|This article is about the Battles of the Conquerors scenario. For the random map in Age of Mythology, see Vinlandsaga (map).|
Vinlandsaga (called Vindlandsaga before the Definitive Edition) is a campaign scenario of the Battles of the Conquerors in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. The player plays the Viking Erik the Red (red) and must go to Vinland and establish a new colony. This is made more difficult by the fact that there are very limited resources. This scenario is based on the Saga of Erik the Red.
In the gloom, the longhouse feels empty. But it is filled with the odors of rust, tar, and animal fur, and the snoring of dogs. It is the man named Erik who speaks, smacking scarred fingers together for emphasis, the steam of his breath tangling with the wood smoke.
He fills the men's heads with legends of exploration and raiding, of a sea that eats longboats and an undiscovered country ripe for Viking occupation. He tells the Vikings that they can leave their frigid homeland, and sail across the endless Sea of Worms to a new world brimming with wild grain and grapes and wild trees.
To the Vikings, he speaks of paradise, and of course the grizzled Norse men are always eager for adventure. When he asks for volunteers, men slam their weapons on tables and shout his name in the cold air. Erik the Red smiles.
- Starting Age: Dark Age
- Starting resources: 200 wood, 300 food, 200 gold, 300 stone
- Population limit: 75 (100 in the Definitive Edition)
- Starting units:
- Gaia units: (Definitive Edition)
- 1 Penguin
Differences between difficulty levels
- On Standard, the player begins with Loom and Murder Holes researched, as well as a Castle and a Dock placed to the west of their Town Center.
- On Hard, the Britons' Watch Towers are upgraded to Guard Towers.
- Erik the Red must survive.
- Transport Erik the Red west across the ocean to the New World and establish a colony there.
- The Vikings must build a Town Center, a Market, and 12 Houses in the New World.
- Erik the Red is restricted to the Castle Age and a population limit of 100.
- Skalds tells of an ocean where worms eat away at the hulls of wooden ships.
- Resources in Iceland will run out soon. You must colonize other lands to provide for Erik the Red's followers.
- Your scouts report: The Vikings under Erik the Red (1, Red) have few buildings and only a handful of Berserks to defend themselves from ravenous wolves. Although you are safe from attack for the moment, Vikings from Greenland may raid your shores.
- The Britons (2, Blue) have little in the way of a standing army so they are ripe for raiding.
- Greenland (3, Green) is more of a mystery, though it is known that the Vikings there have many Longboats.
- A race of wildmen (4, Purple) are rumored to live in the New World.
- Player (Vikings): Erik the Red starts in the east, with a small complement of Berserks and a Dark Age base. On lower difficulties, there's also a Castle and a Dock by the western coast.
- Britons (British before the Definitive Edition) (Britons): Britons control the British Isles, just southwest of the player's initial base. They have two Markets which the player can destroy to earn 1100 gold for each. They are passive and will defend themselves with Archers.
- Skraelings (Celts - Skraelings; simply Celts before the Definitive Edition): Native inhabitants of North America are on the western tip of the map. They only have Woad Raiders and Militias, and despite owning a Town Center, they do not produce Villagers. They do replace their Militia from a Barracks under their control.
- In the Definitive Edition, Woad Raiders have been replaced with a unique unit called the Iroquois Warrior.
Enemies → Allies
- Greenland (Vikings): Greenland is to the north, and frequently attacks the player with Longboats and landing parties of Berserks. As they surrender to the player's invasion, they will immediately ally with the player, showing the "Sea of Worms", before resigning.
Vinlandsaga starts much like a standard match- in the Dark Age, and (particularly on hard difficulty, where the player lacks a starting Dock), with few economic assets. However, resources are rather scarce. There are no Sheep, Boars, or berries on the player's island, so the player's food economy will be immediately limited by wood income, and lumber is sparsely distributed, impairing the efficiency of the player's collection efforts. Much of the gold on the map is located in Greenland and it will be mined out if the player takes too long to stage and invasion, so it behooves the player to focus on swift development.
