Age of Empires 3 - Act 3 "Steel" Campaign Walkthrough Guide

Age of Empires 3
Age of Empires 3

This guide will cover the third and final act of the PC Strategy game, Age of Empires 3, which is titled Steel. Within you will wind walkthroughs of each level along with video playthroughs providing an even more in-depth look at the strategies and tactics used to win each mission on the Hard difficulty.

In Steel we once again are following the exploits of the Black family in early America, however now at the fifth generation with Amelia Black, the Granddaughter of John Black. As the third act opens, we find Amelia in control of the family business, which is a railroad company, however nearly bankrupt.

AOE 3 Campaign Act 3 Missions

  1. Race for the Rails
  2. Hold the Fort
  3. The Boneguard's Lair
  4. The Lost Spanish Gold
  5. Bolivar's Revolt
  6. Journey through the Andes
  7. Last City of the Inca
  8. Last Stand of the Boneguard

Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III

The original game as a stand-alone copy.

 
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection - PC
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection - PC

Age of Empires 3 with both the War Chiefs and Asian Dynasties expansions included.

 

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.

Act III Important Force Composition Info: The forces i use primarily (90+%) are made up entirely of Musketeers supported by Heavy Cannons produced by Factories with the exception of the occasional built Mortar or Falconet. This can be important to keep in mind in order to achieve the same results I mention here. Musketeers when combined with the Advanced Arsenal card, unit upgrades from the Barracks and all the Infantry upgrades the Advanced Arsenal offers the Musketeers become pretty incredible given their cost. Every time i reach the fourth age I also make sure to choose the Factory in order to have two of the buildings (including a Factory sent by card) pumping out cannon or supplementing needed resources.

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Building the second Trading Post at the opening of the level.Approaching the Comanche camp with it's Trading Post already built, with the army. (19 Musketeers, 2 Heroes, 1 Railroad Worker, 5 Musketeers on the way from Barracks)Engaging the St Louis Railroad Co.'s forces in Race for the Rails in AoE 3.Running over the now undefended base.Going after the Settlers to cut off resourcing.The second Native camp.Taking out the 2 enemy Trading Posts to build our own in their place.
Building the second Trading Post at the opening of the level.
Building the second Trading Post at the opening of the level.
Approaching the Comanche camp with it's Trading Post already built, with the army. (19 Musketeers, 2 Heroes, 1 Railroad Worker, 5 Musketeers on the way from Barracks)
Approaching the Comanche camp with it's Trading Post already built, with the army. (19 Musketeers, 2 Heroes, 1 Railroad Worker, 5 Musketeers on the way from Barracks)
Engaging the St Louis Railroad Co.'s forces in Race for the Rails in AoE 3.
Engaging the St Louis Railroad Co.'s forces in Race for the Rails in AoE 3.
Running over the now undefended base.
Running over the now undefended base.
Going after the Settlers to cut off resourcing.
Going after the Settlers to cut off resourcing.
The second Native camp.
The second Native camp.
Taking out the 2 enemy Trading Posts to build our own in their place.
Taking out the 2 enemy Trading Posts to build our own in their place.

1. Race for the Rails

In the first level of Act III, Steel follows Amelia Black as her railroad company is employed by the American government with forces under the command of Major Cooper. Amelia and her company have been employed to extended the existing railroad network further south against the oddly violent competition with the St. Louis Railroad Co. (I don't remember the part of history where Railroad companies waged wars on each other...)

Primary Objective: Build Trading Posts on all sites along the Trade Route.

As soon as the level starts, get to the normal economy building tasks of training Settlers (only a handful though) and shifting current harvesters to the resources you prefer, typically wanting to prioritize food first and wood second with gold third this early on. Take Amelia and immediately send her to the trading post just south of the one you start with while switching both to actual resources instead of experience. Keep in mind the enemy's base is located in the west corner of the map and their attacks will approach from there.

Secondary Objective: Ally with any Native Americans in the area. (200 XP each)

Start training Musketeers early on and continue pouring the majority of your resources into this goal, with a few set aside for the occasional extra settler or resourcing upgrade. Grab a Settler or Amelia and take them to the est of your base a few screens away to find the first of two Native American camps. At about 4:30 into the game you should aim to have this post being built and about 20 Musketeers (send for their card when you get the chance) with more being built and Comanche Archers being trained from the Native camp once it is up. Move your Musketeers with both your heroes and any Railroad Workers you have, basically your whole army, and move them to the camp to start attacking the enemy base early on.

Since the enemy base is right nearby and they are likely to mass their forces just top the left of your Comanche camp, be prepared to engage their forces which should be happening around the 5 minute mark for this early rush type strategy to work. Make absolutely sure to utilize Amelia's ability on a clustered group of units to take out several of the enemy infantry as you engage while pumping out Comanche Archers nearby and setting the rally point of your barracks nearby to provide a continuous stream of Musketeers to bolster your force.

Once you have overcome their small army, continue your advance west and you are now able to attack their undefended base pretty much unhindered. Just keep building forces as the resources become available and look around the town for the enemy Settlers. Once you have found the Settlers, kill them all to cut off the enemy's resources and completely neuter them early on. For more details, this strategy is performed in the video below, with the point of win clocking in at around 6:30, where the enemy is taken to the point of irrecoverable damage leaving the rest of the mission to just wiping up the remaining buildings and scattered units.

