El Cid 6: "Reconquista"

Article written by CanOfSpam
Published on 07-04-2016; updated on 07-05-2016
Tags: Conquerors Campaigns, El Cid


Plan of Attack

  • Knight Rush
  • Skirmishers and Trebuchets
  • Sheltered Harbour
  • Cannon Galleons
  • Castle Drop Beachhead
  • Trash Invasion

Relevant Civilization Bonuses

  • Builders work 30% faster
  • Blacksmith upgrades don't cost gold
  • Cannon Galleons benefit from Ballistics (fire faster, more accurately)
  • Unique Unit: Missionary
  • Unique Technology: Supremacy

Enemy Opposition

The scenario menu’s objectives, hints and scout reports actually have this served up to you on a silver platter, and the entire level is the perfect showcase for the late-Imperial Spanish on multiplayer. The Black Guard Army are besieging Valencia, mounting an assault in the first few minutes of gameplay. Their camp is scattered outside your gates to the north and west, undefended but for a single formidable castle and without villagers.

The Black Guard Navy are to the south, and their town is similarly sprawling and indefensible. Your starting cavalry are more than sufficient to both contain their military and break their economy. While your own base has gold enough to complete the scenario, there are badly needed forests and even larger gold mines in Black Guard lands that it’s best to expand into at the earliest opportunity.

Once you’ve driven out the Black Guards and occupied their territory, all that’s left is Yusuf across the sea. Three towers of singular range and strength guard a string of islands and control the sea lanes, but even more implacable are the three castles that defend the coast with massive counter-batteries of trebuchets with swarms of heavy camels, cavalry archers and fully-upgraded Imperial Age monks, all ready to fall on any landing force with extreme prejudice.

Left to his own devices, Yusuf will harass Valencia by land and sea with lightly escorted siege rams and cannon galleons, but victory depends on defeating him on his own ground. The AI is dogged in defense, and while it’s possible to overcome him without relying on cannon galleons, it’s an utter nightmare to rely on even a large force of galleons and conventional siege weapons. Camels eliminate paladins as an option while Turkish cavalry archers will brutalize champions. His castles will mass trebuchets to counter your own, monks will snatch away at your ships if they don’t stray into range of his castles first, and any siege rams you land will quickly fall to hussars without escorts.

Of course, if you’re determined to eschew an armada of cannon galleons, the network of shallows will allow you to unload trebuchets to knock out the towers and castles, but it will be heinously expensive. The safest land is on the enemy goldmines in the southern corner of the map. You can transport troops their to work your way up the coast, but prepare for frustration. Raising your own towers in their place to blockade his fishing and naval operations will quickly see them trebucheted, and without a nearby island to train troops but more importantly siege rams, they'll have to sail from the mainland. Even the doughty and efficient Spanish builders can’t compete with the sheer mass of trebuchets they’ll bring to bear on construction, so prioritize luring and exterminating as many as possible before you land, again with siege rams.

Krush

As the scenario begins, train a pair of cheap light cavalry to lead the way for your expensive starting force of heavy camels and cavaliers, and ride hell-bent for the western corner of the map. From there, have them spearhead a patrol on Defensive sweeping southeast to cripple the Black Guard Navy’s economy in true knight rush fashion. Post cavaliers to guard his gold mines and leave camels outside his military buildings and light cavalry to his monastery, with the rest of your cavaliers staked out by his mills and lumber camps. Their villagers are powerless to resist you or gather resources, so only a token force can be mustered to challenge you for dominance once you‘re in their country. Hold position Defensively until a trebuchet can be carted down from the city at your leisure to reduce the castle and town centre, freeing you to fall on his remaining coastal buildings.

