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This article is about the campaign scenario in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. For the technology in Age of Empires, see Zealotry (Age of Empires).

Jihad! is the fifth scenario of the Saladin campaign in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. It is loosely based on Saladin's conquest of most Crusader cities from the aftermath of Hattin (1187) to the beginning of the Third Crusade (1189).

Intro Edit

Tiberias, twenty and a half years of bloodshed...

We are far from the ocean, so the Saracens interpret the smell of salt and commotion of seabirds as signs from Heaven.

I sit near Saladin's tent, watching the butchery below. Saracen horse archers sweep through yet another unorganized mob of European soldiers.

The great Crusader nations have been reduced to puny city-states. Only Tiberias, Tyre, and Ascalon are still in Crusader hands. Nonetheless, these three cities are well fortified and could withstand any siege.

Saladin has had many victories on the open desert, but the Crusader castles are unparalleled. If he is victorious now, the Holy Land will belong to the Saracens again. A failure could mean decades more of carnage.

Scenario instructions Edit

Starting conditions Edit

Objectives Edit

  • Defeat any 2 of the 3 Crusader cities:
    Tiberias
    Tyre
    Ascalon

Hints Edit

  • Remember: You only need to defeat 2 enemy cities.
  • You can trade with the village of Hebron, as long as it survives.

Players Edit

Player Edit

  • Player (Saracens): The player starts in a coastal city, surrounded by walls and partially by cliffs. Upon game start, all Feudal Age buildings are up.

Allies Edit

  • Hebron (Saracens): Hebron is a very small town with a Market towards the northeast of the player's base. It has no means of defending itself and will eventually be destroyed by Tiberias regardless of the player's diplomatic stance to Tiberias.

Enemies Edit

  • Ascalon (Teutons): Ascalon is a well fortified city in the very south of the map. Later in the game they start building a Wonder and the player must destroy it. Their initial army consists of Cavaliers, Crossbowmen, and Onagers, and is only used defend their base. They also have a considerable navy, including Heavy Demolition Ships, Fast Fire Ships, and Cannon Galleons, but it is also only used to defend the city. However, Ascalon does not rebuild their army when destroyed, making it an easy city to defeat later in the game.
  • Tripoli Guards (Franks): The Tripoli Guards start with several Knights, Crossbowmen, some Mangonels, a Battering Ram and a Villager just to the east of the player's base. After several minutes they attack, but they have no base and are defeated once their army is killed off.

Strategy Edit

This scenario will require that the player builds up an economy quickly and mount an attack, while at the same time putting up an effective defense against powerful opponents. The player starts with a walled city containing all major buildings (except the Castle, University, Monastery, and Siege Workshop), but no military units. Because there is so much to do in a short period of time, it is advisable to change the game speed to slow.

The Tripoli Guard, a band of soldiers that have no city and cannot create units, will be the first enemy civilization to attack you. Their forces include a few Knights, several Crossbowmen, Mangonels, and a Battering Ram. They're not nearly as dangerous as Tyre and Tiberias, but this attack can still cause quite a bit of damage early in the scenario.

Of the three main opponents, Ascalon is perhaps the least threatening. It's located in the south corner of the map and is heavily fortified. Ascalon starts with an impressive army and navy, but they will not create any units making it easy to wear down their forces.

However, their three Villagers will begin constructing a Wonder early in the game (shortly before the Tripoli Guard's attack). It is essential to build up quickly and destroy it, as you'll lose if it stands for 350 "years". Ascalon's forces consist of Crossbowmen, Cavaliers, Onagers, Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships, Fast Fire Ships, and Cannon Galleons.

Tiberias is sited to the east of the player's city and is also heavily fortified. They start in the Castle Age and attack with Knights, Camel Riders, and Battering Rams. They may eventually advance to the Imperial Age and add the occasional Trebuchet. Their first of many attacks will closely follow the Tripoli Guard.

