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56 - Holy Hole

Author File Description
Lord Michael I

This mission has a small difference from the rest of the past missions, this one is hard. In this mission you’ll see the beauty of rushing siege equipment and take advantage of something you thought useless.

You start low on resources and money, so you shouldn’t rush on making a healthy castle. Also, you find yourself in a hole, fighting against two Abbots, who are very fierce fighters. Both Abbots also start with low resources and money, but this doesn’t mean this will be an even match. At first, build three stockpile tiles and the granary, close to the stockpile. Locate a market far away from the stockpile and build one hops farm and one wheat farm on an oasis located to the east of your keep. Then, build a dairy farm on the oasis to the west of your keep. Close to the stockpile, locate on Fletcher’s’ workshop, one pole turner and one tanner. Set the Fletcher to crossbow production. Buy some wood, around 100, and make an armory close to these buildings. Make four woodcutters; distributed along the line of trees you have on the west and one the north-east.

Make an iron mine on the patch of iron to the north and one quarry, with just one ox, to the west. It is highly recommended to build your quarries here, as they will be easier to protect than on the other stone patches.

Now, proceed to make two perimeter turrets, one, close to your new iron mine, and other, to the south, close to another iron patch. Send your starting archers to the northern tower and your spearmen to the foot of the southern tower. Build a barracks and an engineer’s guild. Buy more wood if no wood is left for the weapons buildings.

Now, right now you should not build either breweries, bakeries or other food buildings, as they are not needed. You shall build these when resources start coming (eg, build a mill when more wood and wheat is delivered; build a bakery when flour is being delivered, etc). Also, when iron is delivered, build an armorer’s workshop, and change the pole turner from spear production to pike production.

Build three houses for your peasants to live. Now, this is the fun part. Go to the engineer’s guild and hire 4 engineers and build two fire ballistae. Locate them near the eastern oasis, close enough to the enemy castle (The Abbot of Stirlings’ castle). When they get in range, order them to target in of the bakeries the abbot has inside is castle. But, instead of shooting at the bakery, they should hit the Cathedral! You have to do it this way because if you target the cathedral directly, the arrows will bounce off the wall. If the bolts keep bouncing off the wall, get them closer and closer, until you see damage is inflicted on the cathedral. Let your fire ballistae working and go to your town again. When wood is delivered, make another quarry and three more oxen, the food industry building you need (If you haven’t built them yet), one more wheat farm, and, if you can, two inns. Also make one more iron mine and another hovel.

I don’t expect you to build these all at the same time, so you can take your time doing it. Now, keep recruiting both pikemen and crossbowmen, and distribute them among the two towers equally.

Now go and check the ballistae progress. They should have destroyed the cathedral, and, the abbot, in a total struck of (Let me say it) idiocy, has build one woodcutter where the cathedral was:

If you still have not noticed his colossal mistake, let me tell you, you have got rid of one abbot already. Since the abbot placed a woodcutter where the cathedral was, he will not be able to build a new one. Thus, he will not be able to recruit more monks. That means, no more attacks! Silly Abbot…

Your job is done here. Now, send your fire ballistae to the south of the hole, close to your tower, and destroy the other abbot’s quarry, farms, etc. Also, by locating your fire ballistae here you will be helping out your crossbowmen defending your castle, as attacks from the other abbot will come soon.

Well, it is time to improve your castle. First of all, if you haven’t built two inns, build them now, you should have enough wood and ale should be on your stockpile by this moment. Set your taxes up to “mean”.

Stone will be numerous by this time, but don’t sell it. Instead, destroy your two small towers and replace them with big, round towers. Sell some iron and place tower ballistae on both towers. The tower ballistae will help to fend off the enemy catapults.

Attacks are close, so you have to enclose your keep. Make a small stone enclosure is ineffective, as you will leave outside your farms, something you cannot afford as they will continuously be targeted by the Abbots. So, make a giant wall, that encloses everything you have. Also, use this moment to build a round tower where the fire ballistae were when you destroyed the cathedral, man it with a mangonel and some crossbows, and target the Abbot of stirlings’ castle. Also make a square tower close to this one, but with ballistae on it, to help fend off melee attacks. Your wall should look like this.

The wall is so big it takes two images to show it…

The first image is the part of the wall to the east, where the round tower with the mangonel is, the second image is where the first round tower you made is.

To fully enclose your keep you have to make a wall to the north. First, destroy your tower you have there (You can see where I put the original tower on the upper image) and put it on the “choke point”, where the slope ends. Then, complete the rest of the space with walls:

You can place a ballista there, but it is not necessary.
Since the Abbot of Stirling is virtually defeated, you should concentrate on the other abbot. The first step is to crush his economy. Make a gatehouse on your southern wall, and hire 10 engineers. With them, build 5 fire ballistae. You can finance them by selling extra stone and iron.

Then, target his farms, quarries, etc. When damage is done, send your ballistae back, unman them, and hire two more engineers.

At this moment of the game I noticed wood was not needed anymore, so I destroyed two of my four woodcutters. This will also help to keep the trees population up. This means your woodcutters won’t have to venture too far away to find a tree to chop.

With your twelve engineers make four trebuchets, inside your castle, but close to the Abbot’s castle, as so:

Now, something unexpected happened. I played this game three times, and two of the times I played it, the Abbot couldn’t manage to build a new cathedral, but, the last time I played, he did. So use the trebuchets to destroy the cathedral, and, each time he builds a new one, you bring it down.

