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Isaiah last won the day on December 25 2020

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About Isaiah

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  • Birthday 01/07/1999

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  1. New Years is right around the corner, so I thought that now would be a good time to post this thread. Do you have any New Years resolutions for next year? How have you done on yours from this (soon to be over) year? For myself, I didn't set any this past year. For the following year, one of my goals is to spend less time browsing forums and social media, and instead, I'd should spend that time looking at and doing more productive stuff.
  2. If you are new to the series in general, it might be helpful to play through the tutorial and some of the historical campaigns if you haven't already. The first one "The Call to Arms" will teach you the basics of moving troops and building your castle. "Saladin's Conquest" focuses more on offensive gameplay, and the "Crusader States" one will help you learn how to play skirmish mode. Also, when I play, it generally takes me some time to get castle walls up. The computer especially has an advantage early on with building because it doesn't have to move a mouse or anything to build. Instead, it can build a lot at once. I wouldn't feel discouraged if it looks like the computer has an early lead.
  3. Congrats on finishing your PhD! What was the degree in?
  4. This competition looks interesting. It is a great way to get people talking about the series again. I might enter though I don't have much faith in my mapmaking skills. I definitely think this contest will generate some good maps to play.
  5. Firdt of all, I like the new notification system. It's an easy way to keep track of what's happening on the forums and the best part is being able to configure what sends notifications and which method it uses to send the notification. With that said, I have some suggestions for improving it. First, can we configure the notification system to encompass the downloads section as well? For instance, I would like a notification when a file I submitted there is approved or disapproved. Another example would be a notifications about comments being made on a submission. As far as I am aware, the notification system only applies to the forum with the downloads section using a different system. My other request is with regards to jumping to posts linked in a notification. This causes the jumped-to post to be highlighted in white which is great for finding the post. Unfortunately, the color of the text in the post does not appear to change with the highlight making the post hard to read on the default dark skin. Can the foreground color on the highlighted post be changed to black to improve contrast?
  6. Hi Chris, I am glad you liked reading my write-up. As far as writing it up as a walkthrough goes, I think I will respectfully decline. While it is true that I have written up the bulk of it already, I would still have to make adjustments which I don't have the time to make. Furthermore, there are already some good walkthroughs for these missions, some of which I utilized to various extents for my playthrough. I have indeed checked out the conquest trail. I have done like the first three or so levels. It definitely is interesting; however, I have not spent much time on it because I also like the castle simulation aspect of Stronghold 2 in addition to the military aspects of the game.
  7. Another update on my progress: I have made it through chapter 8 of the war campaign. The very first task I was given was to relieve Sir William from the enemy's siege. This was a fairly easy task. I sent all of my troops located outside the castle as well as my lord up to the south edge of the cluster of trees near Sir Hugo's men and Sir William's encampment. I also setup a siege camp right there and buy three fire ballistae and two catapults. I used the fire ballistae to take out the enemy fire ballistae and as well as the two trebuchets. Meanwhile, I aimed the catapults at the enemy crossbowmen and swordsmen encamped in front of the siege camp. Once the enemy fire ballistae were taken care of, I sent my men to the western encampment and allowed them to slaughter the smaller group of forces that are there. At the same time, I sent my lord off to Sir William's encampment to go rescue him. Once this is done, I gathered up my new archers and sent them to the same location as my other troops to help kill the remaining siege troops. I should note that the first time I tried this part of the level, I sent Sir William home to my keep too late, and I lost due to the time limit. (He was so close to the keep; if I had another month or two, he would have made it!) Thus, I decided this time that I would send Sir William back without a delay. As it turns out, I made progress much quicker the second time and finished the first mission within a little more than two years. My next mission is to defeat the three local sovereigns that pledge their swords to the Hawk. Now, I should note that since I was preoccupied with lifting the enemy's siege, I did not spend much time building my castle. (I built some things to deal with crime, and that was about it.) Thus, the first order of business was to start weapon production and building up the castle. After doing that, I ran into another problem: my neighbor was killing all my apple farmers, so I ended up with no food in the granary and none being delivered. As one may guess, my popularity plummeted significantly as I didn't notice the issue until I was out of food and people began leaving. With my popularity in the red, I decided it would be easier to make use of a small trick in Stronghold. The game will reset your popularity to 70 if your popularity is very low as well as your population. I also used the market to buy in a bunch of food after I made use of that trick. (It still took a while for my economy to recover.) Meanwhile, I decided to strike back against Duke de