"The journey ends with a final battle at the dry and vast Badlands around the Volcano, fighting on your own against your three most dangerous enemies. According to myth, a Dragon sleeps inside the red lava of the volcano. If that's true, you might find a strong ally to help you there."
In the last mission of the main campaign you will be against 3 teamed up enemies: King Konradin, King Balderus and Field Marshal Ludowig. While this may first appear as near impossible to beat, it becomes much easier with practice. Seven victory points are needed to win the game.
How to win:
As you are against three opponents it is unlikely and very difficult to create an economy that will supply you with enough soldiers to attack the forces made by the three enemies. On top of that, the enemy will quickly gain control of a Foundry located in the middle of the map and will start producing a lot of cannons. The best tactic of this last mission is to defend your sectors while you gain Victory Points and only use your military to repel invaders. A key element is to get the Bertram The Bonecrusher general for his +30% melee bonus and kill enemy ranged units when they attack your turrets with melee units.
While early expansion can grant you conquest rewards there is no need to capture more than three sectors to win this game - capturing more sectors will be make it harder to defend your kingdom from multiple attacks to different sectors. Starting in the Southwest the only three sectors you should capture are the two adjacent to your starting sector and the sector adjacent to the nearest trade market, capture these and upgrade the defences to stone ramparts as it won't be long till the enemy arrives at your door. These three sectors will provide you with every single resource you will require and assure you can trade for the rest of the game.
The Emperor Victory Point and certain quests will become unattainable as Field Marshal Ludwig and King Balderus are quick to capture majority of the neutral sectors of the map meaning your merchants and army won't be able to reach quest locations.
Primarily, the best option is to go tech/trade. The best Victory Points to aim for are:
1) Sun King:
the AI controlling the 3 enemies does not go higher than the maximum 12 prestige needed to unlock every prestige option - if you reach 13 prestige you will guarantee this victory point. (Note: they will go higher if they research certain technologies or reach certain trade outposts)
After establishing trade gaining gold becomes very easy - as explained in the trade guide page a very profitable strategy is rushing for Africa and using wheat + gems to gain infinite coin. You should be aiming to have at least 40 coin spare to endlessly repeat this process (40coin->60 wheat->30gems->60coin = 20 coin free).
3) Field Marshal:
The AI will generally attack you when their general has the max amount of soldiers (35) or enough to destroy your fortifications, in this mission they rarely recruit new generals (I only saw it 1/20+ games) - therefore, recruit 2/3 generals and fill them with cheap pike-men from the stronghold. This will make defending much easier and give you this point. Note: as the AI does not account for researches (Ballistics and reinforcement) when attacking fortifications, sometimes they will attack them and lose all of their ranged troops - so get those technologies as soon as possible. Recruit Bertram The Bonecrusher, Philipp The Prudent and Hugo The Hotspur for their melee boosts and troop capacity - you do not need the other generals as their bonuses are only good for attacking or for ranged troops which you don't need to build as they are more expensive and not as efficient for defence.
4) Most Trading Outposts:
After making a steady economy feel free to train a lot of Hawkers and Salesmen to gain more cheap trade outposts and further improve your economy.
5) Fountain of Knowledge:
Only Ludwig will make any attempt for technology and in many games you will find that he will be the first to research Ornamentation. Try to research as many cheap technologies as soon as possible to block him out of the more expensive technologies you will get later.
As stated above, if you lock Ludwig out of the tech tree you can slowly but surely unlock all the researches and gain all of their benefits. Then, the Genius Victory Point is guaranteed.
Ludwig will go for this after establishing his military production - try get this in the mid-game to secure this point before it's too late.
Or otherwise: Special trade Outpost and Dragon Victory Point:
Special trade Outpost can be an expensive route but can be made if one of the previous victory points is no longer possible (e.g. Abbey). All it requires is further traders. The reason this is an alternative and not a main Victory Point to aim for is because creating merchants requires horses and wheels which are expensive to produce and can disrupt other productions - e.g. to make horses you need wheat and water which can slow down the beer production which in turn will stop you from getting vital technologies as early as you would want. To make wheels you need iron ingots which in turn will slow down your production of jewellery for trade and swords for pikemen.
The Dragon Victory Point requires a lot of monks (more than the Genius Victory Point) but is an option if you cannot gain one of the prior points.
Other than these points the only other you may gain in some games is Generalissimo for when you kill enemy units when they attack you.
1) Defeating the quest army in the West quest location will give you 30 fancy food. This is a very cheap way to gain food to boost your economy.
2) If all three enemies waste their armies trying to attack your fortifications and you see the option available do destroy King Konradin. This may allow you to expand and get the other victory points such as Emperor and Metropolis. However, do not be hasty to do this or you might get counter-pushed and lose the game. (Try to only do this if you have at least 50 other military units left to defend and enough ranged units to rush straight for King Konradin's starting sector.
3) Use monks to support sectors - this will make it much harder for the enemies to attack you.
4) Always keep an eye out for the four fundamental elements of the game: population space, tools, wood and stone. Make sure at any point of the mid/late game you have 30 pop space, enough tools, 30 wood and 30 stone. This will ensure steady growth and that you will be able to repair fortifications before another attack.
5) Have a constructor at each sector - this will make sure you can repair fortifications super quickly and new buildings will be made promptly.
6) Do Not try taking over the special sector - it may seem juicy as it lies very close to your start but taking it over is not worth the cost of troops and will allow enemies to attack you at three sectors instead of two. It will force you to spend additional resources on fortifications and the sector itself offers little in the way of resources. It is better to use the army/gold/monks for other uses.