"Deus lo Vult! God wills it!" This zealous shout resounds throughout Europe as news spreads of a Third Crusade, called by the Pope himself. Three of Europe's most renowned rulers have sworn to fight: Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire, Philip Augustus of France, and Richard the Lionheart, King of England.
While the Emperor Barbarossa marches his army across Europe, the kings of France and England sail to the Holy Land. Richard's journey, however, is as adventurous as one can expect of someone known as the 'Lionheart'.
A Mediterranean storm scatters the English fleet and shipwrecks many of Richard's ships on the island of Cyprus. The island's ruler and rebellious Byzantine lord, Isaac Komnenos, has taken the stranded English prisoner. Among the captured is Richard's very own sister.
Richard is determined to punish Komnenos for this insult, but he also sees opportunity in these unfortunate events. Cyprus is an island of great strategic value, if the English can capture it, Cyprus could be used as a naval base for the crusade and raids on the wealthy Muslim trade ships.
- English Army (Britons) is basically a placeholding player which will take over the player's units whenever the player is not allowed to use them. They have a horse in the northwest serving as their placeholder unit. They will also take over Tancred's Transport Ships in Messina while the player is preparing the troops for the Crusade.
- Philip Augustus (Franks) himself is at Tancred's castle to have a meeting with Tancred and Richard, while having his army outside Messina which serve no purpose in this game.
- Tancred I of Sicily (Italians) has his city in the western part of the map. They serve no purpose; however, it may be useful for the player to trade with their Market while preparing the Crusade troops in Messina.
Ally → enemy → ally Edit
- Issac Komnenos (Byzantines) and his army are in Nicosia, which is located at the northern tip of the map. They do not actively attack the player unless provoked. They are well-defended with up to 64 military units with double Fortified Walls with towers (similar to Constantinople in The Walls of Constantinople) and castles. Their forces are made up of Cataphracts, Monks, Onagers, Arbalesters, Cavaliers, Hussars, etc. They will turn against the player when Richard turned down Isaac's request to leave Limassol, and will become 'allies' with the player again once Isaac is captured.
- Messina (Italians) is located in the south of the map. They will turn against the player after Richard has met Tancred and Philip, and passes by the farms owned by Messina outside Tancred's city. When under siege by the player, they will defend with Knights, Genoese Crossbowmen, Skirmishers, etc. Once the player destroys all their five warehouses (Trade Workshops), they will surrender and become allies with the player again while giving the player most of their buildings. These buildings are returned to Messina once the player embarks on the Crusade.
Allies → enemies Edit
- Cyprus (Byzantines) is in the northeastern side of the map, having their base outside Nicosia. Once they become an enemy of the player (after Richard turns down Isaac's request to leave), they would actively attack the player, mainly with Cataphracts, Skirmishers, and sometimes Rams and Trebuchets.
- Limassol (Byzantines) is located in the northeast of the map, and would turn against the player once Richard learned that Joan was captured by Isaac. They would resist the player with Cataphracts, Pikemen, Skirmishers, Fire Ships and War Galleys. Simply placing Richard next to their two Castles (one in the south near the shore, another in the north behind gates) would take over the Castles and force Limassol to surrender by giving up everything to the player. In the Definitive Edition, Limassol will also have Knights and Onagers to fight the player. The player has to destroy their Castle in order to take over Limassol.
- Nicosia (Byzantines, Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition. Nicosia will be the player's main and most dangerous enemy, and is also located at the northern tip of the map like in the HD Edition. Also heavily fortified with double walls, they are a very formidable opponent and they will train Cataphracts, Pikemen, Champions, Skirmishers, Crossbowmen, Paladins, Onagers, and Trebuchets to attack the player. The player has to defeat Nicosia to win the scenario.
- Nicosia Fleet (Byzantines, Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition. The Nicosia Fleet is based by the Cypriot coast west on the map. While Nicosia sends troops to attack the player on land, the Fleet will attack from the sea with Galleons, Fast Fire Ships, Heavy Demolition Ships, and Cannon Galleons. The Fleet also has an fortress which the player will gain 1,000 gold if it's destroyed. The Fleet is not well defended and can be defeated easily.
