Rumors described Sumanguru as a cruel tyrant and a sorcerer in command of powerful spirits. He was said to possess a magical balophon[sic] which would grant him victory if he played it. He could not be injured except with the spur of a rooster. The whispers abounded.
Regardless of the rumors, he was above all an ambitious conqueror from the west seeking to seize the lands of the old empire of Ghana for his own. To this end, he moved his seat of power to Koumbi Saleh, once the capital and heart of that ancient kingdom.
Sundjata knew that contesting such a man would be difficult. The Sosso had allied with other tribes in the north: the Jolof, the Diafanu, and others like them who made great gains from Sosso control of the Saharan trade. With such powerful allies, and even more powerful armies, no one dared to rise up against them.
Sundjata had one advantage: he was still remembered as the crippled prince of the Mandinkas, still thought to be weaker than he really was. As long as this was to be believed, the Sosso would dismiss him as inconsequential, and he could form his own alliances.
To provide proof of his miraculous transformation from crippled boy to strong prince, he took up the Boabab[sic] branch from his youth and began a journey. From people to people and kingdom to kingdom, he traveled to rally support — to prove he was strong enough to retake his lands from Sumanguru.
The objective is to subjugate 3 enemy tribes by bringing a Relic Cart to their towns.
Neutral -> Ally
- Tabon (Malians): They are initially neutral, but will declare their loyalty to Sundjata when any of his units reach their village in the east. They field a small army consisting mostly of Skirmishers.
- Wagadou (Malians): Like Tabon, they are initially neutral but will join Sundjata once their village north of the mountains is found. They train Feudal Age infantry, namely Spearmen and Men-at-Arms. They also have a Market for potential trading, but the trade route runs through a gorge protected by Labe Towers and closely by the Sangaran base.
- Sangaran (Malians) is Sundjata's most dangerous enemy in this scenario. Their base in the west is well-fortified by Towers and a Castle and their well-rounded army consists of Archery Range units (Archers and Skirmishers (soon upgraded to their Castle Age counterparts), Scorpions, Petards and Monks.
- Labe (Berbers) is initially not much of a threat, but they have annoying towers on cliffs on both passes through the huge mountain range dominating the center of the map, complicating early operations in the north. Once they reach the Castle Age they become a formidable opponent, sending Long Swordsmen, Knights and Battering Rams into battle, so it is best to deal with them early. Their base is in the far north, only accessible via a bridge and protected by Towers and a Palisade Gate.
- Niger (Ethiopians) have a mountain fortress in the east, protected by Stone Walls, Towers and natural cliffs. They field mostly Cavalry Archers, supported by the occasional Mangonel.
Map layout and general information
Sundjata starts with a small base in the south of the map in the Feudal Age, while two of his enemies are already in the Castle Age. He possesses a Relic Cart which has to be brought to the enemy bases in order for them to submit. The player is restricted to the Castle Age, the population limit is 150.
Near the base, further gold can be found to the north and the west, as well as stone to the north. More resources are found near allied bases, but they are difficult to defend. The map is dominated by a massive mountain range stretching from west to east, with only two passes leading north. The passes are protected by inaccessible Labe Towers on cliffs, impeding operations in the north.
In the very southwest of the mountain range, a small footpath leads to a Relic on the summit.
Sundjata's goal in this scenario is to subjugate the 3 enemy tribes of Sangaran, Labe and Niger, by bringing a Relic Cart (his baobab stick) to their flagged plazas, demonstrating his power. Once the Relic Cart reaches the plaza of one of the enemies, they will delete all their remaining units and buildings and resign, so it is not necessary to fully level their bases.
It is important to have the Relic Cart always guarded by units, as otherwise it can fall into enemy hands. When the cart is captured by an enemy it simply stops moving, but all enemies surrounding it have to be killed in order to retrieve it. The cart can also be attacked by enemies and has only 75 hitpoints, so it is important to keep it out of the fray or draw enemy fire with more resilient units like Knights or Long Swordsmen.
It is imperative to be prepared for early and numerous attacks by Sangaran and Niger, by building (Palisade) Walls to the north (right south of the pass) and east and immediately creating some Skirmishers for defense. A few Scout Cavalry to deal with Siege Weapons are also a good idea, but very taxing on the food economy. Unlike the previous scenario, the AI will attack walls so don't expect them to hold off the onslaught forever.
The player should build up a productive economy and try reaching the Castle Age to even out the playing field, as the enemies initially have a technology advantage.
A good tactic is to get rid of Labe early, while they are still in the Feudal Age and pose not much of a threat, as they become significantly more dangerous once they reach the Castle Age. To do so, the player should try sneaking a few villagers and the Relic Cart, accopanied by some Scout Cavalry to draw fire, past the towers looking over the passes and build a Stable in Wagadou's base, giving it some grade of protection. Once in the Castle Age the Stable can be used to train knights to knock down Labe's Palisade Gate (and optionally the Towers guarding it). A Siege Workshop and Battering Rams can be helpful with this task, if ample wood surplus is available. With the gate broken the player can group the Knights and the Relic Cart and send them to the flagged plaza while ignoring the Towers firing arrows on the well-armored Knights. Once the Relic Cart reaches the plaza, Labe will delte all their remaining units and buildings, including their Towers, greatly facilitating crossing the mountains. Defending the own base from attacks by Sangaran and Niger while dealing with Labe should not be neglected.
Dealing with Sangaran or Niger next is up to the player's choice. In either case a Castle at the entries to their respective bases can do wonders, provided enough stone has been mined. Like Labe, Niger's plaza can be rushed for with Knights once their Stone Gate is down, but their Mangonels should be taken out beforehand. Knights also fare well against their Cavalry Archers. For Sangaran, their plaza is protected by a castle which should be taken down before attempting to bring in the Relic Cart. Again Knights are a good choice, but are prone to conversion by Monks, so taking the Monks out with ranged units like Mangonels or Skirmishers should be a top priority. As Sundjata is restricted to the Castle Age, Battering Rams are the best solution for dealing with their Castle. Once the Castle is taken down, the Relic Cart can be brought to the plaza.
The two allies in this scenario don't provide significant help against the much stronger enemies, but at least they can divert them a little bit.
Once all three enemy tribes are subdued, Sundjata is victorious.
Sangaran, Labe, Niger, Tabon, and Wagadou. One by one, the kingdoms of the south and the east rallied to Sundjata. They were small, however, and Sumanguru had conquered nine of similar size already. As successful as Sundjata had been, his coalition could not hope to defeat the Sosso just yet. Sundjata needed a better plan.