Age of Empires Series Wiki

The Lion's Den is the fifth and final scenario of the Sundjata campaign in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. It is based on the siege of Koumbi Saleh in 1240.


Mali now dominated the land on both sides of the great Niger River. Mansa Sundjata reigned freely from the gold mines of Bambuk to the city of Gao, but more was needed to stabilize the empire.

Sumanguru fled to his stronghold of Koumbi Saleh, still wreaking havoc wherever he could. As long as he lived, he would be a threat to the peace of the realm.

Sundjata called upon his men once again and began a long siege of the mighty Sosso capital and former seat of the Ghana empire. Sundjata would not be denied his final victory.

Mali now dominated the land on both sides of the great river. Mansa Sundjata reigned freely from the gold mines of Bambuk to the city of Gao, but it was not enough. Sumanguru fled to his stronghold of Koumbi Saleh, still wreaking havoc wherever he could. As long as he lived, he would be a threat to the peace of the realm.

Sundjata called upon his men once again and began a long siege to the mighty Sosso capital, the former seat of the Ghanese empire. Sundjata would not be denied his final victory.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]


  • Destroy the city of Koumbi Saleh.
  • Get rid of the evil ruler Sumanguru once and for all.


  1. Be aggressive. You start with minimal resources, so the best strategy is to expand quickly and take resources from your enemy.
  2. This battle will be fought on both land and sea. Try to find the right balance.
  3. Time is of the essence in this scenario.


  • Koumbi Saleh (Red), the former capital of the Ghanese Empire, is situated across the lake from our base. There is only one way to it by land, but transporting troops over the lake is certainly a good alternative. Koumbi Saleh is well fortified and fields a powerful infantry army that will be difficult to defeat.
  • Most resources can be find to the west of our base, on the mainland and on the small islands.
  • Sumanguru (Orange) is holding up inside the mighty city of Koumbi, he's surronded by his elite guard and will put a tough final battle before going down for good.



  • Player (Malians AoE2 Malians): Sundjata's army begins with mainland and island bases in the east. There are some ships but almost no ground army, with several Towers for defense early on, especially effective against naval invasions thanks to Heated Shot already being researched.


  • Koumbi Saleh (Malians AoE2 Malians): A massive and extremely well-fortified city in the west. They produce large numbers of Halberdiers, Champions, Shotel Warriors (despite being represented by the Malians), Cavaliers, Light Cavalry, Trebuchets, Galleons and Bombard Cannons (the latter only in the Definitive Edition), and later Cannon Galleons. Some minutes into the game, they start building a Wonder, putting the player on a clock.
  • Sumanguru (Malians AoE2 Malians): Sumanguru and his personal guard of Sosso Guards (Champions before the Definitive Edition) and Elite Shotel Warriors are entrenched inside the city. Additionally, his Arbalesters, Siege Onagers, and Trebuchets guard the double city walls and (in the original version) his Champions and Arbalesters defend the several resource holding islands in the bay. Although he has a large initial army, he cannot replenish it and his units will not attack unless provoked, except for one wave at the start of the game.


Running the gauntlet[]

At the beginning of the scenario time is of essence. As Koumbi Saleh attacks very early with a large army, certain preparations have to be made. First of all, all of Sundjata's War Galleys should be brought to safety behind the Towers to later help in the defeat of the enemy navy. Immediately gathering stone and sending a few villagers west to the bottleneck near Koumbi Saleh (where two short parallel walls are located) to construct a (Fortified) Wall to intercept the incoming army is a top priority. As soon as enough stone is available, a Castle should be built there to hold off enemy attacks from both land and water. One of the first waves contains some Elite Shotel Warriors and Petards by Sumanguru, so the Castle should be manually ordered to take these threats out.

Additionally, a Dock can be built in the little pond, where ships are safe from enemy ships. The player should not invest too heavily into War Galleys in this pond however as all enemy units have high pierce armor and the ships are trapped, limiting their utility. The best use for the pond is to position Cannon Galleons there once Chemistry and Cannon Galleon are researched (the latter not being necessary anymore in the Definitive Edition) to safely take out enemy Trebuchets attacking the wall or Castle.

Chemistry is also a requirement for Hand Cannoneers, who can take out enemies unendangered from behind the wall and have a high attack bonus versus infantry.

