Prague, Czech Republic – Dawn of the Dukes, the second expansion for the video game Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, introduces two new Central European civilizations, the Poles and the Bohemians, as well as three new campaigns, featuring Queen Jadwiga and Jan Žižka.
“Battle your way across Central and Eastern Europe with three new campaigns, overwhelming your opponents with sheer military might and economic productivity or with highly disciplined and technologically innovative armies!” reads the preview of the expansion released yesterday on the Microsoft Store and Steam.
Much like Lords of the West, the first expansion pack released in January which introduced the Burgundians and the Sicilians, Dawn of the Dukes features three new campaigns and two new civilizations, the Poles and Bohemians, with their own unique units, techs and specificities.
Jadwiga, Szlachta Privileges and Winged Hussars
“Stride across fertile plains with industrious farmers and powerful nobles at your back as you build the fledgling Kingdom of Poland into one of medieval Europe’s most powerful states.” In Dawn of the Dukes, the Poles mostly focus on cavalry and their first unique tech, Szlachta Privileges, highlights their use of heavy cavalry by making their knight line unit cost less gold.
Their second unique tech, Lechitic Legacy, allows their famous Winged Hussars to deal trample damage in battle while their unique unit, the Obuch, is a brutal infantryman whose war hammer permanently reduces armor on enemy units. The Poles also have a unique building, the Folwark, which immediately collects 10% of the Farm’s food storage to the player’s bank as well as providing 5 population space.
Among the three new fully voiced campaigns that have been added to the game, the first one features Queen Jadwiga, the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland, and sees you play as the Poles as you attempt to create a united Polish and Lithuanian Kingdom:
“Sent away from her mother and forcibly parted from the young man whom she loved, Jadwiga ascended to the Polish throne as a mere child. In a time of unending war, she must forge a future for her kingdom while contending with the wills of formidable leaders like Jogaila and Vytautas the Great. Can the beloved Star of the Poles bring about her vision of a powerful, united Poland-Lithuania, or will the incessant maelstrom of war plunge both realms into ruin once more?“
Jan Žižka, Hussite Reforms and War Wagons
“Traverse Central Europe’s tall mountains and verdant forests as you arm hardy warriors with advanced weapons and lead them to victory against insurmountable odds.” In Dawn of the Dukes, the Bohemians focus on gunpowder units and Monks, which is reflected in their bonus of being able to train Hand Cannoneers and research Chemistry an age earlier than other civilizations, and in their first unique tech, Wagenburg Tactics, which increased the movement speed for gunpowder units.
The Bohemian unique units are the famous Hussite Wagon, a deadly forerunner of the modern tank, and the Houfnice, a powerful upgrade to the Bombard Cannon. Their Spearman line deals more bonus damage against cavalry, while their second unique technology, Hussite Reforms, changes their Monastery technologies and Monks cost to Food.
The second new fully voiced campaign added to the game sees you play as the Hussite commander Jan Žižka himself, pitting the player against the Holy Roman Emperor’s crusaders:
“One-eyed Jan Zizka spent his youth as a mercenary fighting for honor and coin, but his destiny changed forever when he heard the preachings of the reformer Jan Hus in Prague. As a champion of the Hussite cause and the leader of its invincible armies, Zizka shattered existing notions of warfare with technological and tactical innovations. Cement the legacy of one of history’s greatest generals by galvanizing mere peasants into highly disciplined units and leading them to triumph over the Holy Roman Emperor’s knightly armies.“
Algirdas, Kestutis and the fearsome Mongol horselords
In Dawn of the Dukes, the Lithuanians, which had already been introduced in the original Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, are also the subject of a new campaign in which you play as Lithuanian Grand Dukes Algirdas and Kestutis during their fight against the Teutonic Knights and the Mongol Horde:
“Faced with an impending invasion by the greedy Teutonic Knights, the small principality of Lithuania is on the brink of catastrophe. Divided and without wise leadership, the last pagans of Europe appear doomed, but Prince Algirdas and his loyal brother, Kestutis, refuse to bow to the marauders. Can they repel the crusaders and then contend with the grandsons of Genghis Khan — the fearsome horselords of the Golden Horde?“
The Poles and Bohemians have also been added to the Barbarossa, Genghis Khan, and Ivaylo campaigns in what is indeed a meaty chunk of new content which has so far received mostly “Very Positive” reviews on Steam.