Winter has come to the steppes. The earth is frozen hard as bone, and the only movement is steam rising from the nostrils of men and horses. Only the promise of battle brings warmth.
Nearly all the tribes of Mongolia now answer to Genghis Khan. But with success, comes enemies. A man named Kushluk has challenged Genghis's right to rule. Kushluk sows discord among the Kara-Khitai tribe and means to have himself proclaimed as a rival Khan.
Genghis cannot allow these transgressions to go unpunished. He needs to set an example. So we ride west, to find and slay Kushluk. If the Kara-Khitai shelter him, then their lives are forfeit as well.
- Starting Age: Dark Age
- Starting resources: 200 food, 400 wood
- Population limit: 75 (125 in the Definitive Edition)
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels
- On Standard, the Tayichi'ud village is missing two Cavalry Archers, while the initial Kara-Khitai army is missing two Cavalry Archers and a Light Cavalry, and finally, the area of the Naiman base where Kushluk flees to is lacking any Watch Towers.
- Prevent the tent of Genghis Khan (Wonder) from being destroyed.
- Kill the traitor Kushluk.
- To 'persuade' the Tayichi'ud villagers to join you, first kill all of their soldiers.
- Since the Kara-Khitai are unfamiliar with siege weapons, constructing towers can be a powerful defense.
- Note: The Mongols do not yet know how to make Siege Workshops.
Scouts (Definitive Edition)
Your scouts report:
- Genghis Khan's warriors (1, Orange) hav assembled in the east to defend the Great Khan's tent palace against the nefarious Kara-Khitai. Your army initially consists of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, and camelry.
- In the north lies a small Tayichi'ud settlement (4, Purple). Its small defense force of Cavalry Archers will fall easily to an early attack.
- The Kara-Khitai (2, Red) control the center of the map with a large camp and many soldiers. In battle, they rely on Archers, Light Cavalry, Men-at-arms, Skirmishers and Cavalry Archers.
- The insurgent Naiman are led by Kushluk (3, Green), who is currently visiting the Kara-Khitai camp. The Naiman horde consists for the most part of Cavalry Archers, Light Cavalry and swordsmen, but Kushluk will send Mangudai into battle as well if he is allowed to construct a Castle.
- Player (Mongols): The player starts east with only a small force of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, and Camel Riders to defend the Wonder.
- Kara-Khitai (Mongols): The Kara-Khitai have their base in the central part of the map. They actively attack with Light Cavalry, Skirmishers, and Long Swordsmen in attempt to destroy the Wonder.
- Kushluk (Mongols): Kushluk has his base at the western part of the map, while he himself with a few soldiers are initially staying behind the Kara-Khitai base. Getting near them causes them to flee to their own base. His army has the same type of units as the Kara-Khitai, but adds a few Scorpions.
- Tayichi'ud (Mongols): The Tayichi'ud tribe is located at the northeastern part of the map. Killing all their Cavalry Archers makes them give the player all their Villagers and buildings.
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Although the player starts with only a small force of Light Cavalry, Cavalry Archers and Camel Riders, there is a Tayichi'ud camp to the north. Killing all their military units forces them to surrender and they will allow the player to take over their base. It would be advisable to set the stance with them as 'neutral' before invading them, so that the player's soldiers will not attack their villagers and buildings by accident.
While food is scarce near the camp, there are large pockets of deer just south of the Kara-Khitai camp. There are also sheep just southwest of the Wonder which can be claimed immediately prior to the trek north. Gold mines can be found northeast of the Tayichi'ud camp, south of the Kara-Khitai camp and the Wonder. Advance to the Feudal and Castle ages as soon as possible. Train some units and build towers as neither enemy has an effective way to destroy them.
While invading Kara-Khitai, the player can choose not to destroy their Market, so that after they resign the player may start trading with it. Setting the stance with them to 'neutral' will make it less likely that the Market is destroyed by accident.
