732 AD, year 110 of the Hegira. A month since we crossed the Pyrenees...
Our army advances into the heart of Aquitania, scouting the region as we move forward. Thick forests and open fields abound, and we made camp near a river crossing.
The Frankish army is powerful, but their cavalry cannot match ours as long as we fight on an open field. Using our mobility to our advantage will prove vital in the battles ahead.
Al-Ghafiqi will risk no error. He has a score to settle with the Frankish count Odo of Aquitaine, the warlord who smashed an Umayyad army at Toulouse ten years ago. After such a long time, these two giants will finally meet again.
The Frankish lands are divided and are no match for the organization of the Umayyad Caliphate. Capturing the city of Bordeaux will surely throw the region into chaos. Then, we will pounce on the scattered Frankish army like a cat upon a mouse.
This will be the great razzia, or raid, of our time. I can only pray that we are up to the challenge.
- Aquitanian Villages (Franks): They have three small villages near the player's starting position, each of which has a Monastery. The player's initial objective is to scare these villages into submission by destroying their Monasteries. The player will get 500 gold as loot for each Monastery they destroy. Each village has a small army protecting the Monastery but it will be no match for the player's initial army and will be defeated easily.
- Bordeaux (Franks): They have a well fortified base and a strong navy along the coast of the Bay of Biscay. They mainly train Paladins, Light Cavalry, Elite Skirmishers and Elite Throwing Axemen and will try to attack the player's base with small raiding parties of Elite Throwing Axemen and Long Swordsmen.
- Frankish Army (Franks): They have their main base at the northern edge of the map along with two smaller fortresses along a river. They will also be making a navy at these encampments but it won't be as large and powerful as Bordeaux's navy. They will mainly train Paladins, Pikemen, Elite Throwing Axemen and Elite Skirmishers. The player should be wary of them as they will be sending groups of Paladins and Elite Throwing Axemen quite frequently to the player's base.
The player starts at a camp near the southeastern edge of the map, with a pretty big army of cavalry and ranged units along with Elite Huskarls. The initial objective is to destroy the Monastery at all three of the Aquitanian Village. It is good to begin with the village at the east since it is the most out of the way of the player's initial base. The player should have no problem facing them, after which the player should aim for the Monastery. Once the Monastery is down, the player will get 500 gold as loot. Soon after destroying the Monastery, return to the base as a group of Paladins from the Frankish Army will soon reach the village.
After that, go to the village on the center. Again, the player will face a Feudal Age army which is bigger than the previous one. Destroy the Monastery and come back quickly to the base because Paladins from the Frankish Army will approach the village after the Monastery is destroyed. Once back at the camp, go for the remaining village on the left, destroy their Monastery and leave quickly to avoid the Paladins.
After destroying all three Monasteries, the player will get a Transport Ship with five Villagers on board. There are two places on the map which are ideal starting locations - one at the sea's edge and another one deep inland. It is advised that the player start their base at the southern edge because not only will it provide an access to the Bay of Biscay but it is also further away from both enemy cities and thus safer. It is nearly always better to fish than not to fish since that is an excellent early source of food.
The player should be careful because the group of Paladins which came after destroying the left Aquitanian Villages' Monastery is still there and is very close to the player's base. It is probably wise to housewall them out so they don't get accidentally aggroed. There are 12 Paladins (which, oddly enough, have converted from Frankish Army to Aquitanian Villages).There is also a Relic near the player's base so the player should make a Monastery and train a Monk to pick up the relic and drop it at the Monastery. This Monk can heal injured soldiers too, if any. The player can, with a little care, get the Monk to the Relic and return it to the base right under the noses of those paladins.
The player should mine stone early since Bordeaux starts attacking really fast and it is good to have a Castle and walls in front of the base. For initial defence, Monks and Mangonels are good choices, since the player starts with 1,700 gold. Monks can be used to convert Paladins (although with Heresy, it does not gain any troops), and Mangonels stop the rams. This allows the player to concentrate on the economy, and the player should aim to get 30+ farmers, 20+ lumberjacks, and 30+ miners (of gold and stone). While still in turtle mode, do not forget to mass the Camel Archers, which are very strong, and garrison them in the Castle to increase its firepower. Research Heavy Camel using the initial stable far away from the base, and mass them up in the main base to counter the French Paladins.
After repelling the first few waves of French, the player should expand to the secondary gold and stone piles located all over the map with new Town Centers, taking care not to walk into any Aquitainian Villages (with their Paladins), and build a stable or two so it can pump out defensive Heavy Camels versus raids. If the player fails to diversify quickly enough, soon, Bordeaux and the French Army will attack with a monstrous army and navy capable of overwhelming even heavily protected Castles, and the player will run out of resources and lose the game.
But if the player has correctly invested in a strong economy, then the player's large army of Camels and Camel Archers will be the biggest deathball on the map, and the player will hit the population limit of 200. The player should research the Maghrabi Camels tech to regenerate their HP, keeping these valuable units alive much longer, and maintain several Monks to heal them even more. Gold runs out fast on this map, and the player's army is a very gold intense one. Conversely, the AI has enough resources to spam paladins forever. If the player needs more gold fast, they can improve their income by trading with the Aquitanian Villages after slaying their Frankish Paladins and changing diplomatic stance with them to neutral so that the player's troops don't accidentally raze their Markets. Ensure, however, that the trade route doesn't veer too close to the water, or else the caravans will be attacked by enemy Galleons.
