With the maritime rivals of the empire crushed, Suryavarman set his sights on the mainland. As the war with the Tambralinga-Srivijaya alliance had progressed, it had not escaped his attention that rivals closer to home had been plotting and wishing for his ruin.
The rules of the various Burmese and Cham kingdoms slunk around in the shadows like disgraced cravens. Instead of recognizing the superiority of their larger neighbor, they deviously plotted its downfall and encouraged rebellion within it!
This behavior was unacceptable. Suryavarman's enemies may have been to intimidated to face the Khmer juggernaut head-on, but Suryavarman had no such reservations. These provocations had provided an optimal casus belli.
It was high time that the empire saw further expansion. The Mekong and Chao Phraya rivers snaked through rich, fertile lands held by decadent, unstable kingdoms ripe for conquest.
Triumph would add yet another achievement to Suryavarman's legendary military record.
- Starting Age: Imperial Age
- Starting resources: 2,000 food, 1,500 wood, 1,200 gold, 700 stone
- Population limit: 200
Differences between difficulty levels
- On standard difficulty, the player starts with most Imperial Age technologies and upgrades researched.
- Choose one of the following two objectives:
- Defeat three of your five enemies (Hariphunchai, Lavo Kingdom, Northern Cham, Southern Cham, and Khmer Rebels).
- Construct and defend a Wonder.
- Suryavarman I's army can support a population of 200.
- It is monsoon season in Southeast Asia. The turbulent conditions make it impossible to launch and maintain hulking siege ships.
- Although the majority of the combat in this scenario will be land-based, control of the water can be used to deadly effect.
- Most of the map will soon become a battleground. The southern portion, however, is a relatively safe area to build your economy.
- Mineral resources are somewhat scarce. Fortunately, you can rely on the recently-defeated Srivijaya for supplementary tributes.
Your scouts report:
- Suryavarman I (1, Cyan) controls the heart of the Khmer Empire, based primarily in the center of the map. Though initially in a powerful position, adversity will come swiftly in the form of invaders and rebels alike.
- The Hariphunchai (2, Red) hold two citadels to the northwest, and field an army composed almost entirely of light horsemen.
- The Lavo Kingdom (3, Blue) is based in a mountain fortress in the far west of the map. Their forces consist of infantry, Skirmishers and Monks.
- The Northern Cham (4, Green) controls the coastal town of Indrapura to the northeast. Rattan Archers, Battle Elephants, and Halberdiers comprise their land forces, but they will also build a small navy.
- The Southern Cham (5, Purple) are based in a set of bastions on the eastern coastline. Their army of light infantry and Crossbowmen is complemented by a large navy.
- The Khmer Rebels (6, Orange) have seized two military bases guarding important river crossings north of the Khmer Empire. Their military consists primarily of swordsmen, ballistae and elephants.
- The Dai Viet (7, Yellow) holds a fortress to the far north, watching the conflict to the south with much interest. Perhaps their army of cavalry and javelineers can be persuaded to attack some of Suryavarman's enemies...
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- Player (Khmer):
Neutral → Ally
- Dai Viet (Vietnamese): They are located to the north. At the beginning, they are neutral to the player, but after 40 minutes they will offer an alliance (player has to send 1,000 gold to Dai Viet to make it, but if the player acquires all 5 Relics at the beginning of the game gold should not be a problem). It is very important to make this alliance because not only will the Dai Viet not attack the player, but they will take care of the Northern Cham almost by themselves.
- Southern Cham (Malay): They are located to the east and produce a land army of Karambit Warriors, Arbalesters with occasionally Halberdiers or Two-Handed Swordsmen mixed in, and navy consisting primarily of Galleons and sometimes also heavy Demolition Ships or Fast Fire Ships. Sometimes they will also bring a Capped Ram or two.
- Northern Cham (Vietnamese): They will send attack forces of Rattan Archers, Battle Elephants, and Skirmishers. As soon as the player makes an alliance with the Dai Viet, they will not be a problem at all.
- Khmer Rebels (Khmer): Their army mainly consists of Battle Elephants, Ballista Elephants, and Scorpions. They have no Villagers and are therefore unable to reconstruct or repair their buildings.
- Lavo Kingdom (Burmese): They are located to the west and their army consists of Champions, Halberdiers, Monks, and Capped Rams. The Lavo Kingdom can be frustrating for players who try to pump out lots of Elephants (which is not advised at all against their Halberdiers and Monks).
- Hariphunchai (Burmese): They are located to the northwest and their army consists of Arambai, Cavalry Archers, Hussars, and Trebuchets. Because of the Trebuchets, he is the most harassing player, who can destroy the player's defenses if left unattended. They also have a tendency to try to aid in the defense of the enemies. They have no Villagers and are therefore unable to reconstruct or repair their buildings.
There are two ways to win this scenario.
One way is to defeat three of the five main opponents, the other way is to build and defend a Wonder.
There are a lot of things to do in a small amount of time at the start. The player has two bases, the northern one consists of military buildings, two Docks as well as a Monastery, the southern one has the Town Center, another Monastery, a University and one Dock. Between these bases lies an area with gold, stone and some trees, where the player also has control of a few Villagers.
