Mission 50 - Final Victory
Posted on 10/28/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 03/16/05
The link above will download a saved game just before victory for you to look over, including the layout I used for my castle. All castles are still standing with each lord still alive and under "house arrest". To mark this map as completed on the trail you can achieve victory by using the group of 10 swordsmen at each castle to kill each lord. It's highly recommended you play it yourself, however.
Most of my screen shots view best when looking west, but all directions are given with north being the map edge behind your keep (the right-hand edge of each screen shot except for the one detailing the front gate and tower), as it is initially presented to you when first loading the game. This is a very detailed walk-through and should get you completely through this mission. If you can't achieve every little step of this, that's ok, but try your best so you understand what's going on and why I did the things I did. Then, if you vary it or miss a step or two, you'll still probably be ok. I'm giving you what I think is the absolute optimum. Good luck.
This walk-through will involve a lightning setup with many details, and intense building to establish a very strong economy and good defenses in a short period of time. This will allow you to gain control, grow your economy, build an invasion force, and take down each lord in succession. It will give you a clean and satisfying win, no tower stuffing, no blocking off of approaches, no woodcutters to close enemy gates, no starving into submission, no quick rushes to take down an enemy before he is established, etc. Three round towers, one lookout tower, three gates, some walls, and good use of your troops and resources. If you've had trouble with this mission, this walk-through will put you firmly in control. It's worth practicing the startup phase a few times to get the timing down because it will run like clockwork if you can follow along. If you can handle the timing this scenario won't be any harder than the preceding ones.
You're up against seven lords allied against you in this final battle. There's 10,000 gold for you and 10,000 each for the Caliph, Sultan, Saladin, Lionheart, Pig, Wolf, and Rat aligned against you. You're in the far northeast surrounded by a lot of water with 3 strips of land connecting you to the rest of the map, a larger land mass surrounded mostly by water.
The center is the wider of the three approaches with the Pig directly in front and will need more of your attention. The southeastern bridge leads straight to Saladin and will be the least assaulted, and the northwestern one leads to the Wolf. The remainder of the lords are further out. There's a small patch of grassland to your north with a few trees and an oil deposit, and a nice grove of trees to the west. Stone deposits are just south and also southeast leading to the narrow eastern land bridge. Iron deposits lie just beyond the southern quarry sites on the central land bridge and some near your western shore.
A big factor in this scenario is effectively countering the constant assaults by catapults, fire ballistae, and tower mounted mangonels. This is a great mission for defensive fire ballistae.
The defenses you choose to build for each of the three land approaches to your castle are up to you. I've played it many ways (all used towers), all three walled up in the early game years, sides walled and gatehouse in the center, sides walled and open in the center, even leaving all three open (not as hard as you might think), and the method I'm presenting here, all three with gatehouses, probably the most "proper" strategy.
You will hold off a variety of enemy troops, including many catapults, fire ballistae and tower mounted mangonels by erecting towers, walls and gatehouses and using a combination of crossbows in towers, mangonels, fire ballistae and trebuchets. These keep the enemy in check and also inflict much damage on nearby castles. Many will already be severely weakened when you begin your own attacks.
Defenses will include 2 or 3 round towers, a lookout tower, well placed walls, and strategic siting of mangonels, trebuchets and fire ballistae. Fire ballistae are used widely for defense since there are many snipper positions for them to occupy in the rocks, enabling them to effectively counter constant assaults by catapults and fire ballistas. The front tower and wall are placed well forward to protect the granary and bakeries, allow use of a third quarry, and to inflict much damage on the Pig's and Saladin's castles.
The setup phase uses a precise sequence to accomplish a lot in a very short period of time. Your enemies are on the move early and you must be ready.
Your defenses and economy will grow together at lightning speed, and when defenses are in place the economy will be at full steam, emphasizing crossbows, a wheat economy run at double rations and full ale coverage. I found it unnecessary, but religion could be used in an unorthodox manner by locating a church and cathedral in the far southwest corner of the map behind the Rat where they won't be bothered, for an extra +3 bonus.
When castle is secure an invasion force will be assembled and the lords eliminated in turn. Constant reinforcements will be needed. Moats are unnecessary.
To work well certain things should be placed exactly as described, as a few areas of the setup will need precise positioning to get maximum advantage. The grassland for instance can support 6 wheat farms and one dairy farm if positioned exactly. The stone deposit on the southeast can support a lookout tower, gatehouse, and two quarries, and still enable passage through to Saladin's castle in the south. The central southern approach can be protected with one round tower, wall and gatehouse and still allow a quarry inside the walls. You do not need to place every wheat farm and quarry mentioned, but it will make things go easier and faster.
