The Samnite War is a fictional battle in the Alexander the Great campaign, taking place in central Italy. The overall goal here is to bring the entire peninsula under your control. Like most other campaign missions, it has a 90 minute time limit.
At the start, there are six other nations on the map:
- Campania (green); they get overrun by Romans and Samnites and defeated barely a minute into the scenario.
- Rome (blue)
- Samnites (purple)
- Picenum League (white)
- Umbria (blue)
- Etruscans (yellow)
You start with a single town to the south of Campania, just as they get caught in the middle of a clash between Romans and Samnites. The remnants of the Roman force will attack you afterwards, but they don't pose that much of a threat.
The first objective is to take out the Samnites, who are based to the east. Room for expansion is available to the south; there is also a tiny island to the west, but it is too small for anything other than having another city center for more trade routes. At the eastern border of your territory is the tip of a mountain range; Samnite military units frequently pass this way, so erecting a Fort here makes the eventual assault much easier by virtue of preventing flanking attacks. Hugging this mountain from the south leads directly to the Samnites' minimally defended capital; taking the northern side leads to a Samnite Fort. Be advised that the Samnites' capital recapture timer is 12 minutes (though the city itself assimilates at normal speed), so don't take too much time fighting them. Defeating the Samnites grants a whopping +100 income for all resources.
Once the Samnites are eliminated, the next objective is to destroy the Umbrians. Doing so requires you to wade through the Picenum League first - but if your score is the highest out of all nations, the League offers an unconditional alliance. This offer will be made even if the Samnites haven't been defeated yet. While small, the League are useful as distraction and cannon fodder against Umbria, as their respective capitals are right next to each other and as a result, the two will continuously attack each other (as everyone else will declare war on the League the moment they ally with you).
Once Umbria's capital falls, the final objective will be to take out the remaining enemy capitals. Due to a mountain pass starting next to Umbria, it is possible to bypass Rome and attack the Etruscans first, but it is difficult: the Etruscans are tough opponents and the distance makes reinforcing your army without wandering into Roman territory tricky. The Etruscans prefer using ranged infantry with some cavalry support, so a solid force of Companion Cavalry can be devastating here.
If you decide to defeat Rome first, be advised that their unique unit is heavy infantry, so cavalry must be micromanaged during battles. They rarely use cavalry of their own, though, preferring a mixed infantry force instead. The Etruscan capital can then be reached by following the coast, past a cluster of military production buildings.
Once all enemy capitals fall, the scenario will end in victory. Allied victory is turned on for this map, so the Picenum Leauge doesn't have to be destroyed.
For those who wish to sequence-break, it is possible to bypass Umbria and destroy Rome and the Etruscans first. By allying with the Picenum Leage and making regular resource tributes, they can effectively keep Umbria busy while you fight battles elsewhere. Attempting to bypass the Samnites, however, is not recommended: they will continually flank and harass your forces from the east until you take them out.