This is an incredibly hard scenario. You start with virtually nothing, facing three fully developed and aggressive enemies. They use a lot of heavy artillery. Furthermore, one of your enemies builds a Wonder very early and fairly quickly. Resources are plentiful, but they are hard to access until late in the scenario. It's a mixed land/water map, which always strains your population. Save the game often, because even one wrong mouse click can be very damaging. Consider using more than one save file.
This scenario has some unusual features. The main one is that you have a weak, actually defenceless, ally. Your ally is also unable to repair any damage or replace any destroyed units, except within narrowly defined limits. All of these functions are your responsibility. Eventually, you could incorporate your ally into your fortification, after which this aspect of the scenario would operate entirely in the background.
As long as your ally is minimally functional, they are a source of free gold. However, this is not crucial. You have 6 gold mines in your base, and very soon, you locate 5 more that you can reasonably expect to get. This is not a generous amount of gold, because you need to do a lot of research and production, but it is adequate. You will also find a relic near Hebron that you can probably get.
A large part of the action in this scenario will take place on the water. You start with a bunch of fishing boats. The biggest problem with fishing boats is that they are very hard to protect. The other big problem is that they have to travel farther and farther as time goes on to get the wild fish. Eventually, you really need to start fish farming.
Start by producing a scout, two villagers (not fishing boats), two Galleys, and two cavalry archers. Your first four villagers should collect wood; the fifth one should mine for stone, which means that you will need a mining camp. When your first batch of food comes in, produce a second scout. Allocate all other incoming food to new villagers as long as you can get away with it.
You will need a strong navy immediately. Four Galleys will do for a start. Of course, you want more, but you also need a monastery and a lumber camp, and there are other things you need wood for right away. The first three should explore, but leave one at home for emergencies.
It is much too dangerous to use your cavalry archers as true scouts. Use them only to fill in gaps in the exploration that are too small to contain any significant enemy presence. Your first scout should head out your main gate, trailed by a cavalry archer, and explore towards Hebron from the left, then loop around and come back from the right. This will allow you to get some idea of how you might defend Hebron, and whether there are any immediate threats. Your second scout should head out the side gate, trailed by a cavalry archer.
You have 3 stone mines just outside your base, and you quickly find 5 more near Hebron and 5 more near your trade route. Eventually, you will definitely be able to build 4 castles as well as lots of walls, while still having lots of stone for other purposes. You should probably build your first castle near Hebron.
Less than 5 minutes after the scenario starts, game time, the first enemy Galleon shows up. This is very bad news. Your ships are two tech levels worse, and you don't have any upgrades, and you can't afford them. The only good thing about this is that the first one is a scout, and won't fight back, so kill it immediately. Well, try to, anyway. It's not that easy. Produce one more Galley. Even though you desperately need more villagers, you really have to start cranking out combat units and upgrading them.
When you have about 10 villagers (in addition to the fishing boats), save up food for War Galley research. Then produce 5 more villagers, and after that, more combat units.
If you follow this walkthrough exactly, you will explore the right side of the map before the left side, but it's not critical. Approximately 11 min. after the scenario starts, Ascalon starts to build a Wonder. This is a good time to take stock of the situation. You should have explored about 70% of the map by this time. That's about the limit of easy exploration; the rest of the map is pretty much inaccessible at this point in time. In addition to what has already been mentioned, you will have found 10 more stone mines and 5 more gold mines. You will not lack for resources in this scenario. You should get 6 sheep, and you may even be able to steal some from Tiberias. Tyre has powerful naval forces that keep you away from their area for now. Ascalon also has a navy that you don't want to fight yet. Ascalon is relatively weak, and could be destroyed purely by naval bombardment. Tyre is strong, but could also be destroyed purely by naval bombardment. You don't yet know whether Tyre is accessible by land, and vice versa. Tiberias is effectively land-locked. Tiberias has not one, not two, but three castles! It is very easy to find these castles the hard way. Most of the map is empty, so you could send your first monk to collect the relic with reasonable safety.