The only time the player needs to invest in a navy is when Bordeaux and French Army's docks are still standing. They will keep on sending ships to harrass the player as long as they have Docks, so build a few Docks defended by a castle to fend them off. Train a huge fleet of Heavy Demolition Ships and blow up the docks. If the player has to pass a enemy Castle, send a larger group of Demolition Ships so the player will have any ships remaining to do enough work. Once all of the Docks are gone, the waters are safe.
Once the player has established superiority on the open field, the player should build a lot of Trebutchets (8 is recommended), and even Capped Rams, to one-shot all the buildings in Bordeaux. The player can also load the army in transport ships and launch a surprise attack unloading every ship inside Bordeaux. If the player does not have field superiority, Trebutchets can easily be sniped by Throwing Axemen, who do melee damage. Also, the French have a lot of Paladins if the player gets caught out of position.
After Bordeaux surrenders, the entire Bay of Biscay belongs to the player. Build Docks inside the city of Bordeaux and make lots of Fishing Ships so that food can accumulate fast. The player should also make a secondary base inside Bordeaux, with lots of Stables, Barracks and one or two Castles so that troops don't have to cover the entire distance. There is also another Relic to the north of Bordeaux which can now be collected.
Now it's time to attack the Frankish Army's base. The player has to destroy both their main base to the north as well as their two encampments along the river for them to surrender. It will be better to start with their main base first, so that most of their military buildings are destroyed, which will severely hamper their unit production capability. Their main base has two Castles, a Fortress and lots of military buildings. Again, the army should mostly comprise of Pikemen, Camels and Knights. Take all the Trebuchets the player has and destroy the Fortress on the edge of their base, then open a hole in their walls. Aim for their military buildings and use Trebuchets to attack their Castles, keeping other units away from it. Don't forget to queue Camels from the Stables back at Bordeaux. Once all of their military buildings are destroyed, the player should bring all of their units out of there. Alternatively, the Berbers have excellent Castle Drop, so build at least four castles with camel archers filled inside them since the Frankish Army has units strong enough to damage a castle severely. Use Trebuchets to destroy any red Trebuchets.
Now aim for the two smaller encampments. They should not be a problem at all - they only have one Castle each and a few soldiers to guard it. The player can also bring their navy to help attack these encampments. Once both of the encampments have been destroyed, Frankish Army will surrender and the player will be victorious.
Alternative strategy Edit
If the player decides to establish their starting base on the eastern side of the map, they should defeat the Frankish Army before Bordeaux. While the player cannot establish naval superiority as easily, they won't need to worry about being assaulted by enemy Galleons this way. Furthermore, only the Frankish Army produces Trebuchets, making them far more threatening to the player's home base than Bordeaux, which only relies on Capped Rams. Bordeaux's base is one of the most difficult to destroy in the entire game because their swarms of Galleons protect their already-fast-working production buildings and the player does not have access to Cannon Galleons; invading their base will be even harder if the Frankish Army is able to reinforce them.
The Frankish Army's two riverside bases guard Relics, so capturing them sooner will significantly help with gold generation for later on. The player should build a Castle next to the leftmost bridge crossing so that their Monks are safer getting to each Relic.
Once the player has secured the river crossing and gotten the Relics, they should build up a large army to destroy the Frankish Army's main camp. Unlike Bordeaux's citadel, the Frankish Army's stronghold is not guarded by Galleons, making it less time-consuming to destroy. The player should keep an eye on their siege weapons in case Bordeaux arrives to reinforce the enemy base.
With the Frankish Army eliminated early, besieging Bordeaux will be far easier. After capturing the Relic outside of their base, the player should build multiple Castles next to the shallows crossing by their northern gate. These will help stave off the endless torrent of Galleons and land units so that the player has more room to snipe their production buildings from the other side of the river and eventually send the rest of their army to destroy the rest of the base. Once all of Bordeaux's production buildings have been razed, the player will be victorious.
With the blessing of Allah, the horn announcing our success sings a loud, shrill tone that echoes over the countryside. Upon hearing of our approach, Odo's army descended upon Bordeaux, only to be trampled beneath our hooves.
Another Frankish army hastened south but was no match for our brave, seasoned warriors. A bloody battle ensued, and afterwards the Franks lamented their defeat, saying that God alone knows the number of the slain.
With the Frankish army defeated, there is little standing between our magnificent forces and eternal glory as the conquerors of Europe. For centuries, history will remember us as the courageous warriors who defeated countless kings.
My journey is at an end, but our triumphant army marches north to defeat one final adversary. A man who calls himself "The Hammer"--Martel in the Frankish tongue--foolishly believes that he can resist us.
Soon enough, his feeble army will crumble and flee just like the rest.
- This scenario depicts the Battle of the River Garonne, where Abdul Rahman al-Ghafiqi leads Umayyad forces against Bordeaux and an Aquitainian (Frankish) army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine. Al-Ghafiqi defeated Odo, which forced him to submit to his neighbour, King Charles Martel of the Frankish Kingdoms. Odo's submission led Charles Martel to organise his army to attack Al-Ghafiqi in the Battle of Tours (Tours scenario in the Battles of the Conquerors), where the Franks were victorious and al-Ghafiqi was defeated and killed.