Convinced that my guest knew a great deal about this Tamerlane, I asked him for more insight. I had heard that Tamerlane had been maimed by arrow wounds to his hand and leg. How could his armies accept a lame man as their leader?
'A fair question,' he answered. 'It is said that Tamerlane and his fellow tribesmen agreed to decide who would lead them by a footrace. Although Tamerlane's men ran more swiftly, he cast his cap onto stake marking their goal, and thus won the race.'
This man seemed cunning as a fox, a dangerous adversary for any commander. I asked my guest to continue his tale. 'Tamerlane gazed southwest to Persia, a land torn by strife ever since the fall of the Ilkhanate. Persia was vast, its terrain a challenge for any ambitious conqueror. It would not be easy to take.'
'Tamerlane, however, could count on the support of his ally Tokhtamysh, who had reunified the Golden Horde. Together, they would ride down the squabbling Persian kingdoms.'
- Starting Age: Castle Age
- Starting resources: 2,000 food, 2,000 wood, 1,500 gold, 500 stone
- Population limit: 200
- Starting units:
- Starting technologies:
- Destroy the Castle in 3 of 5 enemy cities (Herat, Zaranj, Isfahan, Soltaniyeh, and Tabriz).
- Defeat Tokhtamysh by tearing down his two Castles.
- Tokhtamysh will periodically provide your army with reinforcements.
- As long as at least one Market stands in Sabzevar, you will receive tribute from them.
- As long as the Town Center in Sabzevar stands, you will receive Villagers from them.
- Besiege Herat by constructing a tower on each of the flagged locations surrounding the city.
- Destroy the tower and Trade Workshop at the irrigation facility near Zaranj to cut off its water supply.
- Destroy the Docks near Soltaniyeh to cripple its economy.
- Destroy Tabriz's Monastery near Isfahan to set off hostilities between Tabriz and Isfahan.
- Deposit the Relic inside one of the Monasteries in Isfahan so they will declare war on Tabriz.
- Destroy the brigand mountain camp in Luristan, near Tabriz.
- Tamerlane's forces are still confined to the Castle Age, but can support a population limit of 200.
- You cannot construct Town Centers or create additional Villagers in this scenario. Your allies will periodically provide you with tribute, reinforcements, and additional Villagers, however, provided that you can defend them.
- Take advantage of the abundant resources near your starting location to jumpstart your growth. As you expand, you may find it prudent to invest in other sources of income, such as trade or fishing. Use the Market to balance your economy.
- Be on the lookout for ways that you can cripple enemy resource income, or even turn your enemies against each other.
- Monks are an excellent counter to War Elephants.
Your scouts report:
- Tamerlane's army (1, Purple) has descended upon the rich land of Persia, supported by the forces of Tokhtamysh (2, Yellow) who camps to the north. Persia is divided among several squabbling factions:
- The Sarbadars, based on the city of Sabzevar (3, Gray) have pleged themselves to Tamerlane's cause. Their forces are few, but the economic support that they can provide will be invaluable.
- The Kartids rule the city of Herat (4, Blue) in the east of the map. Owing to their Turkic origins, they field an army composed of Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers.
- The Mihrabanids control the city of Zaranj (6, Green) to the southwest. Their army consists primarily of Camel Riders and War Elephants.
- The Muzaffarids have their seat on the great city of Isfahan (8, Cyan). They levy an army of swordsmen and Skirmishers urged on by devout clerics.
- The Chobanid city of Soltaniyeh (5, Red) lies near the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. They employ several Crossbowmen, while their Tatar elites surround themselves with bodyguards of Keshiks.
- The Jalayirid city of Tabriz lies far to the west, and is known for its Cavalry Archers, Pikemen, and Mangonels.
- Player (Tatars): The player starts out with a small camp south of Tokhtamysh's base, consisting of military production buildings, a Blacksmith, and a Market protected by several towers.
- Sahzevar (Persians) will occasionally provide the player with Villagers and resources. Losing both Markets will stop the flow of resources, while losing the Town Center will stop the Villager reinforcements.