You only need to defeat two of your enemies. You could build a powerful navy and go after Ascalon and Tyre, or you could build a powerful army and go after Ascalon and Tiberias. In any case, Ascalon is the weakest opponent, primarily because they are so small. Besides, they are building a Wonder! This walkthrough will describe the naval strategy.
The force you will aim for is 25 villagers, 10 monks, 10 Galleons, 5 Cannon Galleons, 5 trebuchets, and 5 each Light Cavalry, Camels, Mamelukes, and cavalry archers. Recruit heavy cavalry as needed from your enemies. You won't need any Transport Ships.
The Tripoli Guard
In addition to your three main enemies, you will have encountered a group of soldiers called the Tripoli Guard. If you were exploring with true scouts as instructed, they will not have detected you yet. Had you had the time and energy, you might have lured some of those units to their doom, but you really have had more pressing tasks for your handful of troops. Shortly after Ascalon starts building their Wonder, the Tripoli Guard attacks! (Perhaps this attack is triggered by something other than time.) They have four knights, 6 Crossbowmen, two Mangonels, and a battering ram. It's not a huge force, but it's more than you have at this point in time. The real problem is that you want to use your Town Center to defeat this attack, but it is well inside your wall, which is continuous, so the attackers are forced to go through the wall, and will probably blow up some buildings on the way. Not that it would have a significant effect on the scenario.
The situation is complicated because you don't know where the attack will come. Furthermore, your allies will walk through your gates, holding them open for your enemies. You may or may not want this. You do, however, have the option of locking your gates.
You should have already put up at least a few additional walls to expand your safe zone. You should now throw up a few more, especially because you probably have at least a few buildings outside your initial wall by now. Recall all your troops from the field, and produce more right away.
The time at which the Tripoli Guard attacks can vary between 11.5 and 13.5 min. after the scenario starts. Because you are so weak at the beginning, it makes a big difference whether they attack early or late. However, the important thing is to catch their siege weapons on the march. If you can accomplish this, you are laughing. (At least for a little while.) One way to accomplish it is to throw up a wall in front of their advance. When the AI encounters an unexpected wall in this situation, it will usually redeploy the troops and try to find another route to the destination. After the siege weapons are out of the picture, defeating the rest of the Guard is easier, but it isn't actually easy. You're still too weak to just fight them straight up, so you have to outmaneuver them. This one battle will test your tactical abilities. And then ...
While you're heavily engaged with the Tripoli Guard, Tiberias attacks with a bunch of heavy cavalry and a battering ram. This isn't the most powerful attack that you have ever seen, but you still don't have much to fight with, so it is actually hard to deal with. This battle will also test your tactical abilities. And then ...
While you're heavily engaged with Tiberias, Tyre lands a transport load of troops just outside your base. Having no resources to deal with this attack, you hope that what's in the Transport is fairly weak. No such luck. It's a bunch of heavy artillery. The only troops available to deal with them are your warships. Not the best choice of units to take on heavy artillery, but you don't actually have a choice. This battle will also test your tactical abilities.
While your troops are fighting desperately, your stone and wood collection operations were probably shut down, because it's unlikely that you had been able to enclose those resources with a stone wall yet. Do this now. If your attempt to pick up the relic was interrupted, grab it now. You also need to start lining the beaches with walls to prevent your enemies from landing heavy artillery right in your base. Stone walls are probably too expensive for this purpose; use wooden walls.
When the dust from this simultaneous triple assault clears, send some War Galleys over to scout Ascalon. Keep in mind that if you attack something too close to their home, their entire home guard will respond. It is absolutely essential to lure their ships out one by one. Note that some units, such as Cannon Galleons, are very hard to lure.
Preparing to deal with Ascalon
As you start to scout Ascalon, you realize that they have a very powerful fleet. You won't accomplish much over there without an even more powerful fleet. Stick with the plan outlined above, but concentrate on your fleet. You will need 10 Galleons with Ballistics (at least) before you can even think about going after Ascalon.