Slowing the game down to 20 and liberal use of the pause key (P) is essential in order to get the required things done in time. Speed things up later. First, I added seven tiles to the stockpile to make two rows of four. The second row is added to the south side. There is even room for two more tiles if desired. I sited the granary on the south side of the stockpile near the middle so it can be surrounded by bakeries.
The first critical thing to accomplish is the erection of the front round tower, gate and wall, and the southeastern lookout tower and gate. At this point the stone should be on the screen waiting to be transferred to the stockpile. While waiting, I put up a marketplace on the northwest side of the keep making sure it was at least one tile down from the northern corner. Then I laid down wheat farms 1, 2 and 3 as shown in the picture: #1 goes as far northeast and southeast as it can, #2 borders #1 on the southwest, also as far southeast as possible. #3 is south of #2 and as far southeast as it can be but with two blank tiles between it and #2.
Next, one dairy farm directly to the northwest of wheat farm #3 with the northeastern edges of each lining up flush. Now three quick hovels stacked on the eastern edge of the wheat farms as far north as possible. Then two inns. There should be room for them between the dairy farm and the western edge of the water. Their southwestern edges must line up flush with the southwestern edge of the dairy farm.
Buy wood as necessary, sell iron and pitch. Then two quarries on the eastern stone deposit to beat your enemies to it. Start with one on the southern edge towards the west edge of the deposit, leaving about 3 to four tiles of stone exposed on the west. There's a precise spot where it will "drop in", butting up against an obstruction on the southeast side, just feel for it. Then locate a second quarry butting up to it on its western side and tight against the rocks on the south.
If you've been quick enough with all this (and this may take some practice) the stone should be in the process of transferring from the screen to the stockpile and should just be passing the 40 stone mark needed for a round tower. It is very critical to start laying down the tower the moment there is 40 stone available because the Pig and Saladin will be locating iron mines in that area and the workers will prevent you from putting the tower in the best place once they arrive. If necessary, skip a few of the last steps above to start on the tower when the stockpile hits 40 stone. At the very least you must have the tower up and access to it before the iron workers arrive, then crossbowmen can eliminate them and enable the finishing work.
There is no one place to build your wall and tower, but I recommend the following: locate the tower in the precise spot bounded on the northeast, northwest and southwest by three trees (see screen shot). It just fits. Butt it up against the northwest tree. Immediately run a low access wall back from the tower, just east of the tree, towards the keep and about 14-15 tiles long. Put stairs at the end so you will have fast access even with a closed gate. All other walls will be full height. Now start a wall from one tile west of the southern corner of the tower, southwest to the rocks by the water, but don't block the sniper hole at the end (see screen shot). Reinforce it to the northwest at least five or six tiles deep, as this section will take a bad pounding. Go back and add at least 2 rows of wall on the northwest side of the low access wall. The walkway, being lower, will be protected even when the taller adjacent wall is hit by mangonel fire.
Buy extra stone as needed. Now add a single row of wall around the rest of the tower. Next add in the front wall where indicated in the screen shot, 3 tiles deep and about 14-15 tiles long as shown, from the rocks toward the tower. Run a wall back from the western end of this front wall to the northeast, extending about nine or so tiles. Then add a gatehouse back from the tower about seven tiles and touching the low walkway. Connect up the side of the gatehouse to the wall extending back from the front wall to fill the last hole in the southern defenses. Add a few extra rows to the eastern side of the tower to harden it, then add an extra row to the wall connecting the front wall to the gatehouse and maybe even an extra row on the outer side of the walkway.
When you play this for real, you don't have time to count tiles, so practice this defense setup a few times.
Next add a quarry inside and just north of the front wall before the enemy does, as far north and west as you can place it. Add two ox tethers northeast, and inline with the quarry's stone pile and one tile away. Your workers will take arrow fire so build a shield wall from the front wall, northeast and one tile away from the stone pile and ox tethers, but leave the two sniper holes open and accessible (see screen shot above).
Now you need to address the eastern approach. We'll add a lookout tower and gatehouse (see screen shot below). You could, of course just block it up, but let's not. If you haven't already, locate two quarries here as outlined earlier as long as the enemy hasn't placed theirs first. Add three ox tethers as follows: for the quarry closest to your keep, place one touching both the southwest side of the stone pile and the rocks. On the outer quarry, place the first ox tether touching the stone pile on its southwest side as far northwest as you can. The second one touches both the northeast side of the stone pile and the quarry itself.
