The year is AD 480. Nearly seventy years have passed since the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britannia. The island, rich and unprotected, has been invaded by wave upon wave of barbarians from northern Europe - Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes. They have conquered or assimilated the Romano-British peoples of the south and east of Britannia. A new era dawns.
As the warlord of one of the new Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, you must struggle for supremacy with your fellow invaders. Each lord is desperate to carve out an empire in the new lands. There will be battles and wars ahead the like of which this island has never seen before - but there will be glory and honour. For a warrior wins renown in battle, and through conquest comes prosperity and the establishment of a lasting culture. Each warlord dreams of being pronounced Bretwalda - the overking of all of Britannia. But few will achieve it.
The land of Britannia is rich, flowing with many rivers, covered in game-rich forests. But land is scarce, and there is competition. To the north is the land of the Picts, a powerful, warlike people, able to mobilise great forces from their highland retreats. To the west are the remaining Romano-British kingdoms - old, secure, and powerful. You cannot challenge them yet - but you can spread and develop faster than they can. Their age is waning, and a new age is coming.
And greater powers stir beyond the seas. In the far west is the land of Ireland, an ancient culture, never conquered by the Romans. There still flickers the flame of antiquity and the learning of the ancients. Ireland could yet extend its cultural sway over the whole of Britannia. From Ireland, and from the European continent to the south, rumours reach you of a new religion - the Christian faith. At some point you will have to contend with missionaries who will seek to convert you and your kingdom. Christianity offers cultural and educational prizes beyond imagination. Will you raise the sign of the Rood - the Cross - throughout your lands, or would you do better to keep to the faith of your forefathers, and honour the pagan gods through battle and glory?
And to the east, rumours grow of another power - a mighty people who sail over the ocean in dragon-prowed ships, wielding great axes, seeking plunder and spoils. Build your kingdom quickly and root it in strength - for the Vikings will surely put it to the greatest test.
Your people have invested you with power and honour. Will you repay them in kind? Will you rise to the challenge? Will you win glory on the battlefield and blessings from On High? Will you seize the title of Bretwalda - or will you die in the attempt?
Like the "Fall of Rome" scenario, the player faces the challenge of building a new kingdom from scratch in a world still dominated by the old. The Romano-British kingdoms are strong, and they can field more powerful units than the Anglo-Saxons. But it takes them longer to build up an army, and ultimately the Anglo-Saxons will defeat them - if they seize the opportunity. For the mountains of Wales are easily defended.
At the same time, Ireland threatens a Culture Victory. The Anglo-Saxons must build up their culture quickly. They cannot hope to outstrip Ireland, but if they catch up sufficiently, they will stave off the wave of philosophers and theologians threatening to invade their shores.
You can become Bretwalda if you amass sufficient Victory Points, mainly through the glories of battle. Capturing the key locations of Britannia, marked by Victory Locations, may also help. The pagan religion of the Anglo-Saxons, with its glorification of war, offers a quick way to do this and to build up a powerful culture at the same time to see off the Irish threat. The Pagan Thegn, the Anglo-Saxon Unique Unit, can capture trophies in battle, which can be returned to the Warrior Hall for display and a quick culture hit. But this will not work under Christianity. And some pagan buildings only work under paganism. However, Christianity offers many more cultural buildings, the best Wonders, and faster research. Eventually, all the kingdoms will have to convert if they are to become strong enough to face the new threats of the future. A key decision will be at which point to abandon the old gods and embrace the Rood.
The Anglo-Saxons will have to be strong indeed when the Vikings appear. With their unstoppable Berserks and their thirst for conquest, only a king as powerful and resourceful as Alfred the Great can hope to save Anglo-Saxon civilisation from complete annihilation. Will you match his achievements?
- Ten playable Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
- Nine unplayable kingdoms
- Over 30 units to build
- Over 60 technologies to research, spread over three ages
- Complete civilopedia on everything
There are only four luxuries available in this scenario - Wool, Gold (now a luxury), Silver, and Barley. Of these, only Wool is visible at the start of the game.
You cannot settle on Plains. This is unlikely to cause much of a problem since Plains are found only on the fringes of Scotland and Ireland.
You cannot build any boats that will safely cross Sea tiles. And Ocean tiles are completely impassable.
The Golden Age lasts for only ten turns, not twenty. However, the unhappiness caused by whipping buildings and drafting citizens also lasts for only ten turns, not twenty. Those Anglo-Saxons were pretty hardy.
The Palace is cheaper than usual, reflecting the ease with which capitals were moved in the early Middle Ages.
The minimum research time for any tech is five turns, not four.
There are no scientific leaders. This is the Dark Ages!
If an elite unit is victorious in battle and generates a military leader, you actually get not a military leader but an army. In other words, you don't have the option of rushing a building with him, but you can load other units into him immediately. Note that you can't have more than one army at a time, so if your army gets obsolete, you'll have to kill it to have a chance of another one appearing.
There are no artillery units. What kind of wuss are you?
Since the Anglo-Saxons weren't known for covering Britain with mines, the mine graphic has been replaced by a little hamlet. It still has the same effect, though. You also get Sn00py's irrigation graphics, since they look so much more English than the default.