This guide revolves around the scenarios of the Heroes of the Aegean expansion. If you haven’t played an Old World game in a while, the Persian Wars-themed missions might be worth tackling, even if you’re not exactly the biggest scenario fanatic.
Because these start pretty quickly, you can relearn the central mechanics more easily than if you create an actual game right away, in which all the options of the game will be thrown at you immediately.
Old World: Heroes of the Aegean
The DLC is divided into six scenarios that build on each other historically but not mechanically. So you don’t carry any units or benefits from one scenario to another.
Before we start with the actual tips on the scenarios, in case it’s been a long time since your last game, we want to remind you of a few critical aspects of Old World that you’ll need on an ongoing basis as the DLC progresses.
You have an order limit! Each action with your units, moving, assigning leaders, promoting or attacking, costs such points. Having many units means you may not be able to use them all in one turn. So always divide up the command points well.
Forced March: You can make a unit move significantly further if you spend some Training on another movement. However, this is only possible if you still have command points for additional activity. This ability is beneficial when you only need one or two more squares to be able to attack the opponent.
Buying and Selling Resources. In Old World, you can easily trade resources on the world market by hovering over the resources in the menu bar at the top. This is always very helpful if you need wood to train an archer.
You can speed up the construction of buildings or units in cities by spending resources on them (usually, you need Civics).
To take over a tribe’s settlement, you would have to defeat the unit within it. Then it would help if you had a settler. You have to leave a military unit on the settlement spot until he gets there to prevent the barbarians from returning.
Units in Old World almost don’t defend themselves! So always plan attacks so that you can strike first.
Allow units in the cities to heal when under pressure. If the enemy doesn’t bring enough punch into the field, your team will heal faster than it takes damage, making your city uncapturable! To capture a town, the garrison unit must be defeated.
If you end your turn and then click the End Turn button again, all animations will stop, so you won’t be able to see precisely which AI unit is marching where. But if you don’t need this information, it shortens the waiting time enormously.
At the bottom left above the end round button is the undo button. Use this if you misclick or suddenly find yourself in front of a vast army. Because yes, in Old World, you can undo individual moves.
Prologue: Battle of Marathon
There is not much to say about the prologue. The game takes you by the hand and explains almost every step. This mission is for acclimatization.
On Land and Sea: Ending the Invasion
The second scenario is in three parts. First, you hold off the Persians with the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae as long as possible and then fight the naval battle at Salamis. The longer you hold out, the more ships you get. Then it goes into another field battle, but it is not a challenge.
There are two essential tricks to this scenario:
Tip A: Don’t go too far toward the enemy with the Spartans. The AI also has a movement limit and tends to move a few units as far as possible instead of slowly advancing with the entire army. So you can lure individual associations deep into the area to initiate a counterstrike.
You also have a fortress belt on the map that grants you defense bonuses. However, the opponent also gets it if he defeats one of your units and runs on it. Just standing around passively isn’t a solution either, as units in Old World don’t or hardly fight back when attacked.
Tip B: In the naval battle, you are outnumbered. Block the sea so that enemies cannot surround your ships. To build a straight line, ship to ship. But it would help if you did not block the bottlenecks at the islands.
While this is counter-intuitive, the problem is that the islands are just far enough between you and your opponent for them to attack their first turn. But you want the opponent to drive within your range, and then you can strike.
Rise of Macedon: Building a Hegemony
In the third scenario, things get tricky for the first time. You must defeat Athens and Sparta within the lifetime of Philip II. Unfortunately, Athens, in particular, has a considerable number of strong units. In our opinion, the balance is not quite right here, so we strongly recommend playing on the easiest of the three difficulty levels (adjustable in the menu before the game starts) unless you are an Old World pro.
Since the number of laps (for us, it was 2+17+15+2+44 laps) is quite tight for this undertaking, you have to press the tube. Don’t bother with Illyria and Thrace for long or at all. Otherwise, your troops will be scattered too far. Get Pannonia and then Thessaly, so you have more cities to produce, and then move to Athens.
Note: You need settlers to take over the tribes! You will need a lot of wood. Also, explore the sawmill as early as possible.
But beware! Fighting the tribes isn’t too difficult and might give you the wrong feeling. Athens has a lot of soldiers and a lot of movement points. The superior Attic troops will shred your formations if you start marching like that. Unfortunately, Old World’s suboptimal combat system makes tactical considerations difficult here.
Since AI units, with their large movement numbers, can suddenly appear out of nowhere and even position themselves behind your troops, it is difficult to win the battles with tactical skills alone. So you need a lot of experienced troops!
Tip: Usually, the resource Training (military) limit is 2,000. So spend the points regularly on troop upgrades. They’re worth it! Upgrading no longer automatically ends a unit’s turn.
Queen Olympias: Intrigue and Lies
The fourth scenario is more straightforward again. You have to find a balance between having troops in all corners of your realm and sending new soldiers to Alexander’s campaign (if you don’t send enough, you lose the scenario). Ultimately, this means that you have to train troops in the cities more or less continuously.
Don’t panic if a city goes undefended against rebels for a turn or two, and cities can take a beating.
Megas Basileus: Alexander’s Wars
In the fifth scenario, you march into Persia with Alexander’s troops. You hardly have to worry about cities but mainly command your forces.
Note that you have potent leaders in Alexander and his generals. Take a good look at who can do what. In particular, Alexander’s ability to motivate surrounding troops to take an additional action can be worth its weight in gold.
Tactically, the challenge is similar to that of the third scenario. At first, you will think that everything is relatively easy to do. You may stop bringing additional troops to the frontline simply because the movement commands are getting annoying. But beware! Once in Egypt, the map opens to Persia, and many enemy troops suddenly pour in your direction. You better be prepared for that.
Tip: From a small banner on the far right of the character overview, you can see whether a character has already been assigned as a general.
Diadochi: Dividing the Empire
The last scenario is the most open. Here you can play as one of the four Diadochi kingdoms (the successor states after Alexander’s death). Before starting the game, you can set which realm you want to take over in the menu.
In this scenario, you must restore the great empire of Alexander. The task is most challenging in Macedonia, most accessible with the Ptolemies and Seleucids. The Seleucids are the largest but similar to the Antigonid Empire in Anatolia, facing a two-front war. Otherwise, you play pretty classically here, but you only have 200 laps to reach your goal.