Saturday, November 20, 2010

How To Play Stronghold Kingdoms: A Beginner's Tutorial

Stronghold Kingdoms is not Stronghold. It is not even very similar. Stronghold and Crusaders are two of the best RTS games of all time (Don't talk to me about Stronghold 2 - that game never existed). In Stronghold Kingdoms though, the RTS battles are now computer resolved and you are playing more the role of a chess-player than a general on the field. But with that said, the game is extremely fun and easy to play for a half hour or so a day. Your villagers work in real time: each time a woodcutter deposits wood, he drops one plank on the stockpile instead of twelve. Same for stone and iron and all the resources. This is a huge change from Stronghold, but what it allows is me to log on in the morning, use my resources and make some changes (Scout here, send an army there, research this, fortify my castle, build this building) then go to work for eight hours and come home to find that I now have eight more hours worth of resources, so I make my changes again and go to bed. This may be the perfect MMO. Free-to-play, easy to pick up, hard to master, addicting, and not super time-intensive. Here is the YouTube trailer.

There are a couple of different play routes. But both have the same goal in mind. The game does not allow you to “win”, you can only have 10 villages max, I think, but it does allow you to be a powerful political force in an England/Wales/Scotland/Ireland/Germany filled with powerful political forces.

Here are your basic goals:
1. Build up your village so it can
2. build up your castle.
3. Progress to Page and join or create a Faction.
4. Progress to Prince and have ten villages and ten castles and pick fights with people around you.

1. Build up Your Village
First things first: do the tutorial. It will really help you out. I mean, it's been a thousand years since this time period of monks, castles, merchants, and catapults, so you need to learn the basic skills.

When you are setting up your buildings, pay attention to the little numbers that show up on the building. Those numbers are how much your building will produce, or hold, or affect happiness, or whatever. Be sure to try moving the building around and seeing what it should be close to. For instance, the closer you place a fletcher to the stockpile, the more bows he will produce. Some things need to be close to the stockpile, some to the forest, some to the keep, some to the granary, some to the inn, et cetera. But a few need to be as close to two things as possible – a Woodcutter's Hut needs to be in the woods, but as close to the stockpile as possible. This makes sense as the woodcutter has to walk to deliver each piece of wood.

But the more important question is what to build. Three things right off the bat: food, Woodcutters Huts, and Stone Quarries. For food, Apples are a very good early game option: they provide a lot of food for few resources. But as the game progresses, and you can afford it, you want to transfer to Bakeries – they provide a lot of food quickly. A lot. To do any expansion though, of castle or village, you are going to need Stone Quarries and Woodcutters Huts.

You may think to yourself, “but I want my people to be happy! I'm going to spend my resources on ale and more kinds of food so I get honor more quickly.” Don't do that. That's what I did. As you become more honored, you attract stronger AI enemies on a regular basis. You NEED your castle to be strong BEFORE progressing too far in the ranks. Build up your wood and stone production through research and building more production facilities.

Research: wood and stone production, tools, and food. Tools is extremely useful, you know how you are saving up for that next Woodcutter's Hut? Well with Tools you can drop the price of it by 40%, and build it that much quicker. By dropping the price of buildings, you also drop the price of decorative buildings, which can do more for your honor production than Arts research. Plus, by researching Arts you get into Monks early on – they're useful, but first you need to build up your castle.

2. Build up Your Castle
Do this. Seriously. You ramped up your stone and wood production, right? Good. You'll need a lot of it. Here are two images of what your castle should look like while under construction:

As to the castle itself: a ton of archers on walls and in towers will always work wonders. In 1403, during the Glynd┼Ár Rising, a garrison of only 37 archers successfully held Caernarfon Castle. Though this example outlines the importance of archers, you're going to need a lot more. For your castle, archers are key. This requires making Fletchers. Put them close to the stockpile. Then research Fletching and Weapon Making as much as you can to bump up your production. Build some towers and put your archers in them. This will require not only archers, but also new buildings.

To get access to new buildings, Research Castellation, Fortification, and Defenses. Castellation will upgrade your keep, which fires arrows on the enemy, and allow the research of Defense and Fortification. Fortification will give you stone walls and gatehouses and towers that are much stronger, but take longer to build. Defenses will give you guard houses, which allow you to garrison more troops at your castle, as well as various traps for killing an incoming army. Command is also important to research, as it will increase the size of the army you can have. However, you still need more guard houses to station your army at your castle.