Tyre is sited to the north of the player's city on an island, surrounded by Keeps and Bombard Towers. It will attack almost exclusively by sea with all types of ships (including Elite Cannon Galleons), though its first attack (shortly following Tiberias) will include Bombard Cannons and Cataphracts as well. Tyre starts in the Imperial Age.

The player also has an ally, Hebron, which is sited to the northeast of the player's base. They do not have a military, but will send Trade Carts to the player's Market. Hebron's key feature is its Market, as the player can optionally send their own Trade Carts to it for gold as long as it remains standing.

The enemy factions generally don't bother attacking Hebron at all, although it's possible that they will at some point, especially Tiberias (which they can do even if the player accepts their offer of a truce).

Defending the city and advancing to the next ageEdit

Create as many Villagers as possible - try to ensure that the Town Center is never idle. First priorities are food and wood. Fishing Ships will be helpful at first, but Farms are more reliable as Tyre's warships will soon decimate anything placed in the water. Start mining the stone outside the city once there is enough wood for a Mining Camp, and aim for at least five Villagers on each resource (seven on food and wood), plus a few more to construct buildings.

Try to build the University and Monastery sooner rather than later. The Siege Workshop can wait, as you won't need it for quite a while, or even at all since you can build Trebuchets at your Castles. Build Castles as soon as you have the stone. Build the first one southwest of your Archery Range, the second northeast of your Market, and the third next to your Docks. Optionally add a fourth one in the south corner of your city, after the player has depleted the gold there. Demolish Houses as necessary - remember that one Castle is as good as four Houses.

All this is easier said than done, of course, because the player will soon be under attack from all sides. Create around 3-5 Knights and around 1-3 Camels to counter the first few attacks, concentrating on Rams and other siege weapons. The player should begin producing military units when they get the message that Ascalon has started building its Wonder. Once your first Castle is up, switch to Mamelukes for the defense. They aren't quite as powerful as Knights, but they make up for it with their anti-cavalry bonus and their ranged attack (allowing them to damage Rams from behind walls).

This versatility makes them an ideal choice for this scenario. Tyre will soon attack with its navy, so the player will need some warships of their own. Research the War Galley upgrade and create at least five of them to take out Cannon Galleons.

For defensive technologies top priorities are Murder Holes, Bodkin Arrow, and Ballistics. Research them strategically as the need arises - the latter two are effective against ships, while the former will help counter melee units that attempt to destroy your Castles. Other defensive technologies (Masonry, Husbandry, and Fortified Wall) are always nice to have, but will need to wait for quite a while because the player is pressed for time and resources.

Ascalon will almost certainly be the first city you destroy because of its building a Wonder, and also because of its relative convenience in that it doesn't build new units to replace those which are lost. The Wonder is in the back of Ascalon behind numerous walls, Gates, and Keeps, making the destruction of the city itself almost a given necessity. Besides its land forces, it also has a numerous navy, but which can be taken out piecemeal from both land and sea; in addition, its Galleons and Cannon Galleons will attempt to fire at your land forces if possible. Once you destroy Ascalon's last unit and the last of its unit-producing buildings (even though it never uses them), it will resign.

Tiberias will ask for an alliance if the player tributes 1000 gold, but will only become an ally if the player tributes an additional 1000 gold afterwards. Tiberias was actually meant to demand an additional 1000 gold after receiving the first payment, but the second message doesn't appear. Most players choose to finish them off, rather than pay them. Destroying Tiberias' three castles, all of which are outside of its walls (to the northwest, southwest, and some ways to the northeast), may make the job easier by removing the annoyance of Trebuchet attacks.

During this time, you will need to make sure you have at least six Galleons defending your port; after starting with Cannon Galleons, Tyre will also periodically attack with fleets consisting of Cannon Galleons, Fast Fire Ships, and Heavy Demolition Ships, and unfortunately you do not have the ability to build any warships besides Galleons. The Demolition ships work as suicide bombers, with the ability to destroy or damage several of your Galleons at once, and the Fast Fire ships are heavily armored and very hard to sink. You will likely need to completely rebuild your fleet after one of Tyre's heavy attacks.

