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67 - The Backhander

Author File Description
Lord Michael I

Don’t be scared by the minimap, The Backhander isn’t as tough as it looks like. You will be facing the allied forces of the Wazir, the Marshall, the Emir and the Abbot, while you will have only one ally, The Sheriff. You will start in a surrounded position, in the center of the map, with some resources like stone and iron in positions where you will have to fight to get them. There is one advantage, though: You, as everyone else, will start with 10000 gold pieces, optimal for a quick military and economic setup. So, enough for the introduction; let’s start fighting!

As always, start by reducing your game speed to 20. Immediately after, build a 6 – tiled rectangle shaped stockpile (I’ll show you an image later). It is important to note that you should use the pause button (P) as much as you can in the initial stages. Every time you stop to think about something, pause the game. This way you will slow your enemies’ progress even more.

After you build your stockpile, erect a granary, just behind your keep. This way it will be in an optimal position to speed up food production, but it won’t be in the way for future buildings. Build 2 wheat farms, one Dairy Farm and one Hops farm, in the grass just south to your keep. You have to do this in a hurry, because farm space is limited here, and if you aren’t fast enough, the Sheriff will put some of his own farms there. Now, build a marketplace, far away from the stockpile, and buy +/- 300 wood planks. After that, build a mill, 6 bakeries (Close to both the Granary and Stockpile), and 4 hovels, next to the marketplace.

Quickly build your Weapons Industry Buildings, 2 Fletchers, 1 Pole turner, 1 Armorer, 1 tanner and the armory. Set the fletchers to crossbow production, and the pole turner to pike production. Finally, build 2 breweries and 2 inns. Remember to set your taxes to -8 once they become functional.

This is how your town should look in its initial stages. Note how the bakeries and the mill are close to both the Granary and the Stockpile, and how the weapons buildings are close to the armory and the stockpile. Also, note that the hovels and the marketplace are fairly distanced from the stockpile, to prevent interference. You can also see the little hut of one of my wheat farms.

Now that your town is up and running, build 2 Stone Quarries, along with 2 oxen for each Quarry, Northeast of your keep, on the stone deposits close to the Sheriffs’ keep. Also erect 2 Iron Mines, just north of where your Quarries are. Although there is an iron deposit northwest of your position, with a fairly closer distance, it will be harder to protect it from enemies. Finally, build 2 woodcutters: One near the trees, where your Iron Mines and Quarries are, and another one west of your keep, close to a small hill.

Now that your town is set, pause the game, and take some time to analyze the strategy to follow. You are in the center of the map, along with your ally, while being surrounded by enemies. The abbot, in the far east, will not be a threat for you, as the Sheriff is covering him for you. Remember to aid your ally from time to time, as he will take a considerable beating in this mission. The three other enemies are up to you to defeat. The Wazir (Northwest), and the Marshall (Southwest) are more distanced from you than the Emir, who is to your south. Also, remember the Emir tends to do early raids when he has a lot of money. So, for now, we’ll concentrate on defending us from the Emir.

Build 3 round towers, along with its stairs, facing each of your enemies (Scroll down to see how I placed mine). On top of the one facing the Marshall place ballistae. Build an engineers’ guild and hire 2 engineers to man it. Leave the Wazir’s and Emir’s tower unmanned for now.

This is the recommended position for the three towers. You can also see where I placed my engineers’ guild (Next to the Hovels). Go to the marketplace and buy 25 Crossbows, and 25 Leather Armors. Recruit the 25 crossbowmen (Build a Barracks) and distribute them among the three towers. Send your initial archers to the tower facing the emir, and the spearmen on the foot of said tower.

From now on, keep recruiting crossbowmen and pikemen. Make it a priority to man the Wazir and the Emir towers, and send your pikemen to the foot of these towers. The Marshall won’t be much of a problem, so don’t worry about reinforcing this part of your castle (But don’t leave it abandoned, either). You will also want to put 6 crossbowmen on top of your keep.
Your tower facing the Emir’s castle will be under a LOT of pressure. You need to keep a steady stream of reinforcements, or it will be wiped out easily. At these early stages, it helps to buy some bows, and recruit archers to help the crossbowmen on this tower. You can also buy extra crossbows and leather if you feel production is slow. You can sell all that pitch and extra iron to finance this move. I didn’t keep the extra archers exclusively to the Emir’s tower; I also sent some to the tower facing the Wazir.

By now, the first wave of ground attacks will be taking place. Hopefully, your small army of pikemen (I had one pikeman on the foot of the Wazir’s tower and 2 on the Emir’s), along with the crossbowmen on top of your keep will fend them off. I suggest you use your crossbowmen on your keep (If they are in range) personally. This means that you should tell them what to do. Select them, and target each swordsman individually. This way you will concentrate all your fire on one enemy, and fend them off faster. Don’t worry about the mangonel fire coming from the Emir, your archers and crossbowmen will disable it quickly.

