Castles: Siege & Conquest
Tips on how to win
The Early Years
- Save your game often. Use "Save as..." to create saved games of different names every year or two. This allows to restart in case something went wrong.
- Start with a province that produces Gold. Particularly when playing on the "Impossible" level. No Gold, no go. Restart the game until so. Choose the location wisely so that it is centered around as many provinces as possible for easy expansion.
- Occupy the first two provinces. (In lesser difficulty levels, three or four is OK)
- Build up infantry and archer units but make sure there is enough material for the construction of a castle. Scout around. The next task is to obtain a province that either produces iron or gold. Start building up relationship with the Pope and accumulating and spending Gold whenever possible. After acquiring the second province, use all the remaining material to start construction of the castle in the gold province. This will eventually double the gold income and prevent rebellion in adjacent provinces.
- A castle with more than 50 points constructed, will double the resource output of the province it is located in. A castle with more than 100 points constructed, can prevent all juxtaposed provinces from rebellion.
- Try to build up Administration, Military and Diplomatic points ASAP. Fastest ways of building up the later two categories of points are through soundingly defeating opponent's army and successful diplomatic negotiation, respectively. The former can be achieved either by ingenious tactical maneuvering in the battle field or the sweeping charge of an overwhelming force of knights. The later can be nearly insured through copious applications of all available Diplomatic points to each diplomatic mission with the negotiation range being between that of offering 4 golds to that of offering friendship (the caveat here is 4 or more golds.)
- Collect Timber, Gather Food and Attacking progress particularly slowly in winter. Avoid performing these task in winter.
- Given options in any plot presented, always choose the one costs the most gold. Some good will always come out of it. Always be an appealing and considerate ruler (i.e., spend through options that requires the most gold), and the people will be merrier and the morale of the army stronger.
- When the diplomats, particularly that of the Pope, of the other player come calling and requesting gold, anything less than 4 (anything above 3 happens rarely) is acceptable. If one is financially unsound, try to bargain down to 2 or 1. Keep in mind this is normally cheaper than sending diplomat which process automatically costs 1 gold with no 100% guarantee of success.
The Expansion Years
- Occupy the third to fifth province.
- Always maintain a relationship no less than 7 with the Pope. Don't attack any other player blindly, i.e., without checking whether it is blessed by the Pope through the calling of Council when one's relationship with the Pope is below 8.
- Pope could be easily bought off even when one only has a total of 3 Diplomatic points provided the negotiation range is between that of offering 4 golds to that of offering friendship. When the Pope asks for donation of no more than 3, always provides unless one is financially bankrupt.
- Build castles that weight barely above 100 points and with no moat. (3-2-2 distribution of ability points for this task is good in the early game.) This will accelerate the construction process significantly. Rely on diplomatic relationships (i.e., relationships of 8 or 9, since in the Impossible level, computer player will still attack if it finds out one is weak even though the diplomatic relationship is 6 or 7) and a sizable armed force to prevent any attack.
- Policing the realms increase the efficiency of performing all tasks. It decreases the happiness of people and thus the morale of the armed force by one at the end. Also, any saboteur and spy caught (which occurs statistically higher if so applied by other computer players) will reduce the diplomatic relationship between one and that of the originator. IMHO, the purpose should only strictly be for the increase of efficiency. Losing one Diplomatic point is losing 50 victory point in the end game. Try to carry out Happiness task at the same time to counter the loss of one Happiness point. Also, the more Military points applied, the longer the policing will be.
- Maintain a large archer force for defending your castles. During the siege, position all archers above the Keep and direct their arrows manually at a selected target one at a time for maximum damage and thus rapid disposal of enemy force. Any enemy infantry men that climb up above the Keep will get massacred since usually they arrive one by one to face many more archers.
- One need to strive to build up one's ability points through constant application of all points to tasks. One need to strive to achieve Ally status (8 or 9 points) with all but the opponent who has provinces "rightfully" yours. Provided one attacks this opponent early enough, it most likely has not achieved Blessed status with the Pope yet and thus no degradation in any relation will result. Once one acquires 5 or 6 provinces, one should strive to maintain with all players Ally status. By acquiring provinces that produce gold and iron, one should have no problem with gold expenses and infantry unit recruitment and Attacking expense.
The End Years
- Occupy at least twelfth province or more.
- Keep sending out diplomats to maintain relationship of at least 8. All relationships should be 9 before one claims.
- Once your provinces are peaceful, fortified and prosperous, one should strive to build up a large force of knights with all three offensive sieging apparatus.
- Maintain high Happiness level for high task efficiency and strong fighting capability.
- Try to store up to 99 units of all products. gold counts twice as many points as the other commodities.
- Try to maintain a large force of knights near the end game. Knights count twice as much in the final count.
- At the impossible difficulty level, someone will claim the throne around 1216 to 1218. You cannot beat the "pretenders" since 12000 victory points usually cannot be accrued till 1219 or later. But if you are the first and had maintain all relationships of 9 with all parties, the throne is a sure thing. The only caveat is to remember one will lose at least around 300 victory points in claiming since all relationships will go down by one point which is equivalent of 50 victory points.
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