|Lord Michael I
The following mission, “On the Edge”, challenges you to beat three Arab enemies, the Emir, the Wazir, and the Nizar. You’ll have two allies of your own, being the Abbot and the Marshall. The AI’s have the starting goods advantage, but you have the height advantage. You will be starting with 2000 gold, scarce troops and low resources, while your enemies – and allies – will start with 8000 gold, and a nice starting number of troops and goods. Although there is an advantage for your enemies, this fight will be well balanced, since you are on high grounds, and have some friends of your own.
As always, start by lowering your game speed to 20, as this will give you more time to erect your humble castle. Then, expand your stockpile, to that well-known rectangle shaped stockpile we all love. Proceed to place your granary, as always preferably behind your keep, where it won’t disturb your workers, but will be close to your bakeries. After that, build your farms. I chose to build mine to the greenery to the south of the keep, as I felt it was better protected. Build a Dairy Farm, two Wheat Farms, and one Hops farm. Try to place these as close as possible to the keep. I will later post an image as a reference. Later, place three woodcutters. Since your neighbor is the Abbot, who tends to place massive numbers of woodcutters around his keep, we need all the wood we can get before it runs out.
Then, make a marketplace, conveniently far from your stockpile. Buy wood planks until you have around 210 units, and use them to start your weapons industry. Build 2 Fletchers, set on crossbow production, one pole turner, set on pike production, one armorer and one tanner. Then, place an armory, close to these buildings for more efficiency. After this build two hovels, which I recommend to be built near the market, where they won’t be in the way.
Then, make a quarry along with one ox one the stone deposits east of your keep, and two iron mines on the iron deposits south of your keep. Then, go back to your town and build a mill. We will build the bakeries later, as the first flower bags roll in.
By this stage your town should look like this. I put some dots on some building I would like to point some stuff out:
The red dots are the Dairy farm (Lower red dot) and the tanner. It is important for you to place both buildings close to each other, or else your tanner will have to make a long walk to the Farm, thus reducing its efficiency.
The green dots are the three woodcutters. To the south you can see the iron mines, and around them, the wheat and hops farms. To the northeast is the quarry. Finally, the yellow dot is the granary, nicely placed behind the keep.
After setting up your early town, build a round tower, close to where the hill starts to reach lower ground. Put the tower on the cliff, for your archers to have a better range:
Try to place the stairs as I have placed them in the image. In the future the space behind the tower (where the stairs are) will be used to place a trebuchet and some Fire Ballistae.
Now, set a ballista on the tower, build an engineer’s guild and man it. Send your initial archers to the tower, and your spearmen to the foot of the tower. Got to the market, buy 10 stone blocks, and build a barracks. Then, go back to the market and buy 5 bows, build another hovel, and recruit the archers. Place these also on your tower. Now it is safe to turn back your speed to 40.
Now, sit back and look at your men work. Wait for a while until wood and stone start to roll in. When wood arrives, build three bakeries and one brewery. With the stone, build a small wall that will make all the enemies funnel into a small spot, forming that “Gap of death” we all know. The reason we are leaving a small gap is because if you completely block this access to your castle, all the attacks will be redirected to the other access, where the Marshall is. This will eventually kill your allies, and, eventually, you.
To build the wall two trips of stone will be needed. As you wait for the second trip to arrive, go to your barracks and recruit some crossbowmen, and place them on your tower. By this time I also got a message from the Abbot, requesting for some goods. Ignore him for now.
This is the completed wall, and how yours should look like. Note the small gap near the tower. I recommend you assemble your recruited pikemen in a position where everything that goes through the gap will have to fight them.
Now that your wall is complete, you can sell all the incoming stone. Keep selling stone until you have gathered around 250 gold. You can also sell iron, to speed the process. Also, try not to recruit too much pikemen or crossbowmen, as we need every gold coin. After you build the trebuchet, resume your recruiting. When you get the gold, recruit three engineers. Wait for some stone to arrive, and build a wall that goes along the cliff, behind the tower. Then, build a trebuchet in that area with your engineers:
In this image you can see how I built the small wall, and where I placed the trebuchet.
