If you’ve been enjoying our Halloween event, the layout of this bleak outpost will be instantly familiar, as it’s been the site of many a last stand over recent days. However, the sun is rising on an equally bloody challenge: holding the centre of Desert Fortress - the latest map to join the Expedition (II & III) roster - its desperate villagers about to face an even more persistent invader.
With the local garrison abandoning its post, the left-behind citizens of Desert Fortress are unable to fend for themselves. Circulating rumours as a means of defence: that evil spirits were to blame for the town’s fortunes, they attracted only dark minds to explore the town’s empty shadows. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of Warlords, however, the streets are slowly becoming safe again, although as dawn breaks after the Halloween mists, a new enemy is poised to attack.
A raised platform dominates the centre of the map, upon which the town’s survivors hope to be protected by up to five Warlords and their chosen units. The enemy, meanwhile, is stationed outside the main courtyard, poised to advance uncontested through the city gates from north, south, east and west. Should its units slay the cowering townsfolk during the course of five sustained assaults, the battle will be lost.
To begin with, enemy attacks are light; pikemen entering via the western entrance, followed by swords from the east - with support from crude rocket artillery. Keeping both flanks protected won’t be difficult, but if you sally out to destroy the Hwacha, be wary of the final round of troops that will approach from the north gate.
Archers start to enter the fray - which can pick off the townsfolk if allowed to come within range - and the enemy attacks start to overlap. You will also be attacked from the south for the first time, and then from the north in quick succession.
Added to the familiar units - swords, pike and archers - heavily shielded troops are deployed from the east. These are not particularly strong but need to be eliminated quickly, as the longer you are left dealing with them, the less time you have to prepare for an assault from the west. After that, you can expect a cavalry charge from the south - easily countered by pike-wielding units - followed by the deployment of katana infantry from the north.
Before the attack begins it might be a good idea to reinforce your troops. Until this point, the enemy has been overlapping its attacks, but in this penultimate assault it will attack in large numbers from three directions simultaneously. Expect to meet equal numbers of pike, swordsmen and archers. Meet them with the same from the centre-ground and only break ranks to outflank or press an advantage and you should make it to the final wave. You’ll know one way or another fairly quickly.
For final assault, the enemy will bring out the big guns - literally, as musketeer units are deployed in quite large numbers from the north. This is an attack wave designed to shatter a defensive line, then to break through it as it falters, as the final round of attacks will be dominated by a desperate cavalry charge from both east and west. Arrange your units to counter each accordingly and, with some luck and persistence, the town will be saved!