After defeating the Kara-Khitai harboring Kushluk or by getting close to Kushluk, he and his Cavalry Archers retreats to his own, better defended base. His forces are bolstered by Scorpions which can be a threat since the Siege Workshop is not available to the player. The scorpions can be dealt with Knights or Mangudai.
Once the player has found Kushluk, it is recommended to try to kill him with camels or pikemen, which are both anti-cavalry units, good against Kushluk who is a cavalry unit.
An alternate - albeit one that exploits the AI's triggers - strategy for this scenario is to group up your starting units, then have the scout that reports on the Tayichi'uds to the north in a separate group. Ride west into the Kara-Khitai camp, and have your other scout attack the watchtower you find on the way. This will cause all of the Kara-Khitai units in the base to rush out. Whilst you're doing this, hug the wall with your other units and proceed along until you find the fence holding Kushluk. Whilst doing this, once you've seen the Kara-Khitai Units attack your Scout, make him run away towards your Wonder. When you find the fence holding Kushluk, having been sure to hug the south side of the enemy base, because going near Kushluk will trigger him to run away, making your job much harder. Attack the southernmost block of the Palisade Wall that will let you get to him, the Kara-Khitai will notice this, but hopefully your Scout should have lured them far enough away that by the time they come back to kill your units, you should have broken through the fence, and attacked Kushluk. Don't worry about his bodyguard, they will just "Run away! Run away!", leaving Kushluk alone with your units. By the time the Kara-Khitai catch up to you, Kushluk will be dead. This can potentially be the quickest scenario in all of the campaigns using this strategy.
In the Definitive Edition, make sure to set Kara-Khitai to Neutral before getting close to the first tower, and set the army to No Attack stance. Rather than having two scouts to divert, just send one and keep the other at the Tent. There is a delay after killing Kushluk and the enemy surrender, and if all the player's troops are killed before that, the player will be defeated. Also, when the army arrives to attack the diversion scout, have it run and take the enemy even further away before it dies.
In the Definitive Edition, this will unlock the achievement "The Kushluk Assassination", which is unlocked by killing Kushluk before 20 minutes have elapsed.
Genghis Khan knows that there are weapons aside from the lance and bow. He is a master of mental warfare. Just as he has made an example of Kushluk, he makes examples of enemy lands.
When first we encounter a new adversary, the Great Khan spares no one. We ride to the closest town, slay every living thing, burn down the city, sow the fields with salt, and make a mountain of enemy skulls.
After that, the other towns are quick to send forth their emissaries, eager to placate the ravenous Mongol hordes.
- According to the fifth Design Document of Ensemble Studios (dated 17 July 1998), an early plan for the scenario was to defeat Kushluk first, make him flee to the Kara-Khitai, and then trigger a Kara-Khitai revolt against Kushluk (somehow).
- In the Definitive Edition, Kushluk is identified as a Naiman (as he was in history), and the Naimans' color in Crucible is changed to Green to match his, and the Tayichi'uds color in both Crucible and this scenario is changed to Purple.
- Though not mentioned, Kushluk fled to the Kara-Khitai after his defeat by Genghis Khan in 1208, married the daughter of the Kara-Khitai Khan, and then seized control of his empire in a coup d'etat.
- Rather than a dispute over leadership of the Mongols (which seems taken from Jamukha), the casus belli was Kushluk's attack on the Karluk city of Almaliq, whose inhabitants petitioned Genghis Khan for help.
- The campaign against Kushluk was actually a sideshow for the Mongols. Genghis Khan was fighting in China (which he began invading in 1205) and the Mongol forces were led by his General Chepe (a Tayichi'ud, incidentally). At the same time, Subotai led an army against the Merkids and then marched along the border of Khwarazm to ensure it wouldn't intervene against Chepe. The later events are instead subsumed into the invasion of Russia in The Horde Rides West.
- In China, the Kara-Khitai are counted as one of the "Conquest dynasties" a.k.a. an originally non-Han dynasty. Other examples include the Jin (Jurchen) and Hsi Hsia (Tanguts) appearing in the following scenario.