With the trebuchet, target the Emir’s round tower, with the mangonel on it. It will soon start to fire, and it can be very annoying. By this time, the Emir’s first raid will also be on its way. Normally the rather low number of troops you have will be enough to fend them off.
Wood will be stacked up on your stockpile, so proceed to build another brewery and 3 more bakeries. Wait for some stone, sell it, and build your first inn. When it becomes active, set your taxes to -6. Flower will be plentiful, so you can sell some of that too.
Keep selling extra items such as flower, hops, stone and iron, and build a second inn when possible, after that, build a new hovel. Remember to set the taxes up to -8. With the taxes your economy will boost. So keep selling all the incoming stone, and when you reach 630 gold units, recruit 6 engineers, and make them build three Fire Ballistae. Place these Fire Ballistae behind your small wall, next to the trebuchet. You may want to check if the trebuchet needs more stone.
The Emir’s tower should be down by now. If so, target the other round tower, east to the first one you destroyed. It is even better if you cripple the tower. This way you will reduce the chances of the Emir building another tower to replace it.
Now, go to your town and build two new quarries, with one ox for each, and finally a new hovel. Wait for some more wood, and build a mercenaries’ post, and a new pole turner, set on pike production. Go to the market, and sell the extra weapons (Crossbows, armors), rearm your trebuchet, and sell the resting stone and iron.
Now that you’ve got some money, recruit some Horse Archers. Keep recruiting until you gather a small force of 25 Horse Archers, and send them over to the Marshall’s castle. He soon will be under attack, and he needs your help.
This will be your squadron’s initial position. Here, they’ll be protected by enemy arrows, until you send them in battle. When the Marshall requests your help, go to his castle, and command the Horse Archers. I recommend you wait until the enemy Horse Archers approach the Marshall’s castle, kill them while they are distracted firing at the Marshall’s archers, then approach the enemy Fire Ballistae, while avoiding the swordsmen. After the fire ballistae are down, take down that pesky trebuchet, and finally the swordsmen. During the attack, you can always go back to your town, sell some stuff, and recruit reinforcements. After the attack, return the Horse Archers to their initial position.
The attack, will happen some time later, so for now leave the Horse Archers where they are, and go back to your town. First, replenish the trebuchet if needed, recruit more pikemen and crossbowmen, and sell the unnecessary goods. Then, build a fourth quarry, along with its ox, and a new hovel. This will result in your total population being 58, and having 12 peasants around the campfire.
As a side note, I’d like to underline that in this mission, wood shall not be considered as an “unnecessary good”, for much of it you have. There will be a time wood will disappear, and you’ll need as much wood as possible, so avoid selling wood along this mission.
Almost immediately after I built the last hovel, the Wazir’s attack on the Marshall started. So, recruit some more Horse Archers if you want, and proceed on your defense.
After you’ve killed everything except the Swordsmen, you’ll notice these guys are tough, so, you’ll need help. And the Marshall’s knights are perfect. The problem is, the Marshall has them locked in the keep.
Although, I discovered you can control allied gates, also. So, click on the gatehouse, and open it up. If the swordsmen are too close, click repeatedly on the button that opens the gates, as they will soon close again. With the gates open, the knights will charge outside, and help you kill off the swordsmen.
I’d like to point out, that in some cases; the Wazir’s attack came along with a small Nazir’s attack. A small force of assassins will slip through, and go for the Abbot’s castle. So, try to take them out also, as they are dangerously close to your castle.
After the attack is over, go back to your keep and sell that big mountain of stone. With the money, recruit pikemen and Horse Archers, and, if you want, crossbowmen. I say this because the amount of crossbowmen on your tower (Roughly 30), will be enough for the rest of the mission. You can, of course keep recruiting, but it is not necessary. By this point I decided to sell the weapons instead. Another option is to keep recruiting, but to send them to the Marshall’s castle, to reinforce his defensive powers. I chose not to do so, because the amount of Horse Archers I had were enough to fend off any attack.
