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69 - Choke Zones

Author File Description
Lord Michael I

This stage looks quite difficult at a first glance. However, by looking closer you'll notice you're given 10000 gold to start, and are placed at the other side of an archipelago that is keeping you away and safe from your enemies. The key to winning this mission is hinted at the very name of the stage, as you'll have to create a choke point that will force the enemy troops to funnel through one narrow spot in your defense line to be able to get to you. Aided by some images, I'll explain in detail the best way to create this choke zone.

For starters, set the game speed to 20. Instead of sticking with the usual strategy of placing the basic buildings of your town at the start, and then gradually build the rest as you get more resources, we'll go ahead and build everything at once since you'll be receiving plenty of gold. Start off with expanding your stockpile and placing a granary, then construct a marketplace, place 7 hovels and buy wood until you have around 600 pieces. You can go ahead and sell all that pitch if you're not going to use it.

Place your weapons industry buildings, recommendably two fletchers making crossbows, one poleturner crafting pikes, an armorer and 2 tanners. Place a dairy farm near the tanner, and don't forget to place the armory. Now, head over to the mid section of the map, and locate the island just south east of your town, with the iron deposits. First, place a wall to block off the southern path that leads to the island (Refer to the image below), then place 5 iron mines.

Now place your attention to the island directly north of your position, with the stone deposits. This will be your defensive island, so you'll have to place your quarries and oxen carefully since there also needs to be space for a square tower. Now, if you just place the quarries, the tiles where your workers will place the stone for the oxen to collect will be placed in some unreachable areas, so you'll have to start by placing two wall sections to force the game to place the storage tiles in more favorable areas (Refer to the image below). After placing the walls erect your square tower, then proceed to place 4 quarries and 8 oxen.

The first panel has the two wall sections highlighted in blue, the second panel indicates where to place the tower, and the third one shows the completed island, with the quarries surrounded in blue and the oxen in green. Note how all the stone deposit tiles are facing the left side of the island, and how a small passageway of one tile wide is left to access the other part of the island. Proceed to construct stairs to make the tower accessible and place a ballista on top, but be careful of not completely blocking the way since the idea is to leave a small passageway for the enemy troops to pour through.

Now it's time to finish up your village. Start off by blocking the southwestern path to your island by placing a wall. Place 2 woodcutters, 3 breweries, 3 inns, 6 bakeries, 1 mill, 2 wheat farms and 2 hops farms, a barracks, an engineers' guild and a mercenary post. Finally, place two square towers (You'll need to buy some more stone for this) along the coast of the island, between the southern and middle path (Refer to the image). Place ballistae on top of the towers, and train 6 engineers to man your ballistae. Now that everything is set up, you can set the game speed back to normal.

Select your archers and place them on top of your square tower near the quarry, and place your spearmen at the foot of the tower. I'd recommend you go to your barracks and make your pikemen rally to this spot, as well. As you train crossbowmen, place them on your towers, giving priority to the one on the island since it'll be the one under heaviest fire.

Now that your defenses are up and you're pretty much impervious to any attack, it should be time to start raising an army of your own. Plenty of stone and iron will be rolling in by now so you'll have enough money to choose any combination of soldiers you want for your army, but in this case I'll be sticking to a mass of Horse Archers and trebuchets.

It's best to start by eliminating the abbot and Phillip, since there castles are weaker than the rest of your enemies. The quickest way to access the enemies' island is through the southwestern path, but since it's walled off you will need to delete a part of the wall to get to the other side. You could build a gatehouse to solve this problem but you will be exposed to attacks on this side, since enemy troops seem to target gatehouses.

If you're following my offensive strategy, train around 15 engineers and as much Horse Archers as you can. Build 5 Trebuchets on the souther island, and place your Horse Archers behind them. Your trebs will be in the line of fire of the abbot's ballistae, so work quickly and take down his two northern towers.

The trebuchets will eventually be destroyed, but just keep building more of them and you'll eventually break through. Once you succeed, rush your Horse Archers and have them take care of the rest. The abbot and Phillip will probably have a small amount of archers on their walls, so the biggest menace is the three remaining ballistae. Take them out first, then eliminatte the archers. Once everything is clear, send a small force of your Horse Archers to the back of the abbot's castle, to effectively trap his troops inside his castle.

Take some engineers and make a couple of battering rams to punch through the abbot's wall, and bring in your pikemen to deal the final blow. Repeat the process with Phillip.

Now that the island is empty, bring over some engineers and set up some new trebuchets just off the northeastern coast, and start attacking the Nizar's castle. First, target his round and tall towers, and keep an eye on him in case he builds them up again. Use your Horse Archers to take out the couple of Fire Ballistae placed inside the Nizar's castle, and keep them close in order to defend your trebuchets from archers on the ground.

Move out the rest of the Horse Archers and place them in the middle island with some enemy stone quarries. Consider recruiting any lost troops before moving in. Once you're ready, rush the Emir's castle, targeting his archers while keeping your Horse Archers in motion. By now it's just a game of waiting, since your Horse Archers will greatly outnumber anything the enemy has to throw at you. Just keep moving them around until the castles are clear, and move in your melee troops to finish the job. The Nizar is a bit trickier since he has a series of moats surrounding his castle, so you can either have your pikemen go all the way around them or hire a bunch of slaves to fill in the moat.

And that's it for this mission! The attached save file will have the three final enemies still standing (The abbot and Phillip are long gone), you can use the file to have a closer look at how I laid everything out, but I discourage you to use it to advance to the next mission. If you can't beat the mission just keep trying and you'll eventually succeed. Any feedback is welcome, just contact me at any of my emails listed in my profile.

AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
EaglePrince Nice tutorial, I remember how I was fighting in this mission... Abbot and Philip was the first to fall, and then the others.

I also have a screen shot from that game. :D

[Edited on 11/26/11 @ 12:25 PM]

Seabourch Great mission to play, I had problems in the initial stages due to the waves of attacks the AI were throwing at me but once most of them deplete their starting reserves of gold, only the Abbot appears to be able to throw lots of troops at you.

I agree with the guide, securing the topmost isle with the stone deposits is paramount to your success and I had to fend off assassins who kept demolishing the quarries whilst setting up a choke point there and the same goes for the iron deposits. After awhile it gets pretty routine and you simply have plot the AI's downfall. I went for the group of three first though, was not easy but I did it. Sheriff went first after heavy bombardment from my catapults and it was difficult after I carelessly went to the maximum size of my army without thinking of offense but once they fall, I used horsearchers to rain arrows down on them until they kicked it and also set fire to the Abbot and Phillip's castle after using about 120 horse archers to kill the ballistas and archers.

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