Age of Empires Series Wiki
Advertisement
Age of Empires Series Wiki

The Catalaunian Fields is the fifth scenario in the Attila the Hun campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is based on the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields (June 20, 451 A.D.), the final engagement of the Hunnic invasion of Gaul.

This scenario is similar to a deathmatch, as all players begin with few units but many resources.

Intro[]

'And now,' said Father Armand, 'is where I entered the story.'

The battle between Hun and Roman was fought at the end of June, 451. The Romans were commanded by Aetius, a brilliant and celebrated general who had been held hostage by the Huns when he was a boy. Aetius knew Attila and he knew the Hunnic ways. Since he had returned to the Western Empire, Aetius had done more than any man to keep Rome alive throughout the period of barbarian invasions.

His army was not large enough to face Attila alone, so Aetius convinced tribes of the Alans and Visigoths to ally with him. Even though these dubious allies had a common hatred of the Huns, it was still a remarkable achievement on Aetius' part to have drawn them into a effective military relationship.

The Huns were eager for battle. Attila's shamans looked at the entrails of cattle and the color of sheep bones, and prophesized that the Huns would meet defeat on the Catalaunian Fields. However, they also foresaw that the commander of the opposing force would be killed.

Attila must have though this a fair trade, because he brought battle to Aetius and the Goths.

Before blood was drawn, Attila stood before his assembled troops clutching the sword of Mars in his fist. He told them, 'It is a right of nature to glut the soul with vengeance. I shall hurl the first spear at the foe. If any man can stand at rest while Attila fights, he is a dead man.'

"And now," said Father Armand, "is where I entered the story."

The battle between Hun and Roman was fought at the end of June, 451. The Romans were commanded by Aetius, a brilliant and celebrated general who had been held hostage by Attila when he was a boy. Aetius knew Attila and knew the Hunnic ways. Since he had returned to the Western Empire, Aetius had done more than any man to keep Rome alive throughout the period of barbarian invasions.

His army was not large enough to face Attila alone, so Aetius convinced tribes of the Alans and Visigoths to ally with him. Even though these dubious allies had a common hatred of the Huns, it was still a remarkable achievement on Aetius' part to have drawn them into a effective military relationship.

The Huns were eager for battle. Attila's shamans looked at the entrails of cattle and the color of sheep bones, and prophesized that the Huns would meet defeat on the Catalaunian fields. However, they also foresaw that the commander of the opposing force would be killed.

Attila must have though this a fair trade because he brought battle to Aetius and the Goths.

Before blood was drawn, Attila stood before his assembled troops clutching the sword of Mars in his fist. He told them, "It is a right of nature to glut the soul with vengeance. I shall hurl the first spear at the foe. If any man can stand at rest while Attila fights, he is a dead man."

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Objectives[]

  • Defeat the Romans, Alans, and Visigoths.

Hints[]

  1. This battle will play like a Death Match. Prepare for attack almost immediately, but don't forget to collect resources to replenish your losses.

Scouts[]

  • Your scouts report: The Huns (yellow) and their allies, the Ostrogoths (red), occupy the right-hand side of the battlefield.
  • The Romans (blue) and their allies, the Visigoths (green) and Alans (cyan), are drawn up across the creek on the left-hand side of the battlefield.
  • The embattled Franks (gray) have been caught in the middle of the battle, and will soon be defeated. Their fate is none of the Huns' concern.
  • Among your enemies, the Romans are the most dangerous. Their infantry, Cataphracts, and siege weapons will initially try and hit the Ostrogoths on the Huns' flank. The Visigoths train Huskarls and some cavalry, while the Alans are composed mostly of Spearmen and Archers.

Players[]

Player[]

  • The Player (Huns) starts with no buildings and just a few units and Sheep to the south of the map. A large central river with several shallows separates the player and its ally, the Ostrogoths, from the enemies.