Keep recruiting Horse Archer until you have a nice army of 50. Also, recruit 12 more, and leave them on the eastern front. The reason of this is because some time the Emir will send a Fire Ballistae to annoy you; the problem is it will set itself behind some rocks, where either the Crossbowmen or the ballistae can effectively target it, so you’ll need the Horse Archers to destroy it.
Go back to your town, and keep recruiting pikemen, and selling stuff (Remember not sell wood). When you reach the 40 pikemen milestone, stop recruiting them, and sell the weapons instead. Now, resume Horse Archer production, as we will soon launch an attack on the Wazir.
Wood will be depleted by now, with only some trees on the valley that are inaccessible. So, destroy your woodcutters, and build 3 oxen, to boost stone income. The moment I destroyed the woodcutters I had a healthy reserve of 180 wood units. This will last long enough for the rest of the mission. Also, remember to keep an eye every once in a while on the Marshall’s castle. From time to time he will be attacked by small forces of Horse Archers and Fire Ballistae, but he will need your help.
After some recruiting, attack. I had an army of 42 pikemen and 120 Horse Archers. First, grab all your pikemen and send them to the western front. While they arrive, lower the Wazir’s defenses with the Horse Archers.
The pikemen are kind of stupid. If you select them and immediately order them to walk to the Marshall’s castle, some will go down the valley, instead of safely walking on the hill. So instead of directly ordering them where you want them to go, make some stops. First, order them to go near the Abbot’s castle, and then to go to the Marshall’s castle. This way they will all arrive safely.
I played this map five times, and many of the times I played it the Wazir made a second attack on the Marshall right before my attack. So, fend them off like you did earlier, which will be much more simple since you have a bigger army, and proceed on your attack. You may want to build a second armory and granary, since those “Armory is full” messages can be irritating during the siege.
The following strategy is the one I used to defeat the Wazir:
First, send your Horse Archers down the hill, between the two round towers. From here, take down the archers and flame throwers, and go back to the hill. Replace your dead Horse Archers, and go down to attack again:
Charge down the other hill, and skirt around the castle in a clockwise motion, and positioning the Horse Archers between the other two Round Tower, as the image suggests. Eliminate all resistance, and then target the soldiers trapped inside the castle. Once the castle is wiped out, send in your pikemen, take down the gate, and kill the Wazir. Always avoid making soldiers go through the eastern wall, as you will be in range of the Nizar’s archers, which can inflict a big amount of damage.
Once the Wazir is killed, regroup all your men in your town, replace the dead, and prepare to attack the Emir. Make your return by steps, like you did with the pikemen, to avoid them going through the valley.
I had an army of 40 pikemen and 150 Horse Archers when I attacked the Emir. There isn’t much strategy here, only remember to not approach the western wall, as you will be in range of the Nizar’s archers. Just do a counter-clockwise motion, and when the archers are all down, settle yourself in front of the gatehouse. Then, kill anything within the castle, take down the gatehouse, and kill the Emir.
After the Emir is dead, proceed to kill the Nizar. For this one you will need all the Horse Archers you can get. Just go around his castle once or twice, kill every archer, and send in some slaves to fill the moat. Of course, keep a distance from the shore of the moat with your Horse Archers, because there are traps that can potentially kill many of your Horse Archers.
You can even tell the Abbot to attack the Nizar with you; he normally agrees to do so.
Cheers, my friend! You have conquered those Arab lords, and now are allowed to proceed to the next mission! You have used some teamwork to do it, and have taken advantage of your height to win. If you still have any doubts, you are free to email me (It’s in the profile). The saved game has the Wazir and the Nizar alive, and under “House Arrest”. I put some woodcutters in the gates, to prevent my allies from killing the lords. See you next mission!