Path of War, Chapter 8, Mission 2
PATH OF WAR: LOST KING CAMPAIGN
Hawk’s Nest: Mission 2
Click here for this mission’s saved game or if you would like to add your own walkthrough, or comment on this one.
“Three of the Hawk’s men control the majority of the estates in this county. If we are to survive his coming onslaught, we first need to consolidate our position here.”
Objectives for Victory:
- Kill Sir Hugo Blanc
- Kill Duke de Montparnasse
- Kill Lord Beaufort
- Your Lord Dies
- Sir William Dies
|Starting units:||carried over from mission 1|
|Available units:||all barracks troops, engineers, laddermen, all siege equipment, all mercenaries except assassins and pictish boat warriors|
|Map size:||large; map and castle layout carried over from mission 1|
|Starting Date:||continues from mission 1|
|Starting Stats:||gold 500 plus carry over | honor carried over | population carried over | popularity 80|
|Starting Goods:||all goods are carried over|
|Buy/Sell:||all goods and weapons|
In mission 1 you rescued Sir William and should have gotten your economy underway. Now you will need to build up your forces for more conquests. This mission is quite straight forward. Just kill three lords.
The Duke de Montparnasse and Lord Beaufort will not be too hard. Sir Hugo Blanc in the north has a much stronger castle and will give you a little more trouble, but he will be no match for your troops and their available weaponry. You have truly awesome power in missions 2 and 3.
Your immediate concern will be the Duke de Montparnasse, your close neighbor on the southeast who has turned against you. He will not invade, but his archers will target anything of yours they can. Your apple farmers, quarry workers, woodcutters, and anyone coming in or out of your gatehouse. If you have set up your buildings anything like I recommended in my mission 1 walk-through, you could withstand his harassment indefinitely. Food is the only requirement to survive, and you can buy extra at the market if necessary. I say that to illustrate the point that this is not an emergency. There is no time limit on this mission. You can take the time to observe and assess the situation and make appropriate preparations.
You’ll want to get rid of this nearby headache so you can move on with further conquests. But first cast an eye on your economy. You will want lots of various troops and defenses in mission 3 so continue to build it up to produce lots of goods, weapons, all four food types, royal food, ale, honor, and gold. With the room and time you have available this should be quite easy. Estates can be used to boost the economy, but you’re in such a good position that you don’t necessarily need to use them if you prefer not to. Pay particular attention to honor as you may want to use knights, and they require a lot.
I can’t stress this enough: if you set up a very strong economy you’ll have an abundance of gold and honor when the time comes to create a massive army.
Immediately put the game on pause (“P” key) and look around. See if there are any more buildings you should add before continuing.
Your first order of business should be to secure your food supply. If you’ve been relying on those apple farms to the right of the gate, they’re under fire and you won’t get many deliveries until the Duke de Montparnasse is eliminated. Some may also be in the way for certain strategies I’ll show you in dealing with the Duke. Meat is quite reliable, but since patch 1.3.1 will probably not be enough in the short term. If you don’t have enough already, quickly set up more hunter’s huts, apple and dairy farms out of range of the duke’s archers and ballista. You have lots of room to set up various food production outside your castle, buy it, or cart it in from your estates.
Check on weapons production. My layout had room for 17 weapons workshops, plus you could set up some outside as well. My choice was 10 fletchers, 2 tanners, 2 blacksmiths, 2 armorers, and 1 poleturner. Your choices may be different. I always go heavy on archers and in this case wanted knights and swordsmen with some pikemen. Crossbowmen are more attractive than they were before the patch, with increased killing power and range. You can always sell off weapons you don’t use and buy in any you’re short on. Check on ale and royal food production.
If you didn’t do it already in mission 1, set up jousting to increase your accumulation of honor. You can also set up a monastery and statues, along with the usual feasting, dances, and church to produce even more honor. I had 20 statues which (patch 1.3.1) produced two times the honor from jousting, and jousting outproduced feasting. Statues can easily bring you more honor than any other source. The monastery isn’t worth setting up when you have these other sources available. It only produces 1/4 of the honor from jousting in the location I had it set up, and one 1/8th of that from the 20 statues.