When your first three stone mines are gone, send a group of villagers over to Hebron. Build a castle near the stone deposit there and some walls as well. You don't really want a continuous wall for the standard reason, just enough to provide some channeling. Get that stone out of the ground and into your stockpile.
Tiberias keeps attacking you with heavy cavalry and battering rams. This is not a serious problem. Ascalon seems to be purely defensive. However, Tyre throws an absolutely massive fleet at you: Galleons, fire ships, demolition ships, and Cannon Galleons, about a dozen altogether. You should have 10 War Galleys to face them. You're in trouble if you don't! However, that's about the most that you can have at this time. This battle will stretch your naval tactical ability to the limit. Tyre will keep attacking with these large naval groups, but by the time the next one arrives, you should have 10 upgraded Galleons, so the battles will not be quite so hairy.
Once you realize that Tyre is going to be that un-neighborly, you should move your fishing operation further south, building a dock in the cove just beside your base. You should consider building one or two castles to protect that cove. Castles are the only reasonable way to deal with the large numbers of demolition ships that Tyre sends. It needs to be said that the layout of your initial base, especially the positioning of the docks, is just awful. Whoever designed that layout should be shot, or decapitated, whichever is appropriate.
When Ascalon's Wonder is about half complete, you should be ready to start putting the squeeze on them. Cannon Galleons will remain unavailable for some time yet, but you need to eliminate Ascalon's fleet before you start nuking their buildings in any case. You don't know yet whether you will be able to attack their Wonder with your ships, but you should be able to crush their base, after which it would be a simple matter for your ground troops to wipe out the Wonder.
When your Galleons are ready, send about half of them to Ascalon. Luring is still the order of the day. Ascalon may or may not cooperate. Ascalon has a dozen modern warships of all types. If you are good and lucky, you won't have to face them all at once. Then you have a pretty good chance of defeating them without taking too much damage. After defeating Ascalon's fleet and repairing your damage, you are able to go back right to the shore of their city. You find that Ascalon has only one dock, and does not seem to replace any of their ships.
As soon as you have a Cannon Galleon, take out Ascalon's dock. Send some Galleons along as escort. You may need to delay this attack, depending on what Tyre does. After Ascalon's dock is gone, they have no possible way of resisting your naval bombardment. Eventually, they will all die. Unfortunately, the Wonder is too far inland, so you will need ground troops to deal with it, but with most of Ascalon just a pile of rubble, it shouldn't be a problem. Tyre might still cause a problem, either by directly supporting Ascalon with warships, or by attacking your main base and tying up your Galleons.
Raze as much of Ascalon as you can with your Cannon Galleons. Actually, all you need to blow up are the production buildings and military buildings. You might be able to kill some of their troops as well, but you need Galleons for that, and they are needed at your main base. However, it is important to take out the catapults before your ground troops get there. You will already note that Ascalon has no economy and no production other than the Wonder. Perhaps if one of their allies gave them even 50 food, they could start up an economy, but even so, they have no access to gold.
Once you realize that you can't take out the Wonder with naval bombardment, you need to prepare for a ground assault against Ascalon. The final jumping-off point will be a castle just outside Ascalon's North Gate. However, before you build that castle, you need to build a wall compartment around it, and in order to get your villagers over there safely, you need to build a series of wall compartments linking your main base with Ascalon. These wall compartments don't need to be strongly fortified; they won't be attacked because there won't be any meaningful targets inside them, and in any case, they don't need to stand up very long. You need to start building this stonework right away.
You should have plenty of stone by now, at least 5 mines' worth, and you should have started mining the third deposit mentioned above. You should have built some more walls to channel Tiberias's troops. Stick with the build order described previously. You probably needed to convert some enemy units to survive the early enemy attacks. Most or all of these units will be obsolete by now, so disband them as necessary. Remember, you don't get to have any heavy cavalry except by recruitment, and you need to be at maximum population before you can keep the recruits. Producing trebuchets is now a priority, because it will take them a long time to walk from Hebron, which is the only place you have a castle, to Ascalon, and you want to have more than one.
