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Ruins of Empires is the third scenario of the Francisco de Almeida campaign in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. Francisco has been appointed to be a Viceroy of India by King Manuel and has gathered a crew to sail with him to India. They sail all the way to the southern tip of Africa, braving the stormy Atlantic Ocean. From there, sailing towards India, they reach the Swahili coast. Here, he asks the local ruler, an usurper, to give them shelter and allow them to trade with his people but the ruler refuses.

Francisco finds an African prince Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din, who has a rebel army, wanting to dethrone the local ruler. In order to take revenge against the ruler's inhospitality, Francisco decides to take the riches of the Swahili coast by force.


It was five years ago that I went with Dom Francisco to the Indies. His appointment to the Viceroyship of India by the young King Manuel had shocked the Portuguese court. Dom Francisco was the champion of King Juan, the deceased cousin of the recently crowned king, and the Almeidas had favored a rival claimant to the Portuguese throne.

The king's intentions were the topic of many hushed whispers.

We sailed for many months across the edge of the world, preyed upon by pirates, storms, and disease. But as our leaky ships rounded the southern cape of Africa, we saw the first glimmers of the riches of the Orient.

Three mighty citadels guarded the lucrative trade waters of the Swahili coast where merchants traded ivory, gold, spices, and jewels from the innards of Africa to the fringes of faraway China.

Weathered by the long voyage, Dom Francisco sought trade and hospitality from the first of these citadels, but her stubborn ruler, a usurper who had slain the rightful sultan, arrogantly closed his gates to us.

Finding an exiled African prince with ties to a rebel army, my captain cunningly hatched a plan to take the Swahili coast by fire and steel.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Differences between difficulty levels[]

  • On Standard difficulty, there are fewer Bantu units guarding the Swahili Villages, and the Bantu spawn less units.
  • On Hard, there are fewer Swahili rebels to recruit (Incidentally, this makes fighting the Bantu somewhat easier if Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din is brought to his execution), and the Bantu Shotel Warriors are upgraded to Elite.



  • Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din must survive.
Choose one of the following objectives:
  • Bring Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din to the Swahili villages.
  • Bring him to Kilwa for his execution (Red Flag).
    • Bring an army to Kilwa under diplomatic pretenses then attack.
  • Destroy Kilwa's Castle.
  • Destroy Mombasa's Wonder.


  • Sink Zanzibar's war ships and destroy the Fire Towers.
  • Clear the Bantu from the Swahili trading posts.
  • Locate the gold mines of Mutapa.
  • Destroy Zanzibar's Trade Cogs to pirate their cargo.
  • Destroy the Bantu savanna camps.


  1. You are restricted to a population limit of 150.
  2. Bring Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din to flags at the center of Swahili Villages to raise his armies. Alternatively, you can send him to Kilwa to be executed and gain the support of the Kilwan ruler.
  3. The choice of siding with or betraying Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din will have significant impacts. Siding with him will allow you to gather a rebel army on the mainland. Opposing him will make defeating Kilwa easier but draw the anger of Zanzibar and the rebels.
  4. Portuguese castaways and lost ships can be found throughout the sea.
  5. Gold is rare but can be obtained by sinking Zanzibar's Trade Cogs. You can attack Zanzibar at will by changing diplomacy.
  6. The Mutapa gold mines are somewhere in the west past the thickest Baobab trees. Bring lumberjacks to get to them.

  • You have a population limit of 125.
  • Portuguese castaways and lost ships can be found throughout the sea. Recovering them will provide units and cannons.
  • The choice of siding with or betraying Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din will have significant effects on the course of the scenario. Siding with him will allow you to gather a large rebel army and have a presence on the mainland. Opposing him will make defeating Kilwa easier but draw the ire of Zanzibar and Muhammad's rebel army.
  • Destroying the Bantu tents in the savanna will stop their raids.
  • Gold is rare but can be obtained through trade, finding the Mutapa gold mines, conquering Zanzibar, and sinking Zanzibar's Trade Cogs. You can attack Zanzibar at will by changing diplomacy.
  • The Mutapa gold mines are somewhere in the west past the thickest Baobab trees. Bring lumberjacks to get to them.