As for the Marshall’s front, catapults will start to roll in. This will not be much of a challenge for your ballistae there, but remember to reinforce this tower with more men from time to time.

By now the Wazir will be pretty much useless. You have foiled his first wave of attacks, and taken out his archers. Now, build a mangonel on top of your tower, and target his castle. By this time, you should do a scan of your three towers, and repair the ones in need.

The Emir’s defenses will start to give in. If you have maintained a steady stream of reinforcements, along with extra archers, you will eventually overwhelm him. Once this is done, erect a mangonel on your tower, and target the keep. It may seem that the hardest part of the mission is over, but don’t leave your towers unattended. Keep recruiting more and more crossbowmen, and keep securing the towers with pikemen.

Now it’s time to start the offensive part of the game. You may want to recruit some crossbowmen, and send them to the Sheriff’s towers facing the Abbot’s castle. This way you will enhance his defenses. 10 – 15 crossbowmen will be okay. Next, build a Mercenaries’ Guild, and recruit 15 horses (Sell extra iron, stone, etc) and use them to take out the Marshall’s catapults. Build an extra hovel to recruit them faster.

Once the catapult is destroyed, move your Horse Archers to a safer position. Repeat this every time the Marshall builds a catapult. You can periodically recruit some more Horse Archers, to replaced the dead ones.

It’s time to take out the Emir. Build a small strip of wall next to the tower facing his castle, and build three trebuchets (Hire 9 engineers to man them). With them, target the Emir’s towers, and cripple his defenses.

Once his towers are gone, you can have some fun and build some Fire Ballistae, and set his castle on fire! (This is optional). Once a breach is made, you can recruit some more pikemen and send them in for the kill (Disable mangonel fire or you will have some Friendly Fire). Once the Emir is done for, reassemble your pikemen on the foot of the tower facing the Marshall’s castle. Halt your crossbowmen production, in order to sell crossbows and leather armor for a profit. Sell extra stone, wheat, flour, hops, bread, etc, and recruit 50 Horse Archers. Once you have around 75 – 100 of them, attack the Marshall. First send in the Horse Archers to soften his defenses, and then destroy the gate with the pikemen, and move in for the kill. Keep your Horse Archers distanced from the enemy Knights, they are really dangerous.

Once the Marshall is done for, reassemble your troops near the tower facing the Wazir. Replace the dead soldiers, and move in. Use the same strategy as the one used for the Marshall: Send in the Horse Archers, once the area is clear, move in your pikemen. You have to be a bit more careful with the Wazir though, those pitch traps can be a pain in the back.

3 down, 1 to go. Repeat the process: Reassemble, recruit more men, and attack. The Abbot will be fairly easy to kill because of the long war he has fought with the Sheriff. Just send in some Horse Archers, and kill him off.

Congratulations! You have freed yourself from a helpless position, and defeated the odds! Now you can move on further the skirmish trail…

In the saved game that comes with this walkthrough I have left everyone alive. The Emir, Marshall and Wazir are under “House Arrest”, with a pack of soldiers preventing them from doing anything. The Abbot is still technically alive, but I left him that way for you to have some fun finishing him off. If you still have any questions regarding any of my walkthroughs, feel free to contact me (My email is in my profile).
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Lord_of_Hell Oh, I remember this mission very clear, and I still feel the frustration needed to finish this. Of course I utilized another strategy but this one is very good as well.

Great job presenting it, LM! (1st download :p)
peter2008 The mission reminds me of 24 - Death in the Dunes.
I liked the tip of pausing the game. Will adopt it.
Isn't it impressive that such a small and cute initial town will bwe enough to fight down many enemies? The walkthrough is instructive and offers a reasonable procedure.

Found it rather disappointing that the Warchest AIs don't work well. Not in economy - even outnumbered I become "greatest Lord" quickly most times. Nor in attack, they seem to charge comparatively seldom. Nor in defence. The "hardest part of the mission is over" all too early. The rest consists in happy burning and smashing.
Lord Michael I
File Author
Well peter, AI difficulty isn't everything in my opinion. Yes, the Wacrehst AI's may be weak (I just laugh at poor Phillip), but if you put them in the right situations, they'll prove to be worthy adversaries.

For example, give a ton of starting money to the Marshall, and you'll be overrun by a massive army of knights in no time.

The Nazir, is also a good example. Give him some time, and space to build his colossal castle, and he'll be a pain to defeat, and hard to fend off (Those pesky assassins).

Cheers :)
manudan i just set their castles on fire then moved in on them, currently me and the sheriff are killing the wazir, emir, abbot annd marshall all dead

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