Age of Empires 3 - Act 2 "Ice" Campaign Walkthrough Guide
This walkthrough covers Act II "Ice" of the video game Age of Empires 3, providing a detailed guide for each of the eight missions that make up this section of the main campaign along with video playthroughs and detailed pictures to win every mission on the Hard difficulty.
Taking place in colonial America, Act II of the game's story follow's John Black, grandson of Morgan Black and his native friend Kanyenke as they fight against the devious plans of one British General named Warwick. Your travels will take you from the east coast through to the western frontier as you work to stop the General.
AOE 3 Campaign Act 2 Missions
How to Follow this Guide
In each text section you will find hints and tips governing the general flow of the mission, which tasks you need to perform and the order which is best to do so in. You can find some additional info here that can help when combined with the additional resources presented. Objectives are listed in the order to perform them rather than the order they are presented to you in-game.
To the right of each section you can find pictures detailing the topics covered in the text portion, which can help point out important items or events.
Below each section you will find a video walkthrough of that mission with audio commentary, providing the most detailed step-by-step guide.
This guide and its videos were written as though played on the Hard difficulty which is the highest setting in the game. This is done so that these same strategies presented here will work on the easier settings if they are more your style.
Defend the Colony - Mission 1
In the first level of Act Two, Ice, Kanyenke and John have been called to protect a colony governed by John's uncle Stuart. Reports are that the Cherokee have been recently raiding the settlement, which is suspect due to their previously peaceful relations with thew colonists.
Primary Objective: Defend your Town Center for 15 minutes.
Defend the Colony begins with a small army under your control fending off an attack on Stuart's settlement which is under your control for the duration of the level.Take some of the Settlers and reprioritize their harvesting, moving all of them off the mills and dividing them among the trees north of the base for wood, the deer to the west for food and the gold mine near your market in the northwest of your base. Upgrade your resourcing at the Market so you can pull in the goods faster. Build and upgrade fishing boats to harvest the whale for coin and some of the fish for more food, 6-7 boats being a good number, 4 on the whale and 3 on fish.
As soon as you have beaten off the initial attackers, take your army including your cannon and move it out of the base, capturing some of the treasure along the way to the west corner of the map. You will need to get a head start on the first secondary objective. Start by releasing the captured Settler treasure near your Market so it can harvest for you in the mean time.
Note: Avoid travelling too far south in this level, there are Cherokee war camps that when approached trigger over-sized waves of attackers that can easily overwhelm your forces.
Secondary Objective: Stop the Cherokee from destroying the SW village (500 XP)
Continuing to that western corner of the map you should encounter the purple base just before a large Cherokee raiding party shows up to wipe it off the map. Put your forces near the purple Musketeers, just below the base where the Cherokee will come up from. Using the cannon will make this fight considerably easy and limit your losses. Once the attackers are driven off, control of the small base is yours, most importantly the Settlers. Leave the Settlers here to harvest near the base as Cherokee won't attack here again.
Defend the Town Center (cont) & Secondary Objective: Escort the Refugees (300 XP each)
From this point on in this level, your priorities will be centered around amassing 2-3 decent sized armies to place around your main base, one just west, one to the south west and one directly south, as these are the major directions the Cherokee attacks will come from. Musketeers and Skirmishers should be accompanied by Falconets when you get the resources to advance to the Fortress age, especially as the enemy will bring cannon of their own eventually. You can capture any nearby treasure in the downtime between attacks.
Eventually groups of Settler refugees will start spawning at the southern edges of the map, running towards your base and asking for help. Don't concern yourself with them as they can make it to your base just fine on their own. Just mop up the tailing attackers when they pass near any unoccupied forces of yours. When the Settlers make it to your Town Center, you will earn the experience to use on home city shipments and the Settlers will become Skirmishers to defend your town. If still tailed by attackers you can now use the Skirmishers against them.
If you can, do your best to protect the many Outpost towers built around your base and upgrade them when you hit the next age to improve your defensive ability. If you can keep them repaired and from being destroyed, they can be a very helpful addition to your efforts here.
