|Dad spent his life trying to achieve this dream. I achieved it in eight years.|
The final battle in Sword of Aragon was the longest I've ever fought in a game, beating even the endless combats in Knights of Legend. It took four hours, and I fought it three times before I finally won.
When I closed last time, I was trying to figure out how I was going to defeat the vast and combined forces of Tetrada and Estrallah. Your advice was that I needed more high-level mages, so I dumped a bunch of other heroes and hired five mages of Level 5 (the highest anyone would offer), joined them to an army of bowmen who I also wanted to develop, and set about trying to grind their levels. Only I got sick if it very quickly. It was hard to find random encounters, and battles for cities took forever and didn't often level my characters. Finally, I decided screw it, I'd take Tetrada with the units I had.
|I conquered Pudwala at one point, but the game made me feel so bad about it that I reloaded. I don't think I've ever reloaded because of a victory before.|
I developed a ton of new bowmen to assist in my endeavor and brought armies from all over the continent. I attacked with over 2000 men.
|The armies converge on Tetrada.|
I lost the first battle--it timed out again while I was dithering around in the background, over-relying on my bows. The second time I took a more aggressive approach and used my heroes, infantry, and cavalry as shields so that the bows could get closer. I had four priests and I had them all cast "Bless" at the beginning of each round, which provides a defensive bonus and greatly minimized my losses to enemy arrows. (In fact, I'd say my victory was due almost entirely to "Bless.") The infantry units remained curiously reluctant to attack. I tried to pick off the smaller groups with my own melee fighters while concentrating my bow attacks on the enemy stacks in the city itself.
|My army begins to surround the city.|
Eventually, I got to the point where I had driven all enemy units into the city. I got my bowmen right outside the walls, formed a ring around the city, and just spent turn after turn mowing them down. My mages stood in the background and cast "fear" and "confuse" on any enemies that left the city, and my cavalry and heroes rode them down. My foes eventually surrendered when they had about 25% of their forces left and I still had 66%.
|There was much jubilation at this screen.|
The battle gave me both Tetrada and Estrallah, but I didn't immediately get a winning screen and I started to rage at the game, thinking that I'd have to go and conquer all the other cities. But then it occurred to me to just end the turn for the month, and fortunately at that point I got the winning screen.
|Great. NOW everyone gains levels.|
I won with 490 out of 500 points, which I think is pretty good for a first time, blind play. The game lets you keep playing if you want to continue administering your lands, fighting random battles, and conquering the other cities. I was happy to retire while I was ahead.
I'm sorry I never got to experience the higher-level mage spells in the game, but damn do I feel like I earned my victory.