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Crossing the Alps is the first scenario of the Enemies of Rome campaign in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome. It depicts the crossing of the Alps by Hannibal and his army.

Scenario instructions[]


The Alps, 218 BCE

Hannibal of Carthage, your plan to invade Italy by crossing the Alps is cunning, brilliant, and fraught with risk. The mountain passes are inhabited by fearsome Celtic tribes and Roman garrisons defend the foothills beneath the mountains. If your daring gamble is successful, however, all of Italy will lie before you. Do the unthinkable, Hannibal: cross the mountains with your elephants and you will be remembered as the greatest leader in history!
—In-game section

218 BC

Your plan to march into Italy through the Alps is brilliant but fraught with risk. There are dangerous tribes in the mountains and Roman garrisons in the foothills at the base of the Alps. It is likely that the Gauls in northern Italy will rally to your cause if you can break through. Scouts marked the pass through the mountains, but were then taken prisoner. If you can locate and free them, they might be of great use in your efforts to break through.
—In-game section

Starting conditions[]


  • Bring Hannibal and both Armored Elephants past the double flags in the lower corner of the map.

  • Get both Armored Elephants and Hannibal past the double flags in the lower corner of the map.


  1. The Romans have gotten word of your arrival. Move quickly before they have time to prepare their defenses.
  2. Scouts marked the passes through the mountains but were taken prisoner. If you can free them, they will be of great use.
  3. Use waypoints to guide your troops through the narrow valleys. To use waypoints, click a unit, press SHIFT, and right-click each point along the path. The unit will immediately start following the waypoints from the first till the last one.

  • The Romans have gotten advance word of your arrival and have started preparing for battle. Move quickly to lessen their preparation time.
  • Use waypoints to guide your troops through the narrow valleys. To use waypoints, click a unit, press SHIFT, right-click each point along the path, release the SHIFT key, and then right-click the last point in the path.



  • Player (Carthaginians AoE Carthaginians): The player starts with an army in the western corner of the map and some villagers in captivity by the townsmen at the south-eastern edge. Despite being in the Iron Age, the player is not able to build Docks, Markets, Stables, Government Center, and Temples.


  • Tribesmen (Choson AoE Choson): The local tribes own two settlements: one at the end of the road southeast to the player, the other near the center of the map. They initially have only primitive technology, but eventually train and attack with Broad Swordsmen and Priests.
  • Romans (Romans AoE Romans): The Romans have two towns: one in the northern corner of the map, and another in the southeast next to a prison where the player's Vilaggers are in captivity. The latter one may be attacked by the player to reach the goal.
  • Roman Army (Romans AoE Romans): The 1st Legion controls the southern corner of the map with several towers, an army made of Phalangites and Stone Throwers, and a town near the player's goal.
  • Tribesmen (Choson AoE Choson): Another tribe comprises of only military units and towers. Some Short Swordsmen are in the east corner of the map, roaming in the mountain path connecting to the prison where the player's Villagers are kept. The remaining have set up guard in a passage in the center of the map, with Short Swordsmen and Composite Bowmen in the valley, and Watch Towers and Catapults on the cliffs above.

  • Vilagers (Romans AoE Romans): The Villagers own two bases: one at the end of the road south to the player, the other near the center of the map. They have only primitive technology and the player can ignore them entirely.
  • Townsmen (Romans AoE Romans): The Townsmen also own two bases: one in the northern corner of the map which can be ignored, the other is a prison where the player's Vilaggers are in captivity. The latter one must be attacked by the player to reach the goal.
  • 1st Legion (Romans AoE Romans): The 1st Legion controls the southern corner of the map with several towers, an army made of Phalangites, and a town near the player's goal.


RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

This scenario is considered difficult by many players.

The player starts the scenario with a force of War Elephants, Elephant Archers, Legions, a Scout, and the three objective-connected Elephant units (Hannibal and the Armored Elephants).

There are four units that must be kept out of harm's way at all costs: the Scout, to provide Line of Sight, and the three Elephants, because they might have to run past the towers at the end, which will be a lot easier if they're at full hit points.

Move north, until reaching the yellow city. Destroying it will take them out of the picture, but the player can also head east, through the woods, avoiding attracting attention from the northern town. On easier difficulties, this is the best option. Whether the town is destroyed or not, the next turn is east.

There are two ways south: one short, past a row of towers, and one longer, with no opposition. The eastern path, with no opposition, will be easier.

Breaking through the wall will free the Villagers here. The player can now build up a base and create reinforcements, but pressing through and finishing the scenario with the initial force is certainly possible.

