PATH OF WAR: LOST KING CAMPAIGN
|Starting units:||carried over, except 100 maximum for archers and spearmen|
|Available units:||armed peasants, spearmen, archers, crossbowmen, pikemen, engineers, laddermen, catapults, cats, burning carts, pictish boat warriors, outlaws, thieves|
|Map size:||large; map and castle layouts carried over from mission 1; inherit Edwin's castle|
|Starting Date:||continues from mission 1|
|Starting Stats:||gold 2000 | honor 200 | population 0/32 | popularity 80|
|Starting Goods:||40 bread, 40 cheese, 45 meat, 50 wood, 25 stone, 100 pitch|
|Starting Weapons:||5 bows, 10 crossbows, 10 leather armor|
|Buildings added:||brazier, oil smelter, pitch ditch, armorer's workshop, pitch rig, ability to make pikes|
|Buy/Sell:||apples, bread, cheese, wheat, hops, ale, pigs, wood, stone, iron, pitch, candles, cloth, bows, crossbows, spears, pikes, metal armor, leather armor|
You've just captured Edwin and his castle. Now you must prepare to defend it from marauding knights and three armies, commanded by Lord Barclay, The Hawk and Lady Seren. It's quite a small castle with very little room for industry. But this also makes it more defensible, having a fairly narrow, uphill approach bounded by water on both sides and marshes strung across the border at the bottom of the hill that will slow attackers down.
I've never seen another mission that can be played in such diverse ways and succeed. A huge army or a small army. A robust economy or no economy or population at all. Intricate walls, towers, traps, pitch, rolling logs verses no improvements whatsoever. Even engaging the final invasions from the field. I'm going to show you my favorite, but also many other variations you can try.
This mission has three main parts:
- (Optional) Prepare for the final siege by building an economy, producing troops and preparing defenses.
- Deal with four waves of marauding knights while working on part one.
- Survive a massive siege in six years time.
So many elements can come into play in this mission, depending on your approach. I've broken it down into two main sections:
Planning, with a lot of details on what can be used, and how and why different elements work or don't work. Then a Sequenced Walk-through showing how to begin setting things up to employ those elements, how to defend against the knights, and finally many methods to defend against the final siege.
Read through the various strategies near the end under the headings Dealing With the Knights and Defending Against the Invasions, and then decide on a plan to tackle this mission after considering the following basic choices. When your plan is set you can begin.
- Will you need more troops?
- Does the castle need repair? Do you want to modify the castle, change its layout, make it bigger or stronger?
- Do you want to add defenses such as logs, traps, pitch, boiling oil, etc?
- What troop deployment and tactics will you use?
- Will you utilize the estates, and to what degree?
- Do you want to build an economy? How big and what do you want to produce?
- Lastly, do you want to spend the effort to build up a good defense or just take the easiest and quickest way to victory?
Note that all goods, weapons and food stocks have been reset to arbitrary starting levels, along with your gold, honor and popularity. You will start with zero population.
As of version 1.2, for both archers and spearmen, the game will only carry over a maximum of 100 each from mission 1. That is, if you had 110 archers at the end of the first mission, their number will have been reduced to 100, if you had 60, you'll still have 60. The same for spearmen. I'm not aware of a carryover limit on crossbowmen, laddermen, catapults or any other units. All those should still be at previous strengths.
You must also realize that when the numbers for spearmen and archers are reduced, the reductions are applied equally across the map and not just to the troops you used for the attack. If you had 110 archers at the end of mission 1 and now you only see 65 in mission 2, you must have 35 more scattered about the map somewhere, perhaps protecting your old castle or posted at estates. Go find them, round them up and get them back to your new castle immediately. You can check your total count by clicking on the reports book in the lower right corner of your screen.
It's possible to win this mission with just your starting troops, if you have enough. It can be done with as few as 50 archers with the right strategy. But a really fair, head on fight, will take much more, possibly many hundreds more for most players, especially on a first try. Check below under Defending Against the Invasions for some ideas, then formulate a strategy, and decide what troops to add and how you will acquire them.
In this mission you now have available to you a mercenary post with pictish boat warriors, outlaws and thieves, an engineer's guild and siege camp with engineers, catapults, burning carts, cats and laddermen, and pikemen added to crossbowmen, archers, spearmen and armed peasants at the barracks. You have an armorer's workshop available and the poleturners can now make pikes. All weapons necessary to train troops are available at the market. Will you buy them or make them? How will you pay for them? How many workshops can you fit in the very limited space?
It's a little late to discuss now, but a good sized force to have brought over with you from mission 1 would have been 50-100 spearmen, 100 archers, 30-50 crossbowmen (or even more), and maybe even some catapults. If you get busy it's possible to produce all that you need in this mission. You might also be interested in training pikemen and hiring some pictish boat warriors. To give you an idea of what can be accomplished, I was able to produce about 175 pikemen or 200 crossbowmen in the six years prior to the final invasions. But that was running flat out with 20 weapons workshops and carting in massive amounts of goods. If you rebuild the walls near the border and open the castle up I don't know how many you might be able to create. On that layout I fit in 32 weapons workshops.
Catapults: Catapults can be used extremely effectively in many of the defense strategies presented below. To make them you'll need an engineer's guild, and once you have that you can make them from a siege camp, too. They are truly devastating against any grouping of troops and can completely disrupt a mass enemy advance if the enemy stays clustered together in groups or advances in lines. Weaker troops may be killed outright. Hardier ones will be injured, but physically blown backwards. It takes them precious time to shake it off, gather their wits and advance again. Enough time to reload and fire another broadside at them. A few hits like this and many won't be rising again. You can't get them all like this so you do need support, preferably missile troops. And ground troops to protect the catapults are a good idea, too. The right combination can stop an enemy advance in its tracks.
Burning Carts: Sort of like pitch on wheels. These are expensive, 100 gold each, but can be very effective against siege engines and advancing light troops. They are very fast, but are easily taken down by enemy missile fire. Keep them away from archers at all costs. They function best working with some hardy ground troops and archers. In this mission, however, they can get by without much support until the very end.
To train them you need an engineer's guild and a siege camp. They target in a somewhat similar fashion to catapults. You can target specific structures with the small, grey "attack" sword cursor and red cone, instructing the burning cart to attack that building, but this only works for enemy structures. The cart moves next to the building, then ignites, setting fire to the structure. To attack troops or siege engines you must use the "attack" button in the unit command box and target a specific area with the huge, red, crossed swords in a circle, "target here" marker. The cart will proceed to the spot and burst into flames. They can be moved from place to place when showing the green cone, but once targeted to an area with the red crossed swords they cannot be recalled or shift their targeted spot.
Your biggest challenge in defending the castle is dealing with the siege engines. There's a lot of armored troops waiting to charge if you allow a hole to be punched in your wall. A secondary concern is the laddermen, but you should have enough troops to deal with them from the walls. These are a few of the many strategies that can be used effectively in this mission:
- March out and defeat the entire army in the field.
- Strengthen the walls so they can take the beating and survive.
