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Downloads Home » Single Player Scenarios » Strategic Objectives: Cryptic Lakes

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Strategic Objectives: Cryptic Lakes

Author File Description
File Details
Game Version: TWC
Strategic Objectives: Cryptic Lakes

This scenario is for both “AOE 3: Original” (Vanilla) and “AOE 3: TWC”.

This scenario requires the latest patch.

“Strategic Objectives” is a scenario that qualifies as a new game type.

It allows to capture neutral buildings that are guarded by guardians (such as Forts and Barracks), and even re-capture them from the AI and vice versa.
Captured buildings offer either economic bonus or military bonus (free units).

Players can also capture Great Cannons and use them to construct Fixed Guns anywhere on the map.


This scenario MUST be executed via one of the Scenario Launchers (see list bellow).
Executing one of the scenarios directly may cause AOE3 to crash under certain circumstances.
This issue has been notified to Ensemble and hopefully it will be resolved in the future.
In the meantime please execute only the Scenario Launchers and everything will be working fine.

Do NOT execute the “Launcher” from the Editor – That won’t work.
Execute the “Launcher” from the Main Menu.
Click on “Single Player”, then on “Custom Scenario”, and then look for one of the “Launch” files.

The following is the list of the “Scenario Launchers” that you can execute:


xStrat Obj Launch Lakes Moderate.age3Xscn
xStrat Obj Launch Lakes Normal.age3Xscn
xStrat Obj Launch Lakes Hard.age3Xscn


Strat Obj Launch Lakes Moderate.age3scn
Strat Obj Launch Lakes Normal.age3scn

These scenario launchers will allow you to select the civ that you want to play with and launch the appropriate scenario.

Game Play

This map has a few lakes and three narrow land passages between the two players.

There are 20+ neutral structures around the map such as Forts, Barracks, Stables, Mills(with villagers) that are guarded by guardians (who are hostile to anyone who passes by) and any of these structures can be captured by any one of the players.

In addition to that players can re-capture them from each other.

Since every building offers either economic bonus or military bonus it is crucial to capture as many of these structures in order to achieve victory.

There is also one Fixed Gun on top of a hill that can be captured, and 2 Great Cannons that can be captured as well.
Once a player captures any one of the Great Cannons he can use it to build a Fixed Gun anywhere on the map after he reaches the Fortress age.

For more information about the game play and new features see:
"Strategic Objectives: Cryptic Lakes" Scenario

Scenario Versions

I have made several versions with different civs to play with and different difficulty levels.

For Vanilla:

There are 3 different civ versions and 2 difficulty levels for each civ (Moderate and Normal).

For TWC:

There are 4 different civ versions and 3 difficulty levels for each civ (Moderate, Normal , and Hard)

“Moderate”, and “Normal” versions are utilizing “Moderate” AI.
The “Hard” version utilizes “Hard” AI.

For average players I would suggest to play the “Moderate” version first.
Very good players can start with the “Normal” version.

No cheating codes are allowed with these scenarios

In the event the cheat codes are being used the AI will receive 100 mercenaries with 20,000 HP.

So just play the level that fits your level the most.

Installation Instructions

Please note that these scenarios don’t mod your game in any way.

Installation Instructions for AOE 3: TWC

Copy all the “Xstrat Obj….age3Xscn” files to
"My Documents/My Game/Age of Empires 3/Scenario"

Copy all the "HomecityX…….XML" files to
"Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires III/Campaign/War Chief"

Copy the music file The_Saga_Age.mp3 to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III\Sound

Installation Instructions for AOE 3: Vanilla

Copy all the "Strat Obj…….age3scn" to
"My Documents/My Game/Age of Empires 3/Scenario".

Copy all the "Homecity_……XML" files to
"Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires III/Campaign/Blood Ice Steel"

Copy the music file The_Saga_Age.mp3 to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III\Sound

Message for the Reviewers

Please review either the “Moderate” or “Normal” versions of the scenario depending on your skill level.
The “Hard” version was made only for the contest.

Please keep in mind that despite the fact that the AI has more units than the human player, the human player can counter that with superior strategy and tactics, especially with a good use of Fixed Guns.

Special Thanks

I want to thank Schildpad (also known as Furby_Killer) for helping me test the various “Strategic Objectives” scenarios and for his important advice.
Schildpad’s help and feedback was most valuable.

I want to thank pftq for his great “Advanced Effects” that helped me enhance the AI to a new level, and to introduce the “Building Fixed Guns” feature.

I also want to thank somme for his brilliant “Villager Second Calculator” which I used for the free units balancing, and to kjn for making the screen shots for me.

