The City of Acre. Nearly twenty-one years have I ridden with Saladin...
When word of the Saracen victory at Jerusalem reached Europe, another Crusade was launched. The kings of the three most powerful nations in Europe - England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire - embarked for the Holy Land with hundreds of thousands of troops.
Saladin knows that his most dangerous opponent is Richard the Lionhearted of England, a brilliant tactician the art of war fighting against his own father.
He builds colossal fortresses and fights always from the front lines - the ideal of a romantic warrior.
Richard's army has come ashore near Acre. Much of Saladin's army is trapped in the city, while two monstrous English trebuchets pound at Acre's walls. If Richard can defeat our army here, then he can walk into Jerusalem unopposed.
Saladin knows that this is the climax of his jihad. All the Crusader states have fallen. If the Saracens can hold onto Acre, then the Europeans will be forced to return home.
If Acre falls, then the centuries-long nightmare of eternal war, raid, and counterraid, begin again. All Saladin's victories will be for nothing.
Scenario Instructions Edit
Starting Conditions Edit
- Starting Age: Imperial Age
- Starting resources: 1500 wood, 500 food, 1000 gold, 1000 stone
- Population limit: 75
- Starting units:
- Construct a Wonder and defend it.
- Managing a large city can be confusing. It might prove helpful to rebuild military buildings where you can easily find them.
- When you are ready to build the Wonder, you can delete some of your houses to make room for it.
- Attacking one of your enemies early can benefit you later on, but be careful venturing outside Acre's walls.
- Player (Saracens): The player starts with a fortified city in the center of the map.
- Persian Outpost (Persians): The Persian Outpost is located in the south of the map. They send the player five Elite War Elephants after some time has passed. They own a Transport Ship near their Dock protected by a Guard Tower.
- Franks (Franks): The Franks have their base in the north of the map, between the Genoese and the Knights Templar. They deploy Bombard Cannons, Paladins, and Hand Cannoneers. They also have a large force of Siege Rams that they will use in their initial attack on the player.
- Jerusalem (Byzantines, Franks in the Definitive Edition): Jerusalem has its base in the east of the map. They field Champions, Light Cavalry (in the Definitive Edition), Camels (in HD), Onagers, and Trebuchets.
- Richard (Britons): Richard occupies a region northeast of Acre, and trains Longbowmen, Scorpions, and Cavaliers. He also commands the Bad Neighbor and God's Own Sling.
- Knights Templar (Teutons): The Knights Templar are found in the north, between Richard and the Franks. They field Elite Teutonic Knights, Paladins, and Capped Rams.
- Genoese (Byzantines, Italians in the Definitive Edition): The Genoese have their base in the far north. They attack the player's city with naval armadas, but do not field any units on land (in the Definitive Edition, they occasionally train Light Cavalry).
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- Assign Villagers, Fishing Ships to work.
- Garrison Archers of the Eyes into The Accursed Tower, The Tower of Flies, Castles and/or Keeps. (recommended The Accursed Tower, Keeps, Castles, then The Accursed Tower).
- Leave Siege Onagers in the city, behind Walls, Gates. Try to keep them alive.
- Move Mamelukes, Heavy Cavalry Archers outside Acre, kill any siege units, hit, run. Move to base if needed. Enemies can't attack without siege units.
- Try not to spend resources on anything but Elite Mamelukes, Plate Barding Armor, Blast Furnace, Bracer, Conscription(, Zealotry).
- Create 40 or 60 Elite Mamelukes.
- Research Galleons, Chemistry.
- Create 10 Galleons or construct Keep(s) and/or Castle(s) at west Walls, near The Tower of Flies to kill Genoese warships.
- Divide 40 or 60 Mamelukes into 2 groups of 20 or 30 Elite Mamelukes. 1 group defends north. Other defends west. Elite Mamelukes can survive outside Acre city, kill anything. Still, pay attention, micromanage them.
- Kill Franks, Knights Templar's siege units whenever possible. Their Siege Workshops are exposed from Castles.
- When Persian Outpost sends 5 Elite War Elephants, all Enemies will attack with full force. It can be too hard to kill everything before enemies chase your army into base. If you attacked Franks, Knights Templar's siege units, you can focus on Richard's and Jerusalem's siege units. Use Siege Onagers to kill Knights Templar's Capped Rams.
- Construct 1 Gate in the west Walls near water for Lumberjacks to get to new Trees if you run out of Trees in your base. Your Mameluke army should be big and strong enough to protect Lumberjacks.
- You can construct Wonder or defeat enemies. Enemies' attacks will be weak.
Easy victory Edit
- Note: This strategy no longer works in the Definitive Edition, as the outlying islands are too small for a Wonder.