Once this isthmus is secured, the player can decide whether to attack Koumbi Saleh via land or via water. The land assault has some drawbacks: It basically means giving up water control, so not only are the resources on the islands forfeited but also as the enemy starts producing Cannon Galleons after some time Towers or Castles are no suitable defense, so Sundjata's base is under constant threat. Also Koumbi Saleh's mighty army has to be fought head-on as opposed to letting them run into the Castle and Hand Cannoneers positioned behind walls. Because of this reasons it is advised to mount a maritime assault.

Establishing a beach head[]

Attacking Koumbi Saleh via water has several advantages: As resources on the main land are very limited (especially gold) controlling the water also means controlling the several resource holding islands scattered across the bay while simultaneously disrupting the enemy's gold income from their mines near the shore once a beach head is secured. Secondly once the enemy navy is beaten all enemies have to attack the bottleneck, making them easy to kill by the Castle, Hand Cannoneers and additional Galleon fire from the sea. Thirdly, the Wonder is somewhat more accessible from the water.

Despite these benefits, the maritime assault is by no means an easy task and the main reasons for this are the enemy Fortified Towers. They are towers with more health and a whopping 15 range, meaning they can easily outrange even Cannon Galleons. On top of that they also regenerate health, so they cannot be worn down slowly. The best way to take them down is to approach them with Galleons to draw fire and then move in with several Cannon Galleons to destroy them quickly.

A good strategy is to raze the 5 enemy Docks (along with the surrounding Galleons) as soon as possible using Heavy Demolition Ships. This will not entirely halt their production, but will severely hinder it. Koumbi Saleh do rebuild their docks, albeit somewhat slowly and often outside the city walls (and thus removing any protection by walls or towers), making them easy targets to destroy or prevent their erection. Sometimes Koumbi Saleh also build a new Dock on one of the islands, so the villager on it should be killed if the player wants to entirely prevent the enemy from producing ships.

Once the initial Docks are gotten rid of, water control can be taken far more easily and the Fortified Towers and seaside Castle of the city should be the next target so a beach head can be established.

Invading the city[]

With the enemy navy shattered and their oceanfront fortifications and buildings destroyed, Koumbi Saleh is ripe for the taking. A good army to land would be Hand Cannoneers with Champions to soak up damage, of course supported by Galleon fire. If the enemy relies on Cavalry rather than infantry (which seems to happen sometimes) Heavy Camels with Farimba are a sound counter. A few villagers to construct military buildings to replenish the army are also of value. As Koumbi Saleh has Trebuchets however, a Siege Workshop should be built first in order to produce Bombard Cannon to safely take them out from afar without having to plow into fortifications or Sumanguru's guard.

In case time is running low, the Wonder can be assaulted by Trebuchets without alerting Sumanguru's personal guard, as long as no unit comes too close to them.

Once a large enough army is amassed, Sumanguru's personal guard and he himself can be lured towards the shore in medium groups using ranged units. With this major threat taken out, the player can tread more safely in the city and gradually take down all buildings and units.

Sometimes Koumbi Saleh does not resign, in which case all buildings including Fortified Towers have to be destroyed.


With peace in the empire and the deaths of his family avenged, Mansa Sundjata settled well into his role as the ruler of Mali.

In peace he was as effective an emperor as he was in war, building markets and monuments across his lands. He was a model for all emperors to follow, making his country a center of learning and culture at the edge of the Sahara.

And so I remain to tell his story. Balafasseke[sic] Kouyaté is my name, his humble family historian, a griot of superb bloodline and patronage. And this is Sumanguru's balophon[sic], which I stole before the battle at Kirina, and played that day to inspire the victory of Sundjata!

With peace in the empire and his ancestors avenged, Mansa Sundjata settled well into his role as the ruler of Mali. In peace he was as effective an emperor as he was in war, building markets and mosques across his lands. He was a model for all emperors to follow, making his country a center of learning and culture at the edge of the Sahara. For centuries afterward peace and stability reigned.

And so I remain to tell his story. Balafasseke[sic] Kouyaté is my name, his humble family historian, a djeli of superb bloodline and patronage. And this is Sumanguru's balophon[sic], which I stole before the battle at Kirina, and played that day to inspire the victory of Sundjata!


