|This article is about the scenario in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. For the scenario in Age of Mythology, see Welcome Back.|
The caravan had stopped at the top of a hill after a long day of traveling. The setting sun cast an orange light on the city of Aksum in the valley below. Some merchants sat around the campfire, sharing wineskins and roasting a goat. Others were already pitching their tents. Up here, the nights could be very cold.
'It's strange how the city looks so small from above, as if I could pick it up with one hand.' Daniel remarked. Lost in my thoughts, I had not heard the boy return from watering and feeding our Camel Riders. 'Wait until you get back home, son, for our village will look smaller still', I replied, smiling. 'Come, let us join the campfire and have some dinner. I am starving.'
Daniel had just finished his portion of goat. 'Father, would you finally tell me how Yodit could become the queen of Aksum?' he requested. Wiping some grease from my chin, I began to protest. Before I could finish, however, Tariku, an old, lean merchant with white hair, stood up. He stared fiercely at Daniel with his one eye. 'So, you want to hear about our good queen, lad?' he asked in his leathery voice.
All of the men around the fire were silent and Daniel shifted nervously beside me. I gave his hand a squeeze to comfort him. 'Tariku fought against Yodit's troops in Aksum', I whispered to my son. Daniel could only nod to the one-eyed man. 'Thirty years ago', Tariku began solemnly, 'I was patrolling the northern hills of Aksum when suddenly I saw a sea of banners in the distance. The sun reflected upon rows of armored men. Yodit had finally arrived to destroy the cradle of Ethiopian civilization! I shievered, for her fury was legendary...'
- Rebels (Ethiopians) Rebels are units that appear in the City of Aksum as Yodit expands into it to help her conquer it. Particularly notable is a Furious the Monkey Boy hidden in the south of Aksum.
- Aksum (Ethiopians) is not a faction in the game, but simply consists of buildings within the City of Aksum.
- Aksum (Ethiopians) is not a faction in the game, but simply consists of buildings within the City of Askum. Many but not all of their buildings change to Yodit's control when she unpacks her Town Center.
- Gidajan (Ethiopians) is the main enemy in the scenario. They begin in the Castle Age, and have a variety of starting units, including Knights, Light Horsemen, and various types of infantry and archers. They have a palace in the South of the city that is Yodit's final objective to win the level.
- Loyalists (Ethiopians) are forces loyal to Gidajan. They have a few buildings and units scattered around the map, outside the city of Aksum. They do not train new units, and begin with archers, men at arms, Shotel Warriors and skirmishers. They are not a major threat and do not have to be defeated to win.
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This scenario is divided up into phases. The city you must take is divided up into sections by powerful obstacles, that allow you take it section by section. Once your city is up, you can build up your base, gather resources, and research upgrades pretty much at leisure, because the attack on your base is triggered by your building 35 units(military only). Until you are ready to attack, just stay under this limit. Once you are very powerful, you can advance section by section, collecting some allies from the Rebels along the way, and defeat Gidajan by destroying his castle with siege weapons.
Phase I: Move Into Aksum and Establish Town Center Edit
You will move your starting army due East from its starting point. This consists of six Shotel Warriors, ten Longswordsmen, five Heavy Camels, eight Crossbowmen, and a hero Cavalier. You will fight several units of Gidajan forces en route to the outskirts of Aksum which is your objective. Try to micromanage your forces to avoid losses. You can build a Town Center right outside the city or in the flagged area. I recommend the former, to avoid being harassed by Gidajan's forces in the city, which are walled off from you but can launch ranged attacks at you.
Phase II: Build Up Your Town Edit
Build your own gates to protect your starting area. There is a choke point in the countryside south of your base where you can build a castle. Build another one in your starting area. Research upgrades, gather resources, go to the Imperial Age, and when you are ready, build 35 military units. Shotel Warriors, archery range units and siege weapons are a good choice.
