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Tsar of the Bulgars is the third scenario of the Ivaylo campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It is based on Ivaylo's efforts to defend Bulgaria from Mongol raids led by Nogai Khan.

Intro Edit

Ivaylo watches suspiciously as the bolyars bowed their heads in his presence. No matter what respect they showed him as tsar in daylight, he knew they whispered and cursed him in the shadows. 'Murderer... Peasant scum...'

Tarnovo might be the 'City of the Tsars', but it belonged to the bolyars. Ivaylo knew that remainin there would be a death sentence, but he was tied to the city – the tsaria was carrying his child. Yet fatherhood would have to wait...

The emperor was undeterred by Ivan Asen's defeat. He enlisted his son-in-law, a great Mongol warlord named Nogai, to unleash war on Bulgaria.

A descendant of Genghis Khan, Nogai was broad-shouldered and barrel-chested. He had lost an eye battling a brother in the Caucasus, a disfigurement that cost him the chance to rule as Khan of the Golden Horde.

However, that was to his liking. Nogai was not a man to sit idly in a golden tent; he became the kingmaker and the real power behind the Horde, leading its warriors into battle.

Mongols, Tatars, Cumans... warriors as numerous as blades of glass streamed across the Danube into Bulgaria. Ivaylo raced in the middle of the night to the river town of Drastar. There, he would raise an army and make his stand.

In Tarnovo, the tsarina, alone and with child, waited for his return.

Scenario instructions Edit

Starting conditions Edit

Objectives Edit

  • Reach Drastar before Hranislav is slain in single combat.
    • Reach Drastar without losing a man.
  • Destroy Nogai's Great Tent.
  • Kill Nogai's Khans to free the tribes.

Hints Edit

  1. You are restricted to a population limit of 200.
  2. You cannot train more Villagers and should focus on your military. Protect your Villagers only so they can repair and build.
  3. Like you, your enemies have large stockpiles of resources. Destroying their military buildings is the only way to slow their onslaught.
  4. However, it may be beneficial to preserve the Tatar and Cuman camps. When the Khans ruling them are killed, these factions will become your allies.
  5. It would be wise to train bands of fast-moving cavalry to focus on hunting down and killing the enemy Khans.

Scouts Edit

Your scouts report:

  • Drastar is besieged by the Golden Horde and must be reached quickly. The town is accessible by boat or by three river crossings.
  • The warlord Nogai of the Golden Horde (3, Yellow) has established his tent outside Drastar and attacks with Mangudai, Light Cavalry, and Onagers.
  • Many tribes fall under the Horde. The Cumans (5, Red) are horse archers, Knights, and Light Cavalry who also bring Battering Rams. The Tatars (4, Green) are more defensive, but will muster Trebuchets. Both of these people are held under Nogai's control through brutal Khans. Killing these Khans may drive these tribes to independence.

Players Edit

Strategy Edit

Due to being outnumbered three-to-one with a dwindling pile of resources, playing defensively is unwise. Similarly, making a beeline directly for Nogai's Tent will likely fail given the formidable enemy defenses in the way.

Instead, the player's immediate goal should be to switch the allegiances of the Tartars (Green) and Cumans (Red) as soon as possible. This can be done by killing the Khans (Purple), of which Green and Red each have three dispersed around their bases. 

As soon as control has been established of the Bulgarian base at the top of the map, begin advancing to the Imperial Age while researching the cavalry attack and armor upgrades in the Blacksmith. Also begin producing additional Konniks in the Castle and Knights from the stables, being sure to save enough resources (about 2000 food) for Imperial Age upgrades. Feel free to sell most of your wood in the market for additional gold and food. 

The player should try to save the starting Konniks, instead using the Pikemen and Skirmishers to delay the Mongol attack from the south. Do not waste any mounted units trying to save the south gate; the combination of the castle and towers in the center of your base should be enough to ward off the Mongols while you assassinate their Khans. 

Once Imperial Age has been reached and you have amassed a sizeable contingent of Konniks and Knights, send your cavalry army out through the western gate (avoiding the Mongols, whose Mangudai will cut through your forces). While doing this, research the final cavalry Blacksmith upgrades, Cavalier, and Elite Konnik. This way your army will be fully upgraded by the time they reach the enemy base. 

Go to the Cuman (Red) base first in the southwest. Because they should still be in Castle Age at this point, it should be relatively easy to shrug off their arrow fire. The Khans should die within seconds if you surround them with your cavalry, and the Cumans will turn friendly as soon as all three are dead. You can now do the same for the Tartars, whose base is in the center of the map. It should be possible to kill all six Khans with your initial wave of cavalry, though further waves are possible once more resources trickle in. 

The Cumans and Tartars are relatively weak and cannot fight the Mongols on their own. Fortunately, they will distract the bulk of the Mongol army, giving you time to heal and rebuild your cavalry army in your base. You should now be able to destroy the Mongols at your leisure, either all-at-once by building a large army and rushing Nogai's Tent while they are busy in the Tartars' base, or piece-by-piece by destroying their production buildings. 

Outro Edit

A lone rider approached Drastar and called for the Tsar. Ivaylo wondered, was this a messenger of the one-eyed khan offering peace?

But as the tsar raised himself against the battlements, he could see the horseman was a Bulgarian. What word did he bring from Tarnovo? Did he come to tell Ivaylo of the birth of his child?

No. The rider bore a message which chilled Ivaylo and the survivors of the siege.

'Tsar,' the horseman began, 'Your men in Tarnovo are dead, murdered by the bolyars who have opened the gates to Ivan Asen. Ivan has taken the tsarina and your newborn child and delivered them as prisoners to the emperor.'

Trivia Edit

  • Drastar (Bulgarian: Дръстър), or Durostorum during Ancient Roman times, is the old name of the contemporary city of Silistra. It is the birth place of Flavius Aetius, who appears in the Attila the Hun campaign.
  • The name of Hranislav (Bulgarian: Хранислав) comes from the words for 'feed' & 'glory'. In the scenario he may be killed in front of Drastar fortress but he actually would survive until at least 1304. After that there are no sources about his life and death.
  • Hranislav would go on to be a member of the famous mercenary group, the Catalan Company led by Roger de Flor. The Catalan Company also appears in the Bapheus scenario in the Historical Battles.
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