From this point on you really can't lose, so switch your Trade Routes to experience as to work on leveling your home city while now saving up resources in order to advance an age and research Mercantilism in order to grant 1,500 experience before leaving the level. If you ever have free time or resources at the end of a level, this research item is great to work towards new cards for the next level.

Keep building the few attack units here and there to speed up the destruction process, moving against the two southern trading posts owned by the enemy once their town is vanquished. Just south of their ex-base you should find the second Native American village which you should have Amelia construct a Trading Post at while your forces move past. Once the enemy's posts are destroyed you will have to construct your own in their place so you have all 4 locations built on. Doing this will satisfy the primary objective and end the level in victory.

Essential Home City Cards to Have

Make sure you have the following cards, as they will be essential in this act: Fort, Factory, x700 resource palettes for each resource, Advanced Arsenal, Native American Lore, Native American Treaties and Native American Warriors.

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Building Outposts at the fort gates.Taking a squad out of the base momentarily to take out some cannon.Producing Heavy Cannons with the Factory to defend the walls.Plowing the southern enemy base with Cooper's forces.Following up by plowing the northern base.
Building Outposts at the fort gates.
Building Outposts at the fort gates.
Taking a squad out of the base momentarily to take out some cannon.
Taking a squad out of the base momentarily to take out some cannon.
Producing Heavy Cannons with the Factory to defend the walls.
Producing Heavy Cannons with the Factory to defend the walls.
Plowing the southern enemy base with Cooper's forces.
Plowing the southern enemy base with Cooper's forces.
Following up by plowing the northern base.
Following up by plowing the northern base.

2. Hold the Fort

In the level Hold the Fort, Amelia Black and her forces are holed up inside of a Fort with Major Cooper and Beaumont. They are surrounded by the Mexican army and your task here will be to hold out against assault for 15 minutes until help arrives in the form of the US Army.

Secondary Objective: Upgrade both Trade Routes to Trains. (300 XP)

Pretty much as soon as the level starts you can accomplish this objective with ease. Pull the Musketeers from outside the fort back into the inside of the facility before spending resources to upgrade both routes. Since the railroads will be your main source of income, doing this right away is good for your economy in the long run. Take Amelia and a Settler, or Railroad Worker once they show up inside your fort and have them build Trading Posts on all the open spots along both routes as soon as possible. There are 6 total with two inside your fort and pre-built with two to the northeast and two to the southwest. Set all of them to resources instead of experience to fund your defense.

Primary Objective: Survive until Cooper's men arrive.

Make sure your artillery around the fort walls is in bombard mode to attack approaching enemies. Keep your units inside your base and refrain from building any Settlers beyond a simple handful to construct buildings and harvest a bit of wood from the trees in your fort or collect resources from pallets. The first card you send for should be the Factory which should produce Heavy Cannon non stop that will be added to the wall defenses. Build some Outposts by the gates to your fort, primarily the southeast and northwest sides while working towards upgrading them to have cannons.

Send for a Fort once you get your second card and construct on the southwest side of the base between the two Trading Posts which should be sufficient to keep that side defended for quite some time. Don't spend any money on artillery, instead relying on the cannon produced by your Factory for this purpose while allowing the rest of your funds to be diverted to the production and upgrade of Musketeers. Try to send for the Advanced Arsenal card as soon as possible and purchase all the upgrades for Infantry to vastly increase the value of your Musketeers.

Defense will be focused around keeping cannons by the wall to quickly wipe away the attacking Mexican forces, prioritizing the enemy cannons to keep them from breaking through your walls. Keep an eye on these walls to repair them as they take damage, especially considering how cheap it is to do so, considering the units and buildings it saves you. As long as you continually pump out Musketeers and killing the enemy cannon ASAP then you should have little problem surviving for the 15 minutes until reinforcements arrive.

Some final notes in defense: If your Outposts or Trading Posts outside your base begin to take heavy attack, allow them to fall. Bringing forces out of your base is a bad idea and can quickly go poorly for you. Just repair the buildings when you get the chance to extend their lifetime. If the Outposts built just outside your gates fall however, make sure to rebuild those as the lack of them can lead to the Fort being broken into.

Primary Objective: Destroy all the Mexican Army's Town Centers

Once Cooper's army arrives it becomes an almost guaranteed victory with massive squads of Infantry Calvary and Artillery that will probably push your population capacity far past 200. Take the majority of your defenders from the fort, leaving some behind to cover the northwest side and have them plow over the southeast Mexican bases. The three enemy town centers will be visible on your mini-map to make things easier. Simply steamroll your way to success, following up on the northern enemy base once the south is clear.

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Attacking Boneguard that are defending a food cart.The second cave entrance plus Weapons Cache.Rescuing imprisoned soldiers.Taking out one of the Weapons Cache with the heroes out front to draw the enemy.Taking out the next Weapons Cache nearby.The outdoor Weapons Cache which will open a new path by knocking down trees when destroyed.Pulling small groups of the final Boneguard force.
Attacking Boneguard that are defending a food cart.
Attacking Boneguard that are defending a food cart.
The second cave entrance plus Weapons Cache.
The second cave entrance plus Weapons Cache.
Rescuing imprisoned soldiers.
Rescuing imprisoned soldiers.
Taking out one of the Weapons Cache with the heroes out front to draw the enemy.
Taking out one of the Weapons Cache with the heroes out front to draw the enemy.
Taking out the next Weapons Cache nearby.
Taking out the next Weapons Cache nearby.
The outdoor Weapons Cache which will open a new path by knocking down trees when destroyed.
The outdoor Weapons Cache which will open a new path by knocking down trees when destroyed.
Pulling small groups of the final Boneguard force.
Pulling small groups of the final Boneguard force.