From here on out, just continue to manage your defenses while the fifteen minute timer counts down. As long as your Town Center is still standing when that timer hits zero, Defend the Colony will be completed without any further action.
Strange Alliances - Mission 2
The second mission in Ice is deceptively longer than it first looks to be, starting out with John and Kanyenke taking a small group of soldiers against the Cherokee War Huts in the area to cease the threat they pose to the colony. You will have limited forces in the first part of this level so you will need to be a little cautious with them initially.
Primary Objective: Destroy the Cherokee War Huts
You begin this level in control of the town, however unable to utilize it due to no resources or Settlers, so ignore it. Starting off take your armed forces and make a circle towards the left War Hut by moving northwest to find some treasure, the shield of El Pollo Guapo and collect it using John since he will get the most benefit from the 30% boost to health it gives. From there you can approach the War Hut and work on the defenders stationed nearby it.
When you've killed the visible defenders you can damage the building slightly to draw additional troops from nearby and engage them as they arrive to save time from having to weed them out yourself. Do this before doing significant damage to the War Hut as it will spawn its own units to defend it as you tear it down. As these new units spawn, stop attacking the hut to focus on them before going back to your original task. Once the first hut is down, repeat this process on the second.
Note: Below the second hut is a Cow that is found through a treasure item. Rescue it and leave it there as a marker for later.
Primary Objective: Bring John and Kanyenke to the main Cherokee village to negotiate a peace.
Before accomplishing this simple objective, head east to capture another Treasure item if you haven't grabbed it already for some additional experience towards shipments. Next head directly west to the opposite corner of the map, still ignoring this objective momentarily to find some Houses and a Mill currently in control of the Mother Nature (neutral) faction.
The buildings are supposed to be transferred under your control later, however building your base here when it comes time for this will actually make things harder. For this reason we will have to abandon these structures to the British when turned over to our control, causing them to be lost to the enemy early on. Instead of doing this, you can destroy them now while they are still neutral to instead use them to amass even more experience for shipments, then rebuild them later where they can actually be useful to you. Capture the treasure just past the buildings before leaving.
Once you've finished off the structures you can move tot eh target point on your map to accomplish your current primary objective. If you may have guessed, it turns out to be a trap, with four British Musketeers attacking your forces but easily dispatched. At this point you will lose control of the main town while the British level it to the ground and capture Stuart.
Primary Objective: Establish a New Colony and defeat the British
Take a moment's breather as you wait for the in-game events to play out as the British take the town, leaving your forces in the south by where they got jumped by the British Musketeers. Once you are given control of the Covered Wagon that departed the main base during the attack, send it down to the stray cow mentioned earlier and build your Town Center there. Doing this will give you more time to prepare before having to face British attacks.
From here on out the mission pace slows down significantly with your primary goals being to build up a strong economy to fund a large army to plow the British with. Use your accrued shipments to send in Settlers and other economy boosting options initially to get things rolling. You can rely on the nearby silver mines for gold, switching to Plantations only when these sources become expended or defensively untenable, but you should opt for Mills versus deer for food since you do not want your Settlers straying far from the confines of your base.
Once you've gotten your economy started, defense should be focused on slowly building up a marginal army to block the beginning attacks while placing a Fort just north of your town with Outposts in a half circle around your base to the east and west of the Fort. Most of the British groups will approach from the north, encountering the Fort while the Outposts will protect you town and Settlers from stray exploring soldiers.
Advance through the ages while you keep your town defended so you can outfit your army with Mortar and Falconets, the Mortar in particular which will be needed to take down the enemy Fort. Building an Arsenal to upgrade your forces is also a pretty good idea. Once you've gotten your population to over 130, a force of some 40-50 Musketeers and Skirmishers all together with 3-4 Falconets and 2 Mortar, you should have a substantial enough force to begin your attacks.
Upon moving out against the British, find the Fort which should be somewhere near the center of the map and engage it with your Mortars while your forces stay out of range. You should end up drawing out the main force of defenders which is where the Falconets come in to help. Upon clearing out these enemies you should have an open path to cut through to the heart of the British base.
