right, so i’m by no means a professional player at all, but i’ve beaten most campaigns on hard so far and while some maps are clearly easier than others, most of them are pretty hard yet doable on hard mode.
that being said, this map (Old Tiger) leaves me at a loss for words and options. i have to throw in the towel and ask for help;
Player starts at the easternmost region of the map and gets an extra base located on an island in the west/northwest.
the eastern base starts you off with your 2 main hero units, 3 monks, 14 two-handed swordsmen, 20 Arambai, 10 battle elephants, 2 trebuchets, 3 villagers and 8 knights (on easier difficulties you also get 3 bombard cannons but not on hard). the base has a bunch of buildings that the player gets control of later in the game after completing the first primary objective.
the western island base starts you off with a bunch of fireships, galleons and garrisoned transport ships along with a hero cavalry unit. like the eastern base there’s a bunch of buildings you gain control of after completing the first primary objective.
enemies consist of 3 different “Rakhine” (yellow AI) and their allied Portuguese mercenaries (purple AI).
here’s how this plays out for me;
first i send my navy southwest to land all my garrisoned units and take out the enemy warships guarding the cost.
i send my eastern force south to the first wonder, i smash the enemy castle there with my trebs, i use monks to convert elephants, i use arambais and knights to deal with the (quite pesky) Rattan Archers, i use my swordsmen to deal with enemy infantry/buildings and to guard my trebs.
at this point i send my western force towards the westmost wonder, use the bombard cannons to take out the castle near it and clear the wonder of enemy troops and buildings.
at this point i send my eastern force to the next wonder which is close to the previous one, slightly northwest of my eastern force’s position, and send my western force southeast to clear the last wonder.
the enemy AI in this map has unlimited resources as explained in the campaign map hints, and thus become more and more aggressive the more wonders Bayinnaung visits.
after i have visited all 4 wonders and joined my east and west armies, i get control of the buildings in both bases (i upgrade units and produce more units and ships)
at this point the AI loses its cool and starts producing units at an insane rate, especially ranged units like handguns, rattan archers, crossbowmen, skirmishers, cav archers and organ guns, but also pikemen, 2H swordsmen, battle elephants, cavaliers and tons of fireships, bombard ships and galleons on the sea.
i garrison my coastline towers with crossbows to repel the constant ship attacks to the west.
i produce counters to enemy units like halbardiers, skirmishers, arambai, monks along with elite battle elephants to soak enemy ranged units, along with bombard cannons to take out enemy fortifications
i lose the game because each and every enemy ranged unit individually kites my units to death even if i literally constantly micro my units individually to kill each an every enemy ranged unit which is terribly frustrating and leads to a lot of my units dying as they wander off after killing their target or (thanks to the bad pathfinding in this game) ends up dying before even killing its target and with the constant stream of units coming at me i have no room to breathe and reorganize my forces.
for some reason when i make an attack move, instead of attacking the closest enemy unit target my units usually chooses to chase just 1 target in a massive blob, which is highly frustrating as well, seeing as this move is meant to deal with enemy units trying to individually kite my entire army to death, aka instead of my blob of swordsmen, knights or skirmishers spreading out to attack different targets which are encircling them, they will all b-line it to the nearest target and get stuck on each other on their way to it as a result which leads to unnecessary casualties almost constantly - but it doesn’t stop there, if this blob of retardation manages to take out their target, they will repeat the same blob b-line to the next target despite the fact there’s plenty of other targets to go for… whats the point in attack-move if it behaves the exact same way as simply right clicking an enemy unit??? a question for the philosophers i guess.
this map also happens to be really cluttered with buildings, trees and other obstacles that makes moving around masses of units an absolute pain in the *** (especially elephants because they are fat).
the amount of chokepoints on this map is just ridiculous even after you’ve taken out most of the enemy bases.
these chokepoints in combination with constant streams of enemy units which are free of cost makes it nigh on impossible to gain any ground, and once i DO manage to gain some ground, its usually too late as my army has now been whittled down to only a few survivors and then i gotta rebuild and start over again from scratch while the enemy forces at that point will be constantly pushing into my eastern base and gaining an advantage since there’s a bridge (thats right, another chokepoint) that i need to cross to get in and out of my base.
this bridge is constantly clogged by enemy units backed up by trebuchets that conveniently enough is able to hit my castle and towers from inside their own base, while my bombard cannons can’t reach them due to foliage blocking them, which means i need to take control of the bridge and get all my non-siege units up to their gate before i can even use my bombards to take out those trebuchets.
to avoid this becoming too moany and whining of a post (which is probably already too late) i’ll end my complaints here and ask; how in the world did you deal with this when you completed this map?
EDIT: i forgot to add that you get a total of 5 villagers in this map and once completing the first primary objective and you gain around 26000 of each resource (save for stone) however with the AI having free units, you could give me 100.000 of each resource and the end result would likely be the same since no cost > cost combined with AI APM > any human APM.
my villagers also can’t build anything other than docks and towers and repair units, which makes them next to useless, like if i could at least build a market or a even a lumber mill i MIGHT be fine, but nope, nothing. if i want buildings i need to convert enemy buildings and since the diplomacy screen is locked i can’t take any markets, mills or anything that might help my villagers produce some semblance of income.