  • Scouts[]

    • Storms have separated Francisco de Almeida and his son Lourenço from the rest of their armada. The damaged ships have reached Songo Songo, an island off the Swahili coast.
    • Kilwa (2, Red) is the sultanate nearest Songo Songo. It is ruled by Ibrahim, a minister who murdered the sultan and usurped the throne. He is opposed by an exiled prince named Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din. The prince can be surrendered to Kilwa as a bribe or brought to the Swahili Villages (6, Green) to raise an army loyal to Portugal.
    • The Swahili villages are held by Bantu warriors (3, Orange). Destroying the Bantu camps will end their raids.
    • Mombasa (4, Yellow), an island stronghold north of Kilwa, is defended by a powerful navy.
    • Zanzibar (5, Cyan) lies on two islands off the coast. While her fleet is strong. Zanzibar's small army makes her vulnerable to invasion.
    • Finally, the Africans tell tales of the gold-filled kingdom called Mutapa just beyond where the baobab trees grow thickest.



    This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.


    • Swahili Villages (Malians AoE2 Malians): They are small villages scattered all over the mainland. Their villages have been taken over by Bantu (orange) soldiers, led by mighty chieftains. If the player kills these soldiers and brings Muhammad, the rebel prince, to their villages, they will grant the player some soldiers. If the player instead hands over Muhammad to Kilwa to be executed, the Swahili Villages will not provide the player with units, but will still remain an ally.

    Ally → Enemy[]

    • Kilwa (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): They have a small, fortified city near the southwestern edge of the map. Depending on whether the player brings Muhammad to their city to be executed or not, they will change their diplomacy towards the player. If the player brings him to their city, they will remain an ally until the player brings an army to their city. They will also grant the player the island to the east of the player's starting position with Villagers and a Town Center. If the player goes to the northwest of their city, the buildings of Swahili Villages will come under the player's control and they can make their base there as well. But if the player decides not to bring Muhammad to their city, they will immediately turn their stance toward the player to enemy and the player will have to destroy their Castle. The player will also not get the Swahili Villages' buildings near their city until they are defeated. Once the Castle is destroyed, they will surrender and all their buildings will come under the player's control.
    • Mombasa (Malians AoE2 Malians): Their city is located at the north and northeastern part of the map. They have a strong navy and train Knights, Gbetos, and Monks. They also have a Wonder. Like Kilwa, the decision of bringing Muhammad to Kilwa for his execution or not will decide Mombasa's stance towards the player. If the player brings him to Kilwa for his execution, Mombasa will immediately turn their stance toward the player to enemy. If the player does not bring him to Kilwa, they will remain an ally until Kilwa is defeated, after which they will become an enemy and the player must destroy their Wonder.

    Ally → potential Enemy[]

    • Zanzibar (Saracens AoE2 Saracens): Their city is located on two separate islands to the east of the map. They have a strong navy comprising of Fast Fire Ships and Demolition Ships, along with Trade Cogs which they use to trade with Swahili Villages' Docks. Their stance with the player, as others, is dependent on whether the player decides to bring Muhammad to Kilwa for his execution. If the player brings him to Kilwa to be executed, they will immediately turn their stance toward the player to enemy and start attacking the player with their navy. If the player does not bring him to Kilwa, they will remain an ally for the rest of the scenario. However, if the player turns their stance toward Zanzibar to enemy, they can get 100 gold for each Zanzibar Trade Cog that they sink, but then the player will have to face their strong navy as well.


    • Bantu (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): They are indigenous African people who have taken over the Swahili Villages and are spread over most of the mainland. They mainly train Shotel Warriors, Eastern Swordsmen, Archers, and Camel Archers. Destroying the Huts of the other Bantu will stop them from spawning more units.
    • Bantu (colored purple before the Definitive Edition) (Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians): They do not have any units and only have Huts spread across the mainland. Destroying these huts will stop Bantu (orange) from making more soldiers.


    The player starts with a few soldiers on a single island along with two Transport Ships and three damaged Caravels. The player also has an African rebel prince Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din under their control. The player has two choices – either to take Muhammad to the red flag inside Kilwa to be executed or to take him to the four blue flags inside the Swahili Villages to gather a rebel army. Both the choices will result in very different strategies so they will be listed separately down below.

    Bringing Muhammad to the Swahili Villages[]

    The player should garrison all of their units into the two Transport Ships. Then use the three Caravels to explore the entire Indian Ocean from the south to the east of the map to collect all the Gaia Caravels, units and Transport Ships. In the end, the player will have nine Caravels in total. Then the player should take the units in Transport Ships along with Caravels to the island closest to the player's starting base. There are a few Bantu (orange) Shotel Warriors, Eastern Swordsmen and Archers here along with a Bantu Chieftain in the form of an Eagle Warrior.

