Stronghold, the castle siege simulation I played for hours. I love castles, they are impressive, wonderful constructions and last for centuries with our ghosts inside of them…
In Stronghold, you develop your small village and build your own castle. Of course, you have an enemy, like The Rat :
Oh, yes. I bet now you are worried. My imperial troops will soon be upon you
He might sound dangerous, but in fact he is not, obviously not.
You have to manage your people and the respect they have for you, either by happiness or terror ! Between gardens or gallows, make your choice new Lord.
You have to make sure they have enough food, enough churches and enough beers (not vital). You also get wood, stones, iron and pitch.
You improve slowly your castle and your army until either you or your enemy attack. Here is the weak point of the game. Build your castle is really fun, as managing your peasants, but the battles are not really interesting.
You have a lot of choices to make your army : archer, pikeman, swordman, knight, ladderman, catapult…
But it doesn’t work really well. Too many ways to “cheat” on the game and win quite easily. There is a lack of strategy when you play a skirmish, but the game is still fun thanks to the traps you prepared to your ennemy’s forces.
To really feel what was a medieval siege, you should on the contrary play a siege game where you can customize your army with a limited amount of points to spend, so the battle is balanced.
But I don’t want to say this is a bad game, it is a fantastic game (especially in LAN) which will be even better with its successor : Stronghold Crusader, released in 2002.
In Stronghold Crusader, you play either Christians or Saracens during the Crusades. You have access to the Saracen mercenaries to improve your army, which add some new tactics to conquer your neighbor’s castle. I also loved this game because you have twice as many units and a different landscape to play.
After, there were several sequels : Strongholf 2 / Stronghold Legends / Stronghold Crusader : Extreme / Stronghold Kingdoms / Stronghold 3 / Stronghold Crusader 2.
Stronghold Crusader : Extreme is interesting because you can play with huge armies.
Stronghold Crusader 2 is quite good, not a masterpiece as was the firt game, but a good game.
So, Stronghold is a unique game series which some will love while others will not understand why it is entertaining.
If you want to try it, or get back into your medieval siege memories, everything is available on Steam 😉