Glest's scenarios are not the same as regular games, as they can be scripted, have set features, and can behave similarly each time. The following is a list of playthroughs for people that have trouble with some of the hardest scenarios. Think of it as a short 'strategy guide' for players.
After pausing the game, make 3 battlemages. Also start the queue at the mage tower and point it at a gold pile. I usually use group 0 for the mage tower and group 1 for the battle mages and daemon. Send group 1 towards the southeast of your base and unpause the game. Make sure that every time you get 75 or more gold, that you press 0 to go back to the mage tower and queue up another mage. You'll want to move the battle mages to just west of the town and lure out the soldiers to avoid the defensive tower. This'll let you have more health, but I've rarely noticed it being an issue. Once you take out the soldiers, you should move your battlemages to just south of the collection of gold piles and start hitting the castle. No other building matters - once you take that out, they are done for since they can't make any more troops! You should take out some of the workers to slow down their repairwork. Sometimes, the enemy mages and daemons come into the town while you're almost done with the castle. You should retreat north a bit then take the ones that follow you out piecemeal. Return to the castle and finish destroying it if it's not already done. Send your now veteran battlemages to the tech base. Using waypoints, have one of your initiate mages go to the base you just took out and then towards your ally's base. There's a convenient gold mine just south of there that will double your battlemage production speed and let you easily reinforce the ally's base.
While producing battlemages at both bases, you should be collecting stone and lumber for tech buildings and upgrades. You can also make a base in the center of the map or the old tech base you disabled, but by the time you are done, your ally will have already taken the fight to the enemy magic base. Putting a couple groups of battlemages at the central gold piles would be a good idea. Making sure that one group has all the veterans from when you finished off the disabled base will come in handy later when you go to upgrade them to archmages.
Move in with your battlemages and archmages. It is best to have your archmages using static fire (more powerful attack) on the groups of defenders running towards them. When the archmages run out of energy points, just finish off the rest with your battlemages. You've pretty much won by this time.
Siege of Despair
As soon as the game starts, slow it down and pause immediately. You got it right if light is still dimmed down so that you barely see the field. Set up everything while leaving the game paused. Promote at least two mages into battlemages - all of them if you've never done something as insane as disabling an enemy right on the spot. Send the one battlemage and the daemon down to the bottom left corner for attack on Magic, order the production of two mages and adjust the production target of your base so that mages will run straight into the gold mine and start harvesting instead of standing around, waiting for orders. Also concentrate on stone harvesting early on. Send the summoner straight down to discover a moderately safe gold mine close to the bottom in the middle of the field and resume. Check and adjust paths: Do they run into trees? Are they using the shortest way to their target? Check production targets: Do mages all target the same spot, blocking each other? Pause often and check if all is going well, order more mages if and as soon as resources permit and watch the progress on your battlemage promotion by selecting one of them. Pause as soon as they are battlemages (Timing is crucial, so pause instantly!) and send the newly promoted battlemages down to back up the attack on the ultra CPU Magic enemy. They are healthy and will charge up while they move, so do not worry about that.
If all goes well, your daemon will first meet, stop and kill the ultra CPU daemon with backing of your battlemage, then your damaged daemon can be used to distract the enemy by sending it running, just close enough to be in range of enemy units. It may barely survive simply moving around, leave alone being sent on attack, but moving it barely in range of the enemy has the benefit of stopping and discharging the masses of mages (or, preferably, just the summoner) while a moving target won't suffer a lot of damage itself. Eventually, the combined force of the three to four battlemages will kill either the CPU battlemage or the CPU summoner first and afterwards all of the weak, moderately discharged CPU mages. You are weak and too many mages can still take a battlemage out, so pause, check health, kill counts and enemy mage energy levels and give priority to charged enemy mages that are not moving. Move your units closer so that the enemy base becomes visible and can be selected. Check if there are any more mage units in the enemy production pipeline and kill those off until the CPU has no mages left and no further mages in production. Tear down an energy source if you need to wait for a last mage in the production pipeline, but do not waste time on the destruction of buildings. Avoid the mighty enemy golem and run back to your base when done. Park your (now hopefully expert!) battlemages to the top left of your base on the path. You did pause often, resisted the temptation to only watch the battle and kept a keen eye on all your other activities going on, so right during the battle, your summoner has probably discovered a gold mine and is now parked strategically below it. Additionally, you sent one mage straight to the right, found a big rock with two gold mines and one stone field behind it and then a path right to the top of that rock, leading further to the right, going only slightly up across water to a few trees at first and then downwards across water again, all of this roughly in the middle of the field in a line pointing right from your base. Take care, though: Later on, Tech to the top right will travel this path frequently in order to call units home.
