Difference between revisions of "SonOfThe BlackEye"

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(Adding a short intro and a general campaign strategy section)
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* Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Inarix and one veteran.
* Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Inarix and one veteran.
The starting set up involves a small ambush, and you receive an extra ally, so in the end you are a team of two leaders against two. Start by moving Kapou’e quickly to your keep and leaving Grüü and your other veteran to deal with the group of orcs.
You receive an extra ally, so in the end you are a team of four leaders against two. The starting set up involves a small ambush. Start by moving Kapou’e quickly to your keep and leaving Grüü and your other veteran to deal with the group of orcs along with your allies' gryphons.
Shan Taum is far weaker than Lanbec'h. The benefit of taking him out quickly is that your ally will then concentrate his forces on Lanbec'h; if both enemies are present, Howgarth's forces oscillate a little in between the two.
Shan Taum is far weaker than Lanbec'h. The benefit of taking him out quickly is that your ally will then concentrate his forces on Lanbec'h; if both enemies are present, Howgarth's forces oscillate a little in between the two.

Revision as of 03:24, 27 September 2013

This is a walk-through for the Son of the Black–Eye campaign. You will play the role of Kapou’e, an Orcish Leader who will command armies of orcs, trolls and saurians during this adventure.

This campaign is regarded by many players as one of the best written among those in the mainline, with a solid and interesting back-story, clever and not overly serious dialogue and a good balance of difficulty throughout the scenarios, providing a pleasant yet challenging pace in the action.

Campaign Strategy

Featuring 18 playable scenarios, this is a relatively long campaign, giving you plenty of opportunity to train a strong army.

You start with just basic orcish units (Orcish Grunts and Archers and Wolf Riders), and will gain the ability to recruit new types of units with time. You won't have healers for the first half of the campaign, so you can only rely on villages for recovering wounded troops (with the exception of trolls). However, using only veterans and relying too much on healing in the middle of battles does not fit particularly well with the general flavor of the campaign. More often than not, you can rely instead on fresh level-1 units and holding strategic locations in the maps you play in.

In case you have never controlled orcs and trolls before (either in multi-player games or any other user-made campaign), it may take you a little while to get used to the way it "feels" playing them. Perhaps the main issue brought up by players who have experience with the northerner faction is their lack of consistency (the ability of single units to repeatedly deal a certain amount of damage with some "reasonable" certainty). When playing orcs and trolls, many players prefer strategies that involve using many low-level units instead of just a few high-level ones.

This campaign is labelled as "Expert level" in the game, and with good reason. It doesn't necessarily means that it is especially difficult. It is just much more accessible once you have gained some basic mastery of Wesnoth strategy and tactics, and are familiar with the way the game's AI (the enemy's "intelligence", so to speak) works. In a nutshell, enemies will tend to think short-term and go for easy kills whenever possible, putting any number of its own units at risk if necessary to kill its targets. Once you get the hang of it, it is much easier to steer battles to go the way you want them to, at the cost of sacrificing unimportant units (referred to by players as fodder or spam). Although most of the beginner and intermediate level campaigns can be played with practically no unit losses, trying to do that here would be like trying to drink soup using a fork. It may not be impossible, but you'd just be making it harder on yourself for no good reason.

A few words on the different units you will control:

Kapou’e starts as an Orcish Leader, and his distinctive feature is having the leadership ability. Given the offensive style of playing suitable for this campaign you will probably level him up quickly whether you intend to or not.

The most basic fighting units will be Orcish Archers and Orcish Grunts. Archers do very well against most types of enemies, including the occasional undead or rare monster, thanks to their fire attack. Grunts are cheap and somewhat strong but unreliable due to the low number of hits of their attacks, and they do not have ranged attacks until they reach L3. Many players prefer to use Grunts almost exclusively as cannon fodder. Still, having a few Warriors and Warlords in your roster is useful because of their strong melee attack and good HP.

Wolf Riders are very good scout units. They can advance to Direwolf Riders and to Goblin Pillagers. Direwolves are strong and can be used when you need to send scouts on their own to grab distant villages, while Pillagers aren't as strong but are much more versatile and can be used to accompany your main army and slow tough enemies whenever necessary. Having at least two of each type will serve you well in this campaign.

During the first few scenarios you will gain the ability to recruit Troll Whelps and Orcish Assassins. Similar to Grunts, Trolls are pretty strong but also a little unreliable. However, their big redeeming quality is their regeneration ability, making them act as if they were always standing on a village. Having a few of them (or more than a few if you prefer) is definitely a good idea.