Secondary Objective: Rescue Settlers captured by the British (500 XP)
By now your forces should be progressively tearing apart the British town when a new secondary objective is presented to rescue several groups of Settlers presented as new Treasure items along the edges of the original town's walls. Divert some forces to prevent from destroying the base to fast and kill of the guardians around each pair of captured Settlers before using one of your heroes or another Settler to release them. Once you've confirmed grabbing all the trapped pairs, return your focus to finishing off the last of the enemy base. Eventually when thew British are reduced to a handful of structures and basically no units Strange Alliances will end in victory.
The Rescue - Mission 3
Mission 3, The Rescue in Act II "Ice" of AoE 3 takes us to Kanyenke's village where both him and John have suspected the British of potentially attacking, considering the personal nature of the British General, Warwick's actions and his membership of the Circle of Ossus, the old enemies of the Black family. You will have to distract the British long enough to rescue the native village and Kanyenke's sister in the process.
Primary Objective: Train an army and attack the British from the south side.
This level starts with you in control of two main locations, your covered wagon, John, Kanyenke and some troops to the south with Nonahankee and the Iroquois trading post with some troops and an Outpost to the north. This Trading Post must survive the duration of this mission or else you will fail. The British will constantly send attacking forces up north against Nonhankee and the natives there which the British base literally blocks the only path to, forcing you to find other ways of keeping it safe, covered below.
Get your Town Center up ASAP and the Settlers to work on resourcing with additional shipments of Settlers to quickly get an economy going. Take your south forces, ignoring the north for now and send them east to find some treasure granting you experience. From there move north to find some food treasure. Base building should be composed of a mixed progression towards military and economy. You wont need a major force to succeed as micromanagement will be key here.
Note: This is the first mission which the enemy has a hero with which they will use to actively claim Treasure. Keep in mind if there is an item you want you will need to grab it fast or the Brits will claim it.
After claiming the second Treasure move west towards the British base, but not close enough to be in range of the Outposts. Here you will find some Surgeons and Priests which you can kill for a fair amount of experience, far more so than the treasure you just got. Wait here until the first British wave attacks the northern base.
Handling the British
Once you see the British attack the northern base, immediately send your forces to attack the wall around the enemy base to draw their attention away from the natives, forcing the enemy army to retreat. Throughout this mission you will use this strategy to keep that northern area safe. The enemy will send its army to the exact location you were at when you attacked, waiting around and eventually retreating back in the base to form up another northern attack unless you hang around to engage them, which you should avoid this early on. Instead use the natives up north to pick apart the troops as they retreat to reduce their numbers, pulling your southern forces back to keep them safe. Use Nonhankee's heal to keep the native troops alive and avoid replacing lost units for now, but do repair the Outpost or Trading Post if damaged.
Your next set of goals will be to train Musketeers with a Barracks while calling in a Fort card with one of your shipments and building it where the Priests and Surgeons where, between your Base and the British's to give you a good place to retreat to and draw enemy aggressors towards as a means of finishing them off quickly while also preventing stray attackers form reaching your Settlers.
Secondary Objective: Ally with the other Iroquois. (200 XP)
Take some time in between your other operations to send a Settler or John Black to the east and west corners of the map to build Trading Posts on Iroquois camps to increase the amount of natives you can train at the northern encampment, which you can start doing as resources are built up and freed from the need for other purposes.
The Critical Part
After that initial distraction attack on the front gates, head around the west side of your base through the Woods to where you can hit the British base from the unguarded, outpost free side. From this point you should be able to reach the enemy Settlers with your Muskteers and other ranged units.
This is where you can turn this mission to your extreme favor, during your harassing raids always make sure to eliminate as many Settlers as possible, even eventually breaking through the wall when you get some cannon to get rid of some you might not be able to reach. If you keep pulling back when the larger groups of soldiers arrive, you can effectively starve the enemy by disabling their economy.