If you’re using estates, check on them to make sure they’re running and delivering the way you want. If you set up lots of iron mines at Quincetown and blocked delivery as I recommended in mission 1, don’t start iron deliveries until the Duke de Montparnasse is dealt with. There should be lots of it. If you hadn’t started taking advantage of it mission 1, you can set up six mines there plus you’ll need a third ox tether.
If you’re not going to use the available estates, that’s fine. You can easily get by without them in this mission. If you want to take advantage of them, though, now’s the time to purchase them if you haven’t already, and give them some attention. Much can be produced, especially food and royal food. Whitle and Scarcliffe are available and close by on the northwest. Quincetown to the northeast is also available and is your best source for iron, but is quite a distance away. Boorswell in the east belongs to the Duke de Montparnasse and will become yours when you defeat him, but has almost no room for production. After you dispose of the Duke you will have another large, close by estate to use where his castle used to stand.
If things went well in the previous mission you should have all the troops you need to storm the Duke’s castle. If you had severe losses, you have the time to make or buy weapons, train fresh troops and create siege equipment. You should have some weapons produced already.
DEALING WITH THE DUKE DE MONTPARNASSE:
There are many ways to attack the Duke’s castle:
- Level the castle with siege equipment.
- Punch a hole in the wall or take down the gate, then storm the keep with armored troops.
- Add a tower with a ballista to your wall to eliminate enemy units on close-by walls and the lookout tower.
- Build a tower close enough to target the Duke’s walls and towers with archers.
- Go over the castle walls with troops and ladders.
- Use ground based fire ballistae to eliminate all wall and tower units, then ground troops to finish the Duke.
Elements included in these approaches can be mixed and matched to suite your tastes. Two of the stickiest things to deal with are the archers in the lookout tower and the ballista on the bastion. They can be dealt with by:
- Trebuchets and catapults.
- Fire ballistae.
- Lots of archers from the ground, watching out for the burning logs.
- Your own tower with archers, placed in range. (For the Duke’s lookout tower only.)
- Your own tower with ballista. (Can target the lookout tower only, unless placed well out.)
- Hand to hand combat, by scaling the walls with armored troops.
- Arrow fire from the Duke’s own walls or towers from archers that have scaled the walls.
- Ignoring them by going around and attacking the back side.
Level the Castle:
The ballista on the enemy bastion has quite a range, so trebuchets may be a better choice than catapults unless you take out the ballista first. They will be quite slow, however. This could also be a good time to practice with the ram. Rams are destroyed quite easily by the archers so you should protect them with a couple of cats. You can usually get by the guards outside the gatehouse without much damage, but you could take some archers or armored units with you to deal with them.
You will still need ground troops to go in and get the Duke de Montparnasse, and his bodyguards on the keep can be troublesome. Placing archers on his walls and towers are a good idea to soften up or eliminate the troops on the keep, so I really prefer other methods.
A very effective way to eliminate all the defenders, even take down the duke himself if you have the patience. Two can do it, but six or more are much faster. Care must be taken in how you approach the castle. It’s very important to take down the fire ballista in the bastion first. I used a method of “hill hopping”.
Advance your fire ballistae to the top of the small hill labeled “B” in the screen shot below. Don’t go any closer or you’ll be in range of archers on the lookout tower and other locations. From “B” you can reach all troops on the bastion, front walls, gatehouse and lookout tower, plus the pikemen on the ground in front of the gatehouse.
Start by targeting your fire ballistae manually onto the bastion’s ballista. You may have to absorb a shot, but that’s ok, your first volley will take it out. You can then let them target on their own or you can do it manually. The important thing is to eliminate the rest of the archers on the bastion next. You can also shoot the spearmen and pikemen on the wall to the right but they are unimportant.