  • This scenario is modeled after the Pyrrhus of Epirus scenario of Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome, with a few islands added in the bay.
    • The scenario also has towers similar to Mirror Towers. However, unlike the Mirror Towers, the Fortified Tower holds a massive attack bonus against ships, but deals 9 pierce damage against non-ship units.
  • As with the previous scenario, the availability of Cannon Galleons, Bombard Cannons, and Hand Cannoners is anachronistic, as gunpowder had not reached Mali at the time. The first use of guns by an African power was by the Mamelukes at the Battle of Ain Jalut, in 1260.
  • If the player opens Koumbi Saleh's A.I. script, they will discover an additional "impossible mode" setting that causes them to attack more aggressively and with more units, as well as complete their Wonder more quickly, thereby making the scenario's difficulty comparable to its pre-patch 4.8 counterpart (although the player will still need to be modified to start in the Castle Age instead of the Imperial Age to complete the effect).
  • In the Definitive Edition, the "Roar like a Lion" achievement can be earned by winning the scenario on hard difficulty. At its release, this was the only campaign achievement that had to be done on hard difficulty.


  • With patch 4.8, the overall difficulty has been decreased and Koumbi Saleh now resigns more appropriately.
Campaigns in Age of Empires II
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of Kings
CampaignIcon-WilliamDE William Wallace Difficulty easy PC: Marching and Fighting · Feeding the Army · Training the Troops · Research and Technology · The Battle of Stirling · Forge an Alliance · The Battle of Falkirk
Xbox: Preparing for Battle · The Battle of Stirling · Forge an Alliance · The Battle of Falkirk
CampaignIcon-JoanDE Joan of Arc Difficulty easy An Unlikely Messiah · The Maid of Orleans · The Cleansing of the Loire · The Rising · The Siege of Paris · A Perfect Martyr
CampaignIcon-SaladinDE Saladin Difficulty medium An Arabian Knight · Lord of Arabia · The Horns of Hattin · The Siege of Jerusalem · Jihad! · The Lion and the Demon
CampaignIcon-KhanDE Genghis Khan Difficulty easy Crucible · A Life of Revenge · Into China · The Horde Rides West · The Promise · Pax Mongolica
CampaignIcon-BarbarossaDE Barbarossa Difficulty easy Holy Roman Emperor · Henry the Lion · Pope and Antipope · The Lombard League · Barbarossa's March · The Emperor Sleeping
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors
CampaignIcon-AttilaDE Attila the Hun Difficulty easy The Scourge of God · The Great Ride · The Walls of Constantinople · A Barbarian Betrothal · The Catalaunian Fields · The Fall of Rome
CampaignIcon-ElCidDE El Cid Difficulty easy Brother against Brother · The Enemy of my Enemy · The Exile of the Cid · Black Guards · King of Valencia · Reconquista
CampaignIcon-MontezumaDE Montezuma Difficulty easy Reign of Blood · The Triple Alliance · Quetzalcoatl · La Noche Triste · The Boiling Lake · Broken Spears
Battles of the Conquerors Icon Battles of the Conquerors Tours · Vinlandsaga · Hastings · Manzikert · Agincourt · Lepanto · Kyoto · Noryang Point
Hidden scenario The Saxon Revolt
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten
CampaignIcon-AlaricDE Alaric Difficulty hard HD: All Roads Lead to a Besieged City · Legionaries on the Horizon! · Emperor of the West · The Sack of Rome
DE: The Battle of the Frigidus · Razing Hellas · The Belly of the Beast · The Giant Falls · A Kingdom of Our Own
CampaignIcon-DraculaDE Vlad Dracula Difficulty medium The Dragon Spreads His Wings · The Return of the Dragon · The Breath of the Dragon · The Moon Rises · The Night Falls
CampaignIcon-BariDE Bari Difficulty medium HD: Arrival at Bari · The Rebellion of Melus · The Great Siege
DE: Arrival at Bari · The Rebellion of Melus · Loose Ends · The Best Laid Plans · The Onrushing Tide
CampaignIcon-SforzaDE Sforza Difficulty medium HD: An End and a Beginning · O Fortuna · The Hand of a Daughter · The Ambrosian Republic · A New Duke of Milan
DE: Mercenaries and Masters · His Own Man · Prodigal Son · Blood and Betrayal · Viva Sforza!
El Dorado Icon El Dorado (removed) Tales of La Canela · The Split · The Amazones · The Cannibals