You will notice when the British are nearing depletion of their resources when they can no longer replace their lost Settlers and activity in the base seems to cease for the most part. Once this happens you should be able to overcome the enemy with a moderately sized force even if lacking any cannon, although such artillery will be a major help. Once you break through the southern defenses, order your northern units to flank the base from their side and speed up the destruction. Once the base has been substantially reduced to rubble, the natives are saved and the mission The Rescue is ended in victory.
The Seven Years War - Mission 4
With John and Kanyenke now pursuing Warwick to seek the return of John's uncle Stuart, history is playing it's part with the start of the Seven Years War taking place. Our heroes make an uneasy alliance with the French whom while not trusted are still the enemy of our enemy, thus for the time being, our friends.
Primary Objective: Help destroy the British on your side of the river.
At the start of the level The Seven Years War you will be in command of a small force of military units on the french side of the map which is divided in two by a river running through the middle. Your first objective will have you assisting the French in clearing out two small armies of British who are attacking their side of the map. Move your forces up, taking care to eliminate the cannon first and let the French forces take their guns attention if possible. Try to prevent any structures from being destroyed as the bottom half of the base will be transferred over to your control after the final group is eliminated.
Secondary Objective: Find and control the only Trade Route (300 XP)
Once the base is yours you should focus on upping its economy a bit while establishing some defenses, most importantly a Fort, on the southern crossing of the river. This location is where most of the British forces will attack from throughout the mission and the French can handle the limited attacks that come to their north side. Most of the time in this mission is spent during this buildup phase, following your typical mild spending on military just to hold off the enemy while you progress. You will need to make it to the Industrial age as to unlock the proper artillery that you will need once attacking such as Falconets and Mortars and the like. There is some easily visible treasure to be captured on your side of the map to help speed things along a little bit.
Although you can gut the base faster by attacking from your southern side, to earn the secondary objective you will want to attack from the French's side first as the Trading Post you need to destroy and rebuild is on the opposite side of that crossing. Take a substantial force and just push directly across the crossing with artillery in tow. The French should assist you in combat, making things a bit easier on you or providing distraction. Simply destroy this northern half, rebuild the Post with your hero John Black and move south to cut into the main base itself.
Primary Objective: Find and destroy the British Fort command building.
With your force from the north pushing south , you can build additional units to max out your population, or at least work towards it, and mass an army to cross on the south side. Other than a pair of guard towers there is little really in your way in stomping the British base and their strong attacks are deceptive of their weak defenses. Just wipe clean whatever red there is left on your screen, saving the command building towards the end so that you can max out the experience you gain in this mission. Once you've brought down the command building this mission is ended with a pretty straightforward victory.
The Great Lakes - Mission 5
Travelling to the Great Lakes, John and Kanyenke learn from Washington of Warwick's rogue status as a British General and are promised help in the form of Washington's navy to help in overcoming the threat he poses. The heroes will have to work on destroying Warwick's bases in the area in preparation for the arrival of Washington's forces.
Primary Objective: Advance to the Fortress Age and build an Artillery Foundry.
Starting off its going to be all about base building and economy one again, with this being the last mission in Act Two to be more on the tank and spank sort of strategies and by that I mean buildup over a period of time, withstanding attacks with a limited military until you can mass produce an army in no time to perpetually steamroll the enemy.
The enemy has several cannon outfitted outposts in the area so it is best not to wander much until you have a decent sized army as being spotted by them typically also draws out attacking soldiers on top of the massive balls of lead flying at your units from atop the towers. For that reason it is best to stick to Mills and Plantations, preferably having picked up some of the cards which improve their effectiveness to ship to your colony.
For defense the biggest impact can be made by placing a Fort on the north side of your base so its sits precisely in the path of the attacking enemy troops. This along with a handful of soldiers will do wonders for a long period of time in this level.
Primary Objective: Destroy the three Boneguard outposts.
Once you have a substantial force, fully upgraded at the Arsenal, you can move against the British base that shares the same patch of land that your base is on. Get some Mortars to knock out the cannon Outposts and the Fort the enemy has likely built somewhere usually just a few screens north of your base. Although the enemy will have a large amount of facilities and units in the area, once the defending structures are knocked out it becomes just a matter of wiping the area clean.