Positioning is quite critical to target units on the bastion, as intervening hills can obstruct the targeting. You must be square on top of the hill or a little towards the bastion, but not on the side of the hill away from the Duke’s castle. If you can find the “sweet spot” it works great. As long as one or two can target the ballista you’ll be able to take it out. If you can find the spot, all six can hit it. The bastion mounted ballista has more trouble targeting you or may be busy shooting your ox handlers, so you may well eliminate him before he gets a shot off at you.
Sometimes it can be very hard targeting the last remaining bastion archer from there. If you have a problem, send one fire ballista over to hill “A” and finish him off. Then clean off the rest of the walls that can be reached.
If you have problems positioning your ballistae on hill “B”, you can start on hill “A” instead. Then, after you clean off the top of the bastion, move to hill “B”.
When all wall units posing a threat to your fire ballistae are eliminated you can advance to hill “C”. Here you can get clearer shots at the top of the keep. At this point you may want to send in your armored units with a ladderman to scale the wall, advance to the keep and dispatch the Duke. The fire ballistae are capable of finishing him off from hill “C”, but pikemen and swordsmen will do a much faster job.
Scale the Walls:
An excellent, very clean way to take the castle, and probably the fastest. Don’t be afraid of this, it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems. The basic plan here is to send armored troops in first to kill most troops stationed on the walls and towers, plus eliminate the ballista, clearing the way for your archers, following behind, to get to the lookout tower, and then the gatehouse, with less losses. Once in the lookout tower the archers help the armored troops finish clearing the wall and gatehouse, then target the archers and swordsmen on the keep. Archers that are not on the very top of the tower advance to the gatehouse when the ballista is neutralized and target the same units as the tower archers. Armored troops gather at the top of the engineer’s guild steps, then advance to the keep in one group. Here’s the details:
Unless you encountered some real trouble in mission 1 you should have a decent sized force left, 40-80 archers, 10-14 pikemen, and 6-8 swordsmen. Use them all. (In the screen shot I used only 30 archers, 8 pikemen and 5 swordsmen.) Spearmen will not be of much use here but you may as well send them in. If you’re short of troops, you do have time to train more to make up the difference or even assemble a larger force.
There are only a few places where you can scale the wall. I like the spot just past the enemy’s lookout tower on the north wall. You come in under fire from the archers in the tower and nearby wall, but you avoid the ballista and the pikemen stationed in front of the gatehouse and you can get to the archers on top of the lookout tower fast.
Other spots include just to the right of the burning logs, just to the right of the gatehouse, and on the backside. To the right of the burning logs puts you under more archer fire than using the north wall, and puts you in range of the ballista and you must deal with the pikemen in front of the gatehouse. Going in just to the right of the gatehouse has the same dangers, but offers the possible advantage of having a shorter path to both the ballista and the keep down the engineer’s guild stairs.
Here’s how to scale the north wall by the lookout tower. The trick here is to avoid the burning logs, which is actually not difficult. This method assumes a recommended force of at least 40 archers, 10 pikemen, and 6 swordsmen. First mass all your assault troops inside your castle near the inside of your main gatehouse. Do not let them come around the outside and enter your castle through the front gate; provide an alternate gate or hole in the wall if you don’t have one already. Next, demolish the two westernmost apple farms nearest your gatehouse. This allows a clear path from the gatehouse to the ladder you will be placing just east of the lookout tower that won’t trip the burning logs. When advancing you must have your troops go through your gatehouse to the ladder in order to insure they avoid the logs!
Send in two small groups of laddermen targeted to the same spot of wall. Three each is usually good, just so that one makes it across and gets his ladder up. Then move your armor in, targeting your pikemen to the Duke’s archers in the lookout tower, and the swordsmen to the archers on the wall between the lookout tower and the gatehouse. Any pikemen over ten could join the swordsmen.
Hold your archers back inside your gatehouse, then advance them to the top of the Duke’s lookout tower the moment your first pikemen get to the top of the ladder. Some will fall on the way to the ladder, but most will make it.