- Use modest walls in conjunction with ground troops such as catapults, burning carts, or raiding parties in the field to try and take out the siege equipment before it can do much damage. (This can easily fail)
- Employ "tricks" such as:
- Stationing sacrificial stealth units in the field to destroy the siege camps before they can produce siege weapons.
- Build a straw (fake) wall in front of your main wall to trick the siege engines and troops into targeting it instead of the real wall.
- Rely heavily on added defenses including burning logs, pitch ditches, killing pits, man traps, and boiling oil.
- Utilize concentric fallback walls between the main wall and the keep.
- Retreat to, and defend the keep.
Some defenses require no more than the original walls. There are others where you can pay little attention to the walls, even ignore the castle all together. Still others need modifications and massive strengthening, while some even need complete rebuilding of new walls to create more space. Plus you can use additional defenses such as burning logs, traps and pitch. They all work, some better than others.
A lot depends on how many troops you have and how much work you want to put into it. Here are some of the defense components you can employ:
Walls: Most defenses need secure walls, the most modest of which will keep the knights out of the castle in the first part. The majority of defense strategies also need secure walls in the second part to defend against the final sieges. The faster you can put the trebuchets and catapults out of action, the less damage will be inflicted on the walls, and the less modifications you will need to make. If you expect to endure heavy bombardment, the existing walls are not nearly adequate enough and you will have to make significant modifications and strengthening to have any chance of withstanding it.
Towers: The existing round tower is virtually useless except as a fallback position, since the brunt of most attacks is against the western wall with some targeting of the gatehouse. Crossbowmen are not very effective on the round tower since so many attackers are usually out of range, and archers on the tower would have severely restricted ranges for many targets. Adding some bastions in better locations can be a much more effective location for missile units.
Archers and crossbowmen are very vulnerable on the walls, as hits to the wall decimate their numbers. They can be effective on the gatehouse, but you must be watchful, as the gatehouse is not repairable and will sometimes be taken down. Bastions are cheap but also weak; they hold a lot of troops, increase range, and can take hits without loss of troops most of the time. I say most of the time because during the course of the battle you may have several stray trebuchet hits to the top of a bastion, in which case many, it not all archers and crossbowmen will be blown off the top to the surrounding walls or the ground. Some may still be alive and can be regrouped again, but most will perish. Reserves are a good idea.
Bastions must also be watched carefully as they are weak. Some well placed hits can bring one down fairly quickly. They can be repaired by clicking on the repair button during battle so if you are watchful and keep them in good repair they are excellent. Adding one or two rows of wall to belt them for strength can help protect them, however belted bastions can be scaled with ladders, unbelted ones cannot. You must consider the tradeoff.
Burning Logs: These are excellent for light to medium weight troops but tend to get stopped short at the marshes. They are expensive and do very little damage to knights. They can also destroy your precious goods-laden carts. If not employed until the siege at the end, and the siege engines get in some good shots they may well be destroyed before you can employ them. If they can survive the siege engines, they can be very effective against troops rushing your walls. While sometimes a help, if destroyed or unused they can be a total waste of money that could better be spent on other defenses or troops.
Pitch Ditches: Can only be used on your home castle estate, so they're really only good close in against the knights, and later, ground troops rushing to waiting ladders or a breach in the wall. And actually, just like the burning logs, they do very little damage against the knights; perhaps their armor is asbestos lined. Positioned well and lit at the right time they can be devastating to anything else in their proximity. But again, that includes your carts, so use against the knights may not be wise. If you've got lots of carts running there just may never be a good time to light them up without destroying some. Carts can be sacrificed during the siege at the end, however.
I have heard of, and experienced difficulty myself in lighting pitch ditches on rare occasion. Even when getting the light the pitch cursor (shown at right) the archers sometimes just don't fire an arrow to light the pitch up. Utilizing burning logs will usually light up any pitch ditches they roll over. You must weigh the benefits and risks in using pitch versus selling it to buy other defenses or troops. You have a healthy supply of pitch to start and a few estates produce pitch as well.
Boiling Oil: Engineers wielding boiling oil pots are a related defense to pitch. Only three at a time can be used but they do light up quite a patch of ground. Again it can be a real menace to the carts and many times even to your own troops. But they can make an excellent last stand defense near or on the keep. They can be employed on the ground as well as from walls and some buildings. As with pitch ditches, they do little damage to the knights. You need an engineer's guild to train them and an oil smelter and available pitch.
Killing Pits and Man Traps: These can be used on your estates as well as at your castle. I especially like killing pits since troops that fall in don't come out. Remember killing pits are weight sensitive. A single knight or swordsman will trip it, but lighter weight troops need several before it gives way under them. Killing pits have no effect whatever on siege engines and fire ballistae, but they are very effective employed against the knights, and later, advancing siege troops, and they pose no threat to your own troops or the carts. Another downside might be the cost in wood.
Man traps are cheaper, smaller and easier to place in difficult terrain but take more than one to kill hardier troops. In my opinion they are much less effective here for killing troops than killing pits. Their big advantage is they will kill trebuchets, catapults, and fire ballistae. However, if troops accompany the siege engines, and advance around and in front of them, as they tend to do in this mission, the troops usually end up tripping the man traps and provide a clear path for the siege equipment to advance undamaged. I therefore found them quite ineffective in this mission.
The secret to the effectiveness of killing pits and map traps is either lots of them, or observation and careful placement where they will have the greatest effect. This is one place where the AI is at least a little smart. When a unit falls into a killing pit, others accompanying it will stop and try to go around the sprung pit, rather than just following each other, one after the other blindly into the same pit. They will usually still try to advance and if you have other adjacent or nearby pits will probably get caught. This stops and breaks up an enemy charge as they look for a way around. Man traps don't do that. The enemy continues the charge, troops further back getting the benefit of the path cleared by the front units.
In the case of the knights one pit will probably only kill one knight, so you will need many pits. With lighter troops you may get two or three per pit. For man traps you'll need lots of them, and they'll still only be partially effective since they just don't have the stopping power you get with killing pits.
|A special note on killing pits and man traps: If you capture Edwin's Tingle Uncton estate in mission 1 and put killing pits and/or man traps on it in anticipation of their use in mission 2, you might be dismayed in mission 2 to find they don't work. The key to their use in mission 2 is to be sure to reclaim the estates right at the start of the mission. Once the estates are yours again the traps will work. And in the unlikely event the knights recapture Tingle Uncton (this did happen to me once), again, the traps won't work until you recapture it.|
Rock Baskets: In this mission? I don't think so. Let's move on.
Why use estates? Simple... estates = goods = gold = troops = victory.
But they equal a lot of work, too. Will you use your estates and cart in goods? You can use them extensively, modestly, or just ignore them altogether. There's nine of them with quite a bit of goods that can be used or sold for considerable gold. Whether you had captured them in mission 1 or not, they are all available to you. Some military solutions benefit a lot from them, while if you have enough troops you may not need them.
Whether you use the estates' goods or not, you can probably use the 10 gold per month income they provide. If all estates are yours you'll get nine estates x 10 gold per month x 72 months (until the final invasion) = 6,480 gold.
