The rebellion started to pick up later that year and this time Lê Lợi could go on the offensive. The main goal of Lê Lợi was to take Hanoi and prevent Ming reinforcements to reach the garrisons in the southern Vietnamese cities.
However the Ming army was large and determined to keep the city.
- Locals (Vietnamese) are scattered at the half eastern part of the map. They have no military unit. But if the player is able to liberate their villages from the Ming forces, they will give their Villagers and buildings to the player. They also have a Monastery at the near west, but the Monastery can only be claimed if the player is able to bring their Monk to the Turtle Lake at the middle of the map.
- Ming Deserters (Chinese) are located to the south, east, and north. Their army consists of Pikemen, Cavalry Archers, Crossbowmen, Elite Rattan Archers, Imperial Skirmishers, Capped Rams, Ballista Elephants, Cavaliers, Light Cavalry, and Two-Handed Swordsmen. If the player is able to reach their locations with at least 30 units, 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 Nus, 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.
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 of escence to use effective tactics in combat, like luring out enemies or letting the regenerating Le Loi take most of the fire.
The rice paddyEdit
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 outpostEdit
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 can't 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 Nus 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 won't be under Le Loi's control forever, as it is later attacked by Ming, but the player shouldn't 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's 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's 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 RubiconEdit
After the fort, there's yet another attack by Chu Ko Nus 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's 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 MonkEdit
While Hanoi lies directly to the south, it is ill-advised to attack it immediately, as Le Loi's forces won't 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 HanoiEdit
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's 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's 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 Nus 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.
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 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's where he met the holy turtle, which he "returned" the sword to it, hence the lake name.