotiated immediately, especially if the castle or town was undermanned. 
The attackers weighed carefully the chance of assaulting the stronghold 
if negotiations failed. If a quick assault was thrown back or was judged 
too risky, the attackers sealed off the castle and began a siege. Once 
siege artillery had fired at the city, the siege was officially underway. 
To withdraw without good reason was dishonorable and unacceptable in most 
cases. A large siege was something like a social event. The fifteenth 
century siege of Neuss lasted only a few months, but the attackers built 
up a large camp that included taverns and tennis courts. Nobles taking 
part in sieges made themselves comfortable, often bringing along wives 
and their households. Merchants and craftsmen from neighboring towns 
rushed forward to set up shop and provide services.

Siege Formalities
The reality of warfare during this period was that castles and towns were 
very rarely captured by assault. Assaults were usually an act of 
desperation or made much easier by acts of treachery or stealth. Unless 
the garrison was greatly under strength, it was just too costly in lives 
to assault. It was much more typical to orchestrate a siege according to 
the prevailing rules of warfare and honor and take the castle with 
relatively little loss. It would be treason for the defenders to surrender 
without a fight so the siege was maintained and the castle walls were 
battered. If the castle's owner was not inside, his deputy in charge, called 
a castellan or constable, could surrender the castle with honor after so 
many days if no relief force had appeared. Castellans often requested a 
contract that specified exactly what were their obligations and under what 
circumstances they would not be punished for surrendering.

In those rare instances where surrender was not an option or an option 
disdained, it was the accepted policy that little mercy was shown after 
a successful assault. Common soldiers and even civilians inside might be 
massacred and the castle or town was looted. Captured knights were kept 
alive, usually, and held for ransom. All attackers received a share of 
the spoils. Practical application of this policy was a further inducement 
for defenders to negotiate surrender after a reasonable period of siege. 
King Henry V of England took the city of Caen after a long siege in 1417. 
He then allowed his army to sack the city from one end to the other in 
payment for the defender's stout resistance. Every man in the city who 
was not a priest was killed. At his next stop, the castle of Bonneville, 
the defenders agreed to surrender the keys after seven days with no relief, 
even though both sides understood there was no prospect for relief.

The Krak des Chevaliers was the most famous of the Crusader castles in 
the Middle East and still stands impressively in modern Syria. It was 
defended by the Knights Hospitaller during the era of the Crusades and 
withstood over a dozen sieges and attacks over 130 years before falling 
finally to Egyptian Arabs in 1271. The story of its capture was unusual 
but typical in the sense that the defenders did not fight to the death.

The Arabs disdained an attack on the main gate of the Krak des Chevaliers 
because breaking through there led into a series of deadly narrow passages 
and on to a second, even stronger gate. They attacked the south wall instead 
by undermining the great tower at the southwest corner. This got them inside 
the outer curtain wall. Before attacking the even stronger central keep, 
however, they tried a ruse. A carrier pigeon was sent into the castle with 
a message from the Hospitaller's grand master, ordering the garrison to 
surrender. Outnumbered and with no hope of relief, the defenders accepted 
the command of the message, understanding it was a fake, and surrendered 
the great castle with honor.

Mines
The key problem to taking a castle or fortified town was overcoming the 
walls that prevented entry and protected the defenders. One solution to 
this problem was undermining a section of the wall so that it collapsed. 
This was only possible before castles had moats or after the moat had been 
drained. It was not possible to undermine when the wall was built on solid 
stone. The miners dug a tunnel up to the wall and then along it under its 
foundation. The tunnel was supported by timber supports that gradually 
took on the load of the wall overhead from the earth that was dug out and 
removed. At a prearranged time, the timbers in the tunnel were set on fire. 
As the timbers burned the support for the wall overhead disappeared 
gradually and a section of the wall collapsed, if all went as planned. 
The collapsed wall created an opening for a direct assault by soldiers 
into the castle.

Mines were laborious and time-consuming. Defenders who became aware of 
the tunneling reinforced the threatened wall with a secondary wall so that 
the collapse did not completely open the defenses. Defenders were also 
known to countermine, digging their own tunnels under the walls trying 
to intercept the enemy tunnel. When the tunnels encountered each other, 
actual fighting broke out underground.

Siege
The besieging army set up positions around the castle to prevent escape 
or sorties by the soldiers inside. The nearby farms and villages were taken 
over by the besiegers. Patrols were set to bring notice of any relieving 
army approaching and to forage for food. The leaders of the attackers 
examined the situation and decided whether to simply besiege the castle 
or to actively prepare to attack it. If the castle was to be simply starved 
into surrender, the attackers concentrated on keeping the defenders caged 
in and preventing any relief force from lifting the siege. Choosing how 
best to attack a castle might involve any of the following options: 
Undermining a part of the wall. Selecting a wall section to breach by 
battering it with hurled stones (or with cannons, although these were not 
effective until around 1450, near the end of this period). Selecting a 
part of the ditch (and moat, if present) to fill. Building siege towers 
and ladders to scale the walls. Choosing a gate or other section to batter 
with a ram. The speed of work on assault preparations was in proportion 
to the urgency for taking the castle, the prospects of surrender, and the 
manpower available. If the attackers had ample supplies of food, no relief 
was expected, and the defenders were likely to surrender after their honor 
had been satisfied, work on assault preparations might be little more than 
a show. If the attacker's supplies were short, relief was expected any 
day, or the defenders were obstinate, preparations might go forward day 
and night.

When preparations were complete, the defenders were given one last chance 
to surrender before the assault.

Siege Equipment
Siege equipment was used to get past the walls and other defenses of the 
castle so that the superior strength of the attacking army could be brought 
to bear against the defenders at a minimum disadvantage. Most equipment 
was designed to knock down or breach the walls. In addition to the simple 
scaling ladder, siege equipment most commonly used during the Middle Ages 
included the trebuchet, the mangonel, the siege tower, the battering ram, 
and the pavise. Once a breach was made or a siege tower put in place, a 
volunteer force of soldiers led the assault. This force came to be known 
as the "forlorn hope," because of the casualties they were expected to 
take. But the successful survivors of this force were usually the most 
highly rewarded with promotion, titles, and loot.

The trebuchet was a large catapult powered by a heavy counterweight, 
usually a large box of rocks. The long throwing arm was pulled down against 
the mass of the counterweight and a large stone was loaded. When the arm 
was released, the heavy weight dropped down, pulling the throwing arm up, 
and flinging the large stone missile in a high arcing trajectory. Missiles 
thrown by this weapon plunged downward and were best used to smash the 
tops of towers, embattlements, and hourds. It was difficult to damage sheer 
vertical walls with the trebuchet unless the missiles came down right on 
top of the wall. The trebuchet was assembled out of bow shot and defended 
against a possible sortie by the defenders seeking to burn the weapon. 
The trebuchet was useful for smashing wooden roofs and then setting the 
rubble on fire with incendiary missiles.

The mangonel was a different type of catapult powered by twisted ropes 
or strips of hide. A ratchet gear twisted the ropes, building up tension. 
When released, the ropes spun, flinging the throwing arm forward. When 
the arm hit a heavy restraining bar, any missile in the basket at the end 
of the arm was thrown forward. The restraining bar could be adjusted to 
change the trajectory of the missile. Mangonels had a flat trajectory, 
in comparison to the trebuchet, but could generate the same power. It could 
take a large number of mangonel shots to do any appreciable damage to a 
wall. The thrown missiles and pieces of the broken wall helped to fill 
in the ditch, however, creating rubble pile which attackers could climb.

Siege towers were moved close to the walls and then a gangplank was dropped 
from the tower to the top of the wall. Soldiers in the tower could then 
advance across the gangplank and engage the defenders in hand-to-hand 
combat. Such a tower was often huge. It had to be protected with wet hides 
to prevent being burned. It was ponderous to move because of its weight. 
It had to be either pushed forward or pulled forward against pulleys 
previously mounted on stakes near the base of the castle wall. The ground 
had to be prepared ahead of time, usually with a roadway of flat wooden 
planking on heavily packed earth to ease the tower's movement. A fighting 
area on top of the tower let archers shoot down into the castle as the 
tower approached. Soldiers mounted the stairs inside the tower once it 
was close. Assaults from a siege tower were never a surprise to the defender 
because so much preparation had to be done. The defenders took steps to 
build up the threatened part of the wall or prevent the gangplank from 
dropping. They attempted to grapple the tower as it approached and pull 
it onto its side. Up to the last moment of the assault, siege engines would 
fire on the target section of wall to disrupt the defender's preparations 
to receive the assault. If the first group of attackers from the tower 
got over, a steady stream of men would follow over the gangplank to complete 
the capture of the castle.

A battering ram had a large pole with an iron head that was slung inside 
a moveable housing and rolled up to a wall section or gate. Once up to 
the wall, the pole was swung back and forth against the wall. The force 
of the blows broke through the wooden planking of the door or stone wall, 
creating an opening for attack. The roof of the ram was covered with wet 
hides to prevent burning. Operating battering was dangerous work. Enemies 
above dropped large rocks, boiling water, or burning fat on the ram, 
attempting to destroy it or kill the men operating it. Even when a gate 
or drawbridge was smashed, there were usually several portcullises and 
the gatehouse to be fought through. At the siege of Tyre during the winter 
of 1111-1112, the defending Arabs came up with an ingenious defense against 
the ram. They threw down gappling hooks, grabbed the ram, and pulled it 
away from the wall. Time after time they were able to disrupt the use of 
the ram.

Attacking archers and crossbowmen took shelter on the ground behind large 
wooden shields called pavises. A narrow firing slit at the top of the pavise 
allowed the man behind to shoot up at the defenders. England's King Richard 
I, the Lionheart, received a mortal shoulder wound from a crossbow bolt 
when looking around the side of a pavise.

Gunpowder
The Chinese had gunpowder by the eleventh century and made some military 
use of it to propel rockets. These were more weapons of terror than useful 
missile weapons, however. The Chinese also experimented with fireworks. 
They did not realize the potential of gunpowder as an explosive or 
propellant for missile weapons.

Gunpowder gradually worked its way to the west where Europeans found much 
more destructive uses for it. The oldest surviving artwork from Europe 
that portrays a gunpowder weapon appeared in 1326. This primitive cannon 
was loaded with a spear of some sort, not a cannonball. Europeans had been 
experimenting with gunpowder for the previous half-century. The oldest 
surviving description of the formula for gunpowder appeared in 1260 and 
was attributed to an English friar named Roger Bacon. By 1340 cannonballs 
of lead, iron, and stone were being used. The English had cannons on the 
battlefield at Crecy in 1346, but there is no mention in the battle accounts 
of their usefulness.

Cannons
It took several centuries of experimentation before gunpowder weapons 
became truly useful. One difficulty was developing gunpowder that ignited 
quickly, uniformly, and powerfully. Another was designing suitable 
cannons that would not burst. Poor manufacturing techniques plagued early 
cannons, and it was almost as dangerous to serve them as to be shot at 
by them. King James II of Scotland, for example, was killed by an exploding 
cannon in 1460.

Cannon and gunpowder technologies were sufficiently advanced by the middle 
of the fifteenth century that they were recognized as important weapons. 
This was made clear in 1453 when huge siege bombards firing massive stone 
cannonballs battered the walls of Constantinople. Although the proximate 
cause of the fall of Constantinople was a small gate being left open, the 
bombardment would have eventually made a direct assault possible.

Cannons of the Middle Ages were used in sieges to batter walls and on 
battlefields to fire into massed ranks of the enemy. Their ability to batter 
sheer vertical walls led to refinements in castle-building. Low sloping 
walls replaced high vertical walls. The usefulness of cannon on the 
battlefield was limited during this period because the cannons were so 
ponderous. It was difficult to move them into new positions during the 
action.

Handguns
Illustrations of various types of handguns appeared around 1350. These 
were primitive weapons consisting of a hollow tube blocked at one end and 
a hole in the side near the blocked end for igniting the powder. A slow 
match (a slow-burning cord) was placed in the hole to ignite the powder 
and fire the ball previously loaded down the barrel. There was little use 
in attempting to aim the early handguns. They were effective only when 
fired in volleys by many men at massed targets. By 1450 handguns were being 
used by most of the advanced European armies. Bows and crossbows continued 
in use as infantry missile weapons through the sixteenth century, however, 
because they were still inexpensive and effective.

Naval Warfare
The need for warships in the Mediterranean Sea largely faded after the 
Romans gained complete control of the surrounding lands. There was no other 
empire with a navy to offer competition, and piracy was all but eliminated. 
Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, new civilizations 
sprang up from the ruins of the empire and piracy reappeared. Warships 
were needed again to defend against invasion, project military power, and 
protect sea trade routes. 

Byzantine Ships
The Byzantines were the great Mediterranean naval power of the early Middle 
Ages. Naval power was critical to their survival and to their extended 
empire. The land defenses of Constantinople were excellent and made 
outright assault of the city very difficult, but the city had to keep its 
sea supply open to prevent a successful siege. So long as the navy could 
bring in supplies, the city was assured of survival.

The main Byzantine warship of the early Middle Ages was the dromen, an 
evolution of the ancient oared warships, such as the trireme. A typical 
dromen was long and narrow for speed. Power was supplied by 50 to 200 rowers 
and lateen sails. A mast was placed in the middle of the front half and 
rear half of the ship. The dromen carried a beak at the bow for pinning 
enemy vessels prior to boarding. Rams were rarely seen. Platforms were 
built in the center, bow, and stern. From these platforms archers and 
catapults could fire at enemy ships and crews. A typical battle involved 
attempts to ram or disable enemy ships, then grappling and boarding by 
marines.

The Byzantines effectively used a secret weapon called Greek fire. This 
was a mixture of chemicals that burned fiercely upon contact with air. 
It was pumped out of hoses against enemy ships or thrown in bombs. It was 
a devastating weapon against wooden ships and decisive for the Byzantines 
in their naval battles against the Arabs. The secret of Greek fire was 
so important and so closely guarded that it was eventually lost and we 
do not know today exactly what it was. 

Mediterranean Ships
Oar-powered warships, called galleys, remained the principal warships of 
the Mediterranean beyond the end of the Middle Ages because the waters 
were relatively protected from fierce gales. At the same time, the Italian 
city-states of Genoa and Venice gradually became naval powers in proportion 
to the increasing importance of their trade with the Levant. The Arabs 
also built navies to influence trade and support their conflict with the 
Byzantines and other Christians for control of the Mediterranean. The 
beginning of the Crusades in the eleventh century brought ships from 
Northern Europe that had evolved very different designs.

European Ships
The Germanic tribes that occupied Northern Europe around 500 developed 
several new ship types. The typical trading ship was wide-bodied and of 
deep draft. It mounted a single mast at first and later more as it grew 
in size. The Norse called this type of ship a knarr. We know a lot about 
this ship today because one was recovered from the bottom of a harbor in 
Denmark in the 1960s. Much of the trade and exploration of the Anglo-Saxons 
and Vikings was carried on in this type of ship. It evolved into the cog, 
the principal merchant ship of the later Middle Ages. This deep-draft ship 
was designed for easy sailing and high cargo capacity.

Ship fighting in northern Europe was mainly an extension of land combat. 
Towers were built on the bow and stern of the cog for protection and as 
firing platforms for archers. Crews fired at each other with arrows as 
they closed, but the intent was only to disable enemy crewmen and soldiers. 
Ships came together and attempted to capture each other in hand-to-hand 
combat. Sailing ships in these waters had no ability to ram. There was 
no weapon with which to do great structural damage to another ship or sink 
it until cannon appeared in the fourteenth century. Some 400 English and 
French cog-type warships carrying large contingents of archers and foot 
soldiers engaged in a naval battle at Sluys in 1340 typical of the later 
Middle Ages. They simply jammed together for archery fire and close combat.

The first cannon were mounted in the bow or stern of ships. Small cannon 
mounted on the side rails were used against enemy crews. The English ship 
Christopher of the Tower of 1406 was the first built purposely to carry 
guns. Ships began to mount broadsides of cannon with the ability to puncture 
enemy hulls only at the very end of the Middle Ages.
 
The Viking longship was more of a transport than a warship. Vikings rarely 
fought from their longships. When they did, there are reports of boats 
being lashed together to provide a platform for hand-to-hand fighting. 
The longship was powered by oars until the eighth or ninth century when 
sails appear to have been added. Although they looked fragile and unlikely 
vessels for ocean travel, modern replicas proved to be very seaworthy. 
The additional range provided by sails explains partially why the Vikings 
began reaching out to raid in the ninth century.

The Irish curragh was a small boat used mainly for coastal trading and 
travel but capable of deep ocean sailing also. This boat was built of animal 
hides stretched over a wooden frame. The hide skin was sealed with pitch 
for waterproofing. These incredibly light boats were powered with a small 
sail or could be rowed. In rough weather the hide covering could be closed 
to make the boat watertight and relatively unsinkable. Irish monks explored 
the North Atlantic in these boats and reached Iceland long before the 
Vikings. There are unsubstantiated tales that monks sailed to the New World 
as well.

The Crusades brought northern ships into the Mediterranean and contact 
between the sailors and shipbuilders of north and south. The southerners 
began adopting features of the cog, Including its big hull and square sail. 
The northerners learned about the compass, stern rudder, and lateen sail.

Chinese Ships
The greatest shipbuilders of the Middle Ages were probably the Chinese. 
The familiar Chinese junk was a better ship than anything available in 
the West for many centuries. It was an excellent combination of cargo space, 
sailing ability, and seaworthiness. In 1405, Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho built 
a huge navy manned by 25,000 men and explored much of the Southwest Pacific 
and Indian Oceans. The rulers of China disdained this feat and its 
discoveries. The greatest ships in the world at the time were beached and 
allowed to rot.

The Middle Ages
The expression "Middle Ages" has been employed by Western civilization 
to define the 1000 years that span European history from roughly 500 to 
1500 AD. The beginning of the Middle Ages is marked by the fall of the 
Western Roman Empire, the generally accepted end of classical ancient 
history. The end of the Middle Ages is noted by the beginning of the 
Renaissance (the "rebirth" of Europe). Events marking the end of the period 
include the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the first use of the printing 
press in 1456, the European discovery of the Americas in 1492, the 
Protestant Reformation, triggered by Martin Luther in 1517, and the 
flowering of the arts in Italy. The Middle Ages thus fall in the middle 
between ancient and modern history.

Historic periods in Asia and the Middle East do not fit easily into the 
concept of a European Middle Age. China evolved gradually from prehistoric 
times up to the advent of Western modern history without the great 
disruptions that befell Europe. China passed under the control of several 
dynasties and suffered from invasion, but the basic culture progressed 
steadily. Japan progressed steadily, as well, and was left largely alone. 
The history of the Middle East fits together more closely with the European 
Middle Ages because these two regions were adjacent and shared many 
interactions.

The Fall of Rome
The Roman Empire of the fourth century AD extended entirely around the 
basin of the Mediterranean Sea, including modern Turkey, Israel, Egypt, 
and North Africa. Modern France (called Gaul) and modern Spain and Portugal 
(Iberia) were entirely Roman. Modern England was Roman, but modern Scotland 
and Ireland were barbarian (non-Roman, or noncivilized). The northern 
borders of the empire were the Rhine and Danube Rivers. The lands north 
of these rivers were occupied by a variety of tribes of Scandinavian origin 
that the Romans called the Germans.

Rome was engaged in border skirmishes with the tribes north of the great 
European rivers. Strong emperors occasionally extended the empire over  
the rivers while weak emperors tended to lose those lands. The largest 
organized rival of the Romans was the Persian Empire to the east, occupying 
modern Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Persians were the political 
descendants of the Parthians who had revolted away from Greek rule 
following Alexander's conquests and thereafter resisted successfully 
Roman invasions.

The Romans had existed as an important power for over 1000 years. They 
had brought stability, prosperity, and order to the civilized West. 
Excellent roads connected the far reaches of the empire with the capital 
at Rome. These were built originally for military purposes but improved 
all communications and trade. Roman law kept the internal peace and 20 
to 30 Roman legions defended the frontiers.

All was not perfect, however. Emperors held absolute authority. This worked 
well with good emperors, but incompetent ones could do great harm. The 
rules for succession to the throne were never clear, and debilitating civil 
wars often resulted. The bureaucracy that managed the empire on a daily 
basis grew more corrupt, increasing the dissatisfaction of the common 
citizen. The wealth of the empire gradually concentrated in the hands of 
a minority while a large slave population did most of the work. The borders 
of the empire were immense and put a strain on military resources (500,000 
soldiers defended a frontier that required 3 million or more to be secure). 
Roman conquests had ceased in the second century AD, bringing an end to 
massive inflows of plunder and slaves. Taxes increased and production fell 
as the workforce declined. A plague may have killed 20 percent of the 
empire's population in the third and fourth centuries, further reducing 
trade and production.

In the late third century, the Roman Empire was split into eastern and 
western halves in an attempt to make for easier rule and better control. 
In 323 Constantine became emperor after a civil war and established his 
eastern capital at Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. During the 
next century the eastern and western parts of the empire gradually 
established separate identities, although nominally the same empire. 
These identities were partially due to the different pressures brought 
to bear on them from the outside and the local culture. The Western Empire 
was predominately Latin; the Eastern Empire was predominately Greek 
(although they referred to themselves as Romans). The Eastern Empire 
survived the cataclysm of the third and fourth centuries because it had 
a larger population (70 percent of the empire's total), better emperors, 
more money, and a far better army and navy. 

Barbarian Invaders 
Around the year 200 AD, nomadic tribes on the great grass steppes of Central 
Asia began migrating toward China, India, Persia, and Europe. The reasons 
for this migration are not fully understood. The largest group of nomads 
was the Huns. Their small stature and small ponies belied a fierce and 
determined ruthlessness. They terrified other tribes they encountered in 
their migrations, causing something like a domino effect. Moving west, 
the Huns displaced the Goths living northwest of the Black Sea, for example, 
who pushed south over the Danube into the Balkans lands ruled by the Eastern 
Roman Empire. More Huns moved toward the German plains, encouraging other 
Germanic tribes to cross the Rhine.

The Western Roman Empire was already weakened by this time from sporadic 
raids and invasions across the Rhine and Danube. Germanic tribes with 
growing populations coveted the sparsely occupied lands in Gaul and the 
benefits of being within the Roman Empire. By 400 the Roman army was already 
30 to 50 percent German mercenaries. In desperation, some barbarian groups 
were enlisted into the Roman army as entire units to help defend against 
other groups. This was especially popular during civil wars of the fourth 
century, when pretenders to the throne in Rome needed to raise armies 
quickly. These barbarian units did not have the loyalty and discipline 
of the legions and kept their own leaders. This stopgap measure backfired 
when whole barbarian armies revolted. The Rhine and Danube frontiers 
dissolved and Germanic tribes moved into Gaul, the Balkans, and even Italy 
itself. The fighting was nearly incessant along the shrinking frontier 
and the number of loyal Roman troops continually diminished.

The last legions in Britain were withdrawn for service in Gaul in 410, 
abandoning that province forever. Saxon raids increased and became actual 
invasions. The Jutes, Frisians, and Angles, other Germanic tribes from 
the north German coast, joined the Saxons. Together they overwhelmed the 
Romano-British culture and took possession of what is today England 
(Angle-land).

The Eastern Roman Empire suffered through the loss of most of the Balkans 
but was able to deflect or bribe the barbarians before they could attack 
Constantinople. The invaders in this area were the Goths, who had become 
much more civilized through their contact with the Eastern Empire than 
had the Germanic tribes along the Rhine. The Goths came as settlers 
primarily, not conquerors.

During the fifth century Rome was sacked several times and the Western 
Empire ceased to exist effectively. Italy was repeatedly invaded and 
ravaged. In 476 the last recognized Roman emperor was killed. Italy and 
the old Roman Empire were now occupied by Germanic tribes. Despite a general 
wish by the barbarians to preserve the stability and order of the past 
Roman civilization, only vestiges of it survived the turmoil and 
devastation that followed the invasions. Most of Europe fell back into 
a much more primitive and barbaric period.

The Dark Ages
Following the fall of Rome, western Europe entered what has been called 
the Dark Ages. This name was applied partially because so much of the Roman 
civilization was destroyed and replaced by a more barbaric culture. The 
name was used also because so little written history survived from the 
period that shed light on the events that took place.

Politics
The Roman government and courts were swept away with most of the Roman 
culture. Tribal war bands were the new government. A strong leader 
surrounded himself with loyal warriors that were paid with booty from 
raiding. Tribal law, based on trial by combat or by the swearing of oaths, 
replaced Roman law. Small kingdoms arose gradually based on tribal 
loyalties, but governing was difficult because literate civil servants 
were scarce, communications were poor, trade was at a standstill, and there 
was little or no money in circulation. The people survived on a subsistence 
agriculture. Life at this time was described as nasty, brutish, and short. 
The average life expectancy was 30 years, skewed by a very low survival 
rate for children and a high mortality of women in childbirth.

At the start of the Dark Ages, the list of European powers read as follows:   
Franks: much of modern France and parts of Germany along the Rhine.
Ostrogoths: northern Italy, Switzerland, and the Balkans. Visigoths: 
Spain and Portugal. Vandals: Western North Africa, Sicily, and southern 
Italy. Various Germanic tribes, including Saxons and Lombards: Germany.  
Anglo-Saxons: England. Celts: Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany.   
Magyars: Hungary. Slavs: Poland and western Russia. Byzantines: Turkey, 
Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and much of the Balkans, including Greece.

In succeeding centuries, the list saw the following changes: Vandals: 
destroyed and replaced by the Byzantines. Visigoths: destroyed and 
replaced by Franks in France and Muslims in Spain and Portugal. Ostrogoths: 
attacked and eventually absorbed by the Lombards (Italy) and Byzantines 
(Balkans).

The Dark Ages are considered to cover the years from 500 to 1000. The three 
most important forces that shaped this period and brought the relative 
darkness to an end were the spread of new religions, the rise of the Frankish 
Empire, and the predations of the Vikings.

Dark Age Religion
Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 
fourth century and had begun spreading among the Germanic tribes before 
the fall of Rome. The split of the Roman Empire into eastern and western 
halves also resulted in a split within the Christian Church. The western 
part, centered in Rome, became Catholic. The eastern part, centered in 
Constantinople, became Orthodox. In the seventh century, one of the last 
of the world's great religions, Islam, was founded in Arabia.

Christianity
The spread of Christianity among the barbarians was a powerful civilizing 
force and helped to ensure that some vestiges of Roman law and the Latin 
language carried on in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Only in England 
was Roman Christianity subsumed by pagan beliefs. The Franks became 
Catholic under Clovis and thereafter spread Christianity to the Germans 
across the Rhine. The Byzantines spread Orthodox Christianity among the 
Bulgars and Slavs.

Christianity was brought to Ireland by St. Patrick in the early fifth 
century and spread from there into Scotland and back into England from 
the north. In the late sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great sent 
missionaries into England from the south. Within a century, England was 
Christian once again.

Monasteries
During the turmoil of the Dark Ages, a few strongly committed Christians 
withdrew from society to live as hermits, usually on the wild and forbidding 
edge of civilization. Hermits in turn inspired more conventional priests 
to pledge vows of poverty and service, harkening back to the teachings 
of Jesus Christ.

Many of these priests formed new communities of like believers called 
monasteries. Pope Gregory encouraged the building of monasteries 
throughout Christian Europe. In parts of Europe they became the only 
remaining centers of learning. Irish monks, for example, are credited by 
some with preserving civilization in their monasteries. Irish monks went 
out into other parts of Europe to teach and revive an interest in learning. 
Monasteries were the main source of educated men who could help administer 
government, and many became important assistants to kings.

In time monasteries grew wealthy with donations of land, as did the Roman 
church. Different monastic orders were founded with different goals. Some 
kept entirely to themselves, some trained missionaries to be sent into 
the wild, some advised the popes on church doctrine, and others provided 
important community service such as care for the elderly, health care, 
and emergency relief. 

Islam
Islam was founded in Arabia in the seventh century by the prophet Mohammed. 
It spread rapidly and inspired a great movement of conquest. The political 
map of North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia changed almost 
overnight. All of North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, the Middle East, 
Asia Minor, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, parts of India, Pakistan, and part 
of Russia became Muslim. During the brief period that the Islamic Empire 
remained united, it threatened to accomplish its goal of converting the 
entire world to its beliefs. The stability and economic growth within the 
new Muslim world brought peace and prosperity far in advance of that in 
western Europe of the time. The Muslim culture surpassed even the 
Byzantines in art, science, medicine, geography, trade, and philosophy.

Conflicts between the Muslims and Christians resulted in the Crusades, 
a series of attempts by western Christians to regain the Holy Lands in 
Palestine.

Charlemagne
The Franks consolidated their kingdom in modern France under a series of 
strong kings and warlords during the seventh and eighth centuries. In 732 
they defeated a Muslim army invading France from the Iberian Peninsula. 
Around 750, the Franks pushed into Italy to rescue Rome and the pope, who 
were under attack by the Lombards. In 768 Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, 
became king of the Franks and began his remarkable reign.

Charlemagne returned to Italy across the Alps in 774 and rescued the Pope 
once again. He became king of both the Franks and Lombards and effective 
ruler of Rome. He continued his conquests, simultaneously converting his 
enemies to Christianity. He took southern France and northern parts of 
Spain. He moved into western Germany, converting the Saxons and fighting 
off the Magyars of Hungary. He established "marches" on his frontier, which 
were buffer states between the Frankish Empire and barbarian tribes to 
the east. On Christmas Day in 800, Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman 
Emperor by the pope (the title was a surprise and one he had not sought).

The importance of Charlemagne transcends the size and creation of the Holy 
Roman Empire, which fell apart soon after his death anyway. He was a great 
supporter and defender of the Catholic Church and used it to encourage 
learning and the arts. He set up schools in association with cathedrals 
to educate civil servants and nobles to improve government. He collected 
and codified the laws, improving the system of justice. He invented 
feudalism as a way of providing local order while retaining central 
authority.

The great promise of European revival radiating from the Frankish Empire 
was stopped short, however. Following the death of Charlemagne's son, the 
empire was split three ways among his grandsons. The western part evolved 
later into modern France. The eastern part became Germany much later. The 
central part was contested by the other two through succeeding generations 
into the twentieth century. A more immediate problem was the sudden 
appearance of Viking raiders from Scandinavia, who greatly disrupted 
northern Europe for the next two centuries.

The Vikings
The inhabitants of Scandinavia had made their living by herding, farming, 
and fishing for centuries. In the sixth and seventh centuries, they began 
trading along the Baltic Sea and deep into Russia along its great rivers. 
For reasons unknown, they began aggressively raiding the coasts of Europe 
suddenly in the late eighth century. Perhaps they were amazed at the 
relative riches they had encountered as traders, or they perceived a 
weakness among the civilizations to the south, or new sailing and boat 
technologies gave them the power to travel farther and more quickly. In 
793 the pagan Vikings struck the great monastery at Lindisfarne, 
established by the Irish off the northeast coast of England.

Fast, low-draft longboats allowed the Vikings to strike quickly from the 
sea and up rivers. Because roads were so poor in the ninth century, the 
Vikings could concentrate against a rich village or monastery, land quickly, 
drive off any resistance, and carry off slaves and plunder before any 
organized response could be mounted. People living along the coasts and 
rivers of Germany, France, and Britain lived in fear of the raiders. The 
central authorities of these lands fell into disfavor because they could 
do little to defend against these hit-and-run attacks. The people turned 
to local nobles who built castles for defense. This shift of power 
strengthened the local nobles and weakened the kings.

The Vikings became bolder as the ninth century progressed. Larger Viking 
groups combined to make actual invasions, not just raids. They sacked major 
cities including Hamburg, Utrecht, and Rouen. They settled on islands off 
Britain, in parts of Ireland (founding Dublin), Iceland, and Greenland. 
The Danes captured and ruled the eastern half of England for a century. 
Another force sailed up the Seine River and besieged Paris for two years 
before being bought off with money and plunder. Another group ruled part 
of Russia from Kiev and assaulted Constantinople from the Black Sea. They 
raided the Muslim Iberian Peninsula and deep into the Mediterranean. 

In the tenth century, the king of France bought peace with the Vikings 
by ceding them part of his country (Normandy, "from the northmen," or 
Normans) and making their ruler a French duke. As part of this agreement, 
the Normans converted to Christianity. The Normans became one of the most 
remarkable groups in the Middle Ages. Later they conquered England, 
establishing the first great European kingdom. Other Normans conquered 
Sicily, half of Italy, and established Crusader kingdoms in Palestine.

Viking raids stopped at the end of the tenth century, partly because they 
had become Christians and no longer followed the warrior values of their 
past pagan beliefs. Scandinavia divided into kingdoms, and the new rulers 
concentrated on ruling what they owned. The Viking settlers in Russia, 
France, and Britain were absorbed by the cultures that surrounded them. 
The warrior cultures in Europe that had evolved in response to the Viking 
threat soon had a new outlet for their aggression, however, in the Holy 
Land of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Crusades
Making pilgrimages to holy sites had been a popular activity for European 
Christians for centuries. There were important religious centers in Europe 
but the most important site was the Holy Land in Palestine. The rise of 
the Seljuk Turks made travel to Jerusalem and other Middle Eastern locales 
suddenly much more dangerous. The Turks had little use for non-Muslims 
and ended the relatively peaceful relations between the Arabs and 
Christians. At the same time, the Turks put tremendous pressure on the 
Byzantines by capturing the valuable lands in Asia Minor. As a result, 
Pope Urban called for a Crusade by Christian warriors to recapture 
Palestine from the Muslims.

The call for a Crusade electrified the knights of Europe. They were strong 
believers, and the pope promised a heavenly reward for those who died in 
the cause. Of equal or greater importance was the opportunity to grab land 
and wealth abroad, rather than continuing to squabble with relatives and 
neighbors at home.

By 1097, an army of 30,000, including many pilgrims and camp followers, 
had crossed into Asia Minor from Constantinople. Despite feuding among 
the leaders and broken promises between the Crusaders and their Byzantine 
supporters, the Crusade stumbled forward. The Turks were just as 
disorganized, or more so. The Frankish heavy knights and infantry had no 
experience fighting the Arab light cavalry and archers, and vice versa. 
The endurance and strength of the knights won the campaign over a series 
of often very close victories. Antioch was captured through treachery in 
1098 and Jerusalem in 1099 by assault against a weak garrison. The 
Christians debased themselves after both victories by slaughtering many 
of the residents regardless of age, faith, or gender. Many of the Crusaders 
returned home, but a hardy band remained to set up feudal kingdoms similar 
to those in Europe.

The Crusader rulers of Palestine were greatly outnumbered by the Muslim 
population they attempted to control, so they built castles and hired 
mercenary troops to hold them. The culture and religion of the Franks was 
too alien to win over the residents of the area, however. From their secure 
castle bases, the Crusaders struck out to intercept raiding Arabs. For 
about a century the two sides engaged in a classic guerrilla war. The 
Frankish knights were powerful but slow. The Arabs could not stand up to 
charges by the heavy cavalry but could ride circles around them, hoping 
to disable their units and catch them in ambushes in the desert. The 
Crusader kingdoms kept mainly to the coast, from which they could get 
supplies and reinforcements, but the constant raids and unhappy populace 
meant they were not an economic success.

Orders of Christian warrior monks were formed to fight for the Holy Lands. 
The Knights Templar and Hospitalier were mainly Frankish. The Teutonic 
Knights were German. These were the fiercest and most determined of the 
Crusaders, but there were never enough of them to make the region secure.

The Crusader kingdoms survived for a while in part because they learned 
to negotiate, compromise, and play the different Arab groups off against 
each other. A great Arab leader appeared, however, who united the various 
Islamic groups. Saladin became Sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1174. In 1187 
he won a great victory over the Crusaders in the desert and recaptured 
Jerusalem.

For another century the Europeans made several attempts to reassert control 
over the Holy Land and Jerusalem, with only a rare temporary success. Eight 
more Crusades followed and most failed to do more than get ashore and make 
some progress inland before being pushed back. The Fourth Crusade did not 
even reach Palestine. Under the guidance of the Doge of Venice, they sacked 
Constantinople instead, a blow from which the Byzantines never recovered. 
One of the worst Crusades was a Children's Crusade launched in 1212. Several 
thousand European children got as far as Alexandria in Egypt, where they 
were sold into slavery.

The legacy of the Crusades included a new hostility between Christians 
and Muslims, a deterioration of the feudal system, and exposure to new 
cultures. Feudalism declined because many lords went bankrupt, leaving 
their lands to their kings. Many serfs became Crusaders and never returned. 
New words entered the European languages, such as cotton, muslin, divan, 
and bazaar. Europeans brought back new textiles, foods, and spices. Demand 
back home for these new goods increased trade and contributed to the growth 
of the Italian trading city-states, especially Genoa and Venice. This 
demand was also the impetus for the great age of discovery that began in 
fourteenth century. Treasure brought home increased the local money 
supplies, aiding economic growth.

Feudalism
The predominant economic and political structure of the Middle Ages was 
feudalism. This system evolved in response to a breakdown in central 
authority and a rise in social chaos following the end of Roman rule. A 
hierarchy of strongmen in allegiance replaced the Roman system of emperor, 
senate, province, city, and town.

Feudal Contract
Feudalism was an agreement between two nobles, one the lord and one the 
vassal. The vassal pledged an oath of fealty (faithfulness) to the lord 
and agreed to carry out duties in his behalf. The most important duties 
were usually military service (normally limited to 40 days per year), 
providing soldiers to the lord's army, and providing revenue to the lord. 
The lord agreed to protect the vassal with the army at his command and 
to provide the vassal with the means of making a living. The vassal was 
given control of a fief that was usually a large holding of land, but he 
could also be assigned the job of tax collector, coiner, customs agent, 
or some other responsibility that created revenue. A lord with many vassals 
thus had steady sources of revenue and an army. A feudal contract was made 
for life. A lord could take back a fief if the vassal failed in his duties. 
It was much harder for a vassal to leave a lord. During the early Middle 
Ages fiefs were not inherited, which was to the advantage of the lord. 
The more fiefs he had to give out, the harder his vassals would work to 
earn them. As the Middle Ages progressed, vassals found opportunities to 
make their fiefs inheritable, leaving the lords fewer fiefs to pass out 
as rewards.

Only nobles and knights were allowed to take the oath of fealty. In practice 
most nobles were both vassals and lords, fitting in somewhere between the 
king and the lowest knight of rank. Feudalism was never neatly organized, 
however. Vassals might be more powerful than lords. The dukes of Normandy, 
controlling much of France and all of England, were more powerful than 
the kings of France who were their lords. Vassals might have several lords, 
causing problems when different lords wanted the vassal to provide a 
service. The senior lord, or liege lord, was usually given preference. 
Nobles also discovered that if they were strong enough they could ignore 
the rules of feudalism and attack neighbors to get what they wanted. Such 
private wars were endemic throughout the late Middle Ages.

The Manor
The most common fief was a land holding called a manor. During the Middle 
Ages nine families worked on a manor producing food to feed themselves 
and provide food for a tenth family to do something else. (In the modern 
United States, the relationship is perhaps 100 to 1 in the other direction.)

A typical manor was a great house or castle, surrounded by fields, cottages, 
pastures, and woodlands. The manor was largely self-sufficient. Surpluses 
of a few commodities were traded with other manors for commodities in 
shortage. As the Middle Ages continued and the markets of towns grew, manors 
became more specialized because they were more efficient at producing only 
a few commodities. Some manors specialized in cheese, pigs, wine, grain, 
or vegetables, for example.

The lord of the manor (landlord) occupied the manor house or castle with 
his family, servants, and retainers. Retainers were usually knights and 
professional soldiers on hand to provide defense and be ready to fulfill 
any feudal military obligations to a senior lord. The larger the manor, 
the greater the number of retainers.

The population of a manor consisted mainly of peasants (nonnoble and 
nonprofessional). The farmhands were mostly serfs who spent up to half 
of their week working the lord's lands in return for his protection. Each 
serf family owned several rows in each of the manor's fields from which 
it obtained a living. Serfs were not slaves, but they were not free either. 
They could not marry, change jobs, or leave the manor without the lord's 
permission. But a serf had some rights, unlike a slave. His position was 
hereditary and passed down in his family. His land could not be taken so 
long as he fulfilled his obligations. While the relationship between vassal 
and lord seems comparable to serf and landlord, a clear distinction was 
made in the Middle Ages between an honorable contract to provide military 
service versus mere manual labor.

Farming technology gradually changed the lives of serfs as the Middle Ages 
progressed. Food production increased and surpluses were sold, providing 
serfs with the money to buy their freedom. By the end of the period, there 
were few serfs in western Europe.

The Late Middle Ages
The Dark Ages witnessed widespread disruption throughout Europe and the 
replacement of the previously predominant Roman culture with Germanic 
tribal culture. For 500 years Europe had suffered repeatedly from invasion 
and war. The life of the average peasant was rarely affected, however, 
and social stability and culture gradually recovered, although in new 
formats. By roughly the year 1000, Europeans were creating a new medieval 
civilization that surpassed the ancients in almost every way.

Economy
At the start of the Dark Ages, Northern Europe was deeply forested. By 
1000 AD, much of the forest was gone and most of the rest was going, replaced 
by farmland and pasture. The soil was generally excellent, a loess of finely 
ground rock deposited during the last receding Ice Age. Two key inventions 
accelerated the deforestation of Europe and led to increasing food 
production. The first was the horse collar that originated in China and 
gradually came west. The improved collar fit across a horse's breast, 
rather than its windpipe, allowing it to pull much heavier loads without 
choking. The second invention was the heavy wheeled plow, which was needed 
to cut into the deep soils and extensive root systems of the old forests. 
Dramatic increases in food production were the foundation of population 
growth and economic revitalization in Europe.

Increasing population, no longer needed on the manors, migrated to the 
towns that were already growing in response to the needs for larger markets. 
Food surpluses and the products of new industries (cloth-making, 
shipbuilding, and tool-making, for example) traded in the new markets and 
trade fairs. Kings encouraged the growth of towns because residents were 
usually allied with the central authority rather than local feudal lords. 
Citizens of towns paid taxes, not feudal service. Within towns there 
appeared a new middle class that supported itself by trade, industrial 
production, and lending money. Merchants came to dominate the town 
governments, growing both rich and powerful.

Craftsmen and merchants organized themselves into associations that were 
called guilds. These associations controlled prices and production, 
ensured a high standard of service or manufacturing, and organized the 
training of crafts through apprenticeships. These controls ensured both 
a high-quality product and a high-quality of life for guild members. Guild 
members often concentrated in one part of town, such as Threadneedle Street 
and Ironmongers Lane in London. Guilds formed an important power block 
within the political structure of the towns.

Increased trade led to a new boom in manufacturing. Both led to the rise 
of banking, centered mostly in northern Italy in the thirteenth century. 
Fledgling businesses needed money to get started and to function 
efficiently. Money acted as a medium of exchange and standard of value 
and was necessary for moving beyond an inefficient barter economy. Italy 
had cash surpluses from its lucrative Mediterranean trade, especially with 
the Levant. The gold florin of Florence became the most popular coin of 
the late Middle Ages.

Religion
Pilgrims
Christians proved their faith by going on pilgrimages to Rome, Santiago 
de Compostela, and even Jerusalem. Pilgrims who had visited Santiago de 
Compostela wore cloth cockleshells on their clothing as a badge of 
distinction.

Cathedrals
The prosperity of the twelfth century and later was increasingly expressed 
in the arts, especially architecture. The enduring symbol of Middle Ages 
architecture was the cathedral. Magnificent church buildings were erected 
in thanks to God for the blessings bestowed on the people. Towns competed 
to build the most glorious cathedral and the loftiest spire reaching toward 
heaven. Cathedrals were the largest capital investments of the period, 
taking as much as a century to build and costing a fortune.

The predominant building material for cathedrals was stone, which 
minimized the hazard of fire. There was little steel at the time, and iron 
was too soft to hold up the immense buildings of unprecedented height. 
Architects evolved new solutions to old problems, devising the pointed 
arch and flying buttress to spread the weight load from vaulted ceilings 
onto massive stone supports. The new building technologies made possible 
great open cathedrals, large windows (often of beautifully stained glass), 
and high spires. The French pioneered the new cathedrals. Notre Dame of 
Paris was begun in 1163 and finished 72 years later. The cathedral at 
Chartres was begun in 1120 and completed in 1224 after burning twice during 
construction. Cathedrals were a great source of civic pride and prestige. 
Pilgrims and new churchgoers brought increased revenues to the cathedral 
town.

Technology
By the late Middle Ages, science in Europe had caught up with the ancients 
and passed them by. The technology that interested the people was practical, 
not theoretical. They sought better ways to do things, both to make life 
more comfortable and to improve business. They were interested in 
understanding the natural world because they had increasingly more leisure 
time for contemplation.

The rudiments of mathematics and science were acquired from the Muslims 
of the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily when Christians retook those areas. 
The Muslims had been actively studying the ancients and new ideas from 
Asia since the early Middle Ages. The Muslims passed on the Arabic numerals 
used today and the concept of the zero, invented in India.

Practical research began challenging logic in the quest to understand the 
laws of nature. The value of observation, experimentation, and empirical 
(countable) evidence as support and proof of theory was recognized. This 
led to the scientific method of the later Renaissance, which is the basis 
for all modern scientific research. Ancient Greeks had suggested the 
scientific method, but it fell out of favor and had been forgotten.

Feudalism's Decline
Political Changes
By the beginning of the late Middle Ages, western Europe had been divided 
into feudal holdings of various sizes. Kings atop feudal hierarchies did 
not exercise a strong central authority and nations existed as cultural 
groups, not political entities. By the end of the late Middle Ages, strong 
central authority controlled England, Spain, Portugal, and France. 
Political power in those areas had been wrested away from the local feudal 
lords.

William the Conqueror established the first of the strong European 
monarchies after winning the throne of England in 1066. Following his 
victory at Hastings and five more years of fighting to break remaining 
resistance, he began taking steps to consolidate his power. He kept 
one-sixth of England as royal land. Half of the rest was given as fiefs 
to Norman barons who were his direct vassals. He gave one-quarter of the 
land to the Church and the remainder was divided among the Anglo-Saxons. 
The entire feudal hierarchy was forced to swear fealty to him as liege 
lord. He claimed ownership of all castles, prohibited wars between lords, 
and made royal coinage the only legal money. These were important first 
steps in the decline of feudalism, although they could not always be 
enforced, especially by later kings of lesser ability than William.