Ally → Enemy
- Tokhtamysh (Mongols) will occasionally provide the player with Kipchaks and Mangudai, but will betray the player after 3 enemies are defeated.
- Herat (Tatars): Herat controls a city surrounded by cliffs in the utmost east of the map. The garrison consists of Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers. They periodically receive free resources. This resource flow can be stopped by building towers in the flagged locations surrounding the city.
- Soltaniyeh (Tatars): Soltaniyeh is little more than port consisting of several Docks and a Castle on land. Destroying the docks will stop the periodic tributes of free resources the city receives.
- Zaranj (Persians): Zaranj controls a small walled city in the southeast. It is defended by a garrison of War Elephants and Camel Riders. They will periodically receive free resources until the player destroys the Tower and Trade Workshop in the irrigation camp to the southwest of the city.
- Tabriz (Mongols): Tabriz controls the west of the map from it's fortified city. A brigand camp in the mountains preys on travelers. Destroying this encampment will halt the flow of free resources to Tabriz.
Enemy → Potential Ally → Enemy
- Isfahan (Persians) will ally with the player after Tabriz's Monastery is destroyed and fight Tabriz, but will become an enemy again when Tabriz is defeated.
The player starts with 8 Villagers at the center of a military camp. They cannot create any Town Center. South of Shazevar (grey) is a gold mine. Forward from this (in other words, between said gold mine and Herat), use three Villagers to build a wood palisade that extend from the map edge to just south of the player's starting units. Leave a small gap there and continue that palisade straight west towards the lake. Leave a gap from the tree line to the lake (if the player builds a palisade from lake shore to wood-line, the Soltaniyeh navy will attack and destroy it, so do not waste time). Make sure that Sahzevar does not lose both markets, as the city tributes 500 food, 500 wood, 500 gold, 100 stone every 5 minutes. The city also attempts to tribute 4 Villagers every 5 minutes, provided it has a town center and the player no more than 110 Villagers. Tokhtamysh also supports the player by giving 6 Kipchaks and 6 Mangudai every 10 minutes, provided the player has no more than 30 of each.
Optional objectives: It is recommended to complete the secondary objectives as well. Destroying the Tabriz Monastery will induce the Isfahan to become a potential ally (depositing the Relic will ensure this). All other objectives are directly related to their respective players, and if completed will cut of their income. Without completing these objectives, every enemy recieves 500 food, 500 wood, 500 gold every 5 minutes. The easiest objective is destroying Zaranj's Trade Workshop and tower, which will completely stop its military production (although the ones already created or queued will become passive). Building 6 towers around Herat will also trigger a similar effect, and its Castle being outside the walls will make it easy for the player to destroy. Similarly, destroying the mountain camp of Tabriz, and 3 docks of Soltaniyeh, will completely stop their military productions. Isfahan, at this point, may also attack orange steadily to destroy its Castle.
After three castles are destroyed, Tokhtamysh will betray the player. With stone abundant on the map, it is advisable to create 2 to 4 (depending on the player's capacity) in its base to annihilate its attacks, especially garrisoned with Mangudai, Cavalry Archers, Kipchaks, and importantly Light Cavalry to destroy rams, and one on the road to Isfahan to protect against its raids, which can be a nuisance to the player's economy.
Further description below:
Phase 1: A good offense is a good defense
While the three Villagers are building, send three Villagers to gather stone and two to gather wood. Once the wall is built, two of the builders can go to wood too. The remaining builder should start on a Castle in the central gap, ideally on a hill for elevation damage bonus (if the player lacks stone, use the Villager to build Houses). Periodically, the player will receive additional Villagers, which should gather wood.
