So here is the story of how I finally made it on the hardest level (and I still remember). I managed to convert a few villagers from the yellow one. There is always only a certain number (I believe it was around 6 villagers) before the AI starts to act against it. It is important to note that the diplomatic status of both opponents is initially set to neutral. You should definitely use this, but you have to be careful, you only have this one limited time window. As soon as this time window is closed, the AI sees EVERYTHING! Then I sent one of the converted villagers to the north. There is a peninsula, which is only accessible from a small path of shallow water. There I then built the village center and blocked the crossing with houses for the time being. Behind it I immediately built a tower, which was supported by ships. The rest of the converted villagers I had left on the Yellow Island, where they mined raw materials as long as the AI allowed it. Very important: STONES!!! Once I had secured the narrow passage to my island with a double wall and a few towers, the AI was no longer able to break through.
Now the game started…
Theoretically yellow and red are enemies. And they also fight against each other. But actually they are more interested in your destruction. The yellow in particular is not interested in doing anything to the red. Although he is sometimes strongly attacked by him.
In addition, you have a big problem: raw materials. I realized that even wood is only available in very limited quantities. So the building of chariots is best avoided. A few for defense - okay, but that must be enough. Of course gold is also very limited available.
The red one had managed at some point to add so much to the yellow one that it didn’t do much. But the red one didn’t see any motivation in eliminating the yellow one for good either, but stood with his troops on the yellow island and mined raw materials.
After several attempts, I finally managed to build some barracks on the yellow island, spamming some axe fighters and lured the red units one by one into the yellow’s base. As long as the tower rows of the yellow one were destroyed so far that I could do the rest myself with axe fighters. Very important is here: DO NOT destroy the Yellow’s harbor. It is your only source of gold!
After that I started to explore the rest of the map, noticing that there were almost no resources left. Only a few trees, which I also cut down. Since I had developed everything and also had gold units, I took a look at the red one and attacked it. I failed miserably, because he still had a superiority. I then blocked the southern island crossing with a wall, which allowed me to mine the last crumbs of raw materials. Since it didn’t occur to him to attack the wall, he tried the direct route to me and stopped at the coast. First I tried to make trouble with ships, but it was rather futile. Then I had the idea:
The map was completely empty, no resources! Not a single tree stood anymore. But the computer is stupid, thank god. So I built as many strong units as the population limit allowed and finished ALL the work. The plan was to let him build fields until he had no more wood. All the villagers of mine just stood around, even the trading ships. I let the game run and watched two movies. When they were over, I sent a scout to check them out, and indeed - his wood was gone. I killed his priests one by one until he didn’t have any more gold either and then I could finally finish this ■■■■■■■ mission.
Game time was a whole day, at 2.0 game speed.
I hope I was able to help you a little with this torturous experience.