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Video Game / Knights and Merchants

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An effect of The Settlers team splitting after the second game in the series, Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom is a Real-Time Strategy game bearing a lot of gameplay similarities to—well, you've guessed it—the first two Settlers games. An Updated Re-release subtitled The Peasants' Rebellion was released in some markets, being marketed usually as Expansion Pack sold together with original game; however this was actually a more complicated issue.

Now available on Steam, where it boasts more than 800,000 owners as of November 2015.

Knights and Merchants games provide examples of following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Watchtowers are manned by a recruit who cast stones at the enemies. As in huge, squared blocks of rock freshly-mined rock.
  • All There in the Manual: The original campaign's backstory was this.
    • It involved an Evil Prince first messing with the kingdom's people, and then basically attacking his alive father with nobility following him.
  • Anti-Cavalry: Spearmen and Pikemen are barely on par with Axemen and Militia, but they excell at destroying cavalry, even though opponents such as Knights. Coupled with archers or crossbowmen, they are unstoppable by cavalry.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted in the usual way - if you have enough food to feed your soldiers, you can have any number of them.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: The game had this with archers and crossbowmen. If you came near enough to a ranged unit and no other units were in range to shoot at, it would stop shooting. Watch towers were exempt from this, though.
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  • Artificial Stupidity: In a couple of campaign maps it's possible to sneak a number of soldiers behind the enemy lines of soldiers, reach their unprotected town and raze the storehouse and inn, then retreat from where you came from first and patiently wait for the enemy to starve. Also, it's trivially easy to use a handful of archers to lure out and bait defending troops from their place and lure them into a trap as they form an undefendable, vulnerable line. Finally, archers and crossbowmen will only open fire on troops in front of them: with enough manoeuver, it's possible to outflank and attack from behind a company of archers with none of them the wiser. This last one must actually be exployed to defeat enemy archers in mission 17.
  • An Axe to Grind: Standard and cheap weapon of choice for Militia, Scouts and Axemen. Unique troops such as the Warrior, Barbarians and Vagabonds are also equipped with axes.
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  • Big Bad: Prince Lothar for the Shattered Kingdom, being King Karolus' rebellious son who led the other nobles to rise against his father's kingdom.
  • Boring, but Practical: In casual maps, expect to be able to win using nothing but vanilla infantry (Militia, Axe Fighters and Sword Fighters) and Archers, as the CPU hardly ever produces cavalry, making lancers redundant (and cavalry risky to use as they do produce lancers).
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • The player's units and buildings.
    • Every playable team is Palette Swap of another playable team. However, unplayable teams may get unique sprites sometimes.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the main campaign, your troops are red, Laufenberg's yellow, Walheim is blue, Moorbach is purple, the Barbarian's are brown, Prince Lothar is black while his direct generals tend to be green. Other lesser factions (such as the rebels fighting Walheim in mission 7) are pale yellow.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Lancers tend to be only useful to kill cavalry, and even then they might fail if not supported by archer fire. Pikemen do a slightly better job, though again, if the cavalry is in superior numbers, their advantage becomes useless.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Baron Laufenberg's the first of your enemies to surrender when cornered and actually joins you in battle.
  • Easy Logistics: You wish.
  • Fan Remake: Aptly called KaM Remake. Slightly subverted because it is more like compatibility patch for modern computers and currently requires data files of the updated game. However it intentionally doesn't use most of mechanics introduced by it, sticking more to the original rules.
  • Fire Show Damage: Attacked and damaged buildings are slowly engulfed by yellow-blue flames.
  • Foreign Language Title: Especially in Russia. The first release was basically called The Second Crown. The rerelease, although different than in other countries and acting more like Mission-Pack Sequel, was christened War and Peace of all things.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Apparently, despite having metalworks as soon as mission 4-5, starting with a couple of (badly damaged) towers in mission 1 and witnessing Watchtowers in mission 4, you can only produce this "advanced models" only after defeating Walheim in mission 7 and obtaining the blueprints. Apparently, devising a tower with a stone-lobbing guy on the top was too difficult...
    • The Barbarians, despite being described as wild and ferocious, do have access to all your buildings, and so they do farm weath and grapes, breed pigs, make bread, mine coal, ore and gold and build iron weaponry.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: Up to mission 7, you've been fighting back rebellious nobles and vassals. Then, in mission 8, the Barbarian shows up from nowhere, bringing on the Difficulty Spike with them.
  • Glass Cannon: Barbarians and Warriors: they hit harder than anyone else and can usually turn leather-equipped units to mincemeat and hold their own against iron-equipped troops, but thankfully their defenses are lacking and can be defeated with proper use of archery.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In the final battle, you have on your side two battalions of barbarians (under your direct command) and support from a large army from Laufenberg, though the latter may still be destroyed in combat against the opposition lead by Lothar.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the campaign you can persuade some of the defeated enemies to join you in exchange for a pardon. There are exceptions, such as Walheim.
  • The High Middle Ages: The time setting of the game.
  • Luck-Based Mission: A couple of missions where a large fight takes place or where you have allies, wether they survive or not seems to be based on sheer luck: in Mission 5 and 6 Laufenberg forces can either manage to survive the battle with most of their units alive or end up with three surviving spearmen and a gloom future ahead.
  • Kick the Dog: Midway through, Lothar's forces tend to become more ruthless and vengeful: in missions 10 and 11 they target and raze the now fred Walheim, while in mission 14 they plan to raze an ally village to the ground. After mission 18, Lothar has his own father, your king, assassinated.
  • Puzzle Boss: In battle missions, brute force ins't a way to win the day, but there's usually a trick (involving proper use of formations) to use your own soldiers to defeat as many enemies as possible, taking advantage of your forces and the terrain. In mission 7, using archers to lure Moorbach soldiers against your ally's militia and supporting them is a good way to survive their onslaught. Mission 17 encourages you to take advantage of the montainous ground to ambush enemy archers from behind.
  • Refining Resources: Same as in The Settlers, except refining chains are not that long usually. Most resources that are obtained by longer chains have a cheap alternative with cheap effects.
    • In fact, while the core idea of refining everything remains there in ''Knights and Merchants', game is much simpler than initial Settlers titles were.
    • However, the game gets complex when it comes to building your army, especially if you disregard your initial supplies - because they will end someday, actually. In the original game you need to provide every soldier but the cheapest one with their weapon and armor (could be leather) at the very least. In addition hiring recruits requires gold, which requires gold ore and carbon to acquire. The expansion pack includes option of paying more gold and hiring mercenary warriors with their own equipment.
  • Self-Made Orphan: After being defeated in mission 18, Lothar gains time by sending an assassin to murder his father the King.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Original game contains 9 types of soldier units, grouped into 4 sub-groups of which three are supposed to play this straight and another one was designed as universal.
  • Three Quarters View: Mixed sometimes weith something else.
  • Updated Re-release: A hard-to-qualify case. It introduced some new gameplay mechanics and its own set of missions and modes. On the other hand, it replaced all of the original's music, and allowed use of new mechanics in old campaign - and it didn't contain legacy mode of any sorts.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: For every human unit in the game.
    • In case of soldiers, Hyperactive Metabolism is combined with this into a single bar for any unit, resulting in inversion of Regenerating Health. Furthermore, the amount/duration of restored health depends on what type of food you fed them (For example Wine, which is the easier to make, fills less than Sausages, which require more time and resources).

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