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Isaiah

Stronghold 2 War Campaign Discussion

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Posted (edited)

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.

tcXHH5O.png

Edited by Isaiah

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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.

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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:

7LvcDYt.png

 

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:

e4rYyY7.png

 

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!

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Sorry for the slow reply to this, I've been snowed under lately with other tasks and haven't had as much time to spend on the forum as I would've liked.

 

I like your castle in the Treachery mission. That's something I used to do a lot, especially in Kingmaker maps- I always used to build walls around my settlement. To me, it just makes sense because you keep all of your buildings protected and population safe... although I don't think it was developed with this decision in mind really, as enemy troops will come to your Castle but are unable to attack your buildings, just sitting there until killed.

 

Thank you for the detailed response too on how you did things! It's written really journalistic :) How would you like to write it up a walkthrough or two for the site walkthroughs section? :)

 

It seems you've done a pretty good job in learning how to complete these missions well, and a hard earned congratulations is in order after all that work! Have you ever tried the Conquest Trail? That's a pretty nice addition to Stronghold 2 as well and is different to other campaign modes because you're just sieging or defending castles. I recently attempted this again and I have to say, it hasn't lost its challenging side ......


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⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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Posted (edited)

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.

Edited by Isaiah

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