Many carters will start delivering automatically, usually either stone and wood, or whichever they have the most of, apples or cheese. But most may just sit idle until you give them specific instructions. Be sure all that you set up are given instructions and start running. Don't set the existing carters that were on each estate to deliver anything important as they may still be finishing up a load started in the last mission and may not be available for a while. They tend to be a long way from the borders, too. You may want to raze them and end the confusion.
Large shipments, 50 per load, are best for food, wood and stone. You won't have enough carters and time to move the goods if you start carting small loads. Smaller loads can be all right for pitch, ale, and royal food. Iron is a special case. Its quantities will be more modest so it might be better to ship in two or three loads using separate carters, and staggered a little in time. This is to increase the chances of making it past the knights. Otherwise an unfortunate encounter by a single large load could wipe out most of your iron supply. Much Hemlock is the only estate that produces iron, although if you followed my recommendations in mission 1 you may have some stored closer at St Columb Minor. Caution, do not ship iron from St Columb Minor until the first band of knights are dealt with.
When you start mission 2 all the estates that belonged to you in mission 1 now belong to your "friend" in your old castle, and its name has been changed to Implestow. One of the things you should do at the very start of mission 2 is to pause the game and visit each estate. Every estate you used to own that has been inherited by your "friend" will show a banner at the bottom of the screen saying "Click to Take Control". That's all you have to do to get the estate back. You have automatically inherited any estates that still belonged to Edwin when you captured his castle, so no action is needed on those. Any estates that were neutral upon Edwin's defeat are still neutral and can be bought for 100 honor.
The knights will recapture several estates during the six years, so be ready as they must be reclaimed with troops. When you do, the carters on the recaptured estate will not know what to do and just sit. You must re-instruct each one to get it delivering goods again. The ones in most jeopardy of recapture are Much Hemlock, Scarcliffe, and Harbury. They also usually raze a lot of Zennor without capturing it, so be ready to do some rebuilding there.
|A note on re-instructing carters after recapture: I have had it happen (particularly at Harbury) that upon recapturing an estate and re-instruction carters to deliver a load, the cart will back out of the carter post with the load, then as soon as it clears the post, it dumps the load and goes back inside the post and waits. The goods are irretrievable. This would happen with every carter post on that estate. My only workaround so far is to instruct each cart to deliver five of something I can spare. Let it back out, dump the load and reset, then give it normal instructions. The second load always seems to work correctly. If a cart with only the five goods behaves correctly and proceeds to your estate you can press the carter's stop button. It should dump the load and return so you can give it a full load.|
Starting With Improved Estates: If you followed my recommendations on setting up production on estates from my mission 1 walk-through, there will be enormous amounts of four types of food, wood, stone, ale, iron, pitch, and optionally royal food. You can set up more production on the estates if you like, even for weapons. I've had as many as 70 carts running. Set up as many carter posts as you like, near the borders is best, to cut travel time. You'll have to buy in a lot of wood to do this, maybe spend most of the starting 2,000 gold, but it will pay off.
Starting With Unimproved Estates: If you didn't do anything with the estates in mission 1 except capture them, there won't be a lot of production going on or goods to transport. It would have been better if you had gotten their industries going strong, but no matter, it's not too late. If you get busy you could expect to extract at least 15,000 in gold from goods and taxes in the six years you have. Some of that will have to be invested back into wood to build their infrastructure to make this possible but you will still have a sizable cache to invest in your military.
Speed is of the absolute essence since you are starting from ground zero at both your estates and your castle. I found it interesting that when I used pikemen creation as a benchmark for overall mission production I produced about 140 by the beginning of the siege when starting with well producing estates, and when starting with stagnant, unimproved estates I still produced about 140 pikemen. I think two things accounted for this. One, I believe I tried much harder, knowing I was starting from nothing and I know I produced a lot more wood. Two, over many, many plays I developed a killing pit defense against the knights (see screen shots further down) that became very effective and I think a lot more carts made it through. It also worked out that I had about 70 carts running in each instance.
Here's what I did when I started with unimproved estates:
Wood is the number one concern. You'll never have enough of it, first for construction, later to sell. Food is next and then stone, needed for repairs or modifications. Other goods can be used or sold as you wish, iron, pitch, ale and royal food.
After reclaiming all the estates and setting up your basic castle infrastructure, set up food and wood production at every estate, plus hovels. This is done on pause, of course, so is simultaneous in game time. You'll need plenty of workers, 4-6 hovels at many estates, more at Tingle Uncton, and I had 16 at Dachet Foolbury. Saw pits varied from about 5-9 at each. Hunter's huts at every estate, usually 5-7, although I had 13 at Tingle Uncton as it had a much higher population. Put in apple and dairy farms at all, but focus more heavily on one or the other at estates that seem suitable. I had more dairy at St Columb Minor and Barnes End, more apples at Dachet Foolbury. Basically you need lots of all types of food available.
Tingle Uncton and Dachet Foolbury are special cases, Tingle Uncton because of its very close proximity and exclusive stone quarrying. Dachet Foolbury because of its reasonable closeness and huge, flat area for building in an area not troubled by the knights. Put two more quarries up at Tingle Uncton, deleting two or three ox tethers that are in the way. At Dachet Foolbury, set up bread, ale, and royal food production. I had three each of wheat and hops farms, two mills, 13 bakers and five breweries. And don't forget there's iron at Much Hemlock. Pitch rigs can be added on five estates if you wish.
All this has to be done in two steps. First, sell off all the pitch, and use all the available gold to buy wood to jump start everything you can at the castle and estates, saving a little for killing pits for the knights, and second, continue to build incrementally as wood is produced or bought. And the carters. They are part of this whole mix, too. If you had started production on the estates in mission 1 you could spend all your starting gold to build all the carters right at the beginning, as the goods would already be there. But when starting from scratch you should add carters only as there are goods to transport. There will be some wood, stone, pitch and food. Get carters up and start moving those goods immediately.
I focused on Tingle Uncton first, being so close, then Zennor, being just below it. At Zennor delete the ox tethers and build carter posts over the spot. It's the best place and should prevent the ox tethers, which are useless, from being rebuilt. Then I got Dachet Foolbury started. It doesn't have much yet, but can be a huge producer by the end. St Columb Minor is also a pretty good one since its carter posts will be almost as close as Dachet Foolbury's. After that Barnes End is also a good bet, mid distance carter posts, good amount of room and usually not harassed by the knights. Harbury should be improved but don't ship goods in the beginning as it is invariably the first estate recaptured by the knights. I ran out of time and never had a chance to develop Scarcliffe and Lower Kingsbottom.
As you build up your castle and start weapons production keep checking back at the estates, adding more industry and carters as wood and finished goods are ready. You should be increasing production and transportation all the way up until the final invasion. Always keep checking and be sure you're transporting everything available, starting from the closest estates and working out.
Here are a few questions to ask in planning your economy:
- Do you need an economy, or do you have the troops and strategy to forego one?
- If you want an economy how big will it be?
- Will it be inside the walls only, or inside and outside?
- Do you want to expand the castle to provide more space for buildings?
- Will you add to what Edwin has left or rebuild completely?
- What items will you focus on producing?
