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Stronghold 2 » Forums » Stronghold: Game Help & Strategy Discussions » Sparrow's Extreme Challenges - #1 -- 1121-Lord of Ludlow
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Topic Subject:Sparrow's Extreme Challenges - #1 -- 1121-Lord of Ludlow
Sparrow
Archer
posted 10-21-05 22:54 EST (US)         
main thread | main page | all challenges and solutions | rules | honour roll 

Sparrow's Extreme Challenges 
My personal picks of the most difficult maps to play on "very hard" setting. 

This is the map thread for:


Challenge #1   posted October 22, 2005 
1121-Lord of Ludlow 
by Alan Spencer 
challenge info | download | solution | main thread 

Solution will be published with the next challenge in two weeks.

Please make all posts for this map in this thread.

Please feel free to post your progress, comments, discussions, compare notes, announce victories, or ask for help on this map, but ONLY POST FOR THIS MAP, please. And please DO NOT START ANY NEW THREADS for these challenges. Any new threads started for Sparrow's Extreme Challenges will be locked or deleted.

To post for other maps or for general challenge comments go to the main thread where you'll find links to all other challenge map threads.

Visit the main page for Sparrow's Extreme Challenges to see a complete write up with links, information, and solutions for every map.

Complete this challenge map and be included in the Honour Roll of Extreme Challenge Masters. To be listed for this map make a post in this thread to announce your victory. You MUST state what difficulty you played on so we know which honour roll to put you on.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader

[This message has been edited by Sparrow (edited 10-21-2005 @ 11:34 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
brave sir robyn
Archer
posted 10-25-05 12:23 EST (US)     1 / 24       
Interesting challenge Sparrow ... and good fun too!

I took you up on this and played 'Lord of Ludlow' on very hard at the weekend, what a great fight!

The cede was relatively simple to achieve, having to only kill the enemy Lord. After shooting down the initial macemen and horse charge I broke a small hole in the western section of outer wall with a trebuchet.
Then I constructed ten shields and sent them, with all archers and crossbowmen up the outer wall round tower that overlooks the keep. A macmen charge cleared away the in-range defensive missile troops at the same time.
The surviving macemen were then moved to safety while my shielded archers and xbows finished off the Lord.
Cowardly and dishonourable perhaps, but highly effective and profitable considering the amount of enemy troops I captured...

Once the castle was captured it was a case of pulling all my troops back to the inner bailey and hanging on for dear life until the quickly-arriving first invasion was eliminated. Then I turned my castle into a giant weapons factory and fended off the increasingly difficult invasions, (which I'm pleased to see weren't all from the Wolf).
I strengthened my castle with a few extra large towers holding mangonels, around 20-30 archers/xbows, and three or four shields. I also stationed as many oil engineers as possible in choice positions. When the invasions did come, they took a hell of a pounding before they made it to the walls and those who did got a warm reception.
This all worked fairly comfortably until the last invasions started and I quickly realised my walls would fall, so to prepare for this I withdrew a handful of oil engineers and all my melee troops to the Keep bailey. When the outer wall did go and the enemy started to pour in, I resorted to one of my favourite tricks and set light to my own castle buildings, killing hordes of enemies. I very rarely use stairs in my castles (to prevent enemy troops from getting to my towers - unless they have a siege tower), so this kept the enemy in the fires below and with the shield protection my towers defensive troops lasted a remarkably long time.
I repeated the 'fall back and torch your own buildings' tactic when the inner bailey was breached and despite some heavy damage to the walls and gatehouse, the enemy did not make it into the Keep bailey itself.
A hard fought and very satisfying victory was mine when I finally chased down the remaining enemy laddermen and engineers as they tried to flee ...

Full on Stronghold on a quality map, great stuff!
What's the next one Sparrow?

Sparrow
Archer
posted 10-25-05 17:01 EST (US)     2 / 24       
So glad you decided to give it a try, brave sir robyn. And thanks for sharing your tactics. I found them very interesting since they differ from my own. I think I should add the words tactics and strategy in the master post because if more good players share how they approached a given map, we'll all learn things we can add to our repertoire.

My first big difference was in the cede I went for the lord with foot troops, requiring the breach of all three walls. And doing that seemed to require the elimination of most of the enemy troops because of the exposure to missile fire in the eastern section. I didn't have too many losses, but had to give up gaining converts. It worked quite well, but it sounds like your way was equally successful. Actually, you probably ended up with more troops than I did. One of the nice things about this map is that you can take different approaches. You have also reminded me to use shields more than I do. I've been using them more in Crusader, but not enough in Stronghold.