    The Bantu army cannot be defeated easily by the player's current army, so to protect the player's units, move all nine Caravels near the island. Then, take the Transport Ship which contains Lourenço de Almeida in it and bring it near the island. Unload only him on the island and wait for all units to come near him to attack. Attack these approaching enemies with the Caravels and when they come too close, load him back into the Transport Ship. When the enemy soldiers go far enough, repeat the process. This tactic is time-consuming but it will make sure the player's army has full Hit Points in the end.

    After all the units have been killed, drop off all the units on the island. After bringing Muhammad to the blue flag, the player will get a few Shotel Warriors and a Dock, along with a few resources as tribute from Swahili Villages. But soon after this, Kilwa will turn their stance toward the player to enemy and the new objective will be to destroy their Castle.

    Using the resources just received, make a new Transport Ship which will allow the player to carry around the units which they have just got. Now go to the mainland to the Swahili Villages nearest to Kilwa's base. There is a Bantu Watch Tower here which should be destroyed with the Bombard Cannon found nearby. Use the same tactic used earlier but instead of Lourenço, use the Bombard Cannon and attack the Tower, then bring him back to the Transport Ship. Once the Tower is down, go back to using Lourenço like the previous attack. After all units have been defeated, bring Muhammad to the blue flag and the player will get a Stable, Archery Range, Barracks and Market along with a few Shotel Warriors and Gbetos. Here the player can use the Stable to create some Scout Cavalry to explore the mainland.

    From here, go further north. Here, again, there is a Watch Tower which should be destroyed by the Bombard Cannon. At this point, the player has a big enough army to attack the Bantu soldiers head-on but if they want to protect them, they can use the same tactic again. After defeating the soldiers here, bringing Muhammad to the blue flag will give the player more soldiers, a War Elephant and resources from Swahili Villages. Now go toward the fourth village. After defeating the soldiers, the player will get more soldiers, a Blacksmith, Barracks and Archery Range.

    Now the player should take the big rebel army to Kilwa to destroy their Castle. Their Castle is exposed, so it is possible to aim at it from outside the city from the northeastern side by using the Bombard Cannon. However, the player will have to protect it from Kilwa's Galleys, Archers and Shotel Warriors. After the Castle comes down, Kilwa will surrender and the player will get all of Kilwa's buildings, along with a Town Center and a few Villagers to the northwest of the city. But now Mombasa will turn their stance toward the player to enemy and the new objective will be to destroy their Wonder.

    The player should start making a base near the Town Center they have got. There are two Relics inside Kilwa's city, another one on a small island in the Indian Ocean and another two on the mainland near the player's base. It is advisable that the player get these five Relics so that they do not have to worry about their gold income.

    Now the player should start making a navy, to counter Mombasa's navy. They mainly train War Galleys so the player should make Caravels and Fire Galleys. Start making Battering Rams along with Organ Guns, Knights and other infantry and load them onto Transport Ships. They have their base on the mainland as well as on a small island. The Wonder is located on the island, so the player should only focus on the island and ignore the base on the mainland. There is a Bombard Tower here on a small island so the only way to destroy it is to attack it using around 20 Caravels, sacrificing a few in the process. After the Bombard Tower is destroyed, the player should unload the Transport Ships on the island. There is a Castle here so use the Rams to attack it, while using other troops to protect them from enemy soldiers. After the Castle is destroyed, use the Rams to attack the Wonder. Once the Wonder is destroyed, the player is victorious.

    You can get rid of the need to destroy Mombasa by destroying their Wonder before destroying Kilwa's castle.

    Bringing Muhammad to Kilwa to be Executed[]

    The player should load all of their units into the two Transport Ships and use the three Caravels to explore the entire Indian Ocean, finding Gaia Caravels and units. After the player has found all six Caravels and other units, they should bring them together. Now take all the ships near the red flag inside Kilwa and unload Muhammad. He will be executed and immediately, Mombasa and Zanzibar will change their stance towards the player to enemy. However, DO NOT take any other unit further inside Kilwa's city or else Kilwa will become an enemy as well. After Muhammad is executed, the player should take all of their units to the northwest of the city where the player will get a Town Center and few Villagers that originally belonged to Swahili Villages. The player will also get a Town Center and Villagers near an island to the east of the player's starting position but it will soon be attacked by Mombasa and Zanzibar's ships so it should be abandoned, or used for as long as possible.

    Now the main objective is to destroy the Castle of Kilwa and the Wonder of Mombasa. The player should start making an army on the mainland as soon as possible as soldiers of Bantu (orange) and Mombasa will start to attack the player soon. Also, the player should make a few Docks and start building a navy to counter the naval attacks from Mombasa and Zanzibar.