As for the Assassins, if you have any previous experience playing against orcs (and you probably do if you're reading this walk-through), you should know how annoying Assassins and Slayers can be when you have to fight against them, but this time they'll be on your side. Their poisoning attack and high defense make them tremendously useful to turn the tides in big battles. Since their poisoning attack also benefits from marksmanship, it is a very effective way of dealing with enemies in high-defense terrain (e.g. dwarves on mountains or elves in the forest). Their disadvantage is that they are very weak, so leaving them vulnerable to attacks from even one or two strong enemies means they will probably bite the dust on the next turn.

For the second half of the campaign you gain access to Saurians. Most importantly, their Augurs, who can advance to Soothsayers and provide +8 heal will be a great addition for your army. On the other hand, the usefulness of Skirmishers for this campaign is debatable. They are normally very useful disrupting enemy lines and holding key positions where other units would have terrible defense (like swamp or sand). However, you get the Saurians at a time in the campaign when winter is about to arrive, and by then you will start fighting on snow-covered maps where the Saurians' movement is very poor. Any real chance of using them will come on the last few scenarios of the campaign, but by then your army will probably already have plenty of good and varied units. This means you won't be really urged to use them, but if you have fun with them, then by all means go ahead.


The End Of Peace

  • Objective: Defeat Alber, the human lieutenant.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e dies or time runs out.
  • Turns: 34/30/26 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e.

It looks tempting to recruit lots of Wolf Riders to match the humans' cavalry mobility, but don't try—they're not quite a match for cavalry and tend to get cut to pieces in detail. Two Wolf Riders for village stealing is enough, recruit mostly Orcish Grunts and Orcish Archers instead. Keep close order, pot the cavalry with Archers, and bodyguard the Archers with the Grunts. Kapou’e can do a second round of recruiting at one of the neutral keeps closer to the battle.

Once you defeat Alber, a Wolf Rider shows up to tell you about a large human army that is about to catch up with you. You are given the choice to either proceed with caution and avoid the fight, or to stubbornly stay and make a stand against impossible odds. If you decide to fight, you'll play the scenario The Human Army, otherwise you skip right into Towards Mountains of Haag.

Playing The Human Army gives you the possibility of levelling up a few units, but it is a very challenging scenario and it will take a toll on any bonus gold you may have picked up here. It can be a frustrating experience, especially if you're the type of player who doesn't like sacrificing units, but if you'd rather have an early start forming a core army of experienced units instead of playing it safe and saving your gold, you might want to give it a try.

The Human Army

  • Objectives: Resist until your people can leave, then get Kapou’e to the signpost.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e dies.
  • Turns: 18.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Vrag.

This is a very difficult scenario. The human general recruits level-2 units and he starts with an amount of gold that is, for all intended purposes, infinite. Your goal is to do the best job you can holding the enemy, gaining experience for some of your troops in the process.

On turn 7, one of your units will be sent away on an errand, and then come back on turn 13, telling you that everything is ready to flee the scene. By then, you just need to move Kapou’e to the signpost on the north-eastern corner, and the scenario will end. Be prepared to escape as soon as possible, and try to level up as many units as you can, using fodder units to distract the enemy and protect your most valuable ones if necessary.

It is better to start this scenario with a good gold reserve from the first scenario, and a few units that are about to level up (instead of having L2 units with little experience). One way to play it is to start by recruiting all your good veterans and immediately move to the keep in the middle of the map, meanwhile send one or two wolves to the western villages. The first few loyalists should reach the middle of the map during the night, so that's the time to be as aggressive (but careful with your core units) as possible. When dawn arrives, get ready to retreat north, leaving a few fresh fodder units in the way to delay the human army. Make sure that by turn 13 Kapou’e can get to the signpost in one move. Use that last turn to gain as much additional experience as possible, and then finish the scenario. With a little luck, you should end up this level with a few experienced L2 units.

Towards Mountains of Haag

  • Objective: Move Kapou’e to the signpost.
  • Bonus objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 27/24/20 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e and one veteran.

This scenario requires you to fight dwarves in a mixture of open terrain, hills and mountains. Around turn 7 a small group of trolls will appear, and one of them will become loyal to your cause by the end of this battle. Players have succeeded by either running or fighting.