Ally[]

  • The Ostrogoths (Goths) start with a small encampment east of the player's starting position. They field Knights and Men-at-Arms. In the Definitive Edition, they can advance to the Imperial Age and will upgrade Knights to Cavaliers and Men-at-Arms to Champions, but are still the weakest of all players and of little actual help. They start with a Trebuchet in lower difficulty settings.

Neutral[]

  • The Franks (Franks) have some abandoned settlements and Farms scattered across the map. As they cannot train any units and have no army to begin with (except for a lonely Scout Cavalry and some Battering Rams), they play no role in the scenario.

Enemies[]

  • The Visigoths (Goths) reside at the southwestern part of the map and are the closest enemy to the player's starting area. In the HD Edition, they attack mainly with Battering Rams, Knights, and infantry; while in the Definitive Edition, they make only Champions, Huskarls, Halberdiers, and sometimes Petards and Trebuchets. They start with no Castles, but will build several if left unchecked, and sometimes also Barracks near the player's territory.
  • The Western Roman Empire (Byzantines) has a town at the northeastern section of the map, directly facing the Ostrogoths. They are the strongest opponent. They attack with Cataphracts, Champions, Scorpions, Trebuchets, Petards, and sometimes Paladins. Though their town is not walled, they build several defensive Castles and Towers, and will replace them when they get destroyed. They may also build Barracks near the player's territory.

Strategy[]

This scenario starts similarly to a death match rule setting, with plentiful starting resources and no Town Center. The starting Villagers should build a Town Center immediately, in order to create more Villagers and build military buildings to raise and upgrade an army quickly. Unlike other resources, there is only enough stone to place one Castle before needing to mine more, and stone is scarce in the area assigned to the player. Because of this, the Castle is better placed just north of the town center, to protect against Alan attacks, and building a Market (to buy stone and build more Castles) and University (to research defensive upgrades including Chemistry) should also be prioritary. Since even the Hard AI has trouble dealing with walls, Palisade Walls (and maybe Stone Walls later on) are useful to keep enemy forces away from the Castles while they are bleeded by arrow fire.

Do not get confident because of the high number of starting resources and forget making Villagers and upgrading them. On difficulties other than standard, the resources will run out. Have at least 10 Villagers on wood, 10 on food, and 10 on gold.

The army should consist of large numbers of the Huns' cheap and powerful Cavalry Archers, with some Trebuchets to batter down enemy defenses and melee cavalry to deal with siege weapons and chasing enemy Villagers after the armies are defeated. Hunnic Scorpions and Mangonels cannot be upgraded, so they are better left unbuilt.

On Hard difficulty, the difference between a quick and easy victory and a dragged and hard-fought 1-vs-3 battle comes down to defeating the Visigoths early on. If the starting Tarkans are sent east right away, they will overwhelm the few starting Visigothic infantry before they can build Castles and create more units. Failing to do so will not just mean having to level the Visigothic Castles later, but also fighting wave after wave of Halberdiers and Huskarls that will legitimately threaten the Hunnic Castles and Cavalry Archers, and are harder to counter than the cavalry-based armies of the Alans and Romans. Ostrogoths do little besides serving as a distraction for the Alans and Romans, and only briefly.

Once the Visigoths are defeated, the Alans are next. Send Cavalry Archers, Light Cavalry, and Trebuchets through former Visigothic territory and then north until finding the Alan Castle. Destroy it and their base is easily overwhelmed. Continue on to the Western Roman Empire base, east of the Alans. Incorporate Knights, which are good against the Roman Cataphracts, Champions, and Scorpions, and attack the Western Roman Empire from two sides, draining its army and ensuring they do not rebuild as they get destroyed. As the base is protected by several Castles and Towers, it is imperative that the push is relentless. Destroy the defenses and Town Centers with Trebuchets, while the Cavalry Archers protect them from enemy forces, and the cavalry kills the Villagers.

Outro[]

It was a catastrophic battle, one of the largest and greatest the world has ever seen. The stream was turned into a torrent by the rushing of blood. I pity those that were forced to slake their thirst from it. 'Cadavero vero innumera', the Romans said afterwards. 'Truly countless bodies.' Perhaps 300,000 men were left dead on the Catalaunian Fields. It is said the ghosts of those killed continued to fight for several days.