Montaparnasse. First, I had my remaining ballistae from the earlier rescue mission destroy the Duke's ballista in the tower. This was simple enough although I lost mine as well. I then hired a bunch of laddermen (this required me to wait for my economy to recover) and had them place them on the enemy's walls closest to the tower nearest me. I ordered my remaining melee forces as well as my two lords to ascend the ladders and slaughter the archers in the tower. I also had placed my archers on the ground in front, but the enemy archers eventually killed all of my archers. Most of the rest of my men died while taking the tower, so I eventually was left with just my two lords. Nonetheless, they were enough to kill the remaining defenders on the walls and then the Duke himself. Now with that meddlesome duke out of the way, I could focus a bit more on getting my defenses in place. I started building an outer wall with gatehouses spread starting where the thick bunch of trees are. I continued to expand it clockwise as I got more stone (or bought it). I also started building a moat around this outer wall layer as additional defense. Sadly, I never got around to fully finishing this outer wall, but it still managed to do its job well in the siege later (in the third mission). Meanwhile, during this time, I noticed that Sir Hugo Blanc's castle had completely disappeared from the map! The estate that was once his castle had turned into a neutral village estate. I reloaded some of my saves, and I found that it had disappeared sometime during the first mission. I have no idea what triggered this, and I didn't really feel like redoing the entire level (as least not now), so I pressed forward with my attack on the remaining foe: Lord Beaufort. His castle was stunningly easy to defeat. All I had to was clear the wall defenders with some of my own archers, and then five knights wre more than enough to defeat the lord. After defeating Lord Beaufort, the third mission began. During this time, I'm still fortifying my defenses, but I do not make much progress becausea clump of trees had gotten in my way of building. Eventually, the time came when the Hawk began his siege. I sent my knights from earlier to go quickly destroy the siege camp before any siege equipment left it. I then retreated them to inside my outer walls (which as I noted earlier were never finished.) Later, the Bull joins the Hawk's men and sets up his own siege camp. I was unable to destroy this siege camp before he got his siege equipment out, but my knights made very quick work of his equipment, so my walls stood tall. Despite destroying the enemy's siege equipment, I did not defeat all the laddermen, so a few ladders ended up on my walls. This was not much of an issue because due to the way my castle was setup, most of the enemy troops navigated my walls counterclockwise giving my archers and crossbowmen plenty of time to kill them. A few of them made it near my keep, but I had stationed enough pikemen to hold them off. Before I knew it, the siege was already over with my victory despite my small army. (I only had about 40 archers, 30 crossbowmen, and 10 or so pikemen plus the knights defending it.) Here was my castle after the siege finished: Finally, the last task was upon me. It was time to storm the Hawk's castle and finish him. To accomplish this, I decided I was going to bring down the gatehouse using several battering rams. After that, I hired about six fire ballistae and had them destroy the ballistae on the ground and in the towers. Next, I advanced my archers and crossbowmen towards the towers in an attemmpt to clear out the remaining wall defenders. Unfortunately, the Hawk had several killing pits right in front of the bridge, and I lost a lot of troops to it. I did manage to gain a footing in his southern tower, but I did not kill as many troops as I'd like. From here, I allowed the game to run for some time, long enough to get enough resources to hire about 25 pikemen. These pikemen alongside the archers I hired were more than enough to storm the keep and take the Hawk's head. Victory was mine! I also finished chapter 9, the last chapter left for me in the war campaign. In this mission, I'm charged with sieging and ultimately killing Lord Barclay with the help of Sir William and the King. Right at the start of the mission, there is an enemy tower ballista firing at my troops. Thus, the first task is to get rid of it. I select a single one of my fire ballistae and move it to where it is just in range to fire at the ballista. For some reason, my fire ballista has a slightly longer range, so I am able to dispatch it without casualties. I go ahead and use the same fire ballista to pick off the remaining mongonels near my starting location. The southwestern ballista is out of range of this single fire ballista, so I leave it alone for the time being. With the guarding siege equipment out of the way, I then gather my army and approach the bridge. While doing this, I also take my fire ballista from earlier and take a catapult with it. I slowly moving them along the bridge and carefully pick off enemy troops and destroy walls as they come in range. This is much easier said than done; I had to reload several times because either I triggered a mantrap and lost one of my siege equipment while advancing along the bridge, or I went a little too far and into the enemy's fire. Eventually, I am able to destroy the outermost wall defenses by doing this. Destroying the second wall layer is a bit tougher because of the tower ballistae in the square tower behind the second wall layer and the one in the far southwestern round tower (the same one I could not destroy earlier.) First thing I do is take a single spearman and have him trigger one of the man traps on the bridge. This makes thing easier for later. Next, I bring up my other catapults and fire ballistae along with the cat. The cat will play a vital role here. Having grouped them all together, I send them up along the eastern hill border while slowly picking off the wall defenders on the second wall. Once most