Phase III: Take Aksum Edit
Once you have built your military, the objective will be to destroy certain buildings in the city, including a Monastery, a Market (which converts to your control when you approach it) and a Castle. Destroying all of Gidajan's towers in Aksum is a Secondary Objective. You will be given a Monk, several Elite Petards, and finally a Trebuchet to help you blow up the obstacles that divide the city into sections. These can also be blown up by regular Petards, Bombard Cannons, arrows from your Castle, etc. You will gain allies along the way, including several War Elephants. Just keep destroying the obstacles that divide the city into sections and take the city section by section. You can use siege weaons such as bombard cannons, as well as ranged units, to destroy units and buildings in adjacent sections before you knock down the walls and move in on foot to take them over.
Phase IV: Destroy Gidajan's Palace/Win Edit
Due South of the city of Aksum is Gidajan's palace. By the time you have taken the city, you should have a powerful army with lots of siege weapons, such as a trebuchet (which the game gives you) or Siege Rams/Onagers. A mixed force of cavalry, infantry and ranged units protect the Castle. Once it's down you win.
In conclusion, the way you are allowed to build up your base before triggering the main fight and the main objective, and the way the city is sectioned off allow you to approach the level in a systematic and methodical manner and you should be able to win without too much difficulty, though it will take time and casualties to fight through all those narrow urban streets, and as is the case with urban fighting, you may take heavy casualties before you take down Gidajan.
Miscellaneous Notes Edit
- There is an allied market to the southwest of your starting base, just south of the natural chokepoint I described above. At the start it is surrounded by strong fences. Once you liberate the Market within the city, a wall around that market disappears, and you can get trade going with it to earn extra gold.
- When you reach the 35 units, the game announces that you get an Elite Petard. However, in my game I get a Monk instead. He starts out Northwest of my base and then runs into it. This is actually good, because the Monastery you have to destroy (the Temple of Zion), which is located in the section due East of your starting section, has a relic. You can't build Monks in this level (though you can build a Monastery, which you should), so be careful not to lose him. When the coast is clear have him bring the relic to your Monastery and win another source of gold.
- You cannot build trebuchets in this scenario. You can get one more during the fight for the city (by knocking out all the defensive towers), which will come in handy against the two Castles you have to destroy.
- There is plenty of wild food (berries, zebras elephants), wood and gold outside the city walls. Stone is much more limited but can be bought at the market. Watch out for a few isolated Gidajan and Loyalist enemies, so it may be good to have a couple of knights/cavs/camels on standby near where you are resource gathering. That should suffice to keep your working villies safe. If you need more than can be found West of the city, you can take out the Loyalist camps out in the country and use the resources to the North and East of Aksum, where additional wood, goats, berries and gold piles may be found. In general, cleaning out the Loyalists is not necessary however, unless you really find you need those resources.
- City fighting is a bloodbath, so systematic combined arms tactics pay off. Use siege to soften up the sections before you move in, and use infantry to support your siege, and cavalry to destroy enemy archers and siege. Elite Shotel Warriors with the Castle Upgrade that lets them produce instantly, are a great way to "flood the zone" in an attack, especially if you get more than one Castle up.
- Mystery Monk - Final footnote: I kept mysteriously losing units in the city, and then I figured out there was an "allied" grey Monk (actually set to "enemy") in the southern tip of the city (right before you get to Gidajan's first castle) who was converting my units and those newly converted units would be set to "enemy" too. I changed my setting to neutral and took him and the units he'd turned against me, out.
'I saw how Gidajan finally fell, his body covered with blood. He was wrong to kill his brother, yes, but he was the rightful heir to the throne!' Tariku was almost shouting, his body shaking with anger. After some silence he continued in a soft voice: 'I tried to defend my homeland from disaster and lost my eye for it. A small price for such an honor.
Now you remember this well, boy.' he implored, looking directly at Daniel, 'Yodit's rise to the throne was not some glorious adventure – it was a bloody mess.' The old man leaned back, sighing. Glancing at my son, I noticed that he suddenly seemed older than he had this morning. Nobody dared to whisper another word.