In the twelfth century, England's King Henry II created the chancery and 
exchequer, the beginnings of a civil service. The chancery kept records 
of laws and royal transactions; the exchequer was the treasury. Both 
offices were not hereditary, making it easy to remove unwanted officials. 
The staffs of the new civil service were paid a salary rather than given 
a fief, making them dependent only on the king.

In 1215 the unpopular King John of England was forced to sign the Magna 
Carta, a feudal document that made the king subject to the laws of the 
land and required that the barons have a voice in the king's decision 
through a Great Council. Wording of the Magna Carta led to important 
interpretations in later centuries, including the concept of "no taxation 
without representation." When a later English king ignored the Magna Carta, 
the barons seized power in 1264 and ruled temporarily through an expanded 
Great Council called the Parliament. The new Parliament included not only 
the barons and high-ranking churchmen but also representatives from the 
large towns.

Although this parliamentary government was short-lived (15 months), 
Parliament itself could not be suppressed or ignored. From this period 
on, only Parliament could repeal laws it had passed. No taxes could be 
imposed without its approval. When kings needed money in the short term 
(during the Hundred Years War, for example) they were often forced by 
Parliament to concede more power in exchange. Parliament and the civil 
service continued to grow in importance, and they proved capable of running 
the country, regardless of the current king's ability or any temporary 
rebellion by the nobility.

While the king, civil service, and Parliament were pushing down on the 
power of barons from above, pressure was also rising from the bottom of 
the feudal hierarchy. Several factors worked toward freeing the serfs from 
their contracts with the lords, including increasing town populations, 
cessation of barbarian raids, and a fearful plague that struck Europe in 
the fourteenth century.

The Black Death
The plague that became known as the Black Death struck Europe suddenly 
and with devastating effect in the middle fourteenth century. It moved 
west from Central Asia, appearing in the Black Sea area in 1346. It spread 
southwest into the Mediterranean and then up and around the North Atlantic 
Coast and into the Baltic. By 1348 it was in Spain and Portugal, by 1349 
in England and Ireland, by 1351 in Sweden, and by 1353 in the Baltic States 
and Russia. Only remote and sparsely populated areas were spared. Between 
a third and a half of the population of Europe, the Middle East, North 
Africa, and India died, based on modern estimates of the loss.

The Black Plague was probably a variety of the bubonic plague, a bacterial 
infection still encountered today and still dangerous. The bacteria were 
carried in the saliva of fleas that had sucked the blood of infected rats. 
The fleas jumped to human hosts when infected rats died and the bacteria 
spread rapidly in the human blood stream. The plague took its name from 
its most hideous symptom-large black and painful swellings that oozed blood 
and pus. Victims developed a high fever and became delirious. Most died 
within 48 hours, but a small minority were able to fight off the infection 
and survive.

Entire towns were depopulated and the social relation between serf and 
lord fell apart. People who could farm or make things were valuable. The 
move to cities accelerated once the plague had passed.

The Renaissance
Beginning in fourteenth-century Italy, Europe went through a transition 
over 400 years from medieval to modern times known today as the Renaissance, 
meaning a "rebirth" or "revival." The Renaissance is a nebulous concept 
for which there is no clear beginning or end. It does, however, usefully 
mark the complete recovery from the barbarism of the Dark Ages to the new 
advancement in all fields that transcended the achievements of the great 
ancient civilizations.

Many different factors at work in the Middle Ages contributed to this 
revival and new advancement. One was the renewed interest in learning. 
The first college at Oxford University was founded in 1264. By 1400 there 
were more than 50 universities in Europe. Education and debate were 
stimulated by access to ancient texts preserved by the Arabs and freshly 
translated into Latin. Europeans had made contact with the Arabs in the 
Holy Land, in Sicily, and in Spain. The rediscovered works of the ancient 
Greek mathematician Euclid, for example, became the standard for teaching 
mathematics into the nineteenth century. The Arabs also transmitted a new 
system for numbers, the concept of the decimal point, and the concept of 
zero, all invented in India. The spread of learning accelerated rapidly 
following the invention of the printing press around 1450.

A second factor was the rising standard of living, especially in the great 
commercial cities of Italy. The Crusades had opened European eyes to the 
wealth of the East, especially silks, spices, and cotton. The merchants 
of Venice, Genoa, Florence, and other cities came to dominate the trade 
between Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. With the excess wealth they 
accumulated in business, these merchants began embellishing their homes 
and cities with art. Sculpture, painting, architecture, music, poetry, 
and literature found new expression, exhibiting an interest in subjects 
beyond the religious themes that dominated previously in the Middle Ages. 
Popular depictions of everyday life, romance, and adventure revealed that 
European culture was becoming more humanistic and less focused on religion.

The revival was also due to technological progress that led to more 
efficient production of goods and services. Manufacturing, farming, and 
trade all improved past the abilities of the ancients. The drive for profits 
encouraged inventiveness and exploration. A middle class of merchants and 
craftsmen began grasping political power commensurate with their economic 
power, at the expense of a declining nobility.

By roughly 1500 the nations of Europe were leading the world in many 
important technologies. Energies unleashed by the exploration of the world, 
the search for trade routes, the Protestant Reformation, and continued 
political competition in Europe itself would make Europe the dominant 
region of the world within a few centuries.

------------------------------------------
6. Strategies for the Civilizations [AOK6]
------------------------------------------
After this intense history lesson, it's time for me to talk about the 
differences and strategies involving the 13 different civilizations. 
After all, their different characteristics attribute to different playing 
styles. I assume that you are playing a Random Map game, starting in the 
Dark Ages with a Population Limit of 100. Each section will contain the 
history of the civilization, the description of their team bonuses, their 
tech trees and a general guide for them to advance through the ages. (That 
part should feature some intermediate advice for all, and please forgive 
any discrepancies in timing.) Note that the civilizations are arranged 
in geographical order, but not alphabetical order, so the westernmost 
civilization will be covered first. So, let me start with the ones dominant 
in Ireland and Scotland, who are the Celts!

-----------------
a. Celts [AOK6A]
-----------------
History:
The Celts (pronounced "kelts") were the ancient inhabitants of Northern 
Europe and the builders of Stonehenge 5000 years ago. Julius Caesar had 
battled them during his conquest of Gaul. The Romans eventually took most 
of Britain and the Iberian Peninsula from them as well. At the end of the 
ancient Roman Empire, the Celts occupied only parts of northwestern France, 
Ireland, Wales, and parts of Scotland. During the course of the Middle 
Ages, they strengthened their hold on Scotland and made several attempts 
to take more of England.

The Irish remained in small bands during the early Middle Ages. By 800 
the four provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and Ulster had risen 
to power under "high kings." Viking raids began in 795 and then Viking 
settlements were established in the middle ninth century. The most 
important of these was at Dublin. Brian Boru became the first high king 
of all Ireland around 1000. In 1014 the Irish defeated the Danes of Dublin 
at Clontarf, although Brian Boru was killed.

An Irish tribe called the Scotti invaded what is now southern Scotland 
during the early Middle Ages, settling permanently and giving the land 
its name. They pushed back and absorbed the native Picts who had harassed 
the Romans to the south. The Scottish kingdom took its present shape during 
the eleventh century but attracted English interference. The Scots 
responded with the "auld (old) alliance" with France, which became the 
foundation of their diplomacy for centuries to come. Edward I of England 
(Longshanks, or "hammer of the Scots") annexed Scotland in 1296.

William Wallace (Braveheart) led a revolt of Scotland, winning virtual 
independence at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Defeated the next 
year at Falkirk, Wallace waged a guerrilla war until he was betrayed, 
captured, and executed in 1305. Robert the Bruce declared himself king 
of Scotland after murdering his main rival. He drove out the English, 
winning the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Edward III of England recognized 
Scotland's independence in 1328, but war between the Scots and English 
carried on for several centuries. The crowns of the two countries were 
united in 1603, long after the Middle Ages were over.

No prince in Wales proved strong enough to unite the country. In the late 
thirteenth century, Edward I took over the government of Gwynedd, one of 
the strongest Welsh principalities in Wales. He proceeded to build five 
great castles in Wales, effectively placing the country under English rule.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
Let us start with the civilization attributes and their team bonus first. 
Celts have the team bonus that the Siege Workshops produce units 20% faster 
than other civilizations. So, it's much easier to mass Rams against the 
enemies. At the same time, their infantrymen are faster than other 
civilizations since they can move 15% faster. Celtic Lumberjacks work 15% 
faster, my guess it's that they are supposed to help with the fast 
construction of Siege Weapons. Finally, there is one seemingly 
insignificant unit bonus. It's that your Sheep will not be converted to 
follow the enemy as long as they are within the sight of one Celt unit. 
It may seem insignificant, but it's needed since you will be relying on 
non-renewable sources of food during the Dark Ages, and Sheep is a very 
important food source.

Celtic Technology Tree:
This section is intended so that you know what is available to the Celts 
as according to the Technology Tree. Different aspects of technologies 
will be analyzed. Let's have a look at Celtic Archers first. Celts seem 
to have everything, but there is one critical flaw in the line up. It seems 
that Arbalests, the most powerful standard Archer is absent. The only 
Imperial Age Archer they can make use of are the Heavy Calvary Archers, 
and they are known for their inefficiency due to the shorter range. The 
problem is compounded when the two Imperial Age Archer Blacksmith upgrades, 
the Bracer and Ring Archer Armor are absent from the roster. So, we know 
that Celtic Archers aren't their strong point.

Now, it's on to their infantry units. They have everything in the Barracks, 
however, one speed upgrade Squires, is absent. Squires improves the speed 
of all infantrymen by 25%. This means that ultimately, Celtic Infantry 
will be 15% faster, but some civilizations' soldiers will be ultimately 
25% faster than normal, and so they are faster than Celts. This speed 
upgrade is therefore only good for the early stages of the game, before 
your opponents reach Castle Age. If you have any infantry rushes, you might 
as well do it quickly to disrupt the enemies' economy so their advance 
to Castle Age is delayed. Watch out for Archers!

The Celts' Cavalry division is quite strong. For the main line of fighting 
units, they get everything, from Knights, Cavaliers to Paladins. The only 
weakness is the lack of armor. Celts don't get Plate Barding Armor, so 
their Armor is inferior to everyone elses'. But fortunately, only 
Byzantines, Franks, Persians and Teutons have Paladins too. So Celtic 
Cavalry is already stronger than most of the others. As for Camels, ahem... 
Are there any deserts around? No! Nope, no Camels for you, so it's straight 
blood and guts combat if your Cavalry division meets other enemies' Cavalry. 
But they can be levelled easily, as long as they don't have Heavy Camels.

When it comes to the Dock, Celts don't miss out on much of the fun. It's 
just that they don't have Fast Fire Ships in the Imperial Age. But they 
do have the Shipwright upgrade, which lowers the Wood cost of building 
ships. So if you are in for a long term naval battle, Celts aren't too 
shabby. As for the lack of Elite Cannon Galleons, get over it. They still 
are inaccurate against other moving targets, and Cannon Galleons already 
do a good job at taking out Towers and other buildings from a range.

Now, let's see what we have when it comes to Base Defences. Everything 
seems to be all right. Celts have Watch Towers, Guard Towers, Keeps, Stone 
Walls and Fortified Walls, but NO Bombard Towers. On the other hand, Celts 
have Masonry but no Architecture. But they do have Hoardings, which gives 
the Castle a boost in strength. If you want tough defences, placing Castles 
are choke points is one long term solution since the lack of the Bracer 
is going to hurt you a lot due to the range problem.

Celts may be the ones responsible for settling in Ireland and preserving 
the Christian Church, but their Monks really are lacklustre. They only 
have 3 upgrades available in the Monastery, and they are nothing so special 
either. The HP upgrade (Sanctity) and Speed Upgrade (Fervor) are there. 
In Imperial Age, they only have Faith, which all civilizations seem to 
have. In short, Celtic Monks are good healers, but don't count on them 
to convert the enemy enough to make a difference.

Siege Weapons are where the Celts are truly the best in the game. Remember 
that they create units 20% faster than other civilizations and they fire 
20% faster. This makes them great at pulling down structures. The improved 
starting work rate of Villagers (15%) helps to keep the wood reeling in, 
and hence the Two Man Saw upgrade is not a big thing to not have. Yep, 
Siege Engineers are there to be hired from the University, and that makes 
them super duper cool to bring down walls and Castles. The only thing Celts 
lack are Bombard Cannons, but I personally think Trebuchets are more than 
enough when you want long range destruction.

It's time to look at Celtic Economy.  Celts get speed upgrades for all 
types of harvesting, except for the Two-Man Saw. But still, the Lumberjacks 
already work 15% faster, so this weakness is partially, if not completely 
cancelled. Another weakness is the lack of Crop Rotation. Each Celtic Farm 
will have 175 less food than the civilizations that practice it. Otherwise, 
nothing else can be said about the economy.

Finally, let's analyze the Celtic Unique Unit. It's a Woad Raider. What 
have the games' manual have to say about them? "Woad is a plant found in 
the British Isles from which a blue pigment can be extracted. Celtic 
warriors painted themselves with this pigment prior to battle to look more 
fearsome and unnerve their enemies. Celtic warriors had been raiding more 
developed areas of Britain and Europe since ancient times. The Scots, for 
example, were originally Irish raiders who took lands from the Picts in 
north Britain that became Scotland. When the English sought to conquer 
the Celts inhabiting Ireland, Wales, and Scotland during the Middle Ages, 
the Celts were at a great disadvantage against the English mounted knights. 
The Celts often turned to guerrilla tactics, raiding English settlements 
and withdrawing before English armies. Raiders painted with woad 
devastated the borderlands. A renowned woad raider was William Wallace 
of Scotland who rampaged through Northern England for a decade."

Woad Raiders are a bunch of warriors who use some blue plant paint to paint 
their faces to scare the enemies. They move exceptionally fast and have 
higher hit points than the Long Swordsmen, but have 1 less Attack. Once 
you reach the Imperial Age, Woad Raiders can be upgraded to Elite Woad 
Raiders at a considerable sum of 1000 Food and 800 Gold. It costs less 
Food than the jump from Long Swordsmen to Champion but much more Gold.

So, let's do a side by side comparison with the Champions. For one thing, 
Champions have the same attack and higher armor, but Elite Woad Raiders 
get 10 more HP than the Champions. However, Woad Raiders come at a higher 
price for reduced armor and a slightly higher HP. (5 more Food and 5 more 
Gold), so I suggest you refrain from using these units in the first place. 
Even if the Celts start with a 15% speed upgrade, keep it in mind that 
it is still ultimately inferior to certain civilizations.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 6 to 8 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. Try to have someone 
watching the sheep at all times, then any scouts cannot convert the Sheep 
to join their cause. The next Villagers should come out in time. Have the 
next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Forage Bushes to collect 
food. Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, and train 
even more Villagers. The next batch of 8 should go over to the nearest 
large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. Meanwhile, 
send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep and other 
resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you do, they are 
likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 14 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during the research, 
if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 500 Food. (It's 
very likely for you to have enough food even after you have trained so 
many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye on the Villagers 
in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources of food will 
run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. Or else 
you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing in your 
stockpile. 

While the Feudal Age is prepping, it may be a good idea to attempt to rush 
the enemy since Celtic infantry have a 15% speed bonus. send the Villager 
who is the builder to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too 
close!) Build a Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. 
You should try aiming for Feudal Age in 5 minutes of playing time or less. 
Try to have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. While you are moving in, have 
the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and start 
upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt the 
enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down. It 
is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat 
to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the 
buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is 
bound to fight back. If anything goes wrong or you suffer too many losses, 
pull back to your little outpost and try to hold it.

(Enemies might try this plan as well. So you must check your minimap very 
carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging around during the transitional 
period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. The Villager is bound to fight 
back and win if he has the loom, so you may need a Villager to help. If 
he does manage to bring up the Barracks, try to have a Villager construct 
a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. This may help to block the exit, 
thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen from spawning. It's going to take 
a while for the Villager to break through!)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. If you have stone 
to spare, you may consider building Stone Walls and Gates around your base 
if there are too many access points. (Those maps are called open maps.) 
Then, it's much harder for your opponents to break in. However, if you 
don't decide to build walls, don't build Watch Towers either, since they 
are inaccurate and cannot fire down at enemies attacking their base, yet. 
Have your Militia guard any blind spots for now. You may have to add 1 
more Villager each in wood chopping, farming and Gold mining. The first 
upgrades you should see to are the Forging, Man at Arms and Scale Mail 
Armor. You need to have your infantry in top form as possible as soon as 
possible. At the same time, train some Archers and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. You may have to find another way round 
if they have built walls and gates. Speed is important since it's very 
hard to penetrate the enemy's base if their walls are already up. Fight 
them and try to destroy them.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off). Have your Archers target any 
Villagers that are far away from the Town Center. Especially target those 
who are mining for Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as 
time passes. Any Men at Arms left behind should target the houses in an 
attempt to lower the enemies' ability to train additional units. When 
resistance has gone a little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them 
off while any fresh troops retreat for the time being.

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. It's unlikely that you will have 
to fight serious sea battles since Galleys are rather crap at this point.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I 
am assuming that you have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't 
have enough food and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from 
the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor. Towers are going mainstream, so research Fletching. However, 
since Celtic Archers are not so impressive, the researching of Padded 
Archer Armor can be put on hold, or if you have the 100 Food, go ahead!

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Celts are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It's time to harness Celts' 
siege power. In the Barracks and Archery Range, immediately upgrade your 
Archers to Crossbowmen and Men at Arms to Long Swordsmen. Have a Villager 
build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train 
around 5 Knights to complement your men. (Don't forget to leave some units 
in your base to guard against enemy attacks.) March them to the enemy camp 
and ram down the walls if they are up. You must hurry, since the enemy 
is very likely to be researching the Castle Age. If not, have the Rams 
target the houses and the stables first. Your Knights can target the enemy 
archers while your Crossbowmen take out any Spearmen that are up.

While you are doing all this, consider building up your base defenses. 
Have Villagers build a University and research Ballistics and Murder Holes 
on the double. If your attack is currently successful, you can always move 
the Villager up close to the enemy base to build the Castle, then you can 
prepare for a good point of retreat in case the enemy is hurt badly but 
cannot be finished off for now.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Train lots of 
Skirmishers and Spearmen in the Archery Range and Barracks, and once your 
get to Castle Age, quickly buy some stone if needed, and construct a castle 
in the most vulnerable spots. Murder Hole and Ballistics in the University 
should come up immediately. If you can build a Siege Workshop, pump up 
some Magonels and place them behind the walls so that they can pelt rocks 
at the enemy without much trouble. Now, it's time to hope for the best 
and hope that you can repulse his attack. (Yes, even if you follow 
strategies, it's likely that the enemy can still beat you.) Whatever you 
do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical of your 
recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack with 
the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched. You have to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are 
heated in battle. Remember that Celtic infantry units are superior, but 
not for long, so you have to research Iron Casting, then Chain Mail Armor. 
Only then follow up with Chain Barding Armor. The 2 Archer upgrades are 
to come after. Have Bodkin Arrow researched if you are in the defensive. 
There are also upgrades for Watch Towers to Guard Towers in the University. 
Research this, it's in high priority. If you really need to research 
Treadmill Crane and Masonry, consider the former first.

Now, another thing available to the Celts are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades. It's time to do some Relic searching. Once you 
get a Monk, have him go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as 
possible. Then you can have another source of Gold. The 2 upgrades, Fervor 
and Sanctity are to be upgraded, but are not in high priority. As for the 
Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated 
in low priority if you are on a land based map.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Siege Workshop. 
Immediately start work on Capped Rams and Onagers. In the University, the 
Siege Engineers upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched. Other 
important upgrades of the Imperial Age include Cavalier, Paladin, Two 
Handed Swordsman, Champion, Chemistry, Blast Furnace and Plate Mail Armor 
and all economical related upgrades like Two Man Saw. 

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 8 Villagers on wood, 8 
villagers on food, 6 Villagers on Gold and 4 on Stone. At the same time, 
there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more Trade Carts 
or Cogs gathering food. This means that 35 of your population is busy doing 
other affairs. This leaves 65 units that can be built. Anyway, the final 
squad should be focusing on Siege Weapons. Have 8 to 10 Siege Rams, 5 
Scorpions, 15 Paladins, 10 Champions on one team. At the same time, have 
a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 15 Crossbowmen, 5 Siege 
Onagers, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's kind 
of type, but if you add these men to your working population, you will 
have a total of 91 population, which is just about right for your assault. 
It's just a matter of whether you can get those units set up in time, so 
Conscription and the building of multiple Siege Workshops and Stables are 
going to play a significant role in your success.

Notice that Woad Raiders are not mentioned everywhere. It's because Woad 
Raiders are generally terrible compared to Champions. So, the above team 
looks kind of generic and boring, except for the enhanced Siege Weapons. 
Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 3 Fire Ships 4 Heavy Demolition Ships and 3 Cannon Galleons. 
This should be enough for you to clear the enemy's harbor. 

After that, it's just a matter of keeping them off the water by preventing 
Docks from being built further. After they are cornered, you can simply 
send in expeditionary forces to slowly wear them off and destroy them all 
completely. Note that Celts are weak against Archer Civilizations like 
the Britons, Chinese and Mongols, since they can either murder your main 
forces or Siege Weapons respectively, and making any units left behind 
extremely vulnerable. (Don't count on the Siege Onagers. The enemy's likely 
to kill any Pikemen you have with their Archers first from a horrible 
distance, and then the Cavalry will come for the kill.) 

------------------
b. Britons [AOK6B]
------------------
History:
Following the withdrawal of the Roman legions to Gaul (modern France) 
around 400, the British Isles fell into a very dark period of several 
centuries from which almost no written records survive. The Romano-British 
culture that had existed under 400 years of Roman rule disappeared under 
relentless invasion and migration by barbarians. Celts came over from 
Ireland (a tribe called the Scotti gave their name to the northern part 
of the main island, Scotland). Saxons and Angles came from Germany, 
Frisians from modern Holland, and Jutes from modern Denmark. By 600, the 
Angles and Saxons controlled most of modern England. By 800, only modern 
Wales, Scotland, and West Cornwall remained in largely Celtic hands.

The new inhabitants were called Anglo-Saxons (from the Angles and Saxons). 
The Angles gave their name to the new culture (England from Angle-land), 
and the Germanic language they brought with them, English, replaced the 
native Celtic and previously imported Latin. Despite further invasions 
and even a complete military conquest at a later date, the southern and 
eastern parts of the largest British Isle have been called England (and 
its people and language English) ever since. 

In 865 the relative peace of England was shattered by a new invasion. Danish
Vikings who had been raiding France and Germany formed a great army and 
turned their attention on the English. Within 10 years, most of the 
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms had fallen or surrendered. Only the West Saxons 
(modern Wessex) held out under Alfred, the only English ruler to be called 
"the Great." 

England was divided among the Vikings, the West Saxons, and a few other 
English kingdoms for nearly 200 years. The Viking half was called the 
Danelaw ("under Danish law"). The Vikings collected a large payment, called 
the Danegeld ("the Dane's gold"), to be peaceful. The Danes became 
Christians and gradually became more settled. In time the English turned 
on the Danes, and in 954 the last Viking king of York was killed. England 
was united for the first time under an English king from Wessex.

In 1066 the Witan ("king's council") offered the crown to Harold, son of 
the Earl of Wessex. Two others claimed the throne: Harald Hardrada (meaning 
"the hard ruler"), King of Norway, and Duke William of Normandy. The 
Norwegian landed first, near York, but was defeated by Harold at the battle 
of Stamford Bridge. Immediately after the victory, Harold force-marched 
his army south to meet William at Hastings. The battle seesawed back and 
forth all day, but near dusk Harold was mortally wounded by an arrow in 
the eye. Over the next two years, William, now "the Conqueror," solidified 
his conquest of England.

During the remainder of the Middle Ages, the successors of William largely
exhausted themselves and their country in a series of confrontations and 
wars attempting to expand or defend land holdings in France. The Hundred 
Years War between England and France was an on-and-off conflict that 
stretched from 1337 to 1453. It was triggered by an English king's claim 
to the throne of France, thanks to family intermarriages. The war was also 
fought over control of the lucrative wool trade and French support for 
Scotland's independence. The early part of the war featured a string of 
improbable, yet complete, English victories, thanks usually to English 
longbowmen mowing down hordes of ornately armored French knights from long 
range.

The English could not bring the war to closure, however, and the French 
rallied. Inspired by Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who professed divine 
guidance, the French fought back, ending the war with the capture of 
Bordeaux in 1453. The English were left holding only Calais on the mainland 
(and not for long).

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
The Team Bonus for the Britons is that Archery Ranges produce units 20% 
faster. This gives the Britons fast access to Archers from the get go, 
and this poses a large threat to enemy infantry. On the other hand, the 
Town Centers cost 50% less. So, if you are starting the game in Castle 
Age, you are much better equipped to build Town Centers over your resources 
rather than their respective collection points for Villager safety. Even 
if you are starting at the Dark Age, you will still have a slight advantage 
since it's much easier to build auxiliary bases during Castle Age. There 
is one other attribute that helps Archers a lot. It seems that Archers 
get a range bonus of 1 in the Castle Age and 1 more in the Imperial Age, 
for a 2 total of extra range. Even better for these guys who love using 
Archers to pelt the enemy full of arrows. Finally, Shepherds work 25% faster 
than other civilizations, so you should know what are the food collectors' 
calling during the Dark Age and early Feudal Age. In fact, this has got 
to be rather important since you can have fewer Villagers gathering food 
and 1 or 2 more gathering Wood in the Dark Ages.

Briton Technology Tree:
Let's analyze the technology tree of the Britons and see what stuff they 
have and what stuff are left behind, shall we? First off, we start with 
the Archery Range. It seems that for all 3 lines of standard archers, you 
get everything, the Archers, Crossbowmen, Arbalests, Cavalry Archers and 
Heavy Cavalry Archers. The nice thing is that all Archers are made more 
powerful by their range bonuses during the Castle and Imperial Age. Of 
course, what would Archers do without good armor? They do have everything, 
up to Bracer and up to the Ring Archer Armor. The only sad thing is that 
the Britons don't have Hand Cannoneers, but fortunately Hand Cannoneers 
are known to be inaccurate, so their absence won't hurt much. Yes, it's 
is definite now. Archers are the Britons' strong point. However, you 
haven't seen the best of the Archers yet. Wait till you see the unique 
units before hand! Just you wait.

It's time to look at the infantrymen, those guys who are trained at the 
Barracks. Like many other civilizations, Britons have everything, from 
Spearmen to Pikemen, from Militia to Champions. The 2 lines of Blacksmith 
upgrades for infantry are available till the end, to Blast Furnace and 
the Plate Mail Armor. They even have Squires, so ultimately, British 
infantrymen are rather flawless, well except for the usual vulnerability 
to enemy Archers, and that can be remedied by your even tougher Archers 
to take them out as quickly as possible.

Now, for the Cavalry. Britons get most of the good stuff. However, Paladins 
are not available for use, so the strongest type of Cavalry avail to them 
are the Cavaliers. It's just a pity. But still, it may not be a dead loss, 
the Britons still get the Blast Furnace upgrade, and ultimately the Plate 
Barding Armor, so they are still quite strong, really. Britons also get 
Husbandry to improve the speed of their horses. However, the British Isles 
don't have any deserts, so Camels and Heavy Camels are not available to 
them as well. This means that the Brits' cavalry are extremely prone to 
attacks by the 6 civilizations with Camels. So, you now know that the 
British Cavalry are really not to be relied on.

It's time to look at the British navy. Hmm, everything seems good here, 
basically every single space is white and none are shaded to show that 
they are not available. But what is this? Why are the Cannon Galleons and 
Elite Cannon Galleons both shaded? This means that those gunpowder units 
are unavailable. So, the navy is one of the Britons' main weaknesses. If 
you are playing as the Britons on a naval combat map, and the enemy has 
already fortified the shorelines, it would be very difficult to get ashore. 
However, the Shipwright upgrade makes it less costly to build ships, so 
you may be able to use Heavy Demolition Ships to breach the enemy's lines 
at sea, but you are still unable to make a beachhead without heavy losses. 
(That's what the world is like with all their towers and other fancy stuff.)

It's time for Base Defenses. Everything seems to be all right. Like the 
Celts before them, Britons have Watch Towers, Guard Towers, Keeps, Stone 
Walls and Fortified Walls, but No Bombard Towers. On the other hand, Britons 
have both Masonry and Architecture available. At the same time, Hoardings 
is available, which gives the Castle a boost in strength. So, British 
castles have the potential to have over 7000 HP. Castles alone aren't the 
best solution available for the British. Another way is to place maybe 
8 to 10 Archers outside the castle to fire at anything that comes near. 
When the enemy comes close, get them into the castle for protective attacks. 
The same thing goes for the Keeps you build.

British Monks are not too bad. However, in the Castle Age, they don't have 
both Redemption and Atonement. This means that British Monks are limited 
in their converting abilities. They can only convert other units, so when 
met with enemy Monks, the Britons can face a disadvantage since they have 
to rely on their units to fight back. However, they do have all 3 types 
of upgrades in the Monastery in the Imperial Age, so the Britons are not 
left out in the cold there.

It's time to look at the Britons' Siege Weapons. Wow, you would be 
astonished by the number of squares on the technology tree that are shaded 
here. It seems that the ultimate versions of all 3 main Siege Weapons are 
unavailable. This means the Siege Ram, Siege Onager and Heavy Scorpion. 
At the same time, Bombard Cannons are also unavailable. That's 4 gunpowder 
units out of 5 unavailable for these British people. The funny thing is, 
in spite of all these deficiencies, the Brits still have Siege Engineers. 
This allows for slightly better Trebuchets, but let us face it, the Britons 
are rotten at breaching enemy defenses. Let's slowly bash the walls down 
with Capped Rams, and leave yourself lots more vulnerable than other 
civilizations who have the much better Siege Rams.

It's time to look at British Economy back in the Middle Ages. Britons get 
the shaft in Stone Mining, since Stone Shaft Mining is unavailable. This 
leaves Britons at a slightly weaker position in building defences (Towers 
and Castles, anyone?). At the same time, Crop Rotation is unavailable. 
It's amazing that the country responsible for the start of the industrial 
revolution doesn't get any upgrades to improve their farming. The 
programmers must be ignorant or something. But still, Gold Mining and 
Lumbering are two things that can have their full potential realized, so 
it's just there for them to make good Archers.

Finally, we get to have a look at the British unique unit, the Longbowmen! 
You will like these guys. Let's have a look at their historical description 
first. "The longbow was very tall, 5 or 6 feet long, and crafted from a 
single piece of wood, commonly yew. It fired 3-foot-long arrows at a great 
range and, in the hands of an expert, could be extremely accurate. Edward 
I (Longshanks) of England grasped the value of this weapon and the English 
thereafter employed large contingents of longbowmen in their Middle Age 
armies. All sports other than archery were banned on Sundays in Britain 
to ensure that archers practiced. The long bow was used effectively in 
long-range barrages against massed troops, firing thin pointed arrows 
called bodkins that could pierce armor. Arrows were fired simultaneously 
by thousands of archers and aimed at a distant area rather than a specific 
target. Enemy troops within the area were forced to receive the barrage 
with no cover but their armor and shields. The barrage caused casualties 
and reduced enemy morale. The most famous examples of this tactic were 
the great English victories at Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt during the 
Hundred Years War. French knights recalled with horror the awful sound 
of thousands of arrows in flight and the sky turning dark from their 
shafts."

Longbowmen are the elite archers that are exclusive to the Britons. They 
are noted for their extremely long range. In fact, this is made even better 
since the British archers get range bonuses in the Castle and Imperial 
Ages. Their attacks are also tougher than standard Crossbowmen. There's 
more. They also cost less Gold to train than the standard Archers. This 
definitely means that you should exclusively train Longbowmen once you 
hit the Castle Age. If you want to upgrade to the Elite Longbowmen in the 
Imperial Age, a considerable price has to be paid. You will need 850 Food 
and 850 Gold to upgrade, but that should be really worth it.

There is only one disadvantage in using Longbowmen. It is their rate of 
fire. They fire once, then pause much longer than other archers before 
firing the next arrow. This means there will be some extra time for the 
enemy to catch up and when that happens, you would be rather doomed. Don't 
even bother hitting and running with these guys. The computer does that 
a lot in the Joan of Arc campaign and they quickly got massacred all of 
them when no knights are around. The obvious trick is to have the Longbowmen 
positioned way back in the column and take advantage of their range only 
then. As for defending your camp against intruders, Longbowmen rock.

That's right, Briton unique archers are probably one of the best Archers 
in the game, so feel free to ditch normal Archers for these ones once your 
castle is up in the Castle Age. Let the slaughtering begin.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 6 to 8 more. One of the initial 3 Villagers should build a 
house while the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill 
there. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area 
and see if there are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep 
to immediately trot over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. 
The next Villagers should come out in time. Have the next 3 go over and 
join your Villagers over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. Why only 
3 you say? Remember that British shepherds work faster than the other 
civilizations. This means that you can use fewer Villagers to achieve the 
same results when you start collecting food from Sheep. This gives you 
more Villagers available for the collection of Wood, so you can have a 
smoother transition to Farms later on. Continue clicking the Villager 
button in the Town Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch 
of 7, or 8 should go over to the nearest large group of trees so that you 
can start collecting wood. Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the 
map to search for more Sheep and other resources. Also try to probe into 
your enemies' base. If you do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the Villagers you 
need are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom 
button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) Since the Brits can have 
extra Villagers to spare with wood, you can attempt rushing the enemy. 
While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) Build a 
Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. You should 
try aiming for Feudal Age in 5 minutes of playing time or less. Try to 
have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. You are to take advantage of Archers 
due to the extra wood. So, it's obvious what you should do next, have the 
Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and start upgrading 
Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt the enemies' 
economical targets so that their production is slowed down. It is quite 
unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat to the 
Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the buildings 
outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is bound to 
fight back. If anything goes wrong or you suffer too many losses, pull 
back to your little outpost and try to hold it. (Yes, it goes for most 
gained ground too. They make good pit stops.)

(Enemies might try this plan as well. So you must check your minimap very 
carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging around during the transitional 
period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. The Villager is bound to fight 
back and win if he has the loom, so you may need a Villager to help. If 
he does manage to bring up the Barracks, try to have a Villager construct 
a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. This may help to block the exit, 
thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen from spawning. It's going to take 
a while for the Villager to break through!)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 7 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
maybe 3 of them Stone. (British Villagers ultimately mine Stone slower, 
so you need an extra one in the beginning to have a sort of head start.) 
Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. 
Continue with the construction of houses. If you have stone to spare, you 
may consider building Stone Walls and Gates around your base if there are 
too many access points. Then, it's much harder for your opponents to break 
in. However, if you don't decide to build walls, don't build Watch Towers 
either, since they are inaccurate and cannot fire down at enemies attacking 
their base, yet. However, Watch Towers do have some uses. You can go and 
find some resources outside your base, and place a Watch Tower there. Then, 
no enemy Villager would dare to come close and you can have your Villagers 
exhaust it so there is less stuff available for others.

Have your Militia and Archers guard any blind spots for now. You may have 
to add 2 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and Gold mining. 
The first upgrades you should see to are the Fletching, Padded Archer Armor 
and Man at Arms. You need to have your archers in top form as possible 
as soon as possible. Note that Archer bonuses are still not realized yet. 
You will have to wait, but let's plan ahead for the future. At the same 
time, train even more Archers and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and 
enter the enemy's base. You may have to find another way round if they 
have built walls and gates. Speed is important since it's very hard to 
penetrate the enemy's base if their walls are already up. Fight them and 
try to destroy them.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Archers target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Let's assume you have damaged them 
a lot but not beyond repair.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I 
am assuming that you have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't 
have enough food and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from 
the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers are going mainstream, 
so consider constructing some in advance so that you can take advantage 
of them in the near future.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Britons are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It's time to make use of the 
Britons' Archers with enhanced range. In the Archery Range, immediately 
upgrade your Archers to Crossbowmen. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop 
and pump out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to 
complement your men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to 
guard against enemy attacks.) At the same time, build a University and 
quickly research Ballistics since they are vital in creating powerful 
archers. Also build a Castle and get the Longbowmen ready. They are there 
to standby and defend the camp for now, since you are unlikely to build 
enough to bash the enemy yet.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen take out any 
Spearmen that are up. This extra range bonus is going to help. Here's a 
nasty strategy for you to use. If you have a ram or two to spare, target 
the Town Center. It's very likely for all Villagers to run back in for 
cover. With the enhanced range of the Crossbowmen, the Town Center's 
unlikely to shoot your Archers. Just let the arrows rain down on them! 
If any Villagers are foolish enough to hit your rams, they will have several 
arrows sticking through their bodies!

While you are doing all this, consider building up your base defenses. 
Have Villagers build a University and research Murder Holes on the double. 
If your attack is currently successful, you can always move the Villager 
up close to the enemy base to build another brand new Castle, then you 
can provide a secondary base to pump out Longbowmen to massacre the enemy! 
Their Range will certainly help a lot. Lovely, ain't it?

Now, let's assume the worst and you go defensive. Let's say that the enemy 
advanced to Castle Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. 
Train lots of Spearmen in the Barracks, and once your get to Castle Age, 
upgrade to Pikemen, quickly buy some stone if needed, and construct a castle 
in the most vulnerable spots. Murder Hole and Ballistics in the University 
should come up immediately. Train Longbowmen very quickly and set the rally 
point to be inside the Castle so they can immediately reinforce the defense. 
Now, it's time to hope for the best and hope that you can repulse his attack. 
(Yes, even if you follow strategies, it's likely that the enemy can still 
beat you.) Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers since they 
are critical of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try 
to counterattack with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you are going to clash several times before you can have the 
initiative to attack as described above. You have to decide on which 
upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. British Archers are 
superior, and can be made even more powerful with more upgrades. This is 
why you have to research Bodkin Arrow, then Ring Archer Armor. Only then 
follow up with Chain Barding Armor. The 2 Infantry upgrades are to be given 
a lower priority. There are also upgrades for Watch Towers to Guard Towers 
in the University. Research this, it's in high priority. Consider 
researching Masonry on the double to make your buildings tougher. Brits 
don't get Treadmill Crane.

Now, another thing available to the Britons are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades at least in the Castle Age. Like everyone else, 
it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him go 
and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can have 
another source of Gold. The 2 upgrades, Fervor and Sanctity are to be 
upgraded, but are not in high priority. As for the Docks, upgrading to 
War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you 
are on a land based map (in fact, if there is no water at all, don't even 
think about it, pal.)

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Siege Workshop. 
Immediately start work on Capped Rams and Onagers. Those are already the 
toughest Siege Weapons the Brits have to offer. In the University, the 
Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched since they give 
Longbowmen an extra boost. Other important upgrades to be researched first 
of the Imperial Age include Elite Longbowman, Cavalier, Two Handed 
Swordsman, Champion, Siege Engineers, Bracer and Ring Archer Armor and 
all economical related upgrades.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 9 
to 10 villagers on food, 6 Villagers on Gold and 5 on Stone. At the same 
time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more Trade 
Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 38 of your population is 
busy doing other affairs. This leaves 62 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Archers. Remember to sweep through 
the plains so that no one can sneak past you and hit your base while you 
are out. Have any allies cover your rear if possible. Have 6 to 8 Capped 
Rams, 5 Scorpions, 15 Cavaliers, on one team. At the same time, have a 
separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 25 Elite Longbowmen, 5 Onagers, 
3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's kind of tight, 
but if you add these men to your working population, you will have a total 
of 100 population, which is just about right for your assault. (Forgo 
several men if you want.) It's just a matter of whether you can get those 
units set up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles 
and Stables are going to play a significant role in your success.

The enhanced archers will be playing the most important role in that final 
assault, keep them at the back at all times and use your cavalry to slow 
the enemies' down so the Longbowmen can have some time. Oh, I almost forgot, 
if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe around 20 of your units 
above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 Galleons, 3 Fast Fire 
Ships 5 Heavy Demolition Ships. Speed is very essential since you have 
to control their harbor before they can completely guard it with towers, 
otherwise, trying to take the harbor will more or less a lost cause. If 
you are fast enough to succeed, it's just a matter of keeping them off 
the water by preventing Docks from being built further. After they are 
cornered, you can simply send in expeditionary forces to slowly wear them 
off and destroy them all completely. In spite of their superior Archers, 
Britons are still weak against cavalry or defensive based civilizations 
like the Franks and Teutons. Chinese are still a threat since they also 
have powerful foot Archers. (It's a matter of time until they make up for 
the lost range and spray you with their fast arrows.) Goths are also 
dangerous due to their Huskarls, which murder Archers.

-----------------
c. Franks [AOK6C]
-----------------
History:
The Franks were one of the Germanic barbarian tribes known to the Romans. 
In the early part of the fifth century, they began expanding south from 
their homeland along the Rhine River into Roman-controlled Gaul (modern 
France). Unlike other Germanic tribes, however, they did not move out of 
their homelands but, rather, added to them. Clovis, a Frankish chieftain, 
defeated the last Roman armies in Gaul and united the Franks by 509, 
becoming the ruler of much of western Europe. During the next 1000 years, 
this Frankish kingdom gradually became the modern nation of France.

The kingdom of Clovis was divided after his death among his four sons, 
according to custom. This led to several centuries of civil warfare and 
struggle between successive claimants to the throne. By the end of the 
seventh century, the Merovingian kings (descendants of Clovis) were rulers 
in name only. In the early eighth century, Charles Martel became mayor 
of the palace, the ruler behind the throne. He converted the Franks into 
a cavalry force and fought so well that his enemies gave him the name of 
Charles the Hammer. In 732 the Frankish cavalry defeated Muslim invaders 
moving north from Spain at the Battle of Poitiers, stopping forever the 
advance of Islam from the southwest.

Charles Martel's son, Pepin, was made king of the Franks by the pope in 
return for helping to defend Italy from the Lombards. Pepin founded the 
dynasty of the Carolingians, and the greatest of these rulers was Charles 
the Great, or Charlemagne, who ruled from 768 to 814. He expanded the 
Frankish kingdom into an empire and was responsible for a rebirth of culture 
and learning in the West. Charlemagne's empire was divided among his 
grandsons and thereafter coalesced into two major parts. The western part 
became the kingdom of France. Later kings gradually lost political control 
of France, however. Central authority broke down under the pressure of 
civil wars, border clashes, and Viking raids. Money and soldiers could 
be raised only by making concessions to landholders. Fiefs became 
hereditary and fief holders became feudal lords over their own vassals. 
By the tenth century, France had been broken into feudal domains that acted 
as independent states.

In 987 the French nobility elected Hugh Capet their king, mainly because 
his fief centered on Paris was weak and he was thought to pose no threat. 
He founded the Capetian line of kings, who worked slowly for two centuries 
regaining the power by making royal roads safe, adding land to their domain, 
encouraging trade, and granting royal charters for new towns and fiefs 
in vacant lands. By allying themselves with the church, the Capetians took 
a strong moral position and benefited from the church's cultural, political, 
and social influence. Royal administrators were made loyal to the king 
and more efficient by eliminating the inheritance of government offices.

Beginning with Philip II in 1180, three superior rulers established France 
as one of the most important nations in Europe. They improved the working 
of the government, encouraged a booming trade, collected fees efficiently, 
and strengthened their position atop the feudal hierarchy. Although a 
national assembly called the Estates General was established, it held no 
real power and was successfully ignored.

From 1337 to 1453 France and England fought the long conflict called the 
Hundred Years War to decide ownership of lands in France that had been 
inherited by English kings. The eventual French victory confirmed the king 
as the most powerful political force in France.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
The Franks' Team Bonus is that all Knights get 2 extra Line of Sight, so 
they can see further away, and you don't have to rely on Scout Cavalry 
to see far ahead. At the same time, one of the many important attributes 
for France is that they can build Castles at a much lower price than other 
civilizations. They cost 25% less than others. This means that it only 
takes 488 Stone to build one Castle. This is great, since it will be much 
easier to establish multiple Castles to defend against enemy attacks, and 
it makes Castles a much better buy than a wall of Guard Towers. At the 
same time, all Knights get 20% more HP! You know what this means? It means 
that their most powerful cavalry unit, the Paladin, can get 32 more HP 
than other Paladins, accounting for a total of 192 HP! This makes Franks 
the most powerful Cavalry civilization in the game! One final attribute 
is that Farm upgrades are free. As long as a Mill is built, Horse Collar, 
Heavy Plow and Crop Rotation can be automatically given to you so that 
your Farms can hold more and more food.

Frankish Technology Tree:
Frankish Archers are very similar to the Celts in many ways. The Franks 
seem to have everything like the Celts, but there is one critical flaw 
in the line up. It seems that Arbalests, the most powerful standard Archer 
is absent. The only Imperial Age Archer they can make use of are the Heavy 
Calvary Archers, and they are known for their inefficiency due to the 
shorter range. The problem is compounded when the two Imperial Age Archer 
Blacksmith upgrades, the Bracer and Ring Archer Armor are absent from the 
roster. So, we know that Frankish Archers aren't their strong point either. 
However, the Franks' archers aren't the weakest amongst the 3 Western 
European civilizations. At least they get the gunpowder unit, the Hand 
Cannoneer to blast enemy infantry. So you should train a handful of Hand 
Cannoneers in place of Archers in the ultimate army. The limited range 
is still a problem for them though.

Frankish infantry seems to be a direct clone of the British infantry. 
According to the technology tree from the back of the manual, Frankish 
infantrymen have everything there is to offer, like most civilizations. 
They have the Militia all the way up to the Champion, and they have Spearmen 
and Pikemen. The 2 infantry related blacksmith upgrades are also there. 
There are the Forging Upgrade all the way to the Blast Furnace upgrade, 
and at the same time, we have Scale Mail Armor upgrade all the way to the 
Plate Mail Armor. Due to their slower speed (they don't have Squires), 
Frankish infantry are very vulnerable to Archers.

