Joan of Arc 5: The Siege of Paris
Start by grouping your units by type and assigning them hotkeys; for example, assign your Bombard Cannons and Jeanne de Lorraine to . Set your diplomacy with the British to Neutral. This will keep enemy buildings from distracting your units from enemy troops. To destroy a building, select the units you wish to use and then right-click on the building. Use Trebuchets as Scouts, implementing their extremely long sight range. With a Trebuchet, you can uncover any enemy unit without activating it.
After these preparations, you're ready to save the Villagers and liberate Paris. Follow the west edge of the map until you encounter a few Towers and a Castle. Paris's western gate lies northeast. Destroy the Towers and Castle to give yourself breathing room.
Head south to the gold. This activates your reinforcements to the east and British Elite Longbowmen will ambush them immediately. Send your Knights to their aid, followed by the rest of your troops. Use your Cannons to make a hole in the wall next to the gold and leave Paris.
Travel north to the road and follow it south to the fork. Group Joan with the Villagers and save your game. It's very difficult to get Joan and the Villagers through. Engage the Burgundians with your remaining troops. Use Cavalry units to kill all ranged units. Run Joan and the Villagers to the square to end the scenario.
In this scenario, you have to make a long journey through hostile territory, with no possibility of healing any of your units. Therefore, you need to avoid all combat, unless you have no choice, and even then, you need to avoid combat. Unfortunately, combat will be forced upon you fairly often.
Your most dangerous opponents in this scenario are fully upgraded Longbowmen. They have a firing range of 11, which is at least comparable to any of your units except the trebuchets and one leader. Their sight range is probably the same, which means that they will detect and attack you as soon as you detect them, unless you explore with trebuchets exclusively. If they attack you, you will be unable to avoid damage, even using the best tactics. Of course, if you use inferior tactics, the Longbowmen will just eat you up.
Your next most dangerous opponents are monks. You can reasonably expect to face about 6. You do have a powerful anti-monk unit. Being on a divine mission, Joan of Arc cannot be converted by some heretical proselytiser. The only complication would be if the monk is not alone.
You do have a large army. You have a decent amount of heavy artillery and heavy cavalry, and a generous number of archers and Pikemen. Therefore you should be able to easily defeat any undefended static defenses, and any attacking melee units as long as there are not too many at once. You should also be able to defeat a certain number of enemy archers.
One thing you don't know is whether the enemy has an economy and can produce new units, thereby putting you under time pressure. You will see British villagers collecting resources, and they have a lot of production buildings, but eventually you will conclude that they probably were not permitted to build new units. This may have something to do with the fact that they start with 110 or so units, and you are unlikely to kill more than 35 of them.
Start by organising your army and sending your trebuchets into the wild black yonder. Among other things, make sure that your troops will not attack anything without your explicit command. Very quickly, you run into a pair of monks. Monks do not respond to wandering trebuchets, but the rest of your army has to keep a healthy distance. You now have to decide to either bear left, moving along the south map edge, or right, moving along the river bank. It seems more reasonable to move along the south map edge, because you then have a secure flank. You can't really go both ways at once.
As you move along the south map edge, you see the walls of Paris over on your right. You need to keep your distance from Paris to avoid triggering the garrison units, but there is a safe path. In the west corner of the map, there is an isolated castle with a bunch of Towers around it. There do not appear to be any mobile units supporting them, but you can never tell. Just before you get to the castle, there is a large empty area where your troops could safely assemble. You now have to decide whether to go all the way back and try the other route, but it seems more reasonable to force your way through here. Take a pot shot at the nearest Tower and stand ready to deal with a response. Nothing happens, so blow the first Tower away. Keep on like this until the fortified outpost in the west map corner has been reduced, but leave the wall alone, in case you might be able to use it. In this scenario, you generally don't want to be blowing stuff up unless you have a good reason. You now have a large sanitized area in the west map corner.
This part of Paris is guarded by a bunch of Longbowmen and other units. You need to lure these units out, one by one if possible, and Ambush them. Do not attack anything that they can see, because then the whole gang attacks you at once. In your present situation, there is exactly one reasonable way of dealing with the Longbowmen. Use a trebuchet to provide detection over the killzone. Prepare an ambush force of about 5 heavy cavalry. Send a bait unit forward, and, when the Longbowman responds, retreat slowly enough that he does not lose interest. Your ambush force should probably move forward toward the victim at some point, but pretend to be disinterested so that the victim does not switch targets. If necessary, use projectile avoidance maneuvers. This procedure minimizes the damage that you take, but it will not be zero.
When all the Longbowmen are dead, you need to deal with a bunch of infantry. Lure them out and Ambush them, but this time, the ambush force is your archers, and, because infantry can't see very far, you may need to attack something in the city to get them to respond. The infantry should not be able to inflict any damage.
After the infantry are dead, you can cut a hole in the wall and press forward. There are several barracks in this area. You should destroy these, because you don't want the British building infantry there and taking you by surprise. You need to move fairly fast about this time, because, while you were scouting this area, you recruited a bunch of villagers (the refugees), and you want to extract them to a safe area before they get attacked. In this area, you should also destroy a British Town Center, castle and trebuchet, because you can't afford to have them menacing your flank. There are a number of ways of dealing with an enemy trebuchet. Dueling trebuchet-on-trebuchet is not one of them.
As you move forward, you will detect an allied Transport Ship. The AoE expert will note that The King's Men have an extremely low score, and will surmise that they can't possibly have a lot of units.