If the player does plan on allying with them, don't tribute 2,000 gold at the start, as it will not count as two payments. Doing that will waste the extra 1,000 gold. Also, the player will have to manually change their stance towards them, once they join.

Outro Edit

Once I was amazed at the nobility of the Saracen warriors. Only a few years ago they entered battle as gentlemen, bringing with them treasure chests, wine, singing girls, and collections of doves, nightingales, and parrots. No longer.

In reaction to European hostility and fanaticism, the Saracens have steadily become more resolute... more bloodthirsty. Their love of art is replaced by a love for battle. Now, in answer to the Crusade, they have adapted their principle of jihad for warfare.

The result has been devastating to the Crusaders. The European presence in the Holy Land was finished. Or so everyone believed...

Trivia Edit

  • Contrary to other scenarios where it is not an objective, it is possible to win this scenario by building a Wonder and defending it or capturing all Relics and holding them.
    • This has been changed in the Definitive Edition, as the player can no longer build a Wonder, and another Relic has been added to the easternmost point of the map, surrounded by impassable rocks, making it impossible to collect.
  • Many players wonder why they have to tribute 1000 gold to Tiberias twice. The developers implemented a dialogue after tributing 1000 gold to Tiberias that says "Did I say 1000 gold? I meant 2000 gold". But the trigger for the second dialogue is bugged.
    • The trigger now works in the Definitive Edition.
  • Tiberias will sometimes attack and destroy Hebron even if you ally with them. Obviously this is because their stance towards Hebron is as enemy and remains so even after the player changes their diplomatic stance.
  • After Tiberias changes their stance towards the player to "ally", they will never change it again, even if the player attacks them. The player can use this to their advantage to easily destroy Tiberias.
  • When scouting the ‘bridge’ to Tyre, a dialog will mention the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 322BC.

Historical comparison Edit

  • Although this scenario follows The Siege of Jerusalem, most cities portrayed surrendered to Saladin before it (October 2, 1187):
    • Tiberias's outer wall was breached already on July 2, the day before the Battle of Hattin, which was caused by a Crusader attempt to relieve the city. The Citadel surrendered after the battle. Its duplicitous role in the scenario is probably an allusion to the accusation of playing both sides that other Crusaders made against its ruler, Raymond III of Tripoli. Despite being portrayed as Persians, Tiberias was part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which is usually portrayed as Byzantines.
      • This is probably the reason why Tiberias is represented with the color blue, since Jerusalem is represented by the same color in most campaign scenarios.
    • Ascalon surrendered on September 5. As in the scenario, it required the use of several siege weapons, and the defences of the city were later further destroyed to deny its use to Richard the Lionheart.
    • Inversely, Hebron remained under Crusader control until after the fall of Ascalon, and its actual location is south of Tiberias (and south of Jerusalem). Its allied status may be an allusion to Saladin taking it peacefully with the help of local Jews.
  • Tyre was the only city besieged after Jerusalem, from November 12, 1187 to January 1, 1188. Though the city was actually connected to the continent, the narrow land bridge and high walls allowed its defenders to repulse the Saracen charges and siege engines. Saladin then attempted a naval assault that was also repelled, and was forced to concede defeat to the Crusaders. Due to the scenario requiring players to defeat only two enemies, Ascalon attracting their attention with the Wonder, Tiberias's offer of alliance being bugged, and Tyre posing an even greater geographical challenge, most players will leave Tyre alone as in reality.
  • Though not identified in the game, Saladin's base is probably Acre, which surrendered without a fight on July 10, 1187 and became Saladin's main base in the area until the Crusaders recovered it in 1191. The later siege is the basis of The Lion and the Demon.

Gallery Edit

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