My other big difference was that I razed all the inner walls, as I quite often do, to create a larger and more efficient weapons producing economy. This means, of course, that I have to give very special attention to the main wall and exposes me to more jeopardy in the event of a breach.

The interesting thing is, while reading your description I can actually see it and follow along in my mind, experiencing a bit that final battle and what a fun win it was for you. The struggles and satisfaction of a hard fought victory are what Stronghold 1 is particularly good at on a quality map.

This was just a warm up. I have loads of great, and harder maps to follow, including a few of yours. You'll have to wait the two weeks for the next one, though.

Congratulations and thanks for sharing your tactics, brave sir robyn. I've added you as the first of the Extreme Challenge Masters.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
Stratego
Knight
posted 11-01-05 05:51 EST (US)     3 / 24       
Hi Sparrow,

I'm currently playing your first example of challenging maps and it's a great one with lots of fun!

However I started playing on "hard" as I always do before tackling the "very hard setting"...

...I assume playing on very hard requires a different strategy to win this great map, maybe similar to Brave Sir Robyn's tactics...

It's my first attempt and I'm going to beat it (hopefully), there's just one invasion left (I guess) and I'm close to victory.

Stratego

[This message has been edited by Stratego (edited 11-01-2005 @ 05:55 AM).]

Sparrow
Archer
posted 11-01-05 07:44 EST (US)     4 / 24       
Happy to hear you're having a go at this map, Stratego.

Whether you'll need a different strategy to beat this map on the hardest setting will depend on how you presently build up your castles. At the very least you'll need a strong, well producing economy with lots of weapons output and good strong walls with well placed towers.

Often all that is required for extreme play is to improve on the economic and defensive skills you already have. You usually need to set up larger economies than you may be used to and much faster. Intense weapons production, usually crossbows, is another key as you'll be facing much larger armies. The two go hand in hand, of course. The pressure will be on to find ways to be more productive and fit powerhouse economies into small spaces, requiring more thought for building placement and efficient pathways. Plus you'll find it necessary to experiment with defenses and find more effective configurations.

Sometimes you will be required to adapt to unique circumstance and employ novel ideas to get you through, but this map shouldn't require anything special like that.

Most of the time if you can beat it on hard, you can beat it on very hard as well. You just need to find ways to build things up a little faster.

Good luck!


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
Lord Blok
Archer
posted 11-01-05 10:56 EST (US)     5 / 24       
Hello Sparrow,

This is my first post here. I recently found this site and decided to download a few maps. Some incredible maps here. Thanks goes out to all the great authors here.

I beat this map on very hard. I can't figure out how to get a screenshot from the victory screen.
playing level = 15,000
troops lost 62% = 3,800
score = 18,800

Afer dealing with the welcoming party I sent teams of knights to destroy the small gatehouse near the river. They were able to destroy the gatehouse and get a nice start on the gate to the keep. I then sent all sword, mace, and monks to finish the gate and the lord.

As soon as I had the castle I demolished both chapels and all stairs in the outer bailey. This gave me enough stone to replace both gates. Next I demolished all structures in the village and the blacksmith in the outer bailey. I sent all x-bows to the inner bailey and all archers to outer bailey to fend off the pig.

Once the pig was dealt with I began setting up my economy. This was quite a struggle early on. After the second attack by the pig things began to run smoothly. I actually backed off on troop production a few years before the final attack. I had about 300 units and felt I was overdoing it. This was a mistake. Had I not done this I think I could have prevented the inner bailey from being breached. Once the inner bailey was breached I retreated as many ranged units as I could to the keep bailey and all pike men outside the gate. This along with a few pots of oil was enough to hold him off.

This was one of the toughest battles I've fought and a very satisfying win.

regards,
Lord Blok

Sparrow
Archer
posted 11-01-05 16:17 EST (US)     6 / 24       
Congratulations, Lord Blok. Nice to hear about the different tactics you employed on the initial attack, and I'm glad it was such a satsifying win for you. That is sort of what it's all about.