The Franks definitely shine in the Cavalry department. First of all, their 
Stable is every single option available. They have Knights, Cavaliers and 
Paladins, all of them, and the best thing for you to know is that each 
Knight will receive 20% more HP than other civilizations. This means, I 
have said it before, Paladins get an additional 32 HP over their base 160 
HP, giving them a grand total of 192 HP. This, compounded by the 
availability of all the Cavalry related Blacksmith Upgrades (Blast Furnace, 
Plate Barding Armor) makes Franks the best Cavalry civilization in the 
entire game! Congratulations! The only civilizations you have to fear are 
the ones with Heavy Camels, and fortunately there are only 6 of them. Also 
watch out for Elite Teutonic Knights, since they still have the potential 
to defeat even the toughest Paladin.

Let's take a look at how the Franks stand when they have to fight in water. 
The thing we need to analyze of course, is the Dock. If you only look at 
the Dock part of the technology tree, there seems to be not much of a problem 
there. The Franks seem to have everything. They have Fast Fire Ships, 
Galleons and Heavy Demolition Ships. They also have Cannon Galleons, but 
still, the Elite Version is not available to them, get used to it. Frankish 
Galleons have but one weakness. It seems that the Bracer upgrade is not 
available to them, so they will suffer from a slightly reduced range and 
attack when compared to other ships. Oh, and it seems that Heated Shot 
is not available for research in the University, so good defenses are a 
good attack force for Franks. So the roles of Fast fire Ships will be more 
important. At the same time, Shipwright is not available. So, Franks may 
not be very suited to long term naval warfare, so get the cannons out and 
blow their joint down quick.

It's time to take a look at the Franks' base defenses. Franks have their 
Stone Walls and Fortified Walls as usual. Now, their towers are rather 
weak. They may have Watch Towers and Guard Towers, but they have no keep! 
Bombard Towers are also absent from the French roster. However, please 
note that Towers are not the Franks' strength. It's the Castle. Frankish 
Castles are cheaper than the rest of them. At only 488 Stone, they are 
relatively more affordable, and provide a defense that is stronger than 
4 Guard Towers. This makes them a better value for money, and your Strategy 
is to hoard Stone, and build a Castle wherever you go! How's that for a 
start? There are more good things to come. Franks also have Masonry, 
Architecture and Hoardings. This allows their Castles to meet their full 
potential! Have fun with your castles. Remember that they are there for 
decorative purposes, but not for training unique units. (You will 
understand why later under the Unique Units section.)

Frankish Monks are basically clones of the British. It seems that all 
Western European civilizations get the shaft when Monks are concerned. 
Atonement and Redemption are not available. This means that the Franks 
cannot convert buildings, Siege Weapons or enemy Monks and their range 
is limited to all those standard units you find in the game. But still, 
like the British, they do have Block Printing and Illumination, so they 
are not left out in the cold, like their fellow Celts!

It's time to look at the Franks' Siege Weapons. Of the 3 main Siege Weapons 
in the Siege Workshop, the ultimate version of the Battering Ram and Onager 
are not available. Fortunately, the Heavy Scorpion is still available. 
Yep, Siege Engineers is there, but the lack of Bracer upgrade will make 
the Heavy Scorpions slightly weaker than those of other civilizations. 
Another thing the Franks have is the Bombard Cannon. It's a gunpowder unit. 
It's got range, so it kind of makes up for the lack of Siege Rams. The 
only drawback is that it is quite expensive and vulnerable. Since they 
have Bombard Cannons, the Franks are not bad at besieging enemies, but 
Trebuchets are still to be widely used since they are still the most 
powerful Siege Weapon of them all.

Are the Franks efficient when it comes to the economy. For one thing, they 
get shafted on the ultimate upgrades for 2 of the harvesting technologies. 
Stone Shaft Mining and the Two Man Saw are no where to be found. But don't 
let the former bother you. Since Castles cost 20% less stone, the net result 
should still be beneficial for your defenses. It won't hurt to get one 
extra Villager to gather the Stone. As for Farms, Franks are champs. Their 
Farm upgrades are all free of charge. As long as you have a Mill up, the 
productivity of the Farms will increases over time, so there really is 
nothing to worry about. This is all the better to train your Paladins for 
battle and more!

Finally, we look at the Frankish Unique Unit. The Throwing Axeman. "The 
Franks took their name from the axe that was their preferred weapon in 
ancient times. They continued to use the axe into the Dark Ages and their 
warriors were especially noted for their ability to throw this axe in battle. 
The axe was well balanced and could be hurled a good distance by a strong 
man. Franks carried several axes into battle, holding on to one for 
hand-to-hand combat. As they advanced they could pick up axes thrown 
previously to replenish their supply of missiles. Throwing axemen were 
especially good against light troops wearing little armor. Carrying axes 
was also useful for dismantling fortifications."

Here's a new innovation for Franks. Ranged infantry. Throwing Axemen are 
infantry units who throw axes at the enemy. How on earth they are supposed 
to carry an infinite number of axes I will never know. Ranged infantry 
units sound promising until you see how bad their attack is. Throwing Axemen 
have only 7 attack while the Elite Throwing Axemen have 8. This is much 
much lower than those of the Long Swordsmen, 2 Handed Swordsmen and 
Champions. They may have range, but you can only have that much of a head 
start against other infantry units. What annoys me is that in spite of 
being a thrower, Throwing Axemen do not have attack bonuses against 
infantry units. This makes the Throwing Axemen much better for defending 
than attacking. 

Would you want to train these units? No way! Instead stick to Champions 
and use Cavalry. They are the Frank's strong point. Anyway, if you are 
interested in nutters who throw axes in battle, consider dishing out 1000 
Food and 850 Gold to upgrade them to the elite version. You now get the 
message. Frankish unique units are rather bad. So let's use mainstream 
stuff, ok?

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers 
should come out in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers 
over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. Continue clicking the Villager 
button in the Town Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch 
of 9 should go over to the nearest large group of trees so that you can 
start collecting wood. Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map 
to search for more Sheep and other resources. Also try to probe into your 
enemies' base. If you do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 14 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during the research, 
if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 500 Food. (It's 
very likely for you to have enough food even after you have trained so 
many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye on the Villagers 
in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources of food will 
run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. Or else 
you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing in your 
stockpile. But still, if you are really interested in Farming, consider 
timing yourself so that Feudal Age is just reached as the Farms are set 
up. Then you can immediately take advantage of the Horse Collar and have 
a considerable boost in the Food storage capabilities.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, you should not try to rush the enemies' 
base, since the Franks' full potential are not to be realized in the Feudal 
Age. (they don't have any early game advantages.) So, you should try to 
spread out and control the resources, in particular Stone and Gold. Have 
several Villagers spread out to the areas where your scout has spotted, 
and maybe set up a Barracks there. If you are fast enough, you should be 
able to finish them all just in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
to guard the resource. Try to build an Archery Range as well. Watch Towers 
are finally available. You can hold off any rushers at this point and try 
to have the Towers set up. Then, there will be lots more resources for 
you. Send some Villagers out and start mining those minerals. Stone should 
be given a higher priority than Gold since the Franks are Castle builders. 
To prevent enemies from taking advantage of your Towers due to their current 
lack of minimum range, have them built in pairs, then when one cannot hit 
them, the other can. Archers also make good support for towers. When you 
have the material advantage, you can strike, but only for hit and run 
attacks. (The increasing resistance will drive you out for now, and you 
will have to retreat to your Towers, where you can rest in these safe havens. 
This will annoy them a lot.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 3 of them are to mine Gold and 
3 of them Stone. (Stone is going to be in high demand for the Franks, since 
their Castles are much cheaper than other civilizations.) Have idle 
Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. Continue with 
the construction of houses. Please note that the Frankish defenses still 
have not been realized in the Feudal Age. The best defense at this point 
is a good attack force. You are better off saving Stone for later and build 
more troops. However, Watch Towers do have some uses. You can go and find 
some resources outside your base, and place a Watch Tower there. Then, 
no enemy Villager would dare to come close and you can have your Villagers 
exhaust it so there is less stuff available for others. 

You may have to add 2 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since the 
only Cavalry for the Franks is still the Scout Cavalry, and they are 
notorious for their rubber swords. At the same time, train even more Archers 
and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and keep an eye on all the vulnerable 
spots. You are to hold them off and keep them from damaging you for now 
so that you can save up to advance to the next age. It's going to take 
a lot of food, 800 to be precise to cut it.

While defending, you can also send a sneak attack team. Have your Archers 
target any Villagers that are far away from the Town Center, especially 
target those who are mining for Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more 
important as time passes. Don't worry about defeating the enemy yet, you 
are to slow them down so that you can advance to the Castle Age before 
them. A good time to advance would be within 18 minutes of playing time.

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I 
am assuming that you have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't 
have enough food and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from 
the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream, 
but Frankish defenses are not a good value for Stone if you insist on 
building Towers, so don't.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Franks are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It's time to make use of the 
cheap Frankish Castles. Let's build one in the most vulnerable entrance 
first. If you have enough Stone, don't hesitate to build another one in 
another of your access points. In the Barracks and Archery Range, 
immediately upgrade your Archers to Crossbowmen and Men at Arms to Long 
Swordsmen. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the Knights are running 
the show here.) Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple 
of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to complement your men. 
(Don't forget to leave some units in your base to guard against enemy 
attacks.) At the same time, build a University and quickly research 
Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen take out any 
Spearmen that are up. This extra range bonus is going to help. The good 
thing is that the extra HP of the Knights are going to make them harder 
to stop than those of other civilizations.

While you are doing all this, consider building up your front line defenses. 
If you have excess Stone or Gold, you can always acquire enough to build 
another Castle near the enemy's front door. Then, at the Castle Age, it 
would prove difficult for the enemies to strike back at you. The Castle 
should be placed near a valuable resource like a Gold Mine or Stone Mine 
if possible, and this leaves the enemy with one patch of resources currently 
inaccessible, and you can move your miners to exhaust it as soon as possible 
so that they have a disadvantage in economy.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Train lots of Spearmen 
in the Barracks, and once your get to Castle Age, upgrade to Pikemen, 
quickly buy some stone if needed, and construct a castle or two in the 
most vulnerable spots. Murder Hole and Ballistics in the University should 
come up immediately. The thing is, there is always a chance for the Franks 
to catch up when Cavalry is concerned. Remember that Knights have 120 HP 
instead of 100, so a fewer number is needed to defend the same number of 
enemies. (Yes, even if you follow strategies, it's likely that the enemy 
can still beat you.) Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers 
since they are critical of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should 
then try to counterattack with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you will have to clash several times before you hopefully get 
the chance to have a large scale attack. You have to decide on which upgrades 
to get first while you are heated in battle. Frankish Knights are superior, 
and can be made even more powerful with more upgrades. This is why you 
have to research Iron Casting and Chain Barding Armor. Only then follow 
up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Castle Attack. The 2 Infantry upgrades 
are to be given a lower priority. There are also upgrades for Watch Towers 
to Guard Towers in the University. But since the Frankish Castles are so 
cheap, you can ignore this altogether. Consider researching Masonry on 
the double to make your buildings tougher. Treadmill Crane comes next if 
you have the stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Franks are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades at least in the Castle Age. Like everyone else, 
it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him go 
and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can have 
another source of Gold. The 2 upgrades, Fervor and Sanctity are to be 
upgraded, but are not in high priority since the lack of the 2 upgrades 
make them not so efficient as a support unit. As for the Docks, upgrading 
to War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if 
you are on a land based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Knights 
into Cavaliers and finally Paladins. Those are the strongest Cavalry in 
the game, and even Pikemen will be in trouble. In the University, the 
Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched since they give 
the Franks gunpowder units like Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. Other 
important upgrades to be researched first of the Imperial Age include Blast 
Furnace, Plate Barding Armor, Two Handed Swordsman, Champion and Siege 
Engineers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 9 
villagers on food, 6 Villagers on Gold and 6 on Stone. At the same time, 
there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more Trade Carts 
or Cogs gathering food. This means that 39 of your population is busy doing 
other affairs. This leaves 61 units that can be built. Anyway, the final 
squad should be focusing on Frankish Cavalry. Have 3 to 4 Capped Rams and 
20 Paladins, on one team. At the same time, have a separate team consisting 
on a swarm of maybe 15 Hand Cannoneers, 5 Bombard Cannons, 5 Onagers, 3 
Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's kind of tight, but 
if you add these men to your working population, you will have a total 
of 94 population, which is just about right for your assault. It's just 
a matter of whether you can get those units set up in time, so Conscription 
and the building of multiple Castles and Stables are going to play a 
significant role in your success.

The 20 Paladins play an important role in the assault. They so powerful 
that even Pikemen have problems taking them out. This is because Pikemen 
must outnumber Frankish Paladins more than 2 to 1 defeat him! So, it means 
that the enemy needs to have 40 Pikemen or more to hold the Paladins back. 
Very Cost Effective, I must say. Bombard Cannons make quick tower 
destruction, if you can afford it. However, the ultimate Tower busting 
award still goes to the Trebuchets. Bombard Cannons are to bust the enemies' 
Onagers, if needed. If you are short of Gold, consider forgoing a Bombard 
Cannon or 2 in favor of one or 2 more Capped Rams.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 3 Fast Fire Ships, 2 Heavy Demolition Ships and 5 Cannon Galleons. 
Like the Celts, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy the docks 
and keep them on shore. Then it's time for your little D-Day invasion. 
Franks are strong against civilizations that heavily depend on Archers 
or Infantry. (For instance, Britons and Japanese) However, you must be 
careful when facing the 6 civilizations with the Heavy Camels. (Saracens, 
Turks, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols, Chinese) The former is the most 
annoying due to the Mamelukes.

-------------------
d. Teutons [AOK6D]
-------------------
History:
The origin of Germany traces back to the crowning of Charlemagne as Holy 
Roman Emperor in 800. Upon his death the empire was split into three parts 
that gradually coalesced into two: the western Frankish kingdom that became 
France and the eastern kingdom that became Germany. The title of Holy Roman 
Emperor remained in Charlemagne's family until the tenth century when they 
died out. In 919 Henry, Duke of Saxony, was elected king of Germany by 
his fellow dukes. Hisson Otto became emperor in 962.

The Holy Roman Empire that Otto I controlled extended over the German plain 
north to the Baltic, eastward into parts of modern Poland, and southward 
through modern Switzerland, modern Austria, and northern Italy. From the 
outset, the emperors had a difficult problem keeping control of two 
disparate regions-Germany and Italy-that were separated by the Alps.

The Holy Roman Empire was successful at first because it benefited the 
principal members, Germany and Italy. The Germans were not far removed 
from the barbarian condition. They had been conquered by Charlemagne only 
a century earlier. They benefited greatly from Italian culture, technology, 
and trade. The Italians welcomed the relative peace and stability the 
empire ensured. Italy had been invaded time and again for the previous 
500 years. The protection of the empire defended the papacy and allowed 
the city-states of Italy to begin their growth.

The imperial armies were manned partially by tenants of church lands who 
owed service to the emperor. A second important contingent were the 
ministriales, a corps of serfs who received the best training and equipment 
as knights but who were not free men. These armies were used to put down 
revolts or interference by local nobles and peasants or to defend against 
raids by Vikings from the north and Magyars from the east.

Because Germany remained a collection of independent principalities in 
competition, German warriors became very skilled. The most renowned German 
soldiers were the Teutonic Knights, a religious order of warriors inspired 
by the Crusades. The Teutonic Knights spread Christianity into the Baltic 
region by conquest but were eventually halted by Alexander Nevsky at the 
battle on frozen Lake Peipus.

A confrontation between the emperors and the church over investiture of 
bishops weakened the emperors in both Germany and Italy. During periods 
of temporary excommunication of the emperor and outright war against Rome, 
imperial authority lapsed. The local German princes solidified their 
holdings or fought off the Vikings with no interference or help from the 
emperor. In Italy, the rising city-states combined to form the Lombard 
League and refused to recognize the emperor.

Political power in both Germany and Italy shifted from the emperor to the 
local princes and cities. The ministriales rebelled, taking control of 
the cities and castles they garrisoned and declaring themselves free. 
During desperate attempts to regain Italy, more concessions were given 
to the local princes in Germany. By the middle of the thirteenth century, 
the Holy Roman Empire existed in name only. The throne remained empty for 
20 years. The German princes cared only about their own holdings. The 
Italian city-states did not want a German ruler and were strong enough 
to defend themselves.

Future emperors in the Middle Ages were elected by the German princes but 
they ruled in name only, controlling little more than their own family 
estates. Germany remained a minor power in Europe for centuries to come.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
It seems that the Teutons are the most loyal and sacred civilization of 
all. Their Team Bonus is that all units are more resistant to conversion 
than other civilizations. At the same time, Teutonic Monks are quite 
efficient at what they do. They can heal your units from twice as far, 
so you don't have to worry about having your Monks out of your little 
fortress when you have to heal your defending forces. At the same time, 
Teutonic Towers are rather spacious. They can each garrison 10 men, twice 
from the original 5 and ultimately fire twice the number of arrows! Murder 
Holes are free! So, no infantry can make a fast one at your base once you 
get to the Castle Age. Farms cost 33% less. Yeah right. So this means we 
have 20 Wood saved on each Farm, and there will be more Food for all. Another 
of those Dark Age headstarts, eh? As for Town Centers having +2 attack 
and +5 range. Yippie! We will see how certain long range archers outsmart 
Town Centers. And of course, this means better safety.

Teutonic Technology Tree:
Let's at a look at how well those Teutons fare technologically. I have 
got a friend who's a big fan of German stuff, and told me that I should 
write that Teutons are the best. But is he justified in what he said? Let's 
look. We look at the Archers first. OK, Teutons seem to get everything 
for the Feudal age and the Castle Age, but what is this? Both Arbalests 
and Heavy Cavalry Archers are shaded out. This means that the Teutons cannot 
make use of the ultimate Archers in the Imperial Age. At the same time, 
to make matters worse, Bracer is not available for research in the 
Blacksmith, giving them an even larger disadvantage. But hey, it's still 
not a dead loss. Teutons do get Hand Cannoneers. This means that shooters 
will have to become the mainstay of the Teutons' Archer army, and they 
still have to watch out due to their weaker range.

Now, let's look at the infantrymen of the Teutons. Yep, it's all nice here. 
Everything's available for them. They have the Militia all the way up to 
the Champion, and they have Spearmen and Pikemen. The 2 infantry related 
blacksmith upgrades are also there. There are the Forging Upgrade all the 
way to the Blast Furnace upgrade, and at the same time, we have Scale Mail 
Armor upgrade all the way to the Plate Mail Armor. Squires are also 
available for the Teutonic Army. Nope, there are actually no flaws here 
for me to see.

When it comes to Cavalry, the Teutons have but one slight disadvantage. 
It seems that the Scout Cavalry cannot be upgraded to Light Cavalry. (How 
does this work, may I ask?) This means that in the late game, Teuton players 
will have a disadvantage since their plastic swords won't be able to stand 
up to any other Light Cavalry. In fact, Teutons are the only civilization 
without any Light Cavalry. At the same time, Husbandry is not available 
for the Teutons. So, ultimately, Teutonic Cavalry are slower than everyone 
else's. But hey, don't gripe just yet. For the main Cavalry Line, Teutons 
get everything. They also get the Paladins. Of course, does the Holy Roman 
Empire have any deserts? The answer is, NO! So, no Camels for the Teutons 
either. But still, they are already at a better standing than most 
civilizations. But it seems that there is yet to be a civilization whose 
Cavalry is perfect.

Now, let us look at the Teuton navy, from the Dock's perspective. The 
Teutons get every standard Naval Unit in the game. They get Fast Fire Ships, 
Heavy Demolition Ships and Galleons. All 3 of them. Cannon Galleons are 
available, but not Elite Cannon Galleons. They have good units, but the 
technology is rather backward. It seems that the 2 important Imperial Age 
Dock Technologies, Dry Dock and Shipwright, are not available at all for 
the Teutons' use. As a result, Teutonic Ships are ultimately slower, and 
their Transport Ships carry much fewer units than others. Therefore, it's 
rather inconvenient to land troops into the enemy's base during the 
Imperial Age, let alone easily bust through enemy lines in naval battle 
maps. Since Shipwright is not available, all ships will cost much more 
in the long run, this, compounded with the lack of Bracer, gives Teutons 
a large naval disadvantage.

Let us look at the Teutons' base defenses. You will be pleased to know 
that this is where the Teutons shine. Like many other civilizations, 
Teutons get the usual Stone Walls and Fortified Walls. But this is just 
the beginning. Every single tower for the Teutons is available. This 
includes the Keep and the all powerful Bombard Tower! With such explosive 
powers, you will be dying to research this so as to dominate the countryside. 
Yes, there is no Bracer upgrade, but since when is range needed if these 
Towers literally murder anything that gets in its sight? When it comes 
to building strength, Teutons are surprisingly short sighted. Masonry is 
available, but Architecture is not. But still, the powerful Castle upgrade, 
the Hoardings is still available, so you don't have to be that worried.

As for the Monks, that's right, Monks. Teutons, being ruled under a heavily 
Christian empire called the Holy Roman Empire, definitely has a thing for 
good devout Christians. The Monks know everything, Redemption, Sanctity, 
Fervor, Atonement, Block Printing, Illumination and Faith. This makes 
Monks rather handy in the Imperial Age. Now, the only thing you have to 
worry about is whether you have enough time and Gold to research all of 
these goodies for your Monks! Monks make good army units in the Teutonic 
Army, that really is for sure.

Where do the Teutons stand siegewise in this game? Let's have a look at 
the Siege Workshop. Teutons get almost everything in the Siege Workshop. 
They get Siege Onagers, Heavy Scorpions, but not Siege Rams. So it is just 
slightly harder for them to destroy buildings grouped closely together. 
You will be pleased to know that Bombard Cannons are there too. And of 
course, the ultimate Siege Companion, the Siege Engineers. So let's go 
and party in the enemies' base. OK, so Teutons get quite nice Siege Units, 
but they are not the best thing the Teutons have to offer. However, you 
have still not seen Deutchland's finest yet.

How do the "mighty Teutons" (as my best friend boasts) do economy wise? 
They actually do quite good. Of all the economy related upgrades, they 
just don't get Gold Shaft Mining, so Gold Miners will be at a slight 
disadvantage. But otherwise, their abilities to collect Stone and Food 
are great. The availability of Crop Rotation, compounded with the 33% 
discount on farms literally guarantees that there will be enough food to 
go round. (Oh, one more thing to mention, since Dry Dock is not available, 
Fishing Boats ultimately gather food slower, but since everyone gets them 
so late in the game, those things aren't a big factor of our Germans.)

Finally, we come to the Teutons' Unique Unit. It's a very nasty piece of 
work. It's the Teutonic Knight! "At the height of the Christian Crusades 
into the Holy Land, German crusaders formed an order of warrior monks called 
the Teutonic Knights. This order gave up crusading in the Eastern 
Mediterranean and turned its attention to Eastern Europe. Through conquest 
they brought Christianity to the Baltic region and forests of what became 
Prussia. They built castles from which they could control the surrounding 
countryside. The Teutonic Knights were committed warriors who carved out 
an empire that lasted into the twentieth century."

I have read history books about the Crusades. It seems that different groups 
of knights are trained to protect pilgrims and fight against the Muslims 
and defend Jerusalem back then. I only know 3 groups. They are the Knights 
Templar, Knights Hospitaliers and Teutonic Knights. The Teutonic Knights 
are Knights that travel on foot. They attack with swords, like the other 
guys, wear a cool cape, and do massive damage. They have lots of hit points 
and extremely high armor. In fact, the transition from Teutonic Knight 
to Elite Teutonic Knight features a very high jump in Attack, Hit Points 
and Armor. What could be better? They are the only standard infantry unit 
that can take down the strongest Cavalry Unit, the Paladin. You will 
definitely pleased to know that the upgrade from normal to elite costs 
1200 Food and only 600 Gold. Hee hee.

There is only one catch in all this. Teutonic Knights move very slowly, 
making them extremely vulnerable to conversions by Monks. The manual says 
they are weak against archer attacks, but I tend to disagree. After all, 
if you have 2 Pierce Armor, that should make them as strong as standard 
Knights. So, the only thing you need to worry about are the Monks. In that 
case, you must escort Teutonic Knights with Arbalests and Cavalry Archers. 
Researching the Faith technology in the Monastery helps a lot in preventing 
the enemies from converting your troops. I of course recommend that you 
use Teutonic Knights to replace the Champions AND Pikemen, and I promise 
that you will have many happy returns. May God be with you.

Teutons are very mighty with their infantry. Their ability to destroy 
Paladins easily means that you will need to place Scorpions and Onagers 
to take advantage of their slow speed to eliminate them quickly.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers 
should come out in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers 
over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. Continue clicking the Villager 
button in the Town Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch 
of 7 should go over to the nearest large group of trees so that you can 
start collecting wood. Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map 
to search for more Sheep and other resources. Also try to probe into your 
enemies' base. If you do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 14 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during the research, 
if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 500 Food. (It's 
very likely for you to have enough food even after you have trained so 
many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye on the Villagers 
in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources of food will 
run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. Or else 
you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing in your 
stockpile. The good thing is that Teutonic Farms only cost a mere 40 Wood, 
so they are peanuts when compared to the others. Talk about a buy 2 get 
1 free supermarket scheme for those guys.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, you are likely to be starting with your 
Farm based economy. But with the cheaper farms, you save quite a lot of 
wood. So should we rush the enemy? My answer is no. Teutons tend to be 
a defensive civilization due to their bonuses. Map control is rather 
important for them. So, just go and look for a spot where there are lots 
of mineral resources nearby. I am talking about Gold and Stone. Have the 
Villager in position, preferably supported by the Scout Cavalry and some 
Militia if you want. Once the Feudal Age pops up, have the Villager Pop 
up a Watch Tower or 2, and then build an Archery Range over the spot. Due 
to the number of Archers that can garrison inside the Tower, you are going 
to have an advantage in holding the enemy's rush back. The best way is 
to control an area that is in the way of the most direct route to your 
base. Oh, and start mining those resources so that the enemy cannot even 
if they manage to break through.

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses.

Have your Militia and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. You 
may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and Gold 
mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they  
are required to support any outlying mines you have currently controlled. 
They can also counterattack the enemy if you are successful in holding 
back several of their rush attacks. At the same time, train even more 
Archers and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and enter the enemy's base. 
It's possible to pull back anytime and have the Archers hide in those super 
high capacity Watch Towers to rest and maybe shred a couple of enemy 
soldiers in case things don't go well as planned.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Archers target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I 
am assuming that you have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't 
have enough food and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from 
the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
any time soon, so get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Teutons are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It's time to make use of the 
free Murder Holes, since you save 250 Stone, you can build an extra of 
2 Watch Towers. They are to be upgraded to Guard Towers later as you see 
fit. In the Archery Range, immediately upgrade your Archers to Crossbowmen. 
(The upgrades aren't expensive, but the Knights are running the show here.) 
Also build a castle and start training a couple of Teutonic Knights. Have 
a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple of Battering Rams. 
Also train around 5 Knights to complement your men. (Don't forget to leave 
some units in your base to guard against enemy attacks.) At the same time, 
build a University and quickly research Ballistics since they are vital 
in the Castle's accuracy. You can also build a Monastery and train maybe 
a pair of Monks if you have a Gold. Research Redemption as you make your 
way to the enemy base. 

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen take out any 
Spearmen that are up. Even if they suddenly get to the Castle Age and start 
pumping out Knights, they will basically be sending lambs to the slaughter 
since Teutonic Knights kill them without mercy. Another method is to 
convert their production buildings. This particularly goes to the Stable. 
If you manage to get one before the Monks are killed, you can train troops 
under their front door and they could be beaten at this point.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, pop up a Castle or two, and buy Stone if needed. Ballistics 
in the University should come up immediately. Train some Teutonic Knights 
and fast. Their extremely high armor makes them great at defending Cavalry 
attacks. Any Archers can be taken out by Knights of the Castle itself. 
Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical 
of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack 
with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you frequently have clashes and yet they are just scratches 
on the surface. You have to decide on which upgrades to get first while 
you are heated in battle. Teutonic Knights are very powerful, and their 
base armor is tougher than all the other infantrymen. So, let's see to 
the Cavalry first. This is why you have to research Iron Casting and Chain 
Barding Armor. Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. 
The 2 Infantry upgrades are to be given a lower priority. There are also 
upgrades for Watch Towers to Guard Towers in the University. Consider 
researching Masonry on the double to make your buildings tougher. Treadmill 
Crane comes next if you have the stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Teutons are the Monks. Like everyone 
else, it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him 
go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can 
have another source of Gold. Teutonic Monks are better at multitasking, 
so this time, let's improve their converting range. Research Redemption 
and Atonement first. As for the Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a must, 
but Careening can be treated in low priority if you are on a land based 
map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Knights 
into Cavaliers and finally Paladins. Those are the strongest Cavalry in 
the game, and even Pikemen will be in trouble. In the University, the 
Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched since they give 
the Teutons gunpowder units like Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. The 
Bombard Tower will play a major role in Teutonic attacks. Other important 
upgrades to be researched first of the Imperial Age include Elite Teutonic 
Knight, Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor, Two Handed Swordsman, Champion 
and Siege Engineers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 8 Villagers on wood, 8 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 39 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 61 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Teuton Cavalry. Have 5 to 6 Capped 
Rams and 15 Paladins and 15 Elite Teutonic Knights, on one team. At the 
same time, have a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 3 Villagers, 
5 Bombard Cannons, 5 Siege Onagers, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second 
team. I know it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working 
population, you will have a total of 94 population, which is just about 
right for your assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those 
units set up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles 
and Stables are going to play a significant role in your success.

The 3 Villagers are very important since their role is to build Bombard 
Towers to control any strategic points outside your enemies' base. Once 
you get close enough, but not too close, have the Villagers secure the 
frontlines by Bombard Towers. When you win a battle at a spot near or even 
inside the base, have the Villagers put up a Bombard Tower to signify your 
control. Then, they can effectively keep the enemies back since they can 
blow up any thing that gets in the way. The best thing to support the Bombard 
Towers are Siege Onagers, and of course, the continuing push of your other 
forces into the base. This besieging technique can give your enemies a 
lot of trouble if you set it up, and effectively reduces the their area 
of activity. (Only Trebuchets can take down Bombard Towers effectively.)

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 3 Fast Fire Ships, 2 Heavy Demolition Ships and 5 Cannon Galleons. 
Like the Celts, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy the docks 
and keep them on shore. Bombard Towers also play an important role in 
keeping enemy ships away, as well as establishing a beach head. A cannon 
ball is enough to sink most ships. So the only threat you have to take 
care of are the Cannon Galleons! Let's go and give the good old D-Day. 
Teutons may be tough, but the majority of their forces are slower albeit 
with better armor, including Teutonic Knights. They are weak against Archer 
civilizations like the Britons, Mongols and Chinese. Saracens are also 
a threat to the Teutons, since their fast Mamelukes can still murder 
Paladins like no tomorrow, although they are not so effective against very 
heavily armored Elite Teutonic Knights.

----------------
e. Goths [AOK6E]
----------------
History:
The Goths were a Germanic tribe on the Danube River frontier known to the 
Romans from the first century AD. Pressured and then displaced when the 
Huns moved west out of Central Asia, the Goths moved west into Europe and 
over the Danube River to escape the oncoming hordes. After taking part 
in the fall of Rome, they vied with other barbarians for the leavings of 
the Western Roman Empire during the Early Middle Ages.

The Goths originated on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to the best 
of our knowledge, and split into two groups as they migrated south across 
Central Europe. The Visigoths, or West Goths, settled in modern Romania 
during the second century. The Ostrogoths, or East Goths, settled farther 
to the east on the northwest coast of the Black Sea. In 376 AD the Visigoths 
were driven from modern Romania by the Huns and moved south across the 
Danube. Their strength was estimated at 60,000 men, women, and children. 
They defeated a Roman army from Constantinople, settled briefly south of 
the Danube, and then pushed into Italy. In 409 they sacked Rome under their 
king Alaric and then moved north into Gaul. The Romans gave them 
southwestern Gaul. From there they eventually extended their rule into 
all of modern Spain and Portugal.

The Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnish rule and followed their cousins 
into Italy late in the fifth century. They were encouraged to invade by 
the Eastern emperor, who wanted deposed the barbarian then ruling as 
viceroy. Under Theodric, king of modern Switzerland and the Balkans already, 
the Goths entered Italy in 488, completing its conquest in 493.

Theodric's kingdom did not last long following his death in 526. Using 
a struggle for succession as an excuse, the Byzantines sent an army to 
Italy in 536 led by their great general Belisarius. The Byzantines hoped 
to regain Italy and restore the old Roman Empire in the West. The war dragged 
on, devastating the countryside in conjunction with plague and famine. 
In 552 the Ostrogoths were finally defeated in Italy. They ceased to exist 
as a separate group by the late sixth century when northern Italy was 
invaded by a new group of barbarians called the Lombards.

The Visigoth kingdom lasted somewhat longer. In the late fifth century 
Clovis of the Franks pushed the Visigoths out of France and over the 
Pyrenees Mountains. Following the death of Clovis his kingdom fragmented 
and the Visigoths were temporarily left alone. In 711 a new threat appeared 
from the south. Islamic armies crossed over from North Africa and destroyed 
the last Gothic kingdom in four years.

The Goths are remembered for being the first to sack Rome and thereby 
beginning the final collapse of the ancient world order in Europe. Their 
admiration for Rome and attempts to preserve it, however, allowed much 
of the Roman culture to survive. For example, the modern languages of Italy, 
France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania are derived from Latin influenced 
by later settlers. They are not variations of German, as was the case in 
England.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
First of all, the Team Bonus for Goths is that Barracks train units 20% 
faster than the other civilizations. This makes them able to create large 
armies in a flash and makes rushing a very good thing to do for these 
barbarians. (They speak German.) It also seems that a continuous and 
growing discount exists for the Goths when infantry is concerned. In the 
Feudal Age, you get 10% off from every infantry unit, then in castle age, 
you get 15% off. Finally, in the Imperial Age, you get a massive 25% off 
when you purchase infantry units. This gives you Goths great room in 
building a large army, and I think that you will know which units to depend 
on in a Gothic Army. Infantry get an extra 1 Attack against buildings. 
Now that I don't know how much of a difference it makes, but it makes their 
job sort of faster. Send in the demolition squad please! (Not much of a 
difference, it seems.) Villagers have an extra 5 attack against Wild Boar, 
and Hunters carry an extra 15 meat. This is lovely. So living in the wild, 
roaming in the plains as made good for the Goths. Now they are more likely 
to survive and be given a head start. Finally, in the Imperial Age, Goths 
get an extra 10 population. This means that they can ultimately build 10 
more units than the other civilizations in the long run! (For example, 
if the population limit is set at 200, Goths get a boost to 210!) Let the 
Gothic warriors swarm and overrun the foes. They will flee before your 
righteous anger! (This is more noticeable in games with a smaller 
population limit.)

Gothic Technology Tree:
It's time to have a rundown of the technology of these nomadic raiders 
who are so ambitious to take down the Roman Empire, and have found favor 
with the Romans. We begin with their Archers, to the Archery Range. For 
the anti Archer line up, the Goths get both anti-archers. The Skirmisher 
and Elite Skirmisher are both there. However, the mainstream Archers are 
a little lacking. Archers and Crossbowmen are available, however, but the 
Arbalest is not! They still get the Cavalry Archers and Heavy Cavalry 
Archers. And to my amazement, the Hand Cannoneer is there. The Hand 
Cannoneer is supposed to be a Gunpowder unit! I don't think they already 
have discovered Gunpowder in the west during AD 500. So this is just one 
of the new things I have learnt today. As for the Archer Armor and Attack. 
Don't worry about anything. They have upgrades up to Bracer and the Armor 
upgrades all the way to Ring Archer Armor.

Now, the infantry. Infantry is just where the Goths are tough at. Remember 
that Infantry get cheaper and cheaper as you advance through the ages, 
and that their units are produced 20% faster than the other civilizations. 
They tend to have everything, everything in the Spearman to Pikeman Line, 
and also everything in the Militia, Man at Arms, Long Swordsman, 2 Handed 
Swordsman and Champion lineup. Squires is also there, so their infantry 
units can be made faster and move faster. All infantry attack upgrades 
are there for your use, even up to the Blast Furnace. (Yes, it's quite 
ridiculous. Blast Furnace hasn't been invented in the Goths' age!) 
Everything seems fine until you come to the armor upgrades for the Goths. 
It seems that the ultimate armor, Plate Mail Armor is unavailable, so Gothic 
soldiers get 2 less Pierce Armor than the rest of them, and this can be 
a slight disadvantage. But fear not, a certain unit is there to counter 
this weakness. Let's keep your eyes peeled for now.

Now, it's time to have a look at Gothic Cavalry. Yep, everything seems 
fine for now. Scout Cavalry and Light Cavalry are both available, so there 
is no fear of your scout getting slaughtered later on. It also seems that 
Knights and Cavaliers are available, but unfortunately for these people, 
they have not refined their horsemen well enough to use the Paladins. When 
you look at the Blacksmith, you find that upgrades for attack are available 
up to the Blast Furnace. However, for some twisted fate, it seems that 
no one is interested in wearing complete suits of plate armor. This goes 
well for the Cavalry too. So, Plate Barding Armor is also not available. 
Ultimately, Gothic Cavalry is inferior. But anyway, Husbandry is available 
for them to speed up their horses. And of course, there really is no desert 
in Gothic lands, only steppes, so the Camels and Heavy Camels are 
unavailable for the Goths.

We come to the Dock, where the navy of the Goths is built. For all 3 lines 
of combat ships, the collection is rather complete. We have Fast Fire Ships, 
Heavy Demolition Ships and Galleons, all in one. The only issue for you 
is that Ship upgrades are slightly backwards. They may have Careening, 
but the Dry Dock option is not available. This makes their ships ultimately 
slower, and their landings slightly more inefficient since you have to 
use more of your population to build Transport Ships. (Twice as many as 
those who do have Dry Dock.) But still, if you are in for a long term battle 
that is mainly sea based, then the Goths may still be fit, since the 
Shipwright upgrade is available to them. As for the Cannon Galleons, to 
my surprise, the Goths really do have them. It's just that they are not 
given Elite Cannon Galleons. (AD 500 is far too early for cannons to be 
developed. That's for sure. So this really is a joke.)

Let's look at the Goths' base defenses. You will be surprised at the number 
options that are shaded inside the manual. It's just like certain things 
of the Britons these days. It seems that Watch Towers are the one and only 
towers that can be built by the Goths. Now, many civilizations don't have 
Keeps, but the unavailability of Guard Towers really is a scream around 
here. (Let alone the Bombard Towers.) And to make matters worse, you will 
not pleased to know that Palisade Walls are the only types of walls that 
the Goths can get their hands on. That's right! There are no Gates, Stone 
Walls, let alone Fortified Walls for the Goths to build. But still, certain 
contradicting upgrades do exist in the University. For some strange reason, 
both Masonry and Architecture are available. At least Gothic buildings 
can be made tougher than others. (Since when are Goths famous for their 
architecture?) But hey ho, Castles don't have that HP boost. Hoardings 
is not available as well. So, you get the message. A good Gothic Defense 
is a good Offense. Don't let the enemies repel your offense or serious 
consequences will result. (Including your loss.)

Now, let's look at the Gothic holy men. It seems that those Monks, like 
most Monks in Western Europe are limited in the range of units that they 
can convert. This is because, I have said it many times, both Redemption 
and Atonement are unavailable. So, they cannot convert enemy buildings, 
Siege Weapons or enemy Monks, so they are quite helpless once the enemy 
Monks come for their Monks. In the Imperial Age, Gothic Monks continue 
to get the shaft since they do not get Block Printing. This means that 
their Monks also suffer from a weaker conversion range, so what does this 
leave Gothic Monks? They are basically very bad. Just use them for Medics.

We will have a look at how good the Goths do when they have to pull a siege 
on the enemy. I can see that Siege is not the Goths' calling since the 
ultimate upgrades for both the Battering Ram and Magonel are there. You 
can only research intermediate upgrades for your men at all times. 
Fortunately, for the Goths, the Bombard Cannon is available for you. (Again, 
this is ridiculous since Gunpowder units are not available in the real 
world back then.) It's just sad that Siege Engineers are not available 
for the Goths, so they cannot deal more damage against buildings. My guess 
is that this is just a trade off for the extra attack the infantry have 
against Buildings, so Champions and Huskarls are to be your Battering Rams.

When it comes to economy, Goths tend to get almost everything. They do 
have Stone Shaft Mining, Two Man Saw and Crop Rotation. However, they don't 
seem to have Gold Shaft Mining, so they ultimately mine Gold slower than 
others. The good thing is that Infantry are made to be cheaper as you advance 
through the ages, so it may not hurt them that badly. Goths do have an 
early game economy advantage since Hunters can gather more meat than usual. 
So, always look for edible animals, especially Wild Boars. They are where 
the tasty stuff are at.

Finally, we analyze the Goth's unique unit, the Huskarl. "Within the 
Germanic tribes that overran the Western Roman Empire and brought in the 
Dark Ages, including the Goths, tribal leaders kept a personal retinue 
of warriors known as huskarls. These men served their chiefs fanatically 
in return for a large share in any plunder the tribe could grab. Huskarls 
trained for battle continuously and had few other duties. A chief had to 
be successful in acquiring plunder, however, or risk being removed or 
abandoned. As the Dark Ages progressed, huskarls were absorbed into the 
feudal system as vassals of lords. They remained a lord's or king's personal 
fighting force but often became responsible for their own support on lands 
given to them by their chief. This system replaced much of the sharing 
of plunder."

Most infantry units are considered to be weak against archers since they 
usually have no pierce armor. But the Goths are given something that opposes 
this trend. They are the Huskarls. Huskarls are fast infantry units with 
a very high pierce armor. As a result, they are excellent in taking arrows 
and taking down Archers. Another good thing is that Huskarls are very cheap 
to be upgraded. It costs only 1200 Food and 550 Gold for them to be 
transformed into the Elite Huskarls. 

Now we have the ultimate question. Is it feasible to replace Champions 
completely with Huskarls? The answer is yes and no. Yes, they have 
exceptionally high Pierce Armor that no other infantry unit can match and 
the same HP as 2 Handed Swordsmen and Champions respectively, but their 
attacks are slightly weaker against other standard infantry units. At the 
same time they are much more costly. My solution is to have half of your 
standard infantrymen to be comprised of Huskarls and the other to be 
Champions. You can have Huskarls completely replace Champions if and only 
if the opponent is a civilization that relies very heavily on archery and 
nothing else. (for example, Britons)

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest herd of wild animals and build a Mill there. 
I am referring to Deer and Wild Boars. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry should 
run around the immediate area and see if there are any Sheep for you to 
find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot over to the Mill so that 
they can be collected easily. The next Villagers should come out in time. 
Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Wild Boar or 
Antelopes to collect food. It's going to be very fast since the Villagers 
carry more stuff. Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, 
and train even more Villagers. The next batch of 7 should go over to the 
nearest large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Wild Animals are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Forage Bushes and Sheep. At the same time, once all 
the 14 Villagers are out and enough houses are built to support them, click 
the Loom button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base 
during the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once 
you have 500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after 
you have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an 
eye on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable 
sources of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to 
start farming. Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem 
to be increasing in your stockpile.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) Since Gothic 
infantry get produced faster and cheaper than others, rushing is a good 
idea for you Goths. Build a Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not 
to be spotted. You should try aiming for Feudal Age in 5 minutes of playing 
time or less. Try to have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Goths have the advantage that 
infantry are cheaper and built faster, remember that. While you are moving 
in, have the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and 
start upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt 
the enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down. 
It is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat 
to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the 
buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Gothic Warriors get a better 
attack bonus against buildings than the other civilizations, so you may 
be able to take out a few of their houses before they can respond. Of course, 
the enemy is bound to fight back in the long run. If anything goes wrong 
or you suffer too many losses, pull back to your little outpost and try 
to hold it with the help of several Archers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. Train some 
Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers 
ready to explore the land. Go and find one area with mineral resources 
(Gold and Stone) and build Watch Towers there. Once built, you may start 
to mine those resources and temporarily keep the enemy from using them. 
(Build another Barracks to train more Men at Arms to guard the mines.)

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outlying mines you have currently controlled. 
At the same time, train even more Men at Arms and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. It should be slightly faster 
than other civilizations since they have an attack bonus. When resistance 
has gone a little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while 
any fresh troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting 
repetitive and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I 
am assuming that you have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't 
have enough food and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from 
the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Goths are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Gothic bonus of cheap infantry. In the Barracks, immediately upgrade your 
Infantry to Long Swordsman. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the cheap 
infantry are running the show here.) Also build a castle and start training 
a couple of Huskarls. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out 
a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to complement your 
men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to guard against enemy 
attacks.) At the same time, build a University and quickly research 
Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also 
build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have Gold. Use 
them to heal your units in battle.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Long Swordsmen take out 
any Spearmen that are up. Long Swordsmen are to be your Siege Infantry 
at this point, since they are very skilled in taking down buildings.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Train some Huskarls and fast. Their 
extremely high pierce armor makes them great at defending Archer attacks. 
Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical 
of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack 
with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
Huskarls are very powerful, and their pierce armor is tougher than all 
the other Skirmishers. Since Goths have strong infantry, let's see to them 
first. This is why you have to research Iron Casting and Chain Mail Armor. 
Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. The 2 Cavalry 
upgrades are to be given a lower priority. You get to save a lot of stone 
since upgrades to defenses are unavailable. Treadmill Crane comes next 
if you have the stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Goths are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades at least in the Castle Age. Like everyone else, 
it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him go 
and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can have 
another source of Gold. As for the Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a 
must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you are on a land 
based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Infantry, or 
the Barracks in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing 
Long Swordsmen to Two Handed Swordsmen and finally Champions. Those are 
the strongest Swordsmen in the game, and can be trained en masse since 
you get 10 extra population. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is 
the first upgrade to be researched since they give the Goths gunpowder 
units like Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons.  Other important upgrades 
to be researched first of the Imperial Age include Elite Huskarl, 
Conscription, Blast Furnace and Conscription.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 8 Villagers on wood, 8 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 39 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 71 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Gothic Infantry. Have 5 Champions, 
10 Pikemen, 15 Elite Huskarls and 10 Cavaliers, on one team. (Please note 
that the distribution of Champions and Elite Huskarls are dependent on 
whether the Archers of your enemy are tough and whether they have very 
strong defenses like Bombard Towers on the get go.) At the same time, have 
a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 8 Capped Rams, 5 Bombard 
Cannons, 10 Hand Cannoneers, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. 
I know it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working 
population, you will have a total of 110 population, which is just about 
right for your assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those 
units set up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles 
and Barracks are going to play a significant role in your success.

