The Battle at Hanoi is the third scenario of the Le Loi campaign in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas. It is about the struggle of Le Loi and his forces to liberate Hanoi from the occupation of Ming forces.
People from all over Vietnam came to Le Loi - even veterans of old forgotten wars and boys barely old enough to carry weapons. Le Loi needed to use the momentum of the rebellion to deal a decisive blow to the Ming forces. The rebel army would strike at the old capital of Hanoi...
- Player (Vietnamese) start with a small army in the south.
- Locals (Vietnamese) are scattered at the half eastern part of the map. They have no military units, but if the player is able to save their villages from the Ming forces, they will give their Villagers to the player. They also have a Monastery at the near west, with the Turtle Monk hero near it.
- Locals (Vietnamese) have a rice farm complex in the south near the starting location.
- Ming Deserters (Chinese) are located to the south, east, and north. Their army consists of Pikemen, Cavalry Archers, Crossbowmen, Elite Skirmishers, Capped Rams, Mangonels, Light Cavalry, and Two-Handed Swordsmen.
- Mountain Rebels (Vietnamese) have a base located to the far north. If the player is able to reach their locations, they will give their units and buildings to the player.
- Ming (Chinese) are located scattered all over the land. They have a strong army consisting of Chu Ko Nu, Archers, Crossbowmen, Skirmishers, Spearmen, Pikemen, Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Men-at-Arms, and Monks. With the exception of Hanoi which is located at the middle of the map and guarded by Castle, Watch Towers, and Fortified Wall, their base is generally weak enough to be breached.
In the Definitive Edition, the Ming will not start gathering resources or producing anything until the player triggers them. The player can kill everything outside of the main base up until they cross the river, and even the gate to the south after the player has crossed - but hitting that Castle will trigger them to start.
Le Loi wants to conquer the city of Hanoi, currently occupied by the Ming, but has only a small guerilla force, so he has to secure resources and additional supporters before storming the city.
The scenario starts with Le Loi himself and a small army consisting of Light Cavalry, Long Swordsmen, and Imperial Skirmishers, but no villagers or military buildings, so it is essential to use effective tactics in combat, like luring out enemies or letting the regenerating Le Loi take most of the fire.
The rice paddy
In order to secure his hold on the countryside, Le Loi plans on liberating a nearby rice paddy, but the gorge to it is seamed with Ming Watch Towers and Bombard Towers, and blocked by Barricades, so a direct approach would cost the lives of many men. Luckily across the Barricades, some Gaia Light cavalry and Imperial Skirmishers join Le Loi when approached. These few man can easily overpower the two Skirmishers on the cliff path northwest, but should be careful not to attract the attention of the rice paddy guards to the west. After the path, a Capped Ram can be acquired, which then can be used to destroy the first three towers (they have reduced hit points), but the last Watch Tower should be avoided for now, as coming near it prompts a Ming attack, and the Ram is useful later, so the tower should be spared until the rest of the army has caught up. Said tower can be tanked by Le Loi, while his men destroy the Barricades.
Before continuing east, Le Loi's plan of taking the rice paddy to the west should be tackled. The paddy is meakly defended by some Spearmen, Archers, and Skirmishers, as well as patrolling Pikemen, which should all be taken out separately. The rice paddy is claimed by destroying the Ming Trade Workshop, which prompts the farmers to promise Le Loi food, giving the player a food trickle (5 food every 5 seconds).
A first outpost
With the rice paddy under control, Le Loi can continue east along the cliff. Like mentioned before, approaching the last Watch Tower on the cliff triggers Ming Light Cavalry and Men-at-Arms to attack, but the united army of Le Loi should have no problems killing them. Further down the road, some Ming Deserters join the Vietnamese cause and they also tribute 600 wood, which can be used later. These deserters are initially better equipped than Le Loi's starting army, as they have at least Feudal Age upgrades, but they cannot be further upgraded.
Up ahead is a small Ming outpost, in front of which some Crossbowmen, which can be lured, stand guard. When the outpost is attacked, Ming reinforcements consisting of some cavalry and Chu Ko Nu ambush the player's rear, but Pikemen can quickly deal with the former and Imperial Skirmishers with the latter. the Palisade Gate of the outpost is locked and the garrison consists solely of melee units, so if the player wants to be extra cheesy, Le Loi can draw tower fire while his ranged units destroy the tower, then just destroy a single tile of Palisade Wall and block the way, while ranged units feather the helpless enemies.
With the garrison defeated, Castle Age is researched, the Ming tribute 200 gold and the military buildings (Barracks, Archery Range, and Stable) are forked over to the player, but with careful fighting, the current population limit of 40 (limited by lack of Houses) should already be well surpassed, so the only real use of these building is maybe researching Bloodlines, but the player might want to save the resources.