Option 1, run: Keep Kapou’e and your troops moving and try to brush the dwarves off your flank as you pass, because if they get to mass on you and fight a static battle they will chop you to dog meat. Recruit at most for two rounds and run for the signpost at least until the trolls show up. Then, if the odds are with you, you can linger a bit and harvest some XP. If you fight the dwarves, try and get them onto non-hill/mountain terrain. Again, your Archers are your best offensive tool, but you need to use Grunts and Wolf Riders keep the dwarves off them.

Option 2, fight: Run 2-3 Wolf Riders around to nab ALL the villages outside the mountain border. They do not need to engage the enemy. Send a large force of Archers with their Grunt bodyguards to the hills west of your keep. If you have a Crossbowman, he will be especially effective. Grunts must often forgo attacks, for fear of getting too weakened to survive the enemy's turn. Bring in some raw recruit Grunts to handle the risky jobs, sparing your high XP Grunts. When the trolls arrive, they should help clear the path to the king. When he steps off his keep, send someone tough to cover the spot, like Kapou’e, who can then recruit reinforcements if you wish. Keep an eye on the clock, especially on the hardest setting. Even if you kill the Dwarven king, you still have to move Kapou’e to the signpost.

The next scenario is a tough one, but it will be much easier if you finish with lots of extra gold here.

The Siege of Barag Gor

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the Shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 30/28/26 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü and a scout (a veteran if you have any wolves).
  • Other:
    • By freeing the unit in the cage, you will get a loyal Assassin and the ability to recruit more.
    • You are now able to recruit Troll Whelps.

This is the first large scale battle in the campaign, involving four elvish leaders coming from each of the corners of the map. A rather large keep is located in the middle, where your three shamans will start the scenario and you will have to keep them safe from harm.

In older versions of BfW this scenario was quite harder (particularly in the highest difficulty levels), making it almost impossible to make a stand in the orcish city to then go attack the leaders because of a tighter time limit. However, it has been rebalanced and these concerns have been addressed to some degree. There are many ways to approach this scenario, but in general you have two choices:

Option 1 - Going straight for the enemy leaders

If you want to finish this scenario faster (with the gold bonus it implies) you can just resign the keep in the middle, moving the trapped Shamans out of the way as soon as possible; a gap is likely to open up to the SE around turn 2 or 3. You can provide ZOC blocking with your Troll and Wolf Wider.

For taking care of the enemy leaders, players have had success with different strategies.

One option is to go clockwise. Take your troops south to knock out the elves there first, then west, then north. One problem is that it's easy to get pinned in and overwhelmed at the south after taking out its leader. So, consider sending a few Wolves and maybe Troll Whelps counter-clockwise to boost income and distract some of the enemy troops.

Another option is to divide your army in two. Send an assassination squad (heavy on Troll Whelps and/or Wolf Riders, possibly levelled) to take out the south-east leader. Send your leader, your Troll, and escorts north. To maximize your income, the escorts can be a relatively small and cheap squad of level 1's, in which case try using Wolf Rider bait to lure the enemy leader off his keep and also away from your leader, so your leader can sneak in to recruit more there. Then your northern and southern forces can head west to finish off the last two leaders, transferring Wolf Riders to bolster any lagging front.

Even though defending the city will not be your biggest priority, keeping your ally intact will help clog up enemy forces and prevent you from getting surrounded and pinned. You may want to send a small force to assist in the city's defense.

Pay attention to income. The more income you get, the more Troll Whelps you can recruit. Think twice before recalling any level 2 units, except maybe Pillagers. Later in the game, the villages in the middle will be relatively undefended; swoop in with Wolf Riders.

It's also helpful to have gold coming into the scenario. On nightmare, it would be hard to win with much less than 280 gold.

Option 2 - Holding the city

It can be a little trickier to finish within the time limit (particularly on hard) but it may be less risky to just move your center of operations to the city. Start by recruiting a couple of wolves to capture villages and some veterans and start moving right away into the keep in the middle. You'll need a little luck to quickly put Kapou’e in the second keep tile available, since your ally won't move from his place and during the battle it is very likely that other units occupy the space you want.

When you finally manage to move Kapou’e into place, however, things will start to look much brighter for you. Recruit troll whelps and recall some more of your veterans as long as you can pay their upkeep comfortably, and then patiently form squads to go deal with the elves. You will inevitably reach the turning point where you control most of the map and then it just becomes an exercise on assigning the experience to your units. It's probably better to leave the south-western leader for last, since he is the one with the most favorable terrain on his side so you should take your strongest units, including those who have levelled up during this battle, to finish him off.