Some conquests are required while this is happening. Garrison 5 Pikemen into the ram, send the whole force south (except maybe the Mangonels, as they are slow and make a good defensive support to the soon-to-be castle). Straight south is a Monastery, with 1 tower and 1 monk. Kill the monk with Light Cavalry and destroy the tower with the ram. Grab the Relic with one of the starting monk, and start walking the relic southwest bound towards Isfahan. He will offer alliance against the Tabriz for the Relic. Keep the army marching south toward the Zaranj's Trade Workshop just southwest of his city. Do not attack it until the ram is inches away from his tower (he will counter-attack with War Elephants, which a slow unit, so the player will want to maximize damage to the outpost before the enemy shows up). Once the tower and Trade Workshop are down, retreat all the way to the new Castle and wait for phase 2. Send the Relic Monk back, and try to convert some enemy Elephants.
Phase 2: An army marches on its soon-to-be fed stomach
Create 10 Trade Carts, research Caravan, and send them to the Tokhtamysh's base for a slow-but-steady gold income. Start securing the sea by building a second Castle near the shoreline, slightly out of range of the Soltaniyeh's tower. It will serve to reduce the Soltaniyeh's presence on the water, allow the player to safely build 3 Docks under the Castle's protection, and kite some of the Soltaniyeh's Scorpions and Steppe Lancers. Once the Docks are up, research Galley and Careening, and build 12 War Galleys. Build Demolition Ships in pack of 3 (12 total is a good number). With the Galley, establish sea dominance versus the Soltaniyeh and the odd pack of 2-3 Tabriz Galleys. The Demolition Ships are best used against the towers protecting each of the blue player's Docks. So 9 Demolition Ships for the Soltaniyeh's Docks, another 3 for the Tabriz's Dock on the west side. The sea is conquered. Build about 15 Fishing Ships.
Once the player's navy is half built (the War Galleys, at the very least), build 4 rams and garrison all of them with Pikemen (20 Pikemen). Charge the rams towards the red player's Castle while the rest of the army patrol engages whatever defenses he can muster (the player's Castle will have killed a lot of them). The enemy's Castle should go down easy enough.
Phase 3: Wrap-up the Persian raids
Start a Steppe Lancer production, along with upgrades. The central Castle may receive periodic orange and blue attacks at that point, but mostly Cavalry and Cavalry Archers, so nothing a Castle garrisoned with 10 Pikemen cannot handle. Zaranj may never attack (probably because of the raid on the trade outpost early on). It could be a good time to setup the 6 towers around the Herat now (protected by the army once the Soltaniyeh is cleaned up) and attack Herat. The player can attack Tabriz and destroy it easily too, as Isfahan probably half destroyed Tabriz's mountain camp by now, but keep in mind that once the Tabriz is out, Isfahan resumes hostilities towards the player, so Herat, then the Tabriz, is a better progression. If the player likes using Petards, they can send 8 Petards right next to Isfahan's Castle so that it goes down as soon as Isfahan changes their diplomatic stance back to enemy.
Phase 4: Nobody can beat the Mongols, except for.... the Mongols!
The yellow player will turn on the player as soon as three enemies are dead, forcing the player to retreat to fend off the Mangudai and Cavalry Archer wave he sends south. An extra Castle and some production centers can be built to counteract this. Rebuild the ram force if it is too far/destroyed fighting blue/orange and spam Steppe Lancers. If gold is an issue, sell food/wood to get gold or complement with Skirmishers and Pikemen, or delay finishing off the Herat or Tabriz until most of the army is back in town.
'Tokhtamysh's betrayal brought Tamerlane to a rare burst of fury. The man that he had regarded as a son, for whom he had sweated and bled, had stabbed him in the back.'
'Tamerlane was forced to halt the Persian campaign to cope with this treachery. Thousands of battle-hardened cavalryman ceased their pillaging and thundered northwest through the steppe to the lands of the Golden Horde and its allies in Russia.'
As if a foreshadowing of the tale to come, the snow of early spring began to fall outside. Winters lasted a long time in these parts, and even the nobles in the hall, clad in their furs, shivered. 'Tamerlane's vengeance was fearsome to behold.' the man whispered.
- The Kartids (represented by Herat) were actually Tajiks.