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Saladin 2: Lord of Arabia

This is quite an unusual scenario, due to the way you interact with your allies. They operate some trade routes, but they have hardly any defenses, and pirates and bandits are taking advantage. You, in the role of the central government, have the responsibility of protecting your allies, and they will provide you with tribute. Your allies also feed you scouting information, so you don't need to do as much scouting as you normally would.

Research Cartography right away. Produce a bunch of villagers, perhaps as many as 15. Scout with the Light Cavalry. Be careful! Crusader bandits are everywhere!

When you have Cartography, or perhaps sooner, you can see that there are 10 sheep in Medina, and about 10 near Aqaba. Go forth and collect them. Escorting them to your base is not completely trivial, but it is not hard. The ones near Aqaba are a bit tricky, because they are also near a Crusader camp, and you do not want those guys to hunt you yet, or perhaps worse, to attack Aqaba. There are actually many more sheep on the map, and only the Raiders can use them, and they aren't very active yet. If you act quickly, you should be able to collect as many as 30 sheep.

While your sheep collection is in progress, you realize that there is a large Bandit camp right in the middle of your allies' trade route. You have to do something about this, and at this point in the game, that means luring them to your Town Center, where they die. After that is done, the trade route will be relatively safe for a while, and you can finish exploring Arabia. There are three areas that you still can't get to. There is a Bandit camp in the top corner of the map, another one halfway between your base and Medina, and the Raider fort in the east. There is another Bandit camp west of Aqaba, in the Sinai, so you need to abandon scouting at this time, because it's just too dangerous, and your small army has more important things to do.

By now, you will have found 10 gold mines and 10 stone mines and a relic. There are also 7 gold mines just outside the Raider base, but you know that that gold belongs to you, right? That is a lot of gold and an adequate amount of stone. The only problem with the stone is that it's scattered all over the map, and it's too unsafe to start collecting it yet. It will be quite some time before you will have any stonework. Eventually, you will find 10 more stone mines and 9 more gold mines, so in the long run, you will have plenty of all types of resource.

Once you have 15-20 villagers, focus on entering the Castle Age ASAP. Your troops are taking a fair bit of damage, and you need to be able to heal them. If things are getting too tense, produce some archers, or perhaps Skirmishers, although the archers are actually cheaper at this point because they don't cost food. You need far more food than gold right now. Work on all those sheep with 10 villagers, partly because you need so much food, and partly because you want to use them up before enemy troops start running through your base.

Dealing with the Raiders[edit]

The Raiders use large numbers of archers and Skirmishers, a few battering rams, and some Scout Cavalry. It's mostly junk against real troops, but you don't have a lot of troops yet. The Raiders usually come out one by one and attack your allies, but sometimes they attack you, with a group of up to 10 units. Produce 4 monks, and then some heavy cavalry, and then whatever is most necessary. Send a detachment to Aqaba. Medina is never really threatened. Grab the relic near Aqaba.

Grind the Raiders down until you are intercepting their units as soon as they come out of their fort. Heal your allies' Trade Carts, and then they should be able to run the gauntlet without dying. Medina will keep operating 3 Trade Carts as long as they can replace their casualties; Aqaba operates 3 as well, and also 3 Trade Cogs. Every so often, they will send you 300 or 400 gold. If your allies take heavy casualties, you should send them wood or whatever else they might need, but it's obviously cheaper to keep the Trade Carts alive. Besides, you have a moral responsibility to keep them alive.

Keep an eye on Aqaba in the meantime. The Pirates are attacking them with more and more powerful warships. Right now, the Towers still dominate, but you need to keep them in good repair. However, the time will come when the Towers will be relatively weak, and by then, you need to have a strong navy of your own.

When your small stockpile of stone starts to get smaller, head over to the stone deposit near Medina. Because it is so far from your main base, you probably should build a Town Center there. That way, your miners will have some measure of safety if they are attacked. Building a wooden (not stone) wall around that operation will make it even safer.

Eventually, you just get tired of hunting down the flood of archers one by one, while ensuring that none of them escapes, and the Trade Carts are safe, and your troops don't get drawn into the Raider fort. In principle, you could just build some castles outside their fort and have done with it, but you certainly don't have enough stone to do that. You could seal them in with a stone wall and some Towers, but that would cost a fair bit of stone (that you don't have yet) for what is really a sideshow. As a general rule, don't waste your stone. Seal the Raiders in with a wooden wall and a Town Center. Keep in mind that a TC needs a garrison in order to be able to fight.