    The player should scout the mainland now and locate the Huts of Bantu (purple). The player can use their initial army to kill the soldiers defending it and destroy the Huts, after which the waves of Bantu soldiers will stop.

    Once the player has amassed a large enough army including a few Battering Rams, the player should head over to Kilwa to destroy their Castle. Since Kilwa is an ally, the player will be allowed to enter the city without resistance, so the player should take the large army by Transport Ships to the main Gate of Kilwa and enter through. Once the player's soldiers reach the center of the city, however, Kilwa will betray them and become an enemy. Kilwa's soldiers will start attacking so the player should defend the Rams and Bombard Cannon using other soldiers, while the Rams and Bombard Cannons should aim for the Guard Towers and Castle. Once the Castle is destroyed, Kilwa will surrender and the buildings of Kilwa will come under the player's control. There will be two Relics inside Kilwa's city, another one on a small island and another three on the mainland, which should be immediately collected since gold is limited on the map.

    With Kilwa defeated, the next objective is to destroy Mombasa's Wonder. Their Wonder is located on the island off the mainland so this can be done either by attacking from water or by land. If the player decides to attack by water, they will have to defeat Zanzibar first since they will be trying to sink the player's ships. But if the player decides to attack by land, they only have to take care of the Bantu troops on the mainland. So the player will be better off attacking Mombasa by land.

    To get rid of Bantu troops, the best solution is to reach the Imperial Age, research Chemistry and train Hand Cannoneers, since they have bonus against infantry. Around 10 Hand Cannoneers along with Knights to protect them should be enough to take out all of the Bantu troops in the Swahili Villages.

    After taking them down, the player should make Trebuchets at the Castle to attack Mombasa. Mombasa trains Knights, Gbetos, and Monks so the player should continue to make Hand Cannoneers, along with a few Pikemen to counter the Knights. Once the player's army reaches Mombasa, use the Trebuchets to attack the Towers. This will lure all the enemy troops to attack them, at which point the player should use their own army to counter them. The Castle, Stable, and Monastery should be the main priority so that they cannot make more units. After that, deeper into their city, the player should target their Town Center and kill their Villagers before they can remake the buildings.

    After this is done, the player should reach the edge of the town and attack their Docks. After the Docks are down, the player should bring their Trebuchets near where the Docks were. If Mombasa's ships start attacking the Trebuchets, the player should attack them with their Hand Cannoneers. Use the Trebuchets to aim at the Wonder, which is quite close to the shore. Once the Wonder is destroyed, the player will be victorious.

    Alternative strategy[]

    A much easier and shorter way to win the scenario is to find the transport with the Bombard Cannon inside it, destroy Mombasa's Wonder first, and then destroy Kilwa's castle using the Attack Ground command.

    Alternative strategy II[]

    After handing over Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din and recieving the village on the small island, start immediately collecting wood and stone from the small islands nearby. Build an Archery Range, a University and 1-2 towers, one at the north / east of the village near the fruit bushes and one at the small part west, near the stone and trees. Start gathering additional resources, research Heated Shot, and build archers to fill the towers. All incoming ships are not stopped effectively, so the player can use the starting ships to hunt down enemy ships to get the 100 gold per ship. The main difference to other tactics here is, that the player spares the sultan / red until the end. Unless the player lands troops / enter his town, he will stay an ally, which means the player can trade with his harbors. Travel to the island to the south with additional stone and build a Harbor at the bottom. From here, trading should bring in around 40-50 gold per trip. Unit limit is 200, so the player can build a lot of them and easily earn a fortune. After a while, replace the initial tower in the northwest with a Castle. Enemy trading ships will try to pass it to the north, by following the coast. There are no enemy units for the player, so the player can build an additional Castle or towers and cut off Zanzibar from its gold supplies and constantly earn gold for destroying the ships.

    Now take some units, move to the northeast of the ally (red) and overtake the village. Use some Villagers to remove the big trees in the map corner to find the hidden Gold Mines and fulfill the bonus goal that way. From now on, the player can build up multiple big armies or smaller attack groups and explore the map, going the route west - north - east. With Bombard Cannons and a lot infantry, it is an easy route and the player can slowly take out each enemy and clear the villages. Once the player reaches the main base of the yellow enemy, slowly destroy it. From the most northeastern point, the player can attack his Wonder, one of the main objectives of this scenario. Once that is done, the player can go back to the red base and destroy him, or clear up the whole map. Due to the trading routes and Castles blocking sea ways, this is a particularly fun but also easy map once the player survives the beginning.