As soon as the swordsmen kill all troops on their piece of wall, send them to the bastion to take out the ballista. Force them through the gatehouse and past the few units stationed on the wall to the right of the gatehouse. They don’t have time to be delayed by engaging them, they must proceed to the top of the bastion. Just select them and keep clicking on the top of the bastion until they get past. The pikemen will take care of those few units shortly.
When the swordsmen get to the bastion be sure they eliminate all archers and the ballista on the top. Then proceed back to the top of the engineer’s guild steps to rendezvous with the pikemen.
Meanwhile as soon as the pikemen have killed all archers in the lookout tower have them proceed to the top of the engineer’s guild steps to meet up with the swordsmen. Do not go onto the top of the gatehouse, just pass through and take care of the few remaining wall units the swordsmen had to push past.
When the archers arrive at the lookout tower, some will be on the top, some inside, and some on the surrounding walls. Leave them there and let them target what they can. Among other things they should clean off the top of the gatehouse and help with the surrounding walls. As soon as the gatehouse and the intervening wall are clear, advance all archers not at the top of the tower onto the wall just to the left of the gatehouse. As soon as the swordsmen just make it to the top of the bastion to deal with the ballista, move those archers to the top of the gatehouse. Not rushing to the gatehouse too soon prevents a ballista hit to the archers on the gatehouse, which can be very nasty. They will help take down remaining archers on the bastion and target the archers on the keep, which the archers in the tower should already be doing. You will lose many archers, but if you started with plenty you should be fine. When the keep archers are dead, your archers are very effective at killing the Duke’s swordsmen on the keep.
When the swordsmen and pikemen rendezvous at the top of the engineer’s guild stairs, send them as a single group down and across the inner compound and up on the keep roof to dispatch the Duke.
If you really don’t like giving up those apple farms you can set up two parallel walls with a space between to provide a protected corridor from the gatehouse to over near the trees and the waiting ladder.
Missile Attack From Towers:
I don’t think this is as honorable a way to fight as attacking the castle directly, but it does work. Basically you’re just going to sit in a tower and pick off all the troops you can reach, then smash a hole with a catapult or scale the wall, and send in some armored troops to administer the death blow. There are several variations on it.
Set up a square or round tower, or bastion, set in the wall to the east of your main gatehouse near your granary and put a ballista in it. Not too close or the archers in the lookout tower will be able to target it. Remove the staircase if you need to, to make room. The actual ballista position over the ground should not be more than two grid tiles in front of your wall. If you want to speed things up a little, by using square towers you can get up to three towers, with three ballistae, in a row.
You can go make a sandwich with this one, because it does all the work and it takes a short while. From this position the ballista should be able to reach the lookout tower, gatehouse and some of the keep. You can then send in ground troops to scale the wall, as in the above method, and possibly take out the enemy ballista on the bastion before proceeding to the keep, or smash a hole with a catapult for them. Archers can lend support if you wish.
One caution here, keep an eye on your ballista. If it starts to target peasants at the Boorswell estate to the east, you may have to do some manual targeting to keep it on task.
Similar to the above method but using archers in the tower instead of a ballista. This is much faster, but you will lose some archers. To get them in range you must set the tower out further. If you don’t mind deleting some apple farms it’s easy to place a tower where they were and run an access wall straight back to the main wall. This will give your archers reasonable cover while getting to the tower. That is the trick with this one, getting your archers into the tower without too many losses. Some players use ground level access and set up two single, parallel walls with a single space between, a narrow corridor, leading back to the gatehouse or out of range, to give the archers cover while accessing the tower.
You can use a lookout tower, but I prefer a square tower if you can afford it because it still has a fairly small footprint and will hold 18 archers on top, enough for the job. You must be sure to place it close enough to the enemy castle to target the lookout tower and gatehouse. You won’t be able to reach the keep, so the archers up there are more of a problem. However, you could add a tower ballista when safe, to target the keep, or scale the walls afterwards and have your archers use the enemy’s towers, as in the “Scale the Walls” method above. Either way you’ll have a much easier time of it and can scrub the keep top clean of all but the Duke before ground troops go in.