I've added your name to the Extreme Challenge Masters.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
Dpminatr
Archer
posted 11-01-05 17:15 EST (US)     7 / 24       
Welcome Lord Blok, and congratulations. To take screenshots, use the prt scrn button
Quick 'Pic'
Prt Scrn
----------
SysRq

You can use this anywhere. Take a picture of a game, a web site, even your desktop! Just use that button anywhere.


"If your rich uncle bought a new house and you had to help take the wheels off, you might be a redneck." -Jeff Foxworthy
"There was this one girl I was seein' for a few weeks, 'till someone took the binoculars outta my truck." -Larry the Cable Guy
Duc de Noisiel
Archer
posted 11-05-05 05:46 EST (US)     8 / 24       
You can count me in Sparrow.

What a nice map...

I must say I did not make it right away... I did not play the map with an easier mode, and started right away in very hard.

I tried different tactics that allowed me to take the castle, without too many losses on both sides, so I would keep a nice size army. Unfortunately, I was always overflowed by the first attack of the pig, because I was defending a castle with too many breaches in the walls.

Incidentaly, I happened to read Brave Sir Robyn comments, and figured he mentioned the sharpest way to capture the castle without too many losses.
I did so, sending my archers and crossbowmens near the round tower after clearing the way, made a breach with a few macemen, sent the archers and crossbowmens on the tower with six shields, which I rarely use normaly, and got rid of the king.

I then sent the rest of the troops inside the castle, keeping the opening I had made in the wall instead of closing it, just to make sure the attack of the pig would head thru it. I placed the archers and crossbowmen on the surrounding walls so the pig troops would be circled by it when entering. This also prevented from having the enemy forces to destroy the buildings inside the walls.

I had to face some losses, but finaly made it without loosing any building.
I erased both churches, the round tower inside the inner courtyard that represent the chapel, all the good things and the far away windmill, which were not needed.
As this was probably my sixth attempt, I decided to hurry the weapon production by transfering the stockpile inside the small courtyard, even if I was limited in space, in case the enemy forces would break in again, and because even going around the castle, the gate would close and screw up bother the production.

I focused on producing mainly archers and crossbowmen - my favorite - with a battle plan of keeping the enemy out of the castle, no matter what. I also started to collect stone, to thicken the walls, and in the eventuality of a breach during an invasion.

I faced a few strong invasion, until 1046/1047 I think; and lost again... But I knew I was handling it the good way.

I played the map a seventh time, with the same scheme. I got to the same period and destroyed them all. I safely made a save, not having to go thru it once more in case I would have to replay the map again, as it had been handled perfectly this time, at least until that point.

I knew I was near the end, and by that time, I had a HUGE army. See 80 archers come to help me made a large amused smile on my face...

I smashed the enemies heavily. Say I was pleased with my victory is true. Nice map.

For those interested, here is what the map looks like:

Post scriptum: As long as the castle is not taken, the time does not run by. Before taking the castle, I let it go until the fletchers and the poleturners stand in front of their respective barracks, with a weapon in their hands, meaning the armory was full. Then I attacked, and I had many weapons upon disposal right after taking control of the keep...

Sparrow
Archer
posted 11-05-05 21:35 EST (US)     9 / 24       
Glad to have you aboard. Very nice little write up there, Duc de Noisiel. Interesting approach. Nice screen shots, too. I know it takes some work to stitch one of those big ones together. It really makes a nice shot.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I've added your name on the Extreme Challenge Masters list.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
Lord Paco
Archer
posted 11-07-05 02:17 EST (US)     10 / 24       
It seems I'm a little late, It's been several days since I last logged on and I noticed theres a new challange up. I'm rather new to Stronghold. So the challange was most challanging and took me several tries to win and I mean several.But most enjoyable at the end or at least the last end where I was the winner. My biggest problem I had was having enough troops at the end to hold them off. Like I said I'm kind of new so I had a few problems with keeping all the workers happy and not leaving. In the end I had enough inns to off set the half rations, that was the only way I could keep from running out of food. Oh well I will try my hardest to finish next time before the end of the challenge. Oh yea, also how do you post the image of the final screen in here. I'm kind of new to this posting thing to. Here were the status at the end: Playing level 15000 Troops lost 56%= 4400 Score 19400
Sparrow
Archer
posted 11-07-05 04:12 EST (US)     11 / 24       
That's something that I maybe didn't really make clear, Lord Paco. It's never too late; a challenge never really ends. You're welcome to take up the challenge on any map at any time. New players can catch up in their own time. You can skip over a map that's giving you trouble and revisit it later when you get some fresh ideas. If you can only complete a map on hard for now, that's ok. I'll put you name on the Up and Comers roll for that one and if you can do it on very hard later on, I'll move that mark up to the Challenge Masters. My intent is to be as flexible as possible and for everyone to have fun.

