|Over The Mountain|
|Map Name||The Divide (2)|
|Enemies||Shah "The Relaxed"|
|← -Rat in a Cage →|
In this briefing mission you take on the hostile Shah. The map is divided in two parts by a wall of rocks in the middle, leaving a small passageway on the top, where a considerably large resource deposit is located. In the bottom of the cliffs, some oasis is found for both combatants.
The two sides have different strengths and weaknesses: the left side has an additional pocket oasis in the far left, while the right side has a closer resource deposit. In the middle a long steep is stretched, where the left player can easily snipe right's workers in the mines. Moreover, the boundary rock wall is not wide, meaning that forward towers manned with ranged units can wreak havoc on the other side easily.
You are given a lot of resources, even more than your sole opponent. 5000 gold, a hefty amount of weapons and resources mean that you can concentrate on building up your defenses before establishing your economy.
Site the stockpile halfway between the resource deposit and the keep, closer to the oasis as well. Place your granary inbetween. Notice the middle of the map, where a narrow passageway leads all around your estate: this is where the Shah's troops will swarm soon in the game: patrols and attacking armies will all pass through this choke. What this means is that your worker lines and farms are pretty much exposed to ranged fire and you have to take care of protection if you want to survive in the first few minutes of the game.
A possible strategy is to use Arab mercenaries and European units along. Your production efficiency will be stalled a lot, as Arabian bowmen will snipe your oxen and weapon workshops have a hard time producing. Site your barracks and mercenary post to the north-east and build two stump/medium towers overlooking the resource deposit and the Shah's oasis and provide them stairs and walling to connect.
Build the armoury between the stockpile and the barracks. Recruit as many crossbowmen, archers and templar knights as possible, then sell all swords and spears. Do the same with ale, hops and candles. Set all rally points to the two towers and man them with ranged units. You can bring along a sergeant or two to provide additional resistance, as well as a few healers to recover health.
Building and defending the economyEdit
After your initial defenses are set up, you are good to go with other buildings. Build woodcutters near the forest, mines and quarries with their tethers in the closest deposit, two wheat farms in your oasis, a mill and four bakeries. Buy in the wood as needed. Add crossbow, pike and metal armour production facilities. You can build as much production as you want, but the more time you spend at home, the more established the Shah's economy becomes.
The Shah's archers and swordsmen may have come by know. These small vanguards will fiercely defend and station on the middle location, sniping your hard-working peasants. Thankfully, the initial defenses should wipe them off. You will also suffer a few men's casualties, but you can easily replace the fallen troops with Arabian bowmen. Arabian swordsmen will negate your defenses, as their health is very high so dispatch your templar knights to fend them off.
Venturing out and neutralizing the ShahEdit
Extend your economy by adding more workshops and food production as resources pour in. In the meantime, if your defenses suffice against the bowmen, start building an army of crossbowmen, Arabian bowmen, pikemen and conscripts. Have the knights join the fray as well. Focus building the units with equipment, else build conscripts in abundance: they are cheap, destroy buildings very fast and good to sacrifice in the enemy ranged fire.
If you have about 20 units, move out and destroy the Shah's mines and quarries in the north. Secure this high ground so your ranged units will get additional range to control the middle and northwestern locations. The Shah will rebuild his destroyed buildings, just ignore these. Set up a siege camp just west from this vantage point and have a burning cart or two roll out to cripple the Shah's food production just under the rocks.
Continue building up the army until you have a good army. Ranged units are not really important, since the Shah has little garrison on his walls and your close-combat units will obliterate any archers in sight. Have the pikemen and the knights fight the swordsmen. Constantly set your rally point as far outside as possible, so your units will rush straight to reinforce your forward fighters.
The best way to siege the Shah is obviously from the front. If you can, build two catapults while also charging the Shah's mercenary post from the northeast. Destroy the production in the oasis and press back the teal fighters. Knock a hole in the northern wall line by targetting a tower. The Shah might have dozens of archers and swordsmen at the walls: have them slaughtered by your forces. If you butcher through your way and destroy the mercenary post: you have secured your position!
After you secured the perimeter, the rest of the siege is cake. Scale the Shah's walls from the inside and eradicate the small defense there. The Shah might also come out from the keep and fight you on his own, leaving the keep's defenders out of combat! Surround him and you will easily defeat him.