This is the last method I discovered and is quite easy. Tunnelers are easy to forget, but a reacquaintance is in order in Stronghold 2 since they have acquired new and exciting capabilities. Here are the basic differences between tunnelers in Stronghold 1 vs. Stronghold 2.
- Ability to target a specific spot of wall, a specific building, unit, or small group of units.
- Up to five engineers can be used per tunnel to speed the digging.
You should quickly realize, as I did, that placing a tunnel or two could quickly take down the lookout tower, breach the wall and allow your armored troops to rush in to the keep and kill the Duke. They could also take down the gatehouse and bastion. The tunnel is dug by engineers, but they must travel from the campfire. Existing engineers at the engineers guild or stationed anywhere else will not be used, only fresh recruits.
Enemy towers can be targeted even when behind layers of adjacent wall. When they fall, many occupants are blown off and many are killed or injured. Usually the first tunnel turns towers into a ruin and a second tunnel must be used to bring it down completely. In larger towers units may survive and remain on top of a damaged tower, still able to fire. Sometimes some surrounding wall will be destroyed. Often you need a third tunnel to destroy the surrounding wall to make a complete breach. Targeting walls themselves will take out a decent sized section, including burning logs. Troops on the wall will not be killed but are deposited on the ground, sometimes marching back into the castle to relocate themselves on another section of wall. Buildings can be targeted, but not those enclosed behind walls unless there is a free pathway through to them other than a gatehouse. You can actually tunnel under your own walls to get to a target, even digging from inside your own castle, if within range.
You cannot tunnel under moats, rivers or seas. (as of patch 1.3.1)
So, to use them in this mission, I’d recommend setting up two just south of your castle near the west wall. To stay in range of the lookout tower they must not be further away than your western wall. Target the first to the lookout tower, and the second to the wall under the burning logs. This should demolish the tower and kill the archers, but will probably leave the shell. If this doesn’t make a complete breach you’ll need one more tunnel. More could be used also, for the gatehouse and the bastion. They will tunnel under navigable hills.
You can then run your melee troops through the breach for the kill, possibly even setting up a ladder and sending in archers to the top of the wall behind where the lookout tower used to be, first. They can eliminate much of the resistance on the keep roof by the Duke’s archers and guards.
Assaulting the Back Side:
To my surprise attacking the rear of the castle turned out to be a pretty easy, reliable, and fast method of taking out the Duke.
It’s a long march and when you get around near the back corner you’ll be under constant fire, so you must have a well coordinated plan and keep moving. There’s at least two ways to do it once you get there.
This can be done quite handily with just archers. 50-60 or more is good. 30 can get by if you’re very careful. March around giving the ballista a wide berth. One option here is to stop and take out the ballista and archers on the bastion as you pass by. As you come north from the map edge, turn northwest and head towards the spot where the main southern wall meets the irregular outcroppings at the corner of the castle. Stay back a little from the wall or some archers will be too close to fire. You should be able to target all units on the bastion.
As soon as they are dealt with move immediately around to the back as you will be under some fire from archers on the keep. Head for the spot behind the keep’s southeast corner where there’s pretty good shelter from archers on and near the lookout tower. Again stay back just a bit from the wall so all archers can fire. Zoom in and check that none are waxing their bows. But don’t move them too far out or the lookout tower archers can target them. It’s a little tricky but there is just enough room. After killing his keep archers, your archers will target the pikemen and then the duke himself. If you still have 30 or more archers left it won’t take that long to kill the Duke.
Don’t be fooled, however. Your archers will target the duke, even though sometimes you can’t be sure. If you zoom in you’ll probably see a pikeman towards the front of the keep (campfire side) with full health. A little further back almost near the center of the keep roof is the duke and another pikeman right on top of him. He will usually show full health as well. You should see arrows striking up through the roof from below and hear cries of pain. For some reason when you select a lord together with troops very near to him you sometimes see only the troop’s health bars and not the lord’s. The fact that you see two green health bars is good. They’re not being hit. The lord’s health bar, the one that may be invisible is the one that’s taking all the hits. If you play around sometimes you can select him. Shortly the duke should fall and the entire castle will disappear in a puff of smoke.