Start by proceeding east with the Berserks to slay the Wolf that is just within sight, and follow with Villagers to place a Mill next to the nearby Deer. Train more Villagers to hunt and gather wood. Send troops to scout the rest of the island and eliminate the three other Wolves to the west. When the Deer at the player's first Mill run out, the player can send the hunters in that direction to set up a Dock followed by a Mill next to another herd, because fishing will be extremely lucrative and the cost of walking time plus the lumber for a second Mill is still more cost-effective than Dark Age farms. For a novel alternative start, the player could also try starting by putting all Villagers on wood and building the Dock almost immediately to take food from the sea.
Once the player clicks up to the Feudal Age, they will be able to build Transports and head south to the Britons (Blue). The residents are placid and only have a small, finite number of Archers to resist the player's incursion, so the player can deal with them with a simple tower drop. Ferry five Villagers over and start building it next to the random enemy Mining Camp there, but as close to the coast as the player can so that it can provide some support later when the player fights Greenland's navy. Also bring over the player's two non-heroic Berserks. Erik the Red should stay home to deal with a nasty surprise: Ornlu the Wolf will spawn in when the player completes a Blacksmith and come to the player's base to stir up trouble, and his attack is high enough to maul the player's conventional units. Erik, though, has superb HP and can bait him into a few volleys from the player's Town Center. Meanwhile, in Britain, garrison the five Villagers in the tower and attract the contingent of enemy Archers to come die under it. They will go all-in and also send Villagers to attack, which the player's Berserks can safely deal with when the Archers are dead. The gold at this location will be given to the player via tribute when the two British Markets are destroyed. The Villagers can help do this quickly, and then the player can leave them there to establish some Lumber Camps while the player turns their attention to the Castle Age and Greenland.
By now, the player should start seeing some action from Greenland (Green). The player may need to make a couple Galleys just to bait their Longboats under the player's coastal tower (in which case the player should re-garrison with lumberjacks) and lure any infantry they transport back to the player's Town Center, but a Castle on the player's coast next to the Dock (assuming the player is on hard difficulty and does not already have one) will solve both problems. Greenland has a Dock on the other side of the Sea of Worms and seem to be able to sail through it safely, so the player cannot immediately kick them out of the water, but it is not necessary to go overboard establishing total naval domination. The player's goal is to quickly crack through one of their coastal towers and make landfall somewhere on the mid-point of their eastern shoreline and see if there are any gold veins left. Even if not, the player will want forward defensive structures, production facilities, and maybe a cut of their forest. The fighting here is of course mostly a mirror-match, with Greenland fielding Scorpions, Men-at-Arms, and Berserks, but they are likely working out of an enviable gold stockpile and seem to be diligent about reconstructing their production buildings on the other side of their base. The Scorpions make fielding the player's own infantry painful and incentivize the player to get a second Castle on the beachhead. The enemy infantry, on the other hand, are a great opportunity to practice Monk micromanagement. Six or so holy men continually performing conversions behind the player's pikeline can give the player way better value for the gold than training expensive troops. Eventually the player will need to just push in with Rams, but the player can also try camping out in the woods on the south-west edge of their base for a little while, running down any Villagers that come to cut lumber and enticing a steady stream of individual soldiers for more easy conversions.
Immediately before Greenland resigns, they will set the player's diplomatic status to Ally and will reveal the whole Sea of Worms to the player. To win, the player must now construct a new Dock, sail to the west, and settle the New World. Here, the player will encounter the Skraelings, but they are really more of a distraction than a real adversary, and will not replace any of their dispatched troops. Building a Town Center, 12 Houses, and a Market will complete the player's victory.
As soon as the player has the resources, build a dock and 3-5 transports, move Erik and the villagers into the transports, and move them to where Greenland's tip meets the Sea of Worms. If the player carefully maneuvers the transport ship close along the coast, the player can actually get across the Sea of Worms without having to even touch Greenland. Sail over the New World and erect a Castle (the player needs to mine stone to get a total of 850 stone; for the Castle, the Town Center and Murder Holes). Then a Town Center and the rest of the buildings, as the Skraelings are cut down by the castle.