of those defenders fall, I then focus my attention on the ballista in the square tower. I have all my catapults target that tower. This is where the cat is important as I am under fire by both of the previous mentioned ballistae. It offers just enough protection to take down that square tower (and the ballista along with it) with my catapults. I then retreat my catapults and fire ballistae out of the range of the other ballista. The next part was perhaps the most frustrating part of the siege. I needed to take out that ballist in the southwestern tower, but I didn't have a way to do so without coming under fire. To make matters worse, there were a few pikemen on the way to getting in range of that ballista, and pikemen can survive three or so bolts from ballista. Anyway, it was mostly a matter of trial and error and quite a few reloads, but I managed to take out the ballista with only one of my fire ballistae remaining. At this point, my remaining fire ballista has free reign to pick off the straggling troops in the castle's perimeter and on the second wall layer as there are no enmey siege equipment that can destroy it. I carefully use my fire ballista to destroy the mongonel on the third wall layer as well. (This is easier said than done as well due to the ballista in the tower near the keep.) Now, I setup my trebuchets. I set up the first one beside the hill where my catapults destroyed the square tower earlier. I had it fire at the round tower with the mongonel that was near the keep. The other one took a lot of trial and error (and many reloads) to place it in range of the opposing tower ballista without it noticing the trebuchet. Here is an image of the locations: From here, it is just a matter of waiting for my trebuchets to wreak havoc in the inner sanctum of Lord Barclay's castle. Once most of the remaining siege equipment is destroyed (especially the tower siege equipment), I charge in with my troops straight for Lord Barclay's head. I didn't even need the King's assistance. With that, I have successfully completed the entire war campaign in Stronghold 2. Woohoo!
  8. An update on my progress: I have indeed managed to complete chapters 12 and 7 today. I'll talk about chapter 12 first since I did it first. The mission itself is a very short siege mission, and you have a lot of help for the mission. The catch is that you are racing against your opponents in an attempt to capture the crown first. Despite how short and simple this mission appears, it took me several reloads to finally get it. On my first few tries, I tried the reckless strategy of sending all my troops in at the frontlines of the assault. While it is a very tempting and reasonable-seeming strategy, it's a mistake for several reasons. First, I lost many of my troops to the the King's defenses and traps that are scattered throughout the castle. In addition, I end up losing all of my faster troops, and my men actually end up far behind my competition due to the ballistae and traps. Thus, a different strategy is needed. In this case, being patient and careful with your troops pays off. I let my friends Barclay and the Hawk trigger all the traps in front of me, and I left my knight in a safe position. Then once all the traps have been set off and the path is clear, I charge forth with my troops and head straight to the crown. Another thing that helps with this mission is to save often. It's very easy to make a mistake and have to reload, but the majority of the siege is conducted the same, so there is no point to repeating those parts. Moving on, chapter 7 is a defensive mission. You are assigned control of the abbey, and it's your job to defend it against Lord Barclay's attacks. This is made a bit difficult due to the fact that the abbey is located in a very small and cramped area. The first time I tried the mission, I had a lot of trouble getting weapon production up and going and eventually lost. One thing I did notice during that playthrough was that only crime was an issue; rats and gong were not an issue. That meant I could save 40 wood and 2 workers on my next try. The main strategy to use here is to start weapon production early (as in as early as possible), and keep it going throughout the level. You also want the game to move at a slower pace. I normally play at game speed 35 (because that is the default speed), but I slowed it down to 25 for this game. That allows me to manage my defenses during sieges easier. The defensive strategy is mostly straight forward as long as you are constantly producing new weapons. Crossbowmen and archers are always important, and I also recruited spearmen to deal with ladders and swordsmen to deal with the enemy swordsmen that breach your walls with ladders. That said, some forethought is needed for the defense. Pitch is an exceptionally good defense, and one of the first things you want to do is buy the estate west of you for a constant supply of pitch. For the first two invasions, the enemy archers always stopped right in front of the leftmost rolling logs trap. Thus, I set off the trap which then ignited a small amount of pitch. (This is a very useful feature of the rolling logs trap.) After that, all the enemy archers burned to death. Some of the laddermen do succeed in breaching the wall, and some swordsmen do manage to climb up them. This is what my swordsmen and spearmen were useful. I hid the swordsmen in the bottom of stairwells and towers, and I spaced the spearmen along the walls. The final assault is slightly larger as Lord Barclay gets reinforcements from the Hawk. I took advantage of the wait and used a bunch of warrior monks (about 20 in total) to destroy Lord Barclay's siege camp. Sadly, I was unable to destroy the Hawk's siege camp, so the enemy managed to breach my walls. I also spent too much time trying to destroy that siege camp that I neglected my pitch traps and ended up not using them optimally. Despite this, I had recruited enough men and spaced them out well that none of the enemy soldiers came close to my keep despite breaching and massacring the defenders on the walls.