Primary Objective: Destroy Warwick's Navy and Town Center
Upon clearing out your side of the map, there is a second stretch of land across the water to the west which has the remaining British at its northern tip. Rebuild your army and use the pair of Galleons that Washington should have sent by now to transport your units across the water, landing at the southern point of the west land which is clear of enemies. It is pretty likely that this your will be decimated no matter how massive it is, since this section of land will have been untouched for a long stretch of the game. Just send them north along the strip to engage the enemy until the last man standing and start heading back to your base to replenish your forces. Focus on taking out as many Settlers as you can whenever they are within range to quickly deplete their income so your next attacks can go ore smoothly.
Secondary Objective: Avoid losing any of Wahington's fleet (300 XP)
Now depending on your timing, things can work out differently for you, but in my playthroughs Warwick's navy starts to attack while rebuilding the next wave to send across the water against the Town Center. Whatever the case once you have the massive warships sent by Washington and the enemy navy moves out, take as many of your land military units as you can, producing more constantly, and send them to the western most part of your land where the water reaches its narrowest point between the two pieces of land. From this point you can have your land units distract the enemy navy while your own vessels pummel the Brits without taking any damage whatsoever. Use the special broadside and long range mortar abilities of your ships to quickly smash apart the hostile fleet, pulling back any of your ships if they begin to be fired upon.
Once Warwick's navy is sunk, rebuild land units once more and deposit them again on the west landmass to attack the Town Center again. This time you can bring your warships to support their advance, the Mortar ships being incredibly effective against massed groups of enemy land units. Just avoid coming into contact with hostile Outposts until your Mortars or other land units have had the chance to deal with them as their cannons do heavy damage to ships. Once you bring the Town Center, or both if they built a second nearby which can happen, The Great Lakes is completed in victory.
Respect - Mission 6
Mission six in Act Two takes us to the great plains where John and Kanyenke are chasing Warwick down for killing Stuart. In this land our heroes will have to impress the natives in order to win their favor and push the Circle of Ossus out. This mission plays out a lot like where you had to impress Lizzie the Pirate in Act I and from here on out in this act, economy improvement and base building becomes much less important.
Primary Objective: Earn 10,000 XP before the Circle kills all 5 Chiefs.
Like mentioned this level is a return to the "complete a bunch of secondary objectives and earn X amount of experience" type of mission that you previously performed in Havana in Act One. Instead of a set time limit this time around however, you have until all five of the marked Chiefs are killed. This allows you to set your own pace, moving to defend some of the Chiefs if you feel you still need more time.
Note: There is tons of treasure to gain in this level so grab what you can on your way to objectives. Unless used as a marker these really won't be pointed out much considering they are readily visible on the way to the objectives mentioned.
As soon as the mission starts, take your Covered Wagon and set it up just northeast of the native Lakota camp you start out at, next to the small body of water and treasure (check picture). Your military units should stick around to fight off the first Circle attackers that come for the Lakota Chief before moving out to start accomplishing objectives.
Secondary Objective: Build a Trading Post at the Lakota village. (400 XP)
This is pretty easy and can be done right off the bat. After fending off the attackers have John start constructing a Trading Post immediately to quickly knock out this objective and give you a way to train some units right away, which you should do to fill out your Axe Riders. Take your settlers and split them up so a few are mining from the silver mine, harvesting wood and hunting buffalo.
Ignore mills and plantations since your Settlers aren't in significant danger being out in the open in this level, upgrading their resourcing with a Market and building at most 4-5 additional Settlers for hunting food but stopping there when it comes to economy. Try to get a Barracks up quick to train Musketmen. You should eventually call in the Fort when you get the chance to hit the next age, which you can build next to the Lakota village to give yourself a lot of leeway in this level and a pretty good guarantee that at least the Lakota Chief will survive a long time without your direct intervention with your units.