I assume you completed this on very hard so I've added you to the Extreme Challenge Masters roll. Congratulations!

It's up to you whether you want to post the stats screen or not. Check out this thread for some information on creating and posting screen shots:
http://stronghold.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forum/display.cgi?action=ct&f=22,1,,30
Be sure to use the JPEG file format for them as they are much smaller in size than uncompressed formats such as BMP. Unfortunately we can't host them here. You'll have to have your own web space somewhere to make the picture accessible. There's a free hosting link in the thread.

As far as food goes, you should be running normal rations or even higher, but you'll need loads of wheat farms to do it. They're far out and slow to bring in the harvest but are effective. They will get interrupted by the invasions and maybe a lot destroyed. Just rebuild and continue afterwards. Once the trees are cleared you can get two wheat farms on the island in the rear of the castle as well.

Inns should always be running at a plus 4, but it sounds like you had that going already. While you don't have to use them to succeed in this mission, don't forget bad things can help tremendously, especially with bread production. The increased output you get is compounded in a multi-step production chain like this yielding 225% from wheat to bread, far above the 150% for individual increases (at -5 fear factor). The same for ale. You do get a -25% combat penalty, but your weapons output is 150% also.

Thanks for sharing your experience and feel free to ask any other questions you have.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader

[This message has been edited by Sparrow (edited 11-07-2005 @ 04:13 AM).]

Nigel
Archer
posted 11-29-05 14:24 EST (US)     12 / 24       
This sounds like a very nice challange, Sparrow. Well organized, too. I will sure give it a try - although I have this nagging feeling that I might fail miserably. But so what. I had a first go at Ludlow yeasterday and got as far as taking it and surviving the very first onslaught. But the castle was in too bad a state after this, that I had nothing to stand against the second attack.

One thing I wonder, how do you look upon reading the hints that come with the map and discussions that people post here. I am not talking of the solutions that come after two weeks, but with Ludlow I couldn't stop myself from reading the hints in the txt document for as far as I had got in the game. Also I have refrained from reading the discussions here, but it is just too tempting (and would be a shame to miss, too).

Sparrow
Archer
posted 11-29-05 16:56 EST (US)     13 / 24       
Hi Nigel.

We are all playing on a scale of different skill levels. Those with less playing experience, and therefore probably at the lower end of the scale, may need some hints to give a little guidance. Ideally a good player would try these challenges without any help, but if your playing experience is still limited, you may find these maps next to impossible and extremely frustrating without a few hints.

You must decide it you need any help. It's really a very personal thing, and no one has to know if you don't want to mention it. Don't forget, even when you read some of the tips, you will not be getting any "magic" solutions allowing you easy victory, but rather just a little help on strategies that have succeeded for others. You will still have to make them work for you and will have to go through all the same struggles for victory. Knowing how to do it and then actually doing it are two quite different things.

I generally don't read hints before playing a map. Sometimes they may reveal something I'd rather not know until I experience it for myself, although when you're an experienced player, most hints just seem like common sense and are things you normally do anyway. Sometimes you may even disagree with things recommended in the hints. After all, you may be a more experienced player than the author, although he has a better knowledge of the map than you.

I encourage you to try the map without using any hints to start, which you obviously have done. It's certainly more satisfying when you beat a map completely on your own. But if you're finding yourself stuck and becoming too frustrated, then I see nothing wrong with reading through other's comments, the author's hints, or my solution for some suggestions. How much you want to take or not take from the help available is completely up to you.

For those that are playing at an intermediate skill level, you can always play on the hard level setting as well. I have lots of maps to present so as your skills improve you can rely less and less on hints. And if you choose to complete maps on hard for now, you can replay them on very hard and move up to the other honour roll at a later time.

As for 1121-Lord of Ludlow, if you've taken the castle and survived the first invasion, you're over the biggest hump. There's many more invasions to come, but if you really get busy producing food, repairing the castle and making weapons you should be able to make it. And the fact that you got to that point on your first try is a very good sign. If you wanted to, starting again might put you in even better shape.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
lollard97367
Archer
posted 12-07-05 21:09 EST (US)     14 / 24       
Howdy,

I beat this map 1121 - Lord of Ludlow map on hard. I used the holdout strategy in the keep and inner fortifications. I almost beat this on very hard, but the last armored knights are too many. Thanks, and I'm working on the others.