You made a sacrifice and have fewer mages available for harvesting initially which is rather bad and contrary to the goals of the game, but from now on, you have one enemy less to deal with and you got it the cheap way. Still - you will barely be able to defend the first weak attack on your position in the center of the field, so either see below for a different approach, or prepare to abandon it. Meanwhile, the mage sent to the far right (you could have sent two) should have found a gold mine and a nearby stone field to the far right, circa slightly in the middle of the field from top to bottom, a bit below the path that opens into a vast, green space downwards on the far right. This could become your safe harbour, so you should produce your second energy source there. Also, a base could be constructed behind that rock to the right of your first base near the center. If a mage tower is constructed just as close as possible to the trees, below the stone field downwards behind that rock, chances are it will help tremendously with stone harvesting, provided you only ever use it to harvest stone with four mages in order to prevent it from being discovered prematurely and hence destroyed. Harvesting gold to the left might be safe up to a certain point, but get near the path to the top of that rock and you are in trouble. You will notice a trend here: Lots of mage towers and then still strategic buildings like energy sources and later on buildings up to the archmage tower to build and therefore a need for lots of stone early on, so you may whish to build your first mage tower near that stone field behind that rock anyway. Use one additional mage to help speed up building it, harvest more stone and harvest resources for building two more mage towers - one to the far right and one to the bottom in the middle of the field, centered neatly in that gold mine your summoner has just discovered. Start buildings with one mage if you can afford it. It is slow, but starting construction early on helps tremendously to get back into swing later.
Soon enough, a swordman will show, so if you positioned your surviving (expert) battlemages on the path to the top left of your base, they will intercept and kill it, but don't be too happy about that: This merely is your alarm call. Leave your battlemages on the road slightly to the top left of the center base. Only a little later, more swordmen and also a few archers will follow, so as soon as the next enemy unit appears, it is time to say good bye for your precious, but weak mages. You may be able to kill another swordmen on the spot, maybe even two, but even for your expert battlemages it is time now to seek shelter behind your golem which was sent towards the energy source and which itself should be told to attack the standing archers and never moving units such as the approaching swordmen. Archers have decent range, so if you can, take them out using the golem and leave the swordmen which are attacking the golem to your battlemages behind that golem. You may want to keep one or two mages for golem repairs right during battle, thereby making the golem last longer and potentially survive. Send all the other mages from your center base slightly to the right of the center gold field below that base and then straight down to build and help building the mage tower down there and make sure you do it without any enemy noticing the escaping mages, so pause and do it early enough (when the second swordmen comes in sight of your battlemages) and don't pay attention to the load of mages which won't get lost anyway. This is an emergency escape, after all.
Even if you somehow manage to kill all the archers and swordmen, using only three to four expert battlemages, clever tactics (pause often!) and mages for golem healing and hence survival... Face it: That base in the center is doomed. Soon enough, something like five horsemen will arrive, backed up by guards and more archers, more swordmen - well - you get the idea... Meanwhile, to the right and maybe even to the far right, mage towers are finished, or await being finished. Have four mages to the right of the center base for hopefully hidden stone harvesting only, give mage production to the far right a priority and use as many mages as will fit and can be afforded to help build the Summoner Guild, Library and Archmage Tower on the safe harbour area to the far right. You are late, so do that as fast as you can while keeping one mage busy producing energy sources there. Build the Summoner Guild near trees and let three or even four mages harvest wood early on. Upgrades available with the buildings will need wood and later on, behemoths can also use plenty of wood. Upgrade to advanced summoning immediately and then try to constantly order summoners, build another Summoner Guild just below your base near the bottom in the middle of the field if you can afford it and produce summoners over there as well. Pause often. Monitor building progress, optimize harvesting targets for mages. Upgrade everything available for upgrades with the buildings as soon as possible, especially the dragon call.