Secondary Objectives: Find the Lakota Chief's daughter (600 XP) and Herd 5 wild horses. (550 XP)
Take one horseman and move him to the northwest where you will find a U shaped body of water. In the inside of this U, you will find the Chief's daughter along with two of the five wild horses you need. Send both to the flag circle in the Lakota village. Next move the rest of your military directly up towards the native village north of the Lakota. You will find the final 3 horses you need plus some treasure. Capture the treasure and send the 3 horses to the same flag circle and you've just knocked out 2 secondary objectives, 3 so far total.
A quick diversion to keep things manageable.
If you want to save the first Chief from attack, which is suggested since it is still early on in the level, move your forces soon to the top right native village, which is always the first to be hit and usually with just enough forces to kill its Chief. Some of the attacks launched throughout the mission can fail to kill the Chief even without your help but this one seems to succeed more often than not unless you intervene.
Once that initial threat is cleared, try to be training Musketeers for the next task which is to take out the Circle's Fort before its fully built. Now the Circle likes to build their Fort directly against the top central native base, just above the Lakota but they tend to move it to the left if you are sitting at that base waiting for their Fort wagon so give yourself a short delay before walking your units close enough to get a visual and see if its up yet. Usually the natives there will give you visual of it by starting to attack it themselves and the second its there you should work with them to destroy it. Getting rid of this fort can give you 100-400+ XP depending on how far along its construction was when you destroyed it and keeps you from dealing with this massive headache later on.
Secondary Objective: Destroy Warwick's Outpost on Barren Hill. (500 XP)
After taking out the Fort, add some units to your force and try to start advancing towards the Fortress age to unlock additional card shipments for reinforcements along with additional units for you to upgrade and build. While that is going on move to the hill between the top center and top right native villages you've been active around fighting the Circle so far to find Warwick's Outpost defended by some Crossbowmen. Take out the defending units before focusing on the Outpost to complete another objective and add to your experience pool.
Secondary Objective: Destroy Warwick's Trading Post on the Trade Route. (550 XP)
Next you can head back around through your base and the Lakota village to move towards the enemy Trading Post which if you cant already see, is just east of the left most native village. It helps to have artillery at this point as there is a Falconet of then Circle's defending this building, however a mass of Musketeers will work as well, albeit with significant losses. Bring John so that when the post is down you can build your own and start to accrue more experience through the trade cart's arrival.
Secondary Objective: Claim the lost gold on Owl Island (650 XP)
From the Trading Post, move to the left most native village and take your forces a short trip north of that. There you will find a canoe you can capture along with a small island with some treasure guardians surrounded by a small lake of water. Load your units onto the Canoe and drop them off, making sure John or Kanyenke is still with you and attack the guardians, making sure to keep the Canoe out of harms way so you can make it back to shore. You do not need to bring Settlers as there is a pair you can release here to collect the gold chests, granting you an influx of resources.
Secondary Objective: Bring the White Buffalo to the Lakota village. (550 XP)
Your final objective is just east of the island, easily visible from the shore where you can have the Canoe drop your units off at. Capture the White Buffalo, making sure to defend it as the Circle will shoot it once under your control, and have some units escort it out of the hostile area and walk it back to the flag circle in the Lakota village to earn your last batch of secondary objective bonus experience.It is likely you will still be short of the 10,000 you need but there is a treasure item worth 285 XP that you can capture just north of the Buffalo's pen.
For the last stretch of experience gain you can either wait it out, defending the natives until your constant XP gain from the trade route and other sources pushes you over the limit or you can openly attack the Circle base to draw out its defenders and earn the final batch of experience you need. The moment you hit 10,000 this mission is a victory.
Warwick's Fort - Mission 7
Our pair of heroes have now followed Warwick all the way to the snow covered lands of the Rockies in this seventh level of Act Two "Ice" in Age of Empires 3. This is definitely one of the hardest missions so far albeit also one of the shortest. Time to put those micro skills to the test and forget about economy building, especially since you can't build more Settlers anyway.
Primary Objective: Destroy Warwick's Town Center inside his Stronghold.
