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Joan of Arc 2: The Maid of Orleans

This scenario is straightforward and reasonably easy. Note that you are restricted to the Castle Age in this scenario. That means that you will need battering rams.

Your first task is to get your initial force to Blois. Just head over there, with the scout in the lead. You do run into some Burgundian rabble on the way, but not enough that you need to avoid them. Just kill them off, although you will need to head back to the monk near Chinon for healing.

In Blois, you recruit a large force. Unfortunately, all of these units are obsolete as soon as you get them, for several reasons. You will be working with these obsolete units for a long time, so offensive operations will be out of the question. Your swordsmen are also basically useless. Your next task is to get everyone to Orleans. There are two basic approaches to this. First, try to run directly to Orleans, and if it starts to look unreasonable, you will need to look for a roundabout route.

As your scout heads off down the road, he starts to run into opposition. The first knight or so are easy to deal with. The monks would ordinarily be problems, but you have a powerful anti-monk weapon. Joan of Arc is on a divine mission, and cannot be converted by some heretical proselytiser. Pretty soon, you find that you are blocked by a large force, plus a Tower. If you divert to the right, you run into two fortified positions. When you divert to the left, you recruit some Transport Ships. Use them to get everyone across the river. You may as well leave the swordsmen in Blois, because they have no real use.

When your first unit approaches Orleans, you get control of the whole city, except the gates. There are ten Towers in Orleans. They are immediately obsolete, albeit very powerful. You will not have the resources to replace them, so you need to work with them as is. You also get three villagers. Collect wood with them for now. When the supplies reach Orleans, you can start a major construction program. With the food allocation, produce a couple more villagers and one scout, and go to the Castle Age right away, because you need monks and castles. Produce a lot more archers right away, and put, say, two in each Tower. (The AoE expert will note with some irritation that your Tower garrison firepower goes down as you upgrade your force. Rearrange your recruited and produced archers to mitigate this.) Two scouts are plenty for this scenario. When more food becomes available, you should quickly work up to about 20 villagers. This may seem like a rather small number, but you will need a lot of ground troops to defend your long perimeter. You also can't enter the Imperial Age, so a lot of expensive research will not be needed.

Very soon, all your enemies will be attacking you viciously, with every type of unit at their disposal, albeit only Castle Age units. You will need a lot of stonework, and this will deal with most of the enemy attacks, except their battering rams. Accordingly, you will need to sally forth frequently, and for this, you will need the heaviest cavalry you can get. Heavy cavalry is also the only reasonable way to deal with the powerful British archers. However, it is vulnerable to monks and spearmen, which the enemy also uses in large numbers.

One question you need to deal with right away is whether you want to protect your dock. It is not important by any means. Right now, it is totally exposed, and it will always be somewhat exposed because it is separated from your main bastion by the river. For an additional challenge, we choose to protect the dock. Note that there is also an important gold deposit in that area. Produce a small fleet to help protect your dock. These ships will have a restricted area of operations, but they will have a powerful influence over some of the most important parts of the map. In fact, by themselves, they might be able to at least cripple all the South British and Burgundian attempts to cross the river.

Rapidly explore as much of the map as you can. Use all assets at your disposal, not just the scouts. You will not be able to explore the north corner or the east quarter of the map at this time. You will find a bunch of free farms west of Orleans. Plan on actually using them; they will need to be walled off. You will find two stone and three gold deposits. Due to the amount of stonework you already have and to your cheap castles, the available stone should be adequate. As always, the gold is more than you will need, and you will never run out of food and wood. First priority for new stonework is a castle and a partial wall north of your farms, then a wall at the north end of the bridge to seal off the west of the map. If you seal off the west part of the map completely, then the enemy battering rams will simply take out the nearest wall they find, and you won't be able to do anything about it, because they will be protected by pikemen and other troops. You need to leave a hole somewhere, preferably in the back, so that you have plenty of time to shoot up their force as it marches toward the hole. Second priority for new stonework is the south area of the map. Be aware of the fact that your allies are also allied to your enemies when you design your wall in the south. When building walls in the west, be aware of hidden paths through the woods. When building walls in the south, be aware that certain trees block wall construction but allow units to walk past them.

Your second castle should be in the south. Your third castle should be at the north end of the bridge. When the third castle is built, about half of the Orleans perimeter is now safe, so you can disband many of your foot archers. As food and gold start to roll in, replace your obsolete knights with new production. Get some cavalry archers, and 5 battering rams as well. When your force is fully upgraded, and your population at maximum, you are ready for some serious offensive action.

In the meantime, Joan of Arc should have been raiding the British monastery at the south end of the bridge. She can keep killing their monks with impunity, which is a big drain on their gold. When you have several rams available, put them in a Transport Ship and land them at the south end of the bridge to take out the Burgundian Tower and the monastery. At some point, the British will start to chop wood in the area, and you know what to do with unprotected enemy villagers.

When you are ready to go on the offensive, there are three main plans available. The most conservative one is to claim the stone and gold deposits NE of Orleans. You hardly need the gold, but the stone is useful. Of course, much of that stone will be needed for defenses in that area, but there should be enough left over for at least one more castle and a bunch of walls. The second plan is to locate and destroy Burgundy. They have lots of spearmen, but hardly anything else. You could build a second dock and some Transport Ships to help in the conquest of Burgundy. The most ambitious plan is to go for the immediate win. You should be totally dominating the map by now, and if you put your entire force against one enemy, you will easily succeed. The weakest enemies are the South British, because they tend to send their villagers out of their bases pretty soon, and you may already have crippled their economy. It is not trivial to attack a castle with only battering rams, so you may want to take the assault in stages, withdrawing and fixing damage after each stage. However, 5 battering rams will always beat a castle, as long as there are no defending melee troops to beat up your rams.