- For needed goods, what will be carted in, what purchased, and what produced?
- What other services will you add? I.e. gong, rat and crime control, inn, lord's kitchen.
If you have enough troops for the defensive strategy you've chosen you may be able to ignore an economy and the estates altogether. However, if you need more troops, an improved castle and extra defenses, these will take weapons, goods and gold. You need to get a rip roaring economy going at the castle with weapons production as the highest priority and use your estates to the maximum. Excess goods can be sold to boost income and buy more weapons. Expanding the interior of the castle, at least somewhat, to increase production, should be considered.
The space to place buildings is limited in Edwin's castle, first by being physically small, and second because the topography restricts how much is level enough for buildings. Add to that the fact that the existing buildings are very wasteful of space and inefficiently placed, and you have a castle that is crying out to be completely overhauled. If you need a good producing economy then you should probably completely rebuild it from the ground up.
Industries located outside the castle walls are in definite jeopardy from the knights. With the right tactics against the knights, however, they may be relatively safe, particularly if located to the east. Although expensive, consider killing pits against the knights to protect outside industries and insure as many carts as possible make it through. Catapults, too can help with the knights. Extra gatehouses could also be employed to shorten some delivery distances and mix things up a bit for the knights regarding where carts will enter the castle.
In most layouts I have tried, I razed everything outside the walls except maybe the dairy farms. If you want to produce weapons I'd raze everything inside the walls, granary and armory included, leaving only the stockpile and barracks. They're not that expensive to rebuild. You will get much more from your weapons production by bringing the armory down close to the workshops. The granary needs to be out of the way of production.
Hunter's posts can be squeezed in here and there where nothing else will fit. Most, if not all, food can be carted in. There should be loads of it available. Four food types set to double rations is wise for maximum honor. If you had set up the Dachet Foolbury estate in mission 1 for bread and ale, you'll have lots of both available there. The other three food types should be available at every estate. St Columb Minor, Harbury and Barnes End will also have ale if you set it up there in mission 1.
Hovels are tricky as they compete for space with other structures such as gong pits, falconer's posts, guard posts and even larger structures. There is space behind the keep for some, as well as the market after razing the gallows, unless you place the treasury there as well, in which case you can get only one hovel in. This area is inaccessible. Hovels are ok there, but nothing that needs a worker.
Saw pits are not needed as you can cart in tons of wood, but you could put some out on the eastern shore if you like. I usually put in a couple of gong pits and falconer's posts plus an inn. You really need the inn's +8 popularity boost along with the +8 you should be getting from double food rations. This will allow you decent taxes, even if you choose to ignore crime. You can buy ale or cart it in.
Crime control can go inside the castle but it takes up a lot of valuable space. An alternative solution is to extend the castle down the eastern coast which can accommodate a courthouse, torturer's guild, engineer's guild and inn, but it's a real squeeze and not the most efficient setup. The far corner will usually take some trebuchet damage, but a well manned tower there will keep this to a minimum. Extending the castle wall out near the marshes could get you a lot more interior room, but this layout may be more vulnerable in the final siege.
There may be better castle layouts out there, and maybe you already have some ideas of your own, but the following is the best I have come up with so far. I'm not suggesting you have to do the same, but I present it to show how much can be squeezed into Edwin's small castle area. It is very efficient for weapons production and includes gong, rat and crime control, inn, and lord's kitchen. 20 weapons workshops can be set up, even more if you put some outside or forego the lord's kitchen.
Here are the details: To start, pause the game and sell off all your bread, cheese, bows, crossbows and leather armor (I sell all the pitch as well), then raze every building inside the walls, hovels too, except the stockpile and barracks, and the hovel west of the mill. (If you're going to be setting up poleturner's workshops you can keep the one west of the stockpile, and if you want a tanner's workshop and don't mind it being one of the outlying weapons buildings, you can keep it too. These fit in the layout). You'll lose the meat but the amount is insignificant compared to what you will produce if you don't delay. You start with zero population. The only way to utilize the weapons without causing delays is if you have enough spearmen, disband 15 and retrain immediately as archers and crossbowmen. Otherwise sell and move on.
If you want to set up tanner's workshops be sure to keep the dairy farms outside the walls. If not you can keep or raze everything outside the walls as you choose. With good defenses against the knights much of the industries outside the walls may survive. Refer to the screen shots to help you understand the layout.
Buy in wood and stone to erect the following: Market, treasury and one hovel go behind the keep. Place a hunter's post on the east side of the keep. Set up courthouse/dungeon, torturer's guild, granary, executioner's block, guard post, gong pit, and falconer's post on the high ground in front of the keep as shown, and in that order. It's important to orient both the courthouse and torturer's guild as shown by using your mouse's scroll wheel or the "R" key to rotate them before placing. Be sure to position the torturer's guild as far south as it can go on the high ground. Butt the granary right up to it with its door facing south. This will leave enough space for the gong pit between it and the keep after placing the executioner's block.
There's just enough room for a falconer's post and a guard post between the granary and the courthouse. Next to the granary is the most reliable place for the guard post as all criminals head to the granary to steal food. Add a hovel on the east side of the campfire, two hovels on the west side of the keep, another just north of the granary, and one due west of the torturer's guild (this last one may already be there if you kept it from Edwin's layout). Buy in some food to tide you over until some carts arrive and set to double rations. 40 each of apples, bread and cheese should do it. Set taxes to -6.
Raze the tower and walls east of the keep. Place the armory and lord's kitchen very carefully as shown, to leave room for 7 weapons workshops, a falconer's post, and a hunter's post east of the gatehouse and stockpile. Rotate the armory so the door side butts up against the stockpile and one side against the gatehouse, the lord's kitchen is one tile away from the armory and its rear wall is one tile east of the armory's side wall, further toward the water. On the western side of the stockpile you can place 13 weapons workshops, an inn, one more hovel, a gong pit and a falconer's post. Buy in some ale and set to double consumption, then taxes to -12.
This particular layout was for the 2 Bastion Defense. On this layout I use two bastions placed basically as far out as they can go in the area they're shown in the screen shot. Lots of wall thickening is added. Add a staircase in the west wall as shown, being careful not to restrict building space. Delete a little of the interior wall to form a cutout to accommodate those two additional weapons workshops. On the east be sure the wall is three tiles thick against the back of the lord's kitchen as this section usually takes some trebuchet fire late in the siege. There is just room to add a gatehouse for delivery of pigs to the lord's kitchen. Add a staircase in the wall near the gatehouse. The staircases are important as fallback routes if the wall is scaled or breached or the main gatehouse falls.
Here's another earlier layout showing an expansion down the whole eastern side of the estate as mentioned above. It worked fine but is not as efficient as my later one.
BEGIN - STARTUP TASKS AND BUILDING YOUR ECONOMY:
With a plan in place you're ready to begin the mission. Liberal use of the pause key in the beginning, and throughout the game, will help you tremendously. Slowing the game way down is also helpful in the beginning; you can increase it as you gain control and your economic machine needs less attention. Immediately slow the game down and put it on pause (using the "P" key) while you complete the initial setup tasks. You may need to release the pause momentarily to confirm building placements or for other reasons, but basically you should be on pause during the whole setup time.