The main goal of the game start is to eliminate at least the nearest Red and Purple bases, they are too close to the player and achieve victory without killing them is almost impossible.
First move the player should do is immediately produce three Trebuchets from the two Castles in the north base. One of these trebuchets should be send to the southern base to attack the Southern Cham, the rest two Trebuchets should be used to attack the Hariphunchai base.
After Trebuchet production is started, send one Light Cavalry unit to the southern Relic - the Lavo Kingdom player will send a Monk immediately to pick it. Start the construction of a Town Center with the Villagers between the bases, research the Fast Fire Ship upgrade and pick most or all of the Relics (there is one in the south which should be guarded by the Light Cavalry unit sent before - try to pick this Relic as soon as possible, because the Lavo Kingdom will send an attacking force soon, another is a little bit north from the northern-player's base, two Relics are in the northern base and one is in the southern base). As soon as player has enough stone they should build a Castle between their south base and the southeast Purple base.
Then it will be time for multi-tasking, because it is almost necessary to push both lines and protect the water simultaneously:
Defending the waterways
Because it is not possible to make Cannon Galleons in this scenario, making a big fleet is useless. It should be enough to build 6-8 Fast Fire Ships and send them to the player's southern Docks. It is also very helpful to build one or two Towers (but first the Castle has to be built in the southern base). Along with the Fire Ships, this will take care of any naval attacks.
Because of the fact the player can not produce Cannon Galleons it is impossible to put any pressure to any of enemy bases. But, they can produce a few Galleons and send them to the northern base to defend it against the Khmer Rebels.
Pushing to the South
The starting army in the southern base along with one Trebuchet and the newly-build Castle should be more than enough to destroy the southern Purple base. Primary targets for the trebuchet are production buildings, because this will stop units' flow and killing the fortification without unit protection is easy with Trebuchets. Just try not to engage in bigger battles anywhere else than under the player's own Castle-fire. After the player razes down this Hariphunchai base, they should wall themselves in by using the forest and the Hariphunchai walls - by doing this, the player can stop at least the majority of the Southern Cham's harassment.
Pushing to the North
This is by far the most difficult part, which consists of much multitasking. The pushing to the north strategy includes few rounds of back and forth action. When the Monk with the south Relic returns to the Monastery, it might be wise to build walls in the "forest neck" leading to the Lavo Kingdom's base - this is the only passage from where their forces can attack - so their progress can be slowed down a lot because of this wall.
Alongside walling the player should build one or two Archery Ranges and pump out as many Skirmishers and Pikemen/Halberidiers as possible, because the main threat are the Hariphunchai, who produce mainly Arambai and Cavalry Archers, escorted by a few Light Cavalry units.
Try to destroy the Hariphunchai Archery Range and Castle as soon as possible, do not bother with their Trebuchets which may destroy the player's own Trebuchets, or vice-versa, just focus on the buildings. If the player is fast enough they can destroy their Castle with the first two Trebuchets, but if they are killed before the Castle is destroyed, build another two and start the production of Halberdiers, Light Cavalry, Crossbowmen, and Monks. Cavalry are needed to take down Orange Scorpions, Red Trebuchets, and Blue Rams, Crossbowmen can take down Blue's infantry as well as Red's Cavalry Archers and Arambai, and Halberdiers can take down all Elephants and Light Cavalry. If the player has enough gold, 6-8 Monks should be placed around the Castles and convert the Khmer Rebels' Elephants.
After destroying the southern Red base and the southern Purple base, it depends on the player if they wish to build a Wonder or if they wish to destroy more enemies. Either option should be a piece of cake after all of the above have been dealt with. No matter the path taken, the second red base with Trebuchets is the hardest to deal with, but destroying this base goes hand to hand with destroying both Khmer Rebels' bases, so than there might be no reason to build the Wonder.
In the Definitive Edition, the "Relic Hoarder" achievement can be earned by collecting all nine Relics on the map. Four of them are in the player's base. Since the Lavo Kingdom will also attempt to collect Relics, the player should rush in getting as many more Relics as possible. Regarding the other five Relics:
- One is right north of the player's two Castles and so it should be easy to get.
- One is right south of the player's base and so the player can use a Transport Ship to cross the river to get it before the Lavo Kingdom does.
- One is close to the Southern Cham's southern base, but the player can avoid enemy fire by sailing through the river on a Transport Ship.
- One is in the eastern corner of the map, and so the player should sail through the limits of the map to avoid being targeted by enemy ships.
- Finally, one is between the two Hariphunchai bases, and so will be mostly likely collected by the Lavo Kingdom. The player will have to attack the Lavo Kingdom to steal the Relic.
Hegemony is a wonderful thing. The power and prestige of the Khmer Empire reached new levels under Suryavarman I, and all prospered.
Despite being known as a great conqueror, Suryavarman was not simply a militaristic aggressor. His reign was marked by vast improvements in the general infrastructure of the empire and an emphasis on religious toleration.
He erected numerous palaces and temple complexes and ruled benevolently. His legacy lives through these structures, the pride of our citizens, and the strength of the Khmer Empire.
This legacy is a cause worth defending, for Suryavarman's image lives on within it. It is this notion of greatness that you must invoke to electrify the minds of the common soldiery.