  9. I recently got a new computer, and I decided to give Stronghold 2 another go. I didn't play it a lot originally because I played the original and Crusader first, and I didn't really like the added complexity of Stronghold 2 at the time. Once you get into it though, it's fun in its own right. I've been playing through the war campaign, and I've gotten pretty far. Today I finished Chapter 11 (Treachery). This level is really difficult at the beginning. I tried keeping the original layout at first, but Sir William's mass of catapults made that too hard; it is impossible to destroy them all in the beginning, and they also send your troops flying (unless they are in a tower or a gatehouse.) After consulting a guide, I found that using the stone buildings as part of your wall is very effective because they take very little damage from rocks and cannot be destroyed by troops. The other thing that makes the early game difficult is that stone is in very short supply. Sir William loves to destroy my quarry placed near my castle with his swordsmen. I ended up having to buy the stone I needed. Sadly, once you gain a stable supply of stone, you no longer need it. Once I get a sizable number of troops on my castle walls (about 70 or so archers and 25 crossbowmen), Sir William's sieges no longer stand a chance, and I can finally start focusing on the offensive. I train up about 30 archers and 20 spearman and send them up north to capture the estate and to destroy the outlaw camp. After they accomplish this, I leave them at the northern estate for defensive purposes. They have the added benefit of picking off Sir William's siege forces (as he liked placing his siege camps in that estate). I continue to raise an army of more spearmen, archers, and crossbowmen. I also recruit five knights. Once I had a decent size force, I marched my men to the west snd begin capturing more estates. Each time after capturing an estate, I would leave a few of my men behind as guards. This proved to be a smart decision (as we shall see later). Capturing these estates is no problem whatsoever. Once I reached Tinhill, I started metal armor production. I had already started pike production earlier. I waited awhile before capturing Upwey to amass a slightly larger army. At last, I decide I have enough troops and move onwards with the mission. When the Bull sends in his troops, I moved my archers and crossbows forward a bit to support him against Sir Grey's army. He does not do very well against Sir Grey's army, but it's enough of a distraction for my men to pick off Sir Grey's army with not too many casualties. After holding my ground there, it's finally time to begin assaulting Sir William's castle. The first thing I need to do is get rid of the fire ballistae in front of his castle. I send my knights forth to destroy them, which they succeed in doing while losing a lot of health. I then retreated my knights and sent some forces to capture the easternmost estate, as it is a convenient area to setup a siege camp. I do not leave my troops there (I have them reinforce my main army), and this would later prove a mistake. Anyway, with no nuisances to my east and my forces ready, I begin my assault by attempting to capture the outer perimeter with my archers and crossbowmen. To do this, I recruit a small number of laddermem and send them to the outer walls, mostly on the eastern sides. (I should note that I really like the implementation of laddermen this game. Unlike in the original game, they're actually really useful.) I then send all my forced to the outer wall and tower. This includes the spearmen and pikemen I had been steadily training. They succeed in wiping out the enemy on the outer wall as well as getting rid of the ballistae on the two square towers in front. Alas, this is as far as my men get because Sir William decides now is a good time to send out his gazillion swordsmen. While my pikemen put up a brave fight, it is in vain. All of my attacking forces are brutally slaughtered. This counterattack really caught me by surprise. It was also problematic as I had set my rally points for my new troops north of Upwey. Sir William managed to recapture the southeastern estate nearest his castle, Upwey, and Tinhill in his counterattack as I had not left defenders behind in those estates. It took some time to recover my troops and the lost estates. I also lost my knights during this time, so I had to buy five new ones. I made sure to leave defenders in these estates when I went back and recaptured them. Once I recovered, I managed to lodge my troops back in the round tower on the outer perimeter that I had breached earlier. I made sure there were plenty of pikemen inside (about 15 or so) to protect my archers and crossbowmen. Now, my next task was to get rid of the remaining ballistae that posed a threat to me: the one in the southwestern round tower of Sir William's Castle, and the ones in the far northeastern area of Sir William's castle. This proved a lot tougher than expected. I tried many times to use laddermen and pikemen to destroy them, but that just didn't work. There were far too many crossbowmen in the western tower, and the northeastern tower was too far back that the ballistae kept sending my troops flying. Thus, I tried something different. I