A Worthy Opponent is the fourth scenario of the Algirdas and Kestutis campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dawn of the Dukes. It is based on the Lithuanian siege of Moscow in 1368.
As the Golden Horde plunged towards a dishonorable end, the Rus' principalities of Moscow and Tver emerged s the primary beneficiaries of its demise. While the Tatars quarreled with one another, these duchies had quietly grown into powerful states.
The Grand Duchy of Moscow was ruled by a prince named Dmitry, who had succeeded in taking on the Khan of the Golden Horde through sly politics. Algirdas' recent territorial gains made him and Dmitry close neighbors, and the two men circled each other like wild beasts of prey, each waiting for the other to flinch.
It was Algirdas who moved first. When Prince Mikhail of Tver sought Lithuanian aid against his Muscovite rivals, Algirdas found his long-awaited pretext. Together with the ever-loyal Kestutis, who was already showing signs of growing stale and impotent, he levied an army and marched on Dmitry's domains.
- Starting Age: Imperial Age
- Starting resources: None; then 800 food, 1,000 wood, 800 gold, 500 stone
- Population limit: 200
- Starting units:
Differences between difficulty levels
- Hurry to Mikhail of Tver's aid before the Muscovites kill him.
- Build a camp and prepare for the battle.
- Force the Muscovites to surrender by destroying at least six of their food storehouses.
- (secondary) Capture and hold the palace (Monument) in Vladimir to subdue the city.
- (if the palace is captured by the Muscovites) Recapture the Palace of Vladimir.
- (secondary) Repair Ryazan's city wall by building your own Stone Walls in the gaps (locations marked by flags).
- (secondary) Mark locations on the minimap with Flares to tell Mikhail of Tver where to attack.
- Algirdas and Kestutis can support a population of 200.
- You are not alone in your fight against the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Mikhail of Tver is a valuable ally and it may be possible to forge alliances with other Rus' city-states as well.
- Scouts report that starved wolf packs and bears wander through the war-torn landscape in search of prey.
- When attacking Vladimir, focus on capturing the city's palace (Monument) to sway the residents to your side. Do not bother destroying its other buildings.
Your scouts report:
- Algirdas and Kestutis (1, Green) have led a large army into Russia to support their ally Mikhail of Tver in his struggle against the rising Grand Duchy of Moscow.
- Mikhail (2, Orange) rules the well defended city of Tver in the west. He has moved outside of the city to face the Muscovites in an open battle, but is woefully outmatched.
- In the southwest, Prince Dmitry rules Moscow (3, Red), a city difficult to capture due to its enormous size. Infantry, Boyars, Knights, and Crossbowmen defend the city, but when Dmitry takes the offensive he will also construct Trebuchets and rams. Inside of Moscow is the Kremlin Fortress (4, Grey), a bulwark that is considered impregnable and is initially too strong to assail.
- The city of Vladimir (8, Cyan) is located in the east. Both Mikhail and Dmitry lay claim to the city, but its residents will fight for whoever occupies it.
- In the south lies the city of Ryazan (6, Purple), which is repeatedly threatened by the warriors of the Golden Horde.
- The Golden Horde (7, Yellow) remains formidable despite its recent defeat and has several camps in the southeast. Should its khan decide to go on the offensive, he will do so with mounted archers, Light Cavalry, Camel Riders, and siege weapons.
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- Player (Lithuanians)
- Mikhail of Tver (Slavs)
- The Kremlin Fortress (Slavs)
Neutral → Ally
- Ryazan (Slavs)
Neutral → Ally/Enemy
- Vladimir (Slavs)
- Golden Horde (Mongols)
- Muscovites (Slavs)
Note: There are six Relics on this map. One just across the river southeast of where the player starts by the river and north edge of the map. A second one can be found west of the Orange Lumber Camp area in the western corner of the map. A third by the lake in the central area southeast of the player's base. All three can be easily collected early. A fourth can be found in the eastern corner behind the Golden Horde's (Yellow) base. The fifth one found just outside Red's Monastery in the south corner. Both these Relics tend to be fetched early by the enemy which will deposit one in previously mentioned Monastery south of the map (which the player can easily reclaim later). The last one is held by a Monk at map start immediately being dropped in a Monastery north of Moscow.