Lollard


Kill the monster, get the treasure.
Sparrow
Archer
posted 12-07-05 21:50 EST (US)     15 / 24       
Well done, lollard97367. Nice to see another new face in here. I've put your name up on the honour roll.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
WarLord_Designs
Archer
posted 12-07-05 22:01 EST (US)     16 / 24       
And here i was thinking we had to play these maps on very hard

Well keep em' coming sparrow i haven't been severly tested on hard, my only hurdle is BSRs map on very hard
i can't pass that map! - tries to stay calm after 1 millionth attempt -

I'll post my results when time is kind to me.....
Arthus

WarLord_Designs
Archer
posted 12-07-05 22:37 EST (US)     17 / 24       
Ok so heres how i went about victory. I immediantly set up trebs across the river in the top left corner of the map. No defending archers meant i was able to smash a hole in both the outer and inner rings (the ballista was a pain though ) and so the easy part was completed with only my spearmen and macemen taking heavy losses.

This map does have challenging waves of invasions but i deleted a few towers to allow me to repair the gaping holes my engineers made and immediantly concerntrated on food production. By the time i was ready to bulk up my army i was able to give extra rations which then gave me a trickle of money from increased tax!

I had a constant increase of archers but did have to fall back to the second ring twice if i recall (i played this map a while back) the final handfull of enemy units were destroyed by a mass of arrows,these allowed my lord to sleep well without any worries

It may not have the best landscape but this maps a winner and worthy of the extreame lable

Arthus

(by the way i finished all these maps on very hard except for BSRs map )

Sparrow
Archer
posted 12-08-05 05:49 EST (US)     18 / 24       
Well that's great, Arthus. Glad you're enjoying these maps. So if I'm understanding you correctly you've completed Lord of Ludlow, Beaumont Motte, and Scottish Cattle Raid on very hard. I'll go ahead and put your name up on the honour rolls.

Hope you can get through Star and Crescent. I usually build like crazy, large populations, lots of food, ale and weapons. I was amazed at how many of the players succeeded on that one with way less than what I had. The differences in approach and play are always intriguing to me. Anyway, good luck!


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
WarLord_Designs
Archer
posted 12-08-05 08:18 EST (US)     19 / 24       

Quote:

So if I'm understanding you correctly you've completed Lord of Ludlow, , and Scottish Cattle Raid on very hard

Correct, i'll do a little write-up for Beaumont Motte tomorrow (the most challenging victory ive in a while)

Quote:

Hope you can get through Star and Crescent

Yeah me too , its a dash to my name
I don't think i can muster up the strength to play for too much longer though....

Arthus

Sparrow
Archer
posted 12-08-05 15:34 EST (US)     20 / 24       
Maybe you've tried this or maybe you haven't, but there's nothing wrong with looking at the hints when you reach that certain level of frustration. I've posted my solution write-up and some of the others have posted some great write-ups in these threads.

After all, in these maps it's not like there is a magic solution that can be revealed. All the hints do are offer advice on different approaches to consider (and I love the fact that often more than one approach will work). You must still apply them and do all the work to have success. If you beat the map, it's every bit your victory.

Also, have you tried it on hard as a warm up? That can get you acclimated to all you need to face and maybe show you there's a little room left to take on a slightly larger force.

I really have faith you can do it, Arthus.


DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
WarLord_Designs
Archer
posted 12-08-05 20:27 EST (US)     21 / 24       
I've played it on hard and won my problem is getting through the little invasions at the start
(don't add me to the hard honor role.... i want to pass on Vhard )

I guess i have to experiment with pitch but the pikemen just walk through without getting hurt that much!

And in answer to your question i haven't read the hints yet..... but i will when i achieve victory (one of these days) i feel if i look at them now i'll just concerntrate on their techniques, i quite enjoy being puzzled and beaten, gives me something to work with.

well.... back to the map

[This message has been edited by WarLord_Designs (edited 12-08-2005 @ 08:28 PM).]