Once the Raiders are sealed into their base, they will slowly starve. Actually, it doesn't play out like that. They keep sending their villagers out to die, desperately seeking something, until they have no villagers left, and then KA-BLOOIE!! The Raiders surrender. After that, your allies' overland trading and tribute effectively operates in the background. The Pirates do not attack those trade routes.

Building up to maximum[edit]

After the Raiders are sealed in, you can turn your attention to other matters, such as wiping out the Bandit camps. At this point in the scenario, they are relatively weak. Fortify your main base as stone becomes available. Build a castle on the coast. It won't be long before the Pirates attack with Galleons, and land Cavaliers and Onagers. Sometimes they will try to land right in front of your castle. That doesn't work so well, but they aren't always so obliging. It's pretty important to run a wooden wall along the beach where you don't want them to land. Of course, enemy warships can take the wooden walls down pretty quick, but you can keep replacing them, because they are effectively free.

All the Pirate units are better than yours. How do you respond? Say it: M-O-N-K! Reveal the truth of Islam to those unbelievers! Note that it is inadvisable to try to convert Onagers. Galleons are fairly hard to convert, because they will fight back. Of course, the heavy cavalry is largely helpless. Make sure that you have all your core units before you convert past the population maximum. A good line-up is 25 villagers, 10 monks, 5 each battering rams, Light Cavalry, knights, Camels, Mamelukes, and foot archers. Add a couple of Transport Ships, and then recruit to your heart's content. However, if you don't convert enough Pirate Galleons, you will need to build your own warships, and you will need at least 5. Note the absence of cavalry archers. They are weak in this scenario, and especially so against the Raiders.

Once you realize that the Pirates will be landing with strong forces, you need to build a fair amount of stonework, not just around your main base, but anywhere you want to keep the Pirates out of. Don't bother with a Wall Maze Complex; just use simple continuous walls. Build castles in critical locations, but Towers are rather useless.

Clearing out the Sinai[edit]

When Arabia is pretty secure, you can start to work over the Sinai. Your battering rams will make short work of the Pirate Tower and dock at the tip of the peninsula. The final Bandit camp is a bit tricky, because they have archers and a catapult behind a wall. You could certainly build a castle just out of range of the Bandits - that would do the trick. However, that is a very expensive solution, when all that is required is good maneuvering. Cut a hole in the wall, lure them out, and then hit them with your cavalry. You could even convert the catapult, if you feel the desire to own one of those.

The Pirates can land new units on the Sinai peninsula, even villagers, but they can't build any new buildings there.

If you are concerned about the Pirates landing a force of heavy cavalry next to one of Aqaba's Towers and wiping it out before you can respond, consider putting a wooden or even stone wall around the Towers.

The Pirates[edit]

One more river, and that's the Gulf of Suez, ... We've one more river to cross. In principle, all you need to do is load your troops onto some transports, drop them onto Egypt proper, and kill the Pirates. In practice, it's a long way to go, and the naval opposition could be quite large, and the target could be heavily fortified. A more prudent course of action is to fortify the western Sinai and launch your attack from there. But keep in mind that if you build stonework too close to the Pirate base, and they have trebuchets, you will not be able to avoid losing those structures.

Send your navy out to sweep the seas. Depending on certain variable factors, this may be easy or hard. Blockade the entrance to the Gulf of Suez, and build a castle in support. For practical purposes, the Pirates are now sealed in in their original base, although they may not understand the point. Be prepared to slaughter the blockade runners in heaps.

Bring a bunch of troops over to your castle at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez. Ferry them across to the southern tip of the Pirate base. The rest of the scenario is completely standard. Crush all opposition in an area. Seal it off with a stone wall. If resistance is very heavy, you may need to build some castles over there. Your navy should definitely be part of your plan, but the main effort will be overland.

You will find a huge gold deposit in the south part of the Pirate base, which they seem to have no interest in mining. If you have been aggressive enough throughout this scenario, the Pirates may be down to in extremis junk by now. However, if you pull back even now, they will start to convert wood into gold in the Market and build up their military again, and then you will have to do more real fighting. Paradoxically, the better you play in AoE, the lower your score will be, because you will kill less enemy units, because they never got built.

Depending on how hard the Pirates resist, you may want to finish them off with a Castle Attack. Note that if a castle and Town Center go mano a mano, the castle will win.

You shouldn't need to take out the Pirate castle to win, but if necessary, your 5 battering rams will do the job handily, as long as the Pirates have no melee units left.