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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).


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[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels (Definitive Edition only)[]

  • On Standard, the player receives three Watch Towers outside their base, as well as starting with the technologies for Guard Tower, Ballistics and Murder Holes already researched. Tiberias will have less Castles outside their walls. In addition, three Crossbowmen, a Knight, a Mangonel and a Battering Ram belonging to the Tripoli Guards are removed.
  • On Standard, Ascalon begins constructing their Wonder at 1,600 seconds (26:40) with one Villager. On Moderate and Hard, Ascalon builds with two Villagers, at 1,100 seconds (18:20) and 900 seconds (15:00), respectively.


  • Defeat any 2 of the 3 Crusader cities:


  1. Saladin is restricted to a population of 100.
  2. You can trade with the village of Hebron, as long as it survives.
  3. Remember: you only need to defeat two enemy cities.

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

Scouts (Definitive Edition)[]

Your scouts report:

  • Saladin (1, Green) controls a fortified town near the coast, but is initially short on soldiers.
  • Hebron (5, Cyan) is a small village in the center of the map with a Market. It has no means of defending itself and could be an easy target for your enemies.
  • Tyre (3, Yellow), your most threatening enemy, is located on a fortified island to the north. They occasionally attack with Galleons, Fire Ships and Cannon Galleons. They will also send in Transport ships full of Mangonels, Bombard Cannons, and Cataphracts from time to time.
  • Tiberias (4, Blue) is a city to the east. They will field Camel Riders, Knights, and Battering Rams.
  • Ascalon (2, Orange) is a stronghold in the very south of the map. Their initial army consists of Cavaliers, Crossbowmen, and Onagers, and they also have some warhips. Ascalon will behave defensively and will not besiege your city.
  • The Tripoli Guards (6, Purple) command a small army of Knights, Crossbowmen and siege equipment. They have no means of replenishing their forces, however.



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


  • 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.

Enemy → Potential Ally[]


  • Tripoli Guards (Franks): The Tripoli Guards start with several Crossbowmen, Knights, 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.


To win, the player must defeat two of three crusader cities, of which are Ascalon, Tyre, and Tiberias. The player will lose if Ascalon's Wonder stands for 350 years. Ascalon and Tyre start the game in the Imperial Age. Tiberias will reach the Imperial Age if given enough time. The player has access to the Imperial Age.

This scenario will require that the player builds up an economy quickly and mount an attack, while simultaneously 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 the player. Their forces consists of a few Knights, several Crossbowmen, Mangonels, and a Battering Ram. They are not nearly as dangerous as Tyre and Tiberias, but this attack can still cause quite a bit of damage early in the scenario. They will resign upon losing their last military unit.

Tyre is situated to the north of the player's city on an island, heavily fortified with Keeps, Bombard Towers, and a Castle. 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 will resign when they have less than three villagers.

Ascalon is located in the south corner of the map and is heavily fortified with Keeps. Ascalon starts with an impressive army and navy, but they will not create any new units. However, their three Villagers will begin constructing a Wonder early in the game (shortly before the Tripoli Guard's attack). Ascalon's forces consist of Crossbowmen, Cavaliers, Onagers, Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships, Fast Fire Ships, and Cannon Galleons. Ascalon will resign when their wonder is destroyed and lose their last villager.

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. Tiberias will resign when they have less than four villagers.

The player's ally, Hebron, is situated 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 do not bother attacking Hebron at all, although it is possible that they will at some point, especially Tiberias (which they can do even if the player accepts their offer of a truce).

There are three relics on the map. One relic is north of Hebron. A second relic is in Tiberias' base. A third inaccessible relic is in the east corner.

Defending the city and advancing to the next age[]

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 the player will not 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 Camel Riders 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 the first Castle is up, switch to Mamelukes for the defense. They are not 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 does not 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 after this is done, they will demand an additional 1000 gold for the alliance to occur. 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. 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, do not 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.


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...


  • 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.
    • This has been modified in the Definitive Edition, as changing the player's diplomatic stance to "neutral" or "enemy" will make Tiberias change their stance to "enemy".
  • When scouting the ‘bridge’ to Tyre, a dialog will mention the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 322BC.
  • In the co-op, Tyre is represented by the Sicilians.

Historical comparison[]

  • 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.