The Great Ride is the second scenario in the Attila the Hun campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is loosely based on the Hunnic invasion of the Balkans of 443 - 445 A.D.

Scenario Instructions Edit

Starting Conditions Edit

Objectives Edit

  • Raid the Roman villages. Once you have enough resources to build a forward base, then you can field an army against the Romans.
    • Train an army and defeat the Romans by leveling their Town Center.
    • OPTIONAL: Give 6 villagers to the Scythian Wild Women in return for their assistance.

Hints Edit

  1. Each of the small villages (not counting the Roman fort) has a resource: food, wood, gold, stone, villagers, and troops. Your Tarkans will suggest what to do in each village to capture a resource.
  2. This is a raid—get what you can and get out! Destroying some buildings will grant you resources, but it is not necessary to raze every enemy building.
  3. Notice locations of resources. You might need them at a later date.
  4. The Huns are still confined to the Castle Age.

Scouts Edit

  • Your scouts report: Attila's Huns (yellow) invade the Eastern Roman Empire with several cavalry, but no villagers. They expect only token resistance from all of the villages.
  • The exception is the Roman army (blue), which has a fortified base to the east. Do not attempt the invade it until you are prepared.
  • The other villages may have food, wood, gold, stone, villagers, or troops that you can use to challenge the Romans.

Players Edit

Player Edit

  • Player (Huns): The player starts with the starting army in the northern corner of the map.

Allies Edit

  • Scythians (Mongols): The Scythians have a Yurt in a clearing in the woods in the center of the map, east of the river. After seeing the three Wild Women, they will request six Villagers and if given the trees will clear and make way to reach yet another clearing a little to the north, where 14 Hunting Wolves and 12 Petards can be picked up (In the Definitive Edition, the player is rewarded with 9 Mangudais, 1 Onager, and 3 Capped Rams).

Enemies Edit

  • Adrianople (Byzantines): Adrianople lies in the southeast. Destroying all their Mining Camps earns the player gold. They have a few Monks guarding their monastery.
  • Dyrrhachium (Teutons, Byzantines in the Definitive Edition): Dyrrhachium is in the west. There are Gaia military units at their fortified Castle. Either destroying their Town Center or killing all their soldiers confined in the Palisade Wall will make them resign.
  • Naissus (Goths, Byzantines in the Definitive Edition): Naissus is in the northeast. Destroying all of their Lumber Camps earns the player wood. They have no army.
  • Sofia (Franks, Byzantines in the Definitive Edition): Sofia is in the northwest next to the player's starting point and likely to encountered first. Destroying their Town Center earns the player food. They have a few Men-at-Arms.
  • Thessalonica (Byzantines): Thessalonica lies in the south. Destroying their Houses will give the player custody of their Villagers and Fishing Ships. They have a few Archers and a Monk guarding their town.
  • Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines): The Eastern Roman Empire has a fortified town to the east. They mostly field Crossbowmen and Mangonels. On hard difficulty, they also field many Pikemen, Long Swordsmen, Knights, Scorpions, and rams. 

Strategy Edit

The first section of the scenario is fairly straightforward. Destroy Sofia's town center with Tarkans. It is recommended to snipe the majority of a town's villagers with Cavalry Archers before commencing any sort of attack. Next, head east to Naissus and crush them similar to the method used against Sofia. Then move southwest towards the Teutons of Dyrrachium. They have about five archers and a single Mangonel enclosed in one section of the palisade. It is not necessary to fight the Mangonel and archers, as they cannot leave the enclosed area.

Alternatively, destroy one section of the wall and lure the units out with Tarkans. After this, run a single cavalry around the stone wall, until you can see the castle holding some cavalry hostage. If the archer is carefully placed he will receive no damage from the castle and since the castle has not researched Murder Holes (only on Standard/Easy Difficulty) your cavalry should take time and destroy the castle - on higher difficulty avoid the castle altogether. At this point, take a break and wait for the castle to fall. When the building eventually collapses, march the troops south to Thessalonica and park them just outside of the city limits. At this point, set your archers and Tarkans to stand ground, because you cannot afford to lose a villager to a careless horseman. Then, move the Cavalry Archers forward and shoot the bowman protecting the city. After this task is done (or sometimes during the task), a Monk will make a careless run at the player's troops. Make sure he is cut to pieces and then turn and capture the town. This takes 15–30 minutes

At this point there are two schools of thought:

Build Up a Force and Take Down Byzantium Edit

This obviously takes longer, but is often easier. Keep in mind that Byzantium builds as you build, just not as quickly or smartly, so eventually the player will overtake the Byzantines. Simply march the existing troops into Adrianople and slaughter their mines and turn back to Thessalonica. At this junction, the Scythians leave and you use your existing villagers to build a new town. Try to replicate Thessalonica as much as possible, while utilizing the mines of Adrianople to the east. after building up a nice sizeable force of knights and cavalry archers. March them to the gates of the Eastern Roman Empire, remember to hard stone to build a castle at the gates, and systematically destroy the layers of their defenses, while luring out their best units with the knights. This should take about another 45–60 minutes.

Rush Byzantium Edit

Ignore every single thing said above and simply race the troops down to Dyrrachium, ignoring the palisade, and focusing solely on the captured troops. Once freed, take them down to Thessalonica and lay waste to the town in a very cautious and undestructive manner. Make sure that no villager is killed. Ignore Adrianople and move your entire force to the Scythian camp and exchange the villagers for the petards. Along this timeline, Byzantium will have had little time to buff up their weak defenses, making them a very weak and ripe target. Use the petards to blast the wall, and the cavalry to run down archers and the archers to protect the cavalry. This takes 30 minutes max.

Trivia Edit

Historical comparison Edit

  • As in many of the following scenarios, several cities in the Eastern Roman Empire are depicted as different European civilizations other than Byzantines.
  • This campaign was actually led by Attila and Bleda together while the latter was alive. Some even speculate that Attila murdered Bleda because he decided to return north after defeating the Eastern Roman army instead of advancing on nearby Constantinople, which had not built its famous double-walls and Sea Wall yet.
  • Sofia, the modern capital of Bulgaria, was called Serdica at the time and is actually east of Naissus (modern Nis, Serbia), rather than west as in the scenario.
  • Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës, Albania), is a coastal city in reality and was a prominent port city in Antiquity, but it is landlocked in the scenario.
  • Philippopolis (now Plovdiv, Bulgaria), which is sacked by Attila in the following scenario, was actually sacked in this campaign.

Gallery Edit

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