Whenever you are under attack by the enemy Towers, Archers or castles, 
you should let the Elite Huskarls take all the strain. They absorb archer 
damage like there's no tomorrow. Only enemy Onagers pose a little threat. 
Their pierce armor is something to be afraid of, and they are extremely 
effective against enemy Archers since they do get an attack bonus. The 
only problem is whether you can get close enough to slash them, but don't 
worry, they are designed to take damage, so they will fear you. Use some 
Cavaliers to support your Huskarls if things are starting to do wrong. 

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 5 Fast Fire Ships and 5 Cannon Galleons. Heavy Demolition Ships 
are not recommended for the Goths since their navy is slow. Like the Celts 
and everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy the docks 
and keep them on shore. Heated Shot also play an important role in keeping 
enemy ships away. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. Goths have very 
strong infantry, but in return, a lot of their base defenses are compromised. 
So, Goths are weak against Siege Civilizations like Celts and Mongols. 
The weaker pierce armor for their infantry also gives you concern when 
you do have to play against the Britons and Chinese. Fortunately, Huskarls 
do give them a balance. As for Byzantines, they are your worst nightmare 
since they have this Cavalry Unit that specializes in killing infantry. 
Goths are supposed to be a must rush civilization. This is because their 
ultimate powers are inferior to many civilizations. If you can make use 
of their head start advantages, Goths can tend to be a powerful one.

------------------
f. Vikings [AOK6F]
------------------
History:
The Vikings (meaning "northmen") were the last of the barbarian tribes 
called Germans by the Romans to terrorize Europe. Spreading out from their 
homelands in Scandinavia, they struck suddenly across the seas from their 
dragon boats (called such because of the dragon heads carved on the bow 
and stern). They began by raiding, pillaging, and withdrawing before any 
serious armed resistance could be mounted, but they gradually grew more 
bold. Eventually they occupied and settled significant parts of Europe.

Being pagan, they did not hesitate to kill churchmen and loot church 
holdings, and they were feared for their ruthlessness and ferocity. At 
the same time, they were remarkable craftsmen, sailors, explorers, and 
traders.

The Viking homelands were Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They and their 
descendants controlled, at least temporarily, most of the Baltic Coast, 
much of inland Russia, Normandy in France, England, Sicily, southern Italy, 
and parts of Palestine. They discovered Iceland in 825 (Irish monks were 
there already) and settled there in 875. They colonized Greenland in 985. 
Some people think that the Vikings reached Newfoundland and explored part 
of North America 500 years before the voyage of Columbus.

Vikings began raiding and then settling along the eastern Baltic Sea in 
the sixth and seventh centuries. At the end of the eighth century, they 
were making long raids down the rivers of modern Russia and setting up 
forts along the way for defense. In the ninth century, they were ruling 
Kiev and in 907 a force of 2000 ships and 80,000 men attacked Constantinople. 
They were bought off by the emperor of Byzantium with very favorable terms 
of trade.

Vikings struck first in the West in the late eighth century. Danes attacked 
and looted the famous island monastery at Lindisfarne on the northeast 
coast of England, beginning a trend. The size and frequency of raids against 
England, France, and Germany increased to the point of becoming invasions. 
Settlements were established as bases for further raids. Viking 
settlements in northwestern France came to be known as Normandy ("from 
the northmen"), and the residents were called Normans.

In 865 a large Danish army invaded England, and they went on to hold much 
of England for the next two centuries. One of the last kings of all England 
before 1066 was Canute, who ruled Denmark and Norway simultaneously. In 
871 another large fleet sailed up the Seine River to attack Paris. They 
besieged the city for two years before being bought off with a large cash 
payment and permission to loot part of western France unimpeded.

In 911 the French king made the Viking chief of Normandy a duke in return 
for converting to Christianity and ceasing to raid. From the Duchy of 
Normandy came a remarkable series of warriors, including William I, who 
conquered England in 1066, Robert Guiscard and his family, who took Sicily 
from the Arabs between 1060 and 1091, and Baldwin I, king of the crusader 
kingdom of Jerusalem.

Viking raids stopped at the end of the tenth century. Denmark, Sweden, 
and Norway had become kingdoms, and much of their king's energy was devoted 
to running their lands. The spread of Christianity weakened the old pagan 
warrior values, which died out. The Norse were also absorbed by the cultures 
into which they had intruded. The occupiers and conquerors of England 
became English, the Normans became French, and the Rus became Russians.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
This really is Hagar the Horrible's civilization. I always loved Hagar 
the Horrible's comics by Chris Browne, and they really rule. For some 
strange reason, Hagar likes to talk about Attila the Hun and they are 
supposed to be in different times, so anyway, let's have a glance at the 
Vikings' team bonuses. First of all, to suit their naval warfare needs, 
all Viking Docks cost 33% less! Yay, so Vikings are the peoples' choice 
when naval maps are concerned. At the same time, all War Ships cost 20% 
less than before. This is getting better, so Vikings can build more ships 
than others and completely dominate the seas all the time! The good things 
just keep coming for the Vikings, the Viking infantry gets HP bonuses that 
increase with the advancement of ages. In the Feudal Age, Viking infantry 
get 10% more HP, in Castle Age, they get 15% more HP, and in the Imperial 
Age, they get 20% more! This means that the toughest Champions of the 
Vikings will get a massive 84 HP! I know you are drooling now. Oh and one 
final thing, it seems that Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart are free, so Villagers 
can collect things faster through the ages. Another of those head starts 
of the Vikings, eh?

Viking Technology Tree:
How does Hagar the Horrible's civilization do in their technology? We will 
start with Viking Archers. When it comes to the main line of Archers, they 
have all 3, from Archers, Crossbowmen to Arbalests. It's the same old story 
for those so called Anti-Archer units. They have both Skirmishers and Elite 
Skirmishers. However, the mounted division of their Archer department are 
slightly weaker, since they only have Cavalry Archers but not Heavy Cavalry 
Archers. As for the Hand Cannoneer, get a life already. Vikings don't even 
use guns, so it's not surprising that the Hand Cannoneer is absent from 
the listing. As for the Archer upgrades in the Blacksmith, the Vikings 
get everything, from Fletching to the Bracer, and from Padded Archer Armor 
to the Ring Archer Armor, so that's ok, I guess.

Now, for the infantry. Let's go and visit the Barracks. As an infantry 
civilization that specializes in raiding, the Vikings tend to get 
everything you need. They have both Spearman and Pikemen, and they get 
all of them, from Militia to Champions. Squires are also there to give 
them a speed boost. This is all good, compounded with the increasing HP 
of Viking soldiers, will make them very powerful in the long run. And of 
course, Infantry upgrades are all there, from Forging to Blast Furnace 
and from Scale Mail Armor to Plate Mail Armor.

Now, for Viking Cavalry. Vikings are just not cut out to be a cavalry 
civilization. First of all, they have Scout Cavalry and Light Cavalry. 
Like many other civilizations, they also get Knights and Cavaliers, but 
not Paladins. However, Husbandry is somehow absent from their list. This 
makes the Viking Cavaliers slower in the long run. Another weakness is 
the weaker armor. Blast Furnace may be there, but the Scale Barding Armor 
is not. This means that Cavaliers ultimately will be more vulnerable to 
attack by Pikemen and Camels. With slower cavalry and lightly armored ones, 
Cavalry should be playing the support role of Vikings.

Now, for the Navy. Remember that Vikings are sea based. Therefore, it's 
just natural for them to have a refined navy. Therefore, they have both 
Heavy Demolition Ships and Galleons, but what is this? It seems that Fire 
Ships, let alone Fast Fire Ships are absent for their naval line up. This 
is to make way for the Vikings' second unique unit, the Longboat. But is 
that worth it? We shall see soon. As for Dock upgrades, the Vikings get 
both Careening and Dry Dock, so they can raid the enemies much easier than 
the ones that don't have. Shipwright is not available for the Vikings, 
maybe it's because Viking ships already cost 20% cheaper, and they don't 
want them to get another large discount! (If they do get the second discount, 
the Vikings will get the following: 0.8*0.8=0.64, a 36% discount, leading 
to an obscene imbalance.) Cannon Galleons are present, so are Elite Cannon 
Galleons! So, they can blow up buildings and plunder more now.

Now, let us go to the Viking base defenses. Like many civilizations except 
the Goths, which have been mentioned earlier, Vikings get both Stone Walls 
and Fortified Walls. They also get Watch Towers and Guard Towers, but the 
Keep is absent, let alone the Bombard Towers. This is just one thing for 
each architecture. There is always one civilization which gets only Guard 
Towers but not Keeps! But well, Viking building technologies tend to be 
widely available since they get both Masonry and Architecture. However, 
Treadmill Crane is absent, so they don't build as fast as others. In Castles, 
Hoardings is available to give their HP a great boost.

The selection of the Monks in the Monastery is quite strange for the Vikings. 
They can convert other Monks through researching Atonement but cannot 
convert buildings using Redemption. Their Monks can move faster through 
Fervor but lack the Sanctity to be tougher. Viking Monks can move faster 
but their resting time tends to be slower. This is because Illumination 
is not present for their research. However, Block Printing is, therefore, 
at least their Monks can convert from further away.

When it comes to Siege Weapons, Vikings are not too bad since they are 
used to raiding people and stealing their valuables. They have the 
strongest versions of 2 of the Siege Weapons, the Heavy Scorpion and the 
Siege Ram. However, they don't have the Siege Onager, which is a pity. 
Vikings also don't use cannons, so the Bombard Cannon is not available 
to them as well. It should not prove surprising since Vikings come from 
an age which doesn't make much use of cannons. Siege Engineers are there 
to make them more powerful than ever.

Viking Economies are not bad either. They get the strongest upgrades in 
wood chopping and farm efficiency. However, Stone Shaft Mining is absent 
from their lineup, so defense isn't their highest priority. Guilds is also 
absent, so they are not so efficient at trading either. But what do you 
expect from a civilization that specializes in plundering and not buying 
things they need?

Finally, let's take a look at the Viking Unique Unit. I means units. They 
have 2 units, the Berserk, and the Longboat! "Late in the eighth century 
Viking sea raiders from Scandinavia appeared suddenly in Northern Europe. 
They raided and plundered coastal communities for the next 150 years. Most 
of the progress made by Charlemagne in uniting Northern Europe and 
beginning a rebirth of civilization was erased by the turmoil they caused. 
The Vikings were known for their great seamanship and ferocity in battle. 
Witnesses claimed that Viking warriors would occasionally go "berserk" 
and attack with nearly inhuman zeal, oblivious to all danger. Such behavior 
was terrifying to behold and very difficult to withstand. The ability to 
go mad with battle lust was a powerful attribute during a period of 
widespread superstition."

Berserks are a weird breed of fighters. They share the same type of attack 
bonus as the Champions, against Buildings. They have one special attribute. 
They are so enthusiastic for battle that they will slowly regenerate Health 
over time. The thing is that the speed of regeneration is often not enough. 
So, we can neglect that for the Castle Age. Long Swordsmen have just as 
much attack as the Berserk, and with 7 more HP. However, it's at the Imperial 
Age that the Berserks really shine. Elite Berserks may have 10 HP less 
than Champions, but they do have 1 more attack and 1 more Armor. With this, 
a fully upgraded Berserk is much more likely to defeat a fully upgraded 
Champion at that point. The upgrade to Elite Berserk may cost a lot of 
food (1300) but the Gold required is only 550! Only train Elite Berserks 
when they are available. Ignore normal Berserks. Remember that. Note that 
Berserks are one of 2 Viking Exclusive units.

When I wrote the originally Berserk Description, I forgot to take in account 
the Viking infantry HP bonus, so I take that back. If possible, you can 
always have your Elite Berserks completely replace your Champions if you 
are playing against other non-Viking civilizations. Now it's time to talk 
about the Longboats. "The Viking raiders of the ninth through eleventh 
centuries were especially terrifying because they could strike anywhere 
along the seacoast and even upriver. They had this capability thanks to 
their longboats. These ships were long, narrow, and of shallow draft, but 
were surprisingly seaworthy. They used oars and a single square sail for 
propulsion. Longboats could be taken into very shallow water and beached. 
Only a coast with high bluffs or rocky shoreline was safe from them."

Longboats are the second Viking unique units. They are built at the Dock 
once a Castle has been built. You have seen Longboats in Hagar the Horrible 
comics, haven't you? Anyway, to satisfy their looting purposes, Longboats 
are manned by a bunch of warriors who fire lots of arrows at the enemy. 
In order for the Vikings to have this unit, they have to forgo the Fire 
Ship. So, the superiority of the Vikings' navy is rather questionable. 
At least take away something else for your stupid balancing issues! All 
of these arrows sound effective until you learn that the Attack listed 
above refers to the total attack of all the arrows. As a result, Longboats 
are not that superior when compared with the mainstream Boat Units. (5 
less HP than the War Galley, Galleon). But still, since there are so many 
arrows at once, the Rate of Fire is faster. This makes them good at hit 
and run attacks, and nothing else. Hurt the enemies' Fishing Boats, if 
anything else. Since Vikings don't have Fire Ships, you might as well build 
these to support your main Galleons, however, Fire Ships burn through them 
all the time. Fortunately, the upgrade from Longboat to Elite Longboat 
requires very little gold. It only takes 750 Food and 475 Gold to upgrade 
Longboats. Have fun raiding!

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. There 
should also be a small flock of Sheep nearby. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry 
should run around the immediate area and see if there are any Sheep for 
you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot over to the Mill 
so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers should come out 
in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Forage 
Bushes to collect food. Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town 
Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch of 7 should go over 
to the nearest large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water. Viking 
navies are cheaper (33%), so you can build an extra Dock around the place 
if you need to. 

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 14 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade if needed. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) Since Viking 
soldiers get HP bonuses when compared to other civilizations, they can 
rush the enemy. Build a Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to 
be spotted. You should try aiming for Feudal Age in around 5 minutes of 
playing time. Try to have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Viking soldiers have extra 10% 
HP in the Feudal Age, and can make a slight difference. While you are moving 
in, have the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and 
start upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt 
the enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down. 
It is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat 
to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the 
buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is 
bound to fight back in the long run. If anything goes wrong or you suffer 
too many losses, pull back to your little outpost and try to hold it with 
the help of several Archers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. Train some 
Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers 
ready to explore the land. Go and find any mineral resources (Gold and 
Stone) and build Watch Towers there. It is not so much needed for you to 
mine those yet. Remember that the Wheelbarrow upgrade is free of charge, 
so your Villagers would have automatically work faster.

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outposts you have currently controlled. At 
the same time, train even more Men at Arms and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. It should be slightly easier 
to quell the resistance since you have extra HP. When resistance has gone 
a little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. However, since Vikings have cheaper Galleys, 
you can send them out to hurt the enemies' Fishing Ships and Trade Cogs 
for now.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Town Watch researched 
as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks are starting to go sparse, 
have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. It's like farming, but 
they are doing everything on water. The next thing on the Agenda is to 
advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you 
have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food 
and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from the market and ask 
any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Vikings are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Viking bonus of tough infantry. In the Barracks, immediately upgrade your 
Infantry to Long Swordsman. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the cheap 
infantry are running the show here.) Also build a castle and start training 
a couple of Berserks. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out 
a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to complement your 
men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to guard against enemy 
attacks.) At the same time, build a University and quickly research 
Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also 
build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have Gold. Use 
them to heal your units in battle.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Long Swordsmen take out 
any Spearmen that are up. Long Swordsmen are to be your Siege Infantry 
at this point, since they are very skilled in taking down buildings. 
Berserks can just stand there doing nothing after battle, since they will 
slowly recover HP. Relax.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Train some Berserks and fast. Their 
regenerating HP makes them self sustaining when compared to others. 
Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical 
of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack 
with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
Berserks are very powerful, and Long Swordsmen have 6 more HP, so they 
have 61. Since Vikings, like the Goths have strong infantry, let's see 
to them first. This is why you have to research Iron Casting and Chain 
Mail Armor. Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. 
The 2 Cavalry upgrades are to be given a lower priority. You can use any 
spare resources to upgrade your buildings and towers.

Now, another thing available to the Vikings are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades at least in the Castle Age. Like everyone else, 
it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him go 
and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can have 
another source of Gold. As for the Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a 
must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you are on a land 
based map. It goes for everyone. You can now build Longboats as well. Use 
them to support your War Galleys and fight sea battles to control the place.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Infantry, or 
the Barracks in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing 
Long Swordsmen to Two Handed Swordsmen and finally Champions. Those are 
the strongest Swordsmen in the game, and are up there with the Elite 
Berserks that are to be promoted. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade 
is the first upgrade to be researched since they give the Vikings gunpowder 
units like Cannon Galleons.  Other important upgrades to be researched 
first of the Imperial Age include Elite Berserk, Conscription, Blast 
Furnace and Plate Mail Armor.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 9 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 43 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 57 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Viking Infantry. Have 20 Elite 
Berserks, 10 Pikemen and 10 Cavaliers, on one team. (Please note that the 
distribution of Champions and Elite Berserks are to be chosen by your own 
choice. I prefer Elite Berserks to Champions anyday.) At the same time, 
have a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 5 Siege Rams, 5 Onagers, 
3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's kind of tight, 
but if you add these men to your working population, you will have a total 
of 99 population, which is just about right for your assault. It's just 
a matter of whether you can get those units set up in time, so Conscription 
and the building of multiple Castles and Barracks are going to play a 
significant role in your success.

Oh, by the way, according to the manual, Elite Berserks have 60 HP, however, 
all infantry get HP bonuses in the Imperial Age, a 20 percent increase, 
to be precise. This gives Elite Berserks 72 HP, 2 more than the enemy 
Champions, so whenever you are fighting against opponents that do not use 
Vikings, Elite Berserks are definitely superior to champions. Use some 
Cavaliers to support your Berserks if things are starting to do wrong. 
Don't count on the Berserks to recover HP fast enough. They must be given 
ample time to heal themselves.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 7 
Galleons, 8 Elite Longboats and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Elite Longboats 
will take advantage of their fast firing rate to destroy enemy ships. Like 
the Celts and everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy 
the docks and keep them on shore. Heated Shot also play an important role 
in keeping enemy ships away. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. Vikings 
may have outstanding infantry units like the Goths, but their Cavalry is 
inferior, so you must watch out for enemies with strong Cavalry or Archers 
like the Franks or Britons. (Even with the extra HP, they still hit your 
infantry units very hard, so be careful.)However, when naval battles are 
concerned, Vikings surely are the ones which rock hard. Let's dominate 
the seas and give them no mercy.

-------------------
g. Saracens [AOK6G]
-------------------
History:
The name Saracen applied originally to nomadic desert peoples from the 
area stretching from modern Syria to Saudi Arabia. In broader usage the 
name applied to all Arabs of the Middle Ages. These desert nomads erupted 
suddenly in the seventh century and established a far-reaching empire 
within a century and a half. Their conquest was fueled by faith and high 
morale. Following the teachings of the prophet Mohammed, their intent was 
to change the religious and political landscape of the entire planet.

By 613 the prophet Mohammed was preaching a new religion he called Islam. 
Largely ignored in his home city of Mecca, he withdrew to Medina, built 
up a strong following there, and returned to attack and capture Mecca. 
Following his death in 632, his teachings were collected to form the Koran, 
the Islamic holy book. In 634 his followers began their jihad, or holy 
war. Within five years they had overrun Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. Their 
tolerance of Jews and Christians eased their conquest because these people 
had been suffering some persecution under the Byzantines.

In the next 60 years, both North Africa to the west and Persia to the east 
fell to Islam. In the early eighth century, Saracens from Tangiers invaded 
the Iberian Peninsula and conquered the Visigoth kingdom established there 
after the fall of Rome. In Asia they took Asia Minor from the Byzantines 
and attempted to capture Constantinople with a combined attack from land 
and sea. The great walls of the city frustrated the land attack and the 
Saracen fleet was defeated at sea. In the west, Charles Martel of the Franks 
stopped a Saracen invasion of modern France in 732 at Poitiers.

Frustrated in the west, the forces of Islam turned east. By 750 they had 
conquered to the Indus River and north over India into Central Asia to 
the borders of China.

In 656 the Muslim world fell into civil war between two factions, the 
Sunnites and the Shiites. They differed on several points, including who 
should be caliph and interpretation of the Koran. The result of the 60-year 
war was that the Islamic state broke into pieces, some governed by Sunnites 
(the Iberian Peninsula) and others by Shiites (Egypt and modern Iraq). 
The new Islamic states acted independently, thereafter.

Muslim Spain developed into one of the great states of Europe during the 
early Middle Ages. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in relative 
harmony, and a rich culture rose out of these multiple influences. There 
was a flowering of the arts, architecture, and learning. By 1000, however, 
Muslim Spain had divided into warring factions. This civil war facilitated 
the slow reconquest of the peninsula (the Reconquista) by the emerging 
states of Castile and Aragon, completed finally in 1492.

Asia Minor and the Middle East were conquered by Muslim Turks in the early 
eleventh century. In response to a call for aid from the Byzantines, a 
series of Crusades was launched from Europe to regain Palestine from the 
Turks. The independent Muslim states in the area lost Palestine and the 
Eastern Mediterranean coast to the First Crusade. In the last part of the 
twelfth century, the great Saracen leader Saladin succeeded in uniting 
Egypt, Syria, and smaller states, and he retook Jerusalem.

The Muslim states remained independent long after the Middle Ages and 
eventually developed into the modern Arab nations of the Middle East and 
North Africa. They went into economic decline, however, when the European 
nations opened trade routes of their own to Asia in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
It's been a long time, and now we have analyzed all European civilizations, 
and are up to the Middle East. Saracens are what the Arabs are called in 
the Middle Ages. First of all, we get to look at the Team Bonus of the 
Saracens. It seems that foot archers get an attack bonus against buildings 
of 1. As much as you would like to think, I think that this is not a good 
bonus. After all, all archers are very pathetic against buildings, and 
what would just 1 Attack Bonus do to their Archers? If it's infantry, it's 
another story. But economically, there is a bonus for the Saracens. Market 
Trade costs only 5% for them. This means that whenever you buy stuff, its 
market value increases by only 5%. This advantage is meant to be late game, 
or maybe late late late game! If I were to play as the Saracens, I would 
never make use of this bonus since if I play for too long, I would miss 
dinner or my favorite TV show or something. (It's a lame excuse, but if 
you play for more than 4 hours a night then you must be an addict.) But 
hey, here are 2 bonuses that would make Saracen Navies stand out. First 
of all, Transport Ships hold twice as many units than others. This means 
that each ship can transport 40 troops in the long run. (Now, population 
wastage due to ships would be much more reduced.) At the same time, Galleys 
attack 20% faster. Great! But can they stand up against the cheap ships 
of Vikings? Oh, and this is another upgrade, which I find useless. Cavalry 
Archers do 3 more attack on buildings. Cough. Never use Archers to take 
down buildings! Rams are better still!

Saracen Technology Tree;
How smart are the Saracens. Surely the people who have invented algebra 
and developed advanced calendars and number systems have to be smart. First 
of all, we come to the Archers. The Saracens have everything in the lineup. 
They have Archers, Crossbowmen and Arbalests. They also have Skirmishers 
and Elite Skirmishers. Saracens also get both Cavalry Archers and Heavy 
Cavalry Archers. They also get Hand Cannoneers. Great, this is the entire 
complete set for the Saracens! Both Arbalests and Heavy Cavalry Archers 
receive attack bonuses against buildings of 1 and 3 respectively, but that 
is just marginal and won't make much of a difference. (Really! I ask you.) 
As for Archer upgrades, well these smart alecks have everything the game 
has to offer. They get Fletching up to Bracer, as well as Padded Archer 
Armor up to Ring Archer Armor. Perfect! But hey ho, Archers are not the 
Saracens' strong point here. Something else is.

Now we come to the infantry. Again, Saracens tend to have everything they 
have to offer. They the entire line of regular infantry units. I mean the 
Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, Two Handed Swordsmen and Champions. 
The Spearmen and Pikemen are also there. Squires are also present to 
increase the soldiers' speed. In the blacksmith, they get the entire 
enchilada. Both Forging up to Blast Furnace and Scale Mail Armor up to 
Plate Mail Armor. This is excellent, and it is perfection.

Saracen Cavalry comes next. Man, they sure have problems around here. For 
Saracens, it seems that the point is this, you are not supposed to use 
mainstream Cavalry, instead, their role in desert combat is to be exploited 
to the max. Why? It's because the Knight is the one and only mainline 
temperate region cavalry unit they can train. Both Cavaliers and Paladins 
are not available for upgrades in the Stable. Is there any hope? Yes there 
is! Saracens, being a desert civilization can have an extra Cavalry unit 
available in the Stable. It's the Camel. In the Imperial Age, Camels can 
be upgraded to Heavy Camels! These desert units are meant to be anti-cavalry. 
Although the manual say that they are weak against infantry, I don't find 
them that weak, since a Heavy Camel can always beat a Champion in 1 to 
1 combat. As for Husbandry and the Blacksmith upgrades, they are all there, 
including Blast Furnace and Plate Barding Armor. So, they are all right 
and not so bad, really.

For the Saracen Navy, the Saracens do have quite a good selection. They 
have Galleons and Heavy Demolition Ships. However, there are no Fast Fire 
Ships. Cannon Galleons are there, so are the Elite Cannon Galleons! Always 
remember, Saracen Galleons fire 20% faster, so the lack of Fast Fire Ships 
will not hurt them as much when you have to deal with enemy ships. Careening 
and Dry Dock are both there, the latter upgrade, when researched, gives 
most Transport Ships a 20 carrying capacity. However, since Saracen 
Transport Ships carry twice the number of troops, they have a carrying 
capacity of 40! Well, it seems that having so many bonuses does have its 
prices. Shipwrights are not available for the Saracens. So, ultimately, 
ships cost more, and will be harder to sustain. (It's quite weird, really, 
I thought the dhows are extremely efficient ships to transport goods for 
Arabs, so there must be some skilled people in making ships!) Another funny 
thing is that Heated Shot is not available in the University, this means 
that Towers are weaker against enemy ships, so better send out your own 
Galleons to hold them back.

Having a large holy city in the middle of Arabia does help in the training 
of all their Holy Men. The Saracen Monks get everything! They have 
Redemption, Fervor, Sanctity, Atonement, Block Printing, Faith and 
Illumination. This makes their Monks rather powerful, since they can 
convert buildings, other Monks and Siege Weapons! So, the Monks of the 
Saracens are perfect for now! There is just one thing that freaks me out. 
I don't think there are any Muslim Monks! The elders of those people who 
run the mosques are supposed to be called Imams! Not Monks! Now, an attempt 
by Microsoft and Ensemble Studios to create an "educational" and fun 
experience has failed once more!

Oh, and I just forgot to talk about the Saracen Base Defenses. Like many 
other civilizations, Saracens get Gates, Stone Walls and Fortified Walls. 
Their Towers are also quite good. They have all 3 of the mainstream towers. 
The Watch Tower, Guard Tower and Keep are all theirs. Unfortunately, as 
much as a good trading nation the Saracens have, they don't get Bombard 
Towers. Sigh. As for building upgrades, they only get Masonry, but not 
Architecture. However, they do get Treadmill Crane that allows Villagers 
to build buildings faster. (It's quite funny, really, for a civilization 
that formulated many things that we use widely today, they only get 5 
upgrades in the University according to the tech tree.) They still get 
Hoardings, so their castles can be stronger. Oh, and their Towers aren't 
very good at defending against ships, since Heated Shot is not there.

As for the Saracen Siege Weapons, they are quite good. Of the 3 mainstream 
units, 2 of them get the ultimate upgrade. I am referring to the Siege 
Ram and Siege Onager. The Heavy Scorpion is absent from the listing. Bombard 
Cannons are present! So, that's great for the Saracens! Siege Engineers 
make a good accompaniment for the Saracens, and allow them to break down 
walls faster than others.

We now come to the Saracen Economy. It seems that their collection abilities 
are quite weak. Crop Rotation is not available for research for Saracens, 
and so is Stone Shaft Mining, which means that Stone cannot be collected 
very quickly and Towers and Castles will be built slower. At least they 
still get the 2 man saw and the Gold Shaft Mining. There must be a reason 
why Guilds is not available, this is because they already have a bonus 
that the Market Trading Fee is reduced to only 5%, so there is no need 
for them to research that.

Finally, we look at the Saracen Unique Unit, the Mameluke! "The mamelukes 
were slaves trained as warriors by various Arab leaders, partially because 
early believers in Islam would not fight each other. Slave warriors got 
around this ban. The mamelukes were well trained and highly motivated. 
A mameluke army from Egypt won a rare victory against the Mongols in Syria, 
turning these barbarian horsemen back from the Nile and North Africa. In 
time the mamelukes rose up against their Arab rulers and took control 
themselves. When Napoleon invaded Egypt in the eighteenth century, he 
defeated a mameluke army at the Battle of the Pyramids."

There was this ranged infantryman called the Throwing Axeman who is 
extremely bad in attack and cannot run very fast. It seems that there is 
also ranged cavalry now. Mamelukes are Camels who throw daggers at the 
enemy. They are extremely effective against Mounted Units. They are also 
one of my favorites. Heavy Cavalry Archers are just as fast and have ranged 
attacks, but their arrows just bounce off the Knights as they run back. 
However, with Mamelukes, you can hit and run from them with much more 
effective results. This is particularly important in fending off those 
nasty War Elephants from Persia. The only drawback is that Mamelukes are 
quite expensive. For slave warriors this is surprising. Luckily the upgrade 
from Mameluke to Elite Mameluke is extremely cheap, namely 600 Food and 
500 Gold. Comparing Mamelukes to Camels would be like comparing apples 
to oranges since their attacks are way different in nature. I advise you 
to train both types of units to offset the lack of advanced cavalry units 
of the Saracens. The Husbandry Technology works on them as well.

Mamelukes are very useful cavalry units and you should train many of them 
to fight alongside your Camels. The only drawback is that their range cannot 
be upgraded at all, so this makes them vulnerable to enemy Archers. Their 
low HP isn't something to be really proud of. I guess it's a trade off 
for having range. Same for the Throwing Axemen of the Franks. At least 
these guys run away quickly and hence won't be slaughtered.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers 
should come out in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers 
over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. (7 Villagers are to collect 
food.) Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, and train 
even more Villagers. The next batch of 5 should go over to the nearest 
large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. (I have 
calculated that this build order is sufficient for you to advance to Feudal 
Age in about 5 minutes if Loom is not researched.) Meanwhile, send the 
Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep and other resources. 
Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you do, they are likely to 
see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the Villagers you 
need are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom 
button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile. Saracens do not get that many bonuses in early game 
economy, so you should Farm as soon as possible.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, you are likely to be starting with your 
Farm based economy. I have found out recently that for a comfortable Food 
supply, you will need 3 to 4 more Farmers and maybe 3 to 4 more Lumberjacks. 
4 more Villagers are to start to mine Gold. Let's start building an army. 
So should we rush the enemy? My answer is no. Saracens don't have any early 
game advantages when it comes to infantry. Even if foot archers deal 1 
more attack against enemy buildings, it's not significant enough to make 
a difference. Therefore, map control is rather important for them. So, 
just go and look for a spot where there are lots of mineral resources nearby. 
I am talking about Gold and Stone. Have the Villager in position, preferably 
supported by the Scout Cavalry and some Militia if you want. Once the Feudal 
Age pops up, have the Villager Pop up a Watch Tower or 2, and then build 
an Archery Range over the spot. The Archers can then guard the area, and 
if things go wrong, they can hide in one of the 2 Watch Towers and help 
in that tower's attack and perhaps have some rest from the enemies. The 
best way is to control an area that is in the way of the most direct route 
to your base. Oh, and start mining those resources so that the enemy cannot 
even if they manage to break through. (Remember that Saracens don't get 
Stone Shaft Mining.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. (As I stated before in the previous paragraph.) Have idle 
Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. Continue with 
the construction of houses. Once Hand Cart is researched, you may want 
to start saving for Castle Age when you have the food. 

On the other hand, if you are playing in a naval based map, it's feasible 
for the Saracens to rush the enemies by water. This is because the Galleys 
fire 20% faster when compared to others, therefore, a Saracen Galley can 
beat any other Galley in one on one combat. So control the seas for now 
and it will benefit you in the long run. I know, Transport Ships in the 
Feudal Age carry a massive 10 units. However, the troop strength of Saracens 
is not good enough for now, so let's just control the sea for now! (This 
trick is recommended if you start on islands. Don't let the enemies build 
their towers. If you are fighting on maps where both naval and land assaults 
are possible, do it in a reduced scale.)

Have your Militia (or maybe Men at Arms) and Archers guard any blind spots 
at home for now. You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, 
farming and Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The 
first upgrades you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and 
Man at Arms. You need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, 
since they are required to support any outlying mines you have currently 
controlled. They can also counterattack the enemy if you are successful 
in holding back several of their rush attacks. At the same time, train 
even more Archers and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and enter the enemy's 
base. It's possible to pull back anytime and have the Archers hide in those 
Watch Towers to rest and maybe shred a couple of enemy soldiers in case 
things don't go well as planned.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Archers target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry if your scout is 
unfortunate enough to be killed. Only food is needed. Have him scout out 
more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you are playing a 2 vs 
2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you can see what your ally 
is up to as well, if he is present. Start building Trade Carts, up to 5 
if possible so that you have another source of Gold. This only applies 
to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 5 Trade Cogs to trade 
with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. It's unlikely that 
you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys are rather crap 
at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. While Saving 
up for Castle Age, Wheelbarrow, Forging and Fletching maybe researched 
first. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you have more than enough 
Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food and are in a hurry, you 
can always buy more Food from the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute 
you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
any time soon, so get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Teutons are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! You can now harness the true 
power of the Saracen Desert Army. In the Archery Range, immediately upgrade 
your Archers to Crossbowmen. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the 
Knights are running the show here.) Also build a castle and start training 
a couple of Mamelukes. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump 
out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights (Camels are 
not that necessary yet.) to complement your men. (Don't forget to leave 
some units in your base to guard against enemy attacks.) At the same time, 
build a University and quickly research Ballistics since they are vital 
in the Castle's accuracy. You can also build a Monastery and train maybe 
a pair of Monks if you have the Gold. Research Redemption as you make your 
way to the enemy base. 

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen take out any 
Spearmen that are up. Even if they suddenly get to the Castle Age and start 
pumping out Knights, they will basically be sending lambs to the slaughter 
since Mamelukes may kill them without mercy. Another method is to convert 
their production buildings. This particularly goes to the Stable. If you 
manage to get one before the Monks are killed, you can train troops under 
their front door and they could be beaten at this point. I hear that you 
can finally have fun with Camels!

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, pop up a Castle or two, and buy Stone if needed. Ballistics 
in the University should come up immediately. Train some Mamelukes and 
Knights quick. Their ranged damage and attack bonus against the enemy 
Cavalry makes them great at defending Cavalry attacks of course, infantry 
will also take a beating from the flying blades. Any Archers can be taken 
out by Arrows of the Castle itself. Whatever you do, you should protect 
your Villagers since they are critical of your recovery if you suffer losses. 
You should then try to counterattack with the troops I suggest you to train 
above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you frequently have clashes and yet they are just scratches 
on the surface. You have to decide on which upgrades to get first while 
you are heated in battle. Remember that the Saracen Cavalry has a number 
of units that are to counter enemy Cavalry Attacks. I am referring to Camels 
and Mamelukes So, let's see to the Cavalry first. This is why you have 
to research Iron Casting and Chain Barding Armor. Only then follow up with 
Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. The 2 Infantry upgrades are to be 
given a lower priority. There are also upgrades for Watch Towers to Guard 
Towers in the University. Consider researching Masonry on the double to 
make your buildings tougher. Treadmill Crane comes next if you have the 
stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Saracens are the Monks. Like everyone 
else, it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him 
go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can 
have another source of Gold. Saracen Monks (or I should say Imams!) are 
better at multitasking, so this time, let's improve their converting range. 
Research Redemption and Atonement first. As for the Docks, upgrading to 
War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you 
are on a land based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Camels 
into Heavy Camels. Those are the stronger Camels, and are to counter the 
new influx of Cavaliers and Paladins once your opponents get to Imperial 
Age. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be 
researched since they give the Saracens gunpowder units like Hand 
Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. Keeps also are important in defense now. 
Other important upgrades to be researched first of the Imperial Age include 
Elite Mameluke, Blast Furnace, Plate Barding Armor, Arbalests, Galleon 
and Siege Engineers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 45 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 55 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Saracen Camels! Have 5 to 6 Siege 
Rams, 15 Heavy Camels and 10 Elite Mamelukes, on one team. At the same 
time, have a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 10 Arbalests, 
4 Siege Onagers, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's 
kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working population, you 
will have a total of just 100 population, which is just about right for 
your assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those units set 
up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles and Stables 
are going to play a significant role in your success.

You will like the Elite Mamelukes. They have a ranged attack, and when 
maybe 10 of them attack at once, the enemy Pikemen will not be able to 
advance into them, and hence be all killed. When it comes to small groups 
of Cavalry. Run up to them, throw your blades and then pull back a bit, 
and throw more. This hit and run attack is devastating if small numbers 
of Cavalry Units are used by the enemy. Therefore, Husbandry is definitely 
needed for you to succeed. Your Heavy Camels can then hold the enemy back 
when there are too many enemy Paladins. Oh, by the way, Elite Mamelukes 
may be powerful, but they are still vulnerable to arrows since they have 
a lower HP than other units.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 15 
Galleons, and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Like the Celts, you are to destroy 
the enemy fleet and destroy the docks and keep them on shore. The reason 
why I don't recommend using Fire Ships and Heavy Demolition Ships is that 
Saracen Galleons fire 20% faster when compared to other civilizations, 
therefore they can hold off the enemy much better than others. Fast Fire 
Ships are not available anyway. Please note that when you defend against 
enemy naval attacks, you are better off using your own ships since Heated 
Shot upgrade is not available to the Saracens. Judging by the availability 
of technologies and their team bonuses, Saracens have a weak early game. 
However, once you let them build up their defenses, they can realize their 
true power. On land, Saracens don't seem to have many weaknesses, and they 
have powerful Camels. In the sea, they are powerful since they fire fast.

-----------------
h. Turks [AOK6H]
-----------------
History:
The name Turk refers to two different Muslim groups of the Middle East-first 
the Seljuks and then the Ottomans. The Seljuks, nomads from the steppes 
near the Caspian Sea, converted to Islam around the tenth century. 
Approximately 70,000 Seljuks started as mercenaries to fill the ranks of 
the Islamic army of the caliph of Baghdad. These mercenaries converted 
to the Sunni branch of Islam. In 1055 they became the real power behind 
the caliph in Baghdad and began extending their rule. Their leaders took 
the title sultan, meaning "holders of power." By 1100 they controlled most 
of Anatolia (taken from the Byzantines), Palestine, the lands surrounding 
the Persian Gulf, the holy cities of Arabia, and as far east as Samarkand.

In 1071 the Seljuks achieved a stunning victory over a Byzantine army at 
Malazgirt in modern Turkey, which led to Turkish occupation of most of 
Anatolia. At nearly the same time, they successfully captured Jerusalem 
from its Egyptian Muslim rulers. These two events shocked the Byzantines, 
the papacy, and the Christian Europeans. The result was the Crusades, which 
carried on for the next 200 years.

The Seljuk Turks were worn down by the recurring wars with the Crusaders, 
even though they were successful ultimately in regaining control of 
Palestine. They were threatened simultaneously by the activities of the 
Assassins, a heretical sect of Islam. Internally, Islam entered a period 
of introspection because of the popularity of Sufi mysticism. During this 
period of exhaustion and weakness, they were attacked suddenly by the 
Mongols and collapsed. Baghdad fell to the invaders in 1258 and the Seljuk 
Empire disappeared.

Islamic peoples from Anatolia (modern Turkey in Asia Minor) were unified 
in the early fourteenth century under Sultan Osman I and took the name 
Osmanli, or Ottomans, in his honor. The Ottomans swore a jihad against 
the crumbling Byzantine Empire and took their campaign around 
Constantinople into the Balkans. In 1389 the Serbs were defeated. In 1396 
a "crusader" army from Hungary was defeated. Ottoman successes were 
temporarily halted by the Mongols under Tamerlane, but he moved on with 
his army and the Ottomans recovered.

Sultan Mehmed II ("the Conqueror") at last captured Constantinople on May 
29, 1453. The great walls of Constantinople were battered by 70 guns for 
eight weeks and then 15,000 Janissaries led the successful assault.

The Ottomans pushed on into Europe following the capture of Constantinople 
and threatened a sort of reverse Crusade. They were stopped by a Hungarian 
army at Belgrade in 1456, however. Attacks on Vienna were repulsed in 1529 
and again in 1683. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire 
reached up into Europe to Budapest and Odessa and included all of Greece 
and the Balkans, the lands surrounding the Black Sea, Asia Minor, the Levant, 
Arabia, Egypt, and most of North Africa. The Ottoman Empire remained a 
significant world power until World War I in the twentieth century.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
We now have the civilization known as the Turks. They are people who come 
from Turkey, and the funny thing is, the land of Turkey used to be owned 
by the Byzantines, and only became part of the Turkish Empire when they 
kicked them out. Another funny thing is, modern day Turkey only consisted 
of those newly conquered lands, and their origin now belongs to Iraq! OK, 
enough talk. Let's see what these ruthless conquerors have now. It seems 
that all gunpowder units train 20% faster. Of course, they are referring 
to Hand Cannoneers, Bombard Cannons, Heavy Demolition Ships and Cannon 
Galleons. This bonus will become significant in Deathmatch only, however, 
if you start in Dark Age, this won't be much of an advantage. (Gunpowder 
units rock against infantry but are still weak against enemy Knights.) 
Another attribute is that Gunpowder units have 50% more HP, and all 
gunpowder related technologies cost 50% less. (I bet he's referring to 
the Elite Cannon Galleon upgrade.) This makes gunpowder units much more 
usable than before, since those guys fall quickly when under attack, but 
will it make much of a difference? I say that it would only make a difference 
for Elite Cannon Galleons. (Bombard Cannons have too little HP to begin 
with!) There IS a good early game economical bonus, however. It's that 
Gold Miners work 15% faster, so you can stock up Gold to train troops very 
quickly. This is great to fund their all out gunpowder warfare. Chemistry 
is free! Again this is reminiscent of their gunpowder use. As for the free 
Light Cavalry upgrades, I couldn't care less.

Turkish Technology Tree:
We will see how the Turks fare well technologically. They are supposed 
to be powerful in those days and control sea trade through the Mediterranean, 
prompting people to take the long way round the south of Africa to get 
to India and trade! (Columbus accidentally discovered America then) Let's 
start with Archers. It seems that the Archer department of the Turks is 
rather lacking. They may have Archers and Crossbowmen, but Arbalests is 
absent. This is made even worse when you find that the counter Archer unit, 
the Skirmisher is only available in its original form. There is no Elite 
Skirmisher for you to use. But hey, the only consolation the Turks get 
is that the Hand Cannoneer is tougher with 50% more HP, but considering 
the fact that each one has only 35 HP to begin with (making a total of 
53 HP), it's not a big bonus. As for Cavalry Archers and Heavy Cavalry 
Archers, they are there and ready for your command. The Archer upgrades 
are all there for your use.

The next thing to bear in mind are the infantry units. The Turks get 
everything in the mainstream infantry series, and get all the 5 units. 
(Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, Two Handed Swordsmen and Champions.) 
As for the anti Cavalry line, I regret to say, they suck bad! Spearmen 
are only available! There are not even Pikemen to use. Since Paladins murder 
Pikemen, let alone Spearmen, Turks are going to be in trouble if they face 
very strong Cavalry civilizations like the Franks. Oh by the way, Squires 
is still available, but the missing Pikemen IS a major setback. However, 
due to their frequent trading with the other civilizations, Turks still 
get all those infantry upgrades in the Barracks, whether they are from 
Forging to Blast Furnace or Scale Mail Armor to Plate Mail Armor. Nice.

Now, for the Stable. The Turks are slightly better than the Saracens when 
mainstream Cavalry is concerned. They have Scout Cavalry and Light Cavalry, 
as most civilizations have. As for Knights, they do get an upgrade in the 
Imperial Age to Cavaliers. Since there are deserts in Turkey, they also 
get Camels and Heavy Camels. Husbandry is also available to provide a speed 
boost to Cavalry Units. In the Blacksmith, everything is available to the 
Turks there. They have Forging, Iron Casting and Blast Furnace to boost 
their attacks, and they also have Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor 
and Plate Barding Armor to boost their defenses. Yep, nothing missing in 
particular except for the Paladins.

We get to review the Turks' navy next. For the 3 main lines of ships, the 
Turks get the most powerful version of 2 of them, notably the Galleon and 
Heavy Demolition Ship. Fire Ships cannot be upgraded to Fast Fire Ships. 
However, that is peanuts when compared to their Cannon Galleons and Elite 
Cannon Galleons. Remember that those 2 units are receiving a significant 
bonus in their HP. This makes them much harder to kill than when compared 
to the other Galleons. The Turkish navy is definitely as high tech as they 
are recorded in the History Books. First of all, Careening and Dry Dock 
are both available for research, and so is Shipwright. So, Turkish ships 
can also be cheaper with respect to wood.

Turkish base Defenses come next. Turks have both Stone Walls and Fortified 
Walls, and also have Gates. Their Towers are definitely the most 
comprehensive of all middle eastern civilizations. They have Watch Towers, 
Guard Towers and Keeps available. And since they are a gunpowder 
civilization, Turks get the Bombard Tower as well! As for building upgrades, 
Turks get the whole lot, they get Masonry and Architecture. (Turkish 
Architecture is some real thing, eh? But they are not as big as the Saracens' 
though.) Treadmill Crane is also available for them to build buildings 
faster. When it comes to Castles, Turks also get the Hoardings upgrade 
to increase the Castles' hit points by a massive 1000.

