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Video Game / Stronghold Kingdoms

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Stronghold Kingdoms is a medieval-themed MMORTS developed by Firefly Studios, loosely based on the Stronghold series, wherein players build villages and castles, develop an army, destroy other player's castles, and try not to have the same occur to you. Do to this, they must manage their resources, economy, population, defences, and relationships with other players to be able to afford the massive costs associated with building an empire.


Social Engineering is one of the largest aspects of the Metagame. Building relationships with other players is almost essential to protecting yourself, as somebody with no connections, no liege lord, and no faction is a lot more likely to be attacked than somebody who has all these things. Even having a liege lord is enough to stop most players from attacking your village, as it's much easier to fight one player than it is to fight two.

The game is free-to-play, but users can pay for "Premium tokens" that give the player benefits such as queueing research and buildings. Premium is necessary for any degree of automation, and non-paying users develop their villages at a much slower rate than Premium users. You can also buy and obtain strategy cards, which provide benefits such as an increase in resource production. A rich enough user can break the game apart by virtue of wealth alone, though it takes hundreds of dollars to do so.


The game can be downloaded for free at It also has a Steam client at

Stronghold Kingdoms provides examples of:

  • Annoying Arrows:
    • Most arrows are incredibly weak, taking five hits to kill the weakest military unit, suffering no penalties except for lowered health. Expect your strongest units to be able to shrug off dozens of arrows during a seige. It's balanced out by the sheer number of arrows that are loosed during a seige.
    • Averted with Ballistae, where the arrows are as deadly as they are slow to fire.
  • Authorityequals Asskicking: The regal Knights, Captains, and Sally Forths are much better in hand-to-hand combat than the lowly Peasants, Archers, and Pikemen.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Archers in melee range of an enemy will stop firing their bows and use their daggers instead. They're terrible at melee combat.
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  • Armchair Military: The player, of course.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Units on the offensive will continue to attack a castle until they finish their objective, even if they stand absolutley no chance of success.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: It's possible to send an entire army of Catapults to wreak havoc on an enemy castle, with spectacular results. However it's mechanically impossible to do anything but destroy the castle walls (Catapults don't move), your catapults will certainly be destroyed (they're both expensive and tedious to produce), and it's reliant on hoping the enemy won't destroy your catapults fast enough for them to do significant damage.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Pikemen units have the highest health of standard military units (the Captain and Sally Forths are situational), deal decent damage, and are cheaper to produce than Swordsmen and Catapults. Though they're outclassed in damage by other units, their cost-to-resilience ratio makes them the unit of choice for general castle invasion.
    • Archers are the bread-and-butter of castle defence. Without a full troop of Archers stationed around your castle, enemy invasion is as simple as destroying the walls and walking right in.
  • Booby Trap: Killing pits, which are invisible even once scouted, deal massive damage to enemies who step on them. They have to be replaced after being triggered.
  • Cannon Fodder: Armed Villagers cost a measly three gold to recruit. They're often used to clear out traps for stronger units to advance safely.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: Gold is the exclusive currency for buying most things. There's even a "Miser" achievement for holding large amounts at a time.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Your units can be burned, bludgeoned, crushed, or shot, but they'll keep marching on until the very end.
  • Colonel Badass: The Captain unit.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Red for the attacking army, blue for the defending army. Special mention to reinforcements, who appear green in the castle builder.
  • Conscription: You can draft your spare villagers into the miltary at any time, removing them from the population. Ironically, it increases your village happiness due to the increased housing capacity.
  • Cool Crown: The Prince and Crown Prince ranks get one, with a fancy feather sticking out the back.
  • Cool Helmet: The player's avatar has a few to choose from, including one shaped like a skull.
  • Elite Army: The Sally Forths. They have the second-highest health and damage of any unit (aside from the Captains), are faster than any other, and charge into battle four at a time. They can wipe out catapults and archers in seconds, and are very difficult to defeat 1v1. The downside is that you can only research up to ten per battle (more using cards), and can only be used in your own keep.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Swordsmen units are dressed in much better looking armour than most of the other units.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Your military units get better equipment the more powerful they are, at your own cost.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The catapults can only shoot in the direction they're pointed at, and can't change direction during a battle.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: The player.
  • Friendly Fire Index: Catapult units will continue firing even when they've destroyed everything they can hit. Friendly units can be damaged by these stray rocks, leading to a Category E (competely unintentional), assuming you weren't trying to kill your own units.
  • Gradual Regeneration: The Captain's Rallying Cry slowly heals all units in a 5*5 square around him, with the buff having the greatest effect on himself.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Pikemen are assumed to be regular villagers with better equipment, except they have the third-highest unit health in the game with a small boost in damage.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack:
    • The Captain's Arrow Volley and Catapult Volley damage all enemies in a wave, meaning massive groups of defenders are hit the hardest.
    • The fire that spreads from oil pots deal damage in the area in front of them, meaning bunches of enemies grouped up are even more vulnerable.