If you’re having trouble or don’t have many archers left, by all means bring in the armored troops. They can use ladders to climb the walls in the rear and go around to the engineer’s guild stairs for access to the keep. or you can use a catapult or two to punch a quick hole in the wall and march on in. Bring the catapults with you (slow) or build a siege camp on the back side (faster). The reason I don’t suggest bringing armored troops with the archers as the first choice is that, because archers travel so much faster, by the time you get your armor around near the back wall your archers will usually have finished the job!
This method can also be done with ground troops alone but is a bit more iffy. Without archer support they’ll take more hits going in and have to fight more troops at the keep. I’ve done it successfully with 15 pikemen and 8 swordsmen, but I recommend going in with more if you’re not taking archers. To do this, set up a siege camp tight against the far trees in the indentation in the trees at the back of the duke’s castle. Make a catapult or two and move them south, hugging the tree line until the trees turn west. Now inch them out a bit at a time until they can just target the rear wall near the southeast corner. Usually you’ll be just out of range of the ballista and the archers on the keep. If you have trouble shield them with some mantlets. Make sure you make the hole in the wall before the troops arrive. They’ll be under fire and must keep moving straight into the castle and make for the keep. Target them all specifically to the Duke. Unless you brought a lot of extra troops you won’t have the force to eliminate everybody, so focus on him.
When the duke falls, so does his castle and you will be the owner of what is now the St Columb Minor estate. You will also gain control of Boorswell, just north of the bridge, which was controlled by the Duke. Boorswell is small and has little room for production.
Your new estate of St Columb Minor is a good one if you want extra goods, food, royal food, etc., since it’s very close to your castle and has quite a bit of flat land for building. Set up any type of production you want and some carters. If you had iron production going at Quincetown and a large cache of it stored there, set up additional carter posts and start transporting it now, as the carts will no longer be in jeopardy.
THE TWO LORDS OF THE NORTH:
Now turn your attention to conquests in the north. Lord Beaufort is in a small wooden fort with a very light guard. He will be quite easy. Sir Hugo Blanc, however has a large, formidable castle which will take some thought. You have so many troop types available, plus a strong economy and whatever time you need, that there are many ways to get to Sir Hugo Blanc. This is a great time to try out alternate strategies.
One is to use siege engines to breach a hole in the wall and send in knights straight to the keep for Sir Hugo. Trebuchets can be set up out of range to make the hole, but they can be quite slow with their erratic targeting. I like using catapults, protected by mantlets and knights, to breach the walls faster than trebuchets.
It’s also quite feasible to send in a ram, protected by cats and knights, to take out the small eastern gatehouse, then just ride your knights in to the keep as above. Two or three tunnels can achieve a similar result by taking out the corner tower and making a breach there.
Another way is to assemble a good sized force of melee and ranged units, scale the walls with ladders, or use siege towers, overrun the walls, take the towers, then advance on the keep. This is a sound strategy, but will take quite a number of troops and some time. There’s a lot of troops to fight through, and towers to capture. Losses will be fairly high and the only way down from the wall to the keep is via the barrack’s and engineer’s guild stairs, putting you under fire from many towers. I really don’t recommend it.
You can also attack from the eastern bridge, but this is much harder.
So decide what method you want to use and look toward your troop situation. You will need troops in mission 3 to defend your castle and you won’t have too long to prepare once that mission starts. Beginning to build up your force now would be prudent. If you have a decent economy running you should have lots of weapons, food, goods to sell, gold and honor. Create the troops you need for your excursion north. I would suggest 30 mounted knights and 50-100 archers as well; they’re always handy and travel fast. Set up 2-4 stables, and get the knights trained and mounted. You can take other troops as well but they probably won’t be needed. You’ll see crossbows, swordsmen and pikemen in the screen shots around Sir Hugo’s castle, but I never used them.