Most setup tasks should be done before the first mounted knight's raid, quite easy if you're on pause. Continue building your economy and castle as needed during and between raids.
The very first thing you should do, IMMEDIATELY, before anything else, is to reclaim each estate. This is to prevent existing carter posts from doing something silly, like taking cartloads of stone or pitch to your old castle at Implestow, to whom they belong until you reclaim them, where the goods cannot be retrieved.
Get all your troops that may be located at other places on the map back to your new castle pronto! They will only just make it before the knights arrive. Get them stationed ready to deal with the knights, missile troops on the western wall and gatehouse, spearmen out of the way, but handy, probably on the walls and gatehouse as well. If you have catapults you want to employ against the knights, get them into position and assign some spearmen to protect them.
Either now, or after the first group of knights is killed, send a small band of troops (spearmen, armed peasants, or pictish boat warriors) to the river bank near the center of St Columb Minor ready to reclaim any estates the knights recapture. Be watchful and keep them away from the knights. If using pictish boat warriors, set up a mercenary camp outside the walls to recruit them.
If you plan to cart in goods at the various estates, buy in whatever wood is necessary and set up carter posts on the border nearest to your castle. Focus first on the closest ones, Tingle Uncton, Zennor, Dachet Foolbury, and St Columb Minor. Work out from there, they all have something to contribute. Don't forget the iron at Much Hemlock (and possibly at St Columb Minor).
If you want lots of goods set up 6-10 carters on each estate, more on Tingle Uncton, lots more on Dachet Foolbury. Don't be afraid to spend most of your starting gold on carter posts. Unfortunately you need to tell each carter what goods to transport, a tedious but necessary task. Most will sit idle without instructions. One important caution: be sure to reclaim an estate before you place any carter posts on it.
Many of the carts will not make it to your castle before the knights arrive and will be in jeopardy. Speed is of the essence. If you get a really good start, you can spend all your starting gold plus what you can get selling off all the pitch, on wood for carter posts and infrastructure, and still have carts arrive in time to provide you with resources to set up a decent amount of killing pits before the first knights arrive.
On the Dachet Foolbury estate it's best to locate the carter posts at least one killing pit width away from the southernmost bridge. Add killing pits on both sides of the bridge as you can afford them to protect the carter posts, as the knights will try to cross the bridge and destroy them on occasion. Killing pits are usually effective just south of that bridge to the marsh border, plus a few to the west of that and many to the east. Another good place is between the westernmost marsh on your estate and the adjacent marsh, and extending west towards the bridge to Dachet Foolbury. See the screen shots under Dealing With the Knights further down. The faster the knights go down, the more carts get through.
You should still be on pause at this point and have in mind what you want to do with your economic layout. See the section on the economy under Planning, and the screen shots for ideas. What follows are general instructions. If you want to follow the layout I used above refer to the specific instructions with the screen shot.
If you want to get a strong economy going you need to raze almost everything, inside and outside, except the stockpile, barracks and maybe the dairy farms. Hovels, too. Sell all food and weapons and raze the granary and armory. You start at zero population and don't have time to wait for peasants to appear so you can train them using the starting weapons. You'll end up crippling your weapons production if you wait to use those bows, crossbows and leather armor. You must press ahead. (If you can spare 15 spearmen you could disband them and retrain them immediately as archers and crossbowmen in order not to waste the weapons.) There may be one or two buildings that suit your layout, a poleturner, fletcher or tanner's workshop, or gong pit. Only save them if they fit your layout. My preference is to sell the pitch, as I don't use it, so I can buy more wood to jump start the economy.
Relocate the granary, armory, and treasury and buy in 40 each of apples, bread and cheese. Set the granary to double rations and taxes to -6. Set up weapons workshops, gong pits, falconer's posts, hovels, hunter's posts and inn. Buy in some starting ale until carts arrive and set on double consumption, increase taxes to -12. Keep an eye on ale stocks. Set up optional buildings, depending on your chosen layout, such as saw pits, engineer's guild, courthouse, torturer's guild, a fast torture device, and guard post. If you set up crime control you only need one guard post located right next to the granary. All criminals steal food, therefore are easy to catch at the granary.
Set up a lord's kitchen if you want and have room. If you had set up royal food production at Dachet Foolbury in mission 1 be sure to cart that over after you set up a lord's kitchen here. Place some pig farms and/or purchase pigs meanwhile. Other industries are available that you might consider, too, but I didn't find them useful.
Crime could be dealt with or not as it takes quite a bit of room. If you opt out you can tough out the -3 and replace crime affected buildings as needed, as long as you've got the +16 going from double rations and double ale consumption.
You will usually want intact walls to keep the knights out of the castle. So make any immediate modifications you want in place prior to the knight's arrival, finish any needed repairs if you damaged the castle with your siege, and get your existing troops in position. You must be ready for the first group of mounted knights who will arrive very shortly. They must not be allowed to get into the interior of the castle. Get your killing pits laid down for the knights if you plan to use them. I was adding last minute killing pits right up until the knights passed the Dachet Foolbury bridge as the first wood and salable goods were delivered.
After, or in conjunction with, placing the structures for your economy, start making any planned modifications to the fortifications. Expand, add, or move walls, add towers, staircases, and any additional defenses you can afford at this time, burning logs, traps, pitch, etc. See Defending Against the Invasions below for ideas on defensive layouts and strategies.
DEALING WITH THE KNIGHTS:
Mission 2 is approximately 6 years long and has two phases. The last phase is the large multiple invasion that comes at the end. The time leading up to that is the first phase and consists of four successive attacks of ten mounted knights each. They will kill and smash anything they come across, including precious cart loads of goods en route from your estates, so nothing is necessarily safe outside the castle walls. Sometimes they visit estates, smashing buildings or recapturing them. They always end up at your castle.
In almost all cases you'll want some kind of intact wall to keep them out of the castle. The only exception might be when defending from the keep and you already have sufficient troops from mission 1. But even here my recommendation would be to keep them out and deal with them from the walls.
The knights cannot do your castle walls any harm or get in, as they have no support from laddermen or siege engines. But since they can be so destructive, especially to your carts, it's best to rid yourself of them as soon as possible. I recommend killing pits and missile troops as the best defense against the knights. Killing pits, especially. But you can add in man traps/burning logs/pitch/catapults if you like.
Missile Troops from the walls are excellent for this but slow. About 50 archers is the minimum I've found that can handle the knights. With that many they will be firing continually for most of the six years and will just barely keep up, finishing just about in time for the final invasions. So the more archers and crossbowmen you can add the faster they can dispatch the knights. Crossbowmen add greater killing power and are best kept on the gatehouse or western wall during this phase, as stationed in the tower they will be out of range a lot of the time.
Burning Logs can speed things up just a bit, but while sending knights flying, do not inflict much damage. You also must try not to destroy carts as well when using them.