hired about five assassins, and sent them to destroy the northern two ballistae. It worked extremely well, and two of them lived to tell the tale. The western one was a big harder. I had to hire sixteen additional assassins, and even then, all my assassins died though they did succeed in their task. Finally, I was able to take control of the southeastern part of Sir William's castle with my bowmen and other troops. I had them clear out the remaining defenders on the walls so that all that was left were the swordsmen at the campfire and the keep defenders. I then sent in my knights to destroy some buildings. They eventually got killed, and I didn't replace them. Next, I bought a bunch of burning carts and set Sir William's castle interior aflame. This was mainly because it seemed my archers and crossbowmen had trouble shooting at the swordsmen when I tried to move them in earlier (before reloading and trying this approach). At long last, it was time to strike the killing blow. I sent another group of freshly trained archers and crossbowmen to be near the campfire to take out the remaining swordsmen. At the same time, I sent my pikemen (about 20 in total) up to attack Sir William. I also sent the rest of my attacking forces ti the keep to clear the keep defenders. Soon enough, Sir William fell. Victory was mine! All things considered, it was a very fun and exciting mission. I hope to hear tales from the rest of you of your successes and struggles in the Stronghold 2 war campaign. As for myself, I hope to do chapters 7 and 12 of the war campaign tomorrow. I might add an image of my castle to this thread tomorrow as well. Edit: Here's an image of my castle.
  10. We appreciate all of your hard work in the background.
  11. I must really not know history.... I got 2/10; I got the last two correct.
  12. The tenth mission of the First Edition trail is titled "Land of Palms". Everyone begins with 10,000 grand, and it is you and the Rat versus Saladin and the Sultan. This level is pretty tough; while the Sultan may be weak on his own, he is an extreme nuisance with Saladin's aid. (Speaking of the Sultan, I think the primary difference between the Rat and the Sultan is that the Sultan has the easiest castle to siege whereas the Rat has the easiest siege army to crush.) Defending against the combined attacks of the Sultan and Saladin (well actually, I believe the Sultan generally attacks first followed by Saladin's attack) is not easy, and the Rat is practically useless. The key to a good defense on the level is a moat; with it, the Sultan's threat is severely decreased. It also helps weaken Saladin's forces since he seems to only bring slaves and arabian bowmen to dig moats with. That said, a moat alone would be insufficient because Saladin's horse archers are very effective at clearing out towers. One also has to deal with Saladin's siege equipment (catapults and fire ballistae). In addition to my partial moat (the back side of my castle was never defended by a moat), my defense consisted of a large gatehouse flanked by two round towers towards the southern corner of my castle (the area directly north of Saladin's castle). I filled the towers and the gatehouse with several crossbowmen, two ballistae, and a few archers, and that was basically enough to repel all of the attacks that I suffered (though note that unlike in previous levels, I didn't simply ignore Saladin's large attacks; I made sure to target the ballistae at his siege equipment.) Besides defending my own castle, there was also the Rat's castle to deal with. After all, even if he is a very weak ally, he is still useful at times (like when you need goods--he's very generous!) Towards the very beginning of the game, I sent a few crossbowmen to his keep, and later on, I sent pikemen and archers. Eventually, I added a round tower to his castle and placed several crossbowmen as well as a few archers and a ballista on it. After doing that, I guess Saladin gave up on trying to siege his castle because he never sent any catapults or fire ballistae towards the Rat's castle after I did that. Once my defense seemed stable, I started getting ready to siege one of the enemies. The Sultan was the obvious choice to siege first. Earlier I said that the Sultan has the easiest castle to siege; the reason I say that is because he uses almost NO long-ranged missile units to defend it; he has like 15 arabian bowmen that he defends his keep with and that is it. The rest of the defenders are slingers (useless without support from longer ranged trooops), arabian swordsmen, and fire throwers. Thus, to siege his castle, I sent like 10 pikemen, 25 arabian bowmen plus a few archers and crossbowmen (the crossbowmen are useful against the swordsmen), and a siege tower. (I did have some backup forces, but they were not really needed.) I sent my troops to the far east of the map then far south towards where the Sultan had built his quarries. After letting Saladin's siege attempt on me fail, I went in for the kill by first clearing his slingers with my long-range troops (which clearly outranged his troops); then, I sent in my siege tower and had my pikemen climb it and capture the gatehouse. With the gatehouse captured, I proceeded to plant my missile troops on top of it and allow them to