The base near that stone mine slightly right off the center and the hopefully safe harbour bases positioned right in the middle of two gold fields will pay off. In this scenario, it is your late ticket to the fast lane and the sole chance to catch up. With four mages harvesting stone and something like 16 mages harvesting gold on each gold mine, buildings, upgrades, mages and summoners can be produced in a hurry. Summoners in turn can produce a few ghost armors if remaining resources permit, but the fun really starts with the dragon call when you have most of the mages previously occupied with buildings available for gold mining on each of the two gold mines. Order your summoners to produce dragons until you got 18 near the bottom in the middle. Select all dragons later on and you have two guard dragons left down there. They too should be sent to battle as soon as the action starts, possibly defending the base on their way to the battlefield by taking approaching enemies out. Produce something like nine dragons (preferably more!) to the far right and send those from the far right to the base near the center of the field in order to guard the exposed position and in order to have these dragons near the battlefield when the time is ripe. Monitor your mages. Do not allow the mages near the dangerous center of the field to harvest gold near the path to the top of that rock at all and start to harvest stone to the far right early on in order to be able to build golems and further energy sources, or build another mage tower near a stone field somewhere near the bottom on the right corner. As soon as stone is used up next to the center, hide the mages near their base, promote the four mages all the way up to archmages and order four more mages to produce and help produce four to six golems as close to their base as possible. Maybe also produce a Tower of Souls between the base and that rock, add three or even four behemoths, keeping units as close to that vulnerable base as possible in order to keep it all hidden for as long as possible and promote the newly created mages to archmages when done. If that base is discovered prematurely, a sufficient amount of dragons should be present - otherwise it is next to impossible to defend it.
At some point, mages in the middle gold mine near the bottom will start to become useless when gold spots start to disappear. Promote these to archmages as and when gold disappears. Don't let them block other harvesting mages because of space constraints. You may order something like eight more mages there and potentially have them build a golem as close to the top of that base as possible, taking sufficient walking space of harvesting mages into account. You aim for 16 archmages and still have something like eight mages left down there when those are still busy harvesting the last gold spot available. You will also want to promote at least six out of something like nine summoners near the bottom in the middle of the field to drake riders now. Things are going to get extremely nasty in a hurry, supplies for further mass production of dragons are no longer in reach at this time, so you urgently need your summoners for backing in the battle and hence turn enough of these into fast moving and much more powerful drake riders.
Some six to eight mages are busy harvesting the last spot of gold near the bottom in the middle of the field. You can no longer win a harvesting race, so it is the perfect time for aquisition of fresh resources and hence battle. From the bottom of the field, just below your mage tower downwards across the water, a straight path leading left to the disabled CPU Ultra Magic base exists. As soon as all your archemages down there approach an energy load near 3500, you can send all of them in attack mode to the left, accompanied by dragons and ghost armors, followed by the drake riders so that (if possible), all of them arrive and attack at once, but remember to have the ghost armors and drake riders attack in a different corner and out of the line of fire of your archmages, because you do not want to let the archmages kill your own units as a nasty side-effect of their devastating attack. Surprise, surprise. Tech is present with a few units, but nothing that will stop you. The combined force you sent simply rolls over anything down there. What was mighty in the beginning is now simply melting away without having any noticeable effect on your troops besides discharging those a bit, so try to avoid overkill on a single remaining archer for the sake of keeping archemages charged. Have the remaining mages from your nearby base follow closely, or as soon as gold is used up (possibly leaving only one to take care of what little remains) and use them to build two more mage towers near the two gold mine fields on your newly aquired position immediately.