3. The Boneguard's Lair

Thanks to the return of a now aged Kanyenke we are able to discover Beaumont's true allegiance to the Circle of Ossus, the arch enemies of the Black family, before Amelia is led into a trap by the cunning Frenchman. Kanyenke and Amelia will have to take a limited group of forces and clear out the Circle forces within the caves in the level The Boneguard's Lair.

Primary Objective: Find Beaumont and drive him and his men from the caves.

This level is going to focus on managing limited forces and utilizing the special abilities of your heroes as often as possible. Keep them on their own hotkey group and in every encounter possible, use their special attacks and the heroes themselves as damage shields for the rest of your units. Once a group of enemies is engaged with your heroes, bring up your remaining units, which should be on another control group. Kepp this strategy up throughout to make things simple for you. After taking out the first group of Boneguard you will be given control of Kanyenke.

With Kanyenke, travel east along the outside of the map to find the remaining two camps which provide you with units in exchange for food carts. Besides one food cart that should eventually go towards the Medicine Men, they should all go towards the left village to be exchanged for riflemen. Your units in the cave should be making their way north and around, sticking to right side of the cave to curve around towards the second cave entrance Kanyenke should have given you vision of as he passed towards the villages. Work on making your way to this second entrance to make it easier for you to bring in some medicine men before heading back the way you came and clearing out the remaining part of this section of the cave.

Besides capturing food carts you will find several prisons containing soldiers that will join your forces if freed. Always make sure to take these out to add to your army. The final other activity in these caves will be destroying a series of weapon caches (see images for their locations) scattered throughout the caves, including one at the second cave entrance mentioned earlier. When attacking these caches, do so at first with your heroes only as they typically always seem to draw additional enemies to aid in their defense. This will keep the new defenders attacking your heroes and not killing your Infantry.

Once you've cleared this side of the cave and encountered Beaumont who taunts you on the other side of a blocked passage, head back towards the second entrance to head around the bend there into the next major section of the caves, all the while sending food carts for riflemen and using your 2 Medicen Men to heal your forces whenever their ability becomes available.

You will now be in a more narrow area that will eventually lead you back outside where an arsenal sits in the snow before another bend towards a final cave entrance. Destroying this building opens up a new path for reinforcing natives and captured food carts to pass through with the removal of some blocking trees.

Make your way into this final bit of cave with what should be by now a significant force and you will be granted vision of the entire section. Approach the top part where the two treasures sit slowly with your heroes only and pull back as soon as you see the large Boneguard force enter the cave. Once the forces come to a rest you can park your Infantry nearby and pull small groups of the Boneguard towards your main forces using your heroes and their special abilities (Kanyenke has the longest range). If you can manage to pull these units in their small chunks then you should be able to wipe out their forces without losing any units yourself. All that will be left is their cannon which you can safely plow into the dirt.

Collect both treasures once the Circle forces are vanquished and exit the top part of the cave to complete the level The Boneguard's Lair.

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Taking out the sneaky Circle's Fort before it becomes a pain in the ass.Uncovering the Fixed Cannon with a small force and the heroes. Using the Fixed Cannon to beat on the enemy forces.Taking out the Circle Outposts guarding the treasure ships. Bombarding the inside of the Circle base from the overlook. Breaking into the center of the enemy base to finish it off.
Taking out the sneaky Circle's Fort before it becomes a pain in the ass.
Taking out the sneaky Circle's Fort before it becomes a pain in the ass.
Uncovering the Fixed Cannon with a small force and the heroes.
Uncovering the Fixed Cannon with a small force and the heroes.
Using the Fixed Cannon to beat on the enemy forces.
Using the Fixed Cannon to beat on the enemy forces.
Taking out the Circle Outposts guarding the treasure ships.
Taking out the Circle Outposts guarding the treasure ships.
Bombarding the inside of the Circle base from the overlook.
Bombarding the inside of the Circle base from the overlook.
Breaking into the center of the enemy base to finish it off.
Breaking into the center of the enemy base to finish it off.

4. The Lost Spanish Gold

In The Lost Spanish Gold, Amelia and company have chased Beaumont to Florida to the same lands where Morgan Black fought the Circle oh so many years ago in Act I. With so much time passed the land has dried up considerably and the Treasure Ships that once were a near limitless supply of coin, have been reduced to rubble, essentially becoming little different than gold mines which must be harvested by Settlers.

Primary Objective: Destroy the three Outposts guarding the ruined treasure ships.

Once the mission starts get to the usual economy building tasks and look to collect at least the large batch of food treasure north of your base. Try to keep your forces near your town center as the enemy likes to send some cavalry early on to massacre your Settlers. Keep in mind that we have until the 15 minute mark to put significant pressure on the enemy base or else they will manage to build up enough strength to overrun you (trust me) and the way to do this will be explained soon, just make sure you are as time efficient as possible in the following tasks.

Build some walls to help block off enemy access to your base and give something for your ranged soldiers to fight behind and keep an eye on the area southwest of your Town Center by the southernmost alligator guarded treasure. Around 3:30 into the game, the enemy likes to build a Fort here which you will want to take out before it is fully constructed to give yourself some breathing room.