Sparrow
Archer
posted 12-08-05 20:43 EST (US)     22 / 24       
Great, that space for the "X" under very hard will be waiting for you.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
Ironfist88
Archer
posted 04-22-06 06:30 EST (US)     23 / 24       
Well I'm a little late to the challenge, but I will start it nonetheless and try to catch up. I just finished running through Stronghold and Crusader again after some time off and I used this site for hints. I had seen Sparrow's Challenge and after finishing I didn't want to just put the game away again. So I decided to try the challenges. I am through the first two in the past couple of days so here is my strategy and results for the first mission.

ASSAULT: For the initial assault I massed my archers and placed a few spearmen and laddermen in front as a shield to stop the initial attacks. After that I moved my archers forward slightly and took out the spearmen on the hill. I then massed my archers just out of range along with some spearmen and the tunnelers and some laddermen. The former to guard the archers flanks and the latter to draw fire on the way up to the wall. So everybody runs up to the outside of the left wall and my archers slug it out with everyone on the left while being shielded from the ballista and any other archers. They win the numbers game and then place the archers opposite the keep and just use mass volleys under cover of the wall targeting the Lord. In the meantime I move my troops along the southern edge of the map to opposite the front gate. In my first runthrough I had some knights run up the rear of my swordsmen on the way into the castle. So I shifted to avoid this. I turned up the speed and took a nap and eventually the archers will do the job. A little cheap, but hey that's me, and it also gives you most of the castle's soldiers in return.

INITIAL DEFENSE: After killing the Lord I ran everyone in. Spacing the archers and crossbows out along the front and first tower back on the left side. Making sure to pair archers with braziers of course. I then placed a single wall on the left out from the castle, a little behind that tower on the left, down to some rocks at the shortest point. Sealing off the rear of the castle so I could begin demolishing and setting up my preliminary infrastructure.
I allowed the infantry to play soccer with the former Lord's head in the muster field since I wouldn't need them for the defense. I pitted that left extension wall(you can also double this wall, but being that stone is always more important than wood in this mission single wall and pits is better) and also around my exposed towers as much as I could. I used any stone I needed from demolishing everything to the rear of this front line and quickly set up woodcutters around the outskirts and demolished the pits within my walls to gain wood to pit outside and do some initial building. I also demolished everything outside the front wall since all I needed I could get behind the front wall. With the exception of the quarry and some apple orchards I used prior to the 2nd defense. I also stopped production on all non crossbow arms producers to quickly get extra peasants to build archers to put on the wall. With this, the initial attack was a matter of grinding down. The enemy reached but did not breach.

So after the initial assault there is plenty of time to establish most or all of your war machine.

ECONOMY: I placed hovels on the right of the rear island and on the left island. I rearranged the inner grounds to provide for dairy farms(21 by the end). I used these plus two apple farms, on cleared land, as almost my whole source of food. Oh yes, plus four hunters placed inside my front wall. Hunters and woodcutters walking around during the battle provide a small but nice nuisance to the enemy. This was enough to provide for my populace at 1 and a half consumption on average. I shifted the granary to in front of the keep and let the bakery and hops production use up what remained on the stockpile before deleting them. I deleted any religion since it becomes just a hindrance towards the end with cathedral demands. I bought ale and built taverns(3) to keep at 100% coverage. So with taxes at -8 I ended up with more than enough money for the mission. I kept around a dozen woodcutters going for the mission. Clearing the keep area and then moving outside on the left and right flanks with cutters placed behind the wall. And of course the quarry. Stone was my most important and rare resource being I was going for a no breaks defense. I kept it running as often as I could and put a gate just for it between my stockpile and it.

MILITARY ECONOMY: Going for no wall breaks and having all my infantry that I started with I took a chance and deleted all military production except for crossbows and leather. I used up all that was initially in the armory to produce extra infantry(since I couldn't sell anything). Making sure to produce as many knights as possible. After this I could also delete all stables. Being that I was at a point of no return.
I moved the armory near the stockpile and built more crossbows and leather. 12 mixed total early on and 18 at an 11-7 split before last battle.

DEFENSE: I produced crossbows and moved them to my wall as quickly as I could. That was 90% of my defense. Which is the basic meatgrinder one. A wall and tower line basically across the former front castle wall. (Deleting any wall before placing a tower and making sure not to delete any braziers to make the most of the remaining archers fire.) I mainly just extending out to the left to the river. I ended up with two more gates. Both on the left. One for the stone and one for woodcutters. I was able to add 7 more square towers by the end. 2 far right and two far left and 4 more close to left of the main gate as they would fit. Mangronels in all(deleting the front ballista and replacing with a mangronel so my troops wouldn't get popped in the back of the head. I had been on Crusader for so long that it took me two battles in my runthrough until I could figure out why my ballista tower was emptied out at the end of each battle. I pitted everywhere. Starting with gates and towers and ending with a wall three thick of pits from left to right. I tried to use an extra layer of wall in front of my left and right towers to absorb damage.