I passed within inches of the fell Hun king as he stalked the battlefield, trying to determine which of his chieftains and allies yet lived. When he found me, huddled beneath my shield, I made my peace with God. But Attila did not seek my decapitation. He saw that I was a holy man, and ordered me to join his retinue of foreign advisors. 'That is how you know so much of the Huns,' I offered.

The priest nodded. Despite the carnage, the outcome of the legendary battle was unclear. Attila had lost much of his cavalry, but the Roman army would never recover from its losses. For a time, no one knew if the Hunnic king would continue to pursue the hand of Honoria. 'But what of the prophecy?' I asked. 'Did Aetius die on the battlefield?'

'Nay. It was Theodoric the Goth, not Aetius, who died and fulfilled the prophecy. Aetius knew that if he utterly destroyed the Huns, then the Visigoths would have no need for a Roman alliance and Rome would face yet another barbarian threat.

And so, Aetius retired from military life, hoping that the outcome of the Catalaunian Fields would leave the Huns and Goths in a stalemate. He hoped he had done enough to save his empire. He had not.

It was a catastrophic battle, one of the largest and greatest the world has ever seen. The stream was turned into a torrent by the rushing of blood. I pity those that were forced to slake their thirst from it. "Cadavero vero innumera," the Romans said afterwards. "Truly countless bodies." Perhaps 300,000 men were left dead on the Catalaunian fields. It is said the ghosts of those killed continued to fight for several days.

I passed within inches of the fell Hun king as he stalked the battlefield, trying to determine which of his chieftains and allies yet lived. When he found me, huddled beneath my shield, I made my peace with God. But Attila did not seek my decapitation. He saw that I was a holy man, and ordered me to join his retinue of foreign advisors. "That is how you know so much of the Huns," I offered.

The priest nodded. Despite the carnage, the outcome of the legendary battle was unclear. Attila had lost much of his cavalry, but the Romans' entire army was destroyed. For a time, no one knew if the Hunnic king would continue to pursue the hand of Honoria. "But what of the prophecy?" I asked. "Did Aetius die on the battlefield?"

"Nay. It was Theodoric the Goth, not Aetius, who died and fulfilled the prophecy. Aetius knew that if he utterly destroyed the Huns, then the Visigoths would have no need for a Roman alliance and Rome would face yet another barbarian threat.

And so, Aetius retired from military life, hoping that the outcome of the Catalaunian fields would leave the Huns and Goths in a stalemate, hoping that he had done enough to save his empire. He had not.

Trivia[]

  • This scenario inspired the rework of the Coming of the Huns scenario in the Imperium Romanum campaign in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, mirroring features like the map and the starting positions of the teams, but the player taking the Roman command and point of view.
  • This is the only non-7- or -8-player scenario with a grey team.
  • In the Definitive Edition, the "Truly Countless Bodies" achievement can be earned by defeating all opponents before 30 minutes have elapsed.

Historical comparison[]

  • Although the player emerges victorious, the real battle is widely regarded as tactically inconclusive (as mentioned in the post-game narrative) and a strategic victory for the Romans and Visigoths.
    • However, the Alans were all but destroyed and the Visigoths fell in disarray after the death of Theodoric, almost breaking lines before his son Thorismund led a surprise charge that routed the Ostrogoths and Huns. Aetius also declined to pursue Attila after the battle and allowed the Visigoths and Franks to return to their homes, which depleted his own forces.
  • The Alans, represented by Vikings, actually were an Iranian-speaking people from the Eurasian steppes with ways of war similar to the Huns. Perhaps because of this, the Alan AI favors the creation of cavalry archers despite Viking ones not being particularly powerful.
  • In reality, Aetius did not retire after the battle, but waged a guerrilla war against Attila when Italy was invaded the year after. This invasion is the basis of the following scenario.

Gallery[]