Towards Harbor of Tirigaz

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the Shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 36/30/24 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto (the assassin, if you have him) and the Shamans.
  • Other:
    • The standard day of time cycle does not apply in this scenario. It will be nighttime practically all the way through instead.

For recruitment, recall from the Archer and Troll lines. Anything else is far less useful. The level 3 Archers and Trolls can take out an undead unit every turn with little damage to themselves. Except for taking down the Liches, level 1 Archers and Troll Whelps can get the job done too; it will be at grave danger to themselves, but you won't shed a tear if a low XP unit dies.

For main strategy, players have used at least two basic approaches with success:

Option 1, south-west first: The north-eastern enemy can be blocked with a couple of veteran units at the river fort; do that while you take villages on the near side of the river with your Shamans and take a recruiting round or two of troops south to deal with the south-western enemy.

Option 2, north-east first: Head north-east and destroy the Lich there as quickly as possible. At the same time a few Archers supported by Kapou’e (who should be at least level 2 by now) should be enough to handle the Ghosts the south-west Lich will send your way (unless you're really unlucky). The south-west Skeletons are slowed down by the swamp, so by the time they reach your forces the Ghosts should be no more, and Archers + Troll Whelps can handle the skeletons. On the Warrior difficulty with some luck and enough Crossbowmen recalled at the start you can can finish this scenario in just 10 turns using this approach.

You may ignore the holy water you see to the east as any unit that reaches it will just drink it and nothing will happen.

Black Flag

  • Objective: Defeat the human generals, Slowhand and Harman.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 30/28/24 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto.

If you run Kapou’e straight south to the central keep (not stopping to grab villages unless you can end a longest possible move south on one), you'll get to recruit troops in time to meet the first "pirates" on the beach. This will be good as fighting from the water hinders them. Punch out Harmon's (southern) keep first, then roll north. If you can, try to take out the galleons by attacking them directly before they can offload their troops. Goblin Knights or Direwolf Riders are good for this if you happen to have them. This way you can effectively take out four units for the price of one.

Since your keep is small and by the time you can use it the human army is large and with reinforcements on their way, trying to start by recalling your good veterans will be risky and probably not very effective. Instead, you may try starting with level-1 units to be sacrificed. Try using many Orcish Assassins to poison as many enemies as you can on each turn, focusing on the most dangerous loyalists first. Assassins also have high defense, so they will probably serve very well as the only fodder unit you use until the first wave of enemies is mostly dealt with and then you can recall some of your strong veterans to finish up the job.

The Desert of Death

  • Objectives:
    1. Reach the oasis.
    2. Defeat Ar-Dant, the bandit leader.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 22/20/18 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the shamans.

This is a demanding scenario where you need to keep moving without pause in order to finish in time. Take a few moments to explore the map before anything else. Take notice of the castle on the south-eastern corner; that is where you are ultimately going to find the enemy leader you need to defeat. Notice also the small segments of plain dirt, which will speed up your units a little bit during the journey. Finally, notice the few villages along the desert on which you can recover your wounded units, most importantly from poison.

You probably don't need to recruit/recall for more than one turn and you need to get moving as fast as possible. A good team can be composed mostly of Orcish Archers and Crossbowmen. One Goblin Pillager is also good for grabbing distant villages and slowing enemies.

Your first task is to deal with a group of scorpions that roam the desert. There will be about 7 to 10 scorpions in total, depending on the level of difficulty you're playing. Use ranged attacks from your archers and shamans, supported by Kapou’e's leadership and they will not last too long.

Don't take too long recovering your units before you continue moving south, until you find the bandits. They are not a big threat, and you can use Jetto to poison them, and Grüü and the rest of your army to finish them off.

The Silent Forest

  • Objective: Defeat the elves.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 40/38/36 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the shamans.

This scenario is a forest, you are playing against elves, and it is likely that you're coming into it with very little gold (possibly the minimum of 100). This might make you think this will be a difficult battle, but that really isn't the case due to the weakness of the AI.

Recall strong veterans, including L1 and L2 units about to level up if you have them, and head directly south to deal with the first elvish leader while sending one wolf to grab villages. Once the first enemy leader is history, go east and deal with the second one. By playing carefully, and keeping a safe distance from the forests whenever possible (to avoid fighting on terrain largely favorable to the elves) you should coast to victory without much trouble.

Shan Taum the Smug

  • Objective:
    • Survive for 20 turns, or..
    • Defeat Shan Taum.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or any of the shamans die.
  • Turns: 20.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and the shamans.