pick off the remaining arabian swordsmen. Then it was simply a matter of picking off the Lord with my pikemen. This is by far one of the easiest sieges I've ever done. Moving on to Saladin, sieging him in this level is way easier than in the previous level. First thing I did was combine my forces from sieging the Sultan and replacing the engineers from the siege tower with fire ballistae. Then, I just left them near where the Sultan had fallen. The next thing I did was hire 24 horse archers with the original plan of clearing some of Saladin's defenses with them... That did not go too well--his horse archers caught mine, and then he began sending his arabian swordsmen towards mine. Oh well... So after that, I decided that I was going to attempt a multi-sided attack on Saladin using my forces from my castle, my forces at the Rat's castle, my forces near Saladin's castle (east side where the Sultan was), and the Rat's forces. Basically, I had my castle defenders in one large group and had them attack from the north whereas the Rat and my froces over at his castle attacked from the west while my other forces attacked from the east. It worked fairly well; albeit, I think that if I payed more attention or attacked from only two fronts instead of three, it might've worked better. Pretty much all of the non-siege equipment perimeter defenders were killed (there were still a few bowmen in the southwest corner) were killed by the time my eastern ranged units were killed, and I still had my pikemen (east end) and about 40+ crossbowmen at the north side of the castle. As for my pikemen, I split them up. I had some of them attack the eastern wall and some of them destroy the mercenary post. The ones that destroyed the mercenary post then proceeded to attack the gatehouse, which was probably a mistake (because of the Arabian Swordsmen), but not a large one due to the absurd number of crossbowmen in the area I still had. Nonetheless, I did have to send reinforcement troops (more pikemen and crossbowmen) before all of my initial forces got wiped out. (Actually, I think the swordsmen did kill my pikemen, but lucky for me, the Rat's spearmen in the area, so Saladin could not rebuild his mercenary post. I used my crossbowmen to clear most of the campfire and keep area before I sent my pikemen (and a few swordsmen) in again, which with the help of the Rat's spearmen (for killing the swordsmen that came out without all my troops dying to them and Saladin like what happened the first time I got my my troops on the keep), I was able to kill Saladin. The only annoying thing was that due to how much gold Saladin had, he kept rebuilding his siege equipment and sending engineers to man them--I had to constantly destroy them. In fact, I destroyed one of his towers (the one with the mongonel near the northern gatehouse) just so he wouldn't rebuild his siege equipment on that one. --- The eleventh mission of the First Edition trail is Rocky Valley, which pits you up against 3 allied Pigs, but you start with 4000 gold while they start with 2000 gold each. This level is pretty easy; your position is resource rich and very easy to defend. First, I enclosed my keep, which was very easy to do. I also placed two round towers with ballistae at the northern end of my castle. Then, I extended the northern side of my castle and placed a second wall that was connected to a gatehouse and two round towers. I put mongonels on those towers, and they did a really good job in helping destroy the Pig's siege equipment. After extending the castle's walls, I began digging a moat around my entire castle. Well, I did not exactly enclose my entire keep with a moat--I deliberately left out the moat on the western side of my castle. (I did this to keep the Pig attacking me full-force.) After some time, I built another two round towers between the ones already on the north side of my castle and placed ballistae in them. I also employed some pitch (because why not?) and a few killing pits. (Also, why is it that the Pig seems to attack with his macemen first and then send in his crossbowmen? Or was I killing the enemy crossbowmen too quickly?) Destroying the three Pigs was fairly easy but time-consuming. I amassed a huge army of pikemen and crossbowmen and sent them to the first Pig's castle (from the west). I got as far as breaching the walls before all my troops died. (Apparently, macemen are highly effective against pikemen; the pikemen died very quickly when I tried to send them in.) Thus, I decided to buy more crossbowmen and simply starve the Pig by sending a huge mass of them outside of his primary defenses. When I decided that the Pig was weak enough, I sent my troops closer and eventually stormed the keep when the coast was clear. I used basically the same strategy with the second Pig. For the third Pig, rather than waiting (he had over 30k gold at one time!), I brought in a siege tower to get on his walls. Alas, most of my crossbowmen died trying to get on the gatehouse, but it did not matter--reinforcements from home were coming. Meanwhile, I had my pikemen guard the gatehouse from being recaptured and sent a small group of them to go destroy the Pig's market and barracks. Once I had done this, most of the Pig's troops had been killed, so I went in for the kill.