Now, for the Monastery, where the Turkish Monks are analyzed. (Oh I should 
say Imams since Turks are really Muslims.) In the Castle Age, Turks seem 
to have everything that has to offer. They get the HP boost, Speed boost, 
and the abilities to convert buildings, siege weapons and even other Monks. 
However, the Turkish Monks are quite complacent. Once they get to the 
Imperial Age, they won't bother learning new things, this is why Block 
Printing and Illumination are both absent from the Turkish line up. It's 
the Faith upgrade, which lowers the chance of conversion by enemy Monks 
by half. (And that is available to all civilizations!)

How are the Turks doing when it comes to Siege Weapons, surely the 
civilization which taunts cannons to capture Constantinople must have some 
powerful techniques. Of course, this does mean the Turks have Bombard 
Cannons. They also have this 50% HP boost, although it does not help them 
as much as it does help the Cannon Galleons. Heavy Scorpions and Siege 
Rams are available, but their Magonels are woefully inadequate since they 
can't even be upgraded into Onagers. So, you should rely on Bombard Cannons 
instead to assault the enemies' base. One minor setback for the Turks is 
that Siege Engineers is not available for research as well. This means 
that the guys who sacked Constantinople really are not as smart as you 
think they should be, and the Bombard Cannons have to get closer.

When it comes to economy, the Turks are not bad. They are especially good 
at gathering Gold since they have a 15% mining bonus on all Gold Miners. 
However, the same cannot be said about their Stone Miners. This is because 
Stone Shaft Mining is not available for research, so to keep your Bombard 
Towers up and running, you might as well have an extra Stone Miner or two. 
Turks don't seem to exercise Crop Rotation as well, but what crops do they 
get when everywhere is so dry and sandy? Two Man Saw and Gold Shaft Mining 
are there for them too. So is the Guilds upgrade for the Turks.

Finally, let's look at the Turkish Unique Unit, the Janissary. "Some of 
the best units in the Turkish armies were the janissaries. These men were 
slaves captured as children and raised under Islam to be fanatical warriors. 
They wore distinctive white headgear and marched into battle accompanied 
by music. They fought on foot with a variety of weapons, including early 
firearms when these weapons reached the Middle East. The military was their 
entire life and they took great pride in their ability. They led the 
successful assault into Constantinople and the unsuccessful Turkish 
attacks against Malta and Vienna."

Janissaries are the slave gunmen of the Turks. I read about them in the 
history books. In the Age of Empires, they are armed no less with Hand 
Cannons. They are better than Hand Cannoneers in the respect that they 
have superior attack, better armor and they have no minimum range at all. 
Which means when the enemy gets close, these guys don't need to withdraw 
and back up. Just keep on shooting. It costs only 850 Food and 750 Gold 
to upgrade Janissaries into Elite Janissaries. Always have some of these 
to support your Crossbowmen, since the Turks do not have Arbalests. 
Remember not to let Cavalry get close and you will be fine.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers 
should come out in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers 
over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. (7 Villagers are to collect 
food.) Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, and train 
even more Villagers. The next batch of 5 should go over to the nearest 
large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. (I have 
calculated that this build order is sufficient for you to advance to Feudal 
Age in about 5 minutes if Loom is not researched. If you don't mind waiting 
a minute more, train 2 to 3 Villagers to make your gathering faster) 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the Villagers you 
need are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom 
button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile. Saracens do not get that many bonuses in early game 
economy, so you should Farm as soon as possible.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, you are likely to be starting with your 
Farm based economy. I have found out recently that for a comfortable Food 
supply, you will need 3 to 4 more Farmers and maybe 3 to 4 more Lumberjacks. 
3 more Villagers are to start to mine Gold, since they work faster, we 
need only 3, train another to start Stone Mining. Let's start building 
an army. So should we rush the enemy? My answer is no. First of all, Turks 
don't get any head start capabilities. Their infantry are just the regular 
infantry, and the good units are still not available. Therefore, map 
control is rather important for them. So, just go and look for a spot where 
there are lots of mineral resources nearby. I am talking about Gold and 
Stone. Have the Villager in position, preferably supported by the Scout 
Cavalry and some Militia if you want. Once the Feudal Age pops up, have 
the Villager Pop up a Watch Tower or 2, and then build an Archery Range 
over the spot. The Archers can then guard the area, and if things go wrong, 
they can hide in one of the 2 Watch Towers and help in that tower's attack 
and perhaps have some rest from the enemies. The best way is to control 
an area that is in the way of the most direct route to your base so that 
you can stop most rushes. Oh, and start mining those resources so that 
the enemy cannot even if they manage to break through. (Remember that Turks 
also don't get Stone Shaft Mining.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 3 of them are to mine Gold and 
3 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. Once Hand Cart 
is researched, you may want to start saving for Castle Age when you have 
the food. Fast Castling is the way to go since most of the Turks' bonuses 
aren't even in effect! (I am talking about the gunpowder bonus.)

Have your Militia (or maybe Men at Arms) and Archers guard any blind spots 
at home for now. You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, 
farming and Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The 
first upgrades you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and 
Man at Arms. You need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, 
since they are required to support any outlying mines you have currently 
controlled. They can also counterattack the enemy if you are successful 
in holding back several of their rush attacks. At the same time, train 
even more Archers and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and enter the enemy's 
base. It's possible to pull back anytime and have the Archers hide in those 
Watch Towers to rest and maybe shred a couple of enemy soldiers in case 
things don't go well as planned.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Archers target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry if your scout is 
unfortunate enough to be killed. Only food is needed. Have him scout out 
more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you are playing a 2 vs 
2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you can see what your ally 
is up to as well, if he is present. Start building Trade Carts, up to 5 
if possible so that you have another source of Gold. This only applies 
to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 5 Trade Cogs to trade 
with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. It's unlikely that 
you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys are rather crap 
at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. While Saving 
up for Castle Age, Wheelbarrow, Forging and Fletching maybe researched 
first. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you have more than enough 
Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food and are in a hurry, you 
can always buy more Food from the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute 
you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
any time soon, so get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Turks are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! You can now harness the power 
of the Turkish Army and have a fast Castle Age attack. In the Archery Range, 
immediately upgrade your Archers to Crossbowmen. (The upgrades aren't 
expensive, but the Knights are running the show here.) Also build a castle 
(using 2 Villagers if possible.) and start training a couple of Janissaries. 
Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple of Battering 
Rams. Also train around 5 Knights (Camels are not that necessary yet.) 
to complement your men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base 
to guard against enemy attacks.) While your units are marching out to the 
enemy, build a University and quickly research Ballistics since they are 
vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also build a Monastery and train 
maybe a pair of Monks if you have the Gold. Research Redemption as you 
make your way to the enemy base. 

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen and Janissaries 
take out any Spearmen that are up. Remember to ask your Janissaries to 
target enemies that are close, since they are inaccurate at targets far 
away. They run the show, and are to target the Villagers so that their 
booming economy would be rather weakened and suffer a slump. Even if they 
suddenly get to the Castle Age and start pumping out Knights, they will 
basically be sending lambs to the slaughter since they are coming out one 
by one and are outnumbered. Another method is to convert their production 
buildings. This particularly goes to the Stable. If you manage to get one 
before the Monks are killed, you can train troops under their front door 
and they could be beaten at this point. I hear that you can finally have 
fun with Camels! (One of my fav units.)

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, pop up a Castle or two, and buy Stone if needed. Ballistics 
in the University should come up immediately. Train some Camels and fast. 
Their Attack Bonus and high HP makes them great at defending Cavalry attacks. 
Any Archers can be taken out by arrows of the Castle itself. Whatever you 
do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical of your 
recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack with 
the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you frequently have clashes and yet they are just scratches 
on the surface. You have to decide on which upgrades to get first while 
you are heated in battle. Turks have a cavalry unit that counters enemy 
cavalry much better than Spearmen. So, let's see to the Cavalry first. 
This is why you have to research Iron Casting and Chain Barding Armor. 
Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. The 2 
Infantry upgrades are to be given a lower priority. There are also upgrades 
for Watch Towers to Guard Towers in the University. Consider researching 
Masonry on the double to make your buildings tougher. Treadmill Crane comes 
next if you have the stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Turks are the Monks. Like everyone 
else, it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him 
go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can 
have another source of Gold. Turkish Monks (or I should say Imams!) are 
better at multitasking (but get complacent and refuse to learn more stuff 
in the next age!), so this time, let's improve their converting range. 
Research Redemption and Atonement first. If you get to Castle Age before 
your enemies, you have an advantage since you get Monks before them. As 
for the Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a must, but Careening can be 
treated in low priority if you are on a land based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 30 to 40 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Camels 
into Heavy Camels. Those are the stronger Camels, and are to counter the 
new influx of Cavaliers and Paladins once your opponents get to Imperial 
Age. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be 
researched since they give the Turks gunpowder units like Hand Cannoneers 
and Bombard Cannons. Keeps also are important in defense now. Bombard 
Towers will be used in attacks. Other important upgrades to be researched 
first of the Imperial Age include Elite Janissaries, Blast Furnace, Plate 
Barding Armor, Arbalests, Galleon and Siege Engineers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 45 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 55 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be diverse since the Turks' specialty is gunpowder 
units, which are to be used for support. Have 5 to 6 Siege Rams, 10 Heavy 
Camels and 10 Cavaliers, on one team. At the same time, have a separate 
team consisting on a swarm of maybe 3 Villagers, 10 Elite Janissaries, 
4 Bombard Cannons, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know 
it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working population, 
you will have a total of just 95 population, which is just about right 
for your assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those units 
set up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles and 
Stables are going to play a significant role in your success.

The 3 Villagers are to build Bombard Towers right at the front line to 
restrict the active area of the enemy. This is particularly effective, 
as long as you can set it up in time since the only units capable of taking 
them out from a range effectively are Trebuchets! Of course, those 
Villagers can just build front line production facilities to replace troops 
that are lost!

You should try to keep the Elite Janissaries alive for as long as possible. 
When a group of them is lined up in a row, marching lines of enemy infantry 
will collapse in a volley or two. I used to hate Hand Cannoneers since 
they are doomed once the enemy gets within slashing range of them. But 
these guys are much tougher and more lethal, so this is just one Hand 
Cannoneer that I would not mind having. In fact, I suggest you replace 
normal Archers with these guys. But whatever you do, keep enemy Paladins 
away from them, since they will fall really, really fast!

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, and 10 Elite Cannon Galleons. Like the Celts, you are to destroy 
the enemy fleet and destroy the docks and keep them on shore. Take note 
that Cannon Galleons and Elite Cannon Galleons get 50% more HP and are 
harder to kill, this is why you don't need that many Galleons to escort 
those killer bombers. Fast Fire Ships are not available anyway. Please 
note that when you defend against enemy naval attacks, Bombard Towers make 
great shoreline defenses, combine this with heated shot, they can sink 
basically most ships with one cannon balls. Always look out for lone islands 
in the water to build even more Bombard Towers. 

Judging by the availability of technologies and their team bonuses, Turks 
have a weak early game. It's a pity that Gold is not very important in 
determining early game advantages, so you may want to consider using the 
extra Gold you have collected to buy even more resources. The weakness 
of the Turks is that their counter units are weak, since they don't have 
Elite Skirmishers and Camels. This makes them overloaded early in the game 
and maybe late in the game as well. Turks may have tough gunpowder units, 
but they do have problems in collecting Stone for their Towers. Anyway, 
if you are a guy for all out gunpowder attacks, Turks are for you.

---------------------
i. Byzantines [AOK6I]
---------------------
History:
The Byzantines took their name from Byzantium, an ancient city on the 
Bosphorus, the strategic waterway linking the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. 
The Roman Emperor Constantine had renamed this city Constantinople in the 
fourth century and made it a sister capital of his empire. This eastern 
partition of the Roman Empire outlived its western counterpart by a 
thousand years, defending Europe against invasions from the east by 
Persians, Arabs, and Turks. The Byzantines persevered because 
Constantinople was well defended by walls and the city could be supplied 
by sea. At their zenith in the sixth century, the Byzantines covered much 
of the territories of the original Roman Empire, lacking only the Iberian 
Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), Gaul (modern France), and Britain. 
The Byzantines also held Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, but by the middle 
of the seventh century they had lost them to the Arabs. From then on their 
empire consisted mainly of the Balkans and modern Turkey. 

The first great Byzantine emperor was Justinian I (482 to 565). His ambition 
was to restore the old Roman Empire and he nearly succeeded. His instrument 
was the greatest general of the age, Belisarius, who crisscrossed the 
empire defeating Persians to the East, Vandals in North Africa, Ostrogoths 
in Italy, and Bulgars and Slavs in the Balkans. In addition to military 
campaigns, Justinian laid the foundation for the future by establishing 
a strong legal and administrative system and by defending the Christian 
Church.

The Byzantine economy was the richest in Europe for many centuries because
Constantinople was ideally sited on trade routes between Asia, Europe, 
the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea. It was an important destination point 
for the Silk Road from China. The nomisma, the principal Byzantine gold 
coin, was the standard for money throughout the Mediterranean for 800 years. 
Constantinople's strategic position eventually attracted the envy and 
animosity of the Italian city-states.

A key strength of the Byzantine Empire was its generally superior army 
that drew on the best elements of the Roman, Greek, Gothic, and Middle 
Eastern experience in war. The core of the army was a shock force of heavy 
cavalry supported by both light infantry (archers) and heavy infantry 
(armored swordsmen). The army was organized into units and drilled in 
tactics and maneuvers. Officers received an education in military history 
and theory. Although outnumbered usually by masses of untrained warriors, 
it prevailed thanks to intelligent tactics and good discipline. The army 
was backed by a network of spies and secret agents that provided information 
about enemy plans and could be used to bribe or otherwise deflect 
aggressors.

The Byzantine navy kept the sea-lanes open for trade and kept supply lines 
free so the city could not be starved into submission when besieged. In 
the eighth century, a land and sea attack by Arabs was defeated largely 
by a secret weapon, Greek fire. This chemical weapon, its composition now 
unknown, was a sort of liquid napalm that could be sprayed from a hose. 
The Arab navy was devastated at sea by Greek fire.

In the seventh and eighth centuries, the Arabs overran Egypt, the Middle 
East, North Africa, and Spain, removing these areas permanently from 
Byzantine control. A Turkish victory at Manzikert in 1071 led to the 
devastation of Asia Minor, the empire's most important source of grain, 
cattle, horses, and soldiers. In 1204 Crusaders led by the Doge of Venice 
used treachery to sack and occupy Constantinople.

In the fourteenth century, the Turks invaded Europe, capturing Adrianople 
and bypassing Constantinople. They settled the Balkans in large numbers 
and defeated a large crusader army at Nicopolis in 1396. In May 1453, 
Turkish sultan Mehmet II captured a weakly defended Constantinople with 
the aid of heavy cannon. The fall of the city brought the Byzantine Empire 
to an end.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
The team bonus of Byzantines is that Monks heal 3 times faster than the 
other civilizations, so you can be back to top form as quickly as possible. 
(However, due to some cruel twisted fate, in the Conqueror's Expansion, 
the heal speed to reduced to only 50% faster, that's 1.5 times faster.) 
It seems that buildings get HP bonuses for free for the Byzantines. In 
the Dark Age, buildings gain 10% more HP, and in Feudal Age, buildings 
have 20% more HP. In Castle Age, buildings have 30% more HP and finally, 
in the Imperial Age, buildings get 40% HP! Superb defenses, I must say. 
It seems that 3 of the counter units, the Pikemen, Skirmisher and Camel 
are all cheaper. They cost 25% less than the other civilizations. Another 
counter unit, this time for ships, the Fire Ships get 20% extra attack! 
There is another discount for the Byzantines. It's that the Advance to 
the Imperial Age costs 33% less, so it costs only 667 Food and 533 Food 
to get to the Imperial Age, giving you an early advantage.

Byzantine Technology Tree:
Byzantines are those Eastern Roman Empire people. They used to be cool 
under Emperor Justinian, but they don't seem to make keeping Rome a high 
priority after he's dead! So, this really sucks for them. A century later, 
those Muslims, conquered the North African and east Mediterranean parts 
of the Empire, and so, the glory of this empire was shrunken. It's just 
too bad for the Byzantines. Another sad thing is, in those days, there 
is no such thing as diplomacy, since the Byzantine Empire shares borders 
with the Muslim Empire, lots of conflict will result! And later the Turks 
came and captured Constantinople and that's the end for them! Anyway, let's 
have a look at this East Roman Technology.

Wow, I can't believe my eyes, you will be surprised at the number of things 
that are shaded. Byzantines have every thing in the Archery Range, Barracks, 
Stable, Dock and Monastery! So, I don't have to analyze anything in 
paragraphs since it's just a bit too comprehensive for me! They get all 
types of towers, and since they already have HP bonuses, Masonry and 
Architecture will not be available for research. But Hoardings will still 
be there, come my little 8000+ HP Castle! The only place without a complete 
selection is the Siege Workshop. Byzantines only get the Siege Ram, no 
Siege Onagers or Heavy Scorpions for them. But at least they still get 
the Bombard Cannon. In the Blacksmith, all Imperial Age upgrades are 
available, except the Blast Furnace, this can create a big difference in 
Byzantine offense. So, this is why in spite of so many technologies 
available, the Byzantines are considered to be the weakest civilization. 
In the University, Heated Shot, Treadmill Crane and Siege Engineers are 
not available. (I guess this is the trade off for having the most options 
among the civilizations.) As for the economy, the Byzantines are perfect, 
having Stone Shaft Mining, Gold Shaft Mining, Two Man Saw, Guilds and Crop 
Rotation. That's the end of the tech tree part. Phew! That's quick.

Anyway, let's go straight to the Byzantine Unique Unit, the Cataphract! 
"The Byzantine army carried on many of the military traditions of the old 
Roman Empire into the Middle Ages. This was a professional force that was 
well trained and well led. Officers studied tactics and command. The army 
was organized into formal units that maintained their own traditions for 
centuries. The best units in the Byzantine army were partially armored 
cavalrymen called cataphracts. They fought with several weapons, 
including the bow and sword. With plains to the east and north of their 
empire, the cataphract was ideally suited for combat against the unarmored 
cavalry of their enemies. The Byzantine army went into decline partially 
because it lost the plains of Asia Minor from which it had drawn both horses 
and cavalrymen for service as cataphracts."

We have a standard issue unique Cavalry Unit for the Byzantines. They are 
the Cataphracts. Cataphracts are cavalry with an attack bonus against 
infantry! Now that Knights are already good against infantry units, 
Cataphracts bring it one step higher. What's more, they are resistant to 
Pikemen. It takes 4 fully upgraded Pikemen to bring down a Fully upgraded 
Elite Cataphract! So, basically, the Cataphract's sole weakness is the 
Camel, and only 6 civilizations get to use them. So, it's really hard to 
stop Cataphracts, making them one of the most powerful units in the game. 
If you read the instruction manual, you will find that Cataphracts are 
weak against Knights. A possible reason is that their HP and Attack are 
inferior to them. But Cataphracts are just 1 Attack lower than Knights 
and Elite Cataphracts are just as powerful as Cavaliers, and only 10 HP 
behind Paladins. Their Armor is the same. Since most civilizations don't 
have Paladins, you can feel free to train Cataphracts in place of Knights. 
Since Cataphracts are so powerful, upgrading them to the Elite Cataphract 
is very expensive at 1600 Food and 800 Gold.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. Meanwhile, 
the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area and see if there 
are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot 
over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers 
should come out in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers 
over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. (7 Villagers are to collect 
food.) Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, and train 
even more Villagers. The next batch of 5 should go over to the nearest 
large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. (I have 
calculated that this build order is sufficient for you to advance to Feudal 
Age in about 5 minutes if Loom is not researched. If you don't mind waiting 
a minute more, train 2 to 3 Villagers to make your gathering faster) 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the Villagers you 
need are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom 
button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile. Saracens do not get that many bonuses in early game 
economy, so you should Farm as soon as possible.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, you are likely to be starting with your 
Farm based economy. I have found out recently that for a comfortable Food 
supply, you will need 3 to 4 more Farmers and maybe 3 to 4 more Lumberjacks. 
3 more Villagers are to start to mine Gold, since they work faster, we 
need only 3, train another to start Stone Mining. Let's start building 
an army. So should we rush the enemy? My answer is no. First of all, Turks 
don't get any head start capabilities. Their infantry are just the regular 
infantry, and the good units are still not available. Therefore, map 
control is rather important for them. So, just go and look for a spot where 
there are lots of mineral resources nearby. I am talking about Gold and 
Stone. Have the Villager in position, preferably supported by the Scout 
Cavalry and some Militia if you want. Once the Feudal Age pops up, have 
the Villager Pop up a Watch Tower or 2, and then build an Archery Range 
over the spot. You will be pleased to know that Byzantine Watch Towers 
already have 20% HP, so they have 1800HP and hence are harder to bust. 
The Archers can then guard the area, and if things go wrong, they can hide 
in one of the 2 Watch Towers and help in that tower's attack and perhaps 
have some rest from the enemies. The best way is to control an area that 
is in the way of the most direct route to your base so that you can stop 
most rushes. Oh, and start mining those resources so that the enemy cannot 
even if they manage to break through. 

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 3 of them are to mine Gold and 
3 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. Once Hand Cart 
is researched, you may want to start saving for Castle Age when you have 
the food. Fast Castling is the way to go since most of the Turks' bonuses 
aren't even in effect! (I am talking about the gunpowder bonus.)

Have your Militia (or maybe Men at Arms) and Archers guard any blind spots 
at home for now. You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, 
farming and Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The 
first upgrades you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and 
Man at Arms. You need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, 
since they are required to support any outlying mines you have currently 
controlled. They can also counterattack the enemy if you are successful 
in holding back several of their rush attacks. At the same time, train 
even more Archers and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and enter the enemy's 
base. It's possible to pull back anytime and have the Archers hide in those 
Watch Towers to rest and maybe shred a couple of enemy soldiers in case 
things don't go well as planned.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Archers target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry if your scout is 
unfortunate enough to be killed. Only food is needed. Have him scout out 
more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you are playing a 2 vs 
2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you can see what your ally 
is up to as well, if he is present. Start building Trade Carts, up to 5 
if possible so that you have another source of Gold. This only applies 
to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 5 Trade Cogs to trade 
with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. It's unlikely that 
you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys are rather crap 
at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. While Saving 
up for Castle Age, Wheelbarrow, Forging and Fletching maybe researched 
first. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you have more than enough 
Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food and are in a hurry, you 
can always buy more Food from the market and ask any friendly Ally to tribute 
you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
any time soon, so get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Turks are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! You can now harness the power 
of the Turkish Army and have a fast Castle Age attack. In the Archery Range, 
immediately upgrade your Archers to Crossbowmen. (The upgrades aren't 
expensive, but the Knights are running the show here.) Also build a castle 
(using 2 Villagers if possible.) and start training a couple of Cataphracts. 
Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple of Battering 
Rams. Also train around 5 Camels to complement your men (This is an optional 
task, since Cataphracts do well against infantry). (Don't forget to leave 
some units in your base to guard against enemy attacks.) While your units 
are marching out to the enemy, build a University and quickly research 
Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also 
build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have the Gold. 
Research Redemption as you make your way to the enemy base. 

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Crossbowmen and Janissaries 
take out any Spearmen that are up. Remember to ask your Janissaries to 
target enemies that are close, since they are inaccurate at targets far 
away. They run the show, and are to target the Villagers so that their 
booming economy would be rather weakened and suffer a slump. Even if they 
suddenly get to the Castle Age and start pumping out Knights, they will 
basically be sending lambs to the slaughter since they are coming out one 
by one and are outnumbered. Another method is to convert their production 
buildings. This particularly goes to the Stable. If you manage to get one 
before the Monks are killed, you can train troops under their front door 
and they could be beaten at this point. I hear that you can finally have 
fun with Camels! (One of my fav units.)

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, pop up a Castle or two, and buy Stone if needed. Ballistics 
in the University should come up immediately. Train some Camels and fast. 
The discount you have for them makes Byzantines a good defensive 
civilization. Their Attack Bonus and high HP makes them great at defending 
Cavalry attacks. Any Archers can be taken out by arrows of the Castle itself. 
Even if they try to ram your Castle, they will still take a long time since 
Byzantine Castles have over 6000 HP in the Castle Age. Whatever you do, 
you should protect your Villagers since they are critical of your recovery 
if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack with the troops 
I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and you frequently have clashes and yet they are just scratches 
on the surface. You have to decide on which upgrades to get first while 
you are heated in battle. The Byzantines have a cavalry unit that counters 
enemy cavalry much better than Spearmen, and they get a discount too. So, 
let's see to the Cavalry first. This is why you have to research Iron Casting 
and Chain Barding Armor. Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve 
Tower Attack. The 2 Infantry upgrades are to be given a lower priority. 
There are also upgrades for Watch Towers to Guard Towers in the University. 
Consider researching Masonry on the double to make your buildings tougher. 
Treadmill Crane comes next if you have the stone to do so.

Now, another thing available to the Byzantines are the Monks. Like everyone 
else, it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him 
go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can 
have another source of Gold. Turkish Monks (or I should say Imams!) are 
better at multitasking (but get complacent and refuse to learn more stuff 
in the next age!), so this time, let's improve their converting range. 
Research Redemption and Atonement first. If you get to Castle Age before 
your enemies, you have an advantage since you get Monks before them. 
Byzantine Monks make good medics, since they heal much faster than others, 
and hence you should include more of them in your army. As for the Docks, 
upgrading to War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low 
priority if you are on a land based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Byzantines have another useful headstart bonus for them. The Advance to 
Imperial Age costs 33% less than other civilizations. This should be their 
advantage. Once you have 667 Food and 533 Gold to spare, start researching. 
You shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such 
a big jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial 
Age in around 30 to 40 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Camels 
into Heavy Camels. Those are the stronger Camels, and are to counter the 
new influx of Cavaliers and Paladins once your opponents get to Imperial 
Age. You may also consider using Paladins, sure, they may not benefit from 
Blast Furnace, but their 14 base attack makes them more powerful than many 
other civilizations who don't have Paladins already. In the University, 
the Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched since they 
give the Byzantine gunpowder units like Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. 
Keeps also are important in defense now. Bombard Towers will be used in 
attacks. Other important upgrades to be researched first of the Imperial 
Age include Elite Cataphract, Plate Barding Armor, Arbalests, Fast Fire 
Ship, Galleon and Siege Engineers. It's just a pity that Blast Furnace 
is not given to you.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 45 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 55 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be diverse since the Turks' specialty is gunpowder 
units, which are to be used for support. Have 5 to 6 Siege Rams, 10 Heavy 
Camels and 10 Elite Cataphracts, on one team. At the same time, have a 
separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 3 Villagers, 10 Paladins, 
4 Bombard Cannons, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know 
it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working population, 
you will have a total of just 95 population, which is just about right 
for your assault. No Archers are included in the lineup, since the Elite 
Cataphracts take out infantry like knives through butter. It's just a 
matter of whether you can get those units set up in time, so Conscription 
and the building of multiple Castles and Stables are going to play a 
significant role in your success.

The 3 Villagers are to build Bombard Towers right at the front line to 
restrict the active area of the enemy. This is particularly effective, 
as long as you can set it up in time since the only units capable of taking 
them out from a range effectively are Trebuchets! Of course, those 
Villagers can just build front line production facilities to replace troops 
that are lost!

Elite Cataphracts are your ace in the hole. One single Elite Cataphract 
can take out 2 to 3 Pikemen single handedly and still have some breathing 
space. If you build lots of them, the enemy is going to have a hard time 
countering them without overloading the population. The only thing they 
have to fear are the Heavy Camels and Paladins, so they are already tougher 
than most of the civilizations when you use those powerful riders. Have 
fun being defensive. It's amazing that such a loser in history is given 
such a powerful Elite Unique Unit.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Fast Fire Ships, 5 Galleons and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Since Fast Fire 
Ships murder enemy ships especially fast, you can control the seas using 
them as the main ship. Like the Celts, you are to destroy the enemy fleet 
and destroy the docks and keep them on shore. Take note that Cannon Galleons 
and Elite Cannon Galleons get 50% more HP and are harder to kill, this 
is why you don't need that many Galleons to escort those killer bombers. 
Fast Fire Ships are not available anyway. Please note that when you defend 
against enemy naval attacks, Bombard Towers make great shoreline defenses, 
combine this with heated shot, they can sink basically most ships with 
one cannon balls. Always look out for lone islands in the water to build 
even more Bombard Towers. 

Byzantines, with their building HP bonuses and cheaper counter units are 
definitely a Defensive civilization, as the game technology tree states. 
It's made even more obvious that the most important attack upgrade is absent 
from their line up. So, my advice is to make a good Defense into a good 
Attack. You should expand slowly across the map with your 8000+ HP Castles 
and 2900+ HP Bombard Towers, and then you should be able to crush your 
enemy with much more ease. That's all I have to say for now.

-------------------
j. Persians [AOK6J]
-------------------
History:
The Persian Empire had existed for many centuries when the Middle Ages 
began. It had been reassembled following the conquest by Alexander in the 
fourth century BC and the subsequent breakup of his empire in later 
centuries. The Persians had been fighting the Romans since the third 
century AD.

The Persian Empire stretched from Mesopotamia to India and from the Caspian 
Sea to the Persian Gulf, encompassing the modern nations of Iraq, Iran, 
and Afghanistan. They fought the Romans, and later the Byzantines, for 
control of modern Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Arabia. 
The capital of the Persian Empire was Ctesiphon, called Baghdad today.

During the third and fourth centuries, the Romans made several attempts 
to subdue the Persians. In 364 a peace treaty was signed between the two 
that allowed the Persians to consolidate their power to the east and north. 
Beginning with the sixth century, the Persians began attacking the 
Byzantine Empire in Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and modern Turkey. The war 
between the two powers went back and forth. In 626 the Persians besieged 
Byzantium itself without success, and the Byzantines were able to invade 
Persia the following year. Peace was made between the two exhausted empires 
in 628.

The Persians were unprepared for the fury of the Islamic Arabs in the 
seventh century. The Sassanid dynasty of Persia ended in battle in 636. 
The Persians did not have a capital with defenses comparable to those of 
Constantinople. Muslim conquest of Persia was complete by 651.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
Hmm, here's one ancient civilization. The game itself considered the 
Persians to exist to the 3 digit years only, not even 4 digits, while there 
is still a Muslim Persian Empire later on. Anyway, let's look at how this 
ancient civilization fare in their bonuses. You will be pleased to know 
that all Knights will have an extra 2 attack against Archers, this means 
that Knights are more effective in dealing with those pests. At the same 
time, the Persians do have an extra economical bonus early game. They start 
with 50 extra wood and food. So, you have the resources to train one more 
Villager to build faster later on. At the same time, the population 
production centers, the Town Center and Dock each have 2 times the HP than 
the others! This makes them rather difficult to defeat even in Castle Age. 
Oh, and there is this bonus that says, Work Rate +10% in Feudal Age, 15% 
in Castle Age and 20% Imperial Age, my guess is that the speed of production 
of Villagers and Fishing Ships increases for the Persians, and Naval Units 
can be pumped out faster again for them!

Persian Technology Tree:
Now, it's time to see how these Ancient people fare in technology. We start 
with the Archers. In the Archery Range, Persians get to train Archers and 
Crossbowmen, but not Arbalests. So, the mainstream Archers are weaker than 
the others. On the other hand, they do get Skirmishers and Elite Skirmishers, 
unlike the Turks who don't even have Elite Skirmishers! Cavalry Archers 
and Heavy Cavalry Archers are also available, and what is this? Hand 
Cannoneers are there for hire too? What on Earth? Surely it's only 500 
AD, there really is no such thing as gunpowder at that time, right? Those 
programmers are definitely ignorant to the history of the Dark Ages, then. 
Oh, and it seems that the Bracer upgrade is not available for the Archers, 
so here we have another weakness for them.

The next thing to inspect are the infantrymen. Persians get both Spearmen 
and Pikemen, so their anti-cavalry defenses are there in place. As for 
the mainstream infantry, they get Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, 
Two Handed Swordsmen and *hack* *hack* *cough* *cough*! I am very sorry, 
I am getting used to every single civilization having all 5 infantry that 
I made a mistake here. Oh, the Persians don't get Two Handed Swordsmen. 
Long Swordsmen is the toughest infantry they get! So, it's just a sad thing. 
Persian infantry surely is weak. But still, you better not cry. They still 
get the Blast Furnace and Plate Mail Armor. (But still, there must be some 
strange reason for them to get only Castle Age infantry units. They are 
just like Saracens, who are stuck with Knights even in the Imperial Age.)

Now, on to the Cavalry. Wow, it's a second for all civilizations! This 
is another civilizations with all the options in white! You now what this 
means? Persians get Knights, Cavaliers and the all mighty Paladin! (It's 
a shock, this is the first desert civilization with the Paladin, so the 
Persians must be Serious (with a capital S) with their Cavalry, right?) 
At the same time, they get the Camel and the Heavy Camel since they are 
a desert civilization! This is the second of the 2 civilizations who get 
both Heavy Camels and Paladins! Of course, the units themselves are not 
everything. You must take note of the upgrades in the Blacksmith as well. 
Persians get Forging, Iron Casting and Blast Furnace to upgrade their 
attack. At the same time, Scale Barding Armor, Chain Barding Armor and 
Plate Barding Armor to increase their defenses. Compared to Byzantines, 
where they don't have Blast Furnace, is one significant advantage. So, 
the Persians' Cavalry is what I say, PERFECT! I know, the Franks may get 
192 HP Paladins, but when the Heavy Camels arrive, they will know the 
meaning of true fear. Oh, stay tuned. You have not seen the best of the 
Persian Cavalry yet.

Now, it's time to come to the Docks. As the gateway to the East, the Persians 
do have some fine navy. It seems that everything but one option is white. 
And that technology is Shipwright. But still, it's the units that count 
in the short term, and the fleet of Galleons, Fast Fire Ships, Heavy 
Demolition Ships and Elite Cannon Galleons surely will keep you happy. 
(Persians aren't famous for their ship designs, anyway. The Phoenicians 
get the credit for building such fine vessels to trade.) Anyway, my guess 
the lack of Shipwright is due to the increased work rate of the Dock, so 
there has to be something taken out as a pay back.

As for the base defenses, the Persians get a weird configuration. They 
do have Stone Walls and Gates, but their walls cannot be upgraded to 
Fortified Walls. At the same time, the Persians play the role of 
"civilization with Middle Eastern architecture that does not get the Keep". 
That's right, like the Franks and the Vikings, Persians cannot upgrade 
Guard Towers to Keeps. Of course, this also means that they don't get the 
Bombard Towers as well. As for building upgrades, Persians get both Masonry 
and Architecture. I always thought that the palaces are Persepolis looks 
nice, so they certainly deserve this upgrade. However, Treadmill Crane 
is not given to the Persians, so people who want to construct faster will 
be out of luck. In the Castle, Hoardings is also provided to boost the 
Castle HP by 1000.

Persian Monks are what you say, INFERIOR. In the Castle Age, they get only 
one upgrade, Fervor, which is essentially the speed upgrade. Atonement, 
Sanctity and Redemption are not available, so which means that not only 
the Monks convert a narrow range of units, they get killed much easier 
than others. In the Imperial Age, there may be some hope for the Monks 
since they learn Block Printing, so they convert units from 3 range further. 
However, Illumination is still unavailable, so in short, Persian Monks 
aren't the best they have to offer.

We now examine the Siege Weapons of the Persians. To the Siege Workshop! 
In the 3 main lines of Siege Weapons, the Persians get the ultimate versions 
of 2 of them, the Heavy Scorpion and Siege Ram. The Siege Onager is absent 
from the listing. How sad. Anyway, they still get Bombard Cannons. But 
the thing is, since when does a civilization which thrived in the 500s 
get cannons? At least we have something to help the Persians bust the walls 
and Castles of the enemy. Siege Engineers is absent from the University, 
so it's another minor setback.

We now come to the economy of the Persians. This is another sector that 
the Persians are perfect at. All boost technologies are available, and 
this should suit well with the Persian headstart of extra food and wood. 
Finally, we come to the Unique Unit. It's the War Elephant! You will like 
these huge fellows. "The last civilization in the Middle East to employ 
war elephants was Persia, who got their elephants from India. The war 
elephant was a powerful complement to an army, especially against troops 
with no experience against them. They were very difficult to kill, but 
remained difficult to control also. If they could be directed into an enemy 
formation, the enemy troops almost always fell back in disarray."

Oh God, there's no stopping them. They are coming to get me! The Persian 
War Elephant is one of the meanest cavalry units in the game. They have 
obscenely high HP, and obscene attacks. These are literally Siege Weapon 
Cavalry. If you don't know how to counter them, you are most likely dead 
if your opponent sends in a large Horde of War Elephants. These guys ram 
down anything that gets in the way and moves on to destroy. The only unit 
with the needed attack bonus is the Pikeman, and you still have to outnumber 
each War Elephant by at least 3 to 1, which means that if your population 
is limited, you really can't stop these guys. Fortunately for you, War 
Elephants are extremely slow. This makes them vulnerable to conversion 
by Monks. Therefore, it's a good idea for you to station Monks at the 
entrances to your base as soon as you hit Castle Age if one of your opponents 
picked the Persian side. On the other hand, if you are playing as Teutons, 
Turks, Byzantines or Chinese, guard strategic points with Bombard Towers.

Luckily for all the upgrade for War Elephants is extremely high priced 
at 1600 Food and 1200 Gold. Even though they don't use swords, Forging, 
Iron Casting and Blast Furnace still works for them. Oh my god! This gives 
them a massive 24 attack.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. There 
should also be a small flock of Sheep nearby. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry 
should run around the immediate area and see if there are any Sheep for 
you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot over to the Mill 
so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers should come out 
in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Forage 
Bushes to collect food. Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town 
Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch of 5 should go over 
to the nearest large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. 
(For the Persians, I recommend that you have 7 Villagers Collecting Food, 
5 Chopping Wood and 1 Builder in the Dark Age, since you can build more 
with the Town Centers' Increased Work Rate in the Feudal Age later on.) 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water. You can 
always postpone the building of Fishing Boats. Just build the docks, and 
take advantage of the Docks' increased Work Rate in the Feudal Age so that 
the Persians catch up on their fishing. 

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 13 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade if needed. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile. You should get a head start on the transition to Feudal 
Age since you will train 2 fewer Villagers.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) Since Persians 
get a head start bonus (50 Food, 50 Wood) when compared to other 
civilizations, they can rush the enemy since less food is used. Build a 
Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. You should 
try aiming for Feudal Age in around 5 minutes of playing time. Try to have 
the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Militia won't make much of a 
difference, but they can drive the enemy Villagers from their resource 
collection spots to hide or fight back (Militia are tougher than Villagers), 
and hence slowing down their production. While you are moving in, have 
the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and start 
upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt the 
enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down. It 
is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat 
to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the 
buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is 
bound to fight back in the long run. If anything goes wrong or you suffer 
too many losses, pull back to your little outpost and try to hold it with 
the help of several Archers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 10 more Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine 
Gold and 2 of them Stone, 2 of them to Farm and 2 to chop wood. Have idle 
Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. Continue with 
the construction of houses. Train some Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and 
have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers ready to explore the land. Go 
and find any mineral resources (Gold and Stone) and build Watch Towers 
there. It is not so much needed for you to mine those yet. Remember that 
Town Centers have a 10% extra Work Rate in the Feudal Age, so Villagers 
can be pumped out faster for your to expand your economy. 

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outposts you have currently controlled. At 
the same time, train even more Men at Arms and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. (It's much smoother for the Persians 
due to the extra 10% Work Rate of the Docks.) Remember to guard the trade 
routes. It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since 
Galleys are rather crap at this point. However, since Persian Docks get 
2 times the HP and have a 10% extra Work Rate in the Feudal Age, it may 
be the time to pump out Galleys to hurt the enemies' base.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Town Watch researched 
as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks are starting to go sparse, 
have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. It's like farming, but 
they are doing everything on water. The next thing on the Agenda is to 
advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you 
have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food 
and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from the market and ask 
any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Persians are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Viking bonus of tough infantry. In the Barracks, immediately upgrade your 
Infantry to Long Swordsman. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the cheap 
infantry are to support the Knights who are running the show from now on.) 
Also build a castle and start training a couple of War Elephants (1 or 
2 will do, due to the cost). Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and 
pump out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to 
complement your men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to 
guard against enemy attacks.) At the same time, build a University and 
quickly research Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. 
You can also build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have 
Gold. Use them to heal your units in battle.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers (with extra efficiency since they 
have +2 attack against enemy Archers) while your Long Swordsmen take out 
any Spearmen that are up. War Elephants are to be your Siege Cavalry units, 
since they ram very rapidly against the walls of buildings, and can knock 
them all down with their superior attacks. (Only Pikemen can counter them 
effectively in this point, but they need lots of them.)

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Train a War Elephant to help defend 
your base. He is to take the strain until the Pikemen arrive. Whatever 
you do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical of your 
recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack with 
the troops I suggest you to train above. But hey, the enemy really can't 
dent your Town Center, since they get 2 times more HP than normal Town 
Centers, so hiding like a coward is going to work for the Persians.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
War Elephants are very powerful, although they are slow in catching up. 
On the other hand, Knights are much more effective in dealing with enemy 
Archers, and Heavy Camels are there as well. Let's see to the Cavalry first. 
This is why you have to research Iron Casting and Chain Barding Armor. 
Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow to improve Tower Attack. The 2 
Infantry upgrades are to be given a lower priority. You can use any spare 
resources to upgrade your buildings and towers.

Now, another thing available to the Persians are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades in the Castle Age. But they still get the Fervor 
Speed Upgrade. Like everyone else, it's time to do some Relic searching. 
Once you get a Monk, have him go and pick up a relic that is as close to 
you as possible. Then you can have another source of Gold. As for the Docks, 
upgrading to War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low 
priority if you are on a land based map. It goes for everyone. Docks get 
a 15% bonus in Work Rate, so ships can be built even faster now.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Knights 
to Cavaliers and finally Paladins. Those are the strongest Cavalry in the 
game. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to 
be researched since they give the Persians gunpowder units like Hand 
Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons.  Other important upgrades to be researched 
first of the Imperial Age include Elite War Elephant, Conscription, Blast 
Furnace and Plate Barding Armor.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 9 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 43 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 57 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Persian Cavalry. Have 15 Elite War 
Elephants and 20 Paladins, on one team. (There is absolutely no need for 
Heavy Camels since the Elite War Elephants have the heavy armor and HP 
required to take out many enemy Cavalry, including their Paladins!) At 
the same time, have a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 5 Siege 
Rams, 5 Onagers, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's 
kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working population, you 
will have a total of 94 population, which is just about right for your 
assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those units set up in 
time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles and Stables 
are going to play a significant role in your success.

War Elephants are the nastiest bits of work in the game. They readily take 
out any Cavalry unit I can think of, and the Pikemen are supposed to be 
the counter unit of War Elephants. However, they are still extremely 
vulnerable to the War Elephants' attacks. It takes maybe 3 or 4 Pikemen 
to stop a fully upgraded War Elephant. If you build up to a certain critical 
mass, the enemy is definitely going to have lots of trouble trying to stop 
you, and is likely to resign due to the stress!

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 5 Fire Ships and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Don't worry about your 
own Docks. Just build several Guard Towers around it to keep enemy ships 
away. Their extra HP and 20% extra Work Rate in the Imperial Age makes 
it easy for you to start a reactionary force to stop the enemy attacks. 
Like the Celts and everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and 
destroy the docks and keep them on shore. Heated Shot also play an important 
role in keeping enemy ships away. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. 
Persians tend to be like the mirror image of the Saracens. Their Cavalry 
are very strong, but their mainstream Infantry unit is limited to the Castle 
Age version. War Elephants may be tough, but they are easy targets for 
conversion by enemy Monks. Once they manage to convert your troops, you 
are in a rather large mess. So, you must research Faith in the Monastery 
before your final assault, or they will be in trouble.

------------------
k. Mongols [AOK6K]
------------------
History:
The Mongols were nomads from the steppes of Central Asia. They were fierce 
warriors who fought each other over pasturelands and raided developed 
civilizations to the east and south. At the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, the Mongol clans united and began a campaign of foreign conquest. 
Following in the hoofprints of the Huns, their predecessors by a thousand 
years, they carved out one of the largest empires the world has yet seen.

The Mongols inhabited the plains south of Lake Baikal in modern Mongolia. 
At its maximum, their empire stretched from Korea, across Asia, and into 
European Russia to the Baltic Sea coast. They held most of Asia Minor, 
modern Iraq, modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, parts of India, 
parts of Burma, all of China, and parts of Vietnam.

The Mongol clans were united by Temuchin, called Genghis Khan ("mighty 
ruler"), in the early thirteenth century. His ambition was to rule all 
lands between the oceans (Pacific and Atlantic) and he nearly did so. 
Beginning with only an estimated 25,000 warriors, he added strength by 
subjugating other nomads and attacked northern China in 1211. He took 
Beijing in 1215 after a campaign that may have cost 30 million Chinese 
lives. The Mongols then turned west, capturing the great trading city 
Bukhara on the Silk Road in 1220. The city was burned to the ground and 
the inhabitants murdered.

Following Genghis Khan's death in 1227, his son Ogedei completed the 
conquest of northern China and advanced into Europe. He destroyed Kiev 
in 1240 and advanced into Hungary. When Ogedei died on campaign in 1241, 
the entire army fell back to settle the question of succession. Europe 
was spared as Mongol rulers concentrated their efforts against the Middle 
East and southern China. Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis, exterminated the 
Muslim "Assassins" and then took the Muslim capital of Baghdad in 1258. 
Most of the city's 100,000 inhabitants were murdered. In 1260 a Muslim 
army of Egyptian Mamelukes (warrior slaves of high status) defeated the 
Mongols in present-day Israel, ending the Mongol threat to Islam and its 
holy cities.