Now for the gatehouse. There's a patch of stone southeast of the second quarry which is the furthest from the keep. There is an obstruction right in the middle which can be eliminated by placing a woodcutters hut and then deleting it (this is the only step that purists might disagree with. However, since there are many obstructions in the stone deposit blocking construction that cannot be moved, and yet this one can, and wooden structures can be built on it, I feel it's fair, especially since we're doing it to keep the passage open through a gatehouse).
Place the gatehouse, facing southeast, and pushing it as far to the northwest as it will go, which will leave one free row of stone tiles on the outside between the rocks and the front for passage. The way that looks obvious, the sand tile in the center between the rocks is actually impassable. You have to come out of the gatehouse and turn immediately right and go through a gap by the corner.
Now place a lookout tower about 4 tiles south of the gatehouse on the largest patch of sand. Butt it up to the rocks on the northwest and southwest sides. Place 3 low wall sections on its (northeast) side starting at the eastern corner, then continue it with 3 sections of stairs. There's just enough room and there should be free access around the tower to Saladin's castle.
You have now completed your first step on the way to securing the castle, namely unmanned walls in the two most vulnerable approaches. If you're on schedule, it should be around Apr of year 0. But you can't take a breath yet. It may take several attempts to get the timing down, but with practice you should be able to get all this accomplished by April.
SECURING THE CASTLE:
Put a mangonel in the front round tower. Build an armory and 7 fletchers set to crossbows on the north side of the stockpile. Build a low single tile wall from the northern corner of the keep by your marketplace northwest to meet the water. This forces any troops that might get through on the western approach to go around the keep to get to your farmland, subjecting them to vastly increased exposure from your troops on the keep and front tower. It works wonders.
If you neglected erecting any structures in the walk-through so far, catch up now. Then barracks and engineers guild are placed southwest of, and adjacent to, the dairy farm about an inns worth from the water. Access is more inconvenient back there, but if you put them southwest of the keep, trained troops and the barracks itself would be subject to damage from mangonels, catapults and fire ballistae. Safer in the back. Put 4 more hovels on the inside (north side) of the wall starting at the corner of the keep, in a row northwest toward the water. Now train 10 engineers, send two to the mangonel and make four fire ballistae.
Put five woodcutters in the northern farmland to clear the trees there. No woodcutters in the grove to the west as they'll be killed or burned out by enemy siege equipment at this stage. Add another wheat farm in the extreme northwest. Put 2 mills just northeast of the keep near the stockpile, one more inn northwest of the barracks next to the water.
Set food to extra rations and taxes to -4. Add 4 breweries between the southern and eastern quarries and/or in the eastern stone area or other area south of the wheat farms next to the water (in other words, close by but out of the way). Buy hops as needed. Add one more wheat farm in the extreme northwest of the farmland and two more hovels.
Check to see if the fire ballistae are built. Send to sniper positions 4, 5, 6 and 10 (see screen shot). Being positioned in the rocks instead of behind walls, they will target on their own, but you may still have to tell them to target specific units of catapults and fire ballistae. Neutralize any that appear immediately.
Build eight bakeries around the granary and add another granary to it, extending southwest.
Build four more fire ballistae and send them to sniper positions 7, 11, 13 and 14. Build an "L" shaped wall with its sections adjacent to the water and the inside of the northwest end of the low keep wall (near the engineers guild), and build a trebuchet. When ready target the Wolf's eastern square tower (the closest one). If he hasn't built it yet, target it when he does.
Now buy 30 leather armor and 20 crossbows, recruit crossbows as peasants are available and send all but two to front tower. Those two should be sent to the lookout tower in the eastern approach. Bump food to double rations, and if ale bonus has kicked in increase taxes to -16. Now make six more fire ballistae and send to remaining positions. You don't have to use as many fire ballistas as I did and you may find other positions. Site 4 more bakeries.
As an option, you may want to set up a second trebuchet to target the Wolf's southern tower housing a mangonel, if active. Be sure to protect it with an "L" shaped wall as you did with the first. Or you can just wait until you establish your third round tower and let its mangonel deal with it.
You should now have enough stone to build a second round tower and another gatehouse to protect the northwestern approach. There may well be troops already advancing from this direction and they may be close enough to prevent building. That's ok. Keep training crossbowmen. You should have sent 20-25 to the front tower already. Train as many more as you can and put on the keep. They, along with the fire ballistae, should make short work of the advancing troops. If you can, get the tower and gatehouse up before they're too close, otherwise do it after dispatching them.
Place the round tower in a tight slot bounded by rocks just southwest of the land bridge's connection with your castle grounds. There is only one spot where it will fit. Run a short, low wall back towards the keep with stairs at the end for access. Now place a gatehouse with its outside edge about flush with the inside edge of the tower and connect the two with a wall. Run another wall from the gatehouse to the water. If you make it before the first invasion on that front put the crossbows mentioned in the tower. Put a mangonel in the tower.