NEUTRALIZING LORD BEAUFORT’S TROOPS:
When ready head east to the bridge, cross it, and advance north to Lord Beaufort’s fort. Killing the last of the three lords will trigger mission 3. I recommend leaving Lord Beaufort until last as he can be killed quickly with just two knights, leaving them with a much shorter journey back to the castle for mission 3 and insuring that all your other units will already be stationed at the castle. However, killing his men first will let you operate around his fort unhampered.
Camp out well south of Lord Beaufort’s fort. Send in 30 or more archers, two groups of 15, just in range of the spearmen out front. Take them out, then advance slightly and target the troops on the walls, moving in even further for the ones further back on the side walls. Your right hand group should then advance around to the side to reach the troops on the back wall. Advancing too close to the wall will prevent you from targeting them. Stay back, but still in range. Group your archers around the flagpole and capture the estate. Do not disturb Lord Beaufort yet. Leave him for last.
ATTACKING SIR HUGO BLANC’S CASTLE:
After making it safe to operate in the area around Lord Beaufort’s fort I stationed all my troops just east of it, safely out of range of Sir Hugo Blanc in the green castle. Set your knights on “stand ground” so they won’t take it on themselves to rush over and kill Lord Beaufort. The easiest way to get to Sir Hugo himself is to knock a hole in his wall and ride in with a group of knights straight to the keep, have them dismount, and make straight for him on the roof. Here are at least four ways to make the hole:
Using a Ram:
One of the easiest and fastest ways to get your knights to Sir Hugo’s keep is by knocking down his eastern gatehouse with a ram. Set up a siege camp just to the north of the clump trees on the northeast corner of Lord Beaufort’s fort, and as close to both them and the hills to the east as possible.
Make a ram and four cats, and bring up ten of the mounted knights. Send these all in as a group heading directly for the eastern gate. Almost immediately, and certainly before the group has gotten half way between the siege camp and Sir Hugo’s border, run the knights ahead and in front of the burning logs mounted south of the gate to trip them. Knights take very little damage from logs, so they should be fine, even if hit. They may all still stay mounted. Once the logs are tripped send them to wait outside the gatehouse and set them on “defensive stance”.
While you’re waiting, bring the other 20 knights up just south of the siege camp ready to ride. When the group of ram and cats gets near the gatehouse, target the ram to it. Once the ram gets there, about three taps and it’s down. Then rush in your 20 mounted knights, waiting back near the fort, into Sir Hugo’s castle directly to the keep and have them dismount. You can add in any knights still mounted by the gate if you wish. Set them all on “aggressive stance” and enter the keep. Kill the guards on the lower floor, then advance up to the roof for Sir Hugo. When you get to the roof I recommend spreading your knights out a little to attack from different angles. Punch through and try to have some attack him from the other side (the front of the keep). The tower ballistae can be devastating if they send a shot your way. I’ve seen a dozen knights blown clear off the keep by a single bolt and had the final attack sent into complete disarray. Spreading out will minimize the risk.
Takes more time since engineers have a long way to travel, but is simple, safe, and hassle free. Before placing the tunnel entrances go back to your castle and seal up any opening you may have made on the west side and close any gates you may have constructed except for the original large gatehouse. Now set up three or four tunnel entrances in the same spot I recommended for the siege camp, northeast of Lord Beaufort’s fort. Limiting the exit from the castle to the original gatehouse insures that the engineers will travel up the eastern side of the map and not the western side, which would be disastrous, as the path would lead under the extreme missile fire from the western side of Sir Hugo’s castle. You can reopen pathways after the engineers are on the move.
Target the round tower and wall around it. This should take down the tower and create a breach. Ride in with your knights, all 30 if you wish and carve up Sir Hugo.
Erect a siege camp northeast of Lord Beaufort’s fort as you did for the ram. Send ten knights over to guard the siege camp and set on aggressive stance, but station them well behind the camp in the hills, out of range of the tower ballista. The building of the siege camp may trigger groups of enemy swordsmen to attack and destroy it. The ten knights can easily deal with them.