The outpost most likely will not be under Le Loi's control forever, as it is later attacked by Ming, but the player should not despair, as they can later take over more military buildings.
Upon exiting the outpost, more Ming archers ambush from the woods, but like the previous attempts, they are rather unconvincing. To the northwest lies the main goal of Hanoi, but from this side it is too well defended to be attacked by Le Loi's mediocre forces, so the player should rather head northeast across a bridge.
The crossing is protected by two War Galleys, so again Le Loi or the Capped Ram should take the fire, while the other units sink the ships. Beyond the bridge, there is a Dock, the destruction of which nets another 150 wood, as well as more Ming deserters and a Blacksmith switching over. Depending on the player's remaining starting forces (the other ones are not affected), the Blacksmith can be used to research upgrades, the most important one most likely being archer upgrades like Fletching, as most of the starting army consists of Imperial Skirmishers.
Further down the road Le Loi notices some Farms plundered by the Ming. The farmers are held captive in a small fort to the north (along the way there is a Ming Trade Workshop, which prompts another 200 gold tribute). When the Villagers are freed, they are taken over by the player and they can be used to gather resources, but they can only build resource gather buildings (Mill, Mining Camp, and Lumber Camp), Farms, Blacksmith, University, and Palisade Walls and Gates, so most notably no Town Center, Houses or military buildings. It should also be noted, that as the villagers are taken over and not created, economic technologies like Double-Bit Axe have no effect whatsoever. The released prisoners tell Le Loi of more prisoners of war to the north (this time soldiers), as well as nearby camp of Ming Deserters.
As the Ming do not yet gather resources or train units, the player can get a rather unfair advantage by not advancing with their army, but just gather resources at increased game speed.
Crossing of the Rubicon
After the fort, there is yet another attack by Chu Ko Nu from atop a cliff, which can be dealt with using the good old Le Loi tanking strategy. To the north there is another fort, but it is of no harm to first take a turn and gather the Ming Deserters army in the south to make the fight all the easier. The Deserters also tell Le Loi of the Turtle Monk, who can heal his army and lives on a peninsula in the far west (see below). The mentioned fort is manned mostly by Spearmen, so the battle should be over quickly, however there is also a Bombard Cannon in the back, which should be considered. The prisoners are freed by destroying the Yurts.
With the captives released, the player can head back south to the Sign, and then west, to capture some Transport Ships to cross the river. However, caution is advised when sailing, as there is a Ming Castle directly to the west, so the player should land a little farther north. Another point to mention is that from now on, the Ming gather resources and start producing units.
Siege preparations and the Turtle Monk
While Hanoi lies directly to the south, it is ill-advised to attack it immediately, as Le Loi's forces will not be enough to take it in one storm. Instead the player should head towards the northern tip of the map, where a Ming Deserter fortress, including a Castle, and all other military buildings, except for a Siege Workshop can be taken over. Among the new units there are three Ballista Elephants, which can later cut the trees alongside the road to Hanoi, to have more room for maneuvers.
The Turtle Monk can be found farther west on the tip of a long peninsula. He gives the player 500 gold and grants Le Loi +4 attack if the player takes him to the Turtle Lake in Hanoi (marked by an ally Fire Tower and Box Turtles). On the way back there is yet another Ming ambush. While it might be tempting to heal up the entire army, this gives the Ming time to gather resources and muster an army.
The siege of Hanoi
With all assets gathered, Hanoi can be taken head-on. The first obstacle is the above-mentioned Castle, which can be destroyed using the captured Capped Rams. The nearby University awards another 300 gold in tribute. The city itself is a different story. While it has no walls towards the north, there is only a small tree-seamed path leading directly to another Castle behind Turtle Lake. In order to better navigate, it is advised to use the Deserters' Ballista Elephants to clear the trees.
When entering Hanoi, there is a Siege Workshop to be captured, which catapults both the player and the Ming to the Imperial Age. The main advantage of this is that the player can now construct Trebuchets to take out the fortifications from afar. The Capped Rams are a great distraction for enemy archers thanks to their high pierce armor, but Chu Ko Nu destroy them much faster than other archers.
The push into Hanoi might be slow, but the Ming do not rebuild their buildings, so destroying their military facilities halts their production for good.
Contrary to the scenario objectives, it sometimes does not seem to be enough to destroy the Castles to win. In this case, the player should just level some more buildings until victory is declared.
With Hanoi conquered, Le Loi is victorious.
Upon reaching the mountain fortress, rather than attacking from the north, downwards, the player can instead build a few Transport Ships to transport all the units back to the starting location.
