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It may be tempting to try out the "rush" you may have read elsewhere. Resist the impulse- this map is very easy for a reason. It's here for you to become comfortable with basic Crusader strategies. This guide will give you the rundown not only of this mission, but of tactics that will be honed for the rest of the Trail.
Your opponent is an easy one, Sultan Abdul. He has limited access to resources, and his heavy use of positive fear factor devices will make his productivity go down even more.
By the way, if you already are familiar with Stronghold Crusader, and do decide to do the rush method, horse archers followed by assassins is probably the most effective. Macemen or assassins on their own will take many casualties to the slingers and swordsmen/pikemen are too slow and will take casualties to the fire throwers.
Press "p" for "pause", and slow the game speed down to 20. This should become a reflexive habit when starting any new mission. Look around, and notice the only two access points to your keep- the fords to the west and south. Unpause, and immediately place a granary and marketplace. Add two or three stockpiles, and a quarry with two ox tethers. You'll need to maintain your popularity in order to win. To do so either you could opt for the ale method, or the full-food method. The ale method requires only a dairy farm and a hops farm, but runs the very slight risk of lowering your popularity. The full-food method has no danger of this, but requires more protection is spent on the farms. This guide assumes that the ale method is being followed. Wood will have to be purchased as needed until your woodcutters can supply it. If your money drops dangerously, don't worry too much. Your quarry will quickly supply stone to sell for profit.
Spend your initial stone on a defense turret, and wall off the fords (pictured). A few woodcutting huts should be placed close to some trees, but not on actual farmland. Buy enough stone for a barracks, and build an armory, two fletcher's workshops (one set to making crossbows), and a tanner, which should be place next to the dairy farm. Place a brewery adjecent to the stockpile, and an inn close by. Purchase five hops and beer. A few more hovels will be necessary. When everything is established, speed the game up to 90 (or whatever you feel comfortable with).
Building an armyEdit
All of your ranged units should proceed directly to the defense
turret. Abdul will not attack the southern ford if it's walled off, so no danger there. Wait for about fifty stone to accumulate, then construct a square tower as close as possible to his keep (pictured). Build a magonel and an engineer's guild, and staff the magonel. Send additional ranged units to this tower, and instruct the magonel to "attack here" continuously at some point on Abdul's walls.
Expand your wall on the west front to enclose the iron supply, and build a few iron mines. Ensure the keep remains enclosed.
This iron will become very useful quickly. Unlike stone, which quickly becomes a monetary resource, iron remains a precious weapons-making material. You can choose to wait until five iron have been produced, or you can buy five and commence weapons production immediately. Build a blacksmith's shop and an armorer's workshop close to the stockpile and armory.
Abdul will occasionally attack. Your initial swordsmen produced should be stationed directly behind the west wall, in the unlikely event of a breach. At this point, your spare peasant count will be running low. For every twenty-eight peasants, build an additional brewery and inn. Normally, the number is thirty peasants. However, you should now build enough positive fear factor devices to get a +5% troop combat bonus. An easy way to do this is to place a maypole, then other devices until children begin using the maypole.
The remainder of the mission is simple. Once the towers are adaquately staffed, spare ranged units can be diverted to the offensive. When enough units are present, attack.
About a dozen swordsmen and each ranged unit should present. The rangers stand near the walls and remove any hostile presence on the towers and gatehouse. The swordsmen simply get to work chopping at the walls. When a breach is established, instruct your brave armored fighters to attack the Sultan. Surviving Arabian swordsmen may try to stop your troops. These attacks are usually meaningless, you may lose one or two swordsmen. Abdul will quickly perish.
Congratulations! You have won your first Crusader map. More blood and toil await you... Ride on to victory!