Hell breaks loose
Lots of units, including a few ornithopters, batteships, catapults, a number of horsemen, plenty of guards, swordmen, archers and even a few of those nasty battle machines will attack you now. Either your enemies will attack the position formerly owned by the now extinct Ultra CPU Magic, or (more likely) while rushing in to back up the now dead guard units down there, they could have discovered your hidden base next to the center and focus on attacking that base instead, so you should order your forces to the place where the real action happens in order to remain the superior force on the battlefield. Trip the discovery of your base next to the center using a behemoth, the drakes, or the golems if need be: That position is best suited to draw enemy fire because of the golems and behemoths. Additionally, rather than meet the full enemy forces in the open, the archmages down to the left can now conveniently chase troops rushing towards the center, kill some on their way, unite with the center forces and finally present the superior force with your combined firepower defending the center against mere groups and, later on, lone enemies rushing in. Either way - you need to build further dragons, defend your positions and wrestle the enemy down somehow. Pause often. The CPU enemies will attack and pay full attention to harvesting and construction of buildings at the same time, so that's why you absolutely need to take brakes, pause and analyse everything in order to stay in business.
Stay cool and try to give priority to any unit that is able to attack air and use any resources you have, including those from that base near the center which won't stay hidden much longer anyway. Pay attention to units chasing loners and order them to spots where real action is going on if need be. The more dragons survive, the better for you and at some point, dragons will remain and take out with ease whatever isn't able to attack air, turning to anything that is actually able to threaten them more and more casually, so keep a keen eye on battle machines, ornithopters and pay special attention to seemingly measly, but threatening archers in order to protect the dragons from suffering unreasonable damage. Don't neglect mighty battleships and vicious horsemen completely, should these threaten any nearby ground units too much, especially after your shielding golems have finally fallen down. (You didn't expect their survival, did you.)
Do not waste too much time on small enemy groups and loners trickeling in. Gather your troops and continue right away! Just a short walk to the left, on the path to the top of the center isle, a path to the top left ultra CPU Tech enemy base opens up. Likewise, to the top right of the center isle, a path to the top right ultra CPU base exists, so while having your bases secured and guarded only moderately, it is time to keep the enemies nailed to their own bases and away from your otherwise insufficiently guarded mage towers. After that heavy battle, only a few ground and air units will trickle down and block your way. Nothing that really stops a few archmages and dragons. However, don't be overly trigger-happy and do not send a few damaged dragons against mighty enemy air ballista defenses, or fully discharged archmages against anything (no matter how insignificant!) that is capable of attack. That is suicide. Take out what you can take down safely, retreat if you can't, monitor health and energy levels of units and watch out for newly produced, possibly hidden archers, ornithopters and those pesky defense towers. It is perfectly sufficient for the time being if you can continue to attack workers and buildings and hence keep your enemies in sight, nailed to their base and hence under control. Do not panic if you can't. You got fresh resources, so you can produce sufficient troops and even defenses in a timely manner. Do not underestimate enemy resources, though. They've got plenty up there, so don't place any bets on enemy resource starvation. The wealth of resources near the Tech bases is just another nasty property of this scenario and it is still you against both of them.
Produce mages and start harvesting gold near the center and on the newly created bases to the bottom left where you just aquired the former ultra CPU Magic position and hence fresh resources. Produce dragons and more summoners for dragon production, or whatever you feel is helpful against your enemies at the time. You may want to reconstruct the previously abandoned mage tower in the center and continue mining all the gold there, provided you keep your enemies under attack, or the place in the exposed center otherwise guarded. If all went well, you will soon need further energy sources on the far right to keep up with demand caused by the restarted unit mass production while your enemies struggle hard with the presence of your dragons and archmages near their base, or defenses you build and further guard forces rushing in as you produce them.