Keep recruiting crossbowmen to man the southern wall. When you have around 60 – 65 crossbowmen defending the wall, you can stop producing crossbowmen, sell the weapons instead. As for the pikemen, when you reach 35 pikemen, you can start selling the weapons produced.

Keep focused on the Abbot of Stirling, keep targeting different stuff, and make your mangonel target the keep.

By this time of the game, you have made a great economy based on rock production. So you should have both a lot of stone and iron. Replenish the trebuchets with stone and sell the rest. Build a mercenary post.

Right now you have to concentrate on getting money. Sell everything you got. Weapons, extra food, flour, ale, hops, iron, wood, anything. As you sell stuff, spend it on horse archers. The horse archers will be the ones taking out the enemy on the attack for your pikemen to move in and kill the lord.
Stop when you reach around 75 horse archers. This will be enough as the Abbot of Dumfries, doesn’t really have much of a defense, only some archers on his walls.
Look at the castle before you attack. If it is too crowded, it might mean he will attack you, so wait until the siege is over for you to attack. While you are attacking the Abbot of Dumfries, don’t let your guard down. Every once in a while check your trebuchets, replenish them with stone, and keep giving them targets.

While you are attacking, be careful with monks. There will be small groups of monks on the outside of the castles, which means they are a threat to your horse archers. To kill them, send your horse archers to get really close to them, and, as they are in defensive stance, they will run towards you. So, when you see the monks running, make your horse archers run away from them. They will hopelessly die soon. Sometimes you have to repeat the process because some monks will keep still.

Also remember (With the Abbot of Dumfries) to kill everyone in the keep before you go in. If you destroy the gatehouse and the huge mass of monks on the keep have not been eliminated, consider yourself a goner.

Before you send your pikemen, you have to eliminate the monks, something you an easily do with your horse archers. Just don’t forget to kill the monks!

When the first Abbot is gone, remember to stop the trebuchet and mangonel attacks, as friendly rock and mangonel will hurt your troops.

Well, congratulations! You have killed off two Abbots, despite all the odds! Though it isn’t a good strategy, this mission has told us rushing stuff and building two fire ballistae in the start helps a lot. This mission also teaches you that being in low ground isn’t always bad – You’ll always have lot of iron and stone!
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
peter2008 "Well, congratulations!" also to the author who explained his tactics comprehensively. It's a training in raising up your own economics and devastating the enemy's one.
I may be somehow conservative but when I have trained crossbowmen hold the defence of my castle I eventually want to allow them to finish the map. Usually they proceed in two groups alternately fireing and proceeding. While the shoot all the enemies in their range, pikemen and macemen groups destroy the buildings on their path or come to protect the marksmen against ground attacks. Together these 4 groups enter the enemy's castle.
Lord Michael I
File Author
Thank you, peter :)

When attacking I prefer to use Horse Archers (You may have noticed I use them on maybe all of the walkthroughs) because of their improved speed over crossbowmen.

Horse Archers also have the advantage to shoot while moving around, something crossbowmen cannot do. Crossbowmen are, for me, too slow both when moving and firing to be an effective offensive unit.
peter2008 Hi Lord Michael,

you're right, you know well the big points of horse archers ((they're also best marksmen against builgings) and the bad disadvantages of crossbowmen. They're so incredibly slow being shot at when moving somewhere in columns. There's also the question of lower range against archers.
What I nevertheless appreciate is the immense firepower of xbows cause when they come to stay in front of the enemy everything around will be wiped out: at once. It's this matter of time. And then these marks are able to occupy the besieged castle's towers walls (maybe it's just burning on the ground).
Lord Michael I
File Author
And you know well the advantages of crossbowmen, peter ;)

That's why I use them as defenses only. I am not really patient, but I once tried attacking with a strategy similar to yours. I was against a lone AI, so I took all my crossbowmen and sent them to the siege. They were a total of around 150-175 (Don't remember) against the wolf's castle.

Despite big losses, I managed to wipe his castle out :)
Darkness_Elf Your explanations are very detailed and thats probably a good thing for players having difficulty, but this scenario is really quite easy with the right tactic, all you need to do is build some woodcutters (say 5) wheat farms (3) houses (5) then buy wood (you have 2000 gold after all) so you can build a couple stone masons (4) and iron miners(6 in my case) then you wait for the free wood to build bakeries and you have a cash flow from stone/iron within two minutes. No defenses (towers, walls, moats, anything really is needed) through this economic method you can be on the offensive with 15 archers pro monk before they have any forces. I just moved in with archers and destroyed every single building with assassins and then once i had enough gold, killed the kings one after the other. This took me 15 minutes at a speed of 40, took 4 game years
Lord desert I remember this level, i finsihed it for my cousin, tihs levels name is "Tranquil Getaway", Holy Hole is the name for level 61, and Mirage is the name for the level.... i havent got that far though ;D forgive me if i'm wrong =D
shareef Fierce fighters aren't they???, try digging a moat, he won't be able to fill it, so you can imagine how simple this one 'll be, also, I went on destroying their cathederals too, but they kept rebuilding them, soon enough they were out of money, no more attacks, and from there on, it's a simple job, I killed them with monks.

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