  13. The eighth mission of the first edition trail is titled "The Sands of Time", and while it might appear easy at first glance (I mean, it's the Rat!), it is not so. It is you against four Rats with you beginning with 4000 gold while they begin with 2000 gold. Honestly, I probably could have finished this mission long before I finally did if I made better decisions in the beginning. Similar to the Endless Desert, this level's difficulty lies moreso in maintaining a healthy economy versus being killed by the Rats (though it can happen if you are not careful). First off, it is really hard to maintain an effective food economy because your keep is quite a distance from your farms, so the farms are hard to defend from the Rats' constant assault of archers and spearmen. The second issue is that it virtually impossible to obtain any stone or iron from the map because those resources are way too far from your keep. To top it all off, wood is also hard to obtain (at least in the early game where it is most important) for the exact same reason as the other resources. Thus, having a large economy is DEFINITELY the wrong way to approach this. I basically ended up using a similar strategy to what I used back when I first did this level (ie: when I started this thread), but I probably did it with way less efficiency than when I did it then. For my economy, I had a mill, 4 bakeries, two breweries, two inns (the second probably was not neccessary), a poleturner, a hovel, and a few fletchers. I tried to maintain a single hop farm and wheat farm as well, but that never ended up working out well. While this economy is fairly small, it is sufficient against the Rat, but some tips that I didn't figure out until later in the level: 1) Ale is definitely the way to go for this level 2) Using half rations is very effective; most of your income is likely to come from selling weapons versus from taxes, and food is quite expensive (use taxes for troop training). The painful thing about this economy is I have to keep an eye on wood, wheat and food, and hops and ale; I always bought wood, wheat, and hops from the market. As for defensive position, I never built a complete castle. Basically, I set up a gatehouse and a few perimeter turrets overlooking the oasis land, and that was it. (Also, this is the first time I've really used perimeter turrets, and I found them to be quite cost-effective compared to paying for 30 stone for a square tower.) At the start of the game, I bought 10 or more bows as well as 5 pikes and 5 metal armors to ensure that an early attack from the Rat did not kill me. (This was, by the way, a very smart decision, as the Rats did manage to get to my keep a few times, but my pikemen held them off.) What made this level take me so long was that poor early economic decisions meant that I was constantly out of money. As far as killing the Rat goes, 30 or so archers and some pikemen and swordsmen (even if not cost efficient) are more than enough most of the time. Once I had weakened the second Rat (I killed the orange Rat first because Duc de Puce was the least risky to attack, and then the yellow Rat was next closest), I was able to maintain a single wheat farm and a single hop farm, which went a long way towards reducing the amount of micromanagement I had to do. Surprisingly, the size of my popuation throughout the game was pretty much the same as the Rats --> 26 people. Obviously, I made much more effective use of my 26 people than the Rats did. --- The ninth mission of the First Edition trail is titled the Oasis and pits you up against Saladin with an equal amount of gold. Defensively, this mission is very easy. Saladin only attacked me once which I easily dispatched. On the other hand, sieging Saladin's castle is very tough indeed--I lost over 400 troops trying to dispatch Saladin (and probably 200+ were pikemen and swordsmen). Since my siege (which alas, I forgot to take screenshots) was the most notable part of the entire level, I'll go over that. My initial force consisted of about 30 archers and 25 crossbows (along with a few arabian bowmen and 10 slingers) alongside 40 pikemen and 35 swordsmen. I also sent in two fire ballistae, two catapults, and a trebuchet. The first thing I did was camp all my troops to the west of Saladin's castle (where all the trees are); they were in no danger of being attacked because Saladin for one reason or another just doesn't attack in this level. I then proceeded to build a trebuchet outside of the range of Saladin's mongonel and begin to fire at the closest tower (the northwestern one). With my trebuchet firing, I then sent in all my ranged units and ordered them to kill the two firethrowers (the nearby one and the one near the northeastern tower) before anything else. While my ranged troops occupy the enemy ranged units, I send in one of my groups of pikemen and swordsmen to destroy Saladin's mercenary post, so he could not recruit new soldiers during my siege. I also sent my fire ballistae into range (and let them just fire) and my catapults in range of the tower so it too could assault the tower. Alas, these forces proved insufficient to kill the enemy Lord; what they did accomplish was destroying the perimeter defenses and breaching the wall. Meanwhile, I am busy recruiting and reinforcing my primary force with forces from my base. Like I noted earlier, Saladin really does not attack on this level--I used that knowledge to my advantage and sent **ALL** of my troops at my castle towards my main force. The issue was that it takes them quite awhile to get over there, so I decided to buy a few spears and send a small group of spearmen over there as well to ensure that Saladin does not rebuild the mercenary post. (One of my tactics was keeping my troops close enough to Saladin's castle that he could not rebuild the mercenary post because that would mean the end of my siege.) I also bought bows and other weapons to make sure there were always troops heading over there (while I'm trying to get to Saladin's keep). When it seemed I was about to lose the siege, I had this great burst of inspiration to hire engineers to build portable shields near Saladin's castle to take some of the arrows. I also built more fire ballistae and had them target the rebuilt mongonel as well as the southwestern tower's ballista. I would like to note that taking out Saladin's ballista proved very effective in ensuring that my troops survived long enough for the next wave of reinforcements to come. Saladin's final defense, which was also the reason that my first few attempts of storming the keep failed, was a single firethrower on Saladin's keep. Having dispatched Saladin's ballista, my ranged troops finally managed to kill the firethrower, and from there, it was simply a matter of getting to the keep. (Initially, I entered the castle by knocking down the tower and then destroying the wall. This proved super inefficient, so I began destroying the wall near where the mercenary post was formerly located, and this proved much faster.) Honestly, I cannot imagine how I am going to destroy Saladin in levels where I have scarce resources--Saladin is tough enough when you have vast resources! Well, I am back where I was before I lost my progress, so let's see if I can finish more of the trail!