The first task is to eliminate the ballista on the round tower in the southeast corner of the castle. This will allow your trebuchets to operate much closer, staying just out of archer range. Build two fire ballistae and two mantlets. Advance them as a group northwest towards the diagonal border separating Lord Beaufort’s estate from Sir Hugo’s. Stop short in the middle of the slightly lighter band of grass between the siege camp and the border, which should be a little less than half way between the two. Here you can target the enemy ballista in the round tower on the southeast corner of the castle but be out of range of the archers on the same tower. Take out the ballista.
As soon as it’s eliminated create some trebuchets and set them up on that same band of lighter colored grass, but just slightly behind the fire ballistae to be sure they’re out of archer range. Bring the ten knights over to guard the trebuchets and set on “aggressive stance”. I recommend four to six trebuchets. The more you set up, the faster you’ll have the wall breached and be on the move as their erratic targeting makes progress slow. Target the same round tower on the corner as it still contains crossbowmen and archers. Bring the other 20 knights up behind the trebuchets ready to ride.
As soon as the tower and wall falls and there is a way into the castle, rush in the waiting 20 mounted knights and any of the 10 siege camp guards that are still mounted, directly to the keep. Have them dismount and enter the keep as described before, not forgetting to change them to “aggressive stance”.
I like this method a little better than the trebuchets since it’s faster. It’s similar, but uses catapults instead. They target better and will destroy the tower faster, but must get much closer to do it.
As before, send two fire ballistae with two mantlets to the same spot to take out the enemy ballista in the round tower. You could then have it target some of the remaining archers and crossbowmen in the tower. Then build and advance six catapults and twelve mantlets to the spot shown in the screen shot, inside Sir Hugo’s border and east of the corner tower, and out of the path of any burning logs. Be sure all the catapults are inside Sir Hugo’s border so they are in range of the tower. Move the ten knights with them, but as a separate group, keeping them close to the mantlets for cover. Moving the catapults and mantlets as a single, but separate group from the knights seems to enable the mantlets to provide better protection. Adjust as necessary to keep at least some of the mantlets in front of the catapults.
The 10 knights are your primary defense against patrolling ground troops outside the castle. They’re probably best set on “stand ground” and targeted manually to any enemy that threatens. That way they’ll stay put under the mantlets and not leave their post and run around smashing buildings.
You could also take along 30 or so archers if you like, again, as a separate group, but mingled with the mantlets. They should be able to take out the remaining troops in the tower and help deal with roving bands of troops outside the castle. But you really don’t need them with the cover the mantlets provide.
As soon as the tower comes down and a hole is opened up in the wall the 20 knights go in for the kill as before.
Upon killing Sir Hugo Blanc his castle will disappear and be replaced by an estate called Stainforth, now owned by you. Start your troops heading for home. If you’ve left Lord Beaufort for last you now have all the time you want to get your troops back to the castle. Just leave those two knights near him to dispatch him when you’re ready to trigger mission 3. Take a look around at your castle. You can take any time you need before the end of mission 2 to create more troops and erect defenses in preparation for the Hawk’s attack to come in the next mission.
Be warned, you will only have about a year to prepare before the Hawk invades in mission 3. In a years time at 100 popularity the maximum number of troops you can train from the flow of new peasants is a little over 100. That’s as fast as they will come. If you want to add more than 100 then you may want to train them now, before triggering mission 3. It’s also possible to disband and retrain current troops to a hardier, more useful type. You also may be able to put some industries to sleep in mission 3 if necessary, to create additional peasants for training. For a small amount of gold you can also build up an band of armed peasants now with the intention of retraining them in the next mission.
If you choose to make Sir Hugo the last lord to fall, you should get the victory screen and be taken to mission 3 right away. You’ll have to quick march everybody back to the castle at the start of that mission. This is still ok, since they will have about a year for the journey before the bridge is finished and the Hawk invades.