You may not win. You may not survive the very first attack, even. Likely not the first time. It gets easier if you know what the playing field looks like. Don't even think about survival if you didn't master the scenarios advertised as "hard" and "very hard". This is marked as "insane", so just a few less than perfect moves can and likely will decide on your destiny. A little luck is needed as well, so if some measly enemy archer accidentally bumps into any of your newly created bases prematurely, it is time to just face facts: Odds were against you and luck wasn't on your side either, so quit the game and start over, or at least be prepared to struggle hard and lose anyway. Still - after I figured how, I always played it to win and last time I played the scenario, it was 0 (zero!) death(s) for me and 136 kills on all ultra CPU players combined, so it can be done - even if it seems like a doomed scenario that isn't at all meant to be played in order to be won. So even with an unfair setting, survival without any losses is possible, but an outcome as good as that is a different story and requires a slightly different approach where you need to take the strategy outlined above a little further:
In short - you can disable magic to the bottom left, right afterwards tech to the top left, prepare for battle and defeat of tech to the top right and deal with the remaining buildings of the previously disabled enemies when you are done wrestling down the last, lone enemy standing. For this, I was using 4 battlemages, the daemon and the summoner in order to swiftly disable magic to the bottom left. Right after merely making sure all mages got killed without further mages in production, I sent the troops up and created two more battlemages for backing of a similar attack on the top left tech enemy and later on three more for backing of the troops to the top left in order to defend the discharged and hence vulnerable battlemages against a few helper troops coming in from the top right tech base (usually three archers, two swordmen and a little later a lone guard). After taking the top left castle base down in order to really make sure that lone workers cannot reconstruct anything anymore, troops were sent back home, behind the golem that constantly and strategically got moved towards the entrance of the path leading to the top right tech enemy. With backing of yet 4 to 6 more battlemages, upgrades (energy compression and later on, energy sharpening) and maybe two drake riders, the golem can be moved further along the path and shields nicely against a serious attack involving some 3 to 5 horsemen, maybe 8 archers, 6 swordmen and some 2 to 3 guards. After that, caution still is needed. The last surviving enemy got enough time to produce workers, let them harvest and construct buildings with horsemen, archers, swordmen, guards and even technicians already in their production pipelines, but if you march on towards the top right tech base right after the battle, the combined force of the battlemages should be able to deal with mere lone archers, freshly produced swordmen and even lone horsemen, provided you keep your troops neatly together, pause as soon as further enemy forces appear and target the occasional threats in a timely and appropriate manner, i.e. usually all of the battlemages against any horsemen, possibly less against archers and swordmen.
Of course, your mages should always be kept busy and you should avoid any avoidable pauses in your mage production pipeline like the plague, because getting three extra battlemages early on translates into a severe disadvantage with harvesting already. Further buildings for upgrades need to be created near the center base as usual with this approach, because it doesn't involve costly operations like sending mages far away to safe harbour areas in order to prepare to abandon the otherwise convenient, resourceful center position. Timing is as critical as getting pretty much everything else right. It is possible to keep the center base and win with no losses at all, but you absolutely need to pay full attention to health states and enemies during battle while the production of mages, energy sources, buildings and such need to continue without any pauses right during battle, so slowing it down and pausing often is as much a must as choosing the shortest possible paths for swift movement of forces in the beginning, where you may even need to pay attention to seemingly insignificant detail like kill counts of battlemages to get as many expert battlemages as you can out of the limited supply of enemy mages.
Tech and Magic
First, use the pausing trick like usual for the harder scenarios. While the game is paused, queue up at least one worker and have the castle target the gold pile. Have one of your existing workers collect gold, while the other two should make 2 barracks immediatly. I generally recommend putting one at the southwest corner of the castle and another just northeast of the gold piles. You want them to attack the eastern barracks instead of the workers. This is to buy you time to repair the buildings while your archers take out the enemy ranged units. ASAP get the second castle up near the other gold pile so that you can keep the barracks active. This will require stone so you should have had 3 or so workers mining stone since you can always just move them to wood once you get enough stone. Wood and gold will flow like water so make sure to have several workers collecting wood, too! You'll want to ignore the melee units if your archers are under attack by ranged units. Just try not to let the melee units take out one of the buildings. If you survive the first wave with both barracks, both castles, the defensive tower, and 10-20 archers, you should be OK. Food will be short so make sure to get a farm going about the time you get to 25 or so food. More food production at the beginning gives higher rewards as well but there's a tradeoff because it slows the rest of your economy to make 4-6 cows early on. A third barracks is tempting but you would probably be better off ramping your tech to get towers and battle machines faster.
