Medieval II Total War was released in 2006. It is a turn based historical warfare game that also allows the player to control his/her units in real time battles. Since it’s release however, there have been many mods for the Total War games. One such mod is The Third Age. This mod completely converts the game into Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Rather than playing as England, France, etc, now you can play as Gondor, Mordor, the Dwarves, Dale, Isengard, the Free Peoples of Eriador, the High Elves, the Silvan Elves, the Orcs of Gundabad, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, Rhun, Harad, and Rohan.
The latest edition of the Third Age is version 3.2. This version is substantially better than the previous versions and is incredibly easy to download as well. As long as you have Medieval II Total War and look it up online, you shouldn’t have any difficulties getting it to work.
Like the game it’s based off of, The Third Age is a turn based strategy game where you move armies and manage your cities and castles. You can use armies to siege enemy settlements and expand your lands, or defend strategic castles, towns, or chokepoints. When two or more armies engage, you are able to either autoresolve the battle, or enter the battle map and command your forces.
The Dwarves are one of the most powerful factions in The Third Age. They start on two sides of the map, which gives them access to more villages to conquer. They also have a lot of mining, which provides substantial bonuses to income. They have the best heavy infantry in the game by far, allowing them to make quick work of the orc factions, whose weak units just have a hard time piercing the Dwarves’ heavy armor. Once the dwarves upgrade their barracks enough, they can get Vault Wardens, who are the best pikeman in the game, as well as the Iron Guard, who is the best heavy infantry unit in the game. The Axemen of Erebor are also extremely powerful. When orc units with 5 to 8 attack come up against the Iron Guard, who has 23 defense, there is an obvious winner.
In order to win, the Dwarves need to start a two front war quickly. (I know, it sounds like a bad strategy) You need to send a substantial army from the Erebor side of the map down to attack Rhun as quickly as possible. There are rich cities down there and if you strike quickly enough you can take them without much of a fight. Reinforcements become more and more of a problem the farther south you go, but you should be alright. Rhun doesn’t really have a stomach for fighting and won’t fight too aggressively. Just sit inside your latest conquered city until you can bring more troops from Erebor.
Of course, you’re also going to need to send troops from Erebor west towards the orc factions. You shouldn’t have much trouble until you get to Gundabad. This town will be a bit tougher to take and you might need to wait for reinforcements. Troops need to be mustered from the other side of the map as well. Gimli will lead your troops and you need to march northeast, taking as many rebel settlements as you can along the way. Once you hit the Orcs of Gundabad’s citadel, take it, and they’re finished. Hopefully the Silvan Elves will have weakened the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, and they will be easy enough to crush.
After nearly destroying Rhun, you can waltz right in through the back of Mordor with a few full stack armies (the Dwarves economy is amazing) and by this point you will be so powerful that no one can really do anything to hurt you.
Of course, the Dwarves are not without weaknesses. They don’t have any cavalry, which is by far the strongest unit type. To counter this, you will need to use strategy. Try to catch enemy armies in cities, rather than out in the fields. If you can contain their cavalry inside the city, they won’t pose much of a threat to your heavily armored Dwarves. Another problem is archers. The Dwarves move very slowly, meaning that it is very hard for them to catch up to anything, much less lightly armored units. Once again, to counter this, try to catch enemy armies inside cities and castles. With decent management and tactics, the Dwarves will be able to take down much larger forces. Good luck, and have fun.
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