Djeriba Gold is the third scenario of the Sundjata campaign in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. In the scenario, Sundjata wants to cut off his archenemy Sumanguru's income by plundering his villages, taking over his gold and salt mines and finally razing the Markets of the mighty city of Djenne.
As the sun sank between the trees, making its way ever closer to the horizon, a trader arrived. His turban and garments marked him as a foreigner long before we spoke. His thick accent betrayed his Arabic origins.
He spoke his desire to see the young prince on the throne, and boasted of the great deposits of gold in Sundjata's lands. Even so, traders like him could not access it, not with Sumanguru in power. The tyrant had given his allies control over the gold and salt trades, and merchants were left at their mercy. The Arab spoke of the gold and salt trades as if they were the flowing blood of these kingdoms. If the blood no longer flows, the beast is dead.
Sundjata thought for a long time about the merchant's words. The next day, he assembled a band of raiders. If trade was the blood of Sumanguru's empire, then Sundjata would attack its throat like a lion pouncing on its prey.
- Find the Malian raiding camp south of the city of Djenne.
- (subsequently) Destroy all Markets inside the walls of Djenne.
- Raid as many enemy villages as you can by destroying their storage buildings and stealing their resources. These resources will help support your army of raiders.
- Liberate the Malian Villagers captured by the Sosso by destroying the towers guarding them.
- Find 4 Camels and bring them to the enclosure of the Arab trader.
- (subsequently) Send 2,000 wood to the Arab traders (6, Yellow) so they can build a Market for your Trade Carts to trade with. (1,000 in the Definitive Edition)
- Capture the eastern gold mine by destroying the Sosso towers defending it.
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- Player (Malians)
- Captured Villagers (Malians) are captive villagers which can be freed to work for Sundjata. When the gold or salt mines are captured, a few villagers will gather gold there and pay it as tribute regularly.
- Arab Traders (Saracens) take an interest in pushing the Sosso Traders out of business, and thus are eager to help Sundjata. They provide information about locations of enemy villages, and will later set up a Market to trade with if they receive 2,000 wood as tribute (1,000 in the Definitive Edition).
- Sosso Traders (Malians) control the gold and salt mines in the east and west respectively and additionally have a base in the north. A few of their patrols also prowl the eastern side of the map.
- Djenne Villages (Malians) dot the landscape. Each village holds either resources or captive villagers. They are protected by various soldiers as well as Towers.
- Djenne (Malians) is a huge city in the middle of the map and the final enemy in this scenario. They are passive as long as no Captured Villagers have been freed, but will start attacking, gathering resources and training units as soon as the first group of villagers are set free (the mines do not count). Their Army consists of Elite Skirmishers, Pikemen, Camel Riders, Camel Archers (though they cannot train new ones, being Malians and not Berbers) and Mangonels as well as Battering Rams.
This scenario consists of two phases. In the first phase the objective is to raid the countryside to plunder resources and free Captured Villagers. In this phase there is no haste as no enemy will gather resources, attack or train units. As soon as the first villagers are freed, phase two is initiated. In this phase Djenne will go on the offensive, so it is a good idea not to free any villagers too soon.
Raiding the countryside
The scenario starts with a few Mandinka Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers. A Monk tells them of a camp in the south where they can unite with additional raiders. The way to the camp is cluttered with enemy villages and Sosso Traders patrols, and the little army cannot be replenished for now, so it is important to use the sight of the Light Cavalry in order not to run into any surprises. Villages should be bypassed entirely while the patrols can be dispatched using careful micro management. When the soldiers are injured they can be healed at the three ponds spread across the map. When a unit is near one of those ponds, they will regenerate health over time. This even works for Siege Weapons, which usually can't be healed by Monks. One pond is located right north of the starting position (along with a Camel), one is dangerously close to Djenne on the east side of the city and one ist west of Djenne, which is only useful after uniting with the other raiders.
Once the camp is reached it is taken over by the player. The camp consists of a Stable and an Archery Range as well as a few Towers and a some House to support the population. The Malian Riders taken over in the camp look like ordinary Light Cavaly but are actually renamed Scythian Scouts and are the most valuable asset in the first phase of the scenario. Being hero units, they automatically regenerate health and they boast a whopping 8 pierce armor (along with a still decent 2 melee armor), making them nearly invulnerable to arrow fire by Archers, Skirmishers and Djenne Villages Towers. Their only downsides are their poor line of sight and the fact that they can't be upgraded with Blacksmith technologies, being former Gaia units, but upgrading seems to be generally somewhat buggy in this scenario. A very safe but rather time consuming tactic is to use these Mali Riders to lure enemy soldiers out of their villages and then feather them with a good amount of Cavalry Archers (Cavalry Archers shouldn't be too heavily invested in though as in the second phase they lose their usefulness, being countered by literally every unit of Djenne). Once all enemies in a village are lured out and killed, the Mali Riders can destroy their Gates and Towers, while regenerating health just as fast as the Towers can deplete it. Using this tactic it is possible not to lose a single unit in the first phase of the scenario.