Catapults are excellent, but again, can destroy carts. When used, I usually stationed them outside the east wall not too far from the water. You should station some ground troops with them, too, to slow any rush by the knights to destroy them. The fire rate on catapults is fast enough to keep the knights reeling, pretty much stopping their advance, and eventually killing a lot of them. Used in conjunction with ranged troops on the walls, they can be devastating. Later they can be used in a similar fashion against rushing siege troops.
I found Killing Pits to be the best adjunct to the missile troops if you can spare the cost. When tripped they produce a quick, decisive kill. With enough placed in the right locations they can eliminate almost all the knights in short order once they get near your castle, and without endangering your carts. They can also be employed to protect a lot of the carts, especially those from Dachet Foolbury, St Columb Minor and Much Hemlock by building a sort of highway of killing pits.
Not placing any killing pits or placing them incorrectly will allow the knights free access to lots of your carts. The carts often distract them before they get within good range of your archers, and they hack them to bits as you watch helplessly. After destroying all carts in the outlying vicinity they'll eventually approach closer to the walls. Well placed killing pits can limit this destruction considerably.
If you're running a lot of carts I recommend placing the first killing pits you can afford in a configuration similar to what you see in the screen shot below. After using most of the starting gold, plus what I could get from selling all the pitch, to buy wood to set up loads of carter posts and get some basic infrastructure going, there wasn't much left for killing pits. But because my setup was quick, income from the treasury, taxes from the estates and many cart loads of goods that arrived just before the knights made it to my side of the map, enabled me to afford what you see below. They were laid down barely in time, but were so effective they killed all ten of the knights. This won't happen every time. Some stray carts out on open ground can attract the knights before they make it to the killing pits, and they're very reluctant to move on until they're sure they've destroyed everything in a given area. But they should move on eventually and hit the traps. Any that make it past the traps should then fall under your missile fire.
For the second group of knights you should be able lay down a lot more, and finish the "highway" if you like the idea. It's a good move to protect the bridge, the first few carter posts west of the bridge on St Columb Minor territory, and the northwesternmost ones at Tingle Uncton. All these are favorite targets.
Fire does very little damage to knights. I did not find burning logs, pitch ditches, boiling oil, or man traps to be very effective. One additional note here. If you want to use traps and pitch in your defense during the final invasions you may have to consider whether you can afford to use them against the knights in the beginning. My personal preference is to spend the money up front on killing pits against the knights and rely on troops and walls for the later invasions.
Some of the parties of knights will make stops at certain estates, sometimes destroying lots of structures and even reclaiming some estates. As mentioned much earlier, you should send out a small party of spearmen or armed peasants, 5-10 if you can spare that many, and station them in the central area of the map. The riverbank in the center of St Columb Minor is a good place to start as Harbury is usually the knight's first target. For later raids stationing them across the bridge north from Much Hemlock on your old castle grounds is a good place from which to recapture Much Hemlock and/or Scarcliffe.
They must stay away from the knights, however. Too close and they will be pursued, so move them off in the opposite direction if the knights get too close. You could also send troops out after the fact from the castle but this would obviously mean a large delay. An even better idea is to station one or more very small bands, around 2-4 units each, of pictish boat warriors around. These guys can sit safely in the middle of a river until the knights move off.
It seems better to stay back and not interfere with the knights. You really want them to finish their fun and advance to the castle where you can deal with them.
DEFENDING AGAINST THE INVASIONS:
At the end of six years you will be sieged by three armies, Lord Barclay (The Hammer) in green, Pascal Deveraux (The Hawk) in blue, and Lady Seren (The Lamb) in purple. Lord Barclay arrives first and begins his siege of your castle. The Hawk is late and arrives next, then Lady Seren, who under the pretext of negotiation, turns against them, joins you, and starts attacking them both. They counter attack her, and both siege you in earnest.
If you don't mind doing some work, building an economy, working the estates, and training lots of fresh troops, you can have some real fun here with many radically different approaches to defending against the final sieges. There's some easy ways to victory, too. Many of these tactics for defenses and troops, can be mixed and matched.
The siege armies do not always act the same every time. Sometimes they're very enthusiastic in sending lots of siege engines, sometimes they seem much more reluctant, even sending many trebuchets out and just stopping them at a certain point, never setting them up. Likewise with troops. Sometimes you'll get lots of rushes with varied troop types, sometimes they just want to hang back and be much more cautious. Many times this is obviously a reaction to your particular defensive behavior, but sometimes it doesn't seem to correlate.
Even though you probably had intact walls to protect from the knights, walls are of no real concern in several strategies, such as defending from the keep or engaging the enemy in the field, although their existence or integrity can influence the attacker's behavior. For other types of defense you'll want walls of varying strengths.
There are strategies that, with enough starting troops, need no economy or estate help, requiring only an intact castle wall and minor additions to defenses or troops that your starting gold and goods can provide. In most cases, however, you will want to add to your forces and defenses, so will need a secure castle, an economy, and help from your estates.
Many of the following defenses could be considered less than honorable, using exploits, tricks, or foreknowledge to your advantage rather than a head to head fair fight. The straw wall tactic that tricks trebuchets to set up further out and target a dummy wall, or the single bastion that, while a really neat tactic, lets you put archers close enough to easily destroy all the siege engines with little jeopardy, are two. Laying in wait to destroy the siege camps with sacrificial units would be another. Even defending in the field is basically just a big ambush, requiring little intervention on your part. And defending the keep is just a way of taking the siege engines out of the equation by defending in the extreme rear from an indestructible vantage point. But they do work.
The most satisfying and clean wins, in my opinion, are from attacking in the field, the wall and two bastions, the border wall, and maybe the burning carts. The first is a direct active engagement of the entire enemy army with ground troops. The next two are wall defenses that should take as much of a beating as the enemy siege equipment can inflict and still hold fast, and the last is just a lot of fun. To a slightly lesser degree fallback walls can be satisfying, too, if the trebuchets are allowed to set up in their normal positions, putting them in range of your fallback walls as well as your main one.
I encourage you to fight the good fight.
Defend in the Field:
Meet them in the field. This works better than you might think if you have at least 100 each of archers and crossbowmen, plus 50 spearmen. Wait until you have dealt with all four bands of knights. Then march them out and place them all between the two westernmost marshes on your border to make your stand. Put the game on pause and select and target each group to the spot, set stance to stand ground, then un pause. A nice small mixed lump works great, but if you want to array them put spearmen in the front, then crossbowmen, and archers in the rear. In this position the ranged units can take out all of the siege equipment and should handily deal with advancing ground troops, protected by the spearmen.
Take down those siege engines fast. If necessary send a group of spearmen to help with any stubborn outermost ones, especially on the west. This usually won't be required, though. Don't let any troops get by you. Send some spearmen to block and delay any units that look like they may be able to go around. Optionally, you can add some catapults into the mix. These are very effective against advancing ground troops. They could reduce the number of other troops needed for this strategy.
Attack in the Field:
You can take the offense in the field, too. For me, this is one of most satisfying defenses. Basically you need to build up a huge force of pikemen. When the knights are all killed and the siege troops show up, march them out and slam into the enemy. I had about 140 pikemen ready at the beginning of the sieges with more coming every minute.