CampaignIcon-PrithvirajDE Prithviraj Difficulty medium HD: A Promising Warrior · The Digvijaya · The Elopement · Battles of Tarain
DE: Born of Fire · The Digvijaya · Hand of a Princess · The Fate of India · The Legend of Prithviraj
Battles of the Forgotten Icon Battles of the Forgotten Bukhara · Dos Pilas · York · Honfoglalás · Langshan Jiang · Kurikara · Cyprus · Bapheus · Kaesong (cut)
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms
CampaignIcon-TariqIbnZiyadDE Tariq ibn Ziyad Difficulty medium The Battle of Guadalete · Consolidation and Subjugation · Divide and Conquer · Crossing the Pyrenees · Razzia
CampaignIcon-SundjataDE Sundjata Difficulty medium Hunted · The Sting of the Scorpion · Djeriba Gold · Blood on the River Bank · The Lion's Den
CampaignIcon-FranciscoDE Francisco de Almeida Difficulty hard The Old World · Lion of Africa · Ruins of Empires · Estado da India · A Son's Blood
CampaignIcon-YoditDE Yodit Difficulty hard Path of Exile · The Right Partner · A Fallen Crown · Broken Stelae · Welcome Home
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas
CampaignIcon-GajahMadaDE Gajah Mada Difficulty medium The Story of Our Founders · Unconditional Loyalty · The Oath to Unify Nusantara · Serving the New King · The Pasunda Bubat Tragedy
CampaignIcon-SuryavarmanIDE Suryavarman I Difficulty easy Usurpation · Quelling the Rebellion · A Dangerous Mission · Challenging a Thalassocracy · Nirvanapada
CampaignIcon-BayinnaungDE Bayinnaung Difficulty hard The Burmese Tigers · The Mandalay Cobra · The Royal Peacock · The White Elephant · The Old Tiger
CampaignIcon-LeLoiDE Le Loi Difficulty hard The Dai Viet Uprising · The Mountain Siege · The Battle at Hanoi · Reaching South · A Three-Pronged Attack · The Final Fortress
AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition
CampaignIcon-TheArtOfWar The Art of War Difficulty easy Early Economy · Booming · Rushing the Enemy · Fast Castle Age · Defending Against A Rush · Land Battle · Destroying a Castle · Naval Battle · Battle Formations
CampaignIcon-Pachacuti Pachacuti Difficulty medium A New Power Arises · The Field of Blood · War of Brothers · The Falcon's Tent · Like Father, Like Son
00 historical battles normal Historical Battles Difficulty easy Scn 09 bukhara normal Bukhara · Scn 10 dos pilas normal Dos Pilas · Scn 01 tours normal Tours · Scn 11 york normal York · Scn 12 honfoglalas normal Honfoglalás · Scn 02 vinlandsaga normal Vinlandsaga · Scn 03 hastings normal Hastings · Scn 04 manzikert normal Manzikert · Scn 13 kurikara normal Kurikara · Scn 14 cyprus normal Cyprus · Scn 15 bapheus normal Bapheus · Scn 16 lake poyang normal Lake Poyang · Scn 05 agincourt normal Agincourt · Scn 06 lepanto normal Lepanto · Scn 07 kyoto normal Kyoto · Scn 08 noryang point normal Noryang Point
Event scenarios E3 2019 Demo · Mongol Raiders · Barbarossa Brawl · Mangudai Madness · The Siege (co-op)
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last Khans
CampaignIcon-Tamerlane Tamerlane Difficulty easy Amir of Transoxiana · Gurkhan of Persia · Harbinger of Destruction · Sultan of Hindustan · Scourge of the Levant · A Titan Amongst Mortals
CampaignIcon-Ivaylo Ivaylo Difficulty hard A Most Unlikely Man · An Unlikely Alliance · Tsar of the Bulgars · Echoes of Heroes · Where the One-Eyed Man is King
CampaignIcon-Kotyan Kotyan Khan Difficulty hard Raising the Banners · The Battle at the Kalka River · Saving the Huts · Blood for Blood · A New Home
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West
CampaignIcon-EdwardDE Edward Longshanks Difficulty easy Vain Ambition · A Man of God · Of Castles and Kings · Toom Tabard · Hammer of the Scots
CampaignIcon-DukesDE Grand Dukes Difficulty medium A Kingdom Divided · The Wolf and the Lion · The Cleansing of Paris · Unholy Marriage · The Hook and Cod Wars · The Maid Falls
CampaignIcon-HautevillesDE The Hautevilles Difficulty hard Guiscard Arrives · Roger in Sicily · Bohemond and the Emperor · Bohemond in the East · Wonder of the World
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the Dukes
Algirdas icon Algirdas and Kestutis Difficulty easy Family Affairs · No Man's Land · The Tatar Yoke · A Worthy Opponent · In the Shadow of the Throne
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