What makes this battle peculiar is that you will go against other orcs, supported by some ogres. The enemy starts with a good amount of gold, which would normally make for an intense fight with many casualties on your side, but there's a small river that divides the map right down the middle and can be used to your advantage thanks to the short-sightedness of the AI. As you probably have guessed by now, a good strategy is to place your units on the western bank of the river and let the enemy come to you and fight you from the water, which they will do without hesitance.

An army composed mostly of trolls will serve you well, because of their strong hits and their regeneration ability. Recruit/recall about two or three keeps of units (assuming your gold allows it), complementing the trolls with perhaps a few Orcish Warlords who can soak up some damage as well. Use Jetto (and perhaps one extra Assassin) to poison enemies with high HP, preferably during the day where they can't retaliate with full force. Don't forget to support your low level trolls with Kapou’e's leadership.

You can use your shamans to grab villages during the first turns, but be careful not to leave them in the zone of action of enemy wolves. Use your own wolves to protect them, and to grab villages to the north and south after your shamans have done their job.

Shan Taum will eventually run out of fuel, and it will be much easier to simply go and defeat him than to "survive" until the end of turns.

Saving Inarix

  • Objective: Destroy the southern part of the bridge.
  • Optional objective: Wait for Inarix's arrival and bring him and at least 4 other saurians to safety before blowing the bridge.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 16.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Plonk (a new loyal Slayer).

This scenario consists of a rescue mission. Inarix, a loyal Saurian Ambusher is on his way and arrives on turn 4 with a group of Saurian Augurs and Skirmishers on the SW corner. Your mission is to take him and most of his group to the north, and then blow up the bridge, escaping from the large group of elves, dwarves and bandits fighting you on the south bank of the river. The turn limit is a little tight, so trying to knock out any of the enemy leaders can be a little risky and unnecessary.

Start by recalling a small group of veterans (3 or 4 should be enough) to deal with the first few elves and dwarves on the bridge, and try to get Kapou’e to the southern keep as quickly as possible. By then Inarix has probably showed up already and the real battle begins.

The elvish leader to the east only recruits level-1 units, and they are not much of a threat outside forest tiles. The dwarven leader, however, recruits Bandits, who are very aggressive and dangerous at night. Make sure you dispatch them quickly with ranged attacks and protect your key units at night with good tactical formations, not leaving them open to attacks from more than one bandit at a time if possible.

One conservative strategy is to form two diagonal defense lines: one extending from the central keep to the north-west (for the dwarves) and one extending to the north-east (for the elves). Troll whelps work nicely for this purpose, using a few Archers and Assassins to deal with the bandits. Keep rotating your lines so the trolls can regenerate to limit your losses.

Meanwhile, Inarix should be on his way to the action. Initially, they will only be attacked by a few units, so build a formation with the healers in the middle and run them up in the center of the map, killing the attackers as you go. Try to give the final blows to the Augurs so they level up quickly into Soothsayers (finally, healers!). Use the swamps and water if possible for the high defense or even try to lure your attackers into it. Focus on moving them northwards and do not waste time, though.

By the end of turn 7 the elves and dwarves are getting low on units, but then they will just dig into their gold reserves and start heavily recruiting again. If you are really quick and concentrate on diminishing the elven attackers in turns 1 to 6, you can overrun the elves and kill their leader. That will make the rest of the scenario much easier as you will only be attacked by the dwarves. However, if you do not manage to kill the elven leader, do not worry. Just run Inarix and his group up to the north.

As soon as the saurian group reaches your defense line, start moving all units up north back across the bridge. Use the troll whelps as buffer to keep away the attackers as you do so.

Once all valuable units are past the center of the bridge, blow it up by moving a unit onto the little barrel in the water just east of it. You may sacrifice a saurian skirmisher for blowing up the bridge, but make sure you still have enough saurians left so you gain the ability to recruit them in the future.

As a final recommendation, it will make the next level a little easier if you can level at least one of the Augurs to a Soothsayer.

Clash of Armies

  • Objective: Defend Prestim for 4 days (24 turns).
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or an enemy occupies a village on the north side when the turns run out.
  • Turns: 24.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Plonk, Inarix and a couple of veterans.

A new large-scale battle but with a very different flavor to previous scenarios. In this opportunity you have to defend your side of the river. The terrain is favorable to your army, but you have to stay on your toes to deal with the different challenges presented.