I split off a small group of about a dozen from the 140 to head for the outer edge of the western marshes ready to deal with siege engines that would follow. The main group I split and advanced on either side of the siege camp. The eastern group should wade into the archers and crossbowmen, dispatch them, and then continue around and meet up with the other half. Try to take on only a section of the enemy at a time, keeping your forces reasonably grouped and not letting them stray or get strung out too much.
Try to destroy any siege engines as they leave the camp, but any that break free will be dealt with by your small group to the west. Take down the siege camp if you like, but I prefer to give them all the sporting chance I can by not doing so. Let them build their siege engines and laddermen. As reserves are trained advance them to support your main attack or head to deal with any breakout group that may be advancing. If things are well in hand just keep them as reserves. When Lord Barclay's army is dealt with, attack The Hawk's army.
I used 140 pikemen, but 120 should be adequate.
If you feel confident enough to leave the walls less defended you can advance ranged units in your initial charge, too. They can help tremendously in dealing with the enemy archers and crossbowmen. If you take enough to eliminate the enemy missile troops and survive, they can then support the pikemen. Their use could reduce the number of pikemen needed for this operation.
This is a great tactic but requires lots of pikemen to work. If you use the economic castle layout I show above it is quite doable. As best as I could reckon I had about 170-180 pikemen produced by the time the second siege camp set up, and they completely overwhelmed the enemy. It seems it could be done with considerably less. And if you add in say 50-75 archers, you could probably get away with 100 or less pikemen. I was using all nine estates with about 70 carters so had lots of goods to sell. I had twenty weapons workshops set up, about three armorers and the rest poleturners. I didn't buy in any iron, only used what I carted in. I figured it was probably better to produce more pikes and buy the armor needed, to add to what could be produced from existing iron stocks.
Hit and Run:
Even just sending out a roving band of 50-100 archers (crossbowmen are too slow and range is too short) can usually take down all the siege engines. Add in some support spearmen if you like. Send them to into the westernmost marsh for the first encounter. Lightweight troops will usually rush with the first trebuchets which you should be able to handle. You may have to manually target some trebuchets, especially if you have a smaller force. Stay in that area as long as you can and try to take down every piece of siege equipment that comes your way. When heavier forces start advancing on you, you'll have to start the hit and run tactics to avoid them. If all siege engines have been dealt with you could retreat back outside the walls or inside the castle. This is more of an adjunct that can be added to one of the more complete strategies. If successful it can really knock the wind out of the sieges.
Raids from the Rear and Flanks:
One way to deal with siege equipment is to have a waiting force to fall upon them from the rear. This is not a very reliable tactic. Sometimes you can be quite successful with it, other times it can all fall apart in miserable disarray. Pikemen are probably best as the siege engines are guarded well by macemen and pikemen who will rush to protect any that fall under attack. Spearmen tend to fall victim to them before destroying much. A good place to wait is across the first bridge leading to Dachet Foolbury.
Pictish boat warriors can be used instead of, or better yet, in conjunction with the pikemen. They are much weaker but can be stationed offshore on the enemy's western flank. Since the enemy brings few archers and they are usually otherwise occupied, the pictish warriors are not in much jeopardy while in the water. Their position offshore keeps them safe from marauding units, yet allows them to stay quite close to where many of the trebuchets will set up. They can therefore be stationed much closer to where they will be needed and react faster than the pikemen. A mercenary camp can be set up outside the castle to hire them. If destroyed just rebuild it. It's cheaper than a gong pit.
Unfortunately, they are not too hardy and will not survive much combat. It's their proximity that makes them effective. Use the boat warriors in small groups and hold most of them back as reserves. The trebuchets come in waves. The boat warriors should be ready to respond in similar fashion. A good force of pikemen, used in combination, will be slower to arrive, but add much needed punch.
When the attacking armies are given freedom in the field to set up as they wish, most siege engines advance forward and west. However when elements are added to restrict the way they set up, such as walls near the border, traps, troops in the field, obstructing buildings belonging to Tingle Uncton, etc., they may deploy some trebuchets to the east. So if you like the idea of raiding, under certain conditions you may want to deploy some pikemen and/or pictish boat warriors in the east as well.
Burn Them Out:
A great opportunity to try out burning carts, as a major defense or in a support role. I used 100 carts, very expensive, but with a little practice 50 or less seems to do the job. They seemed to work quite well with the two primary groupings of 25 each on the land strips between the marshes and water, and the two reserve groupings offset behind them. I tried attack groups of 2-4 at first, but came to much prefer sending them out one by one. You'll tend to spread them out more this way, lighting up larger patches and catching more equipment and troops. There will also be a time difference, prolonging the burn. It seldom takes more than two, maybe three carts to take down a trebuchet.
You cannot attack a unit directly, as troops would. Burning carts must use the "attack" button in the unit command box and target a specific spot with the huge, red, crossed swords in a circle. I had some pictish boat warriors safe in the water close by as a backup for stubborn trebuchets, but they weren't needed. In fact I was able to dispatch all the siege engines without any additional support. When they're done with their primary task you might be able to burn up additional troops, but you will have to employ some additional tactics to finish the mission. You could lure the remaining troops to your walls with waiting missile units, or put together a force and go after them. Once you get the hang of it this seems like a fairly reliable method.
Ambush the Siege Camps with Catapults:
This is a tactic that exploits prior knowledge of where the enemy will set up its siege camps. By placing one or two groups of catapults at the right places they can destroy the siege camps the moment they appear on the map and prevent any siege engines from being created. How's that for fair? When using two groups (the safest way), one group is stationed on the island on the other side of the first bridge leading to Dachet Foobury (B). The other group is stationed either at the flag pole of Tingle Uncton (A) or a short way out from both the south side of the westernmost marsh and the western shore (C). See the screen shot to see how this looks. The two siege camps do not appear at the same time; there is a wait for the second one to appear during which time the first group of catapults, having already done their job, will likely be attacked.
Six in each group will give you an almost guaranteed first shot take down. Three in each group should be just as effective but will probably take several shots, and are half the cost. This can also be done with one group of six catapults if placed at "C", where they should be in range of both camps. Taking down the first camp is easy. The trick is to survive until the second camp shows up. While waiting, target any troops that are advancing towards the catapults. Some ground troop support is also a good idea, say 12-18 pikemen. Be aware that battlefield conditions can influence where the siege camps set up. This is not a foolproof method.
Strengthen Existing Walls - Attack the Siege Engines:
The existing walls can be widened and strengthened. This will make a slightly longer perimeter which will accommodate a few more fire logs. Pitch ditches can be added also. But no matter how much you strengthen them, the trebuchets will smash simple walls to bits. You must counter the trebuchets, and secondarily the catapults and fire ballistae.
Adding man traps may help reduce the number of siege engines, but many will still survive. You need to employ one of the strategies to actively go after the siege engines mentioned above or anything else you can think up. Hit and Run, Burning Carts, Raids from the Rear and Flanks, and Ambushing the Siege Camps would all work, as well as the Single Bastion Defense mentioned below.
