This isn't definitive but based on subjective experience of the game.
Strategy and Playthrough
The Game of Princes scenario takes place in the Sultanate of Rum, with the goal of conquering Anatolia.
This scenario is broken up into two phases:
- Tutorial; lots of dialog, features are introduced each turn, very limited scope of actions.
- Free-roam; less dialogue, able to pick your own objectives and do things in your own time.
This guide deals in large part with the second phase. It will not walk you through turn by turn but gives you a strategy to follow and tips to help you achieve it.
This is my first guide so any feedback is much appreciated.
Here are my top 5 tips for this scenario:
- Wandering Generals - each general gives you an extra action per turn, so be sure to always be at your maximum number of generals.
- Buy the 900 Wheat from the Italian merchant and sell to the Eastern merchant - you need to research them both first but the returns on this are well worth the upfront cost and can keep you afloat in hard times.
- Befriend the Mongols - If they declare you friends you will periodically be gifted Mongol Cavalry which are excellent acting as both archers and cavalry.
- Always use spare Generals to fight either the Brigands or explore the ruins - Generals level up on how many battles they partake in, note that they do not have to be successful, levelling up your Generals gives them extra troops and orders which is great.
- Sell any Green Tier troops to the Black market - the game will reward you with a few of these, but the Research tree is locked off before you can have them in your army so selling them is the most productive thing to do.
Ignore their fort (Sinope), go for the village (Amasia), cutting off the fort leaves it empty so you can just walk in (don't worry to much if another faction takes it first though we can get it back later). Following this spend a few turns attacking their capital, aim to break one wall then retreat and heal before swapping in another army to repeat until you can take the city.
This is going to be hard as they have Armenian Crossbowmen, if you leave it too late they will also have tier 3 infantry making them a real challenge.
Take it slow and steady, whittle down their walls with one army while another is healing, then alternate out.
Following this be sure to hire/train some Armenian crossbowmen.
Note it doesn't say Byzantium, as late game an event should occur 'the Nicaea revolt" which makes a new weak faction from all of Byzantium's Anatolian Territory.
Wait for the event to fire, immediately declare war and aim for the one connected territory the Byzantines have 'Nicomedia'. With this you are free to defeat them in your own time, without facing the high-level generals of Byzantium.
That should be all the territory you need to win, I would advise you don't bother trying to take any other territories as the further a territory is from your capital the less money you make from it. Same goes for fighting the Mongols and Assasins, they are a big resource drain for little reward.
This deals with campaign from the point you can purchase troops from the Boot camp, which is effectively the end of the tutorial heavy section.
Send an ambassador to all your immediate neighbours except for Trebizond. The goal here is to avoid unnecessary wars and get as many trade partners as possible, while maximizing your spending. Not everyone needs an ambassador, and once you achieve your goal move to a liaison or nothing for a few turns.
Aim to get the following:
- Trade and Alliance with Byzantium.
- Trade with Armenia.
- Trade and alliance with The Great Seljuk.
- Be declared 'friend' by the Mongols / Assasins.
- Trade with The Kieven Rus.
- Trade with the Kingdom of Cyprus (but don't don't count on it, they don' produce much and will likely hate you).
You can try to keep on good terms with other factions, but they won't affect you much as you can only trade with Neighbours and attack cities you are connected to.
If an ally calls you into a war accept; you get a boost to relations with them and likely won't have to do anything more than Truce out of the war in a few months. Remember you cannot attack or be attacked by a faction you aren't connected to.
At the lowest level an Infantry and archer will do, but mid game your basic army composition should be one of the following:
- Infantry, Cavalry, Archer / Crossbow.
- Infantry, Infantry, Archer.
- Infantry, Crossbow, Archer.
Note that archers and Crossbows act differently and having both in an army is a great way to get the most out of both.
Strategy for each army
Having Cavalry is great, if you are attacking in a siege their charge ability can knock troops back behind their walls allowing you to attack them.
Having two infantry lets you swap them out, one attacks while the other heals and Archers keep up a constant stream of damage.
Having two ranged units doubles your fire power and is my preferred layout, this layout is best for Sieges where two Infantry is less useful.
Tip for Sieges
Micro-Manage your army to move 1 step behind the Ram /Siege tower until close to the walls, then surge forward with infantry or charge with cavalry to get them to the walls.
If you’re infantry take too heavy a beating retreat under the ram/ siege tower and swap move them back to heal, archers can still fire from a few spaces away and keep up damage.
In defensive sieges do the opposite, retreat back a space each time they break a barricade and know that standing on spaces back from a wall closes the gates. Use this if your front line is taking a beating or you are only fielding ranged units.
Late game when you have 4 troop slots in an army adding an extra archer in or healer can round of an army nicely, try to replace any crossbow men with Armenian Crossbows and Cavalry with Mongol if you have it.
Note each Generals abilities, for example use your faction leader to hire new generals in the inn as they get an extra turn talking.
When you get a new general you will have to buy their allegiance (using up your rulers turn)
Any Research is a benefit however focusing your efforts will see the best returns. early game you will have to hit the books mini-game a few times, but once the council event starts happening you should be good.
- Start with the Shisha at the Mosque, this gives you some income earlier on.
- The +1 / -1 movement and troop position swapping, these give you better control of your army.
- Then I'd suggest you go for the first 3 merchants, Italian, Arabic then Eastern as this is one of the biggest money makers in the game: buying the 900 wheat from one and selling it back to another plus any extra from trade.
After this you should have a good economic foundation and control of your troops to go down any route you please.
My advice is to aim for the siege tower and auto charge in the military branch.
The Ruins are handy for extra research some resource and getting your low level generals to level up, just be sure to retreat before you are overwhelmed.
In addition to'more generals' for obvious reasons and ‘noblesse oblige 1’ to reduce generals costs.
This is a bit of a tight- rope you will have to walk, staying just enough on their good side they don't interfere with you, but not wasting resources keeping them happy for nothing.
The benefit of maxing out their opinion of you is the prophet visits who you can hire doctors from them, worth doing late game when you have 4 troop armies but don't bother early on.
Big or small offering?
- 90% of the time small offering is sufficient.
- If you are on the verge of entering 'Apostle of evil' then go for a big offering or the 'pagan trial' option as a last resort.
- If you are any point above hate or in the green then a small offering is fine or even no offering if you really need the money.
Late game to get the prophet to visit your kingdom go for a big offering and some pagan trials until you are at 'gods servant' level. The prophet lets you buy doctors and occasionally 'blesses' (heals) one army which can be useful.
You can sell these to merchants or use them to gain favour with your religion through the trials; however, it's the third use you want them for - building roads.
Once a year the road builder comes around and at the cost of 20 pagans will let you connect two previously unconnected settlements. This is important if you remember you can only attack along roads, especially when fighting Armenia as you can build a road from Gangra to Heracles, negating the need to take the fort at all.
These provide you with reduced unrest and free research. Taking a mission to research a tech is an excellent idea as once researched you get back all the research points. I'd advise against any 'destroy ...' missions, they are tricky to do in the time limit. Taking an easy train up a troop in ... army is pretty useful, dissolve a troop and replace with a low level troop and train them to save money.
This is where the ruffians congregate, wandering Generals appear and you can rest. Click on the innkeeper to rest your troops, it will cost 1 or 2 hundred gold but is well worth it for a full recovery of troops and moral.