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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.

Welcome Home is the fifth and final scenario in the Yodit campaign in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms. In the scenario, Yodit has to move her starting army into the outskirts of the city of Aksum and build her base. When her military has reached 35 units, the objective changes to destroying certain buildings within the city. Once they are destroyed, Yodit must destroy the Palace of her rival, Gidajan.

Intro[edit | edit source]

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...'

Players[edit | edit source]

Allies[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Enemies[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Definitive Edition strategy[edit | edit source]

The entire scenario is changed. The player begins with two small (15 units) armies and two sets of four Villagers on the east and west sides of the map. The goal now is to destroy six Watch Towers inside of a neutral city defended by enemies. While doing this, the player will be attacked by the two red bases - who the player do not have to kill for the scenario. The west base has access to 3-4 small gold piles, and the east base has three stone piles - enough to build four Castles. The player starts in the Imperial Age with most/all of the Castle Age research already completed. 

The player's allies, the Locals, have three small hidden bases. Two on the southwest and southeast sides of the map with Markets, and on in the northeastern side of the map with Arab mercenaries that the player can recruit for 300 gold - save these until the player has a 125 unit military and are attacking the Aksum towers so that the player can have a 125+ unit military. 

Begin by building a well-placed Town Center on either side of the map. The west one between the berries, and the east one in the open field somewhat near the stone. Keep pumping out Villagers until population capped, and delete some then if needed. The player can find two elephants south of the western Town Center, and another two elephants decently far southwest of the eastern Town Center, these can be valuable to save wood in the beginning. The player will need a lot of Villagers mining stone to collect the 1,300 stone needed for two Castles before the first Cidajan attacks. 

The first six Villagers on each side should collect food, then start collecting wood. Once the player has a decent group of lumberjacks, start working on stone. If the player is fast, it is possible to get a castle up at both bases before being attacked. The west base will be attacked from the northeast, the east from the southwest, so build the two Castles accordingly. It might be a good idea to research Arbalesters and Halberdiers to improve the starting units (and the eventual military). With two Castles, the player can easily repel the first attack, and if they're fast, the player can build two more Castles before the second attack. On hard, the first attack will feature Capped Rams, and the second will feature Trebuchets. These can be easily dealt with using some stable units. 

The player should focus on Arbalesters/Halberdiers/Hussars for the main forces, as well as some siege units. When the player destroys a Watch Tower, the surrounding enemy buildings will convert to their allies, so just focus down the towers and don't waste time destroying the enemy Aksum production buildings. 

If the player has sufficient units, they might be able to take out the first tower or two after the first Cidajan attack, but if not, focus on building and upgrading the armies. After the second red attack, refill the lost units and try to take a few towers. After the third attack, Cidajan will begin building a Wonder, but if the player plays effectively, they should be able to destroy six Watch Towers before the Wonder is ever completed. 

Summary[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

  • There is an allied market to the southwest of your starting base, just south of the natural chokepoint 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 (A monk might appear instead). He starts out Northwest of your 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:  A grey monk, supposedly allied, has been known to spawn within Aksum. The spawning point is at the sothern tip of the city, just before Gidajan's first castle. The mystery monk targets Yodit's units and converts them to grey units witch then act as if they are enemy units. Change your relationship with grey to neutral and kill the monk and all converted grey units.

Outro[edit | edit source]

'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.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The scenario has some significant changes in the Definitive Edition:
    • The player starts in the Imperial Age instead of the Castle Age.
    • In addition to the one in the western corner of map, the player also begins with an army in the eastern corner of the map.
    • Monks and Trebuchets can be created normally.
    • The player only needs to destroy six towers in Axum to win the scenario (they have a high attack and can outrange anything but Trebuchets). Also, there are no Castles and incredibly durable barricades in the city.
    • Gidajan also has two bases that are located in the northernmost and southernmost part of the map, respectively. He will attack the player's bases from one of his bases. Also, one of his bases will start a Wonder construction.
    • There are no hero units featured, except for the Saboteurs located at the north-east corner of the map. They, along with the Camel Archers that accompany them, can be recruited for a small fee.
    • There are significantly fewer gold mines in the map. The player must trade with the Markets located in the southeast and southwest corners of the map when necessary.
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