First of all, the large group of elves, loyalists, dwarves and bandits that will come from the south, trying to knock you out of the bridge. Using strong units (Trolls, Slurbows and Warlords) supported by a Saurian Augur/Soothsayer and rotating the lines should be enough to hold them in this bottleneck. Other than that, you need to keep two groups on the sides of the river bank to handle the additional sources of trouble: a few gryphons coming from the western keep (mostly during the first few turns and then on rare occasion afterwards), small groups of mermen coming every other turn from each side of the map during the first half of the battle, and Galleons crossing the river with groups of three enemies every now and then.

When planning a strategy, it is usually said that there is more than one way to do it, and that is very true for this scenario. Players have had success with it using different strategies; the general gist of it is probably the same, but the details come down to your particular style of playing and the units you like to use the most.

In general, as mentioned above, try to use veterans to hold the center, and form two groups to cover the sides, mixing fresh and experienced units there. Kapou’e can stay in his keep, recruiting/recalling units during the battle as you see fit; the circumstances will tell you whenever extra reinforcements are required on a particular spot. You will be able to see Galleons and Gryphons from the distance, giving you some time to prepare, and the mermen show up in a pattern that is easy to follow.

You don't need to be careful about your gold in this scenario so feel free to spend all you have here. The next scenario can be handled comfortably with the minimum gold you receive, plus you will get a nice surprise after the Great Horde joins you.

When mermen are about to attack you, avoid occupying the castle tiles, which lets the mermen fight from the water. Instead, lure them into the sand, where they are much more vulnerable. This will make the fighting go faster and avoids a situation where mermen and other enemies pile up on you. Saurians fight nicely from the sand, and using Assassins/Slayers to poison units will make things go even smoother. When you see that the Galleons are about to disembark, then it is a good idea to occupy those castle tiles, forcing the enemy to drop their units on sand or water.

Using spam units is almost a necessity to keep control of the beaches. Grunts, Assassins, Whelps and Skirmishers are all good options. After turn 12, no more mermen will appear, and the battle will be easier to handle, with only the occasional Gryphon and the Galleons to distract you. If you manage to destroy the Galleons (which have extra hitpoints for this scenario), you will make the second half of the battle even more comfortable for yourself.

Note: On versions of BfW previous to 1.9, this scenario played differently. Although many details were similar to its current form, it involved protecting Towers (special units), it didn't include Galleons and it had other balancing issues. The following advice was written for those older versions.

Here is a short strategy which works on minimum starting gold (200) and medium difficulty:

Recall all troll warriors you have, plus some orcish warlords, slurbows, and one saurian healer. Position 4 troll warriors together with Inarix and maybe one of the loyal assassins at the very east, one hex away from the beach. This group fends of the initial mermen onslaught and some gryphons. After the first couple of waves have been beaten, this becomes a very relaxing task well-suited for levelling Inarix.

On the bridgehead put the healer in the middle hex and circle your leader, the orcish warlords, slurbows and remaining trolls. After about turn 8 or 9 the gryphons are done with except for an occasional single gryphon recruit. Once you have the money recall the other saurian healers and use the outer hexes of the bridgehead to level them to soothsayers.

Giving Some Back

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 28/24/20 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.
  • Other:
    • Having the Great Horde on your side gives you a very useful bonus. From now on, the upkeep cost of all your non-loyal units is reduced by one.

This is a somewhat easy scenario, if you keep your critical and loyal troops out of harm's way. Early on, your orcish allies do much of the job for you, and you'll be especially thankful to them during the day. With a keep full of veteran recruits you should easily able to finish off in half the turns, though you can instead use mostly level 1's and win at a slower pace. For the slower strategy, recruit or recall a couple of quick Wolf Riders and send then along the western edge and into the treasure trove of enemy villages.

Once the north enemy is defeated, the southern enemy receives another 400 gold and recruits a second wave. If you are very quick, you might be able to kill the south leader first, so this does not happen. If you are less quick, you might catch the second wave in water. If you are slow, you may fight them on open ground and fortress hexes, where they may prove a challenge.

Watch out for the shock troopers, they can cause severe damage even to your trolls. You can use this scenario to level some troops e.g. archers and saurians.

The Dwarvish Stand

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 35/30/27 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

This is a relatively easy scenario. Recruit Wolf Riders and other types with lots of mobility, because just mushing through the snow to get to the enemy units will take a while. Do not bother with any Saurian fighters, who are terrible moving through ice/snow. It may be worthwhile to recall just a Soothsayer or two. You know all those Troll Whelps you've been spamming? Now is the time to recall your half-levelled Whelps who are quick and preferably fearless, but steer them away from plain snow and ice as much as possible. Quick assassins and archers are also helpful.

