A Barbarian Betrothal is the fourth scenario in the Attila the Hun campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is based on Attila's invasion of Gaul in 451 A.D.

Intro[edit | edit source]

The Western Roman emperor had a sister named Honoria, who after weary years of confinement to her parlor, made the preposterous decision to send a letter to Attila the Hun. She asked him to marry her. One suspects Honoria did not know what she was getting into.

Attila was plentifully supplied with wives, but he immediately saw the advantage that such a union could put him in. Suddenly, his plans changed. He would not invade the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople, but the Western Empire, at Rome. Indeed, he claimed half of the Western Empire as his dowry.

Attila sent the Huns to march across the Rhine River, and made alliances with the other barbarian chieftains. Some, namely the Burgundians and the Ostrogoths, joined the Hunnic confederation, while others, such as the Visigoths, sought to seek Roman favor by opposing the Huns.

When Attila entered the Roman province of Gaul, he could claim that he merely sought by force what was his by right of betrothal to Honoria.

The Western Roman emperor had a sister named Honoria, who after weary years of confinement to her parlor, made the preposterous decision to send a letter to Attila the Hun. She asked him to marry her. One suspects Honoria did not know what she was getting into.

Attila was plentifully supplied with wives, but he immediately saw the advantage that such a union could put him in. Suddenly, his plans changed. He would not invade the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople, but the Western Empire, at Rome. Indeed, he claimed half of the Western Empire as his dowry.

Attila sent the Huns to march across the Rhine River, and made alliances with the other barbarian chieftains. Some, namely the Burgundians and the Ostrogoths, joined the Hun confederation, while others, such as the Visigoths, sought to seek Roman favor by opposing the Huns.

When Attila entered Gaul, what we now call France, he could claim that he merely sought by force what was his by right of betrothal to Honoria.

Scenario Instructions[edit | edit source]

Starting Conditions[edit | edit source]

Differences between difficulty levels[edit | edit source]

  • On standard difficulty, Orléans does not attack unprovoked.
  • The size of the Western Roman Empire's army depends on the difficulty level (around 50/100/200 on standard/moderate/hard).

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • Defeat Orléans.
  • Defeat Metz.
  • Defeat Burgundy.
    • Defeat the Roman Army.
    • OPTIONAL: Burgundy is willing to join you, if you can convince them you are trustworthy. First they want a tribute of 500 gold.
    • OPTIONAL: Burgundy will join you if you build a Castle within the flagged area of their town within 10 minutes.

Hints[edit | edit source]

  1. Your forces begin scattered. Look for a good place for an initial camp while avoiding wolves. In the dead of winter, forage sites are hard to come by, but there are hungry deer to be found.
  2. You cannot match the Frankish technology, but you do have the strength of numbers. Unleash the horde upon the cities of Gaul!

Scouts[edit | edit source]

  • Your scouts report: After invading Gaul, the Huns begin scattered. They must regroup while avoiding stumbling too close to Burgundy (purple) in the south, Metz (red) to the north or the great city of Orléans (cyan) to the northwest.
  • Burgundy trains archers, rams, and infantry, but is not well-defended and might fall to an early attack. The Burgundians are easily intimidated and might even be persuaded to join the Hunnic cause.
  • Metz makes up for Burgundy's weakness with an army of Knights and Throwing Axemen. Their Castle and proximity to Orléans offers them some defense.
  • Orléans is a walled city protected by Towers and Castles. Its army of Spearmen, Knights, and Monks may prove a challenge for the Huns.
  • Scouts also report that the Western Roman Empire is sending Aetius' army to reinforce Gaul. The Romans have no town in the area, but their legions and Cataphracts could strike at any time.

Players[edit | edit source]

Player[edit | edit source]

  • The Player (Huns) starts with the some Villagers and Scout Cavalry units scattered in the southeastern corner of the map, as well as moderate resources but no buildings of their own.

Enemy → Potential Ally[edit | edit source]

  • Burgundy (Franks, Burgundians in the Definitive Edition) is an unfortified town in the south. They mostly train Crossbowmen, and later on also a few swordsmen and Battering Rams. They don't advance beyond the Castle Age and are not much of a threat, but if they switch sides, they are not much of help either.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • Metz (Franks) is a small town northeast, defended by some Castles and an incomplete wall. Though technically north of the river, they can be accessed easily because the section there is frozen. They field swordsmen, Knights, Throwing Axemen, and Battering Rams. In the Definitive Edition, they can advance to the Imperial Age and will upgrade Knights to Cavaliers and Paladins (if given the time). They also train Two-handed Swordsmen.
  • Orléans (Franks) is a large, fortified city to the north, with a extramural Castle in a plateau south of the city and a Monastery in a hill east of it. They will attack the latest but field the largest and most powerful army, consisting of Paladins, Trebuchets, Elite Throwing Axemen, Scorpions, Halberdiers, and Monks.
  • The Western Roman Empire (Byzantines) has no base in its area, but its army is spawned in the northwest after Orléans' Town Center is razed. In The Conquerors, the army consists entirely of Champions and Elite Cataphracts and marches into Orléans, after which they become largely inactive. In the Definitive Edition they are Legionaries (similar to Jaguar Warriors) and Centurions (equivalent to Elite Cataphracts) instead, and more active, as they will clean the area near Orléans and then march on the player's base.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

The first task is to find a place to build a base and make use of the Huns' no House bonus to create as many Villagers and boom as fast as possible. One of the best options is north of the starting place but still south of the river, because it contains Gold and Stone Mines, is close to two Wild Boars, and has a irregular terrain that can be exploited to maximize the attack of fortifications. A Castle should be constructed north or northwest of the Town Center, and upgraded as soon as possible to protect against incoming Frankish attacks, which will only become stronger and more frequent with time. This will require a University and Blacksmith built soon. Use Palisade Walls to patch up spaces between the woods and direct enemies towards Castle fire, because the AI has trouble identifying them as something to destroy, and wood is plentiful in comparison to stone. Next build a Market for the incoming Burgundian request, Barracks, Archery Range, and Stable for a diverse trash army of Spearmen, Skirmishers, and Scout Cavalry to finish the Frankish armies that might threaten the Castle, plus a second Castle to support the first after the Burgundians are sorted out. Scouts can also be used to raid Burgundy's archers and Villagers before they mount an attack, though this is difficult and micro-intensive.