Try to send for a Fort card early on and build it just south of your Town Center by the ramp to the lower ground just to the left of the nearby Native Village. Resources should go towards improving economy while balanced with Musketeers for defense and some upgrades for them. Sending in crates of gold with your cards can help supplement things until you can secure some of the treasure ships.

Secondary Objective: Build Trading Posts at the Native Villages. (500 XP)

This objective is self explanatory, with the first of three Native Villages being right next to your base. Constructing a Trading Post here will give you vision over an area in some woods on high ground to the south where will need to bring Kanyenke later. Look to the north and slightly to the right to find a treasure ship to mine and further north of that, some more treasure in the form of another big batch of food.

Secondary Objective: Bring Kanyenke to the revealed forest along the southeast edge of the map. (300 XP)

The best way to reach this area is to move your units from the treasure, further north and around the edge of the map to bypass the Outposts between you and the forest with your heroes and a small group of soldiers. On your way you will encounter another Native Village, 2 of 3, which you can construct a Trading Post at to increase your Native Warrior cap. Once you reach the forest you will be granted the same Fixed Cannon you once controlled against the Circle to now be used against the bastards once more. This is the disruption we need before the 15 minute mark in order to prevent being overrun.

Although mossy, it is still just as effective as ever, and seemingly uncapturable by the enemy, or at least they prefer to attempt to destroy it rather. Park your units by the cannon and let it do what it does best, blow the crap out of everything in range. Once you have the Fixed Cannon you will start to draw hordes of attacking units, which you can fire upon with the cannon to take out en masse. If they get too close do not panic as the cannon has a ton of hit-points and the enemy will occasionally lose interest in it after a while. Send some reinforcements to battle the cannons attackers when you get the chance and the moment you have the option start repairing it, which it does very quickly. Keep some wood saved up for this purpose.

Primary Objective: Destroy Beaumont's Town Center.

As your Fixed Cannon finishes working over everything in its range, including the second enemy Fort to the southwest of it, take the opportunity to start expanding your economy a little further to get things really moving then advance to the next age, choosing the Factory which will be used for Heavy Cannon production. When you feel you have the forces to do so, move out against the outposts to satisfy the first primary objective and make way for your final attack once you've got some artillery support.

When preparing your final attack force, make sure you bring a few Culverin and Mortars ad the enemy has a lot of their own artillery pieces and walls that need to be taken down. Move your massed force southwest from your Town Center along the high ground in the direction where the enemy has been primarily attacking from. From this route you will be able to approach the rear of the base while also being able to bombard a large portion of what is inside from the safety of an overlook.

Pound the inside of the base, hitting whatever you can reach from the overlook (see pictures) then knock out the walls and Outpost at the rear of the base if you haven't done so already. With the walls gone, rush your forces inside to carve apart the now vulnerable base. Once the Town Center falls you will be rewarded with victory in The Lost Spanish Gold.

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Freeing the first town with Bolivar.Building an Outpost to help defend from naval attacks. Freeing town number 2.Freeing town number 2 in Bolivar's Revolt.Fighting the defenders of the third town to rescue from the Spanish.Bombarding town 4's Outposts with Mortars from town #3.Breaking through the Fort walls. Overrunning the Spanish Fort.
Freeing the first town with Bolivar.
Freeing the first town with Bolivar.
Building an Outpost to help defend from naval attacks.
Building an Outpost to help defend from naval attacks.
Freeing town number 2.
Freeing town number 2.
Freeing town number 2 in Bolivar's Revolt.
Freeing town number 2 in Bolivar's Revolt.
Fighting the defenders of the third town to rescue from the Spanish.
Fighting the defenders of the third town to rescue from the Spanish.
Bombarding town 4's Outposts with Mortars from town #3.
Bombarding town 4's Outposts with Mortars from town #3.
Breaking through the Fort walls.
Breaking through the Fort walls.
Overrunning the Spanish Fort.
Overrunning the Spanish Fort.

5. Bolivar's Revolt

In the level Bolivar's Revolt of Act Three, Amelia and Kanyenke have begun their travels towards South America in search of the fountain's water rumored to be stashed away there. On the way they end up caught in a revolution and will side with Bolivar's army to make their way through.

Primary Objective: Help General Bolivar free the town to the north.

You will start this level with a handful of mercenaries and your heroes alongside Bolivar and his forces. As the level starts he will begin the attack on the first of four towns that can be freed from the Spanish. Group up with his forces but let his Infantry take the lead while you hang back and prioritize anything shooting his cannon. The ship you start out with can be used to help bombard any enemy units close enough to the shore. Once the defenders are down along with the Outpost, the town is turned over to your control.

Primary Objective: Help General Bolivar free two more towns.

Soon a timer will begin to count down until the next attack is launched by Bolivar on the second town. In the mean time get to economy building while constructing a Frigate right away at your docks and an Outpost by the top left corner of your base, against the shore and cliff to help protect against enemy ships. Send fishing boats to the southern schools of fish to keep them out of the ways of the advancing enemy with the exception of the four fishing boats you should eventually (after the first enemy naval attack) send to harvest from the Whale. Around the 3 minute mark before the next attack you should try to pump out a large group of Musketeers and work on some upgrades for them.