In my runthrough I was overun because I didn't have spare stone and enough archers and siege defense and my infantry around my Lord. I left 80 spare stone for the last which was enough. I produced crossbows much faster. I put my infantry on the keep. And at the end gated the keep and threw in oil engineers to seriously stunt any attack. This never came into play being I wasn't broken this time. Most important was I adjusted with the towers on the left which could reach the engineers building on the left. So any siege on the left would not be built or would be rapidly destroyed from the tower archers or mangronel. On the right they were in the reach of my mangronels, but were often able to build a full compliment. So my only forays outside the walls were to counter engineers exclusively. I ran between or away from all attacking units and used small groups of knights to hit and run undefended engineers or siege equipment. Trying to reduce their effectiveness on the right. This worked fairly well. A couple of attacks almost took out a tower, but I made it through. The only chance the enemy had was with siege with the defense I had. Any infantry could not stand outside the walls long enough to break them even if they made it past the pits. Archers were outnumbered and outdefended. And the engineers were put in check. So the battle I lost the first time became a cakewalk this time.

So basically assail the engineers and grind the infantry with crossbows, mangronels, pits, and oil however you build your castle in this one.


Note: I had not read Sparrow's rules prior to this map so I did incur on two of them. I did not know about sprite limits and I did overproduce troops. Although many of these were the infantry I was given and I did not use. Used troops were about 500. Total was approx. 750. My bad if this affected the attacks. It was not intentional. I will watch this in the future. The other was that my left tower archers could reach the front half of the far left staging area. I lost on the left in the first time on this map so I wanted to make sure I had it protected. The only place to build towers on the left was almost at the river. So I did. Most of these troops were light and would never have been a threat anyways. It was actually kind of merciful to kill these spearman and archers early before they got their hopes up in their charge. This too was not intentional or decisive. I could have towered up all the signposts if I wanted. It was mainly a clash between my desired castle design vision and map design.

That's it. I mean it. I'll try to make my next challenge posting more terse.

Also, Thanks for this extra challenge. This game is too damn good and I was not bored with it after finishing the regular missions and am glad to have this. Also thanks for the excellent site. It's well set up and useful.

[This message has been edited by Ironfist88 (edited 04-28-2006 @ 11:11 PM).]

Dark NeRo
Archer
posted 06-13-06 10:41 EST (US)     24 / 24       
Made Ludlow castle on very hard.

After fighting back the attacking troops, i built up an trebutched and broke the wall on the side left from the gate. Ion my first go on normal I destroyed the two gates in the inner ward, and it worked fine, at least on normal. When I later played on very hard it didnít wok so well. I used Brave Sir Robins taktik and shoot down the lord with crossbowmen. After I took the castle over, I quickly pulled all my men back in the inner ward and didnít repair the broken outer wall. After fighting back the quickly arriving invasion, I begin to place 8 wheat farms, four hopefarms and set two chees farms inside the castle. While playing the map until the third invasion, I recognized that I do not need the inner ward to retreat. So I deleted the walls inside the castle, except the really small one surrounding the keep with the small gatehouse. I although replaced the granary next to the stockpile.

I deleted the church and start placing bakeries, mills, woodcutters, breweries and inns. I built up a quarry as soon I survived the first invasion, to get the much needet stone. During the game I always had taxes on medium. I had many weapon production buildings, mainly for crossbows and pikemen.

The most important time is between the invasions, if you use your time wisely, the invasions arent so hard to fight back. Beetwen the Invasions I could always produce about 15 crossbows or even more and some archers and pikemen. During the invasions I always placed a bitof wall in front of th main gate house, because it was the weakness in my defense. Once it still broke, because of rams, but I could fight the last men back without loosing important buildings. I went on collecting stones, built up new towers and placed mangolds on them. After the second invasion I began with producing oil and ordered my engineers with the oil on important sections of the wall. To decrease the invasions.

The map was a great challenge and I had a grat time playing the map ( so much thet I wrote a review for it XD)


For nearer questions you can write me an email

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