Kublai Khan, another grandson of Genghis, completed the conquest of China 
in 1279, establishing the Yuan dynasty. Attempted invasions of Japan were 
thrown back with heavy loss in 1274 and 1281. In 1294 Kublai Khan died 
in China, and Mongol power began to decline in Asia and elsewhere. In 1368 
the Yuan dynasty in China was overthrown in favor of the Ming.

In the 1370's a Turkish-Mongol warrior claiming descent from Genghis Khan 
fought his way to leadership of the Mongol states of Central Asia and set 
out to restore the Mongol Empire. His name was Timur Leng (Timur, "the 
Lame," or Tamerlane to Europeans and the Prince of Destruction to Asians). 
With another army of 100,000 or so horsemen, he swept into Russia and Persia, 
fighting mainly other Muslims. In 1398 he sacked Delhi, murdering 100,000 
inhabitants. He rushed west defeating an Egyptian Mameluke army in Syria. 
In 1402 he defeated a large Ottoman Turk army near modern Ankara. On the 
verge of destroying the Ottoman Empire, he turned again suddenly. He died 
in 1405 while marching for China. He preferred capturing wealth and engaged 
in wholesale slaughter, without pausing to install stable governments in 
his wake. Because of this, the huge realm inherited by his sons fell apart 
quickly after his death.

The Mongol Army
The Mongols were nomadic herders and hunters who spent their lives in the 
saddles of their steppe ponies. They learned to ride and use weapons, 
especially the composite bow, at an early age. For hunting and war, every 
able-bodied male under the age of 60 years was expected to take part. The 
armies of the united Mongol tribes consisted of the entire adult male 
population.

They fought under a strict code of discipline. Booty was held collectively. 
The penalty was death for abandoning a comrade in battle. This discipline, 
together with leadership, intelligence-gathering, and organization, 
raised the Mongol force from a cavalry swarm into a true army.

The Mongol army was organized according to a decimal system, with units 
of 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000 men. These numbers for units were probably 
rarely approached due to casualties and attrition. The 10,000-man unit 
was the major fighting unit, like a modern division, capable of sustained 
fighting on its own. Individual soldiers identified most with the 1000-man 
unit of which they were a part, the equivalent of a modern regiment. 
Original Mongol tribes fielded their own 1000-man units. Conquered peoples, 
such as the Tatars and Merkits, were broken up and distributed among other 
units so that they could pose no organized threat to the ruling family.

Genghis Khan created a personal guard unit of 10,000 men. This unit was
recruited across tribal boundaries and selection was a high honor. In its 
early stages it served as a form of honorable hostage-holding. It grew 
into the family household and the source of the growing empire's ruling 
class.

Mongol soldiers at first received no pay other than booty. Advancement 
was based on merit. Once the rapid conquests slowed, a new system of pay 
was put in place. Officers were later able to pass on their posts to heirs.

Each soldier went on campaign with approximately five horses, allowing 
quick changes and rapid movements. No comparable armies moved as rapidly 
as the Mongols until the mechanized armies of the twentieth century.
 
The Mongols fought mainly as light cavalry archers (unarmored), using the 
compound bow. This was a compact weapon of impressive range and penetration 
power. They employed Chinese and Middle Easterners as siege engineers.  
Infantry, garrison troops, and heavy cavalry (wearing armor) that used 
lances came from the armies of subjected peoples.

Mongol Tactics
The Mongol armies relied on firepower, the ability to move quickly, and 
a reputation for ruthlessness that came to precede them. All of their 
opponents moved much more slowly and deliberately. The Mongols looked for 
opportunities to divide an enemy force and overwhelm the pieces with rapid 
bowshots. They sought to surround or encircle enemies and achieve local 
superiority of numbers. Horses of mounted enemies were wounded, 
dismounting the riders and making them more vulnerable.

The Mongol light cavalry could not stand against a heavy cavalry charge, 
so they feigned flight to draw the knights into exhaustive charges that 
left them vulnerable. The fleeing Mongols turned rapidly and became the 
hunter. They excelled in setting ambushes and surprise attacks. Mongol 
army leaders made great use of scouts and synchronized force movements 
to catch the enemy at a disadvantage.

The Mongols made extensive use of terror. If the population of one city 
was massacred after capture, the next city was more likely to surrender 
without a fight. This proved the case, as city after city surrendered upon 
the approach of Mongol armies.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
That's a long history of the Mongols I have written above. Anyway, the 
history of the Mongols has been included with my Chinese History syllabus, 
since Genghis' Khan's son conquered China and established the Yuan Dynasty. 
(Which was kicked out of China in less than 100 years!) Anyway, let's start 
with the Civilization Bonuses of the Mongols. So, it seems that Scout 
Cavalry and Light Cavalry have 2 extra Line of Sight, so they can see further 
around them. So, Scouting will be slightly more effective for the Mongols. 
On the other hand, Cavalry Archers get a bonus in their rates of fire. 
They fire 20% faster, so they are much more suited for hit and run attacks. 
The Light Cavalry have 30% more HP. Now, let's see here. Light Cavalry 
start with 60 HP, and they get 30%, which means 18 more. So, they get a 
total of 78. This makes them even better raiders than before. However, 
they still can't stand up to Knights, so don't even try it. Finally, Hunter 
work 50% faster, so now, you know what is the jack of trade of the food 
collectors during the Dark Age. Head for the closest Deer and Wild Boars 
quickly for your head start!

Mongol Technology Tree:
Besides being very mean marauders and raiders across the Eurasian 
continents, are Mongols very wise in technology. We start with the Archers. 
First of all, they have Archers, Crossbowmen and Cavalry Archers. This 
means that their mainstream archers are perfect in form. Of course, 
Skirmishers and Elite Skirmishers are also there to provide anti Archer 
Defense. Now, being such fierce riders, Mongols certainly have Cavalry 
Archers, to be upgraded to Heavy Cavalry Archers. As good as they are at 
raiding, the Mongols didn't seem to steal any gunpowder anywhere. So, Hand 
Cannoneers are not available in their lineup. Now, as for Archer Armor, 
Mongols are slightly behind since they only have Padded Archer Armor and 
Leather Archer Armor, there is no such thing as Ring Archer Armor, so your 
hit and run strategy must take lots of micromanagement or they can easily 
hit you and kill you.

Now, we come to the Barracks. The Mongols, like the absolute majority of 
the civilizations have a full lineup of mainstream infantry units. That 
is to say, they have Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, Two Handed 
Swordsmen and Champions. At the same time, the Anti Cavalry Lineup is 
complete with their Spearmen and pikemen. Squires is available for them 
to speed up their infantry. Although I have no idea why the Mongols will 
have the Squire system. They may have fighting apprentices, but apprentices 
ARE NOT EQUAL TO SQUIRES! As for the Blacksmith upgrades, the Mongols tend 
to get everything. They get Blast Furnace and Plate Mail Armor, so they 
are one perfect civilization in this respect.

Now, the Mongols are fierce riders, yes? That's what allowed them to destroy 
cities in the way like Samarkand and ride all the way to Venice. But in 
this game, are their cavalry that strong? There is only one way to find 
out, and that is by checking their stables. Well for one thing, their Scout 
Cavalry lineup is strong. They have both Scout Cavalry and Light Cavalry, 
and they are given 2 extra Line of Sight. At the same time, Light Cavalry 
and above gets 30% more HP than others. This may help the Mongols in the 
late game where you will be relying on units that do not require Gold to 
train. On the other hand, their Knights are just typical and nothing so 
spectacular. It's the same old Knights and Cavaliers again. Maybe it's 
because Mongol raiders are supposed to be light and quick, so heavily 
armored troops get the shaft around here. Since Mongolia is a desert country, 
it's not surprising that there are Camels and Heavy Camels to be trained. 
That can scare those powerful Cavalry civilizations of the west! On the 
other hand, the Cavalry are slightly lacking in Blacksmith upgrades. Plate 
Barding Armor is also not available for research in the Imperial Age, so 
they will be slightly more vulnerable than before.

When it comes to the Navy, the abilities of Mongols are rather surprising. 
They actually can fight in water. They get Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships 
and Fast Fire Ships. They can also make use of Cannon Galleons and Elite 
Cannon Galleons when Chemistry is researched. There are actually skilled 
ship builders back then and Shipwright is available, making Mongols 
suitable candidates for long term naval battles. However, their speed is 
slower than others since Dry Dock cannot be researched. Of course, it also 
means that their Transport Ships are restricted to carrying only 10 units, 
and hence they will have a much more inefficient invasion force. Mongols 
are not very powerful at defending against Ships with Towers. Heated Shot 
is not available in the University, so you need to use your own navy to 
hold them at bay.

The next thing to analyze are the Base Defenses. Mongols get Gates, Stone 
Walls and Fortified Walls like the majority of other civilizations. As 
for the Towers, they seem to be playing the role of "civilization with 
Oriental Architecture that has to make do with Guard Towers". They only 
get up to Guard Towers in the Tower line and won't get Keeps, let alone 
Bombard Towers. This must be the consequences of them being a whole bunch 
of nomads. When it comes to building upgrades, the Mongols get the Masonry 
upgrade, but they obviously don't have time for Architecture. However, 
they are able to further fortify their castles with Hoardings, so that 
makes up for this ignorance. Oh, and for nomads, Mongols don't seem to 
build things fast, since Treadmill Crane is not there.

Mongol Monks aren't the strongest believers in the world. In the Castle 
Age, they get only 2 of 4 upgrades. That is, Atonement and Fervor. This 
can prove to be a little bit pathetic, like the Persians since they are 
just too easy to kill. In the Imperial Age, they only get Faith, and it 
seems that everyone else gets Faith too. Therefore, Monks' roles in the 
Mongol Army are not that significant. You are best off using them as Medics 
since you can't convert enough enemies in a short time.

Mongols raiders have besieged many a city, and I am sure that their Siege 
Weapons should work great. And I am not mistaken. All 3 lines of standard 
Siege Weapons are there for use, so Siege Rams, Siege Onagers and Heavy 
Scorpions are there. Of course, it makes natural sense that the Mongols 
have not besieged any city by use of cannon so Bombard Cannons are not 
available to you, even if you research Chemistry. Siege Engineers are also 
there for you to improve the range and building damage of Siege Weapons.

Do Nomads have a good economy? Well, they aren't the best. They may have 
Gold Shaft Mining and Stone Shaft Mining, but all imperial age collection 
upgrades are not there at all. So, you won't be seeing any of Two Man Saw, 
Guilds and Crop Rotation. What a pity.

So, let's get down to the Mongol unique unit, the Mangudai. "The Mongols 
were united by Genghis Khan, who took them off on a campaign of conquest 
that reached from the Pacific to the Mediterranean to Central Europe. The 
Mongols were superb horsemen and each warrior kept a stable of ponies so 
that fresh mounts were always available. The strength of the Mongol armies 
was the horse archer firing a composite bow from the saddle. The best of 
these archers, called the mangudai, used great tactics to catch enemies 
at a disadvantage. They used feints and traps to wear out enemy cavalry 
and shoot it to pieces. Slower troops could be shot to pieces at range 
with little risk. Enemy armies were exhausted and shattered without ever 
coming to grips with the elusive mangudai. The main weakness of the Mongol 
army was that only great leaders could keep it together. When the great 
Khan or later leaders died, the army dissolved into factions bickering 
for primacy."

Once you hit the Castle Age, you will find that there is a new line of 
units called Siege Weapons. One of them, the Battering Ram has 
exceptionally high Pierce Armor, so that can destroy several Towers with 
ease before they start to be worn down. The unique Mongol Cavalry Archer, 
the Mangudai goes against this trend. Why is that? It's because they are 
given with an extremely vital bonus. It's the attack bonus against Siege 
Weapons. This is great. A useful tactic in thwarting Ram attacks is to 
garrison some Mangudai in a castle near the front lines to add support 
fire. When you start noticing Siege Rams and Trebuchets appearing, you 
quickly ungarrison, circle around the enemy units and spray those weapons 
full of arrows. Then they will be much less likely to breach your defenses. 
Now, let's do a side by side comparison with the Cavalry Archers. Elite 
Mangudai may have 10 fewer HP than Heavy Cavalry Archers, but their attack 
is certainly superior, and that bonus definitely serves them well. So, 
it is definitely feasible to train Mangudai only and ignore the Cavalry 
Archers. And finally, it costs 1100 Food and 675 Gold to upgrade from normal 
Mangudai to the Elite Mangudai, compared to 900 Food and 500 Gold for Heavy 
Cavalry Archers.

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest herd of wild animals and build a Mill there. 
I am referring to Deer and Wild Boars. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry should 
run around the immediate area and see if there are any Sheep for you to 
find. It's slightly easier for the Mongols since the Scouts have 2 extra 
line of sight. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot over to the Mill 
so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers should come out 
in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Wild 
Boar or Antelopes to collect food. It's going to be very fast since the 
Villagers work 50% faster compared to others. Continue clicking the 
Villager button in the Town Center, and train even more Villagers. The 
next batch of 7 should go over to the nearest large group of trees so that 
you can start collecting wood. Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around 
the map to search for more Sheep and other resources. Also try to probe 
into your enemies' base. If you do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water.

Once the Wild Animals are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Forage Bushes and Sheep. At the same time, once all 
the 14 Villagers are out and enough houses are built to support them, click 
the Loom button to research Loom upgrade. (Build a Barracks in your base 
during the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once 
you have 500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after 
you have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an 
eye on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable 
sources of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to 
start farming. Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem 
to be increasing in your stockpile.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!)Due to the 
extra food the Hunters get back quickly, you have a slight head start 
against the enemy, and it would be nice for you to rush them. Build a 
Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. You should 
try aiming for Feudal Age in 5 to 7 minutes of playing time. Try to have 
the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Well, the Villagers will either 
fight or retreat to the Town Center, and if they do fight, they will be 
in trouble once you upgrade to Men at Arms. If they do retreat, then you 
have just slowed down their production capabilities. While you are moving 
in, have the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and 
start upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt 
the enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down 
by a lot (but not necessarily non-recoverable). It is quite unlikely for 
you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat to the Town Center 
trick works quite well, but you can just bash the buildings outside the 
range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is bound to fight back in 
the long run. If anything goes wrong or you suffer too many losses, pull 
back to your little outpost and try to hold it with the help of several 
Archers and maybe Skirmishers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 6 Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine Gold and 
2 of them Stone. Have idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range 
and Blacksmith. Continue with the construction of houses. Train some 
Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers 
ready to explore the land. Go and find one area with mineral resources 
(Gold and Stone) and build Watch Towers there. Once built, you may start 
to mine those resources and temporarily keep the enemy from using them. 
(Build another Barracks to train more Men at Arms to guard the mines.)

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outlying mines you have currently controlled. 
At the same time, train even more Men at Arms and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. It should be slightly faster 
than other civilizations since they have an attack bonus. When resistance 
has gone a little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while 
any fresh troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting 
repetitive and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. But rushes are a threat.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Wheelbarrow Technology 
and Town Watch researched as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks 
are starting to go sparse, have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. 
It's like farming, but they are doing everything on water. The next thing 
on the Agenda is to advance to the Castle Age. It's important since most 
Mongol benefits become available, notably the tougher Light Cavalry and 
fast Firing Cavalry Archers. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you 
have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food 
and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from the market and ask 
any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Mongols are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Mongol bonus of fast firing Cavalry Archers. In the Archery Range, quickly 
whip out a bunch of Cavalry Archers Also build a castle and start training 
a couple of Mangudais. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump 
out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to complement 
your men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to guard against 
enemy attacks.) At the same time, build a University and quickly research 
Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also 
build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have Gold. Use 
them to heal your units in battle.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Mangudai take out any human 
character (Villagers and Soldiers) that are around. Position some Cavalry 
Archers by the Barracks and Archery Range to guard them and destroy anyone 
who dares to come out!

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Train some Mangudai and fast. Since 
they have an attack bonus against Siege Weapons, you can use them to support 
your Castles, and then come out to take out the rams and fast before they 
can do too much damage. Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers 
since they are critical of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should 
then try to counterattack with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
Mangudai and Cavalry Archers fire faster, and hence will play an important 
role in a Mongol attack. We must therefore see to the Archers first. This 
is why you have to research Bodkin Arrow and Leather Archer Armor. Of course, 
the former can also improve Tower Attack. The 2 Cavalry upgrades are to 
be given a medium priority. Besides that, the Mongols don't seem to have 
any other important upgrades except Masonry.

Now, another thing available to the Mongols are the Monks. However, they 
have inferior upgrades in the Castle Age. So, you are better off using 
them as healers. Of course, it's also time to do some Relic searching. 
The faster you advance, the faster you can pick up relics. Once you get 
a Monk, have him go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. 
Then you can have another source of Gold. As for the Docks, upgrading to 
War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you 
are on a land based map. It goes for everyone.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry. (Sorry, 
but the bonus in Archers don't make too much of a difference against enemy 
knights.) This is why Blast Furnace must be researched first. There will 
be no more armor upgrades for Cavalry, so just upgrade Knights to Cavaliers 
and Camels to Heavy Camels. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is 
the first upgrade to be researched since they give the Mongols Cannon 
Galleons (if you are not playing on a naval map, still research this since 
it will do the Mangudai good). Other important upgrades to be researched 
first of the Imperial Age include Elite Mangudai, Conscription, Blast 
Furnace and Siege Engineers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 45 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 55 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be well rounded for all. Have 10 Cavaliers, 5 Heavy 
Camels and 5 Champions, on one team. This time it is very tight indeed 
since you need to build so many different units. At the same time, have 
a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 8 Capped Rams, 4 Siege Onagers, 
15 Elite Mangudai, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know 
it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working population, 
you will have a total of 98 population, which is just about right for your 
assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those units set up in 
time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles and Barracks 
are going to play a significant role in your success.

Elite Mangudai are a weird bunch, their arrows can actually puncture Siege 
Weapons. Of course, the most important thing for them to do is to get close 
to the Siege Weapon, fortunately they are quite fast, since they are cavalry 
and hence are well suited for the job. As for their abilities to destroy 
enemy infantry, they are even better than the Heavy Cavalry Archer. There 
is just one thing for you to be careful of. Both Cavalry Archers and Cavalry 
ultimately have 1 less Armor and 2 less Pierce Armor than others, so they 
are more vulnerable. This is why careful micromanagement of Cavalry Archers 
is needed so that can fire in a retreat. (Smaller groups are more effective 
since they don't need to struggle for that long to stay in their formation.)

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 5 Fast Fire Ships and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. You may have to 
forgo some more population units to build twice the number of Transport 
Ships as those with Dry Dock since it's not available. Like the Celts and 
everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy the docks 
and keep them on shore. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. Mongols have 
tough Cavalry Archers and strong Light Cavalry. But since when do the latter 
make up an important part of an army? OK, so, let's say that you allow 
this game to drag on and on until everyone runs out of Gold, and they must 
rely on food to stay alive. Will this do? Of course, Mongols have a late 
late late late game advantage, but what's the point? Don't worry, by the 
time the Conquerors' Expansion is installed, a certain unique feature will 
balance the Mongols.

------------------
l. Chinese [AOK6L]
------------------
History:
China was reunited in 581 AD after a long period of internal war by the 
founders of the Sui dynasty. For most of the 1000 years that followed, 
China was one of the largest and most advanced civilization in the world. 
Because of its geographic isolation from the West, it was able to develop 
and maintain a unique culture that spread its influence over much of Asia.

An emperor generally held supreme power as the son of heaven. Natural 
disasters or other calamities were taken as proof that the mandate of heaven 
had been withdrawn, however, and could justify revolt. Mandarins were 
conservative civil servants who operated most of the government at the 
local, province, and imperial level. Mandarins earned their positions by 
passing detailed civil service examinations based mainly on the works of 
Confucius. The T'ang dynasty ruled China from 618 to 907. China under the 
T'ang was large, wealthy, and powerful. There was extensive foreign trade 
and interest in the arts among the upper class. Printing and gunpowder 
were invented. The last 100 years of T'ang rule witnessed tumultuous 
peasant revolts, however, and wars between local military rulers that the 
imperial court could not end. The years from 907 to 960 were known as the 
Five Dynasties period. Northern China was held by barbarians, and southern 
China split into 10 rival states. From one of these, an army general named 
Zhao Kuang-ying seized power and unified the southern states, founding 
the Song dynasty. His descendants reunited China within 20 years.

The Song dynasty ruled at least part of China until 1279. This was another 
period of cultural brilliance, and it was considered the great age of 
Chinese landscape painting. There was a dramatic improvement in economic 
activity, including a large overseas trade. Population and cities grew, 
food production grew faster than population, a money economy developed, 
and industrial output increased. No city in Europe could approach the 
populations of Chang An, Beijing, and Guang Zhou, all with more than 2 
million inhabitants.

The wealth of China attracted enemies, however, and the Mongols began 
attacks in 1206. By 1279 they had completed the conquest of Song China 
and moved the capital to Beijing. The dramatic economic improvement of 
the Song dynasty ended with the Mongol conquests and the estimated 30 
million deaths that they caused. The Mongol Yuan dynasty reunited China 
and reestablished it as a great military and world power. Chinese influence 
was spread into Asia. Hanoi was captured three times and tribute was 
extracted from Burma. Trade with India, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf was 
developed. Marco Polo visited China during this period.

Natural disasters and higher taxes in the fourteenth century caused rural 
rebellions. A Buddhist monk rose to be one of the leaders of the Red Turbans, 
a secret society opposed to the emperor in Beijing. The rebels seized 
Nanjing in 1356 and drove the Mongols from Beijing 12 years later, 
establishing the Ming dynasty. The Ming presided over another cultural 
flowering and established a political unity that outlasted the Ming and 
continued into the twentieth century. The Ming clamped down a strict 
conservatism and isolation, however, discouraging change and innovation, 
banning foreign travel, and closing the Silk Road.

Some of the most noteworthy aspects of medieval China are the technologies 
that were invented there, usually many centuries before a similar 
technology was invented in, or transmitted to, the West. Important Chinese 
inventions included the compass, the wheelbarrow, the abacus, the horse 
harness, the stirrup, the clock, iron-casting, steel, paper, moveable type 
(printing), paper money, gunpowder, and the stern-post rudder.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
Finally, I get to review my own civilization. I am serious, since I am 
a Chinese. The History in the Age of Empires II game is definitely wrong 
here. They claim that the Chinese civilization ended in 1644, but that's 
only when the Manchurians invaded and established the Qing Dynasty. At 
that time, those Manchurians learnt more from our traditions than we learnt 
from them! So, it should be like beyond 581 instead of 581 to 1644. Now, 
let's see what bonuses and perks my civilization gets. First of all, all 
Chinese farms get 45 more food than others. This gives them a head start 
in farming in the early game and helps to offset the lack of Crop Rotation 
in the Imperial Age. At the same time, they get another head start ability 
that I love. It's that 3 more Villagers are pre trained for you, so 150 
food is already spent as the game starts. Another important attribute is 
that the technologies get cheaper and cheaper as you advance through the 
ages. They cost 10% less in the Feudal Age, 15% less in the Castle Age 
and 20% less in the Imperial Age. This overall discount is definitely better 
than the totally free upgrades of others since those free upgrades apply 
to only a handful of techs. This certainly helps them get to the top form 
quickly, and results in a large variety of tactics possible since you can 
strengthen everything and don't need to prioritize like others. Town 
Centers also support 10 Population, so when you build a new base somewhere 
after, say, you have destroyed one of your enemies' allies, you can get 
to save one house. Finally, Demolition Ships get 50% more HP! Now, 
Demolition Ships are usually flimsy things that get destroyed before they 
can reach their target, but with this boost, Chinese navies can soften 
their opponents by a simple suicide charge. (Or force them to retreat while 
your own ships gain ground.)

Chinese Technology Tree:
Time to review the technological developments of my own civilization. 
Nowadays, the technological prowess of China has increasing at a faster 
rate. Now, they are the third country in the world to send an astronaut 
into space. But how are they doing back in the Middle Ages? Let's find 
out. We start with our Archers. For the 3 lines of standard Archers, we 
get the whole bunch. We get Archers, Crossbowmen and Arbalests. At the 
same time, Skirmishers and Elite Skirmishers are there too. Cavalry Archers 
and Heavy Cavalry Archers are there for your command as well. However, 
for some strange reason, the Hand Cannoneer is left out. I am sure they 
have hand cannons in China, but those meanies at Ensemble Studios have 
left them out on purpose! Of course, we get the entire deal in the Blacksmith. 
You name it, Bracer and Ring Archer Armor, are both ours to use.

How does our army perform? Well, they aren't too bad either. We get the 
entire line of standard infantry, Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, 
Two Handed Swordsmen and Champions. For counter Cavalry infantry units, 
we get Spearmen and Pikemen. Squires is there to increase our units' speed. 
However, I don't think there are Squires in China at all, instead, people 
learn fighting by "masters" and the people who learn from those masters 
are called apprentices unlike the west! We also get everything in the 
Blacksmith, there is Forging, Iron Casting and Blast Furnace to increase 
the attack power of our infantry, and Scale Mail Armor, Chain Mail Armor 
and Plate Mail Armor to increase the Armor of the infantry as well.

Our Cavalry is also state of the art. We get the Scout Cavalry and Light 
Cavalry to explore the land, and we also have Knights and Cavaliers like 
many other civilizations. Oh no, we don't have any Paladins. (Let alone 
Knights and Cavaliers, these troops are supposed to be European!) Of course, 
China, being the third largest country in the world (smaller than Canada 
and Russia) is no short of deserts in the west. (Although some areas are 
being turned into grassland to reverse the effects of desertification.) 
As a result, we also get Camels and Heavy Camels to suppress enemy Cavalry. 
Bring those Paladins on! Oh, here's an interesting thing for you to know. 
Camels are still used today. They are used to transport building materials 
for the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in the west! This railway 
will be completed in 2006, and hence bring in more goods and Han Chinese 
into that place, much to the "horror", or those people who want to "Free 
Tibet"! I'm sorry, Tibet is part of our country, and we get to go any part 
of it as we like since we are Chinese citizens.

Now, let's look at how our Navy goes. Well, in the Imperial Age, we get 
Heavy Demolition Ships and Galleons, and unfortunately Fast Fire Ships 
are not there for our use. But fortunately, the Demolition Ships with higher 
HP can help to cause confusion in the enemy vessels. As for Ship Upgrades, 
we get both Careening and Dry Dock, so our ships can be made stronger and 
faster like many other civilizations. Shipwright is also there so that 
you can have a wood discount in building ships. (The upgrade cost is already 
cheaper since you have the 20% discount.) Heated Shot is available in the 
University so that we can repel enemy ships with towers.

We get the entire enchilada when it comes to base defenses. You name it, 
Gates, Stone Walls, Fortified Walls, Watch Towers, Guard Towers, Keeps 
and the all powerful Bombard Tower! This makes defending our camp easier 
than before. At the same time, we get both building upgrades, Masonry and 
Architecture. However, we won't be buildings as fast as others since we 
don't have the Treadmill Crane upgrade. Of course, Heated Shot makes a 
welcome addition to our defenses. Unfortunately, our castles are also 
slightly weaker since we can't use Hoardings to give them an HP boost.

Chinese Monks are quite good. We get to convert a wide range of things, 
including buildings (Redemption) and other Monks (Atonement). Our Monks 
can also be stronger (Sanctity) and move faster (Fervor). In the Imperial 
Age, we also get to recover the Monks' faith faster (Illumination). However, 
since moveable type printing has long rendered Block Printing obsolete, 
we won't be using that, and that's the only thing that is omitted for the 
Chinese. Oh well, tough luck.

How are we in siegecraft? Well, we ain't too shabby either. We get the 
Heavy Scorpion and Siege Ram, but not Siege Onagers. For some strange reason, 
the Bombard Cannon is not available in our listing. And we are supposed 
to have invented gunpowder! So, there must be something wrong around here. 
Siege Engineers are not available, so we will be slightly slower in breaking 
through enemy walls. But don't you fret, by the time the Conqueror's 
Expansion is out, something will be available to give those Scorpions a 
considerable boost.

Finally, let's tend to our economy. We are good at mining Gold and Stone, 
and we can chop wood quickly due to the Two Man Saw. Yes, we may not have 
Crop Rotation, but remember that this civilization has a 45 extra food 
bonus for farms, so that may not be a big problem. Guilds is also not 
available, so you won't get any discounts in purchasing supplies, but 
that's just beside the point, right? 

Now, let us look at what we have as our unique unit, it's the Chu Ko Nu! 
"The crossbow was invented in China in ancient times and the chu ko nu 
was an improved crossbow invented there during European Middle Ages. The 
chu ko nu was something like a semi-automatic crossbow. It was fitted with 
a magazine of bolts. When the operator pulled back the bowstring, a new 
bolt was automatically loaded. When the bowstring reached its limit, the 
weapon fired automatically. The operator pulled back as quickly as he could 
to maintain a rapid fire. The weaknesses of the weapon were a short range 
and weaker power compared to larger single-shot crossbows."

The first time I read the instruction manual, I had no idea what the Chinese 
exclusive unit is. Chu Ko Nu? That takes 3 words! But after all, it turned 
out to be the name of the weapon. (I am a Chinese, and hence have some 
history books about the weapons used.) These mean things are basically 
the forerunners of the submachine guns. The normal Chu Ko Nu start with 
a rapid burst of 3 before a short pause, before firing another burst. Elite 
Chu Ko Nu will become meaner than that since they fire even faster! 
Therefore, it's just natural that the only thing that improved for the 
Chu Ko Nu is the rate of fire and HP. (For your information, Elite Chu 
Ko Nus fire 4 arrow bursts!) Otherwise, gamers around the world will gripe 
to Microsoft for overpowering them.

It's about time we do a side by side comparison of the elite Chu Ko Nu 
and the Arbalest. For one thing, the only thing inferior for the Elite 
Chu Ko Nu is the 1 range deficit. Otherwise, Chu Ko Nu are superior in 
everything else, and cost less Gold. So the conclusion should be very 
obvious. It is definitely all right to train Chu Ko Nu exclusively and 
ignore any standard Archers. One tactic in using Chu Ko Nu is to train 
some and group them separately from the standard attack force of 
infantrymen and cavalry. Have them moving by the sides. Once the battle 
ensues, have your Chu Ko Nu swoop in and nail them all. The attributes 
of Longbowmen and Chu Ko Nu are inversely related. Longbowmen get longer 
range for slower fire and weaker attacks while the Chu Ko Nu get less range 
for stronger defense and nastier attack power. Oh and finally, it may 
interest you to know that it's quite expensive to upgrade Chu Ko Nu to 
Elite Chu Ko Nu. You need 950 Food and 950 Gold for that useful transaction. 
But you would have saved a little Gold by not upgrading the Archers, right?

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 6 villagers, instead of 3 for other 
civilizations. With your food, start pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 
6 Villagers should build a house while the 5 others find the nearest Forage 
Bush and build a Mill there. There should also be a small flock of Sheep 
nearby. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry should run around the immediate area 
and see if there are any Sheep for you to find. If so, order the Sheep 
to immediately trot over to the Mill so that they can be collected easily. 
The next Villagers should come out in time. Have the next 3 go over and 
join your Villagers over to the Forage Bushes to collect food. Continue 
clicking the Villager button in the Town Center, and train even more 
Villagers. The next batch of 6 should go over to the nearest large group 
of trees so that you can start collecting wood. (There will be a total 
of 8 Villagers collecting food and 6 Villagers chopping wood.) Meanwhile, 
send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep and other 
resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you do, they are 
likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map, Fish is going to 
be another important resource for your troops. So, have a Villager build 
a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, and build a Fishing Boat 
or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies in the water. Start fishing 
immediately.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the Villagers are 
out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade if needed. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile. You should get a head start on the transition to Feudal 
Age since you will train 2 fewer Villagers, like the Persians.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) Since Chinese 
have 2 extra Villagers, they can rush the enemy since they have this 
headstart and can build more buildings in the same time frame than the 
enemies. Build a Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. 
You should try aiming for Feudal Age in around 5 minutes of playing time. 
Try to have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Militia won't make much of a 
difference, but they can drive the enemy Villagers from their resource 
collection spots to hide or fight back (Militia are tougher than Villagers), 
and hence slowing down their production. While you are moving in, have 
the Villager in the front line construct an Archery Range and start 
upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective is to hurt the 
enemies' economical targets so that their production is slowed down. It 
is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, since the retreat 
to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can just bash the 
buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, the enemy is 
bound to fight back in the long run. If anything goes wrong or you suffer 
too many losses, pull back to your little outpost and try to hold it with 
the help of several Archers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 10 more Villagers for now. 4 of them are to mine 
Gold and 2 of them Stone, 2 of them to Farm and 2 to chop wood. Have idle 
Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. Continue with 
the construction of houses. Train some Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and 
have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers ready to explore the land. Go 
and find any mineral resources (Gold and Stone) and build Watch Towers 
there. It is not so much needed for you to mine those yet. 

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outposts you have currently controlled. But 
hey, it's going to be easier for the Chinese to upgrade since they get 
a 10% discount in the Feudal Age. At the same time, train even more Men 
at Arms and Skirmishers if you have the Gold and enter the enemy's base. 
Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. When resistance has gone a 
little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while any fresh 
troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting repetitive 
and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. 

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Town Watch researched 
as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks are starting to go sparse, 
have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. It's like farming, but 
they are doing everything on water. The next thing on the Agenda is to 
advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you 
have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food 
and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from the market and ask 
any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor if you have not already. Towers 
may be going mainstream anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Chinese are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Viking bonus of tough infantry. In the Barracks, immediately upgrade your 
Infantry to Long Swordsman. (The upgrades are given a 15% discount, but 
the cheap infantry are to support the Knights who are running the show 
from now on.) Also build a castle and start training a lot of Chu Ko 
Nu(around 5 to 10). Don't bother upgrading Archers to Crossbowmen just 
yet. Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop and pump out a couple of 
Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to complement your men. (Don't 
forget to leave some units in your base to guard against enemy attacks.) 
At the same time, build a University and quickly research Ballistics since 
they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. You can also build a Monastery 
and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have Gold. Use them to heal your 
units in battle and maybe research Redemption so that they can convert 
enemy buildings as they march in.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Long Swordsmen take out 
any Spearmen that are up. Chu Ko Nu are to be the counters to everything, 
since they have very fast firing rates. (At the moment, they fire 3 arrow 
bursts before reloading!) They can decimate enemy Skirmishers, Infantry 
and even Knights without much trouble.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Train a handful of Chu Ko Nu to 
help defend your base. They are very fast killers, but always have some 
Camels to support them in case tough knights come over to play. Whatever 
you do, you should protect your Villagers since they are critical of your 
recovery if you suffer losses. You should then try to counterattack with 
the troops I suggest you to train above. If you are at sea, Heavy Demolition 
Ships are more likely to defend the waterways with ease since they have 
more HP than usual.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
Chu Ko Nu are definitely the second best Archers in the game, and can deal 
with most enemies. On the other hand, Knights are much more effective in 
dealing with enemy Archers, and Heavy Camels are there as well. Let's see 
to the Cavalry first. Chinese get a 15% discount in upgrades in the Castle 
Age, so you can research all of them. However, the order you research should 
be related to the situation, and the enemy forces. If Chu Ko Nu are more 
important, research Bodkin Arrow and Leather Archer Armor first, if Calvary 
are to be used more, use Iron Casting and Chain Barding Armor.

Now, another thing available to the Chinese are the Monks. The good thing 
is that all 4 upgrades are available for their use, so they can be used 
to convert a wide range of things. So, let's research them all and attack. 
Like everyone else, it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get 
a Monk, have him go and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. 
Then you can have another source of Gold. As for the Docks, upgrading to 
War Galley is a must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you 
are on a land based map. It goes for everyone. Things are really cheap 
so you must research them all.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Cavalry, or the 
Stable in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing Knights 
to Cavaliers. Also upgrade Camels to Heavy Camels and they are rather cheap 
too. In the University, the Chemistry upgrade is the first upgrade to be 
researched since they give the Chinese Bombard Towers and Heavy Demolition 
Ships.  Other important upgrades to be researched first of the Imperial 
Age include Elite Chu Ko Nu, Conscription, Blast Furnace, Bracer, Ring 
Archer Armor and Plate Barding Armor.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 6 to 8 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 45 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 55 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on both Cavalry and Archers. Have 15 
Heavy Camels and 15 Cavaliers, on one team. (There is absolutely no need 
for Heavy Camels since the Elite War Elephants have the heavy armor and 
HP required to take out many enemy Cavalry, including their Paladins!) 
At the same time, have a separate team consisting on a swarm of maybe 15 
Elite Chu Ko Nu, 6 Siege Rams, 3 Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. 
I know it's kind of tight, but if you add these men to your working 
population, you will have a total of 100 population, which is just about 
right for your assault. It's just a matter of whether you can get those 
units set up in time, so Conscription and the building of multiple Castles 
and Stables are going to play a significant role in your success.

Chinese Chu Ko Nu are like those guys armed with submachine guns in the 
game. They first fire in 3 arrow bursts, and once they get upgraded to 
the Elite Version, they fire up to 5 or 6 Arrows in one burst! This rate 
of fire can take out any thing in a short time. Even Siege Rams will tremble 
at your super Archers. However, beware of Longbowmen, since those have 
a much longer range than Chu Ko Nu.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 5 Heavy Demolition Ships and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Don't worry 
about your own Docks. Just build several Bombard Towers around it to keep 
enemy ships away. Since Heavy Demolition Ships have 50% more HP, they are 
more likely to reach their target and destroy a number of ships in an area. 
Like the Celts and everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and 
destroy the docks and keep them on shore. Heated Shot also play an important 
role in keeping enemy ships away. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. 
Chinese are one of those civilizations that have a little bit of everything. 
There is not really an area that is particularly weak, and their Archers 
are very strong. Since they also have Bombard Towers and such cheap 
technologies, Chinese are quite good in a number of situations. The only 
weakness is that they don't have any other bonuses for other mainstream 
units like infantry and cavalry.

-------------------
m. Japanese [AOK6M]
-------------------
History:
Located 100 miles off the mainland of Asia, at its closest point, Japan 
was a land of mystery at the edge of civilization. Isolated at first by 
geography and later by choice, the Japanese developed a distinctive culture 
that drew very little from the outside world. At the beginning of what 
were the Middle Ages in Europe, the advanced culture of Japan was centered 
at the north end of the Inland Sea on the main island of Honshu. Across 
the Hakone Mountains to the east lay the Kanto, an alluvial plain that 
was the single largest rice-growing area on the islands. To the north and 
east of the Kanto was the frontier, beyond which lived aboriginal Japanese 
who had occupied the islands since Neolithic times.

Some believe that by the fifth century AD the Yamato court had become 
largely ceremonial. Independent clans, known as uji, held the real power 
behind the throne. Clan leaders formed a sort of aristocracy and vied with 
each other for effective control of land and the throne. In 536 the Soga 
clan became predominant and produced the first great historical statesman, 
Prince Shotoku, who instituted reforms that laid the foundation of
Japanese culture for generations to come. In 645, power shifted from the 
Soga clan to the Fujiwara clan. The Fujiwara presided over most of the 
Heian period (794 to 1185). The new leadership imposed the Taika Reform 
of 645, which attempted to redistribute the rice-growing land, establish 
a tax on agricultural production, and divide the country into provinces. 
Too much of the country remained outside imperial influence and control, 
however. Real power shifted to great families that rose to prominence in 
the rice-growing lands. Conflict among these families led to civil war 
and the rise of the warrior class.

Similar to the experience of medieval western Europe, the breakdown of 
central authority in Japan, the rise of powerful local nobles, and conflict 
with barbarians at the frontier combined to create a culture dominated 
by a warrior elite. These warriors became known as Samurai, ("those who 
serve"), who were roughly equivalent to the European knight. A military 
government replaced the nobility as the power behind the throne at the 
end of the twelfth century. The head of the military government was the 
Shogun.

Samurai lived by a code of the warrior, something like the European code 
of chivalry. The foundation of the warrior code was loyalty to the lord. 
The warrior expected leadership and protection. In return he obeyed his 
lord's commands without question and stood ready to die on his lord's behalf. 
A Samurai placed great emphasis on his ancestry and strove to carry on 
family traditions. He behaved so as to earn praise. He was to be firm and 
show no cowardice. Warriors went into battle expecting and looking to die. 
It was felt that a warrior hoping to live would fight poorly.

The Kamakura period (1185 to 1333) was named after a region of Japan 
dominated by a new ruling clan that took power after civil war. The Mongols 
attempted to invade Japan twice, in 1274 and 1281, but were repulsed both 
times. A fortuitous storm caused great loss to the second Mongol invasion 
fleet.

Team Bonus and Civilization Attributes:
This is the civilization that is furthest to the east, with a time zone 
of GMT +9. It seems that being an island country does have a benefit on 
the Japanese Navy, this is because all Japanese Galleys have an extra 50% 
line of sight, making them able to see further ahead and are less likely 
to run into any traps. Besides, the gathering abilities of the Fishing 
Ships are better than other countries. Their Fishing Ships get twice the 
HP than other civilizations. This may sound significant, but they get a 
work rate increase as well. Their work rate increases by 5% in the Dark 
Age, 10% in the Feudal Age, 15% in the Castle Age and 20% in the Imperial 
Age. So let's go fishing, folks. At the same time, all collection points 
are cheaper for the Japanese. The Mills, Mining Camps and Lumber Camps 
each cost 50% less than before. More wood for houses in the start, eh? 
There is another speed bonus for the Japanese. It's the infantry attack 
speed. Infantry attack 10% faster in the Feudal Age, 15% faster in the 
Castle Age and 25% faster in the Imperial Age! Now, they are up to the 
Goths and Vikings! Now, it's obvious that the Japanese are yet another 
Infantry based civilization.

Japanese Technology Tree:
Japan is one of the most high tech countries in the world, but how advanced 
are they during the Middle Ages? Let's have a look at the Archers first. 
The Japanese get all 3 of the standard issue Archers, notably the Archer, 
Crossbowman and Arbalest. The anti Archer units, the Skirmisher and Elite 
Skirmisher are also there for your command. Of course, Cavalry Archers 
and Heavy Cavalry Archers are both available for use. So, they get the 
full deal. That's not all, they also get Hand Cannoneers. So, the inventors 
of gunpowder don't use Hand Cannons while those taught to use gunpowder 
do! Where's the logic in that? At the same time, it seems that they get 
all the Blacksmith upgrades, from Fletching to Bracer and from Padded 
Archer Armor to Ring Archer Armor. This is perfect.

Let's look at Japanese infantry. They get the entire deal of mainstream 
infantry, Militia, Men at Arms, Long Swordsmen, Two Handed Swordsmen and 
Champions. They also have Spearmen and Pikemen. Not only that they have 
Squires to increase the speed of their infantry, their infantry also attack 
faster and faster as you advance through the ages, so it's great. As an 
infantry civilization, I will not be surprised that the Japanese have all 
the necessary upgrades in the Blacksmith, that is to say the Blast Furnace 
and Plate Mail Armor. The former is actually mentioned in the manual! Of 
course, infantry is the Japanese's strong point.

Now for Cavalry. Japanese Cavalry are one of the most unimpressive. Sure, 
they may have Scout Cavalry and Light Cavalry to scout around the map, 
and they have husbandry to increase their speed, but so what? They are 
stuck with only Knights and Cavaliers, and cannot use Paladins. Since Japan 
is an island country without any deserts, they can't use any Camels and 
Heavy Camels! This is just too bad. If a civilization doesn't get Paladins, 
they should at least get Camels to compensate for it. That's not all, in 
the Blacksmith, Japanese Cavalry only get 2 armor upgrades, Scale Barding 
Armor and Chain Barding Armor. There is no Plate Barding Armor, so they 
are definitely taken down a peg here.

How does the Japanese navy perform? Quite well, I must say. Of the 3 main 
lines of naval units, the Japanese get the strongest versions of 2 of them, 
namely the Fast Fire Ship and the Galleon. Heavy Demolition Ships aren't 
present. But still, they aren't too bad without this suicidal unit, since 
they had to wait until late World War 2 for them to perform suicide plane 
attacks. At the same time, when Chemistry is researched, the Japanese will 
get the Cannon Galleons and the Elite Cannon Galleon. Being an island 
country, Japanese people definitely have all the ship upgrades, they have 
Careening, Dry Dock and Shipwright. The only thing they lack is the Heated 
Shot ability, so they will again have to rely on ships to defend their 
harbor, since Towers are not as effective.

Now, we come to the Japanese defenses. They have Gates, Stone Walls and 
Fortified Walls like most civilizations. At the same time, they also get 
all 3 standard towers. The Watch Tower, Guard Tower and Keep. However, 
they don't get Bombard Towers. What a pity. If they have Hand Cannoneers 
they might as well have Bombard Towers too. At the same time, they can 
use Masonry, but not Architecture. What's wrong with Japanese architecture 
anyway? They also don't have Treadmill Crane, so expect delays in building 
your structures. Hoardings is also unavailable in the Castle, so their 
Castles are one of the weakest in the game. The absence of Heated Shot 
is going to be a minor setback for them in naval battles.

We come to the Japanese Monks. Their Shinto faith really does wonders for 
them. Japanese Monks get all 7 upgrades in the Monastery. Sanctity, 
Redemption, Atonement, Fervor, Block Printing, Illumination and Faith. 
What is there to say? Well, they really are perfect at this point.

Are Japanese people good at staging sieges? Well, my answer is not so good. 
They don't have the strongest versions of the Battering Ram or Magonel, 
and Heavy Scorpions are the only things available for their use. It's a 
pity. They also don't get Bombard Cannons, so expect to rely on Trebuchets 
when attacking the enemy. But still, Siege Engineers is available for them 
to deal 20% more damage against buildings.

Now, it's time to look at the Japanese economy. Wow, they must be looking 
at Japan during 1990 when the Nikkei Stock Market unexpectedly collapsed. 
Japanese mine Gold and Stone both very slowly. This is because they are 
confined to Stone Mining and Gold Mining, and both Shaft Mining Techniques 
are unavailable. Two Man Saw may be available, but Crop Rotation is not. 
This makes those upgrades very limited in quantity. At the same time, Guilds 
is also not available for these Japanese, so they may have a problem 
purchasing items during late game.