Siege on Siege

The Black Guard Army will quickly begin their attack, siege rams and trebuchets moving to threaten the central quarter that hosts Dead El Cid. Deadly fully upgraded Turkish heavy cavalry archers will buzz the walls and lure a cavalry pursuit into ambushes, so ignore them as they have no other recourse but to go shot-for-shot with your towers. The real threat are the trebuchets, so pack your two-handed swordsmen into rams and demolish them, shielded from the Turkish castle and archers alike. With the siege engines destroyed, have them fall back to your castle, ignoring the cavalry archers and ready to respond to any further threats. With a second archery range you can quickly raise a small company of skirmishers to escort a trebuchet and the rams for a counterattack, but be certain to use all three in tandem. The last real bastion of the Black Guard’s resistance, the castle will stubbornly build trebuchets at its base to counter your own, so move up the rams to destroy them and press the attack while yours reduces the castle or else be frustrated by the counter-battery.

With its destruction are the end of the Black Guard Army as anything more than a nuisance. Their camp can be rolled up by the trebuchet, or even a handful of skirmishers and villagers with the research of Supremacy and Sappers. Of course, your villagers may be better put to use expanding your economy to mount an invasion of your own.

Booming

Immediately work to surround your town centre with eight farms and farmers, continuously producing lumberjacks set to any stragglers to be found within the city walls. As your soldiers open up territory for fresh expansion, group the farmers in eights and send them to build town centres near gold and lumber. Your population limit is at 125, so three town centres isn’t excessive. Build three farms and houses to each town centre to facilitate even greater resource gathering and villager production, prioritizing lumber camps and then gold mines. Your priority now is to produce a fleet and bring the war to Yusuf.

A Spanish Armada

Yusuf`s fleet may reach you in the middle of your offensive, interrupting you as you crush the Black Guards. Don’t recall your units, they’re more useful where they are already. Rather than scrape and claw to defend your dock or starting town centre, withdraw your villagers and move them to the castle or to your goldmine, then inland. With the Black Guards defeated there’s no real threat to expansion outside the walls, and the only reason to cling to the city is Dead El Cid and the castle defending him. Be certain to keep a handful of missionaries garrisoned there for emergency healing should any of your enemies achieve a breakthrough and threaten him and you with instant defeat, but your economy has little reason to be shackled to the southern quarters of the city that can be easily replaced.

Since you already have a castle, construct a sheltered harbour to reclaim the seas. Delete the shore walls to make room for at least three docks within the castle’s protection and mass galleons. Build a university to unlock Chemistry and cannon galleons, and mass them in turn. Galleons should do the lion’s share of scouting and lead every attack as they’re cheaper and quicker to replace, but with eight or more cannon galleons doing demolition duty Yusuf’s coastal defenses are an expensive waste of stone. As you claim a section of levelled beach, post a cannon galleon off-shore just within sight of any attempts to build new docks. The tenacious AI will withdraw further inland and continue to mass cavalry and siege rams, so to bring an end to them you’ll need to land an invasion force.

Spanish Trash

The Spanish have a multitude of advantages in every age, and this campaign has showcased each in turn. A full tech-tree of fully-upgradeable counter-units offer them cheap and efficient armies in late-Imperial warfare as one of their many options, an option you should take to win this scenario in its final stages. Elite skirmishers and halberdiers in box formation around a core of missionaries is cheap and quick to put in the field against expensive but deadly paladins or cavalry archers in a war of attrition, and the best way to proceed against the Black Guards if your attacks should stall on the mainland. A small force patrolling outside the walls is immensely effective in the early stages of this scenario, but you’ll require a larger force to strike inland against Yusuf.

After your cannon galleons have swept the coast clear of castles and trebuchets, transport ten villagers benefiting from Supremacy to join your fleet, and have them build a castle defended by your ships. The castle’s range will extend your control inland with it’s arrows, and cannon galleons will destroy siege rams before they reach its base. Build trebuchets within the castle and surround it with a pair of archery ranges and barracks, massing halberdiers and elite skirmishers. As Yusuf’s armies throw themselves against your beachhead, you’ll be gathering an army within those military buildings. As the attacks falter and slacken, march out from the castle and lay waste to the rest of his town for victory.


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