The goal of this scenario is to take over control of the Niger river and destroy all of Sumanguru's military camps.
A beast is most dangerous when cornered. Sumanguru was no different.
He struck southward into the Kangaba heartland, where he had slaughtered the Mandinka royal family once before. He was rumored to have brought his mystical balophon[sic] with him to summon victory, and djelis were already singing that the battle had been won by the sorcerer before it even began.
Sundjata met him by the Niger River, at a place called Kirina. Loyal Sosso and Jolof soldiers stood tall, banging their shields and grinning at the soldiers of the Malian alliance. Horses and Camel Riders kicked up enough sand to shroud the sun at noon. Sumanguru himself took the field in the dusty twilight, and Sundjata faced him from across the hot expanse. As the armies prepared to charge, the music of a balophon[sic] began to flow through the air.
The decisive moment was at hand, and all of west Africa awaited the victor.
- Defeat the army of Sumanguru (2, Red).
- Destroy the 5 Sosso towers along the river in order to obtain shipments of wood.
- Free Mema's princess.
- Tribute Fakoli 1,000 gold.
- (subsequently) Build a Castle within the flagged area of Fakoli.
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- Player (Malians)
- Malian Trade Outpost (Malians) is the lumber trade hub in this region. It only consists of a Dock protected by two Watch Towers and two Galleys.
Enemy, potential Ally
- Fakoli (Malians) are vassals of Sumanguru but seek to break free of his yoke. They train Crossbowmen, Light Cavalry, Mangonels and Battering Rams in their city in the south (In the Definitive Edition, they will advance to the Imperial Age).
- Mema (Berbers) also obey Sumanguru but only because he holds their leader's daughter hostage. They train Long Swordsmen, Knights and Battering Rams in their base in the north (In the Definitive Edition, they will advance to the Imperial Age and train Camel Riders and Camel Archers).
- Sumanguru (Ethiopians) is the main adversary in this scenario and controls the entire western side of the map with his numerous military camps. He doesn't have an economy but will continuously produce Shotel Warriors, Halberdiers, Heavy Camel Riders, Scorpions, Onagers and Trebuchets, as well as Galleons to control the river. He will resign when his five Castles are destroyed.
Sundjata starts with a very small base and no military in the eastern half of the map. To muster an army quickly is crucial, as Fakoli and Mema will attack very early. Because this map is extremely open, resources are spread out, and Sumanguru has Trebuchets, Sundjata has to rely mostly on his military rather than fortifications for defense. An early Castle can still help against the attacks of Fakoli and Mema though.
As a Malian Warrior soon comments, there is very little wood to be found on this map, so lumber shipments are necessary to supply Sundjata with wood. Before any shipments can arrive however, the five Guard Towers along the river have to be destroyed. Once this is done, 3 Trade Cogs will spawn regularly in the south of the river and will slowly make their way north to the Malian Trade Outpost, netting 300 wood each upon arrival there (only as long as the Dock remains standing). After some time the Trade outpost will offer to double the capacity of the Cogs to 600 wood per shipment for an investment (tribute to grey) of 2,500 food. This might seem much, but can definitely pay off in the long run, with the additional wood invested into farms.
Of course Sumanguru wants to sever his archenemy's wood supply and constantly tries to sink the Trade Cogs and destroy the Dock in the trade outpost. To prevent this, the player should build a fleet on his own. A few docks near the Trade Outpost, optionally protected by a Castle draws attention from said outpost, giving it some grade of protection. A Galleon fleet not only secures the lumber shipments, it also can severely disrupt enemy soldiers trying to cross the river via shallows. Sumanguru's northern Dock is not protected by Towers so it can be taken out pretty early, limiting his ability to pump out Galleons, as he can't replace any buildings. His other two Docks are located in the west at his main base and protected by Towers, so Cannon Galleons can facilitate in destroying them. (Heavy) Demolition Ships are also an option to quickly brute force the destruction of the Docks and thus put an end to the enemy's Galleon production. Once river control is wrestled from Sumanguru, most of his camps can be attacked from the river. In the meantime terrestrial defense shouldn't be neglected however.
After some time both Fakoli and Mema express their desire to break free from Sumanguru's rule. Fakoli demands a tribute of 1000 gold and after that a Castle in their town to be protected from Sumanguru's wrath. Their demands should be met as soon as affordable, as not only will their attacks cease but they also prove to be a useful ally. Before paying the tribute the player should consider researching Banking at the Market, if they also want to invest in doubled lumber ship capacity.
Mema has a different request: Their princess is held hostage by Sumanguru in a fortress west of their base, so they can't act against him. The fortress can be attacked from the water, but the princess is taken over once all fortifications are destroyed, at which point she can be killed by remaining enemy soldiers (upon her death Mema will declare war on Sundjata again) so it is better to at least support the assault by land. Once she is freed and returned to the Mema Castle, they will switch allegiance to Sundjata, and regularly a Gbeto is spawned at their barracks (this trigger can bug out, creating one Gbeto per second).
With the two lesser enemies now on Sundjata's side, Sumanguru can be taken care of. An important thing to note is that Sumanguru will become much more aggressive and train even more units when Fakoli and Mema betray him, so the player must be careful. With gunpowder finally enabled Hand Cannoneers can make short work of Sumanguru's infantry, but they should be protected by more beefy units like Champions, as they have very low hitpoints. Gbetos have a high movement speed and a ranged attack which deals melee damage and are thus a good counter to Siege Weapons as well as ships but like the Hand Cannoneer they are very fragile and have to be defended from the equally agile Shotel Warriors. Pikemen are also an option against Heavy Camels, but they get clobbered by Shotel Warriors.
A word of warning: if the player sets stance with the allies to Neutral or Enemy, the two allies will do the same, so it is never recommended to play around with the Diplomacy!
Against fortifications, Bombard Cannons are recommended over Trebuchets as once the Trebuchets are deployed, Sumanguru will fire at them with Trebuchets on his own, while his are protected by the besieged Castle. Like mentioned before, the attack on most of the camps can be supported or even fully conducted from water.
Once all military buildings of Sumanguru are destroyed, Sundjata is victorious again.
If the player is unfortunate enough to have the trade outpost destroyed by the Sosso, resulting in wood shortage, the second best thing is to build a Wonder. It is recommended to build it in either Fakoli's or Mema's bases (preferably, Fakoli), as the allies will offer some defense.
The armies crashed against each other. They buckled and wrenched, bristling serpents coiling and writhing amidst the clamor of weapons and rumble of hooves. Many times the Malian soldiers faltered, but at the critical moment Sundjata would ride across the lines to rally his men, inspiring them to push on and prevail.
At long last, the Sosso onslaught slowed and their resolve began to fade. Sensing that the tide had turned, Sumanguru abandoned his men and fled into the mountains. At the sight of their leader in flight, the exhausted Sosso lines collapsed.
The ensuing celebrations lasted for days, with feasts of such bounty as were not seen before nor ever since. All the kings of the coalition gathered to proclaim Sundjata their Mansa, the King of Kings. Mali had become an empire, and Sundjata its emperor.
- Despite being displayed as a Gbeto, the Mema Princess always responds in Japanese when clicked.
- In the Definitive Edition, the "With the Help of My Sisters" achievement can be earned by amassing an army of at least 100 Gbetos (named "Gbeto Warriors" in the achievement description). What is meant by "amass" (in contrast to "train" or "create") is that the player is required to have 100 living Gbetos at the same time to unlock the achievement. Since the player is limited to 125 population, they will most likely have to delete other units to free up space for the Gbetos.