3. Progress to Paige
Now that you have Wood, Stone, Bow, and Food production ramped up, your villagers will be protected well. Now it is time to make them happy. You want to make your villagers happy for three reasons: because you are not an evil person; because the happier they are, the more villagers will come to your empire; and because the happier they are the more honor you get. You want more villagers because you need them to train more archers. But as you get more villagers, you need to increase food production to match.

The basic concept here is that you need honor to progress through the ranks. Attaining a new rank also allows you to research new things. There are a few ways to get honor: attack and win, defend successfully (You built up your castle, right?), have happy villagers, use honor multipliers like Arts research or decorative buildings to multiply how happy your people are, and banqueting. Attacking wolf dens and bandit camps and enemy castles – all three of those randomly appear on the map – is a useful way to get used to how many forces you need. You should scout out what you will attack first. Second, siege camps will pop up in your parish from time to time, as you defend successfully they give you honor. As you progress through the ranks, the siege camps send harder and harder enemies, so make sure your castle is strong. Third, simply by making your villagers happy, you get honor. Sweet eh? Pays to be the good, nice guy. Ale works really well to make them happy. As does quadruple rations of food and ale. Arts research and decorative or entertainment buildings are self-explanatory, but require research in Arts, Decorative, and Literature. Finally, Banqueting allows you to gain honor by building production facilities that produce things only the town-hall will use when hosting a banquet. The more things you produce, the more honor you get, and the more types of things you produce the more honor you get. This requires research in Banqueting.

Now those are a bunch of ways to get honor. But I would suggest not attacking somebody else, except the random occurrences on the map, until you are super strong or in a Faction. To be in a Faction you need to be to the rank of Page. It takes a lot of honor to get there, so yeah, you can do everything listed above, or you could just build an awesome army and castle and do some sieging and pillaging. I'm just saying you need to be nice to your villagers so more come and you can have a larger army, but it's just a plus to get honor from being nice to your villagers because having a big army is an unparalleled honor generator. Defend your castle, attack the random things on the map, and try to get in a good faction. Then when somebody in your faction gets attacked, you can beat down who ever did the attacking and get even more honor.

4. Progress to Prince
Congratulations, now go beat the crap out of other princes and try to take the throne. Good luck keeping track of everything.

In Conclusion:
1. Make a Viable Village:
Build Buildings:
-Food Production
-Wood Production
-Stone Production
-Food Production
-Wood Production
-Stone Production
2. Build Your Castle
Check out some Stronghold Kingdoms castles out on Youtube
Build Buildings:
-Guard Houses
-Castle Defenses
-Fletching – Increases Bow Production
-Weapons Making – Increases Weapon Production and allows new weapons
-Castellation – upgrades keep, unlocks Defense and Fortification
-Defense – gives guard houses and castle defenses
-Fortification – gives stone walls and castle buildings
-Command – Increases army size
Stock your Castle with Archers
3. Become a Paige
Get Honor:
-Defend your castle
-Attack Random Map Items:
-----Wolf Dens
-----Enemy Castles
-Have Happy Villagers
-Honor Multipliers – Arts Research, Decorative and Entertainment buildings
Join or Create a Faction
4. Princely Awesomeness
-Get Power

Postum Scriptum
Of course I am not implying that certain things will not also need to be researched, I am just outlining what I wish my main focus was when I started playing. Merchants and Scouts are quite useful. Your Parish is able to help you if you donate stuff to it. Making Armies move faster is a good thing so you aren't beat to a bandit camp by a guy two counties away. Gold is necessary for some buildings but extremely useful for buying more research points. Engineering Research allows you to increase the capacity of everything – stockpile, granary, armory, town hall, inn, and housing. Et cetera, et cetera. There is a ton of other content in the game. Have fun exploring it!


Emerson said...

Very good introduction and strategy for new players.

Anonymous the Younger said...

Just remember to have fun! And go Pac 10, or 12. (I'm a Husky)

Shadownet8 said...

good post! little lengthy though and a needs a few more pictures for my taste but i enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous the Younger said...

What can I say? I'm wordy and I don't take many screenshots. Apologies. Hope the article helped.

ConcreteDonkey said...

Crap... I've just started playing and I took the happy-people path. I guess I'm screwed now. Thanks for the tips.

brad pro said...

There's one thing that's bugging me and it's the drop in resource production rate by half. Is that due to weather conditions? If so I hope it's temporary or else I'm s#%$ outta luck...