To make this work requires the player to completely wall off the walkway leading to the southern rice fields. To be safe, the first thing the player should do is to destroy the wooden fences that line the walkway. Secondly, the player should build Stone Walls on the entire path, despite the cost of doing so.
In response, the enemy units will be frozen a short distance away (a common reaction by the AI if the only land route to the base is walled off by enough layers of walls) at the cliff above the starting location. That said, enemy units may resume their attack if the player attacks the enemy units that are 'stuck', for example, via Trebuchets.
If the player had not managed to pick up the Ming Deserters units located just above the starting location, the player may also be able to share their vision and keep track of the enemy units stuck there.
Subsequently, the player simply needs to set the status of the Ming to neutral, camp outside the enemy Docks with about 10-15 Galleons, and trade with the Docks. Cannon Galleons have a slight splash damage, and should therefore be used mostly for the purpose of destroying the buildings near the coast - which in turn will allow the player to transport other units such as Trebuchets to make short work of the Ming base.
Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition
The layout and objectives in this scenario almost remains the same; however, there are few noticeable differences.
The player will not have Le Loi hero at the start of the scenario, meaning the player will need careful micromanagement with all available units at the start. Furthermore, when the player rescues the villagers, the player will not be given resources immediately. Instead, the resources will be given once the player reaches the northern base.
Ming Deserters are spread out throughout the map, but they are now a separate cyan player instead of orange (The orange player is now labeled Mountain Rebels instead, and mostly consist of buildings in the northernmost map and a Dock nearby).
The second half of the scenario once reaching the base in the north of the map is changed to be more of a traditional build-and-destroy scenario, and the player is automatically given the nearby Docks to build up a navy. Keep in mind that the Ming AI is now designed to be more aggressive, and the AI will prioritize destroying the Monastery near the west of the map. This is because the player is unable to build any additional Monasteries, and can secure a Relic nearby the Mountain Rebels' base. It should also be noted that while the player is immediately advanced to the Castle Age upon reaching the Mountain Base, several Feudal Age economic and Blacksmith upgrades will not be researched, while the Ming AI is automatically advanced into the Imperial Age with various economic and military technologies researched. Because of this, the scenario is significantly harder than the HD version.
It is also important to destroy every single Ming military building outside of Hanoi before the second half of the scenario, as the AI will use them to train units to initiate sneak attack on the player.
The northern gulf of the map now has mangrove shallows around the curve, which makes it easier for the Ming to destroy the Monastery. Conversely, the mangrove shallows make it easier for the player to besiege Hanoi, and allow ample opportunities for a mix of naval and land warfare around the curvature of the gulf.
Completing the Turtle Monk objective now grants the player 1,000 gold, rather than 500 gold and +4 attack.
Hanoi was captured and now all of the southern Ming occupation forces were cut offfrom China. The Chinese emperor was furious with the failure of his generals.Therefore, he sent his most capable general, Wang Tong, to Vietnam. Wang was a veteran of many wars against the nomads of the north and a brilliant tactician. If anyone would be able to challenge Le Loi, it would be him.
The Ming tried their best to prevent Hanoi from falling but in the end failed to do so. With Hanoi captured Lê Lợi had shown that the rebellion was well under way to achieve its goals. Now the Ming had learned to fear him. They knew he was a strong pretender for the throne and if they wanted to stop him they'd have to bring in a more experienced general.
- Le Loi gains +4 attack after completing the mission for the Turtle Monk, who rewards him with the holy sword. This depiction is incorrect, as the sword itself was only legend, and the only known version was that a fisherman found the blade in an ancient stream, and a lumberjack (or ethnic minority) found the handle under an ancient tree. They felt something supernatural within it, and when bumped into each other during Lam Son Uprising, decided to forge it together into a sword, which they offered to Le Loi. The lake is not where he received the sword, it is where he met the holy turtle, which he "returned" the sword to it, hence the lake name.
- This is "corrected" in the Definitive Edition as Le Loi no longer appears.
- While geographically correct, the use of the name "Hanoi" is massively anachronistic. During the time of Le Loi, the city was renamed from its original title of Thang Long (昇龍 in Chinese, lit. "Rising Dragon"), to Dong Quan under Ming rule, then finally Dong Kinh after Loi established the Le dynasty. The city only became known as "Hanoi" during the French colonial era, some four hundred years later.
- This scenario should really be the fifth in the campaign. The Vietnamese army laid siege to Hanoi on 8 December 1426 and captured it in January 1427, after they had already penetrated south to Nghệ An in 1425 (depicted in the fourth scenario) and fought the Ming in the "three-pronged attack" of the battle of Tốt Động – Chúc Động in early December 1426 (depicted in the fifth scenario).