Solutions For Sparrow's Extreme Challenges
My picks of the most difficult maps to play on very hard setting.
Solution to challenge #9 Feb 11, 2006:
Shadowmoon Fortress by Hasit
Map size: large 400x400 Map uploaded: 9/25/03
I'm not going to go into too much detail on this one.
The most difficult part of this map is the beginning, finishing up the fight you've landed in, putting out the fires, getting firm control, rounding up all your stray troops, clearing out pockets of enemy, building a defensive wall, and setting up a strong economy. The rest of the scenario will go better after that as you clear the rest of the map of the remaining enemy, siege the small castle and meet the economic goals.
So start by finishing off the fight you're in and getting your troop organized. I pulled most of mine back to the approach to the keep area, but kept some in the south to clear out enemy troops in that area so I could build. That's one of the biggest problems here, not being able to build until enemy troops are removed. I let the 3 crossbowmen occupy the square tower they were headed for where they eliminated the knight and pikemen lingering outside the large gatehouse in the south wall of the inner bailey.
I also sent the four archers from the large southern outer gatehouse to one of the towers overlooking many of the scattered enemy troops outside the western outer wall once it was clear. I had the melee troops clear out their respective areas and return to the keep area.
Meanwhile I advanced the group of archers and knights in the southwestern corner of the map to take out many of the troops just southwest of the castle on their way to join up with my main force.
I salvaged what buildings I could from the fires and razed much of the walls to get enough stone to complete a perimeter wall before the next invasions. I also started to set up an economy, foremost being food and some crossbow production. This was difficult since the razing and rebuilding was hampered by lingering enemy units. Gradually I cleared those all out and was able to complete a perimeter wall.
When I played this a year or two ago I created a fairly small enclosure. This time I included the inner bailey and all the southern and western parts of the outer bailey, tearing down the southern parts of the old inner bailey wall to create one large castle with lots of open space. The enemy was quite prone to taking long treks around the perimeter, exposing themselves to my missile fire from the many towers.
I set up many dairy farms, hunters, then wheat and hops farms and got inns going as soon as I could. Plus lots of crossbow production. I ran a staircase down the back cliff from the stockpile and posted guards. In an emergency you can delete a few steps. As things get going you can send troops out to eliminate the enemy near the iron deposits and secure them. Then you can mine iron and begin manufacturing metal armor and swords towards you economic goals.
Once you have a reasonable sized force of crossbowmen the many invasions are easily dealt with. When you're strong enough you can venture out and kill more of the enemy and secure the surrounding area. You can occupy the old outer western wall and towers and eventually march on the small castle to eliminate its lord. If you don't destroy them, many of the catapults and rams can be seized by your own engineers and used against the enemy.
It just remains to fulfill the remaining victory requirements.