When the next attack begins, join Bolivar's forces again to move against the second town. Don't worry about leaving much in the way of defenses since the only route the enemy can attack from on land is the one you will be advancing on. There are two Outposts that will need to be taken out along with more enemy infantry and cannon that you will need to prioritize. Once the town is free you will have access to its Artillery Foundry, a free Mortar and the Arsenal which should now be used to upgrade Infantry.

Send resource stack cards to help speed up your growth and start saving towards hitting age 4 to unlock Factories which should be happening about a minute before Bolivar makes his third attack for the third town. Build one or two artillery from your foundry but not much more while filling out your forces with more Musketeers. The third attack is much the same as the second, just with more units, but will give you access to another town with more barracks. Pull the Settlers that you are given back from their Mills asap or they will be massacred by the Spanish Outposts along the ridge nearby. Send for your Factory card when you hit age 4 and build both to produce Heavy Cannon for the final assault.

Secondary Objective: Rescue Bolivar (300 XP)

If Bolivar ever takes too much damage and is incapacitated you will be given this repeatable objective to earn some experience by resuscitating him. This works the same as with your own heroes, just keep some units near him until e wakes back up.

Secondary Objective: Free all four villages from the Spanish. (1000 XP)

Once you have freed the third town, you will be able to see the fourth town to the northeast. You can actually free this town without going near it by bombarding the Outposts inside of it with Mortar from the third town. Bringing the towers down will give you access to the fourth town, some free cavalry, stables and some nice experience for shipments.

Primary Objective: Destroy the Spanish fort's Command Post.

From here on out, stock up on Heavy Cannon from your factories while prioritizing your economy to do nothing but pump out Musketeers and upgrades for infantry and artillery. While this goes on, harass the Spanish by bombarding anything you can reach with your Mortar from the third town. Wait for the final timer to count down and just move out with Bolivar's forces one final time to roll over the Spanish fort to complete this level.

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Sitting in Cave #1 to heal up.Stopping momentarily to fire a quick salvo at the Horse Archer scout to allow Kanyenke and Amelia to finish it off with regular weapons fire when it passes them, still at the first cave.Cave #2 in Journey through the Andes of AoE 3.Taking the shortcut straight to cave #3 with the Boneguard Muskets treasure item visible. Cave #4 is just north of #3. Cave #5 with the Boneguard Armor treasure item visible to the right, stopping a pair of scouts.Cave #6 before the long stretch in Journey through the Andes in AoE 3. Cave #7 after the long stretch with the Medicine Man treasure guarded by cougars that can be shot at from within the cave.The infantry meet up with the Medicine Man to get some quick heals before trekking further south. Stopping in cave #8 along the final path. Stopping one last scout on the final path to Pacamayo Valley.
Sitting in Cave #1 to heal up.
Sitting in Cave #1 to heal up.
Stopping momentarily to fire a quick salvo at the Horse Archer scout to allow Kanyenke and Amelia to finish it off with regular weapons fire when it passes them, still at the first cave.
Stopping momentarily to fire a quick salvo at the Horse Archer scout to allow Kanyenke and Amelia to finish it off with regular weapons fire when it passes them, still at the first cave.
Cave #2 in Journey through the Andes of AoE 3.
Cave #2 in Journey through the Andes of AoE 3.
Taking the shortcut straight to cave #3 with the Boneguard Muskets treasure item visible. Cave #4 is just north of #3.
Taking the shortcut straight to cave #3 with the Boneguard Muskets treasure item visible. Cave #4 is just north of #3.
Cave #5 with the Boneguard Armor treasure item visible to the right, stopping a pair of scouts.
Cave #5 with the Boneguard Armor treasure item visible to the right, stopping a pair of scouts.
Cave #6 before the long stretch in Journey through the Andes in AoE 3.
Cave #6 before the long stretch in Journey through the Andes in AoE 3.
Cave #7 after the long stretch with the Medicine Man treasure guarded by cougars that can be shot at from within the cave.
Cave #7 after the long stretch with the Medicine Man treasure guarded by cougars that can be shot at from within the cave.
The infantry meet up with the Medicine Man to get some quick heals before trekking further south.
The infantry meet up with the Medicine Man to get some quick heals before trekking further south.
Stopping in cave #8 along the final path.
Stopping in cave #8 along the final path.
Stopping one last scout on the final path to Pacamayo Valley.
Stopping one last scout on the final path to Pacamayo Valley.

6. Journey through the Andes

In the pursuit of finding the last of the Inca, Amelia and Kanyenke are forced to head through a treacherous path during a snowstorm under the advance of the Circle's army. Leading a small group of men including some guides given by Bolivar, you will need to micromanage like crazy to keep your units from perishing in the cold.

Primary Objective: Reach Pacamayo Valley.

First off I feel it is important to point out that this level requires very specific timing in order to complete both objectives that is best shown through the use of the attached video below. When playing on Hard there are many specifics which can be only explained in full detail in the play-through, however this portion will attempt to provide a general idea of how things will play out for you.

Secondary Objective: Don't allow a single scout to reach the Boneguard Army. (1500 XP)

You will start off this level with Kanyenke, Amelia and a small handful of Infantry. It is critical that you split your units into two control groups, separated into heroes and everything else. Throughout this level you will have to move both groups independently from cave to cave in order to keep them from perishing in the bitter cold that slowly drains the life of all units exposed. Also make sure you recognize that units must come to a full stop in a cave in order to heal.