  • Homing Projectile: For balance reasons, arrows will always hit their intended target once fired, moving horizontally in the air to reach it.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Played straight for most units, but averted for Archers and Swordsmen. The contrast between the units can make it look like a war between mannequins.
  • Improvised Weapon: The Armed Villagers use their pitchforks in combat, even tearing down castle walls with them. As expected, their melee damage is horrible.
  • Instant Militia: Any villagers who aren't in a building can be instantly converted into military units. Buildings can also be disabled, allow an even larger pool of villagers.
  • Isometric Projection: Castles and villages are isometric, with combat taking place on a diagonal plane.
  • Large and in Charge: The Captain is noticeably taller than other units, with his cape making him look even larger.
  • Leave No Survivors: Defending units will try to kill as many attacking units as they possibly can, even if the attackers completed a pillage or ransack and are retreating the castle.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Swordsmen and Sally Forths carry shields into battle. Ironically, the Swordsmen has less health than the shieldless Pikemen, who also have noticeably less armour.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The Archers start out as the squishiest units in the game. Fully researching Long Bow doubles their health. Fully researching Defences allows Archers on towers to take half damage. These bonuses combined mean the Archer's health can be increased to 400% of his base under the right circumstances.
    • The player is this in the meta. You start out horribly weak and rely on the protection of your parish and liege lord for defence, but after a few months of developent you have an entire empire to destroy other players with.
  • More Dakka: The combat system is made of this trope. Defenders have to fill their castle with as many turrets, ballistae, and archers as possible to drown the attackers in arrows. Attackers use catapults to quickly destroy walls, as well as a group of archers to protect the melee units from taking all the fire.
  • Mounted Combat: The combat of choice for Sally Forths.
  • Never Bareheaded: Almost every NPC in the game has headwear of some sort. The only exceptions are the Monks and the default villager icon.
  • Nice Hat: Options for the player's avatar include bunny ears, a Santa Claus hat, and a Happy Harlequin Hat.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Arrows are always fired straight at their opponent, and they always hit - even if it means going through a stone wall.
  • Onrushing Army: The simplest formation is to throw all your troops into a giant group and make them tank through damage they recieve. It's surprisingly effective, even at high levels.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • You can determine how well-defended a player castle is by looking at seige camp attackers on the map. If they're not returning from a village while other icons are, that means the castle has good defense.
    • It's possible to change the village sliders to max out your popularity right before villagers arrive, ensuring 5 villagers for each migration even if you don't have the resources to sustain the popularity. Useful ealry game, this becomes impractical after the first village.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: The Captain wears a massive red or blue cape, speckled with white, and trimmed with white fur.
  • Plunder: The pillage command lets you steal up to 90% (with research) of an enemy's resources, though it requires standing in the enemy castle for as long as it would take to destroy it outright.
  • Point Build System: The Research system gives you three research points every time you gain a rank, which is used to significantly benefit your villages. Research points can also be bought with gold, which is very expensive.
  • Rain of Arrows: High-level combat will typically consist of hundreds of arrows being fired in seconds. Invoked by the Captain's Arrow Volley skill, which calls down high-damage arrows in waves.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The player is tasked with developing, administrating, and managing next to every aspect of their villages. The villagers are only used as military and labour, and will never expand on their own.
  • Siege Engines:
    • For the attackers, Catapults are the best unit for tearing down walls quickly, launching a barrage of rocks at anything in front of them.
    • For defenders, Ballistae deal massive damage at whatever they hit, often leading to a one-hit kill.
  • Special Attack: The Captain is unique among units due to his ability to either provide buffs to his army or to call in destruction on the enemy castle.
  • Status Buff: The Captain's buffs affect a 5*5 area around him, which is either a simple delay command, a healing buff, or a damage booster.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Players can only recruit up to 500 mlitary units per village. Non-combat units take up a chunk of that limit, meaning a village can have a much smaller army than anticipated.
  • The Medic: The Captain becomes this with his Rallying Cry, slowly healing all units in a 5*5 radius around him.
  • The Siege: Defending your castle requires making the enemy stay as far away from your keep as possible, which involves killing them.
  • Storming the Castle: Most combat requires the attacking army to tear down the enemy castle and get into the keep. Harder in practice.
  • Units Not to Scale:
    • Troops are positively massive compared to what they're supposed to be defending, with the keep only fitting five men and the buildings being just as cramped.
    • Village buildings are porportioned oddly, with some being as tall as trees and other being smaller than the workers they're supposed to contain
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Even if a village's buildings are ransacked, the villagers inside will survive and remain as part of the population.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The go-to tactic for low-level combat is to throw hundreds of Armed Villagers at the weakest castle wall and hope at least one makes it through the end. They're dirt cheap, cost no equipment, and you can have an entire army of them up in just 12 hours. It only loses effectiveness when the enemy has better melee units than you.
    • The tactic can be strengthened further by researching "Conscription", which can double the Armed Villager's health. It effectively increases a 400-villager rush into an 800 villager rush based on health alone, with the same short setup time as before.


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