Alternatively, the player can win the scenario without advancing to the Castle Age or needing to mine extra stone by exploiting the game triggers: as long as Erik the Red does not land in the New World (keep him inside a Transport Ship), the Skraelings will not attack and so the Villagers can safely build the required Town Center (the original Town Center has to be deleted for the player to be able to build a new one), Market and 12 Houses. Once all required buildings are built, unload Erik the Red and the scenario is won before the Skraelings have time to attack.
Much of the Viking history is recorded in oral accounts called sagas passed down through generations. Two of the most famous sagas are reserved for the adventures of Erik the Red and his men who crossed the mighty sea in tiny ships to forge a new Viking sovereignty.
Vinland, as the new world was called, was not kind to the Vikings. Although they lacked the iron weapons of the Norsemen, the native Skraelings were fierce warriors, and fought relentlessly to defend their homeland against the Norse invaders.
The vastness of the North Atlantic cut off the Vikings in Newfoundland from their homeland, and they suffered many long years in trying to establish their new colony.
- Despite this scenario coming out with the first expansion pack to feature Native American civilizations, the map designer strangely enough chose the Celts to represent indigenous people. Possibly, this was due to the Celts' infantry 15% speed bonus, and/or the lack of the tropical animals in Newfoundland that characterize the Native American civilizations available at the time of The Conquerors' release.
- In the Definitive Edition, the Skraelings are now represented by a unique civilization of the same name (which is done with the new scenario trigger effect "Change Civilization Name"). In addition to Militia, they also possess a unique unit, the "Algonquian Warrior", which wields two tomahawks, replacing the Woad Raider.
- In the Definitive Edition, the player can obtain a Penguin unit as an Easter egg by visiting the northeastern part of Greenland in the map behind a pile of rocks and a forest. This will unlock the achievement "Eternal Gratitude".
- Penguins in reality are entirely native to the southern hemisphere and have never inhabited Greenland. However, penguins are similar to and named after the now-extinct Great Auk (genus Pinguinus), which was present in Greenland at the time the scenario is set in.
- The Sea of Worms is shaped like a sea serpent.
- The Sea of Worms effect extends onto land on the southwestern-most tip of Britain. This can result in the player losing land units while exploring (including Erik the Red, which results in a scenario loss).
- Ornlu the Wolf from the Genghis Khan campaign will spawn and attack one of the player's Outposts once a Blacksmith is constructed.
- Near the southernmost point on the map there is a Skraeling Woad Raider Unit named "Lonely Hermit."
- In the Definitive Edition, the unit is renamed "Bert" after Forgotten Empires developer Bert Beeckman.
- Due to the way the attack of Ornlu is triggered, any Deer that wanders too close to your Outpost may become hostile and attack it. The Deer's texture changes to that of a gazelle from Age of Empires.
- According to the accounts in the Saga, it was Erik the Red's son, Leif Erikson, and not Erik himself, who led the expedition to North America.
- Iceland is not on the map.
- In the Definitive Edition, the Hints section refers to the player's starting area as being Iceland instead of Norway. This would be somewhat more accurate geographically given the starting area's closeness to Greenland and there not being any other land between the starting area and Greenland, and would be a somewhat more accurate representation of the Icelandic sagas, which tell that Erik the Red was born in Norway but moved with his father Thorvald to Iceland when he was a child after Thorvald was exiled from Norway. On the other hand, the starting area being Iceland would also make the location of the British Isles in the scenario much less accurate.
- Also, Greenland's geography is depicted highly inaccurately in the game; in real life, just one forest exists, to the very south and is a few acres in size, in a valley named Qinngua Valley. The vast mainland of the island is composed of ice.
- These have been done for balance reasons; to avoid making the island too open and the player's effort too easy, while also offering the Greenlanders some wood to use.
- The original name of the scenario (Vindland) is a misspelling of Vinland (Vínland in Old Norse, meaning "land of wine"). This is corrected in the Definitive Edition.
- While the scenario seems to imply that the Viking settlement in Vinland was a success, in reality it only lasted a few years before being abandoned. A combination of the distance from Europe making resupply next to impossible and constant clashes with the native peoples, who the Vikings had no way of communicating with, made a successful colony unfeasible.
- Among all Historical Battles, this scenario is the only one in which the player starts in the Dark Age and is also the only one in which the player is restricted to the Castle Age.