The player can push through enemy defenses and soldiers, sending War Elephants and Elephant Archers first to soak up the damage and level their defenses. The last obstacle is a row of heavily upgraded Guard Towers. Sending War Elephants forward to attack the towers and hold their attention, Hannibal and the Armored Elephants can run past them. If they reach the flags, victory is attained.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

The above holds mostly true with the major exception being the addition of the fifth player, whose units and buildings in the central passage act as a kill zone due to the enemy Catapults. This changes the safest path to be the north passage, and requires smashing through the northern Roman town.


Historical notes[]

Following Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War (264 – 241 BCE), the North African power lost naval supremacy in the Central Mediterranean to the Romans. When hostilities between Rome and Carthage resumed in 218 BCE, Carthage was unable to challenge Roman naval power, preventing a Carthaginian seaborne invasion of Italy. A twenty-nine-year-old Carthaginian general based in Hispania, however, had a solution to Carthage's strategic challenge.

In the spring of 218 BCE, Hannibal Barca departed Carthago Nova in eastern Hispania with an army of reportedly 40,000 infantry and 12,000 horsemen, as well as his famous elephants. Marching north, he crossed the Pyrenees, subduing mountain tribes, and then continued through southern Gaul, fighting hostile chiefs, allying with others, and bolstering his force with mercenaries. The Romans, alarmed by Hannibal's movements, sent an army under Publius Cornelius Scipio, father of Hannibal's later foil, to intercept him, but Hannibal evaded this Roman force. Reaching the Alps and with the winter approaching, Hannibal led his army—primarily composed of North Africans and Iberians unaccustomed to the extreme cold and the high altitudes—through the dangerous mountains. They suffered heavy casualties from raids by Celtic tribes, as well as from disease and exposure to the extreme elements. Many men lost their footing and plunged to their deaths in the high mountain passes. Hannibal exhorted his men onward, and finally they reached the Po Valley of Northern Italy. Hannibal and his warriors spent the next fifteen years in Italy, defeating the Romans in multiple engagements, but ultimately would fail to take their ultimate prize: the city of Rome.
—In-game section

In 219 BC the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage was instigated in Spain, where Hannibal of Carthage invaded the Greek city of Sarguntum (an ally of Rome). The Romans demanded that Carthage lift the siege and surrender Hannibal. Carthage refused and Rome declared war. Hannibal took the city by storm after an eight-month siege. He then advanced north into Gaul with an army of 50,000 infantry, 9,000 cavalry, and 80 elephants.

Catching Rome by surprise, Hannibal led his army across Gaul, up the Rhone River Valley, into modern Switzerland, across the Alps in October, and down into the Po River Valley. Due to harsh winter conditions in the mountains and resistance from mountain tribes, he arrived in Italy with only 20,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and a few elephants.

While Rome hurried troops north, Hannibal recruited Gauls. He met the Romans in three major battles at Trebia (218 BC), Lake Trasimene (217 BC), and Cannae (216 BC). All were resounding Carthaginian victories leaving approximately 120,000 Romans dead. The Romans were forced to avoid open battle for several years while a new generation of soldiers grew old enough for duty. But Hannibal lacked the strength to take Rome itself. For 14 more years he devastated the countryside and tried to convince the other cities of Italy to drop their allegiance to Rome.

Defeats in Spain and a Roman invasion of North Africa finally forced Hannibal to return home. With a largely untrained army, he met Scipio's veterans at the battle of Zama in 202 BC. The Roman victory brought an end to the Second Punic War and to Carthage's empire.
—In-game section


Your crossing of the Alps was a masterstroke in the annals of history. All of Carthage applauds you and your army. With Italy before you, Rome will feel your vengeance!
—In-game section

Your crossing of the Alps was a masterstroke that has amazed the world. All Carthage applauds you and your army. The Romans now feel the revenge of Carthage. We will once more be masters of the Mediterranean.
—In-game section


Your failure in the Alps has doomed Carthage. Only a successful invasion of Italy would have slowed the Roman advance. Now, Roman legions march into Hispania, and it will only be a matter of time before they reach Carthage itself. You were a fool to think elephants could cross the Alps, and your punishment is to be slowly crushed to death under the feet of one of your pachyderms.
—In-game section

Your failure in the Alps has doomed the efforts of Carthage in this second war with Rome. They control the seas already. Taking the war into Italy was our great hope for keeping them off-balance. Now our colonies in Spain are under attack because so many of our troops from there were lost with you. It is only a matter of time before a great Roman army lands in North Africa itself. You were a fool to think elephants could cross the Alps.
—In-game section

Changes from the original[]

  • The player begins with more resources, and can find eight Gaia Broad Swordsmen in the mountain pass in the east.
  • A new enemy has been added, with units and defensive buildings, but no base or economy.
  • The former long but danger-free path has become highly dangerous due to the addition of the new enemy's forces.
  • The players representing the tribes are assigned the Choson civilization, despite the scenario being set in northern Italy, far away from the the Korean peninsula where the Choson culture existed.
    • This was most likely done for the +2 tower range civilization bonus that the Choson possess.
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