I start with Hussars while jonesk pressures me with Musketeers, forcing me to put up a Barracks and train Xbows before I can age. I also ship Rods, which is a bit of a mistake since it turns out that jonesk is not interested in killing me more than he is interested in harassing me. We both hit Fortress around the same time, but, despite heavy losses, neither of us can make a decisive blow. We end up playing for half an hour, using nearly every unit in our arsenals.
IIRC the rods actually screwed me up for the rest of the game; combined with the hussars they ensured I lost my entire musk force. Before that point I was feeling pretty good about the game, but after my chances to control the game seemed to slip away. The mamelukes gave me some hope, but looking back there was never really a point in the game where I had enough of an advantage to make up for my appalling unit control.