Let your allies get in front of you and screen your troops. Let them fight the entrenched units and rush out onto poor defensive ground. Considering that your allies will do much of the work for you (like in the previous scenario), you don't need to make plans for a very big fight, so don't over-recruit.

Simple alternative strategy for this easy scenario (min starting gold 300, medium difficulty):

Recall only one keep of: 1 direwolf rider, 5 troll warriors (preferably with the quick ability). Send one troll warrior together with the assassin and the rider around the south supporting your ally and taking some villages. Send all other troll warriors together with your leader through the hills to the north and then west.

Focus on fighting off the Gryphons first, which is not overly difficult. Then position your main force at the edge of the hills south-west of the ice river in the north and lure the dwarves into the river (fighting them in the hills is quite a pain). Once the main wave of dwarves is dealt with, press on towards the dwarven leader and kill him.

By this time the humans should be running low on units as well. Move some spare units in to kill their leader. Inarix is pretty much useless here so he can stay in one of the villages near the keep. You should be finished around turn 15 already and get a fair amount of money out of it.

Back Home

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 40/35/30 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Jetto, Inarix and one orcish veteran.

You finally catch up with the elves and humans you've been following, and it is decided that you will surround them from all four corners of the map. Your forces are divided and you start on your own, without your veteran trolls for the first few turns, and this initial period will probably be the most challenging of all.

It is vital to quickly gain control of the two castle tiles between your keep and the closest human general, as well as the small patches of flat dirt, giving you the advantage to quickly thin out the human troops before reinforcements from the other castles arrive from the north.

Your orc allies will get in position (on the SE and NE corners) on turns 4 and 5, while Grüü shows up with your veteran trolls on turn 7 on the NW, ready to take control of the rest of the map. Play patiently and be careful not to leave your key units too exposed on the snow/ice. Even if your allies are doing a good job, don't underestimate the damage you may receive if the enemies happen to focus on one of your vital units. Support your orcish troops with Soothsayers.

Keep in mind that your orcish allies must stay alive, which can be tricky since they tend to be very aggressive by default. Perhaps the best setting for your allies (right click) is to be "defensive" with no objective. This will help curb the aggressiveness of the leaders.

Use Pillagers to grab villages from very early on and occasionally support your army and your allies. Pay attention to gold, as you'll need extra for the next scenario.

Civil War

  • Objectives:
    • Defeat all rebel leaders.
    • Move Kapou’e to the signpost at the west.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü die or time runs out.
  • Turns: 40/35/30 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

This is regarded as one of the hardest scenarios in the campaign, but don't despair, the end is near. This battle requires patience and a lot of attention to recruitment, strategy and tactics. Any distraction can be costly.

It is good to start this scenario with as much gold as possible. You need to match the damage coming at you from four different leaders all by yourself. In general, a sensible approach is to divide your army into two, sending a group of mostly trolls to the south, and a mixed group to the west. The group to the south will fight on mountains, so it will be generally safer, and you should send your vital units like Grüü, Jetto and Inarix there. The west needs the most attention, and a larger group. There will be no way to avoid fighting from vulnerable positions, so casualties are to be expected. This will be an intense test of your abilities, but you should be ready for it by now after all the battles you've gone through.

It is recommended to recruit mostly level ones initially, to preserve your income. First, recruit a bunch of Wolf Riders for village snatching. You can mostly spam Troll Whelps (or Grunts if your prefer) and Assassins. On ice, level 2 Troll Warriors will die like flies, so better send them to the southern mountains. Troll Rocklobbers are great versus opponents on ice, so send them west, but keep them safe. You will also need at least one Soothsayer on the western front; bend over backwards to keep him safe. You should also recall 1-2 Pillagers for each front, for slowing enemy leaders. When you are almost done with recruiting, you may notice another front developing, with enemy troops closing towards your keep. For them, 3 Grunts, 2 Whelps, 1 Archer, and 1 Assassin might be enough to handle them with the support of your leader and that patch of good terrain next to your keep. When you are down to 100-140 gold, go crazy, recalling possibly only level 3's, mostly Great Trolls (one of which could help in that new front next to your keep.)

After each of the two groups takes out its respective target leader, they each then have one more leader farther west to kill. Watch the clock, as you may need to send Kapou’e running for the signpost.

