Content of the article: "Menelaus Campaign Guide"
Menelaus campaign guide for the start and early turns that works extremely well for me. Beware, wall of text
Turn 1: On the first turn, colonise both the islands on Crete. If you don’t have enough resources, trade for resources with your pillars in exchange for treaties. Then win your battle with the rebel army. Colonise the settlement in Sparta’s province and then recruit units of your choice. I always have 6 javelins in my army, i think they’re very strong. Pray to Zeus, start construction of a watchtower (level 2 gives access to better units) and the special building that gives Zeus favour. I build two of those in every province until around turn 60 and one of the other building that gives recruitment capacity. Research for the diplomacy bonus that costs 400 gold, that’s the one you want first. Hecatomb zeus as soon as possible. Maxing Zeus is a priority, he gives a +20 diplomatic bonus when praying which is OP. You also get a Minotaur which is also OP. Paired with Menelaus’s special favour building, diplomacy becomes really really strong. Trading treaties smartly for resources is Key.
Turn 2: On the second turn colonise Melos and the other island I think called Ios. Trade them off with the nearby islands for around quadruple the resources you colonised them for (lol) or for diplomatic treaties with the nearby islands. These islands must be allies as they act as a barrier against the trojans and Amazons. Akis will eventually Ally with Salamis (Pillar) if you keep up good relations. Move your army into Etis and keep recruiting. Once you are an ally with Agamemnon which I’m pretty sure is possible on turn 2, ask them to take your enemies capital which is right next to them. They will immediately try to take it. Once they have taken it by turn 4-9 capture the enemy city on the island and secure your province. I usually find that the city should have no Army on it as Aga and his allies wipe it out while taking the capital. Im also sure that if you are the one to eliminate this faction, there is a chance to acquire the legendary shield “tydus shield”. Sign a non aggression pact with your closest neighbour on Crete. This gives you time to deal with your nearby enemy/recruit units/build up the colonised settlements and then to move into striking position.
Turns 3 – 40 ish Once you have dealt with your starting enemy and captured your home province, move to Crete and prepare for war. Once you have no penalty with other factions for breaking the non aggression pact, go ahead and break it and then declare war once you have no penalty with other factions for doing so. While waiting, work on your alliances/economy and recruiting. Secure the western province and ally with Knossos as soon as possible. Once this province is secured, recruit a hero and sail directly for the island on the edge of the map south west from Sparta and colonise the city. This allows you to build a temple of your choice and the cyclops building gives +2000 food per turn(?) Don’t tax this city. If Pylos has already taken it then leave it. I usually recruit a hero earlier to colonise this city, but there is no rush. Throughout these turns, you need to become allies with ALL your pillars as soon as possible while also squeezing out resources. They will all want to be allies so you will get TONS of resources in exchange for treaties, even more so from the bonus that Zeus’s prayer gives you. Give pesky pillars 10 turn barters of 5 of your chosen resources for free to improve relations. Agepenor your north western neighbour (from Sparta) is your priority to ally with. He is aggressive and will declare war on your allies. Once he is your ally, keep him occupied by giving him impossible war coordinations that won’t effect your progress. This will take his army away from greece. Run a negative in food and use barter trades to balance it out. Because you have production of gold from the settlement on Crete and from the tech research, you can trade for decent barters.
Turns 40 onwards. Your next target will be the province on Crete on the eastern side. Wipe out this faction. Then sail to the island with a city on it to the north east of Crete (before Rhodes) and wipe out that faction. One of their islands is north west and has gold production and a Minotaur building. Raze it, colonise and then trade it of for resources, it’s a pain in the arse to defend and isn’t worth the trouble. By now you should be getting close to having all of your Pillars as Allies. You want to aim to have the islands to the east of Sparta as your allies as well so that when Paris and hector declare war you have a barrier. Once they have declared war on you or one of your allies, try to get as many of your allies/factions to declare war on them. They will occupy the trojans by sending trash units across the sea. This will allow you to expand into Rhodes, Lycia and then attack the Amazons. Keep an eye out regardless, I once had Paris bring Helen all the way to Etis lol. IGNORE GREECE and do not be tempted by opportunities to occupy land there. You will be able to obtain it later through confederations. The same applies to all islands to the north east of Sparta and to the south east of Salamis. These islands should be among the last to be confederated, they are a PAIN to defend. Also try to get alliances with the factions to the north west, but be careful as if one of your allies declares war on a faction you have treaties with it can really delay your progress. If you play it right, all of the north and around Olympus will be your allies waiting to be confederated. The Trojans will not be a problem as your allies will mess them up. It’s no problem if other factions confederate before you, they usually are really easy to confederate as they often lose heroes and armies in quick succession so if you’re alert you can sneak in a confed. Once you get into Lycia, the campaign is pretty much won really.
Use the war coordinations, it actually works pretty well in this game. You can basically control your allies and make decisions for them. DO NOT confederate Pythia until endgame as you need to be able to recruit their units. I usually recruit as many heroes as my resources will allow and have them march together each with small armies. This means you can fight battles with ALL your heroes together which is really strong. Having more heroes on the field also boosts your strength ranking significantly which will allow you to confederate faster. Give your allies impossible war coordinations as this increases the chance of them losing armies which reduces their strength ranking and boosts your chance to confederate. Also, drag them into wars as this makes them more likely to confederate. Keep Zeus at the highest worship rank. The +20 diplomatic bonus is very important. Army composition isn’t that important I don’t think, as long as you have javelins in your army. 4 shield/spears, 6 javs, 2 infantry of your choice to support shields, 2 light flankers, 2 light spear runners, 2 mythical, 2 chariots or centaurs is my tropical stack.
I hope some of you find this strat as useful as I have done if you decide to give it a go. I’d be interested in hearing any other strategies you guys have found successful or feel free to pick apart this strategy haha.
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