About one hour, game time, after the scenario starts, Ascalon finishes building their Wonder. You now have 350 years, whatever that means, to wipe it out. You should be well placed to deal with this. You should have a walled-in castle just outside Ascalon's North Gate. Ascalon's once-mighty army (28 ground units) should be mostly dead, and those units are all irreplaceable. You should have at least a couple of trebuchets close by. Taking out that Wonder will be a piece of cake, especially considering the savage fighting that you have been engaged in for the entire scenario.
When the Wonder is completed, Ascalon's entire base becomes visible. You now know for sure that Ascalon has no production, and you can see their last few units.
As you start your final assault, Tiberias gets involved. Their heavy cavalry is fully upgraded by now, as are their battering rams, and you see their first trebuchet. It doesn't really matter; they are biting on stone. Tiberias offers a truce - but it will cost you. Do you really want to give these infidels 1000 gold? You probably have much better ways of spending that much gold. Not that you even have it at present. Perhaps you have to give them the gold immediately; nothing seems to happen if you give it to them later.
The gold deposit inside your main base will be depleted by now. No problem; just build a wall compartment around the next one and keep mining.
Ascalon's three villagers are sealed in behind a stone wall. They are trapped, because the AI cannot normally delete its own walls. Feel free to convert them; you are a bit low on workers. Ascalon surrenders when they lose their last villager. You may also want to convert the Tripoli villager now; he may still be standing around somewhere.
The scenario is now a lot easier. Even though Tiberias is now attacking with heavy artillery, you have a pretty large Wall Maze Complex by now, so they are pretty much going to be just a source of free heavy cavalry for you. Tyre is powerful and dangerous, but you have handled everything that they were able to throw against you so far, and now you are fully developed, and not being diverted by Ascalon.
If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to build a castle on the cliff overlooking the cove just south of your starting position. This castle will help immensely against Tyre's naval assaults.
Should you now attack Tyre or Tiberias? The jury is hung on this one. Tiberias is relatively weak. All you need to do is push your stonework forward, drive up your trebuchets, and blow stuff up. The only foreseeable difficulty is that they will have trebuchets for counterbattery fire. In principle, you could disband some of your units and produce Bombard Cannons for counter-counterbattery fire, but in practice, you need all the units that you have at this time. Tyre is very strong. The primary difficulty is their demolition ships, which can easily kill your Galleons, especially when you are attacking. Attacking Tyre will require fighting more savage than anything you have seen yet in this scenario. On the other hand, if you can break their navy, then you can wipe them out fairly easily with naval bombardment.
In any case, you should probably start raiding Tiberias, and also wipe out their outlying castle.
You could attempt to bombard Tyre with trebuchets from the causeway, but that seems an unreasonable exploitation of the AI's weak points. There are many ways of wiping out trebuchets that expose themselves like that, but the AI is not permitted to use them.
The collapse of Tyre
About this time, Tyre's naval attacks start to peter out. They seem to have exhausted their resources, and then they just send scouts your way. Immediately after defeating one of their weak attacks and repairing your damage, scout their position. You find that they have one small island to the west, with one dock, a gold deposit, no defenses, and no villagers. Send your Cannon Galleons over there to blow up the dock, which is irreplaceable.
You should run across Tyre's fishing boats, which are undefended. Color them dead.
Tyre's main island is heavily fortified with static defenses and lots of ground troops. You will not be able to scout the far side of this island at this time. When you are quite certain that it is safe, send your Cannon Galleons over to start grinding up their defenses. Keep in mind that a single Heavy Demolition Ship will instantly sink an Elite Cannon Galleon, and your Cannon Galleons are too slow to get away from enemy fire ships, so make sure that your Cannon Galleons are heavily escorted, even though you can't detect any enemy warships. You can relax your vigilance once their docks are all gone. Tyre has two docks on the main island, and does not rebuild them.