Poisoning and healing (mostly of the troll regeneration variety) are the keys to success. There is no great place to make a line to the west, but do your best and take the 3 snow-hill hexes next to the road. In the battle to the south, try to keep at least some of the enemy from getting into the mountains, so Grüü can swat them dead on snow while he sits in the mountains. Be careful with Inarix, as just a couple of Orc Warriors can take him out.

The Coward

  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e or Grüü dies or time runs out.
  • Turns: 34/32/28 (easy/medium/hard).
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix (or additional veterans if you have lost Jetto or Inarix).

This is another fight against orcs and ogres in mostly open terrain. This map is no longer fully covered in snow/ice, but the circumstances are still similar to the previous battle.

You start without a keep and two weak enemies with castles nearby. Your first task is to defeat at least one of them to take their fort. The problem is that the scenario starts during the day, and the defense of castle tiles will make it tricky to kill any of them on the first turn. Unless you're very lucky (or unlucky), the usual outcome will be killing just one of them. Don't attack with Kapou’e at first, so that if you manage to kill one of the leaders quickly, you can take his keep and start recruiting right away.

After you secure a keep, you must start recruiting frantically. Favoring Trolls and Assassins is a good idea. You'll want at least two Soothsayers and maybe a couple Augers. A reserve of a Direwolf Rider and Pillager will help plug any hole. Lots of scenery—and lots of villages—in this one. Use two or three Wolf Riders just to run around grabbing villages; it will pay off.

Once you dispatch the second weak leader, you need to scramble into a vertical straight line formation to meet the advancing horde from the West. Don't allow the enemy to flank your line. A Great Troll near each end helps with that, as does securing the ends of your line with snowy and swampy land. Keep a tight formation at all times and don't get over-confident because of the slightly more favorable terrain compared to the snow of previous scenarios.

Once again, poisoning and healing are key. Try not to put two weak units adjacent to each other on the line. Run Kapou’e up and down the behind the line, lending his support to the attacks of the Whelps and other level 1 and 2 troops.

The Human Attack

  • Objective: Hold off the humans for 30 turns.
  • Bonus objective: Defeat Earl Lanbec’h.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü, Al’Brock or Flar’Tar die.
  • Turns: 30.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto and Inarix.

You get your allies back, making this battle a breeze in comparison to recent experiences. Let them soak up the casualties; use them to screen your flanks and your movements. Thanks to their help, you don't need spam units for this scenario, and instead you can use it to give more experience to your veterans, especially any L2 units you still want to level up for the final battle that is coming next.

The human army seems impressive and they are very powerful during the day. Moreover, they always get reinforcements at dawn (turns 7, 13, 19). However, applying your knowledge of strategy and tactics here will show that this battle is not so tough. A static defense on the city wall will work, and since the humans will take some time reaching you, you can easily arrange for your participation to occur during the night, where your army will be devastating.

It is very likely that passively holding your fort will not be necessary. Instead, you can punch down the middle; that has the advantage that you may be able to take out Earl Lanbec'h before some of his reinforcements arrive—players have successfully finished this scenario before turn 13.

A couple Direwolves and a Pillager may be able to trap him for a very early finish, though at no small risk to themselves. Feel free to spend a lot of money. The early finish bonus is massive.

Northern Alliance

  • Objective: Kill Shan Taum and Earl Lanbec’h.
  • Lose if: Kapou’e, Grüü or Howgarth III die.
  • Turns: Unlimited.
  • Starting units: Kapou’e, Grüü, Jetto, Inarix and one veteran.

You receive an extra ally, so in the end you are a team of four leaders against two. The starting set up involves a small ambush. Start by moving Kapou’e quickly to your keep and leaving Grüü and your other veteran to deal with the group of orcs along with your allies' gryphons.

Shan Taum is far weaker than Lanbec'h. The benefit of taking him out quickly is that your ally will then concentrate his forces on Lanbec'h; if both enemies are present, Howgarth's forces oscillate a little in between the two.

You should start this level with a lot of gold. Keep recruiting every turn until you run out. With the Great Horde low upkeep this will take a while. Keep doing it. Leave the last reserves of gold for recruiting your strong veterans. Using Orcish Assassins early on will level the playing field nicely with poisoning.

Hold the wall until you reach a certain (im)balance and then push south. Lanbec'h gets reinforcements in the afternoon but they are nothing like as formidable as the previous scenario. All you have to do is kill Lanbec'h, not all the enemy units. So, if you get a chance, pick him off.

If you are willing to put up with the tedium of recruiting tons of units, your victory should be inevitable.