Defend from the Keep:
Retreat to, and defend the keep. 100 each of archers and crossbowmen, and 50 spearmen is a good sized force up to the task. It's probably best to man the walls until the knights are dispatched. For the main invasion, crossbowmen then work best on top of the barracks. With their shorter range, putting them further out front enables them to inflict a lot more damage sooner. Attackers seem to ignore the stairs. Archers go to the top of the keep, and spearmen guard outside the keep spread out a distance in front and set on stand ground to slow attackers and allow more time for archers and crossbowmen to target. It's not a bad idea to put about 10 archers on the barracks roof as well. Sometimes enemy archers will climb the tower or ladders and get on the wall where they can target crossbowmen while staying out of their range. From the barracks the archers can shoot back. While unnecessary, catapults can also be used, stationed to the side of the keep, maybe some even set well back near the barracks' stairs. If used, target carefully so you don't hit your own spearmen or take down the barracks. A total of twelve does such a good job they allow you to cut back troop requirements to 50 each of archers and crossbowmen plus the 50 spearmen.
You can also add boiling oil. One way is to erect an engineer's guild opposite the barracks with an oil smelter behind (buy the iron). Face the engineer guild's back wall toward the barracks or south with a wall connected to it along it's side facing the barracks. Station the oil engineers on it, rather than the barracks, since the enemy tend to advance a bit west of, and out of range of engineers on the barracks. You could put one oil engineer on the keep as backup. But I found oil engineers to be more trouble than they're worth in this mission, usually burning a lot of your own troops as well as the enemy's.
Single Bastion Defense:
This is so easy and effective it could be considered a cheat or exploit. Place an isolated bastion on the northeast border of the second marsh from the west with its door facing north towards the castle. Nothing else. Send at least 75 archers to the top simultaneously in two or more groups. Adding some crossbowmen is not a bad idea either. If some end up on the lower floor don't worry. When the first knights come into range the archers will bunch up on one side. Then you can bring the rest to the top. Leave the balance of your archers and spearmen on the main walls and gatehouse to repel laddermen.
As soon as your troops are inside the tower block off the entrance with a single wall tile. Troops must be transferred and locked in before the knights arrive and prevent placing the wall segment. If the door is left unblocked, the knights will ascend the tower and wreak havoc. If the knights arrive before you can get the troops to the tower, that's ok. Just deal with the first wave from the walls and transfer them after that wave of knights is killed.
Archers and crossbowmen can easily target and deal with the knights from the bastion. But the real fun begins with the main invasion. What happens is the enemy focuses on the path to the keep, the walls and gatehouse, and ignores the bastion for the most part. So they set up trebuchets as usual in range of the walls, but this puts them in range of your units on the bastion. This means you can easily target and destroy all the trebuchets, catapults and fire ballistae before almost any damage is done. You should take no more than a few light hits on the main walls and maybe a few catapult hits on the bastion.
You have no trouble dealing with all the troops that rush as well, since the laddermen are usually easily dealt with by the bastion units, backed up by remaining ranged and melee units on the walls and gatehouse. This leaves the remaining enemy troops at your mercy with nowhere to go. All that remains is to wait until the attack is spent, then send out a decent sized group of ranged and ground units to lure out small groups of the remaining, reluctant armored troops and eliminate them a few at a time, and finally destroying the siege camps.
This strategy can work with as few as 50 archers, but just barely.
Wall and Two Bastion Defense:
When I tried this defense I felt it was much more satisfying than most. A method of fighting it out that couldn't be argued as taking advantage of an exploit, a cheat, being less than honorable, etc. This is a terrific method and will give you a great and rewarding fight. And you could lose. Toe to toe with the siege army. Let them do their worst. No troops rushing in from the rear, no destroying siege camps, no miracle bastion, no straw walls to draw trebuchet fire, no retreating to the keep. You could use pitch and traps, but it's more fun without them.
Basically you just toughen up the walls, extend them out a bit, add a couple of bastions, set up a strong economy, cart in lots of goods, train a lot more missile troops and let the trebuchets bash away. See if you can survive. You need to repair the walls as you can while under fire and you must keep the bastions in good repair and standing (the most important part). Random hits on the top of the bastions can occur, sending archers and crossbowmen flying, so reserves are a good idea. If you can last, the enemy will eventually be spent and you can send a band of spearmen out to finally silence the relentless trebuchets and destroy the siege camps.
Razing the existing wall and building a replacement further out, even at the border, can give you a lot more interior room for industries and weapons workshops. But like the Two Bastion Defense it needs massive walls to be secure and they should be well manned. The gatehouses are the weakest points so I recommend recessing them and locating them behind one of the bastions. You can tough out the bombardment and/or mount counter attacks such as, catapults, forays from the castle, or raids from the rear or flanks. Traps and burning logs could also be employed. The screen shot shows two gates. You could reduce this to one. The western one is quite secure behind the bastion. The eastern one is a little more exposed and may or may not last. You can eliminate it or make it more secure by tucking it behind the eastern bastion although it will work quite well as shown.
Straw walls have been employed by some people. I consider this an exploit or trick and don't recommend it, and it certainly isn't necessary to win. The technique is to erect a fake (straw) wall in front of your main wall, either segments or a continuous wall, with the intention of fooling the trebuchets and catapults to set up further out, in range of the straw wall, but out of range of much of the main walls. Or if they still set up in their normal positions this wall will draw the siege engine fire, buying valuable time and absorbing much of the damage, and also usually attracting scaling by attacking troops using laddermen. The straw wall is not connected to the main wall so troops who end up on top if it have nowhere to go and present themselves as easy targets for archers and crossbowmen on the main wall or towers as well as their own siege engines.
Fallback walls are a valid defense used in many real castles, often concentric rings of walls that the enemy must successively breach, working towards the inner wall. As outer walls fall the defenders fall back to the next wall and defend until that one is breached, then fall back to the next, and so on. Since this castle is so small the concentric rings would actually just be short, straight, unconnected wall segments between the main wall and the keep. Pitch and traps can be placed between the various walls and burning logs can be employed. Burning logs may be a waste of money here as they could be shot off the wall before troops are close enough for them to be employed, but you may get good use from some of them. Burning logs and pitch don't work well together as the logs usually set off the pitch as they roll over. Pitch mixed with traps are a good combination. If used in conjunction with a straw wall to get the trebuchets to set up out of range of your fallback walls this can become an almost fail-safe no brainer. If you allow the trebuchets to set up normally and in range of some of these fallback walls, it can be quite a fun fight.
When the last of the enemy is vanquished, go out and smash the siege camps if they're still standing. Victory will now be yours. Actually you will get victory without destroying the siege camps, but sometimes you're given enough time.
But with victory comes a choice. You will be entreated by Lord Barkley to join The Hawk and himself, and by Sir William and Lady Seren to join them instead. So you must decide. Follow the King with Lady Seren and Sir William on the blue path to chapters 7, 8 and 9, or Lord Barclay and The Hawk on the green path to chapters 10, 11 and 12. Do not fret too much about your decision as once you complete the three chapters on the path you choose, you can go to the Path of War Campaign menu and play the three remaining chapters on the other path to complete all twelve.
Successful completion of a difficult mission. Good job!
*) denotes a former staff member.