- Nicosia Scouts (Byzantines, Definitive Edition only) - Enemy exclusive to the Definitive Edition. Many units are scattered throughout the map and will attack the player's units if they are in their sight.
In this scenario, Richard the Lionheart must survive. As the player would need to take control of Messina and later Limassol, the player must remember that the more the player destroys, the less the player will be able to use later, therefore the player must not unnecessarily destroy anything.
The player starts with some troops in Transport Ships, and must land them in Sicily, south of where the player starts. Then the player must bring Richard to meet the two kings, Tancred I of Sicily and Philip Augustus, at Tancred's castle in the west. Richard will demand for the release of his sister, Joan of England, who was under Tancred's captive. Once Tancred released Joan, the player must bring both Richard and Joan back to the camp outside Messina, west of it. Joan must also survive until the player embarks for the Crusade later.
Then the people of Messina, fed up of "feeding foreign troops", would revolt and turn against the player. The player must destroy the five "warehouses" (actually Trade Workshops) in Messina - two near the Town Center and three in the south, in order to suppress the rebellion. The player should not destroy any other buildings because the player will need them later. Once all the warehouses are destroyed, Messina will surrender and give the player all the buildings except Docks and the town center, as well as paying tributes for the player.
Joan's wealth on a Trade Cart, which is technically the renamed "Emperor in a Barrel", would spawn at Philip's camp, and the player must get Richard, Joan, and this cart, to the port (marked with a flag) so that they will board on transport ships. The player should start building troops for the Crusade by using the available resources. The player can only bring 50 units in total, including Richard and Joan, as there are only 5 transport ships available, and each of them can only carry 10 units. Since the player does not possess any villagers at this moment, the only way to gain resource would be creating Trade Carts to trade with Tancred's Market for gold and trade resources at the player's own markets. Do all useful or necessary researches if the player still have resources.
Of the five Transport Ships, two are near the flag and three a bit south of them. Of those two northern ones, the one where the princess and the cart will board is the one closer to land. The King will enter the other. Note that it seems to be impossible to unload units from the King's ship, probably because it is a bit too far away from land, the player should save their game before boarding. The other ships are unloadable without any issue in case the player wants to change anything. The vessel with the princess and the cart will be the one that the player cannot take hold of without triggering events, so be careful what units are put in there: Any military units in this ship will be in jail in Limassol, except Monks, they will stay at the shore near the ship.
Once the player's troops board the ships, they will start their journey with a fleet of navy, and all buildings are returned to Messina. Later a storm would disperse the English fleet, so the player must begin searching for the dispersed ships with Richard's transport ship. If the player manages to find either a War Galley or a Galleon, the player should utilize its extensive line-of-sight to continue the search. Once the player discovers an empty transport ship at Limassol, the player will learn that Joan has been captured by the ruler of Cyprus, Isaac Komnenos, and the player must begin invading Limassol.
With good micromanagement, invading Limassol is fairly easy without destroying buildings and capture them all later. All the player needs to do is to capture the two castles by placing Richard beside them one-by-one. Even though the player may use the three Demolition Ships to destroy the three Watch Towers at the port, the player may opt not to do so by quickly unloading Richard and move away the transport ship quickly. But the player must first deal with Limassol's war Galleys with Fire Ships. Richard shall quickly avoid from any enemy troops and rush to the nearest castle, in the western part of Limassol. Or else the player may opt to unload a few soldiers to protect Richard and handle the enemy forces. Then quickly rush Richard to another castle in the northern part of Limassol, which is surrounded by gates. Simply attacking the gate and lure out enemy soldiers before rushing though the opened gate would do. Once the player captured both of the castles, the player will take over everything that belongs to Limassol - both buildings and units, and also free his captured units from the princess' ship. Isaac will demand Richard to leave Limassol, which Richard refuses, therefore both Isaac Komnenos and Cyprus turn against the player.