Note: This mission on hard requires liberal use of the Pause button to give orders quickly. Try to also save your game as often as possible since the secondary objective only requires one cavalry get past you to fail. Finally the caves mentioned are numbered not by their order of appearance necessarily but more so the order in which they are stopped at in, so unnumbered caves are skipped (except for the very last stretch of path, ie: after cave #8).

See pictures to the top right for exact locations of caves one through eight.

The first cave will be to your north and the second around the corner to the next path heading south. During this portion it is best to move your Infantry ahead of your heroes, always one cave ahead. When you come across wolves or other creatures, you can kill them quickly and efficiently by having your units fire, then continue moving for a second or two, then stopping to fire again, thus their reload time is expended while still heading towards the next cave instead of standing still. When you see a scout (always a Horse Archer) head past your infantry in the opposite direction you are travelling in, pay close attention to your mini-map and be ready to trigger the special abilities of your heroes to drop them quickly and in one shot. Keep in mind that with the rate at which scouts spawn and head past your units you will have to rotate special abilities and even occasionally attempt to use regular weapons fire.

When you get your infantry to the second cave, approach the shortcut to the east leading to the third cave, in this case stopping as soon as you see the wolves that guard this path to shoot them from range and retreating back to cave #2 for a second to heal before making it the full way to cave #3. Once your infantry reach #3, send your heroes up to #2 to heal before then taking them to number 3. From this inside of cave 3 you infantry should be able to clear the wolves guarding the nearby Boneguard Muskets treasure item just north outside of the cave.

When your heroes reach your infantry they will likely be tailed by a pair of Hussars that aproach from the starting position. These units will start coming in pairs every other scout spawn or so to attack your squad. Try to get the Hussars to focus on your heroes to prevent infantry losses and always try to fight the cavalry inside of caves if possible. Once this pair is gone, have your heroes pick up the treasure to increase your unit's ranged attack power while moving your infantry to cave #4 just a bit further north of the treasure, following with your heroes after they retrieve the Muskets. For the time being, keep all your units moving from cave to cave at the same time.

Make your way now to cave #5 which is north a stretch past some wolves by a tree. Stop inside near the entrance only momentarily as there should soon be a pair of scouts travelling together that will require at least one special attack and some combined basic attacks on the second Horse Archer to drop both in time. Heal up in the cave and head east to number six, clearing the cougar treasure guardians from the Boneguard armor chest along the way and diverting your heroes while the infantry finish the quick journey to retrieve this item which will boost all your soldier's hitpoints.

Once you reach cave 6 you will have to leave your infantry behind in the cave while your heroes traverse the next great stretch of land. Await another Hussar attack if it has been a while since the last with your units grouped, while prepared to take out another passing scout before heading out. As your heroes travel south you will need to move your infantry out in the cold to await any scouts that make it past your heroes since they will not be able to reach the scout in time if waiting until you have vision of it from within cave 6. Try to get a good sense of the speed at which the scouts travel at to estimate the time it will take for them to reach cave 6 to prevent spending too much time with your infantry exposed to the hazardous weather.

You heroes will reach cave number seven right next to a shortcut leading further towards Pacamayo Valley. Park your heroes in here and keep at least one within the caves to keep vision on passing scouts which travel through the shortcut while you try to kill the cougars guarding the Medicine Man treasure visible just south along the long route the shortcut bypasses. The reason it may be necessary to have one hero outside the cave and approaching the cougars in close combat is since they will have their health reset if they try to travel to far from the Medicine Man while trying to approach your units in the cave.

Once they are cougars are gone, rescue the Medicine Man, whom is invulnerable to the bitter cold and its life draining, sending him back the way your heroes came while now moving your infantry out towards cave 7. You will have to have the Medicine Man meet the infantry halfway and use the heal ability to restore some lost hit points for the infantry to survive the rest of the journey. All units must stop moving for a split second to pull off the heal, so use the pause button to minimize wasted time. Some of your units may not be healed, but enough should survive thanks to the Medicine Man to facilitate the last portion of your journey. Try to have your heroes use their special attacks on the passing scouts during this trip to reduce the need for the infantry to stop and fire.

Once your units are all grouped up once more at cave 7, keep them together from here on out, taking the shortcut, clearing the wolves, pulling back for another heal and heading on the final stretch in Journey through the Andes. Skip the cave you see right as you exit the shortcut in favor of heading just a bit north along the main path to cave number 8. The large cave, even though containing treasure worth experience, is essentially a missed scout waiting to happen.

