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Ionian Expansion is the third scenario of the Glory of Greece campaign in Age of Empires. In the scenario, the Athenians (blue) face off against two other Greek settlements, Ionia (red) and Lydia (yellow). It was replaced in the Definitive Edition by The Conquest of Crete.

Scenario instructions[]


1400 BC

The Athenians have pushed back their neighbors and are one of the stronger palaces in Greece. The crops of Athens are now falling short of the demand for food, however. The city-state is in danger of falling into anarchy if new food sources are not found and if the population is not reduced. The ruling council is embarking on a bold plan to move people overseas to establish colonies. You are directed to establish a foothold on the eastern side of the Aegean Sea by placing a colony in Ionia. The Phrygians think Ionia is their land but they are too weak now to hold it. Establish a colony across the sea by locating the flagged area on the far land mass and building a Government Center within it. Alternatively, take possession of the three Ruins in Asia. Take the initiative now before food reserves are gone or the Phrygians get ideas about colonizing Greece!
—In-game section

Starting conditions[]


  • Establish a Government Center on Ionia inside flagged region.


  • Find 3 Ruins.


  • A strong navy is essential to your expansion.
  • Choose your path to victory carefully—there may be a less treacherous route.



  • Athens (Greeks AoE Greeks) - Starts out in the Tool Age and occupy a settlement consisting of all buildings from the Stone Age including a Market and a Town Center as well as four Houses. The player is supplied with four Clubmen and five Villagers as well as a stockpile of 400 of every resource.


  • Ionia (Greeks AoE Greeks) - Occupies the easternmost section of the map and starts out at the Tool Age. Although the player is in the same age as Athens, the player occupies a settlement that is richer in natural resources and has a more established base, having all buildings available during the Tool Age as well as a stronger military consisting of eight Clubmen, three Bowmen and a Scout Ship. The player also has a dozen Houses, two fishing boats and six Villagers. Additionally, the player has two Watch Towers protecting the Dock as well as six more defending the flagged area where the player should build the Government Center. This is the strongest opponent on the map and will train a Bronze Age military after enough time elapsed and eventually an Iron Age military over a long game. This player will strictly attack Athens from the east using a combination of transported land units and a navy but may attack along multiple fronts on harder difficulties.
  • Lydia (Greeks AoE Greeks) - This player only has ten Watch Towers, four of which are located on the westernmost corner of the map defending a Ruin and the rest located at a large island located just north of the player's starting area near the center of the map. This player has no other units and will only attack if the player is within range of their towers.


The player should build some Fishing Boats to gather Food, ideally along the west side of the player's base where it will be safer to fish and less likely to be attacked by the enemy. If the player chooses to fish at the east side as well, the player should build some Scout Ships to protect them. No matter which objective the player is pursuing, having a strong navy will be crucial in this scenario, as stated in the hints section. The player should gather as many food and wood they can and reach Bronze Age as soon as possible.

Just north of the large island is a series of islands that are connected to each other by narrow shallows. Each island has several Gold Mines which are the only source of gold on the map other than the ones occupied by the enemy. A Storage Pit on the largest island and a few Towers to protect the Villagers from Ionian attacks, will allow the player to mine gold safely and eventually develop an Iron Age military.

If the player chooses to find all the ruins, the player must scout the area around the player's base for a ruin located just north of the large bay. The player will also need to send units to the western most area on the map for another Ruin protected by Lydian Watch Towers. A single Stone Thrower is enough to deal with the Towers and capture the Ruins. If wood ever runs out on the player's base, the player can send Villagers there to gather wood.

The third and final Ruin is on the eastern mainland, located at the back of the enemy base near the same area where the player will need to build a Government Center, if the player wishes to pursue the other objective instead. The player does not have to eliminate everything in their path as long as the Ruins are captured within the line of sight of the player's units. The larger the line of sight, the easier it is for the player to capture the Ruins. Having Scouts will be useful, due to their ability to dodge ranged attacks from its quick speed and large line of sight.

If the player decides to build the Government Center instead, the player does not need to capture the Lydian island. However, this objective will likely require the player to take over a significant portion of the Ionian island which may require more time and resources. Send over a few Cavalry units, some Hoplites, several Stone Throwers as well as some Villagers. The player may need to build some unit production buildings along the southern end of the landmass or anywhere on the landmass that is secure and out of direct reach from the enemy. In this way, the player will not need to make more trips using transports if the initial attacking army dies. This will also save some time as well as population space for more military units. Once the player is ready, they may now take over the enemy base and build the Government Center within the flagged region. Alternatively, the player might opt for building a fleet of about 15 or more War Galleys or more and raid the shores out of reach of the Sentry Towers placed around. Send five Villagers to build the Government Center once the flagged area is cleared.

Additional hints:

  • The natural resources near the player's starting position may quickly run out if enough Villagers are working given enough time. The player may need to expand to other territories to ensure a steady resource income.
  • When the player is ready to gather gold on the island chain, the enemy may already have sent some troops there to secure the area. Once all threats have been mitigated and the area secure, the player may need to keep an eye out for Villagers which may get stuck within the archipelago if enough of them are transporting gold back and forth to the Storage Pit. This can happen even with high path finding.


Historical notes[]

As the mainland Myceneans continued to grow in population and wealth, they took naturally to the seas surrounding them. It is not clear if they were competing successfully with the Minoans or if the Minoans had begun to decline by the second half of the second millennium BC. The sea offered opportunities for trade and an outlet for rising populations that began to crowd the mainland. Colonists set out from Corinth, Athens, Pylos, and other coastal cities.

The Aegean coast of Asia Minor, called Ionia, was an attractive location for Greek colonies for several reasons. Port colonies offered rich trade routes to the interior of Mesopotamia. The coastal area was divided from the interior plains by mountains and terrain that served as natural defensive barriers. Settlement of the region would help make the Aegean a Greek lake. There were natural resources in the area that were valuable to the mainland cities. Ionian settlement was contested only by small coastal kingdoms loosely tied to the Hittite Empire of the interior.

Athens was a leader in the revival of Greek trade due to its great natural port and population growth. Its large population was a detriment, however, especially when local crops failed. Athens grew eventually to the point that it imported two-thirds of its food, primarily grain. The Athenians became aggressive colonizers, especially along the coasts of the Aegean to the north and east. Colonies assured adequate imports of grain and siphoned off excess population.
—In-game section

Historical outcome[]

Athens and other Greek cities successfully established colonies on the coast of Asia. The best known of these were Miletus and Halicarnassus. The latter city was the birthplace of Herodotus and the site of a Wonder of the Ancient World, the Tomb of King Mausolus, from which we get the word mausoleum. The Asian colonies drew off the excess population as intended and were important sources of trade. They were a political liability on occasion, however. The Persian Wars started because the mainland cities supported the colonies in revolt against Persian rule.
—In-game section


  • The landmass occupied by the player and the large island controlled by Lydia has a similar appearance to an inverted Greece when viewed together.
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