On hard difficulty, this scenario feels easier than the previous one. The player initially gets asked to participate into a pitched battle a few steps southwest of the starting location with a small cavalry contingent. Once the battle is won, the player receives Villagers and foundation for a Town Center southeast of where the battle took place. The Muscovites (Red) will then stage an attack and put the player on a 15 minutes NO RUSH allowed format. Consider building a second Town Center immediately with starting resources either southwest by the Deer herd or gold pile, northeast by the stone pile, or southeast towards the lake/Relic. Also build a few Houses and a Dock. There are no surprises while the timer is going, so the player can plan the defenses accordingly. Red's first attack will proceed via the route that heads from his base straight north to the player's base (build a Castle on this route). Subsequent attacks will proceed via the ford next to the Orange base, via the Orange Lumber Camp area, or north of Purple's base. Red's favorite composition revolves around Cavaliers, Boyars, Crossbowmen, Champions, Halberdiers, Hussars, Siege Rams and Trebuchets. Red often sends small groups of Boyars via any river crossings that the player leaves unwalled, harassing the player constantly (Note: Red will no longer construct Trebuchets when they have one Castle remaining. During the 15 minute peace period, the player should build 3-4 Cannon Galleons, and then raze the castles within the Cannon Galleon's range, and they will have one less threat to worry about).
Several Wolves and Bears roam the map. Consider using the starting army to clear most of them for further expansion.
Cyan's base gimmick is some sort of a king-of-the-hill battle. Since his defenses are mediocre to poor at best, it is easy for the player to clear the few units surrounding his Wonder to switch him to the player's side. This also means that the small groups of Boyars can easily swing the town back to Neutral and then raid any miners or lumberjacks in the player's rear. It is in the player's interest to wall off all crossings so Cyan stays allied. Building Castles closer to Cyan's base can also attract said raiding party so they attack the Castle instead of entering Cyan's base.
Southeast of the player's base lies Purple. All that is required for his allegiance is to wall off eight wall tiles. While this task is easy, clear the path first as several Pikemen and Crossbowmen patrol the south shore of the river, preventing access to the player's Villagers. Trade route is possible with Purple.
Orange can be directed to attack locations (if he does not have any troops, he will let the player know) via the flare command.
The player should ally with both Cyan and Purple (in that order) and secure the borders. The Golden Horde's (Yellow) base in unwalled, defended by a few Castles, making it a good initial target prior to assaulting Moscow proper. Alternatively, the player can rely on Purple to defend the Golden Horde. They might be defeated in the end, but the player can focus more on attacking Red. In addition, the Golden Horde, though being a Mongolian player, does not train many rams, making it easier to defend even by the player. Stay vigilant at home for Red's Trebuchet and rams while defeating Yellow. Establish an additional defensive line next to the Purple town. The player should assault Red's lone Monastery south and get the +4 bonus for Leiciai and Knights with this fourth Relic. From here, the player should attack the whole periphery of the town where most of the Trade Workshops are located (the one north of the city can be handled by Orange). The only one that cannot be access easily is the one in the far west of Moscow, but can be snipe via the north or brute force from the east once the player gets a big army.
The combined forces of Algirdas and Kestutis managed twice to penetrate into the heart of Moscow, but the walls of the Kremlin brought their advance to a halt each time.
Its white limestone walls proved to be an impassable obstacle. Even Algirdas admitted that the Muscovite prince had constructed a military wonder.
The war dragged on for years. Neither the Lithuanians nor the Golden Horde, which intervened late in the war, could force a decisive victory. In the end, the only remaining option was to sign a treaty that allowed all parties to return home without losing face.
Keeping this peace was Algirdas' last great feat. For a man so shaped and defined by war, it was an odd end, but it meant that he died undefeated. We burned his corpse according to the old custom: on a ceremonial pyre, with twenty of his beloved horses and many of his favorite belongings.
When the flames began to consume his lifeless body, I looked into the blaze in silence.
My father had created an empire stretching from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south — and I, Jogaila, would be his heir.
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