Before the raid is begun however there are a few additional tasks to facilitate the operation. First an old workshop consisting of a Siege Workshop and a Blacksmith to improve the army can be found northwest of the camp and still northwest of a Djenne Village. Second an Arab Trader northeast of the camp offers the player to reveal all enemy villages on the map in exchange for four (Gaia) Camels. A total of 8 Camels can be found on the map but the ones easiest to bring to him are as follows: One is just north of the starting position, at the pond, one is west of the trader, one is northwest of him, at the pond, one is north of the camp and one is east of the workshop. Once four Camels are in his pen, he will reveal all enemy Markets and villages, making them easy to find and see if they hold villagers or resources.
Now that all preparations are done, the pillaging can begin. It is advised to plunder the villages which don't hold captured villagers first in order to gain resources and not to provoke Djenne. It is not necessary to raze every building in a village, just the storage. The two mines in the very east and very west should also be captured soon, because then they start generating gold, which adds up over time, so the sooner they are taken over, the more gold is available at the start of phase two. A good tactic is to leave one Tower in each of the captives holding villages at a few Hitpoints, because the villagers are only freed once all Towers in the respective settlement are destroyed and leave a Knight or Light Cavalry nearby, to later quickly free all villagers simultaneously, once all resource holding villages are raided.
The Sosso Traders camp in the north is not revealed by the Arab Traders, but should also be razed before freeing any villagers, because it is a good location for a base.
As mentioned before, once one group of villagers is rescued, phase two begins and Djenne goes on the offensive.
Building a base and razing Djenne
Like already explained, the former Sosso Traders base is most likely the best location for an own base, not only holding a decent amount of resources in this otherwise sparse wasteland and being defensible but also providing a good angle of attack on Djenne, via the pond east of the city. While Djenne is busy destroying the workshop and the raiding camp a strong economy should be built. Once enough stone has been gathered a good position for a Castle would be the cliffs south of the base, northeast of Djenne. With the remaining Cavalry Archers garrisoned inside and protected by Mali Riders against Rams, it can make short work of the Djenne army once they are done razing the two camps in the south and shifting their attention north. Once in the Imperial Age, Trebuchets set up at the pond east of Djenne are a good way to level their Gates and Towers from afar while continuously regenerating them and the army defending them. Once the outer defenses are taken care of, the city can be stormed.
Like mentioned before the Cavalry Archers or Cavalry in general are not very useful against Djenne's army, so it is better to field the distinctive Malian infantry. While two Markets are situated east of the Niger, one is located west of it, with the bridge covering the river being protected by a Castle. The western market can be fired at from outside the city walls, but at this point it is most likely faster to just plow through the city, destroying the Castle with Trebuchets. With their army wiped out, Djenne might surrender prematurely, in which case the task of destroying the Markets in the objectives menu is ruled out, but the scenario is not yet won, the Markets still have to be destroyed.
With the Markets destroyed and thus Sumanguru's trade disrupted, Sundjata is victorious.
In the Definitive Edition, the scenario is made noticeably harder. Instead of the unique Malian Raiders, the camp contains Camel Riders and Camel Archers. The ponds no longer provide any healing, and there is no salt mine on the west corner on the map. Additionally, the player cannot advance to the Imperial Age. The map layout and objectives remain otherwise the same, and the given strategies should still work, although more caution and/or unit attrition will be required in the raiding stage, due to the lack of healing and regeneration. Since the player is unable to build Trebuchets, they can destroy Djenne's Markets by amassing a big army of Gbetos (do not forget to research Arson). The player's Gbetos can destroy the western Market from the outside and then use hit and run tactics against any enemy units that may appear. On the other hand, the three eastern Markets are next to each other and, to avoid running into Djenne's Castle, the player can go around the map and attack through the eastern Gate, quickly destroying it, and then enter the city, going to the eastern Markets' area to finish the scenario.
Sundjata raided with unbridled success. With trade diverted into Mandinkan lands, allegiance to Sumanguru began to waver across his empire.
Sundjata put the gold he gained to good use, assuring that his people and allies profited from the new riches. He had proven himself not only an able commander, but also an able king. He enjoyed good relations with the Arab merchants and often invited Muslims to his court. Eventually, Sundjata himself converted to their faith.
With his newfound successes came greater attention, though. Every city in West Africa bellowed the name of Sundjata the Lion, King of the Mandinkas, the King of Mali. Sumanguru could not afford to dismiss the once-crippled prince. He assembled his armies for war.
Bugs and changes
- Djenne will now activate when under attack.