    Alternative strategy III[]

    The player can take advantage of the AI's triggers to make the scenario quite easy.

    First, as long as Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din is not brought to either the red flag inside Kilwa or any of the four blue flags inside the Swahili Villages, none of Kilwa, Zanzibar, or Mombasa will become enemies. In this strategy, the player will bring Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din to one of the four blue flags, but only after finding all Gaia units in the Indian Ocean (explore as much of the map as possible) and clearing the Swahili Villagers of Bantu units. The player can do that with minimal (or even zero) casualties by luring the Bantu units with the two heroes (be careful not to get Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din too close to one of the blue flags), retreating to the coast, and then letting the Caravels take care of the enemy units. Use the Monk to heal any injured units and be very careful not to lose the Bombard Cannon (as it will be necessary to destroy Kilwa's Castle). When all the Swahili Villages are cleared of enemy troops, the player can safely bring Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din to the four blue flags and move to the next stage of the scenario, to destroy Kilwa's Castle.

    After destroying Kilwa's Castle, Mombasa will become an enemy and the player is tasked with destroying their Wonder. Now the player has a Town Center and so they can advance to the Imperial Age. Mombasa's Wonder can be destroyed by Trebuchets from the mainland and so the scenario is basically won if the player manages to land some Trebuchets right north of Mombasa's island. Since the Caravels will be easily destroyed by Mombasa's Fire Ships, the player should build some Fire Ships to fight Mombasa's navy and, while the naval battle ensues, the player can sneak in a Transport Ship with some Trebuchets inside.


    Empires are built on the ruins of dead empires. The pile of burnt stone we left in Mombasa, once a palace, was the foundation for the new Empire of Portugal.

    Our conquest of the Swahili coast sent waves across the Indian Ocean to the wealthy trading cities of Zanzibar, Mogadishu, Calicut, and others. We were met with either fearful gifts or the closed gates of those with the foolishness to challenge our cannons.

    Few would continue to make that mistake.


    • Historically, Almeida would have Muhammad ibn Rukn ad Din installed on the Kilwa throne as a Portuguese vassal. Therefore, it would be more accurate to have him kept alive.
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    32 jadwiga normal Jadwiga Difficulty hard The Matter of the Crown · Star of the Poles · Duel of the Dukes · The Siege of Vilnius · Vytautas' Crusade · The Fruits of Her Labor
    Jan Zizka icon Jan Zizka Difficulty medium The One-Eyed Wanderer · Courage and Coin · The Iron Lords · The Golden City · The Emperor's Fury · Warrior of God
    AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India
    Babur Icon Babur Difficulty easy Pearl of the East · The Last Timurids · Into India · The Battle of Panipat · The Rajputs
    Rajendra Icon Rajendra Difficulty hard The Successor · Deeds of the Father · Rising Star · Sacred Waters · Slaying the Vritra
    Devapala Icon Devapala Difficulty easy Dissatisfaction · Desire · Renunciation · Liberation? · Enlightenment
    AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain Royals
    Ismail Icon Ismail Difficulty medium The Red Hats · Road to Royalty · Alexander Safavi · The Fallen Amir · Khata'i
    Thoros Icon Thoros II Difficulty easy Outlawed · The Emperor's Revenge · Caught in the Crossfire · Bloody Crestwaves · Of Turncoats and Traitors
    Tamar Icon Tamar Difficulty hard Takeover · Yury's Revenge · The Protectorate · Tamar the Builder · The Queen in the Panther's Skin
    Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished
    VictorsAndVanquished Campaign Icon
    Victors and Vanquished
    Difficulty easy Scn 23 charlemagne Charlemagne · Scn 39 drake Drake · Scn 26 finehair Finehair · Scn 25 ironside Ironside · Scn 38 nobunaga Nobunaga
    Difficulty medium Scn 36 fetih Fetih · Scn 21 gaiseric Gaiseric · Scn 24 ragnar Ragnar · Scn 27 robert Robert · Scn 37 shimazu Shimazu · Scn 32 stephen Stephen · Scn 33 temujin Temujin · Scn 22 vortigern Vortigern
    Difficulty hard Scn 35 constantine Constantine XI · Scn 30 karlsefni Karlsefni · Scn 31 komnenos Komnenos · Scn 34 mstislav Mstislav · Scn 28 otto Otto · Scn 29 seljuk Seljuk