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42 - Hope Valley

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Kester Mission 42 - Hope Valley

Mission 42 is pretty straightforward. You are allied with Saladin The Wise against three Lionhearts: Richard I, Richard II, and Richard III. You begin with 2000 gold, and the computer lords start with 8000 gold.

In the beginning place three woodcutters, a marketplace, one wheat field, one dairy farm, one apple farm, two iron mines, a barracks and an armory. The mill and bakeries can wait until after the first enemy is destroyed.

There's no need to build towers or walls in this mission. Three archers atop the keep are sufficient for defensive purposes. Your first inclination will be to attack Richard III, the grey lord, whose keep is to the north, which would give you control of half the map. Forget that idea! Richard I (in yellow) will constantly plague you and your ally with archers, horsemen and trebuchets, so attack him first. Your ally Saladin will already be engaged in battle against him, so it becomes a simple matter of marching to his aid with 20 macemen. Start the attack about April of year 0, and Richard I won't have his castle walls up yet. In my game he died in December of year 0.

Now you can build a mercenary post, hops farm, brewery, inn, bakeries, and mill. Use the money acquired from the defeat of Richard I to start weapon production: swords, armor, maces, and leather armor. Put up an engineer's guild and buy two trebuchets. Set the trebuchets against Richard III, launching cows to thin his ranks, as well as rocks to destroy his buildings. This is mostly to keep his forces at bay while you build your army. When your army reaches about 40 troops (any combination of macemen, swordsmen and Arabian swordsmen, but heavier towards the swordsmen), march against Richard III. Also, his troops spend a lot of time outside his walls by the oasis. Occasionally they'll get up and head north (for no apparent reason), leaving the castle largely defenseless... wait until they are thus preoccupied then attack. Richard III died in October of year 3.

Now is when the fun begins! Place additional iron mines to the north of your keep, and use the gold revenue to buy Arabian swordsmen. I built my army up to a strength of about 120, equal numbers macemen, swordsmen and Arabian swordsmen, plus half a dozen assassins. The macemen aren't very useful against Richard II, however they are very useful at taking down the gates if and when the assassins fail to do so. Order Saladin to attack Richard II a few game months before you join him. He'll agree, and Richard II's numbers will drop before you reach him. An army of 120 was really overkill, but I was enjoying my sudden wealth from the iron mines, and continually added troops as I watched Saladin attack Richard II.

During the final assault on Richard II, his castle will burn. Wait it out, rather than surrendering your troops to the flames (as I did a few times). Send just half a dozen macemen to his gates, holding back the rest of your army until the fire has depleted and the gates are down. Richard II was killed in June of year 9, and I still had 80+ troops at the end. I think I could have easily attacked sooner, but I was waiting in large part for his numbers to decrease first, as for much of the game he has the largest army.

A shorter mission than most, especially at this stage of the Crusader Trail. Enjoy!

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