Finally, let's have a look at the Japanese unique warrior, the Samurai! 
"When knights were coming into dominance as lords and warriors in Europe, 
a similar social and military change was taking place simultaneously in 
Japan. A weak central government and a scramble for control of land gave 
rise in Japan to a local military ruling class called the samurai. These 
men of noble birth trained continuously in the military arts, as well as 
various cultural arts. They put great emphasis on honor and tradition, 
as did European knights with the code of chivalry. Samurai fought with 
a variety of weapons, including the bow and their unique curved swords 
made of the strongest steel. They sought out high-ranking enemies on the 
battlefield for personal duels and were trained to seek death in battle 
to increase their aggression and avoid hesitancy."

Samurais are well, Samurais. They are Japanese warriors that also serve 
as the Ruling Class. They have one weird attribute. They have attack bonuses 
against other unique units. This sounds well until you find out that certain 
unique units are Archers. (Longbowmen, Janissaries, Chu Ko Nu, Mangudai), 
one of them is also anti infantry (Cataphracts)! This basically takes away 
any advantages the Samurais could have. Now, let's compare them with the 
standard infantry units. Namely the 2 Handed Swordsman and Champion. For 
one thing, they have weaker attacks and higher cost. The only edge the 
Samurais have over Champions is that they have 10 HP more. But is the 5 
extra Gold worth it? My advice is to not even bother with these guys. If 
you do, remember that it costs 950 Food and a massive 875 Gold to upgrade 
Samurai into Elite Samurai. Bleh!

From Dark Age to Imperial:
In the Dark Age, you should start with 3 villagers. With your food, start 
pumping out 5 to 6 more. One of the 3 Villagers should build a house while 
the 2 others find the nearest Forage Bush and build a Mill there. There 
should also be a small flock of Sheep nearby. Meanwhile, the Scout Cavalry 
should run around the immediate area and see if there are any Sheep for 
you to find. If so, order the Sheep to immediately trot over to the Mill 
so that they can be collected easily. The next Villagers should come out 
in time. Have the next 5 go over and join your Villagers over to the Forage 
Bushes to collect food. Continue clicking the Villager button in the Town 
Center, and train even more Villagers. The next batch of 7 should go over 
to the nearest large group of trees so that you can start collecting wood. 
Meanwhile, send the Scout Cavalry around the map to search for more Sheep 
and other resources. Also try to probe into your enemies' base. If you 
do, they are likely to see you. Don't worry.

On the other hand, if you are fighting in a naval map or there are large 
bodies of water where there is plenty of fish, you might as well start 
fishing since the Japanese Fishing Boats are more efficient than others. 
So, have a Villager build a Dock as close as possible to a fish source, 
and build a Fishing Boat or 2 so that they can go fishing for more goodies 
in the water. You can build up to 3 Fishing Ships so that there is still 
wood to spare.

Once the Forage Bushes are exhausted, have the food collects start 
collecting Food from Sheep. At the same time, once all the 14 Villagers 
are out and enough houses are built to support them, click the Loom button 
to research Loom upgrade if needed. (Build a Barracks in your base during 
the research, if possible.) Then, advance to the Feudal Age once you have 
500 Food. (It's very likely for you to have enough food even after you 
have trained so many Villagers to do you things.) You should keep an eye 
on the Villagers in your base at all times, since the non-renewable sources 
of food will run out soon, and you should command Villagers to start farming. 
Or else you will suddenly realize that food does not seem to be increasing 
in your stockpile.

While the Feudal Age is prepping, send the Villager who is the builder 
to a spot of land near your enemy's base. (But not too close!) The Japanese 
have superior Infantry (faster attack speeds) so they can rush. Build a 
Barracks there as quickly as you can. Try not to be spotted. You should 
try aiming for Feudal Age in around 5 to 7 minutes of playing time. Try 
to have the Barracks in time for the advancement.

Eventually, Feudal Age is reached. Pop some Militia out, and send them 
into the enemy base to harass the enemy. Japanese infantry units attack 
10% faster in the Feudal Age, so they are slightly more powerful. While 
you are moving in, have the Villager in the front line construct an Archery 
Range and start upgrading Militia to Men at Arms. Your current objective 
is to hurt the enemies' economical targets so that their production is 
slowed down. It is quite unlikely for you to destroy the enemy just yet, 
since the retreat to the Town Center trick works quite well, but you can 
just bash the buildings outside the range of the Town Center. Of course, 
the enemy is bound to fight back in the long run. If anything goes wrong 
or you suffer too many losses, pull back to your little outpost and try 
to hold it with the help of several Archers.

(Enemies using rushing civilizations might try this plan as well. So you 
must check your minimap very carefully. If you see any Villagers hanging 
around during the transitional period. Have the Scout Cavalry attack him. 
The Villager is bound to fight back and win if he has the loom, so you 
may need a Villager to help. If he does manage to bring up the Barracks, 
try to have a Villager construct a Palisade Wall in front of the Barracks. 
This may help to block the exit, thus preventing any Militia of Spearmen 
from spawning. It's going to take a while for the Villager to break through! 
I have seen it in a recorded game.)

Back home, it's time to continue construction of more new buildings. Build 
more houses and train 8 Villagers for now. 5 of them are to mine Gold and 
3 of them Stone. (More Villagers are needed since the Japanese don't get 
Shaft Mining Technologies, so they are literally getting the shaft!) Have 
idle Villagers construct a Market, Archery Range and Blacksmith. Continue 
with the construction of houses. You may also add 2 Villagers to chop wood 
and 4 more to collect food. Train some Infantry (preferably 6 to 10), and 
have a small group (2 to 3) of Villagers ready to explore the land. Go 
and find any mineral resources (Gold and Stone) and build Watch Towers 
there. Mine as many patches as possible in an attempt to make up for the 
slower mining rate later on.

Have your Men at Arms and Archers guard any blind spots at home for now. 
You may have to add 1 more Villagers each in wood chopping, farming and 
Gold mining. Have 1 more Villager mine stone if possible. The first upgrades 
you should see to are the Forging, Scale Mail Armor and Man at Arms. You 
need to have your infantry men as strong as possible quickly, since they 
are required to support any outposts you have currently controlled. At 
the same time, train even more Men at Arms and Skirmishers if you have 
the Gold and enter the enemy's base. Get ready for a battle.

I assume that you win this encounter (Yes, your opponents will try the 
same strategies in order to hold you off and you may lose this encounter. 
Everything is possible). Have your Infantry target any Villagers that are 
far away from the Town Center. Especially target those who are mining for 
Gold, since Gold is getting a bit more important as time passes. Any Men 
at Arms left behind should target the houses in an attempt to lower the 
enemies' ability to train additional units. It should be slightly easier 
to quell the resistance since you have extra attack speed. When resistance 
has gone a little bit too heavy, leave some units to hold them off while 
any fresh troops retreat for the time being. (Yeah, this strat is getting 
repetitive and tends to be the same for all civilizations.)

Back at home, build a Stable and train a Scout Cavalry. Only food is needed. 
Have him scout out more of the map and reveal your enemy's ally (If you 
are playing a 2 vs 2 game.) In the Market, research Cartography so you 
can see what your ally is up to as well, if he is present. Start building 
Trade Carts, up to 5 if possible so that you have another source of Gold. 
This only applies to Allies. If you are fighting a naval battle, build 
5 Trade Cogs to trade with your mates. Remember to guard the trade routes. 
It's unlikely that you will have to fight serious sea battles since Galleys 
are rather crap at this point. However, since your Fishing Boats are tougher, 
you can always have a small fleet to take care of any emergencies.

Now, it's time to tend for your home economy. Research them all, Horse 
Collar, Gold Mining, Stone Mining and Double Bit Axe. If you think you 
have produced enough Villagers for now, have the Town Watch researched 
as well. At the same time, if the fish stocks are starting to go sparse, 
have the Fishing Ships start building Fish Traps. It's like farming, but 
they are doing everything on water. The next thing on the Agenda is to 
advance to the Castle Age. Start saving up Food. I am assuming that you 
have more than enough Gold at this point. If you don't have enough food 
and are in a hurry, you can always buy more Food from the market and ask 
any friendly Ally to tribute you some to help.

While the Castle Age is being prepared, it's time to see to any upgrades 
that you may have missed, this is particularly true in the Blacksmith. 
You will be getting tougher mainstream Cavalry very soon, so research Scale 
Barding Armor, Forging and Scale Mail Armor. Towers may be going mainstream 
anytime soon. So get ready.

Now it's the critical moment, it's the Castle Age. Any civilization in 
the Castle Age will finally have the power to defeat the enemy. The 
strategies here for Japanese are split, it depends on whether you reached 
Castle Age first or the enemy.

If you get to Castle Age first, then great! It is time to make use of the 
Viking bonus of tough infantry. In the Barracks, immediately upgrade your 
Infantry to Long Swordsman. (The upgrades aren't expensive, but the cheap 
infantry are running the show here.) Also build a castle if needed (optional, 
since Samurais are not very good). Have a Villager build a Siege Workshop 
and pump out a couple of Battering Rams. Also train around 5 Knights to 
complement your men. (Don't forget to leave some units in your base to 
guard against enemy attacks.) At the same time, build a University and 
quickly research Ballistics since they are vital in the Castle's accuracy. 
You can also build a Monastery and train maybe a pair of Monks if you have 
Gold. Use them to heal your units in battle.

March them to the enemy camp and ram down the walls if they are up. You 
must hurry, since the enemy is very likely to be researching the Castle 
Age. If not, have the Rams target the houses and the stables first. Your 
Knights can target the enemy archers while your Long Swordsmen take out 
any Spearmen that are up. Long Swordsmen are to be your Siege Infantry 
at this point, since they are very fast in taking down buildings. The 15% 
speed bonus is something worth watching if there are no archers in sight.

Now, let's assume the worst. Let's say that the enemy advanced to Castle 
Age before you. Then, you may have to go defensive. Once you get to the 
Castle Age, train many Men at Arms as you can, and maybe build a spare 
Barracks so that you can upgrade to Long Swordsmen. Ballistics in the 
University should come up immediately. Also build a Castle in a choke point, 
where you are sure that the attacks will come from. Also garrison some 
Archers in your castle. Whatever you do, you should protect your Villagers 
since they are critical of your recovery if you suffer losses. You should 
then try to counterattack with the troops I suggest you to train above.

Now, it's time to assume that you and your foes are more or less equally 
matched and no one currently has the upper hand in this game. You have 
to decide on which upgrades to get first while you are heated in battle. 
Like the Vikings and Goths, Japanese infantry are superior since they 
attack faster. Let's see to them first. This is why you have to research 
Iron Casting and Chain Mail Armor. Only then follow up with Bodkin Arrow 
to improve Tower Attack. The 2 Cavalry upgrades are to be given a lower 
priority. You can use any spare resources to upgrade your buildings and 
towers. (Again, optional)

Now, another thing available to the Japanese are the Monks. They get to 
convert a wide range of units since Redemption and Atonement are both 
available. They are to be part of your main force. Like everyone else, 
it's time to do some Relic searching. Once you get a Monk, have him go 
and pick up a relic that is as close to you as possible. Then you can have 
another source of Gold. As for the Docks, upgrading to War Galley is a 
must, but Careening can be treated in low priority if you are on a land 
based map. But anyway, Fishing Ships will be stronger if you research it.

It's time to hog resources and advance towards the final Imperial Age. 
Once you have 1000 Food and 800 Gold to spare, start researching. You 
shouldn't worry as much as Feudal Age, since things don't take such a big 
jump when compared to it. However, I suggest that you reach Imperial Age 
in around 31 minutes of playing time.

Now, we come to the Imperial Age. It's the ultimate age, and is where the 
differences in civilization attributes really start to be important. The 
first thing you should pay attention to is definitely the Infantry, or 
the Barracks in particular. Immediately start work on upgrading existing 
Long Swordsmen to Two Handed Swordsmen and finally Champions. Those are 
the strongest Swordsmen in the game. In the University, the Chemistry 
upgrade is the first upgrade to be researched since they give the Vikings 
gunpowder units like Cannon Galleons.  Other important upgrades to be 
researched first of the Imperial Age include Conscription, Blast Furnace 
and Plate Mail Armor. I'm sorry, but there is no Plate Barding Armor for 
the Japanese. But still upgrade Knights to Cavaliers.

It's time to prepare for the ultimate land attack to crush the enemy. Let's 
have a look at your current population. You have 9 Villagers on wood, 11 
villagers on food, 7 to 9 Villagers on Gold and 6 to 8 on Stone. At the 
same time, there may be 4 Fishing Ships gathering food and 5 or maybe more 
Trade Carts or Cogs gathering food. This means that 46 of your population 
is busy doing other affairs. This leaves 54 units that can be built. Anyway, 
the final squad should be focusing on Japanese Infantry. Have 15 Champions, 
10 Pikemen and 10 Cavaliers, on one team. At the same time, have a separate 
team consisting on a swarm of maybe 5 Capped Rams, 5 Heavy Scorpions, 3 
Trebuchets and 3 monks on the second team. I know it's kind of tight, but 
if you add these men to your working population, you will have a total 
of 97 population, which is just about right for your assault. It's just 
a matter of whether you can get those units set up in time, so Conscription 
and the building of multiple Barracks are going to play a significant role 
in your success. I didn't say you should not build multiple Castles. When 
attacking, it's always wise to build one outside the enemies' base.

Oh, I almost forgot, if you fight on water, you will have to forgo maybe 
around 20 of your units above so that you can build a sizable navy of 10 
Galleons, 5 Fast Fire Ships and 5 Elite Cannon Galleons. Like the Celts 
and everyone else, you are to destroy the enemy fleet and destroy the docks 
and keep them on shore. Heated Shot also play an important role in keeping 
enemy ships away. Let's go and give the good old D-Day. Japanese may have 
outstanding infantry units like the Goths and Vikings, but their Cavalry 
is inferior, so you must watch out for enemies with strong Cavalry or 
Archers like the Franks or Britons. (Even with the faster attack, they 
still hit your infantry units very hard, so be careful.) As for those 
Samurais, don't even bother.

--------------------------------
7. Single Player Missions [AOK7]
--------------------------------
Here we go, Age of Empires II: the Age of Kings features 4 different single 
player campaigns for you to play. You get to fight for Joan of Arc, Saladin, 
Genghis Khan and Barbarosa. I will assume that you are playing in the 
moderate difficulty of each campaign, since I will take the median.

-----------------------------------------
a. Frankish Campaign: Joan of Arc [AOK7A]
-----------------------------------------
It seems that the Britons have occupied France during the 100 years war 
and the Franks are desperate to hold them out. Things are looking dire 
until a peasant girl named Joan comes out and volunteers to lead the army. 
A high commander by the name of Guy Josselyne will tell the story.

*****MISSION 1: AN UNLIKELY MESSIAH*****
It's February 19, in an army camp near Vancoleur. Guy Josselyne awoke with 
a vision of fire and steel. He walks around the snow covered camp where 
many wounded and weary soldiers rested. They all look desperate. That was 
when he saw Joan. She did not know how to ride or fight, but she intends 
to rescue France. The morale of the army, for some strange reason lifted. 
Joan wants to go to Chinon, where the rightful ruler of France, the Dauphin 
hides from his enemies. The land is infested with many marauders, and death 
is certain to many men. But for Joan, the army will face it.

Your objectives are to escort Joan to the Chateau at Chinon, and that Joan 
must survive. At the start, you will have 2 knights, Sieur Bertrand and 
Sieur de Metz. They are to escort Joan. Order the 3 to move southeast and 
out of the camp. 4 Men at Arms and 4 Crossbowmen will join you. As you 
leave, the Spearmen guarding the camp warns you of the British army and 
their Burgundian Allies. You must use stealth and try to hide as much as 
possible. Oh, and it seems that the British (red team) have set their stance 
on you as ally, so they won't attack you. As for Burgundy (purple team) 
they treat you like enemies, so you must look out.

At the junction, move south. There are 2 Dire Wolves in the way, so kill 
them quickly. In the clearing to the south, a fierce battle between the 
French and British rages on, and of course, the British wins! Let's stay 
back in case they see you. Once the battle is over, they will leave. At 
this point, you can continue south along the way. There is a bridge to 
the south, but it is destroyed, so you must go west. You will come to some 
highwaymen (Green Team) in the way. They consist of a number of small fry 
troops like Archers and Men at Arms, but Bertrand (let's call him Bertie) 
laments at what has become of their homeland. Kill them, no remorse.

It seems that the Highwaymen have a house and an Outpost for you to destroy, 
so do it. At the next fork, go right. You will find a couple more Highwaymen 
and another of their outposts. You will reach a bridge. To the west is 
a Burgundian base, and it's walls, so you need a Ram to break through. 
Cross the bridge and go west. It's another French camp. As Joan enters, 
4 more Men at Arms and 6 Pikemen will join you. So does a Capped Ram. Send 
all of these troops back south across the river, and move the Capper Ram 
to the gate to the west. Ram it open. Some Archers and Light Cavalry will 
attempt to stop you, but let your troops take care of them. Once the Gate 
is down, destroy the Guard Tower nearby. Then rampage through the base 
as you like, but you still have to cross the river to the west.

There are 3 more wolves for you to kill to the west. You seem to be 
approaching yet another French camp, but it's actually a Burgundy ambush! 
Quickly go west to the river and acquire 3 Transport Ships. Board them 
quickly. When they are full, any men left behind would have to die. Set 
sail to the south immediately. Feels like Dunkirk yet again, right? The 
river is not enemy free. There is a Burgundy War Galley patrolling the 
place. At the first junction, turn left and you will eventually reach a 
river crossing. There are 6 Crossbowmen and 2 Scorpions there. When they 
see Joan coming, they will join you. At the same time, some Burgundy troops 
will attack from the south. Get ready. Cross the river and you will find 
an enemy Magonel waiting for you. There are also some Highwaymen, but can 
be taken out with the help of your Scorpions. Once they are dealt with, 
the Highwaymen will be defeated. Make your way past the herd of Deer that 
are hanging about. No more enemies will be found. Instead, you start to 
see Chinon Farms.

You have made it to Chinon, so your mission is complete. Let's send Joan 
the Maid along the path to the Castle, marked by your blue flag and the 
Dauphin will see her now. You are victorious.

Outcome:
As Joan walks across the court to see the Dauphin, the fat and whispering 
lords did nothing but stare. She demands the Dauphin why France doesn't 
claim what is theirs, and why the Dauphin cannot be crowned King of France. 
The chamberlain whispered lies to the Dauphin's ear, but the Dauphin is 
not interested. He looks up to speak with her, and even though she only 
goes up to the shoulder of the shortest man!

*****MISSION 2: THE MAID OF ORLEANS*****
It is March 26, in Chinon. It is one thing when soldiers put their trust 
in a teenage girl, and it is another when she is put in command of an entire 
army. Of course, Guy Jossalyne and others are very proud when the Dauphin 
appoints her Commander of the Army of France. The Dauphin presents Joan 
a warhorse and a suit of white armor for her. Joan also instructed Jossalyne 
to unearth an old sword buried beneath a Church. However, there really 
was a rusted blade in the mud, and it's also the sword of Charlemagne, 
the founder of France. Still visible is the fleur de lis. This is why Joan 
as appointed that symbol for use on her battle standard. Now, their next 
target is Orleans, one of the most finest cities of France, and it is 
currently under siege by the British and Burgundy.

For this mission, you are to first get Joan to Blois so she can take command 
of the French Army. Duke D'Alencon is there to assist you. Let's move to 
the west. There is a Scout Cavalry, and he is to scout the immediate area 
for any troublemakers, and indeed there are. To the west are some Light 
Cavalry and Knights, so be ready for a quick fight before you can even 
catch your breath. After those enemies are destroyed, you can continue 
west to enter Blois. There is a large army waiting for your command, and 
there are also 6 Trade Carts full of supplies. You are to get them to the 
Town Center of Orleans so you can build up your defenses. Continue north. 
There is a river up there and a Dock. 2 Transport Ships will become available 
to you. Ferry your men across. Then, move in to Orleans.

Orleans will become entirely yours to command once you get through. You 
will also start with 3 Villagers. Move the 6 Trade Carts to the Town Center 
and you will be given many supplies for the war effort. We should start 
pumping out as many Villagers as possible to collect resources. The first 
thing to see to is Wood. Have 8 Villagers collect wood to the west of the 
camp. It should be relatively safe there. At the same time, have 8 Villagers 
farm and another 5 collect Gold. The patch should also be to the west, 
by the trees. Start defending against attacks. The enemy won't be using 
Battering Rams, only Magonels, and so the walls should be strong enough 
to hold the enemy off while your Towers destroy them. Consider garrisoning 
additional Crossbowmen into the Towers as needed.

Make use of every single upgrade in the Blacksmith, and then hog resources 
for the Castle Age. Hurry. Once Castle Age has been reached, you can start 
building Monasteries to train Monks. Have Monks hang around different 
sections of the walls, so that they may convert any Knights and Long 
Swordsmen that dare to come your way. At the same time, build a University 
and research Ballistics and Murder Holes. Of course, you must also build 
a Siege Workshop so that you can build Battering Rams to break through 
one of the English's castles.

It seems that the South British team (Orange Team) will start using 
Battering Rams against you. So, you must pay attention to any slow moving 
yellow dots on the map. If they break through your walls, it may be too 
late. There are a total of 4 Castles on the map, and you only have to destroy 
one of them. Let's deal with the North British Castle to the far north. 
That's the closest one. However, as you can see, any attempt to breach 
the walls will result in very heavy resistance and the death of many men, 
so it's a good idea to build a Castle near their walls to withstand them.

Since you are low on Stone, you might as well mine some. Use the Scout 
Cavalry to explore the map and find some Stone Mines. There is one to the 
far east of your town. There is also another patch of Gold there, so if 
you have exhausted the first patch of Gold, there is yet another one to 
be found by the Stone Mine. Once you have collected enough Stone, let's 
go and move up to the front. Consider building a Castle to the right of 
the North British Market there. While you are building the Castle, Long 
Swordsmen are going to pour out and attack your Villagers, so have some 
Knights cover them while they build it.

Once the Castle is built, victory is almost guaranteed. It's just a matter 
of time when your Battering Rams break through the wall under the cover 
of the Castle and destroy the Castle there. You may have some losses, but 
that Castle will eventually be down. Once it's destroyed, the "generous" 
North British will allow you to stay in Orleans. "But France belongs to 
Britain, remember that!" Oh yeah, you Brits! You win for now.

Outcome:
Joan prophesized that she would be wounded at Orleans. Indeed, an Arbalest 
bolt knocked her from her horse. As she was carried away, the battle was 
won, Orleans was freed. As Guy's army entered the city, everyone cheered 
at them from rooftops, windows and city streets. They cried "La Pucelle", 
Joan's nickname, and she is now the Maid of Orleans!

*****MISSION 3: THE CLEANSING OF THE LOIRE*****
It's June 14, in Orleans. The victory at Orleans was a setback for the 
British, but not a large one. The Britons still possess a half of France. 
Josselyne would like to continue to attack, but they were delayed while 
the Dauphin's advisors spent weeks debating. Joan is irritated by those 
delays and is constantly swearing knaves and brigands, turning them into 
patriots. One of the finest in the army is La Hire, he's a giant, and there 
will be plenty of necks for him to break at Patay. Patay is the gateway 
to the Loire River Valley. The Britons have heavily fortified the region 
while a large army under Sir John Fastolf devastates the countryside. We 
must capture all the castles in the region, but at the same time, we must 
try to avoid Fastolf and his veterans.

You start in the southwest of the map, and La Hire is already hungry for 
kills. Move north to the flag and 2 Transport Ships will be available for 
your use. They each carry 5 units at a time, so it's going to take several 
rounds before all troops are transferred to the opposite shore. Sail to 
the southeastern corner of the map and land your troops there. Start 
exploring the land and there will be a large clearing to the north. This 
is where you are going to build a base. Take your time, and make sure 
everyone is across. While ferrying your troops, work on the Town Center.

Once it's up, start build houses until you can support maybe 45 population. 
Then start training Villagers will all the food you have. First have 8 
Villagers chop wood. With the next Villagers, have them collect food from 
Sheep lying around. Watch your food increase. Whenever it reaches 50, click 
on the Villager button to train another one. Repeat until you have 8 
Villagers to collect food. Have a Villager designated to be a builder, 
and have him build all the Barracks, Archery Range, Blacksmith and Stable. 
Also consider building a Palisade Wall to block the river crossing to the 
west to temporarily hold back the Burgundy army.

The next thing you have to take care of is Gold. Have 5 Villagers mine 
Gold and research Gold Mining once the Mining Camp is built. Once all Sheep 
are used up, build a Mill and have the 8 Shepherds resort to farming. 
Continue to stock up on food and crank out 5 more Villagers to mine the 
Stone. Only then research Wheelbarrow and Town Watch. Have some Blacksmith 
upgrades researched if you like. Forging and Scale Barding Armor should 
go first. Then start saving up stuff. Fastolf's Army should have advanced 
to the Imperial Age as we speak. Fortunately, the troops you start with 
are enough to repel most attacks for now.

While Castle Age is being researched, see to the remaining Blacksmith 
upgrades. You should have enough stone to build a Castle by the time Castle 
Age comes up. As you can see, there are 2 openings in the forest facing 
to the north. Have a Castle built to defend each of the openings. Of course, 
while building the Castles, you can have a Villager construct a University 
and research Ballistics and Murder Holes. One small gap to the right can 
be walled and fitted with a gate.

Once Castle Age is reached, the next thing to do is to control the river. 
Build a Dock by the shore, and then build a couple of Fire Ships, send 
them to the northwest along the shoreline to the British Dock there. Destroy 
any Galleys there and also burn up their Dock. Then, you will be provided 
with a clear entry route to destroy the Burgundy camp to the north of this 
part of the river. Use a Scout Cavalry to reveal the base there. There 
is a patch of Stone and Gold that is unmined, and you can send Villagers 
there to mine the resources. The Burgundy camp is weakly defended. They 
only thing they train are infantry units. Therefore, you can just send 
in 8 Knights and 2 Battering Rams to destroy their Barracks. After that, 
nothing can stop you from destroying their Town Center and all of the 
Villagers. Then, the Burgundy Team will resign. (All computer players are 
like that.) Whenever you exit the game and check the game stats, you will 
find that Burgundy has been consistently sending Tribute to Fastolf's Army, 
so with them out of the game, Fastolf would have had a major setback. Keep 
the Burgundy Market so you can send Trade Carts there to earn extra Gold. 
You can now remove the Palisade Wall blocking the western river crossing.

It's now time to finish off the main objective. Destroy any 3 of the British 
Castles to win. However, you must know that Fastolf's Army will come and 
start attacking you when the first castle is destroyed, so you must be 
prepared. The first Castle to be razed is to the northeast of your eastern 
exit. It's guarded only by Longbowmen, so you can just send in a sextet 
of Battering Rams to take it down quickly. Once it's destroyed, the British 
will complain about the French who are attacking their Castles. And Sir 
John Fastolf will come to get you personally. He's going to attack with 
hordes of Cavaliers and Capped Rams. Hold them back.

The second castle is to the northwest of the first. This time, it's guarded 
by Long Swordsmen, so you will have to ungarrison your Crossbowmen and 
have them follow the sextet of Rams. With them around, the Long Swordsmen 
cannot even get near your Rams. Take down their walls and destroy their 
Barracks. Then, nothing should stop you from destroying the second Castle. 
Should Fastolf's Cavaliers intervene, have your Crossbowmen hold them for 
a short while, that should be enough. That leaves one Castle to raze. Let's 
scout around and have a look. There is a main British camp to the far north, 
but it's heavily guarded. There is another weaker camp with a Stable and 
a Castle, that should be our third target. This time, move the sextet of 
Rams supported by maybe 15 Pikemen. Ram down the walls and try to destroy 
the Stable, if not the castle. The Pikemen should provide sufficient 
distraction to blast a clear path through to the Castle, leaving only 
Longbowmen behind. Then, build another 6 Battering Rams and destroy this 
Castle! The British will be forced to surrender the Loire Valley back to 
the French.

Outcome:
After the victory at Patay, the myth of British invulnerability was 
destroyed. The French knew that they can win, but only if they are cunning. 
The British are the most deadly enemy. Time and again have their Longbowmen 
decimated a charge of French Knights. To make matters worse, Joan faces 
opposition in the court, since the Dauphin's advisors spend a lot of time 
wrangling, jealous of her influence. Let's hope she can complete her 
mission before the advisors betray her.

*****MISSION 4: THE RISING*****
It's June 25, in Orleans. Dead France is returning to life. The French 
Army is expanding with new recruits. In the old days, men only swore to 
a particular lord. But not now. Instead, the soldiers fight for France. 
For many, Joan is France! The Dauphin has arrived in Orleans amid the 
celebration. It's about time for him to be crowned King of France. The 
coronation is set in Rheims, but that region is infested with the 
Anglo-Burgundian Army, and the cities of Troyes and Chalon threaten Rheims, 
so those two cities must also be taken before the coronation.

You start in the southeastern corner of the map, and your current objective 
is to reinforce the French Town to the west. So, let's use your Scout Cavalry 
to move forward and scan for any enemies. Nope, no enemies yet. You will 
reach a junction. Go south and you will see a Stone Mine and a Gold Mine 
guarded by a Guard Tower, send your Knights down there to destroy it. Head 
back to the junction. To the west is a camp belonging to the British Guards 
(Red Team). There are a number of Crossbowmen and Men at Arms guarding 
that camp, so move your Knights forward first to take most of the strain 
from the arrows, and then retreat the Monks when they are wounded. They 
should have taken out most of the Men at Arms before they have a major 
pain, and the rest of the troops should be easy targets for your 4 
Crossbowmen and Men at Arms. Once they are all dead, they would have been 
defeated. Heal your troops and continue to the west.

You will come to your own French town, complete with 6 Villagers. Send 
all of these Villagers to chop wood by the Lumber Camp to the south. With 
your 200 Food, train 4 more. Have 3 collect food from Forage Bushes, while 
another one move all the way to the river crossing to the west and wall 
it up with a Stone Wall. This should prevent the town of Troyes from 
attacking for a long time. As food is collected, train 2 more Villagers 
to collect Wood and 5 more to collect food. Start farming.

Have Joan of Arc hang around the woods to the east of your town, in Defensive 
Stance. This is to prevent any Villagers from Troyes from sneaking in and 
building a Stable and Barracks there. They do this all the time!

While you are doing the above, it's time to attack Chinon. It's just across 
the river. Your Monks should follow as well. Chinon is guarded by Knights, 
Crossbowmen and a lot of Scorpions. First, attract the Knights' attention 
and try to convert 2 of them before the rest of the town becomes aroused. 
Afterwards, send the Knights after the Scorpions to destroy them, and then 
deal with the Crossbowmen. When the first large batch of forces have been 
defeated, you should have maybe 4 to 5 Knights remaining, and all 
Crossbowmen and Men at Arms intact. Send the Crossbowmen to the Gold Mine 
to the north and kill as many Villagers as you can while keeping out of 
range of the Town Center. When the Gold Miners are destroyed, deal with 
the Farmers by the Town Center. When no more Villagers are near the Town 
Center, have the Knights destroy it. Then the Chinon will be already 
defeated, and you will have access to more Stone and Gold. Send 5 Villagers 
for both the Gold Mine and Stone Mine. You are to exhaust these sources 
as quickly as possible before Rheims needs those resources.

Start saving up Stone, and when you have enough, have your troops pull 
back from Chinon and build a Castle on the southern shore. Build a Stone 
Wall and Gate to separate the river crossing from the Castle. This is going 
to impede the enemies' attack forces. Troyes likes to use Knights and 
Pikemen to attack, while Rheims uses Longbowmen, Knights and Trebuchets. 
Build a Blacksmith, University and Monastery and start researching their 
upgrades, in particular Murder Holes and Ballistics. Start saving up for 
Imperial Age. (You have lots of food, but may not have enough Gold)

Now, we have to control the river. To the west of the Castle, build a Dock, 
and research Careening, then build a couple of Fire Ships. Move east, all 
the way to the gates of Troyes, burn all the enemy War Galleys you find. 
You will eventually reach their Dock. Burn it down quickly. Back at the 
Dock, research War Galley and pump some out. If you have reached Imperial 
Age, upgrade them to Galleons and also research Dry Dock. Chemistry is 
not available in the University right now.

Send the Galleons to the gates of Troyes. You will find that their Town 
Center is located very close to the river. In fact, it is within the 
Galleons' range. Have them open fire on the Town Center. Since their Navy 
is destroyed, nothing can stop your Galleons from destroying the Town 
Center and Troyes would be defeated shortly.

The city in the middle, Troyes comes next. You may want to know that the 
city is very heavily defended and that resistance is very strong. You should 
not bother with destroying their production buildings, instead, just send 
quick strike teams to remove the Town Center. First, those teams must remove 
strategic defensive structures of the enemies. They include the Castle 
outside Rheims, the eastern Gate of Rheims, the Castle near that Gate, 
and the Castle next to their Town Center. You are to send in sextets of 
Capped Rams to destroy them, one by one. Expect them to be all lost after 
fulfilling their mission. (The enemy will fight back with Onagers and 
Longbowmen). When all those defensive structures gone, send in a quartet 
of Trebuchets and move into Rheims from the eastern entrance. You should 
be able to take out the Town Center before they can stop you. Now, Rheims 
has also been liberated!

Outcome:
The population of Rheims greeted Joan of Arc with cheers as her army enters. 
Some even knelt down to kiss her horse's footsteps. Cannons fired into 
the air and thousands of flags danced in the wind. Inside the cathedral 
of Rheims, the Dauphin knelt before the Archbishop and rose as the King 
of France. Among the dukes and ladies were many soldiers with their wounds 
still visible. Despite the celebrations, Guy Josselyne knew that the war 
was far from over. Their fathers and grandfathers died fighting the British. 
Joan gives them hope, but he's not sure if hope is enough to bring them 
victory.

*****MISSION 5: THE SIEGE OF PARIS*****
It's September 3, Rheims. France may now have a king, but jealously is 
growing within the court. The king's evil advisors are now set to destroy 
Joan. It's only a batter of time before the King's evil advisors succeed 
in poisoning his mind. Joan must hurry to fulfill her mission. Paris, the 
jewel of France has been under English tyranny for decades. There are lots 
of people inside eager to escape. Joan's army now marches on to Paris, 
hoping that the reinforcements the King promised would arrive in time. 
But will they arrive in time, really?

You start in the far south edge of the map with a large army. You are to 
enter Paris, rescue at least 6 Villagers, and wait for the King's 
reinforcements to the south of the river bridge. You have one single Light 
Cavalry. Have him move around the areas to the north to scout the land. 
Follow the path, until you reach the woods, move right of the woods and 
along the water. Then go north, and then west. You will run into 2 Monks 
there. Quickly turn back before he is converted. Retrace your steps, and 
move north along the main path to the Monastery. The Monks should have 
walked to the right, and hence no one will be there. Then, move north along 
the fields until you see the walls of Paris. Don't go any closer, and just 
run along the southwestern edge of the map. It's a recon mission for now. 
You are to avoid as much fighting as possible, since the Longbowmen are 
excellent in defending the city.

Move over to spy on the fields to the west of town. Boom! What is that? 
Oh, it's a Bombard Tower! Hey, how do the Britons get those things? Hmm, 
there is no time to think about such matters. Move the Light Cavalry away 
from the range of the Tower, and send your units over to this western part 
of Paris, and have the majority of them hide behind the trees along the 
southwestern edge of the map. Only bring the Bombard Cannons up. Destroy 
the Bombard Tower. You will find that the Bombard Tower is guarding a Castle. 
Send the Trebuchets up as well to destroy it. Have the Light Cavalry scout 
the area to the northwest, near the position where you will have to go.

You have arrived at the northwestern gates of Paris. There are quite a 
number of Elite Longbowmen guarding the place. Use the Light Cavalry to 
lure them out. Once they are a considerable distance from the safety of 
their walls, send in your Cavaliers and Paladins to take them out. Once 
the Elite Longbowmen are dealt with, send the Bombard Cannons to start 
blowing up their gates. The Brits will respond with Champions, which can 
be taken out by your Crossbowmen. There are 20 of them, so those arrows 
can really make a lovely massacre. Continue with the destruction of the 
enemy Town Center and their Barracks. (3 of them.)

Once this area is clear, move all units in. You would have found 10 Villagers. 
You are to keep at least 6 of them alive. Start razing the houses around 
the immediate area, but beware of the Castle, Trebuchet and Onager coming 
from the south. There are also several Galleons patrolling the river, and 
must be destroyed by the Bombard Cannons as well. Send the Light Cavalry 
to explore downtown. You will come to the bridge, marked by a flag. Don't 
go near it yet. Otherwise, you will trigger another event. Send your 
Trebuchets into the street between the group of houses and the University, 
and move northeast slowly. You will see 2 Monks by a Monastery on that 
island in the middle of the river. Have the Trebuchets set at No Attack 
Stance and unpack. Have them Attack Ground on a piece of land near the 
Monks. Eventually, one of those rocks would miss that patch of ground and 
kill the Monks "by accident"! Also target the Keep on the river. (You will 
attract the unwanted attention of a Cannon Galleon. Have Bombard Cannons 
destroy it.) When they are taken care of, it's time to send your troops 
to the bridge and wait for the reinforcements. But where are they?

The Transport Ship arrives, and drops off, a Militia and a Scout Cavalry! 
Treachery! The wicked advisors want to see Joan defamed! Or worse! You 
are on your own, hurry, to Compaigne! Well, it's not a complete loss, at 
least you have another Scout. Send him across the bridge to have a foresight 
of this land. Well, the opposite shore is guarded by a Keep and 2 Onagers. 
Well, I guess that Scout is going to die in martyrdom since he doesn't 
even have Husbandry upgrade! Have your Bombard Cannons take out the Onagers 
from a range, same goes for the Keep. Move northwest, and start hitting 
the Barracks. Some infantry and another 2 Onagers will come out through 
the gate to the north to attack you. Quickly send your Crossbowmen and 
Paladins to take them out before you lose your Cannons. You have revealed 
a castle to the west. Let's destroy that as well.

You must hurry at this point. 2 Monks may come over from the east in an 
attempt to convert your troops, and a large horde of Pikemen and Longbowmen 
will run out through the gate to the right to support the Castle. So, not 
only must you destroy the Castle, you must also destroy the Gate separating 
the Longbowmen from your Paladins. Once both are destroyed, you can fight 
in a much more even basis. Send the Bombard Cannons into this walled area, 
and take down the Keeps guarding the exit Gate. Destroy the Gate.

Once the Gate is opened, send Joan and the Villagers out of Paris, and 
follow the path to Compeigne. As you approach the city gates, a large number 
of Burgundians will attack the town. They change their stance to you to 
Neutral. This means that as long as you ignore them, they will not attack 
you. Move into the area marked by the flags and you will be victorious. 
Joan is safe, or is she?

Outcome:
Tragedy. As the refugees fled into the Chateau of Compeigne, Joan was 
trapped outside. Burgundian soldiers knocked her from her horse and paraded 
around with their prisoner. None of the army can sleep, since they know 
that their jewel, Joan of Arc, languishes in a Burgundian prison. The 
soldiers look up to the uncaring sky, full of guilt that they were unable 
to save Joan or France. Paris is the first major defeat to the French Army. 
Had the King sent in the reinforcements, they would have captured the city. 
Now, it's France's darkest hour.

*****MISSION 6: A PERFECT MARTYR*****
No Joan of Arc. A rich world made empty and poor. The English put her on 
trial as a heretic. Joan's mind was as sharp as her sword, and she avoided 
all the cunning verbal traps set up by her prosecutors. In the end, Joan 
could not renounce her mission. The English found her guilty, and burnt 
her at the stake. But Joan's death was not in vain. La Pucelle is the 
rallying cry of peasants and noblemen alike, as they join the army to fight 
the British. Now, they march on to Castillon, where a victory there would 
crush the English's pretensions in France forever. Should Josselyne die 
in this battle, he dies for the Maid of Orleans, for France.

You now start with a Trade Cart with the French Flag. You are in control 
of Lord Josselyne. You are to move forward to find your army which you 
will take command of. Follow the path to the river and cross it. Your entire 
army would have assembled. Move to the west to find your Hand Cannoneers 
and Bombard Cannons. One of the cannons is manned by Jean Bureau! Ha ha! 
That's Mr. Office for you! OK, constable Richemont is there, so is La Hire! 
He now complains that his sword is not bloody enough. Let's go and attack 
that Burgundy town. Only use your Bombard Cannons (excluding Jean Bureau) 
and have all Hand Cannoneers and Arbalests set to Stand Ground. Have the 
Bombard Cannons target the first Keep you see over the wall, and that will 
lure a large number of Long Swordsmen and Throwing Axemen out. Fortunately, 
if you place your Arbalests and Hand Cannoneers in the way, there is no 
way they can break through, and it will be another lovely massacre for 
you. Any foolhardy Monk can be blasted to pieces by your cannon.

Now, let's destroy the Trebuchet on the other side of the wall. Continue 
with their Castle, and gates, until the entrance of the base is clear. 
Send your 6 Villagers in and start building a Town Center and as many houses 
as you can. Have one Villager mine Gold, another Stone, and the other 4 
Chop Wood. Once you have built enough houses, train 8 more Villagers and 
have 4 of them Chop Wood, 4 of them farm. Continue adding Villagers to 
mine Gold and Stone. Also block the two gaps in the walls to the south 
with Gates. Lock them to prevent anyone from opening them accidentally. 
Now, you only have the junction to the northwest to defend. Send all 
Arbalests there. For some strange reason, the Burgundy Army and Shrewsbury 
will both attack from there. The former will attack with Cavalry and Capped 
Rams, while the other relies on Champions and Pikemen. This narrow opening 
is very easy to defend, and hence you would like to build a Monastery on 
the double and send the Monks out. Have them keep your troops healthy and 
also convert enemy units. Since population is very limited in this game, 
your main source of military units will be from Shrewsbury. Whenever their 
Cavaliers come, convert as many as you can. Hold this junction, and research 
Murder Holes and Ballistics in the University. Once they are researched, 
save up Stone and build a Castle in the junction. Also build a wall and 
a gate by the southern entrance to the junction, then the Burgundians will 
be forced to take the long way round to enter, and will be shredded by 
the Castle before long. Of course, garrison all Arbalests in.

Now, it's a defensive game. Hold off all enemy attacks until you have enough 
resources to research all Blacksmith upgrades and the Hand Cart. Then, 
start advancing into the Imperial Age. After that, continue to upgrade 
your units to the max. Only then you can counterattack. We start with 
Shrewsbury to the north. They specialize in using Cavaliers, so send your 
own converted army up to their base, along with some Capped Rams and Pikemen. 
Break through their walls and destroy their Stables, and their Town Center. 
I leave the rest to your imagination. Well, you know how to defeat Computer 
players. Destroy their Town Center, and then when all of their Villagers 
are gone too, they will kill all of their military units and destroy all 
their military buildings, and hence they will resign.

Burgundy comes next. Their base is to the far south, and you are to reach 
it by following the path by the river. (Not across the river where there 
are 2 English Keeps guarding the place.) This time, you will be using Hand 
Cannoneers and Capped Rams. You have to research Chemistry, and also reach 
the Hand Cannoneer technology in order to use them. A swarm of maybe 15 
will do against all their Champions and Pikemen. Keep away from the Town 
Center at first, and kill all the Villagers you find. When no infantry 
units are around the Town Center, have the Capped Rams destroy it. Kill 
any remaining Villagers and Burgundy will resign as well. "Retreat! We 
must abandon the occupation of France to the French!" Ha, crawl back to 
your Switzerland, Burgundians. Maybe that will teach you to become neutral.

Now, the main British camp at Challions remains. You must know that that 
town is heavily fortified, and their Elite Longbowmen and Cavaliers will 
literally fight to the last man, and hence a direct assault will result 
in heavy losses. However, even the strongest of towns has its 
vulnerabilities. Of course, this town's vulnerability is the river. It's 
poorly guarded. All you have to do is to build a Dock by the river to the 
south and build some Fast Fire Ships, and you can proceed to burn all of 
their Galleons and Cannon Galleons. Then, destroy their docks. (It's to 
the far west.) Once it's held, send in a couple of Cannon Galleons to blow 
up as many buildings as possible, and clear the way for your Trade Cart.

Once the entry point is clear, send a small team of Paladins and Bombard 
Cannons to the Brits' front door. This attack is meant to be a diversion, 
so that all their Elite Longbowmen would be out of their base. Once they 
are distracted, send the Trade Cart in and have it sneak into the area 
marked by the flags. There may be Bombard Towers there, but if you order 
the Trade Cart to move around manually, it's unlikely that it will be hit 
before it plants the flag on the hill. Viva la France!

Outcome:
A century of British toil, blood and victory was reversed in a little over 
a year by a teenage girl. The Hundred Year War was over. Joan's exploits 
ignited a sense of nationalism. Peasants and nobles no longer belong to 
lords and Kings, but to France herself. They will not let Joan be forgotten. 
Statues and stained glass portraits have been commissioned in hundreds 
of towns and cities. Sometimes, the outcome of history is determined by 
force of arms, or by happenstance. In France, it's determined by the will 
of a young girl, who is the only girl to history to command the army of 
the entire nation at the age of seventeen. The end!

------------------------------------
b. Saracen Campaign: Saladin [AOK7B]
------------------------------------
It's the height of the Crusades, and the Christians have taken over 
Jerusalem. A brave Arab named Saladin is there to take it back. However, 
the person who tells the story is not Arab, it's an European who's deployed 
to Egypt. Only that he's lost in the desert and is dying. Saladin's men 
saved his life and so his exploits will be seen in the eyes of that European.

*****MISSION 1: AN ARABIAN KNIGHT*****
It has been a month since that European entered the Holy Land. He is a 
in a foreign land, and was dying. He had abandoned his horse to the vultures, 
and his armor to the heat of the day. He had wandered in the desert for 
4 nights before the horse archers found him. He first thought that they 
were Turks, coming to toy with their prey. But they were in fact Saracens, 
the rulers of the Middle East. Since he's a Crusader coming from France 
and Normandy, he's their enemy, and yet they gave him a spindly horse and 
led him back to their leader. This European had not expected hospitality 
from the Saracens, since they execute any prisoner they capture. This was 
when he met Saladin. Portraits in Europe depict him as a tyrant, but he's 
actually more chivalrous than any knight he has ever seen. He's free to 
explore the camp. Saladin's army is heading south to reinforce Egypt. Rgypt 
is the next target of the Crusaders, since it's wealthy and governed by 
an ineffectual fool. Before his capture, the European was en route to join 
the assault on Egypt. But now, he's viewing everything from the enemy camp. 
This is why he finds himself less than 100 miles south of the Dead Sea.

