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Abu

By EJay

Abu is definitely one of the more boring scenarios in my opinion. I first thought it had to do with my style of play, but I enjoyed the other missions, so that was not it. I think the problem with this scenario is the heavy orientation towards military. Still, it was a nice challenge.

When I opened the map, it took me a while before I figured out what the best set up for my city would be and I even considered just razing it all but after giving it some consideration, the starting position turned out to be good enough. The key to a successful city here is separating the industrial/farming area and the more luxurious area. Although I did place the soldiers and military workshops on the island as well, there was plenty of room for the palace, nobles and civil services. The island is actually only an island during floods, but for reference it's easier to just talk about the island. With this in mind, I started expanding on what was already built, providing some religion, more shops and building a palace.

(The screenshot of the island is of a slightly earlier phase than the screenshot of the farmer area)

The one major mistake I made in Abu was choosing the Nubian Scouting as my first exploration. As you know, the primary goal of this mission is to conquer Nubia and when you send out the Nubian Scouting, many enemy camps and raiders will be revealed. This forced me to focus on the military earlier than I wanted and delayed the growth of my city considerably. I hoped to defeat the Nubians quickly and then build up prestige so I could expand my city, however the defeat of the Nubian invaders is, to say the least, a delicate operation.

As soon as you have the basics of your city up and running, start thinking about your military. During the campaign against the Nubians, you will need plenty of Chariots, Spearmen and Archers. Most cost-effective would be to build 30 barracks and then switch their professions accordingly to your needs but this takes some time. Whenever they change from spearman to chariots or to archers or vice versa, they will have to pick up new weapons and receive new training. However, adding much more barracks would require more commanders as well and you might want to spend your prestige on something else. (A commander can only train so many soldiers)

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Nubians fight back. Besides the occasional raiders, you will be facing some very tough resistance on your way to the Nubian capital. When I first conquered a few enemy sites, I was very surprised to see that some of them opened again some time later. They key is to hit multiple sites in a short time-span so that you can advance to the capital without having to worry about sites re-opening. Once you have the ability to build Buhen, I suggest you do so as it will carry over to the next mission in gold.

To summarize, build up your city and military first before considering heading for the Nubian capital. There is a granite quarry in the south and I set up a mining camp there pretty late in the mission because I was too busy defeating the enemy, but I think it would be best to set up the camp before attacking. This way, you can build obelisks or steles as soon as you win another victory - most victories give you a pleasant prestige boost. Whichever way you choose, it will not be easy. If you wage war early, you will have some prestige problems because you need commanders and it will be difficult to get an overseer and some priests needed for the quarrying of obelisks or steles. On the other hand, if you set up the mining camp first, you might have plenty of obelisks or steles but nothing to commemorate. But both ways work if you are careful with your resources. For every educated worker you spend, ask yourself the question if that priest/commander/scribe/overseer is really needed. I had one scribe to at least get some tax, but it was very late in the mission before I got my second. When I was close to defeating the Nubian capital, my city looked like this:

The mining camp looked like this and it proved to be sufficient as I was building obelisks pretty quickly, but there are many, many ways to successful mining camps.

Statistics:

  • Played on hard
  • Time elapsed: 25 years
  • Prestige: 140 (magnificent)
  • Population: 527
  • Satisfaction: Very good