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Finally, after all these battles waging unfair wars against superior odds, you FINALLY get a proper duel. Sure, it's against the Wolf: one of the most challenging AI in the game. But hey, at least there's only one of him! Unless the map has some kind of gimmick like 'no stone' you should be perfectly fi-...

...what's that? He has 40,000 gold? And I have 3,000? Oh crap. This one is gonna be hard folks.

3000 is a little more than we're used to, having been stuck at 2000 for so many fights. Good thing is it let's us get going a little faster. Loading up the map we see a little bit of stone and iron nearby, some helpful grassland right above us, trees all about and even several hordes of deer.

I start with the Trading Post, Stockpile, Granary (set to half rations for now), hovels, an apple farm, a couple dairy farms, and wheat farms where I can squeeze them. I build several woodcutters around the grassland so I can tap them for farming later. Meanwhile, though we usually don't have the option, there are a TON of deer running around, which can multiply into headache levels unless you do some population control.

With this array of food assuming we're drawing all four types enough, the food variety and no taxes will keep our popularity neutral until we can afford full rations. Now, onto production. Cram 2-3 quarries into the nearby rock bed, and iron mines nearby as well. It won't be much, but it will be something. You might as well build your mills and bakeries now, since we start the game with a bit of wheat. Now onto defense.

Most challenges I recommend getting up defenses before infrastructure, but since the Wolf isn't much of a poker (and if he used his gold well he could kill us in a moment's notice), we can give it a bit of time. Normally I rely on gatehouses for safety or square towers for siege and height, but the problem is even when we extend our towers as far as they can go, that nearly doesn't provide enough reach to all of our resources, so this is what we'll do instead.

Run a thin strip of wall down your southern edge in a straight line. You want it to be a couple squares farther back than you physically can. Add stairs to one end, then sentry towers dotting the wall, with space left over for a couple square towers later. Voila, all your archers can get to these towers, about five each, and enjoy maximum range to rain death on a lot of would-be threats. We have a problem though. Except for a few errant waves of bowmen and horse archers, the Wolf LOVES heavy units, like pikes and swordsmen. That means to keep ourselves safe from full-scale buttwreck we need some ballistas and crossbows. Lots and lots of crossbows.

Produce some tanners that will get to work on killing your dairy farm cows, and build some fletchers as well working on crossbows. Be on the look out for a Wolf attack; the weakness of our current defense is he can scale our little wall and kill us in our towers; temporarily destroy the bottom stair step if you see him coming or you want to direct your attention elsewhere.

Once you have the money and stone, build an Engineers Guild, a couple pairs of engineers, your square towers on your wall, and ballista up top. Once you have the weapons needed (or you buy them in because you get antsy or see him coming), recruit some crossbowmen and send them up your towers. The ballista and crossbows will help a LOT in punching through that heavy armor. I personally enjoy the rapid firing of archers as well, so I turned some fletchers to bows at this point, but you will need crossbowmen throughout this entire mission.

Once your food, resources, and defenses are looking adequate, now you have to ask yourself, "How do we beat this guy?" He has a ridiculous amount of gold to back him up, as well as all the stone and iron he should want. We also want more for ourselves, because right now our little economy isn't exactly booming. We have two options. To the northwest is a giant field of iron that, even though most of it is rock-strewn and unusable, would be nice to have to kickstart our growth. To the south is an oasis teeming with wood and potential farmland. Near the middle in the southwest direction are the Wolf's three quarries that could be serving us instead. The trouble with any of these routes is that it's a little close to the Wolf, so we'll need some backup.

Assemble some archers and crossbows, probably at least one crossbow per every four archers, until you have a spare wad of 20-40 (make sure to cram your defense towers full first!). I decided I was going to bankrupt the Wolf by destroying his stone capacity, so I camped my force just outside of his quarries to rain death on his guys. They were far enough back that they were covered by my towers in case of melee attack, but close enough to be able to kill anything that went to them. I also built blacksmiths, not only so that I could sell weapons for more than raw iron, but because since I had leather I might as well build macemen. Once I got a small little gang of macemen, I rushed them in to smash the quarries once and for all. Unfortunately, Wolf likes to rebuild them FAST, plus when I tried to build one it kept getting attacked. If you really want the stone for yourself, get a lot of archers and crossbows to sit and guard it, otherwise, do what I did and build a few hovels over it so he'd stop placing crap there.

Despite our little victory, Wolf has another three quarries right next to his keep, which we can't access without being hammered by his mangonels; or worse. But I vowed to make sure he'd have to buy every rock he'd ever own from here on out, and make sure he'd have to buy a lot of it. Keep churning out archers and crossbows, as well as a trio of engineers. Then I built a trebuchet on the western edge of the southeastern oasis. The goal was to be able to shell his farthest towers without being targeted by his ranged units or mangonels. Unfortunately, one of his mangonels was in range and eventually smashed that trebuchet. But at that range if only one of his mangonels could hit me while I could hit so much more than just one tower (including his barracks!) I was determined to have some fun.

Recruit about two dozen engineers. Move the wad of archers that was harassing the quarry to cover the trebuchets being built on the treeline. As soon as the trebuchets were built they fired in mass on the tower with the offending mangonel, who got off only three volleys before being destroyed. This was great and all, but we still have three problems:

1) Nothing is stopping him from rebuilding that tower and re-manning it

2) Nothing is stopping his quarries from churning out more rock

3) He can retaliate at any time.

Keep producing archers and crossbows both to shore up your defensive line (eventually he'll get pissed and send a horde of pikes and swords your way) and to backup your trebuchets. Your archers' goal is to defend the siege weapons from attack by arabian bowmen he'll send your way. Keep your trebuchets constantly supplied with stone, and hit the tower as soon as he rebuilds it (so his mangonel won't start firing again) and hammer his barracks otherwise. This won't cripple him - yet - but it will piss him off. Expect hordes of bowmen and pikemen to come after you - Make sure you're outnumbering him by a lot and each of his guys will only get off a single shot before being shot with a dozen arrows. Keep enough crossbows to handle his armored units.

Once you have enough extra money and guys, build another row of trebuchets a little closer to hit his other nearby towers and move up your column of swelling ranged support so your guys can constantly kill his quarry workers and ox tethers. Now he will get insanely infuriated, as you keep destroying his tower and barracks, and he has no functioning quarries to get more stone. At this point he will send wave after wave of bowmen and pikemen to kill your harassing forces, and he may also send one or two massive and scary attack forces to your keep. As long as you have enough crossbows, ballista, and maybe a few melee troops to keep him back you should have no problem killing them all. If you need to, send your harassing ranged units to distract them (your faster but weaker archers should be able to outrun them back to base and reinforce your defensive line).

At this point you may want to rush him. Instead, Look to the Wolf and hover your mouse over his keep. The amount of gold he currently has will briefly come up over the keep, and you can gauge how weak he is. If he still has more than 20k in gold, I wouldn't hit him. But if you're still shelling his towers and barracks wasting his stone reserves, and you're harassing and killing his quarry workers and wave after wave of bowmen, you should steadily reduce his gold supply to nothing. Once he's down to a couple thousand gold or less, finish him off with the strategy of your choice. Since I has build blacksmith for gold production and tanners for crossbowmen anyway, I just build a force of 100 macemen, smashed his gatehouse, and stormed in.

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