You start with an army of Light Cavalry and some Camels and Mamelukes. 
You are to defeat the Franks to the West of Cairo. Not long after you have 
control, a Knight and a group of Men at Arms will rush forward to meet 
your men. The Franks taunt that the Holy Land is theirs, and so will Egypt 
as well. Take out this nuisance and head south. You will encounter another 
small group of Crossbowmen. Of course, let's kill them. If you go west, 
you will find the Great Pyramid of Cheops! The main West Frank Camp is 
down south by the river. There are lots of Knights and Crossbowmen there. 
Kill everyone. At this point, the Egyptian ruler will tell Saladin that 
he does not trust his motives, and tells him to turn back at once. However, 
ignore him and raze the camp to the ground. It is at this point that the 
Egyptians can take it no more and allied themselves with the Franks. They 
will conspire to keep you out of Cairo. You will be informed that the 
Egyptians are cowardly and weak. If they station troops near their main 
mosque, the Egyptians will truly surrender.

So, you are to get to the Mosque on the double. Cross the bridge. There 
is a small island in the middle of the Nile. There is a West Frank Blacksmith 
and a Knight and some Crossbowmen guarding it. Take them out and start 
attacking the Blacksmith. You would also have captured a Frankish Cannon 
Galleon. Use it on the Gate of Cairo. While you are happily hacking down 
the Blacksmith, Cairo will send a small group of forces to deal with you. 
This is when you will use your Heavy Scorpions to turn those neatly in 
line troops into shish kabob. Once the Blacksmith is destroyed, you would 
have found Frankish Armor in the ruins of the Blacksmith. Chain Barding 
Armor would have been researched, giving all Cavalry units 1 extra Armor 
and Pierce Armor.

Once the Gate is broken down, immediately send a small group of Light 
Cavalry into the city, and run over to the Mosque. Once you get there, 
the Egyptian leader's words will slowly change from calm to panicky. He 
says that the Franks have betrayed them, and are planning to invade Cairo. 
He admits that he has been wrong in not trusting his fellow Saracens. He 
gives you some more Camels and Cavalry Archers to command. Just defeat 
the treacherous Franks! With your new forces, exit Cairo through the East 
Gate. There is an East Frank Guard Tower nearby. Start attacking it. Be 
prepared, as East Frank forces will be coming to that Tower's defense. 
There are Knights, Crossbowmen and Pikemen. Use the Heavy Scorpions again 
to turn the latter into skewers. If possible, use hit and run tactics from 
the Cavalry Archers to take them out with minimal losses.

Once the East Frank army is defeated, you can simply go and destroy their 
Town Center. The Siege Ram is most useful in doing this job. Once it's 
destroyed, the Franks would have to retreat, and you would have won.

Outcome:
The Franks are dispersed, and the Egyptian Army broken. Saladin has taken 
his place as governor of the Nile. Any European ruler would use this 
opportunity to eliminate his political enemies. But Saladin just allowed 
any Egyptian opposed his rule to leave the city unharmed. Saladin has set 
out to win over the population. In Cairo he built mosques and palaces, 
universities and hospitals. It's a troubling turn of events and the 
European has difficulties in sleeping.

*****MISSION 2: LORD OF ARABIA*****
The European has followed Saladin to the Holy City of Medina, and he has 
been captured for an entire 15 years. He has written volumes of history 
books for Saladin. However, Saladin rarely reads them. He speaks of greater 
events to come. After 3 crusades, the political boundaries of the endless 
desert has changed. The Holy Land is now divided into 4 kingdoms. The 
Crusader Leaders realize that Saladin is a person worthy of concern. They 
were quick to suggest a treaty. The European thinks that with peace finally 
achieved, he can return to his people. But this peace was already broken. 
A wicked French knight called Reynold de Chatillon has been raiding Arab 
territory in defiance of the treaty. His knights attack trade caravans, 
and his pirate ships threaten the cities of Aqaba and Medina. Saladin, 
of course is infuriated by all of this, and has sworn to kill Reynold with 
his own bare hands.

Oh, by the way, if you have watched the Kingdom of Heaven, you will find 
that Reynold is also considered a criminal by the Crusaders. He's charged 
with disturbing the peace. The old king of Jerusalem was actually in good 
terms with Saladin and was about to execute Reynold when he died of leprosy. 
He was succeeded by a King that favors war with the Arabs (I think his 
name was Guy, or something like that). This made things worse for everyone, 
right? And it's time to kick them out.

You start in the Feudal Age, with a couple of Villagers. Your objectives 
are to defeat the Reynald's Raiders and Reynald's Pirates, and not allowing 
your allies Aqaba and Medina to be defeated. At the start, we see an allied 
Trade Cart being surrounded by Reynald's Bandits (Red Team), I'm sorry, 
but you really can't help them at this point. You may be asked to protect 
the allied trade convoys, but really, they will still pay you Gold even 
if you don't. Things are also desperate for you. You start in the Feudal 
Age, which means your troops are all inferior when compared to your 
opponents. At the same time, resources are limited. You have maybe 7 
Villagers and 8 Cavalry Units. Have 2 of them go over to the herd of Deer 
to the northeast and build a Mill there. Start hunting, have 4 Villagers 
chop wood to the west, and have 1 Villager be assigned as the Builder. 
Have him build 2 houses, a Barracks and a Stable. Then with your 500 Food, 
train 10 Villagers. Have 4 of them collect Wood, and 6 of them hunt Deer. 
So, you have 8 Villagers collecting Wood and 8 collecting Food respectively. 
Meanwhile, continue building Houses and a Blacksmith with your wood. Train 
3 Villagers to mine the Gold in your camp. Also train 2 Villagers to go 
to the town of Medina to mine the Stone there. That's all for your Villagers. 
Make sure you have enough population to train troops next.

At the current moment, Reynald Raiders are the most annoying of them all. 
They may be stuck in the Feudal Age, but they do have strength in numbers. 
They attack with large hordes of Skirmishers and Archers, and your cavalry 
can only hold maybe 3 waves of such attacks, so you must hurry to the Castle 
Age. But you must still research Forging, Scale Mail Armor, Scale Barding 
Armor and Fletching beforehand, or your troops will be in trouble. 
Wheelbarrow is to be given a lower priority, but if your food is increasing 
at a sufficient rate, you can research it before clicking the Advance to 
Castle Age button. Come on, hurry up!

As Feudal Age is prepping, you have to be aware of Reynald Pirates. They 
are the most ambitious team in the enemy camp. They will advance from Feudal 
Age to Imperial Age very quickly, and will send groups of Cavaliers after 
you. So, be prepared. Train maybe 15 Spearmen to guard against them. Have 
them stand near the coast, so you can be ready for landings. Once Feudal 
Age is reached, Reynald Raiders would be much less of a threat, since all 
you need are 2 Knights to hold off their pathetic attacks. There is a special 
technique you can use to get rid of them, but first, let's build a Monastery 
and University, and train 2 Monks to sustain the Knights and Spearmen 
(Upgrade to Pikemen if possible). Also research Bodkin Arrow, Ballistics 
and Murder Holes. Keep an eye on your Stone and take action as soon as 
it gets to 650. Also gradually research all Blacksmith techs that affect 
Cavalry and Infantry. Be on the lookout, since the coastline is very long, 
it's hard to tell where and when the Pirates will land. But if you see 
blue dots moving on the shorelines on the minimap, you must act quickly 
and intercept those Cavaliers before they deal heavy damage to those 
Villagers.

Now, where was I, oh yes, I was about to tell you how to destroy Reynald 
Raiders. It's very simple. Send the 2 or 3 Knights used to hold their Archers 
off north, to their northern gate. Hold that position. Then, move a Villager 
up there and begin construction of a Castle right outside their gate. They 
will try to resist, but fortunately, they are peanuts, really. Once the 
Castle is completed, they will act desperately to take down the Castle, 
only that they will suffer heavy losses. Every now and then, they will 
actually send Villagers out to the killed. When no one is there, use the 
Castle to take out their Watch Tower. Even though you are blocking one 
of their two gates, more and more Villagers would be coming out to the 
Castle like lambs to the slaughter. Eventually, they will run out of food 
and all of their Villagers will be killed. That's when they resign, and 
you have defeated Reynald Raiders. (Sounds like the name of a basketball 
team to me!)

If you look carefully, you will find that there is a shallow to the west 
of Aqaba. Let's send some troops to look over here. Of course, you must 
defend your shorelines in case of any more attacks by the Reynald Pirates. 
The solution is simple. Line up the shoreline with as many Guard Towers 
and Castles as possible. Also, you will have to build a Dock, so that you 
can cross the bay later. The perfect spot is to the far southeast of the 
shorelines. There is a small patch of land to the southwest, and this makes 
a small opening for enemy Galleons to squeeze through, so it's the best 
place to build the Dock. First, build a Castle on the shoreline at the 
opening of the gap. Then build the Dock. It seems that there is a Guard 
Tower on that small patch of land. So, once the Dock is built, build a 
Siege Workshop and a Battering Ram. Then, build a Transport Ship and ferry 
the Ram across and destroy the Guard Tower. Then, your Dock will be secure 
and no Galleons can head your way. Now, build a large force of Knights 
and Camels. Around 8 Knights and 12 Camels will do. Send maybe 2 Monks 
for support.

Cross the shallows. There really is nothing of interest here, except for 
that enemy Dock guarded by a Watch Tower. Raze everything, this place is 
poorly guarded. Now, there is nothing of interest, but the Pirate camp 
on the far side of the bay to the southwest. So, let's build 2 Transport 
Ships to ferry your troops across. Before attacking, research Redemption. 
You are going to need it soon. It seems that the southeast of Reynald's 
camp is the least defended. Land there. There may be some Cavaliers hanging 
around, but they can be killed or converted with ease. Slowly move up the 
island. You will soon come to a Stable. Don't destroy it. Instead, have 
a Monk convert it for your use. Then you can train as many Knights and 
Camels as you like if they get killed. Start razing every building up to 
the Town Center. Destroy the Town Center. You may lose some units, but 
replacements can be trained at any time.

There is also a Castle to the northwest. That may prove difficult to assault. 
However, the solution is a Villager. Convert a Villager and have him build 
a Siege Workshop. Build 2 Battering Rams and ram down the Castle. Destroy 
everything, leave nothing behind. Reynald Pirates is a tough team. To 
defeat him, not only you must destroy his Town Center and all of his 
Villagers, you must also destroy all Docks and military units. Then Reynald 
will tell you that he'd be back to you Saracen dogs. You win.

Outcome:
Although the European was a prisoner, Saladin and his generals dine with 
him. Together, they discuss mathematics and astronomy. It's amazing how 
much the Saracens know. Baghdad, the Saracen capital is the most advanced 
cities in the world. It has free hospitals, public baths, a postal service 
and banks with branches as far as China. Of course, all their talk 
inevitably leads to war. Reynald's pirate ships now rot at the bottom of 
the Red Sea. The raids have stopped, Reynald de Chattion has escaped, but 
Saladin is very unlikely to forgive and forget.

*****MISSION 3: HORNS OF HATTIN*****
They are now in Galilee, and the European has been Saladin's prisoner for 
20 years. Last night, they rode into a sandstorm. The men dared not open 
their mouths to speak. They clung to the necks of horses and camels as 
the sand rose and fell among them. The Crusaders carry with them a relic, 
a piece of the True Cross. Capturing this relic will deal a severe blow 
to the morale of the Crusader forces. Saladin has chased a large Crusader 
army into the desert. The European asks Saladin why they were there, miles 
from civilization and water. Saladin's reason is to bring crimson death 
to their blue eyed enemy. The Crusader army has stopped to make its stand 
between two peaks known as the Horns of Hattin. At the Horns is a single 
pool of water, and Saladin controls it. At night, Saracens ride out to 
pour water within the sights of the thirst crazed Crusaders. It is cruelty 
worthy of them.

Oh, by the way, this is the epic battle in the movie the Kingdom of Heaven. 
The new king Guy is so fanatically pro war that he supports the battle 
against Saladin in the desert despite the warnings of the main character 
in that film. I remember that Reynald de Chattion is one of those agitators. 
Those idiotic Crusaders then have to go through very hot deserts and have 
not much strength left to fight. Ha ha ha! They are in trouble now!

This time, you start with 2 camps. In the northern camp, you have 8 Villagers 
around the Town Center. Send them over to the woods to the northwest to 
start chopping wood. Any remaining Villagers will be responsible for the 
Collection of Food. You should currently have 1 Shepherd. Recruit another 
7 Villagers to help you collect Food. In the southern camp, have all 
Villagers mine Gold. There is no Stone for you in this level, and you are 
not allowed to build Castles or Towers, so a good offense is a good defense.

You should start with attacking the British camp to the east. Train maybe 
10 Archers. Destroy a single Palisade Wall section blocking off your camp 
from attackers. Send your Spearmen, Skirmishers and Archers out to the 
east. You should come to a large Gold Mine. It's currently being shared 
by both the British and Jerusalem. (Blue Team). There is a Magonel guarding 
the mine. You should quickly send the Spearmen to destroy the Magonel. 
The Archers can take care of the Men at Arms. Kill all the Villagers you 
find. Research Fletching and Padded Archer Armor at the Blacksmith. 
Meanwhile, the British would have noticed your attack and will send a large 
force of Archers to deal with you. Fight them with your Skirmishers. Once 
they are down, send the Spearmen back to the entrance of your northern 
camp. This is because sooner or later, Reynald's Jerusalem forces will 
raid you with help from his Cavaliers. The Spearmen are to block the way, 
and kill as many of them as possible before you summon your Villagers to 
the Town Center.

To defeat the British while you are still at Feudal Age, you have to take 
them out economically. Kill their Villagers. But still, the farmers are 
hanging very close to the Town Center, and will retreat almost instantly 
into the Center as you open fire. Fortunately, their Lumberjacks aren't 
as safe. Move any Archers left behind to the east of the Town Center, by 
the Lumber Camp. Have the Archers Stand Ground and attack any Villagers 
that come close. Slowly move closer to the Town Center, but stay out of 
their range. More and more Villagers will be sent out to replace those 
killed, just to be slaughtered by your Archers. Eventually, no more 
Villagers will come out. Then, move your Archers over to their farms. So, 
even the farms are unattended. There maybe one or two Villagers left behind. 
Kill them as well, and the British will resign, since they have not enough 
food to train Villagers, and don't have the Gold either. Set your stance 
to them to Ally, since their Market will be of use in the future.

Jerusalem is to suffer a similar fate. Train maybe 5 more Archers to 
complement your current ones, and head south of the British camp. All they 
use are a bunch of weak Spearmen from the Barracks. You are also going 
to hurt their economic sources. Start by attacking the Villagers chopping 
wood to the west of their Town Center. Kill them off one by one, and then 
sneak over to their Farms by the Town Center, taking pot shots at them 
until they are killed one by one. Eventually, they would not have enough 
food to train more Villagers, and one or two will be left. Kill the last 
ones and then everything in the base would have stopped, and you will learn 
that Jerusalem has resigned. Now that the 2 eastern camps are defeated, 
you can start trading with their Markets for extra Gold. I suggest that 
you build a Market in the southern camp and then send Trade Carts up to 
the British Market to the north. Make a small opening in the upper Palisade 
Wall Section. To defend against enemy attacks, build a Town Center there 
and garrison a couple of Archers inside.

Save up for Castle Age, then click the button. While you are at it. Make 
sure that all Feudal Age Blacksmith upgrades are completed, and that 
Wheelbarrow and Town Watch are all available. Consider scouting around 
the southwest, since that's where the Knights Templar and Knights 
Hospitaller are based. Your Scout is going to have to die a martyr's death 
since running away will lead their tough troops to your camp, and their 
Teutonic Knights are something you don't want to mess with.

You will find that the piece of the True Cross is located on the northwestern 
edge of the map. It is guarded by some Monks and 2 layers of walls. Have 
the Light Cavalry draw away any units that are guarding the place, and 
then build a couple of Battering Rams. Sneak them to the walls by moving 
along the northwestern edge of the map. Ram down the walls. You will attract 
the attention of the Crusaders. So, send in another Light Cavalry to 
distract the forces away. When all is clear, send in a Monk through the 
same route and pick up the relic. Transport it to the Horns of Hattin, 
marked by the flags. It's likely that a couple of Monks will have to be 
killed before you can reach there, but eventually, you will get it there. 
Your heart weeps for those Crusader infidels!

Outcome:
The fighting was fierce. The Crusaders had to conquer or die. Mostly, they 
died. Saladin treated his prisoners well, providing them with ice water 
and comfortable tents. For years the European was able to speak to his 
fellow countrymen. But he's not sure what so say to those invaders. Not 
all the prisoners were treated so royally. To fulfill his vow, Saladin 
took out his scimitar and sliced Reynald de Chattilon's head clean off! 
How ironic is that it's only that the Crusaders have entered the Holy Land 
that the Saracens have transformed into the men they have set out to destroy. 
Oh, by the way, Reynald was not beheaded in the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead, 
he's stabbed in the chest a lot of times by Saladin! It's like this, Saladin 
was offering King Guy of Jerusalem ice water, and Reynald snatched it from 
him and drank it. Saladin said, "I didn't offer you that water." And Reynald 
smirked. It was then several of Saladin's men stabbed him multiple times 
from behind! However, King Guy was spared, and only kept prisoner. This 
is when the bulk of the Crusader forces defending Jerusalem are decimated, 
and the march on there begins.

*****MISSION 4: THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM*****
They are now at Jerusalem, and it has been 20 years since the European 
was found by the Saracens. Saladin now targets Jerusalem. It's a city holy 
to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is the virtual capital of the Holy 
Land. Of there can be a victor in this war, it will be the army that holds 
Jerusalem. Saladin is determined not to harm the city. If a single Holy 
Shrine is damaged, the populace will not see Saladin as a liberator, but 
as yet another conqueror.

This time, you only have one main objective. You are to destroy all 5 of 
the Towers guarding Jerusalem so that the city may be captured. Sounds 
simple, right? But there really is no time to lose. You start with 4 
Villagers. Have 1 Villager build a Town Center, one Villager move a little 
bit to the southwest and build a Castle. Also have another Villager build 
walls around your camp. You should find a Stone Mine to the northwest. 
Mine it off so the enemy can't get at it. The 4th Villager shall build 
a Lumber Camp next to the trees to the north. Make sure that there are 
no gaps in the wall, then the enemy cannot sneak past. Once the Castle 
is complete, garrison all the Archers of the Eyes in for support fire. 
The Mamelukes are to stand behind the walls to fend off any Battering Ram 
attacks. The constant attacks from Jerusalem and the Knights Templar and 
Hospitallers will attack very frequently. So, build a University and 
research Ballistics on the double. If you don't have enough Stone, start 
mining them.

Meanwhile, send your Scout Cavalry around the areas near your camp to find 
all the Sheep there. Send them all to your base, and use the 200 Food you 
start with to train 4 Villagers. Have them all collect Food. Eventually, 
when you have enough food, assign 8 Villagers to collect Wood and a total 
of 8 to farm. Once there is enough Food to go round, assign 4 Villagers 
to Mine Gold and 3 more to help mine Stone. Continue to be on the defensive. 
When you have enough Stone, consider building another Castle behind your 
walls to support the first one. After that, your camp will be more or less 
impregnable. Also train some Monks and have them hang around the insides 
of the walls to convert any foolhardy unit that comes close. Of course, 
the Cataphracts are in high demand, so are the enemy Cavaliers. Just pull 
back when the Scorpions come, ok?

It's just about time to play defensive for a while. As you can see, the 
Knights Templar use Knights, Battering Rams and Teutonic Knights against 
you. The Hospitallers, the orange team will send Knights, Teutonic Knights 
and Scorpions to your base. Jerusalem, on the other hand will make use 
of Cataphracts, Crossbowmen and Pikemen. Anyway, all of these are no match 
for your Double Castle defense. Eventually, Jerusalem will reach the 
Imperial Age, but their units aren't being upgraded. So, let's just hog 
resources, research every Blacksmith Upgrade, Hard Cart, Town Watch and 
then advance to the Imperial Age. Consider having some entertainment by 
watching the enemies fall to the arrows.

Once Imperial Age is reached, you can upgrade Mamelukes to Elite Mamelukes 
and Camels to Heavy Camels, since you will be using those units. Also, 
upgrade Cavalry Archers to Heavy Cavalry Archers. These 3 units are to 
be your main attack force. Research Siege Engineers, since you will be 
using Trebuchets to knock down the enemy defenses. We will start by scouting 
on the Knights Templar, or the yellow team to the far south. Send a Light 
Cavalry, and have him run along the southeastern edge of the map to avoid 
any of Jerusalem's towers. You will eventually reach a Monastery in a group 
of trees. There is a flag up, indicating that there is a Relic inside. 
Use the Light Cavalry to distract the attention of any Knights or Men at 
Arms nearby and then build a pair of Capped Rams. Send them to the Monastery 
via the same route as the Light Cavalry. Ram down the Monastery. They are 
going to send in the cavalry after your Rams, so they are likely to be 
scrapped an honorable death. Have another Light Cavalry distract any 
Cavalry around, and send a Monk in to take that Relic back to your own 
Monastery. Then, you can have a slow but unlimited supply of Gold.

Train another Light Cavalry and move all the way to the south of the map. 
That is where the Templars have their camp there. As you can see, it's 
guarded by only Cavalry, and there isn't a Castle in sight, although you 
can find the Guard Towers around. Back home, train around 13 Elite Mamelukes, 
7 Heavy Camels and 8 Heavy Cavalry Archers. Also build 2 Trebuchets. Make 
sure that they are all upgraded to the max. Then send them down into the 
camp and attack it. The Mamelukes have a ranged attack, and 10 of them 
attacking at once can take out a Knight instantly. Anyone who gets too 
close can be murdered by the Heavy Camels. As for the Heavy Cavalry Archers, 
they are to hold the Teutonic Knights off. Two volleys of arrows should 
be enough to finish one Teutonic Knight. Hit and run if they do get close. 
Keep them away from your Cavalry at all costs, since these guys are Serious! 
(With a capital S.)

Destroy all Guard Towers and Military Buildings, also wipe out their Town 
Center. Spare the Market. You are going to trade with this market a little 
bit later. At this point, some Teutonic Knights and the Master of the 
Templars will arrive from the south to fight you. They must have entered 
the fray from outside the minimap! Hey, that's cheating! No matter, finish 
them all, and the Master will claim that he will become more powerful than 
you can ever imagine when you strike him down.

Have a Villager build a Market on the eastern corner of the map. Set the 
rally point to the Templars' market, and build 5 Trade Carts to do business 
with them. If you have lost several men, train replacements back at your 
own camp. Otherwise, move up to the walls of Jerusalem. There is a gate 
there, behind it is a Stable and a Castle of the Templars. Hold off any 
Cavalry, and tear down the gates and the Castle. Also move to the east 
and knock down the Keep there. You now have 4 Towers left to destroy. Move 
the Trebuchets into the town, and have the Mamelukes, Heavy Camels and 
Heavy Cavalry Archers hold any resistance off. Since they are using only 
Pikemen, this is not going to be too much of a difficult task.

Move north. You will find a Bombard Tower in the middle of the holy city. 
Take it out from a range. You will be told that Jerusalem has 3 towers 
remaining. You will be reminded not to allow any place of worship to be 
destroyed. Of course, this means that you cannot knock down the Dome of 
Rock or any Jerusalem Monastery. Now, move to the northeastern walls. There 
are 2 more Keeps there. Destroy them. Now, Jerusalem has only 1 tower 
remaining. It is to the northwest. It's by a Castle, but I am sure that 
you can hold off all resistance until it is destroyed. Then, your announcer 
will exclaim that all Jerusalem towers have been destroyed. The city is 
yours! You are victorious.

Outcome:
Last time the European entered Jerusalem, he found himself knee deep in 
blood. But this time, not a single life was harmed. Saladin set free nearly 
every prisoner he took. The population of Jerusalem has proclaimed Saladin 
as their savior. Saladin offered the European his freedom, but after 20 
years of service he decided to see it till the end. Well, this outcome 
is quite true, and is reflected in the movie Kingdom of Heaven. The main 
character, who is leading the defensive forces inside, came out and 
surrendered, and Saladin allowed him to leave the city unharmed. This guy 
then set back home to France.

*****MISSION 5: JIHAD!*****
They are now in Tiberias, and the European has been with Saladin for 20 
and a half years. They were once far away from the sea, with very little 
water, and so the smell of salt and the sight of seagulls looked like a 
scene of Heaven. Sitting next to Saladin's tent, the European watches the 
carnage down below. Saracen horse archers sweep through yet another mob 
of disorganized European soldiers. The mighty Crusader nations have been 
reduced to puny city states. Only Tiberias, Ascalon and Tyre are still 
in Saracen Hands. If those states could be defeated, the Crusaders will 
be driven out of the Holy Land. Unfortunately, those cities are well walled 
and could withstand many sieges. Let's hope Saladin could be victorious 
here, otherwise, it would mean decades more of carnage.

You start with a town that is quite well walled in. However, in spite all 
of this, you must act quickly. The 3 Villagers you start with should be 
ordered to mine Gold inside your camp, while 4 Fishing Ships given to you 
at the harbour should start fishing at once. You start with 200 Food. Train 
4 Villagers on the double, and send them all to the woods near Hebron to 
collect wood immediately. As Food steadily reels in, train 4 more Villagers 
to collect Food. Then, let the Villagers come out of the Town Center one 
by one so that each will start to farm. When 8 Villagers are farming, train 
another one and let him be the Builder. Build a Monastery, and train a 
Monk. Have him walk all the way to the hills to the north of Hebron. There 
should be a Relic there. Get it, and start carrying it back. Train 2 more 
Monks. At the same time, you should train some Knights too, since the first 
attack is coming very soon. If you have any spare Villagers, have them 
start to mine Stone outside your camp.

Very soon, you will be informed that Ascalon, the orange team has begun 
to construct a Wonder. Fortunately, it's going to take them a while, so 
you don't worry about them. In fact, Ascalon is relying on their Wonder 
Victory to beat you. Eventually, you will hear the Tripoli Guards cry 
"Charge!" This is when all hell breaks lose. Make sure you have enough 
Knights trained. A column of Tripoli Guards will march slowly to your camp 
with several Crossbowmen, Battering Rams and Magonels behind them. But 
since they are in formation, the Knights are moving very slowly, allowing 
you to convert at least 2 of them and use them to hit the Crossbowmen and 
Siege Weapons, thus slowing their thrust in.

However, that's not the only army that will push in. At the same time, 
the Tiberias army (blue Persian team) will send in their Knights and Camels 
in. A Battering Ram will come as well. But that should not be your focus 
still. This is because, Tyre will land a small group of Bombard Cannons 
to the south (or maybe north) of your camp). So, you are to take them out 
first before destroying the Tiberias Battering Ram. Afterwards, you can 
deal with the Tiberias Cavalry. The best way to deal with them is to convert 
as many of them as you can while they are busy hacking through your walls. 
Then, there is going to be a battle within a battle on their side, saving 
you lots of effort. Once all of this is over, send the Monk with Relic 
back to your camp.

After this, you still cannot relax. There is going to be a rough sea battle, 
since your camp has access to the sea. Tyre will send many Galleons, Fast 
Fire Ships, Elite Cannon Galleons and Heavy Demolition Ships after you,, 
and I have to tell you. It's very hard even for your Fire Ships to defend 
again. So, the best way to stop them is to remove any excess buildings 
to the north and adjacent to your two Docks, and build a Castle in that 
space. Then, you can be sure that most of the Galleons, Fast Fire Ships 
and Heavy Demolition Ships can be destroyed, enabling your Fire Ships to 
do their jobs in a much more effective way.

Now, always remember, Tiberias attacks with Cavalry, and by the time they 
get to the Imperial Age, they will also use Siege Rams and Trebuchets, 
so build your own Cavalry force to suppress them, and if you are really 
stingy, use your Monks to make as many of them join you. As for Tiberias, 
they will continue with their naval assault, and will also land troops 
either to the north or south of your camp. (But not both at the same time.) 
You can stop them by building Guard Towers at those particular shorelines. 
Castles are also welcome for you to use. If you run out of Stone, there 
is more by Hebron. Also start trading with your partner. I suggest building 
no more than 8 Trade Carts to cope with the Gold.

It's going to be tough, but I think you should eventually hold off all 
attacks without suffering from irreplaceable losses. Slowly upgrade your 
Cavalry and Villagers. Ballistics and Murder Holes are another two upgrades 
you should see to. Same goes for Bodkin Arrow. Our prime concern is that 
wonder the Ascalon army is building. You must advance to Imperial Age as 
quickly as possible so as to obtain the Trebuchets to knock it down from 
a range. Start saving up. When you have a large surplus, quickly upgrade. 
(Don't upgrade when you barely have enough, or you will not have enough 
stuff to train forces.)

Once Imperial Age is up, build 3 Trebuchets in your Castle. Also train 
3 Monks and research Block Printing and Siege Engineers. Chemistry may 
also help. Send your Monks and Trebuchets south slowly, avoiding as many 
enemies as possible. Usually, you should encounter lone Cavaliers, 
Paladins or Heavy Camels, all minding their own business. If you can't 
avoid them, convert them one by one. More escort will do. Eventually, you 
should reach the southeast edge of the map. Hug this edge until you reach 
the wall. The Wonder should be within range. Start firing. The Keeps may 
open fire on you, but you don't have to worry, since the Trebuchets have 
impressive pierce armor when deployed. Then, even by the time the enemy 
Cavaliers decide to act, you should have destroyed the Wonder before they 
destroy your Siege Weapons. After that, Ascalon will no longer continue 
to attempt building anymore Wonders. In fact, they won't train additional 
troops either, so they are the most vulnerable at this point.

You should use the hit and run technique with your Knights and Heavy Camels. 
(Make sure they are all upgraded to the max). Run in, have the Heavy Camels 
take out the Cavaliers while the Knights take care of as many Crossbowmen 
as possible before retreating suddenly. Eventually, you will wear out them 
enough for you to hit them with Siege Weapons. So, while you are at it, 
upgrade Battering Rams to Capped Rams and eventually Siege Rams. Use the 
Siege Rams to ram down all the Keeps guarding the base, and send in the 
Monks to convert the enemy Military Buildings. Afterwards, destroy the 
Town Center. Remember where the Wonder was built? So, that part is 
completely sealed inside. Ram away the walls, and then you will find 3 
Villagers inside. Kill them all, and you will laugh as the enemy scuttles 
all their ships and destroys their own dock. Ascalon has been defeated!

Now, you have Tiberias and Tyre to deal with. Now, Tyre is across the sea, 
and is definitely equipped with a powerful navy. Tiberias, on the other 
hand, has a sprawling complex to the east stretching from the north to 
south. There must be an easier way out of this mess. This easy way is to 
be achieved by the Relic Victory. You already have one Relic, and there 
is one Relic out there. Have your Light Cavalry probe into the outskirts 
of Tiberias. You will find the second relic within their walls near the 
center of their north to south base walls. You are simply to destroy 
anything guarding the Relic so a Monk can steal it. There is a castle and 
2 Guard Towers. The Stable will pump out an endless supply of Paladins 
and Heavy Camels, so you must use the diversionary measure. While 
everyone's busy, have the Monk pick up the relic and run for home.

Once the 2nd Relic is captured, you will be presented with a 350 year 
countdown timer. Just hold the Relics for 350 in game years to win. Of 
course, it's a long wait, so let's do something else to keep us entertained. 
We can attack Tyre, for instance. Start with their little Dock to the 
northwest. It's an isolated island, and is unguarded. When that island's 
buildings are destroyed, move northeast, and you will reach Tyre. It's 
quite heavily fortified, with lots of Keeps and Bombard Towers on the cliff 
tops. This is why Elite Cannon Galleons are there. Use them to take them 
out from a range. The enemy may try using Bombard Cannons and Onagers 
against your ships, but they are still no match. As you move north, you 
will be introduced to a mole built by Alexander the Great in 322 BC to 
invade Tyre. I never knew that this area will turn out to be a tourist 
attraction. Anyway, continue with the bombardment. Wipeout any thing you 
can find that are in range.

Fortunately, every important building is in range. If you look closely, 
you will find that all Villagers are doing nothing. Aha! So, they have 
run out of wood, so they cannot build farms, and they also cannot gather 
enough food for anymore attacks! These guys won't be able to put up much 
of a fight, obviously! After destroying their Town Center, kill all their 
Villagers and they will be defeated. Then, you win.

Outcome:
Once the European was amazed at the nobility of the Saracens. They once 
entered battle as gentlemen, bringing with them treasure chests, singing 
girls, wine and their collection of doves, nightingales and parrots. But 
no more. Now, faced with European hostility and fanaticism, the Saracens 
have become more resolute, and more bloodthirsty. They have adapted the 
principle of jihad in warfare. Their love of art was replaced with love 
for battle. The result has been devastating for the Crusaders. The European 
presence in the Holy Land was finished, or so it would seem.

*****MISSION 6: THE LION AND THE DEMON*****
They are now in Acre, and the European has been with Saladin for nearly 
21 years. When word of the Saracen victory at Jerusalem reached Europe, 
the European leaders decided to have another crusade. The 3 most powerful 
nations of Europe, England, France and the Holy Roman Empire embarked into 
the holy land with hundreds of thousands of troops. The British have landed 
near Acre, and are led by King Richard the Lionheart, Saladin's most famous 
enemy. He learnt the art of war by fighting against his own father. He 
built colossal fortresses and always fought in the front lines, the ideal 
of the romantic warrior. Now, the Saracens are trapped in the city, and 
2 gigantic British Trebuchets pound against their walls. Saladin knows 
that this is the climax of his jihad. If he were to be defeated, Richard 
can march into Jerusalem unopposed, and decades after decades of war, raid 
and counter raid will begin again. All of Saladin's victories will be for 
nothing. Oh, by the way, in the Kingdom of Heaven, at the end, King Richard 
was looking for the main character, but he denied to be that person to 
avoid going to the Holy Land again! Ha ha! We will see how this battle 
turns out for those Crusaders.

In this battle, you are facing 5 enemies, the Blue Franks, Grey Jerusalem, 
Red Richard, Yellow Knights Templar and Cyan Genoese! This is critical. 
You are to construct a Wonder and defend it. You have enough resources 
to build immediately, but a better idea will be to ensure you have adequate 
military supplies. So, let the 5 of the 6 Villagers by the Town Center 
chop wood, and the 3 Villagers by the mines to start mining. Train 10 more 
Villagers, and assign them all to Farm.

Note that I said 5 out of 6 Villagers in the above paragraph. What of the 
remaining Villager? She is to move east to help build a Castle outside 
the Jerusalem camp. Have your 7 Mamelukes escort her. Hug the southeastern 
edge of the map, and when you see the Gold Mine and Blacksmith by the stream, 
build the Castle, and have your Mamelukes cover the Villager. Eventually, 
the Castle will be complete, and you can find the enemy camp across the 
stream. Start pumping out 3 Trebuchets. When they are ready, start 
launching rocks while the Castle and Mamelukes cover them. You should 
target the enemy Castle, and then their Town Center and Keeps. The Mamelukes 
should be holding them off perfectly well. Of course, you should mind your 
own main city during the attack. Have some Knights trained to face any 
French Bombard Cannons and Siege Rams coming at your walls.

Once you have destroyed their Town Center, advance north, and take out 
the Keeps, and the Stable and Siege Workshop. Use the Mamelukes to hold 
off the Onagers. (Save before doing this. It's risky.) Once those 2 
buildings are destroyed, you will be happy to learn that Jerusalem has 
been marginalized. Even if they go and rebuild their camp somewhere, it 
won't be as fortified as before and they cannot send an all out attack 
your way. Back at the Castle, build a second Town Center there. You are 
to have a secondary outpost there. Genoese warships may come in a large 
number, but there is an easy way to hold them off. See the elite tower 
Tower of Flies guarding the harbor? Garrison some Crossbowmen inside, then 
there is no way they can break through those lines! 

Now, let's have a look at the tactics of the Franks, Templars and Richard. 
The Franks attack with Paladins, with several Siege Rams and a number of 
Bombard Cannon. Your Mamelukes can easily take care of all of them. The 
Accursed Tower to the northwest is also an effective defense since it has 
13 range. It outranges even the Bombards. You can garrison 5 Archers of 
the Eyes into it to multiply its attack too! The Templars are meaner than 
ever. They will send an Octet of rams after you. Following closely are 
those deadly Teutonic Knights and Paladins. Sometimes, up to 11 rams will 
come your way. So, to hold your ground, you must have at least 10 Elite 
Mamelukes (fully upgraded, sell excess wood and food to raise Gold) ready 
to deal with them quickly enough. Don't let the Teutonic Knights catch 
up with you, or you are definitely toast. Meanwhile, King Richard I is 
the meanest opponent so far. He attacks with lots of Scorpions, Onagers, 
Capped Rams and Trebuchets. There may be 5 or more Trebuchets coming at 
once, and it seems that there are 2 Special Limited Edition Versions of 
those things. They are the God's Own Slings and the Bad Neighbors! Each 
of those have 300 HP instead of 200.

But still, the usage of Bad Neighbors is historically incorrect. Bad 
Neighbors, or Malvoisins, are supposed to be French Siege Towers to help 
men climb over the walls to attack the enemy! The best way to stop them 
is to have a foresight. If you see any slow moving units coming from the 
east, quickly send your Elite Mamelukes out and thrash the Scorpions, Elite 
Longbowmen, and then those beefed up Trebuchets. Good luck in your defense. 
Oh, in the heat of battle, the Persian Shah will send in reinforcements 
of 5 Elite War Elephants to you. I am sure that they will be useful in 
fending off all those Teutonic Knights.

While you are fighting against a combined front of 4 enemy teams, keep 
an eye on that patch of Gold to the northeast of the Castle you built. 
A little later, you will notice some interesting activities there. You 
will find that more and more Villagers with different colors will start 
to mine Gold on that large patch. This can only mean one thing. The other 
teams have exhausted their Gold supplies, and are relying on external 
sources to fund their armies. Now, I guess you should have an idea by now. 
Since most of the enemies' powerful units require lots of Gold to build 
(that is, Bombard Cannons, Trebuchets). Let's deprive them of the stuff 
and weaken them heavily! From your second Town Center, train several more 
Villagers. Then, cross the river, and build a Castle by the Gold Mine. 
When it is done, any Villagers coming to mine Gold from that mine will 
be slaughtered, and eventually, their reserves will be exhausted, and they 
cannot field anymore powerful armies against you.

Those desperate Villagers will then try to get at the smaller patch of 
Gold on your island. You can stop them by building several Keeps to guard 
the river crossing to the west. Then, you basically have controlled, all 
the remaining Gold on the map! You will notice that the frequency of attacks 
will start to drop, and the number of units sent at you will decrease. 
Also, check out your Market. You will find that the bottom's dropping out 
of the market prices of Wood and Food. This can only mean one thing. Your 
opponents are selling Wood and Food to get Gold! But do they learn? No! 
They continue sending Villagers to your Gold Mines, only to be slaughtered 
by your Keeps! The number of enemy Villagers just keeps increasing. Before, 
the cost of the Spies technology was around 20000 Gold, but it has risen 
to 26000 Gold, which means there are a total of 130 enemy Villagers. Of 
course, there is no harm in mining Gold from those mines yourself, and 
if you have used up all the Wood by your city, go over to the trees to 
the east of the Gold Mines to start chopping.

When you have an excess of resources, start building the Wonder. I know 
it's going to take a while, so why not relax while waiting for your victory? 
(The following tip only applies to those with a computer with 2 CD drives) 
Save the game, and exit. Remove the Age of Empires II CD from the primary 
CD-ROM drive and place it in the secondary one. Then, place any music CD 
you like into the primary one. Restart the game and reload the mission. 
Continue. You will find that the game music has been replaced with music 
from your music CD! You will encounter more and more pathetic attacks all 
the time, sometimes, the Templars will send only one Capped Ram to your 
city, while the so called all almighty Richard the Lionheart sends just 
ONE Trebuchet to you unescorted. Good killing, and wait for the timer to 
drop down to zero. You win.

Outcome:
It's the first year of the European's freedom. The fighting is finally 
over. The fire has gone out of Richard's lust for conquest. Saladin is 
victorious. War is not gentle with men. Richard got ill with a fever. 
Saladin respected his enemy, and gave him fruit and mountain snow to comfort 
him. Eventually, Richard boarded a ship and set sail back to England. The 
third Crusade is over. The final treaty was signed on the 2nd September, 
1192. Under the terms, Jerusalem remained in Saracen hands, but the 
Christian pilgrims are allowed to visit the city and its holy shrines freely 
and safely. It's a fitting compromise from a war fought over religion and 
land. The European is free, but he doubts whether he will see Normandy 
again. He wants to see the steel foundries of Damascus, and the gardens 
of the caliph in Baghdad. He has never seen the Krak de Chevalliers, the 
now fallen fortress of the Knights Templar. The Holy Land has many wonderful 
places to see, and they are sure to last an entire lifetime. Peace has 
finally come to the Holy Land, but for now. It is likely to have more 
conflict in the future. Well, it's true, there IS still conflict there 
nowadays! Oh, and at the end of the Kingdom of Heaven movies, it was said 
that this third crusade ended with Richard signing an "uneasy" treaty with 
Saladin! Oh, and you will be surprised to find that Saladin died one year 
after the treaty was signed. Saladin is the only leading character in the 
4 campaigns to last till the end. The others either have died of old age, 
execution or a funny accident.

You will also be surprised by my post mission stats. In this mission, I 
have killed a total of 1677 enemy units, while all my 5 enemies made a 
combined total of 109 kills! That's like 15 times more than the enemies 
combined. I also collected the most Gold! That's a first since there is 
always a computer side in the missions that collect more than I do!

---------------------
9. Conclusion [AOK9]
---------------------
Well, it's a long and difficult write, but the strategy guide to one of 
the Real Time Strategy Games I loved is complete. It really surprised me 
that while I have completed the guide for AOE2, they are already announcing 
details of AOE3, and I hear that they are coming to the age of colonists! 
It's a pity that there will only be 8 civilizations to choose from, all 
predominantly European. Anyway, this guide is copyright 2005 by Alasdair 
Lo and you are not allowed to copy anything without my permission. This 
is also to be posted only in GameFAQs. So there.

-------------------------------------
Appendix I. Feedback Information [A1]
-------------------------------------
Since the publishing of the original version of this guide, I decided that 
I must make some new rules for those people who want to give me a feedback 
about my guides. All future strategy guides will have this section. If 
the following rules are not observed, I will just consider your e-mail 
to be spam mail or flame mail, and I will delete it without reading it, 
and will blacklist your e-mail address.

For publishing permission:
This guide is intended to be published in GameFAQs and only GameFAQs. You 
can print it out to read it while your computer is off, but do not copy 
my work and claim it as your own. That is all. Although I do not have a 
lawyer to sue anyone if they do it without my permission, I expect everyone 
to have self discipline about these things.

Feedback Concerning Mistakes: (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, LISTEN 
UP)
As I am a human, and we are all humans, we all make mistakes. Nobody is 
perfect. If I had made any mistakes in my guide, feel free to e-mail me. 
But however, you must follow these rules. I have typed out some bad examples 
with each rule, and they are from some of the e-mail I received by people 
who are dissatisfied by my original Command and Conquer: Generals side 
comparison guide. 

You must:
Be polite, as I will take these feedback letters as seriously as formal 
letters, and you should specify the version number of my guide, then I 
can check my guide out. However, it need not be as formal as business letters, 
after all it is only a game. You should also present yourself clearly, 
I won't even think about anything that I cannot understand at the first 
glance, as I am a busy person.

For example, "I enjoyed reading your guide, but disagreed with you on some 
points." From a person called Alex Shikh or "I agree with you that China 
is the strongest factions, but it is not much stronger than the other 2." 
From Ives Gobau And so on.

You must not:
Say any foul language and offend me. 

For example, "Your guide was ********, full of lies and biased opinions." 
From K Truin. You are not going to make me listen by saying rude words 
to me, you will only give me the impression that you are either uneducated 
or have low EQ.

Conduct any surveys about how good my guide is and give it to me, as I 
could not care less about your so-called surveys. 

For example, "I have conducted a survey about your guide and over 90% said 
that it was a trashy tabloid." From Frozak.

Finally, you must not say anything I consider to be racist. 

For example, "You mentioned that you live in China that is obvious, 
considering your bias towards this side, etc..." "I am afraid that your 
living in China has blinded your judgment so much." From someone I could 
not remember his name. So, what are you trying to say, say that us Chinese 
are all idiots? Besides, the word bias is used to describe unfair 
comparisons due to neglecting some facts. As I have put all facts into 
account, I really cannot have made any bias towards any sides.

From all the 50 or so letters complaint I received, I decided to listen 
to less than 5 of them. Why? As only 5 of them could follow the rules stated 
above. So, you MUST take those points into consideration, or else, don't 
expect me to listen to you.

Submitting your own tips:
I am always ready to submit tips from readers. However, you should make 
sure that the tip has not been posted in my guide before you mail me. Also, 
write down your name or a pseudonym so I may credit you.

Game Help:
If you have read my guide and did not understand something, feel free to 
ask, but please do not do this too often, as my e-mail account has other 
uses. But do not ask about anything that was clearly written in my guide 
or I will not reply. Also please refer to the chapter you have problems 
with, as my guide is very long, and I cannot memorize everything that 
happens in this game!

You may have wondered why I put this section up. This is a new 
"Anti-disturbance" ordinance I set up for my own use, in order to minimize 
all those annoying and insulting things I receive. In fact, during 
September alone, I received at least a hundred of mail concerning my Side 
Comparison Guide, and I am now to make sure this will never ever happen 
again.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours,
Lo Kai Yan Alasdair, kylohk. (Kai Yan Lo From Hong Kong)