  14. Congratulations to both of you; both of you are quite dedicated to this site.
  15. The sixth mission of the first edition trail has you and Lionheart teamed up against the Wolf with 10,000 gold for everyone. I completed the mission in about a half-hour (real-time) and 10 in-game years. To be honest, this mission is much easier than it appears. First of all, despite there being no oasis (so no farms), I ended up maintaining a small bread chain (one mill and 4 bakeries) using the starting wheat. Furthermore, the castle was small enough that I could just occassionally buy wheat from the market and still maintain extra rations (and average taxes). The Wolf, generally a very fearsome enemy to siege, was heavily crippled by Lionheart's catapults and the lack of oasis land for food. Alas, these factors made him very easy to siege; a single group of 3 pikemen could do much damage to his castle because his troops were spread out thin. I used this tactic to weaken him further. Eventually, I sent a group of swordsmen (about 20 or so) as well as a few pikemen to take down his gatehouse and storm his keep, and just like that, the Wolf is dead. -------- The seventh mission of the first edition trail is titled "Greek Fire", and it puts you up against two allied Caliphs. The Caliphs get 4000 gold each while you only start with 2000. Despite the fact that you hold a very good position against the Caliphs, this mission ended up being somewhat difficult, especially in the beginning. I had to restart this mission because I could tell that the way I tried it the first time just was not going to work. The first time I tried the mission, I tried to hold the ford against the two Caliphs, but this proved to be a mistake in the long run due to the Caliph's fire ballistae, which I could not destroy because he kept slaughtering all my troops on the gatehouse. Furthermore, as soon as one of the Caliphs stopped their siege, the other one would start sieging me, so I could never really recuperate. Thus, I finally decided to restart the mission and try a different approach. Instead of simply blocking the river ford, I surrounded my castle with walls. This helped in two ways: 1) the Caliphs' fire ballistae kept targeting my stone quarry, but unfortunately for them, the bolt kept getting blocked by one of my walls and 2) even if they did slaughter my troops nearest ford, which is exactly what happened, I still had troops on other walls to help control the troops that swarmed in better. Nonetheless, I still found myself in quite a tough situation because my troops were having a hard time targeting the enemy catapult, the biggest threat because if it crushed my wall, I would have to deal with the fire ballistae, and the troops kept coming without end, so I could never build up my defenses. (I believe the combined sieges of the two lasted for about 7-8 years before they finally stopped.) Then, it hit me: what if I used fire ballistae to take out their fire ballistae and catapults? The fire ballistae, which was kept behind my wall nearest the ford, worked great: it could easily take out the enemy siege equipment while also being almost invulnerable from the enemy siege equipment. Once the extended siege finally ended, I quickly hired 20 or so crossbowmen and several archers and placed them on my large gatehouse and round tower nearest the ford. After that, the Caliphs were no longer a problem. For the yellow Caliph, I used a catapult to weaken him. Then, I sent in two groups of pikemen (about 15 each) to breach the enemy's walls (and cause him to use his pitch) and then sent several swordsmen to kill him. (I did lose all the pikemen in the attack, but it did not matter that much to me.) For the blue Caliph, I once again used pikemen to breach the wall and swordsmen to kill him. I did hire several fire ballistae to take out the enemy's fire ballistae. (Those things do some serious damage to swordsmen.) Here's the castle I used:
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