15-20 crossbowmen should handle the west tower for now, then fill the front tower to capacity of 35, 3 more in the east lookout tower, then more in the west tower if needed. A few shields in each tower would be a good idea, too. Reinforce as needed.
When Saladin builds a round tower at the western end of his castle, setup a trebuchet inside the southern corner of your central, southern wall to take it down. If left standing he will eventually put a mangonel on it and pound your walls and tower. I didn't choose to, but if you wanted you could also put a trebuchet close to your lookout tower in the east and take out his back round tower. You could then continue to pulverize his castle after the tower fell.
Add one more hovel to bring population to 90, and start adding tanners. Build to six or seven. Add more hovels and bakeries as needed, but you'll need another inn as well. Check woodcutters. Add about five in the southern grove, which should be safer at this point. As soon as all trees are cleared in the north, delete huts and build two more wheat farms which should just slip in nicely. Add 3 pitch rigs in the northeast corner if you wish for extra income.
If you wish now you can add a third tower between the other two which can target the Wolf's furthest tower mangonel, if active. Position in the rocks as close to the Wolf's tower as possible and add mangonel and crossbowmen. When butted against the rocks it will trap your fire ballistae, but that's ok. When safe add two iron mines near your western shore. Sell stone and iron surplus. You should now have a secure castle and a well functioning economy. It should be in the first half of year 2.
You can now train an invasion force of your choice. Don't forget, with seven lords alive, your sprite limit, and therefore the size of your army will be limited. Choose wisely for the initial conquests. As lords are eliminated, you can create a progressively larger army.
Ground troops can be of your choice, macemen, Arabian swordsmen, assassins, pikemen, or swordsmen. Since your army size is limited, a hardier type might be better such as swordsmen or pikemen. Likewise you can choose from a variety of missile troops. There are many devotees for each, but for killing power and hardiness, nothing compares to the crossbowman for me. Fire ballistae can be added into the mix, but it really didn't seem worth bothering with at this point. You should be in a very strong position with enemies that are not that hard to take down.
You can go after the Wolf or Saladin first. I prefer the Wolf so I can silence those tower mangonels permanently, plus he's probably the easiest. I find both of these guys can be handled quite readily by putting crossbows on their own walls and towers via a siege tower and then bringing in hardy ground troops for the kill.
By the way, contrary to posts I have seen in various forums on how siege towers and rams can be destroyed easily before reaching their target, the trick is to send in as many as it takes, simultaneously. Six or eight sent together will breach even the most heavily defended castle. One will suffice here, however.
I used about 110 crossbowmen, 15 swordsmen and a siege tower to take down the Wolf first. If his eastern corner square tower is still standing and accessible use it, otherwise pick a point by the tower in the northwest along the northern wall where you will have access to a walkway on the wall leading to the inner wall and gatehouses. Crossbowmen kill virtually everyone except the lord, swordsmen mop up.
Saladin is slightly trickier (although if you used an additional trebuchet to destroy his rear tower and inflict additional damage he may not be, I didn't try that). Attach the siege engine somewhere along his northwestern wall and head your troops for the top of it. It may be tricky, but if you scan across the wall there are places for the siege tower to attach. Crossbowmen must have armored support on the wall with them since Arabian swordsmen will rush up the stairs to attack them. Advance slow swordsmen first so their arrival on the wall will coincide with the crossbowmen. Make sure crossbowmen take out the ballista and bowmen on the back tower. One caution, DON'T let any troops get on any of Saladin's gatehouses. If you do, the gatehouse will open and Arabian swordsmen will rush outside and onto the walls, putting your crossbowmen at greater risk.
It will appear that the Pig has pretty much packed his bags and left already. Take his castle next. It will offer almost no resistance. Finish off the front row by taking out Saladin or the Wolf, whoever remains.
This is a great mission to experiment with different troops if you're inclined. Catapults, fire ballistae, horse archers, assassins, whatever.
On to the Caliph. At this point I didn't think it was worth changing troops. Just keep reinforcing your crossbowmen and swordsmen and you can roll right over the whole map. I didn't use any more siege towers. Just use a leapfrog advance (small group of standing crossbowmen advance to the front, when stationary and ready to fire advance the next group from the rear, and so on, very effective), clean off walls and towers, then bring up swordsmen, smash through wall, take down ground troops and the lord. Watch out for pitch traps and oil engineers. Advance carefully and you should be ok. Caliph, then Sultan, Lionheart, and finally the Rat.
Did you buy Warchest yet? Only 30 more trail missions to go.