Cyprus will keep invading Limassol, and the player would need to build more towers, preferably having the Guard Tower or Keep upgrade. The player must bear in mind that units and buildings being taken over from another player, for this case, "Limassol", do not enjoy any of the player's upgrades, and the castles and watch towers inherited from the player "Limassol" do not even have the Murder Holes upgrade. While the player can find lots of resources outside Limassol, the player must have some means to protect the villagers, which the official guide advices to build town centers. Building towers and Fortified Walls would surely add to the advantage.
While dealing with Cyprus merely needs a good defense with units standby to deal with siege weapons, capturing Isaac Komnenos would require tearing down his extremely strong defense in Nicosia. The player not only needs to deal with his castles, but also Cataphracts, Monks, and Onagers as the greatest threats. Once the player destroyed the castle at the northern corner, Isaac Komnenos and Joan of England are being ejected and belong to the player.
It is also possible (though quite boring) to pack one or more Onagers into the ships in Messina, land at the Cypriot coast (not in Limassol) and decimate both Cyprus and Isaac Komnenos while they are still allied, by using the "attack terrain" feature.
Gameplay (Definitive Edition) Edit
The scenario's layout in the Definitive Edition is similar to the HD Edition- However, the player starts in the second part of the scenario, where they were scattered by the storm. The Sicilian region is removed, so are the Italian and Frankish players, as well as Messina. The player may begin searching for the lost ships and units stranded on islands and the Cypriot coast first, before taking on Limassol.
The enemies the player will face are different. They will face Nicosia, Nicosia Scouts and Nicosia Fleet. Head north to the gates of Limassol, watch out for Nicosia Scouts patrolling the region, and use Longbowmen to take down anyone in the way. Once the player reaches Limassol, send God's Own Sling (Note: God's Own Sling only appears on standard difficulty. It will be replaced by a standard Trebuchet on moderate and hard difficulty) to destroy the Castle. Limassol should respond to these attacks and send units towards the player. Use Cavaliers and Longbowmen to kill them. Once Limassol's Castle is destroyed, then the player gains control of the city.
Micromanagement is very important, because Nicosia will start attacking the player with a huge army of Cataphracts, infantry, Onagers, Paladins, Skirmishers, and even Trebuchets. First thing to do is to build up defenses.
Nicosia Fleet will begin attacking from the sea, so the player cannot neglect a navy too. They will send all sorts of ships, even Cannon Galleons, so the player has to be on high alert for that (Note: Nicosia's Fleet can actually be defeated before the player starts to conquer Limassol. This will make the game siginificantly easier in the second phase, since the player takes full control of the sea).
Nicosia will be very difficult to invade because of the Byzantine's bonus defenses and units that can counter cavalry and Longbowmen. To yield less casualties, a forward Castle or two (provided the player has enough stone) with a few stables outside the enemy walls is recommended, so the player can queue up units to compensate for losses. Be sure to destroy their Town Centers and kill their Villagers, as they will resurrect lost production buildings for as long as they can. As soon as all military buildings and units are destroyed, the player is victorious.
Richard's combined naval and land operations proved to be successful and Cyprus was quickly taken by the Crusaders. Isaac was thrown into the dungeons and Richard crowned himself king of the island. Richard then sailed east to resume his crusade.
Upon his arrival in the Holy Land, however, Richard discovered that he alone remained to lead the Crusade. Barbarossa had drowned crossing an Anatolian river, and Philip Augustus returned to France with an illness. Despite these setbacks, Richard proved more than capable of the task ahead, matching wits with the famed Saladin.
Richard is remembered as a brave warrior, a skilled commander, and a righteous king, renowned for his patronage of poetry as well as his martial exploits. He remains the ideal of the romantic, chivalric knight, and an iconic figure in both England and France.
- Researching Cannon Galleon is possible (after researching Chemistry), but doesn't allow the player to train Cannon Galleons afterwards, therefore just wasting the research cost.
- In the Definitive Edition, Nicosia only trains Villagers to collect gold, but it will be an infinite amount of gold, since the gold mines near Nicosia's Town Center will reappear when empty. Interestingly, Gold Mines no longer reappear if the nearby Town Center is destroyed.