You will now be squeezed between some British warships to the north and other forces to the east. You probably want to bear to the left as much as possible, which means that you will have to fight at least some of the warships. Try using a barrage from your Bombard Cannons; you don't really have a lot of options.
Then you reach the rendezvous with the King's men. Treachery! But what were you expecting? You do know the story of Joan of Arc, right? Don't dismiss these units out of hand. The scout cavalry is actually a useful unit.
As you approach the bridge, you will be attacked by two monks and a Cannon Galleon, maybe even at the same time. Your best option is to use Bombard Cannons against the Cannon Galleon, and Joan against the monks. But be careful! It would be quite embarrassing, and damaging as well, if you were to lose some of your artillery to these monks. After dealing with these units, destroy the monasteries near the bridge, because you can't afford to have enemy monks popping up in your "safe" areas. There are four Towers guarding the bridge area. You already know what happens to those. The same applies to the two catapults on the north side of the bridge. By the time you cross the bridge, your army will be very strung out, because you have only sanitized a narrow path through Paris. Do the best you can to deal with this situation.
After crossing the bridge, the direct line to your destination is NE. However, you have no real expectation that you will be able to go that way, so you consider all the possibilities. If you go to the left, along the river bank, you will be squeezed between some enemy warships and a castle and who knows what else, so this route is very unattractive. If you go to the right, along the river bank, you encounter some infantry. It turns out that this is the easiest route, but you won't know that until much later, so you avoid this route. If you go straight north, you run into a huge force, so you definitely don't go that way. If you bear a bit NE, you run into two monks, and you avoid them as well. Therefore the route to the NE looks safest, and that's the way you go. Save the game.
Surprise! You have just recruited a bunch of militia and a few more capable units. They are immediately attacked by 7 fully upgraded Longbowmen. If you do nothing at all, these Longbowmen, supported by the two monks you are avoiding, will destroy your entire group of 22 new recruits, losing only about half their force in the process. Since your army is so strung out, you will not be able to support the militia group with any of your veterans, not that you would necessarily want to.
An exercise in micromanagement
Even if you did not save the game before the surprise, if you are quick enough with the F3 key, you can stop the action before anything happens, and save the game and so forth.
There is no way that you can save all of your militia, so don't even try. However, these guys are all ready to die for The Cause. But you, being a decent commander, will make their deaths count for something. It is possible that you could sacrifice half the militia and run away with the other units, but there is no guarantee that that would actually work, and at a minimum, it would leave those 7 Longbowmen entirely unscathed and blocking your path. So we are going to attack and kill the Longbowmen, and if any of the supporting units survive, we will consider the engagement to be a success.
Organize your new recruits. Make 4 control groups of 4 militia each, and group the other 6 units by type. Charge forward with the militia, while the other units take evasive action. Pay close attention to which units are taking damage. Any unit that is actually a target must take extreme evasive action to soak up as much enemy fire as possible. The only units you have that can actually hurt the Longbowmen are the Scorpions and the knights. Focus fire on the Longbowmen with these units, while the militia are dancing around and drawing fire. Deal with the monks as best you can.
An expert AoE player will be able to win this engagement, surviving with somewhat less than half of his force, although many of the survivors will be seriously wounded.
Once the dust clears, nothing remains in this area to prevent you from cutting a hole in the wall and leaving Paris. If you go north, you won't even need to worry about blocking terrain. So you get all your guys out of the city and form up the army again. You can now explore the rest of the map, although you won't find much of interest except for two things. One is that turning right immediately after the bridge would have been the easiest route out of Paris. The other is that all three approaches to Compiegne are blocked.
There is a welcoming committee from Burgundy sitting on the direct route to Compiegne. You do know that Burgundy is your enemy, right? You do know the story of Joan of Arc? Perhaps not. But if you are so naive as to think that these guys are here for any reason but to ambush you, then you deserve to find out the truth the hard way.
The two other approaches to Compiegne are through the forest to the left of the Burgundian army, or all the way around to the east side of the map and through the forest. Too bad that a forest is blocking terrain!
Be aware of the fact that you have 10 villagers. If you are not yet familiar with the Grab-and-Dump Forestry technique, now would be a good time to learn about it. This technique is an important feature of certain AoE scenarios. If you don't want to wait for the villagers to cut the path, be aware that trebuchets can also knock down trees. It just requires direct hits. So, really, you can approach Compiegne from any direction you want. And if you don't like the fact that there is a horde of Burgundian units camped out in front of the gate to Compiegne, be aware of the fact that there are several valid ways of cutting a hole in their wall.
There are actually many ways of getting Joan and the refugees into Compiegne. The only thing you don't want to do is fight Burgundy straight up. You will lose. But you could provoke them to attack one of your units and run away. Then Burgundy will attack Compiegne and destroy the town. When they get bored of this, you could just walk in. Or you could bombard the Burgundian army from the back and accidentally-on purpose kill some of their units. If you are devious enough, you can actually defeat Burgundy without taking any damage. The most amusing thing is perhaps what happens if you lob a rock in their general direction from the front.
To get Joan and your villagers to Compiegne without engaging the Burgundy forces at all, simply cut through the trees (using Trebuchets or Villagers) to the West of Compiegne once you've left Paris (use your Trebuchets to scout the best location for this). Then change your diplomacy with Compiegne to 'Neutral', use your siege to destroy once piece of their fortified wall (your forces may engage a few of their Arbalest and vice-versa, but it doesn't matter), change diplomacy back to Ally and walk Joan and the villagers through to the square.