Tyre's land-based artillery will take on your ships, so you can't operate with complete impunity yet.
Meanwhile, Tiberias seems to allocate most of their trebuchets for defense, so your prospects of blowing up their defenses are rather limited. In addition, they have an awful lot of heavy cavalry standing around, so your prospects for raiding are also limited. Furthermore, the map is very large, and you don't have a lot of ground troops, and you need to be prepared for defense. The bottom line is that it is difficult to attack Tiberias at this point in time. However, just keep grinding away at them with pinprick raids and stay alert for opportunities.
Saracen Mamelukes are incredibly powerful units. A group of 5 Elite Mamelukes will kill a Heavy Camel in just over one volley, and a Paladin in two volleys, with overkill. They are good against everything but archers (and stonework, of course, and ships, and monks). A group of Mamelukes can raid an enemy lumber operation, and retreat when the enemy cavalry responds, turning around every so often to hack the pursuers down, and then go back and kill more villagers. Learn to judge their reload time for maximum efficiency.
One of your biggest weaknesses in this scenario is the lack of heavy cavalry to beat up attacking siege weapons. Mamelukes can also do it well, but you also need them as raiders. Each time Tiberias launches an attack, try to convert some of their heavy cavalry. When you have enough heavy cavalry for defense, your Mamelukes can be allocated entirely to raiding. As you keep raiding, you will grind Tiberias down to the point that their production is just villagers.
When Tiberias is sufficiently weak, push your walls as close to their base as you can and seal them in entirely. There's no point in building castles close to them, because you will not be able to deal with trebuchets firing from inside Tiberias itself. We aren't even going to mention building Towers.
Eventually, Tyre is down to nothing but a bunch of villagers standing around aimlessly. This is the only situation where it is possible to run out of wood in an AoE game: an AI restricted to an island, because the AI can never move workers across a water barrier. Tyre has sustained massive casualties, and while their ships don't really cost a lot of gold, except for the Cannon Galleons, they sure do eat up the wood. When Tyre runs out of resources, their collapse is rather sudden. If you wanted to, you could end the scenario by razing everything on the island flat. If you had the foresight to produce a Transport Ship before you went over the population limit, or if you now disband a bunch of units and build one, you could send ground troops over there, but it's hardly necessary. You could also try capturing one of their Transport Ships, but don't count on it.
Note that Tyre probably could have sent more ground troops your way, but their amphibious operations run into path-finding difficulties due to the lack of landing spots on their island.
When Tiberias is sealed into their base, or even sooner, you can concentrate your ground forces and smash them flat. 5 trebuchets, supported by 5 Elite Mamelukes, 5 Heavy Cavalry Archers, 5 Paladins, 5 villagers, and a pair of monks should do the trick. Resistance is futile. Tiberias still has a large stockpile of wood, so they will desperately rebuild, but you can blow up them up faster than they can rebuild. You find a relic lying around inside Tiberias, and you can win with relics if you feel like it.
It turns out that Hebron is only window dressing. None of your enemies ever attack them, except as an afterthought, and you don't need to trade for gold, and Hebron never gives you any tribute.
Incidentally, anyone who imagines that any strategy not involving an immediate and massive commitment to establishing naval superiority is viable in this scenario would find out quite quickly that all of their buildings close to shore would be lost to Tyre's naval bombardment. The AI does not do naval bombardment as effectively as possible, but rest assured, it knows the basics. It may still be possible to win the scenario with an all-land strategy, but it would hardly be easy. Of course, a weak-navy strategy would simply cost you a lot of resources.
Historical Note: Saladin did not capture Tyre at this point in time (or ever). Alexander the Great did, and he had a causeway built from the mainland to the island to do so. By the time of this scenario, almost exactly 1500 years later, natural sedimentation processes had made the causeway permanent and much larger. The scenario only shows part of this causeway.