Though the starting objectives are to defeat Burgundy, Orléans, and Metz, it is possible to intimidate Burgundy into offering an alliance by destroying its Town Center, or simply waiting out until they make their offer. They demand a tribute of 500 gold, and then for the player to build a Castle within the flagged area in their town before 10 minutes. The real benefits of this are getting rid of an enemy and gaining a few more resources by exploiting the mines west of Burgundy and trading with it. Though Burgundy will send forces against Metz and Orléans from then on, they are no match to them. In consequence, make sure to never lose the starting base, because while it is possible to regroup behind Burgundy, this will most likely result in Metz and Orléans sweeping through it and destroying the new base before it is strong again.

With Burgundy controlled, it is time to build and upgrade an army to the fullest and go on a proper offensive against Metz and then Orléans, using the Huns' powerful Cavalry Archers, Siege Rams, and Trebuchets. Orléans' Monks are particularly obnoxious, so be sure to build a Monastery and research Faith and Heresy to reduce their power. Once Orléans' Town Center has been destroyed, the Western Roman Empire will spawn west of Orléans, so it is adviced to destroy other buildings before, and to strategically build walls, towers and Castles before the Romans arrive to decimate their forces, since they have no siege weapons. The latest version of Atheism, which reduces the gold generated by Relics, is useful in this scenario, due to four being held in a Monastery near Orléans' Town Center and used to pay for Monks, Paladins, and Trebuchets. Alternatively, since the scenario starts with those four Relics to the west of the city (Orléans will pick them up one by one right in the beginning), the player can anticipate themselves by sending the starting Scout Cavalry to guard three of the four Relics (the other one is in a Tower's range) and then pick them up with Monks.

Since the Western Roman Empire brings an army consisting of around 200 units (50/100 on standard/moderate difficulty), it may be a good idea to save before destroying Orléans' Town Center.

Note that in The Conquerors, it is possible that the scenario doesn't finish even after seemingly defeating the Western Roman Army, because of rogue Western Roman units escaping to the countryside and running all over the map. The player needs to find such units and kill them in order to completely defeat the Western Roman army. In many cases, the rogue unit will be an Elite Cataphract, and it can only be chased and killed with a Scout Cavalry or Cavalry Archer, as it prefers to run away rather than fight back. This problem is fixed in the Definitive Edition, because the Western Roman Army will resign when most of its units are killed.

Outro[edit | edit source]

The old priest hung his head as he related what happened next, and I could tell the weight of the memories caused him great sorrow.

Attila would stop at nothing until he reached his fiancée, Honoria, and his goal of ruling the Roman Empire. The ravaging of Gaul was unprecedented.

People were tortured, their bodies torn asunder by wild horses, or their bones crushed under the weight of rolling wagons. Their unburied limbs were abandoned on the public roads as prey to dogs.

Heads on stakes stretched from Gaul clear back to the Danube River, from whence the Huns had come. They lay siege to Orléans, for Attila had learned much of siegecraft since he had faced the walls of Constantinople.

But as the Huns set to their fell task, a great cloud of dust appeared on the horizon. Aetius and the Roman army had come.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • It is possible to kill the Western Roman Empire's placeholder unit (a Samurai) located behind the forest at the very top of the map before defeating Burgundy, Orleans and Metz, the Western Roman Empire will be defeated prematurely; their army will still spawn, but because they were already counted as "defeated" beforehand, the player only needs to defeat the final Frankish town before they cause any significant damage to their forces.
  • In the Definitive Edition, it is possible to walk over the ice to reach the river island from the north without using the bridges.

Historical comparison[edit | edit source]

  • Though this is a fully snowed winter map, the real campaign took place in spring, with Metz falling on April 7 and Orleans being besieged in May. The change is probably due to avoiding making the scenario a retread of the Joan of Arc campaign's second scenario, which takes place in the same general area.
  • The possible alliance with the Burgundians is probably inspired by the fact that some Burgundians fought for the Huns and others for the Romans.
    • The name of the scenario makes it also a reference to the epic German poem The Nibelungenlied in which Attila weds the sister of the Burgundian King.
    • Coincidentally, the Burgundians are played by Franks (as in the Joan of Arc and Barbarossa campaigns), and while not referenced, the Franks were also divided between two claimants to the crown: one supported by Attila, and another by Aetius.
    • As of the Western Europe update in January 2021, Burgundy is played by the Burgundians, a new civilization designed to highlight the deep Frankish divisions of the time; although similar to the Franks, they have a different focus and slightly different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Though played by Franks, Orleans was ruled at the time by the Alans, who appear as Vikings in the following scenario. Coincidentally, both players use the cyan color.
  • Historically, the Huns failed to enter Orleans, but the siege drew long enough for the Alans to negotiate surrendering the city. The arrival of Aetius's army prevented this, and Attila withdrew north while his Gepid vassals covered his retreat. Aetius destroyed the Gepids and pursued Attila until they fought at the Catalaunian Fields.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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