You'll want to put up at least a few towers so get the technodrome up and do the first tech upgrade. You should put up at least 5 towers and preferibly 7. 2-3 should go behind the eastern barracks, 2 should be on the south side of the original castle, and 1-2 should be next to the southern stone pile. Any more is kind of a waste since you'll want to make battle machines. Robotics should be researched when you have chance. If you find that the second wave comes before you're done with the towers, try using additional workers or concentrating on 3-4 towers and then letting the other 2-3 get done right after the wave starts. You should have been trying to keep the queues for archers going until you had at least 40 of them. The original gold pile and robotics tech should also be done by now, so you'll want to prepare for the next step.
Queue up technicians and have them repair your weaker archers. You DID rotate out the ones with lower health to the back lines, right? You should have plenty of expert archers who'll come in handy for the third wave and your offenses against the tech AI and especially the magic AI. Pump out technicians and make battle machines. They can do ranged attacks so target a spot to guard with the ranged attack so that they will use it by default. Have 3-4 of them at the front target with melee so that they'll do more damage. This is to maximize your DPS(Damage-per-second) when defending. If you notice a battle machine with low health, move it back into your base and have it repaired. You can always switch the ranged attackers to melee if you don't have enough axe-swingers at the front. You'll now have some fully healed veteran units to move to the east. You can safely ignore the gold pile just north of the center of the map and get ready to pound the tech AI to death.
You'll want 32 archers (assuming original Glest this is 2 groups), around half that of battle machines, 1-4 workers, and 4 technicians. Move them to the east, being careful not to let your troops get separated and killed one-by-one. You want a big group that can deal with any threats on the way. You'll also want to have a group of archers or some battle machines at your base to stop any surprise attacks. The towers will hold off most attacks, though. You can not have too many archers in this scenario, so you might as well make them if you can and have them defend the base. Once your battle machines and archers in your attack are near the enemy base, get them just outside the chokepoint and start luring them into your kill zone. You can use the stand ground command to keep both archer groups off to the side while your battle machines take up the center. They'll soak up damage while the archers kill with abandon. In less than a minute, you'll have killed the majority of their troops. Move in to the base and start slaughtering workers and demolishing buildings. You can hold back veteran units to get healed or provide units with low kill counts a chance to gain experience. When you get to the towers, just keep attacking them with ranged attacks and move back any battle machines with low health. You should be able to finish up very quickly by now. Your workers will be building a castle and a couple towers next to the gold mine. You should take 2 technicians once your battle machines are mostly repaired and have them make 2 air ballistas next to the towers to deal with dragons.
Assuming that you kept the queue up for technicians at your main base, you can make another group of battle machines with your huge gold and lumber reserves and leave those archers near your new base to be healed by the technicians there while waiting on the towers to be finished. Move the healed battle machines to the gold mine just north of the center of the map and start a 4th castle there. Adding a few towers and a couple air ballistas should be plenty. Move all your archers and battle machines south towards the horizontal line going through the center of the map. The eastern troops to the center, and the western troops slightly to the west. If you can't beat the scenario by now, I don't know how you got this far! You won't even be needing to repair any units if you do this right. You can swarm their base or take them out piecemeal by luring them out. It really doesn't matter as you've got control of 3/4ths of the map. I think there was other places to mine gold to the south and southeast but by this time I didn't care.
This scenario is one of the toughest of the classic Glest ones and should be considered highly difficult. Many of the so-called 'Insane' ones are actually easier because of path-finding AI issues since you can just rush the magic base south/north of you in the magical forest scenarios and then pick off the other two bases with archmages. Surviving the first wave with enough archers and at least one barracks and the original castle is the most frustrating part about this one. Once you have a few groups of troops, you should not have any issues, though. The only ones remotely as hard are the mislabeled 'One Hope' scenario that is way harder than it's difficulty rating suggests and the 'Siege of Dispair' scenario covered by another writer. Again, taking out the tech base works just like it did in 'One Hope'. If someone has tried taking out magic first, I'd be curious as to see the video. Thanks for reading along and playing this challenging scenario!
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