After cave 8 you can speed along the main path while making quick stops at the final two caves since eight through ten are all within easy firing range of the main path, allowing you to stop any approaching scouts or attack cavalry from within. When you turn the final bend and see the land transition to green grass you have made it to safety and successfully completed level six in the act Steel.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Building a Trading Post at the east Native Village to help defend the arriving artillery from the Russians.Keeping defending units near the exposed Inca Temple to stop the construction of the enemy Fort. Building our own Fort in it's place to defend against these "crafty" Circle forces.Building a Livestock pen to fatten the Llamas. Training Native Warriors at the Trading Post to defend the artillery. Building Factories with the age bonus and home shipments to produce Heavy Cannon right at the assembly point and main base. Defending the Inca Temple from the Circle with the Fort, upgraded Outposts and Musketeers. Attacking the Russian base with the artillery that arrives with some amassed Native Warriors. Building a resource operation in the ruined Russian base while leaving some units to cover the enemy unit spawn point. Amassing a force to overcome the Circle base in a final attack. Bringing down the walls of the Fort with an array of Heavy Cannons. The Circle base now stands plowed.
Building a Trading Post at the east Native Village to help defend the arriving artillery from the Russians.
Building a Trading Post at the east Native Village to help defend the arriving artillery from the Russians.
Keeping defending units near the exposed Inca Temple to stop the construction of the enemy Fort.
Keeping defending units near the exposed Inca Temple to stop the construction of the enemy Fort.
Building our own Fort in it's place to defend against these "crafty" Circle forces.
Building our own Fort in it's place to defend against these "crafty" Circle forces.
Building a Livestock pen to fatten the Llamas.
Building a Livestock pen to fatten the Llamas.
Training Native Warriors at the Trading Post to defend the artillery.
Training Native Warriors at the Trading Post to defend the artillery.
Building Factories with the age bonus and home shipments to produce Heavy Cannon right at the assembly point and main base.
Building Factories with the age bonus and home shipments to produce Heavy Cannon right at the assembly point and main base.
Defending the Inca Temple from the Circle with the Fort, upgraded Outposts and Musketeers.
Defending the Inca Temple from the Circle with the Fort, upgraded Outposts and Musketeers.
Attacking the Russian base with the artillery that arrives with some amassed Native Warriors.
Attacking the Russian base with the artillery that arrives with some amassed Native Warriors.
Building a resource operation in the ruined Russian base while leaving some units to cover the enemy unit spawn point.
Building a resource operation in the ruined Russian base while leaving some units to cover the enemy unit spawn point.
Amassing a force to overcome the Circle base in a final attack.
Amassing a force to overcome the Circle base in a final attack.
Bringing down the walls of the Fort with an array of Heavy Cannons.
Bringing down the walls of the Fort with an array of Heavy Cannons.
The Circle base now stands plowed.
The Circle base now stands plowed.

7. Last City of the Inca

Having made it through the cold treacherous path of the Andes, Amelia and Kanyenke have finally arrived at the Last City of the Inca. Before the fountain's water is secured, you must first help the Inca defend this last refugee from a combined force of Russian mercenaries along with the Circle's fort in the area.

Primary Objective: Gather eight total artillery units into the flagged area before the three Incan Temples are destroyed.

As the game starts off there a a few important tasks to get underway as soon as possible. First take Amelia and send her to the Native Village all the way at the at end of the map to build a Trading Post and train Native Warriors where your artillery will be arriving. Next take your armed forces and send them to the exposed Inca Temple right outside of your base to defend it and await the Circle's attempts to build a Fort almost right against the temple which typically occurs three minutes into the game. Once the Fort is down, preferably destroyed before unpacking or being fully built to avoid the grief it can cause when finished, try to send for your own Fort as soon as possible to build near the same temple, just to the south but so any units attacking the temple are within your Fort's cannon range. Finally get some Livestock pens built to fatten both the Llamas you will receive and find in this level while adding some sheep at the same time. The Livestock Pens will pay off in this level significantly and should be used as a primary source of food.

As the Artillery Pieces you are tasked with bringing to the flagged area by your Town Center arrive near your east Trading Post, leave them in place for now. You will want to train warriors at the post to help defend the position as Russian units will soon come to attack. Keep a limited force stationed here for now, with about 15-20 warriors at most supported by the artillery that shows up, replacing units that are lost.

Secondary Objectives: Destroy the Russian Town Center. (700 XP)

Maintain limited defenses at both the Inca Temple by your Fort and Trading Post while building economy and advancing with haste towards the Industrial Age so you can send for and receive a pair of Factories with which to produce Heavy Cannons. Some Outposts upgraded to the point they have cannons and a few handfuls of Musketeers by your Fort should be sufficient to defend the temple considering the limited amount of enemy artillery in this level, which should still be prioritize by your units whenever possible.

Once you hit the Industrial Age and have your dual Factories producing Heavy Cannons you can start amassing a larger force of Natives by your artillery arrival spot to the east. Take a built up force and push north through the route the Russians have been approaching your Trading Post from to break into their relatively weakly defended base. Since the enemy has little to no cannon you should be able overcome the enemy easily with the support of your own artillery, bombarding Outposts and the Russian Fort from long range to avoid unnecessary losses. Reinforce your army with more Natives rallied from the Trading Post to keep things moving until the area is wiped clean and your objective satisfied.

Once the Russian base is cleared out, send the artillery to the rally point finally for your primary objective while leaving about 20 native warriors near the top of the map where Russian units continue to spawn for a period of time. You can now send groups of Settlers to pick up any resource crates left behind by the Russians while establishing new resourcing operations to reach better and more plentiful sources of wood and gold. Grouping the now free artillery with whatever Heavy Cannon your Factories have been producing should be more than enough to satisfy the 8 artillery unit requirement, beginning the final stage of the level.