This level has to be performed quickly on Hard and we will have to ignore the secondary objectives in order to have any chance at all of surviving. Think of your time limit as closer to 8 minutes instead of 20 because you literally do not have the resources to both capture all the trade carts heading to Warwick's base while still overcoming the massive amounts of forces he seems to be able to pull out of his ass somewhere around 10 minutes into the level. If you play defensive, you fail. If you delay you will fail. If you don't make liberal use of the pause button to give commands out at a moments notice and with precision, you will fail. Keep all of that in mind, no other mission have I managed to accrue as many replays as this one.
Note: When capturing carts, remember to keep your other units next to it if hostiles are nearby to prevent it from being recaptured by the enemy.
The second the game starts, hit the pause button and perform these commands exactly as stated:
- Select all horsemen and find the first treasure cart approaching through the right path. Right click one of the Hussars to give them the attack order.
- Select 7 of your 8 Musketeers and command them to attack the second Hussar.
- Select Kanyenke and tell him to perform his special attack on Hussar #3
- Select John and command him to special attack the Landsknecht.
- Take your eight Musketeer and move him to the northwest of your Barracks where there is the opening to the left cart path.
- Queue the training of 5 Musketeers then Veteran Musketeers upgrade and another 5 of the soldiers.
- Build an Artillery Foundry with one of your Settlers.
Now pay close attention and keep your finger near the pause button since you have to carefully micro two situations at once while preparing for a third. The horsemen and your heroes should do some serious damage to the cart guards, ignoring the Outpost while the Musketeers should move up behind just in time to capture the Cart which leaves its defenders behind to fight the horsemen. Moving your units separately was important for speed purposes as proven here. The second the cart is yours, move all the units back to your base, even if there are defenders chasing you to get away from the Outpost.
At the same time, pay attention to the Musketeer you sent west, pulling him back as soon as you have visual of the Outpost to prevent him from needlessly dying. Immediately follow up by instructing your Falconet to attack the Outpost but make sure your mercenary Pikemen do not move from their original position. The Boneguard defending the Outpost will attack your artillery with a rifle but he cant do anything really to your Falconet on his own.
When your east bound soldiers make it back with their cart, send the cart to your town center to be turned into resource piles for your Settlers to collect while moving the troops to the western pass as soon as they fight off whatever attackers are still chasing them. There will be another cart that spawns on this pass you will have to rush to collect, ignoring the Outpost as it probably will still be alive and firing on your units. Once the cart is yours, retreat once more except for the Falconet which should still be firing on the tower, with the cart in tow and the Outpost should drop soon after.
Time to take a quick breather.
This initial fighting ends the craziness and sets you up well enough for the remainder of how this level will play out. Now you will need to train 2 Culverin and an additional Falconet at your Artillery Foundry while calling for a pair of Mortar using a reinforcement card. Use your remaining resources to train up a bunch of Musketters and maybe one more Artillery piece.
Once the Mortar are built, use them to take out the second Outpost against the map's edge on the left cart path to keep it from causing us trouble while having your forces gather around where you took out the first Outpost with the Falconet. You will want a few troops near your Town Center to ward off marauding enemy attacks and keep an eye out for them to call your Settlers into the Town Center if needed as losing them can be catastrophic.
You should capture your third cart soon which should be some wood from the left path, then move your forces with it to your town center where a fourth cart of mixed goods will appear just next to it, along a path much closer than the first cart's Outpost guarded path that runs right against your base. Make sure you capture this cart which should be easy as its defenders like to hang back pretty far. After that the fifth cart we will want to capture will come up the left path again. Ignore all other carts down the other paths.
Taking down the Town Center.
With these five carts plus home city reinforcements of military units only, spending the vast majority of your resources on Musketeers and a few artillery pieces, two of each being preferable, you will have enough to take out the enemy base. Move your forces up the left cart path with your artillery on a separate control group from the soldiers to make sure the artillery are always behind a wall of units.