Thank you,

Moshe Levi
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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Beatnik Joe
Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
This scenario is in the mold of the other "Strategic Objectives" scenarios -- lots of options, lots of possible approaches, and lots of cruel triggers. I've tried a couple of different approaches on this map and so many more are possible. You also find your playstyle switching dramatically as the game wears on. You can spread out, turtle up, go scorched earth, etc. A lot of options here.

Balance: 5
Since you can choose your own difficulty, this scenario is very self-balancing. I completed this one on Hard, but it was very challenging. On the highest difficulty levels, you can quickly wind up in trouble if you falter. Moderate is much less punishing.

Creativity: 4
This one is just shy of a perfect score -- I'd save that for the "wow" moments like the waterfall on the "Islands" scenario. It's still packed with the great ideas that you find in all of the Strategic Objectives scenarios though.

Map Design: 5
I think that this is a great map. As a player, you have to consider and balance 4 major map elements:
-The Northern rim of the lake (where the bloodiest battles typically take place)
-The narrow southern belt of land that has so many desirable objectives but is sandwiched by a heavy enemy naval presence.
-The water itself, a crucial element on the hardest difficulty. There's a lot of available "tower" and "dock" strategic objectives that can help you lock this up quickly if you dedicate resources to them.
-The land bridge through the middle of the lake. Yes, the AI indeed CAN launch massive surprise attacks through here. :)

Story/Instructions: 5
The instructions, music, and pace of this scenario are great.

Additional Comments:
When I played this one on Hard, the total body count was just north of 2500. If you're in for a good challenge and one whale of a fight, this is a great one to try.
Official Reviewer
File Author

Thank you Beatnik Joe for a very nice written review.
I couldn’t describe this map better myself.

Yes, it would be best to try this map first on “Moderate” and then try the “Normal” level later.
“Hard” is only for expert players who would like to have a serious challenge.

KevinG I have no idea why but it says the scenario failed to load :(

What to do ? Please help !!!
Official Reviewer
File Author
Play this scenario with TWC CD and make sure you have the latest patch.
cmeb4uleave All the comments & reviews are old but here's mine anyway. I played it 5 times on moderate with the French and was severely beaten each time. I was killed off just when I was making progress. What are these previous commenters, supermen? I found it too hard. Everything worked beautifully but if you can't win then it is becomes not worth playing. Hours of effort for nothing.
Official Reviewer
File Author

I am sorry you are having hard time with this scenario.

They key in this scenario is to capture surrounding buildings with 7 or more of your units.
Captured buildings give you free units.

Building field guns also gives you an advantage.
Train many cannons, they kill infantry fast.

I suggest you play this scenario first on "Easy" difficulty.

Once you get the idea you can win on "Moderate".



I played the scenario last night on "Moderate" with the French.

I am not a good player yet it was easy for me to beat this scenario in one hour.

You just have to built an army as fast as you can and capture near by buildings with it one by one.

Building walls around your base is important to slow down the enemy and to stop them from capturing your buildings.

Use the explorer balloon to plan your attacks in advance.

Good luck.

[Edited on 06/12/14 @ 06:14 AM]

cmeb4uleave I played it again and was severely trashed. I couldn't muster 7 units to take over a building when I was struggling with building the economic base thing. You've set this up to be too tight in my opinion. It is not balanced when the opposing armies come barreling in pummeling me I the best I could muster was 15 crossbow men. I will play other scenarios and leave this be ... I do this for entertainment not to be a wizard and moving from this to that as fast as a computer can. I took over the fort once and got the soldiers but was still overwhelmed even there. Thanks for responding and the scenario. I am sure some will benefit.
Official Reviewer
File Author

Have you played the "Moderate" version?
That is the easiest version but it is not too easy.

You need to train as many army units as early as possible and send them to capture all the buildings around your base.

That is how you get your economy up and running fast since you end up capturing buildings along with their villagers.

Also capture the fixed gun on top of the hill with your explorer and use it to defend your base.
cmeb4uleave Yes I played the moderate versions. You know in reality the military doesn't have money problems in times of conflict or wars. Mortars can shoot up to 20 miles or more. In AOE these monitor mortar volley rounds go little more than a ship length. The fixed guns don't go as far as reality guns go proportionately, etc. But you can't have but limited reality in computer scenarios now can we. Thanks for feedback. I'll try the easy one if I can get it.
cmeb4uleave Update: I did load up the easy level of the French and won after playing it all day. I must be a terrible player to have some much trouble winning even on the easy level--oh well. One improves with practice. I've been working on Tapir Witches and it seems difficult too. I know you manage but then again you know what's supposed to happen and where things are--makes a big difference, don't cha think?
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