Primary Objective: Destroy the Boneguard Fort

Now it is time to assemble all your artillery while mass producing nothing but Manor Houses and fully upgraded Musketeers until you reach the population cap. Gather everyone up by your Fort which will hopefully still be intact and defending the exposed Inca Temple before washing over the Circle Fort like a tidal wave of destruction. With little to no enemy artillery and a vast array of your own, especially if your Factories have producing them all along, you should have no problem leveling the entire base within moments under a fiery wrath of hot lead. Once the Fort building itself, which is within the larger Stone walls that encompass the base, collapses to the ground you have successfully completed the Last City of the Inca.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
After making landfall, Amelia and the troops engage a Circle force. Freeing some trapped Settlers with Kanyenke while Amelia continues to Havana.Beginning to build a base next to HavanaCircle forces engage the Fort and defenders with a wall being built to the side of the base.Bombarding the Circle base with the US Navy warships.Constructing a Trading Post at the Carib village.Upgraded defenses and now a stone wall protect the bases.Beginning the assault on the Circle base after taking out the Fixed Guns with the Mortar Ship's special attack.The final assault on the Ossuary.
After making landfall, Amelia and the troops engage a Circle force.
After making landfall, Amelia and the troops engage a Circle force.
Freeing some trapped Settlers with Kanyenke while Amelia continues to Havana.
Freeing some trapped Settlers with Kanyenke while Amelia continues to Havana.
Beginning to build a base next to Havana
Beginning to build a base next to Havana
Circle forces engage the Fort and defenders with a wall being built to the side of the base.
Circle forces engage the Fort and defenders with a wall being built to the side of the base.
Bombarding the Circle base with the US Navy warships.
Bombarding the Circle base with the US Navy warships.
Constructing a Trading Post at the Carib village.
Constructing a Trading Post at the Carib village.
Upgraded defenses and now a stone wall protect the bases.
Upgraded defenses and now a stone wall protect the bases.
Beginning the assault on the Circle base after taking out the Fixed Guns with the Mortar Ship's special attack.
Beginning the assault on the Circle base after taking out the Fixed Guns with the Mortar Ship's special attack.
The final assault on the Ossuary.
The final assault on the Ossuary.

8. Last Stand of the Boneguard

In the final level of the campaign in Age of Empires 3, Amelia sails to the shores of Havana where the Last Stand of the Boneguard takes place at their Ossuary. The generations old conflict between the Circle of Ossus and the Black family will finally come to a close with this battle.

Primary Objectives: Bring Amelia to Havana's Town Center.

Take your ships and drop off your land units which begin boarded on the nearby beach as the Fixed Guns along the Ossuary can easily take your ships out if trying to land at Havana directly. Start moving your grouped forces north immediately, engaging some Circle wit Beaumont snickering at you for falling into his supposed trap, which is pretty weak and easily overcome. Once this group is down, send Amelia straight for Havana's Town Center while Kanyenke and the forces make a quick detour west to rescue some trapped Settlers guarded by Outlaws.

Take the Settlers freed and send them with the rest of your forces to Havana, ignoring the other items for now in order to prepare for imminent attacks that will take place regardless of you completing this objective or not. Your Galleons should be put to use in fishing from pools near the beach you dropped your units off at but be prepared for an enemy warship that will try to take out your ships soon into the level.

Primary Objective: Survive until the US Navy arrives.

You will need to start ramping up economy at a decent pace while still establishing some decent defenses early on. Try to send for a Fort as soon as possible to place between your Town Center and the advancing Circle forces while putting walls up to the southeast side of your base to prevent straggling enemy units from messing with your Settlers or trying to draw your defenders away. The Havana army will be able to fend off the first couple Circle attacks but you will need to take over that bulk of the defense pretty soon. Make sure to get Musketeers out is small handfuls as soon as possible. Focus on just surviving until the timer runs out, saving the second group of trapped Settlers when you get a moment to do so.

Primary Objective: Destroy the Ossuary Shore Guns and Temple.

Once the timer runs out and the US Navy arrives with the first group of three ships you begin to take things on the offensive a bit more. Start using the Monitor ships exclusively for their special ability which allows them to take out the Fixed Guns with two of their long range shots. The special ability is the only way to hit these guns while staying out of range for return fire. Every so many minutes after the first group of ships will bring you additional forces from the US Navy, including a pair of Monitors with each wave brought.

End the mission now.

Although this walkthrough continues for those looking to maximize the destruction of the Circle and experience gain from this mission, you can end this level right here and now with the special attack of the Monitor, used against the Ossuary. Collapsing the structure with the Monitors while result in a swift victory.

Secondary Objective: Ally with the Carib Native Americans. (2000 XP)

If you feel like going for completeness before finishing the Circle off, start with sending Amelia on one of your ships once the Fixed Guns are down to the island north of the Circle base. Take out the Boneguard soldiers stationed here and build the Trading Post to receive 3 free canoes and complete this objective.

Secondary Objective: Advance to the Imperial Age. (4000 XP)

This is pretty self explanatory and simple. Just focus on your defense and bring your naval ships close to shore near Havana and your town to bombard attacking enemy forces while you accumulate the necessary resources to advance to the fourth age. Choose the Factory wagon age bonus and send for the Factory card to produce Heavy Cannon for land attacks and free defenders. The crumbling of the Circle's headquarters brings about the completion of the Age of Empires 3 campaign with a final cinematic.

Secondary Objective: Destroy the Circle's Navy. (2000 XP)

To take out the Circle navy you simply need to send your combined naval forces around to the south side of the Ossuary to take out any lurking vessels along with the Docks built towards the front of the base. By completing this objective you will have satisfied all your secondary objectives and can focus on completing this mission either through the quick Monitor special attack on the Ossuary or the more drawn out land assault option.

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