Stop to take out units that move against your advancing forces with the Mortar focusing on nearby buildings and ignore your Town Center if attacked at this point. When you approach the base, make sure to keep your soldiers out of range from the pair of Falconets that guard that side of the fortress and destroy them quickly with your Culverin. When the enemy cannons are down, move your soldiers up to start distracting other defending units while your Mortar and Falconets move up to directly fire upon the Town Center which you can do while the walls are still up. Ignore the second Town Center built outside the walls if it is up already, it is moot. The Culverins should hang back to intercept enemy Artillery if the Circle manage to bring more to defend. You should have enough time with your Soldiers fighting the enemy to bring down the Town Center which falls quickly to combined artillery fire, marking mission 7 complete and victorious.
Bring Down the Mountain - Mission 8
As it turns out, Warwick's travels to the west have an incredibly devious purpose which is the hiring and arrival of a massive Russian mercenary army which Warwick plans to use to decimate the colonies. John request that Kanyenke force the Russians up the northern path through the mountains while John sets up a special surprise.
Primary Objective: Use Miners to collapse all the Rock Bridges.
While definitely epic, the final level of Act 2 "Ice" in Age of Empires 3 is all about military control and careful placement of units rather than economy or base building, both of which should be completely ignored. The only task economy wise should be moving some settlers to have most working on food with a couple on lumber and gold to mass produce Musketeers while bringing artillery and other units through reinforcements. You will definitely benefit through the building of additional houses and somewhat through the tier 1 Market resourcing upgrades but that is really it.
First off, take your group of Miners you start out with and send them to the first Rock Bridge near your southern Town Center, the northern most bridge, to start collapsing it. They will do this by chiseling it with their pick axes until the bar above it fills then moving to the opposite side and doing the same, collapsing the bridge when both side's "collapsing bars" are full. Bring you Culverin and Musketeers sass soon as they're trained to stand along the ridge near the Miners. Since the Russians all approach from the west going east, your troops should be positioned just a tad to the left of your Miners so any attacking units engage them first instead of shooting your valuable Miners.
Your first shipment from Boston should be a Fort which should be placed along the northern most pass, between the two pieces of treasure and north of the top Rock Bridge. This will provide a distraction and defense keeping at least one or two Great Cannon from making it out of the level while you are busy. Just ignore it after building it as that is the only purpose it will serve here.
Eventualy more Miners will come in from the caves at the north of the map by your northern Town Center. These units should immediately be sent to your other Miners to help with whatever Rock Bridge you are working on at the time, with another group coming until you have 10 or so total Miners. If you lose several Miners, more will come to replace them from these caves.
Secondary Objective: Destroy a Great Cannon
In order to earn some experience boosts you can take out the Great Cannons in this level as they pass near whatever Rock Bridges you are working on, with the first coming through the pass you should still be initially working on. Don't go out of your way to take these out, but definitely use your Culverin to eliminate them if traveling near your units anyway to give you more time in this level while earning more XP towards shipments.
Once the first Rock Bridge is collapsed you can move south to the next one and finally the third, taking your constantly growing army along with the Miners to guard the high ground near each bridge. The Miners have a powerful explosive attack they can use against the enemy but it is slow to fire and is too risky considering their importance and potential difficulty in getting replacement miners to the bridges you are working on as the level goes on and enemies become more numerous.
Dealing with the large scale Russian attacks.
Eventually the mercenaries will get pissed from your destruction of their cannon and the collapsing of their routes and send a massive force of units against you. If they head to either of your bases then you are technically better off, since that will keep them distracted while you work on collapsing the bridges. However if they get too close to your army, the best way to handle them is using the terrain to your advantage and pulling back your forces in a way so they have to walk up or down one the many ramps to reach you, thus causing their forces to thin out and come like a stream instead of a massive wave. With this method you can effectively kill off a force several times larger than yours without even taking significant loses. Retreat your miners from their bridges if they are too exposed while you do this and move them back once finished, much better safe than sorry at this point.
As long as you completely ignored trying to increase your economy besides the first tier Market upgrades, even then not really necessary, and kept a quick pace when it comes to taking out the bridges you should have little difficulty in this level. Once the third bridge is down, this level is a victory and you get to sit back and watch some cinematic before proceeding on the the third and final act in the game.
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