|Siege in Canaan|
|New Enemy Units|
This scenario is very easy, as long as you avoid a very dangerous trap right at the beginning.
The trap will be sprung if you send workers to the forest west of your Town Centre without first scouting the area. Although there are random aspects to this, it is pretty much certain that there is a Canaanite soldier close to that forest, and if he sees one of your units, then he will attack, and one way or another, a whole bunch of his friends will show up as well. In fact, if you trigger this attack, you will be rushed by something like 16 units. Unless you spent all of your discretionary food on soldiers, you would be in big trouble.
You will need a bunch of wood very soon, but not before you are in the Tool Age. In principle, you should never send weak units anywhere without first scouting the area. You do start with several archers, and they are half-decent scouts, so use them! Proper scouting will allow you to avoid the trap almost all the time. Occasionally, the Canaanites might run right into your base for no particular reason. If this happens, you might want to just restart the scenario.
In AoE, in order to ensure a long-term source of food, you need to be at least in the Tool Age so that you can farm. This will require 500 units of food from your initial allocation (some of which is still on the ground), which leaves you with 449 (you always lose a bit to corruption). 449 is effectively only 400. You could build a bunch of Clubmen, but then you would only be working with three villagers for a very long time. Alternatively, you could build a bunch of villagers, but then you have to be very careful to not engage in combat.
In general, what you would really like to do is produce as many villagers as possible before entering the Tool Age. The big problem with this approach is that you could be rushed, and scenarios allow the rush to happen much sooner than in a random map game. The two main counters to the rush are to have a strong early army of your own, and to have a large economy, possibly supplemented by a wall-in. A wall-in won't really work here, because the terrain is too open, and you don't have access to a lot of resources yet.
Avoiding the rush
Produce 4 villagers and forage with all villagers. Keep track of the time - you should send one to build a Storage Pit at 3.5 minutes. Read the Appendix for the explanation.
Withdraw your Clubmen slightly towards the map edge so that any approaching enemy unit will see your Barracks before any of your units. Explore a bit with your archers. In particular, explore the south corner of the map, and map out the near edge of the forest. Don't go very far in any other direction. Withdraw immediately if you see any enemy unit.
You should see a Canaanite Clubman standing around near the forest. He won't see you unless you run right up to him. You need to build a Storage Pit beside this forest, and you will need to harvest some wood here, but you need to be very careful that the Canaanites do not detect you, and you also want to make sure that you don't chop a hole in the forest. Fortunately, nothing else will really occupy your attention, so you can pay close attention to your woodcutters.
The routine after this is perfectly straightforward. Build a Market and start farming. Build a Stable and produce one Scout. The Scout will find a forest to the NE that can supply all the wood you need in this scenario. It is safe to send workers there. Build a Tower in a useful location. Build an Archery Range. Work up to 10 villagers, 10 Axemen, and 5 Bowmen or some other reasonable combination. Get some upgrades. The infantry armor upgrade is especially important here. Then go and butcher the first gang of Canaanites. If you wanted to, you could wait until you had chariots before you kill them off.
After that, the entire plateau NW of your base is yours for the taking. There is lots of stone and some gold there. You can ignore the nearest enemy Tower for now. Get into the Bronze Age. With only 3 gold mines at your disposal, you may not want to bother with the Iron Age. Egyptians can put together a formidable force without gold. If you really want gold, however, you can pick up a lot in the west corner of the map. You won't need the stone at all.
Once you are in the Bronze Age, the scenario is effectively over. The Canaanites are completely static. They can't produce any units, and what they have is of low quality, although they do have quite a few units. A ground force of 5 chariot archers, one catapult, and one priest is sufficient to easily eliminate all opposition.
If you wanted to, you could produce a couple of War Galleys. With two range upgrades, they could take out the Canaanite Towers along the river with impunity. However, there are lots of Canaanite Towers inland, so you really will want at least one catapult, if for no other reason than to speed things up.
Beating the rush
At the beginning of the scenario, you know that you can afford to produce 8 new units immediately. You have no reasonable and legal way of knowing it, but you can access (only) 250 more food (fish) in the Stone Age, so you could produce 5 more units.
The rush will consist of 9 Bowmen and 7 Clubmen. If they all showed up at once, you might die, even if you had produced all 13 Clubmen, but they don't all show up at once, so you should be able to get away with fewer troops. Produce two new villagers and two Clubmen. Put all the villagers on food, and produce 4 more Clubmen as soon as you can. Move all your troops closer to the map edge, so that any advancing enemy unit sees one of your buildings before it sees a unit. Organize all your troops into 3-unit control groups.
When you have your 12 soldiers together, and they are quite prepared to die, trigger the nasty weather and take 5 eyes for an eye. Literally, proper use of tactics will allow you to kill all the attackers while losing no more than 3 units. If you kill them fast enough, the last stragglers may not even show up.
When the smoke clears, you should still have a substantial army, even if it is battered, and there will be no more enemy units in your vicinity. You can now cut down the entire forest NW of your base, and that will give you enough wood to get you into the Bronze Age. Along the way, you produce a Scout, and then you are home free.
Appendix: How many villagers to get?
You need to start Tool Age research before your wild food runs out. In this scenario, you can count on having 949, keeping corruption in mind. This means that you have 400 "discretionary" food, which defines the maximum number of villagers that you can initially produce. You want to enter the Tool Age as soon as possible, bearing in mind that you also want to have as many villagers as possible. It is usually a good idea to reserve 200 food for initial stonework research and one Scout. If your wild food is extremely limited, you may also want to hold some back for emergency troop production.
It takes a basic villager about 30 s to make one collection trip with 10 resources. It takes about 20 s to produce one villager. In order to start Tool Age research, you will need to produce one prerequisite building, and it should be a Storage Pit. It takes a villager about 30 s to build it, and it will take him 15-30 s to walk to the proper location. Therefore, one of your villagers will not be available to collect resources for two collection cycles.
If you produce no units, you will need to bring in 30x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,2,2, and 2 loads, so you will need 11 collection cycles. If you produce one new villager, you will need to bring in 35x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,3, and 3 loads, so you will need 10 collection cycles. If you produce two new villagers, you will need to bring in 40x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,5,5,5,5,5,4, and 4 loads, so you will need 9 collection cycles. If you produce three new villagers, you will need to bring in 45x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,6,6,6,6,6,5, and 5 loads, so you will need 9 collection cycles. If you produce four new villagers, you will need to bring in 50x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,6,7,7,7,7,6, and 6 loads, so you will need 9 collection cycles. If you produce five new villagers, you will need to bring in 55x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,6,7,8,8,8,7, and 7 loads, so you will need 9 collection cycles. If you produce six new villagers, you will need to bring in 60x10 food. Your villagers will bring in 3,4,6,7,9,9,9,8, and 8 loads, so you will need 9 collection cycles. More than 9 villagers will not be able to forage efficiently here.
It is clear that you want to produce at least two villagers, but other than that, the optimum number is not obvious.