Another path to victory is to use the small island, stocked full of gold, in the sea just west of Acre, which is just big enough to build the wonder. First create a Transport Ship and use your 4 Galleons to find the island and set them to "no attack stance", only attack if the Genoese attacks you. Then create 6 new villagers.
Once you have 15 villagers sail with them to the island. There, forget about the attacks in the city and create a Mining Camp to deplete the 2 gold reserves in the south. Now you should have enough space to build the wonder and win.
The first year of my freedom...
The fighting is over. The fire has gone out of Richard's lust for conquest. The two respected adversaries started speaking, finally, of peace.
War is not gentle with men's health. Richard fell ill with a fever. Because he respected his enemy, Saladin sent Richard fruit and mountain snow to comfort him. Soon enough, Richard boarded a ship headed back to England. The Third Crusade is over.
The final treaty was signed on September 2, 1192. By its terms, Jerusalem remains in Saracen hands, but Christian pilgrims are to be allowed to visit all the holy places, freely and safely. It seems a fitting compromise to a war that has been fought over religion and land.
The war is over, but I do not think I shall ever see Normandy again. I want to see the steel foundries in Damascus and the gardens of the Caliph in Baghdad. I have never seen the mighty Krak des Chevalliers, now-fallen fortress of the Knights Templar. The Holy Land has many wondrous sights, and I can spend a lifetime here.
It is peace in the Holy Land... for the moment. Sadly, in a land so small, home to so many different cultures, birthplace of three of the world's great religions, I suspect that blood may one day stain the sand again.
Historical comparison Edit
- Like The Battle of Falkirk, The Emperor Sleeping, and Broken Spears, this is a final scenario representing a decisive defeat of the playable faction, and the player is asked to change history by winning it. In real life, Acre fell to the Crusaders, the garrison was slaughtered, and the city became the new capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem until it fell to the Mamelukes in 1291.
- After the battle, Richard the Lionheart took the coastal cities as far south as Jaffa and defeated Saladin there and at Arsuf, but could not advance on Jerusalem. Then they signed the peace treaty described in the outro.
- The narrator shares his desire to visit the "fallen Templar fortress" of Krak des Chevaliers. The Krak was actually controlled by the Hospitallers and it remained in their hands until 1271.
- The battle operated as a "siege within a siege", with the Crusaders besieging Acre by land and sea, and Saladin's main army attacking the Crusaders from behind in order to relieve the trapped garrison. This format was not used because the developers found it too reminiscent of the Alesia scenario in the Ave Caesar campaign of Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome, even though the player would have the opposite role in this scenario.
- The siege was started by the disgraced king consort of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan, after he was denied entry in Tyre (the only Crusader city to successfully resist Saladin) by Conrad of Montferrat. Lusignan was slowly joined by ships and Crusaders from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Cilician Armenia, as well as Knights Templar, Hospitaller, and the reluctant Montferrat.
- The three royal armies mentioned in the intro arrived at a later phase. The first was the remains of Frederick Barbarossa's German and Hungarian army, led by his son the Duke Frederick VI of Swabia, and after he died, by Duke Leopold V of Austria. They are not represented in the scenario (even though Austria's banner was raised over the conquered city), but Teutons are still featured as the Knights Templar.
- Finally, the Crusaders were joined by the armies of Richard the Lionheart and Philip II of France, and a Genoese fleet (represented respectively by "Richard", "Franks", and "Genoese"). Of these, the most powerful was actually Philip II, who was also the owner of Bad Neighbor and God's Own Sling (or God's Stone Thrower), not Richard (although Richard built two other Trebuchets for his own use). Richard only became de facto leader of the Crusaders in the aftermath of the siege, due to:
- The death of Queen Sybilla of Jerusalem (Lusignan's wife) and her succession by her sister Isabella, who married Montferrat. Montferrat retired to Tyre instead of accompanying Richard south.
- The German army leaving after Richard and Philip refused to treat Leopold as their equal and torn down his flag from the ramparts of Acre.
- Philip II leaving to sort out the inheritance of his vassal Philip I of Flanders, who had died in the siege.
- The "Persian Outpost" is probably a reference to a Muslim fleet that managed to break the Crusaders's blockade and bring reinforcements, food, and weapons to the garrison by sea - but surely not war elephants.
- The island near Acre that appears in this scenario does not exist in reality.
- Genua is an Italian city. Since the Italians are not included until The Forgotten, they were represented by the Byzantines.
- This is corrected in Definitive Edition, where the Genoese are properly represented by the Italians.
- In the Definitive Edition, the "Offense is the Best Defense" achievement can be earned by defeating all enemies instead of building the Wonder.
- In the original or HD version, the player can build the Wonder on an island west on the map, making the player's gameplay much easier than building it in Acre. This is no longer the case in the Definitive Edition, as the site where the player can build the Wonder has some rocks on its edge, making it impossible to build the wonder there.