Run Third Age Total War Under Medieval 2

We have two gamers in the family who love Medieval II Total War.  One of them came across the Third Age Total War mod, which will work if you also have the Kingdoms expansion pack DLC to the main Medieval II Total War game.  Like many Lord of the Rings fans, this was very appealing to our already-devoted Medieval Total War fans.  But it failed to run, because:

Windows can’t find Kingdoms.exe

The Third Age mod comes in 3 files:  Part 1 of 2, Part 2 of 2, and an updater (3.2 at the moment).  When you download the files and run them in order, they install in a particular folder.  In fact, when you install, it confirms that you MUST install them there.  It creates a desktop icon that links to the Third Age batch file that starts the mod.

As with many Steam-based games, the boards are full of people with the same problem but a wide variety of helpful (and sometimes not-so) instructions.  Many of them involved making a duplicate copy of the medieval2.exe file and calling it kingdoms.exe.  I was reluctant to do this in case the main medieval2.exe file updated.

This is what we did instead.

Move the Mod Files to Steam’s Folders

The default install of the Third Age mod goes to:

c:\Program Files (x86)\SEGA\Medieval II Total War

Under that folder, it creates a mods folder and a data folder.

The main game, under Steam, is located at

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\Common\Medieval II Total War

Just as with the mod, there is a subfolder called mods and a subfolder called data.  The mod folder contains the other Kingdoms (Teutonic, American, etc.).

To get the Third Age Total War mod run, we copied the contents of the SEGA\Medieval II Total War\mods folder to the Steam\SteamApps\Common\Medieval II Total War\mods folder.  Then we did the same thing with the data folder.  Since none of the Third Age folders exist in the main Medieval II Total War game in Kingdoms DLC, nothing gets overwritten.

Edit the Batch File

So far so good.  The last change is to edit the Third Age batch file that is now located at:

Steam\SteamApps\Common\Medieval II Total War\mods\Third_Age_3

The batch file is what opens the command line window that displays that initial error message that Windows can’t find the Kingdoms.exe file.  That’s because the batch file is trying to run a file that doesn’t exist.  To fix this, edit the batch file.

Click on your Windows key and type notepad to open a text editor.  Don’t left-click on it; right-click on it and select Run as administrator.  Because a batch file is an application, you are likely to need administrator rights to edit it.  Otherwise, it will open and force you to Save As because you won’t have the rights to overwrite it.  You only need to change part of the second line.

cd ..\..
start medieval2.exe @mods\Third_Age_3\TATW.cfg

You’ll notice that the only change is to medieval2.exe.  This means that the mod will rely on the main medieval2.exe file, rather than a renamed version.

Navigate to that Third_Age_3 folder under Steam and right-click on the Third Age.bat.  When the menu pops up, click Create a Shortcut.  And when the shortcut appears next to the batch file, drag it out to your desktop.  You can then right-click on the shortcut, click the Change Icon button, and navigate to the .ico file in the Third_Age_3 to have the cool One Ring icon on your shortcut.


David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.