Castles II: Siege & Conquest
DOS - 1992
Also released on: Mac - Amiga CD32
Description of Castles II: Siege & Conquest
Follow-up to Interplay's classic Castles, Castles II: Siege and Conquest is an excellent sequel that expands both scale and scope of the original classic. No longer are you a noble who is content with defending your own territory from the Celts and other nobles, you now have a grander ambition to conquer the whole of historical Brittany.
Fans of Castles will be happy to find that the addictive castle-building gameplay is not only intact, but enhanced with new building parts and soldier types. Because the scale of the game has been enlarged, you will spend most of your time looking not at your current castle, but at the map of England. From this screen, you have access to three categories of tasks: stock, army, relations, as well as the options menu. You are given a specific number of 'points' for each category, so you can allocate all of them to finish one task quickly, or apportion them to do several tasks at once. Tasks range from acquiring resources, such as refining gold, recruit and train different types of soldiers, to diplomatic options, one of the best new features of the game. Diplomatic orders (accessed from 'relations' menu) allow you to sabotage or spy other nobles' lands, cater to the Pope's favor, and so on. As in the first game, special historical events occur periodically, requiring you to choose an action from multiple choices. Your decisions, naturally, affect the game in varying degrees.
Castles II is, like its predecessor, a long game. But you now have a concrete measure of your progress: the points system. Most actions in the game yield points, some (e.g. conquering a province or wiping out a noble completely) more than others. You have to reach 7,000 points to petition the Pope for the throne, and then you have to maintain those points for 4-5 computer months to win the game. Castle building is more efficient and easier to deal with. You can even set up pre-made castles on file so that you can place them quickly. Battles are set in a full alternate screen with the ability to place and command each unit, a welcome change from the passive, watch-it-unfold battles in the first game.
With the addition of many fun strategic options, diplomacy, and an even easier to use interface, Castles II is an even more enjoyable game than the original. New strategy options make the castle building aspect of the game seem more like icing on the cake than an integral part of gameplay, big castles only help in stopping revolutions and helping the economy (higher tax income). This may disappoint some people who enjoy the importance of castles in the first game, but the benefits of new features more than outweigh this complaint. If you like strategy games set in the Middle Ages, Castles II is a must have. Two thumbs up!
Review By HOTUD
Comments and reviews
Setvin 2021-04-26 0 point
This was a very inspiring game to me 20+ years ago when I was a kid not even able to read yet, but had a ton of demos on floppies. It's amazing how much detail this game has, and how closely it can compete with modern games. Literally a 10 minute update could get it on modern standards. It's truly fascinating. I dont think many people realize how some games, though considered "mediocre" were so ahead of their times and perhaps inspired my generation to expand on those original ideas.
H1guard 2020-06-18 0 point DOS version
Played this back in the day, loved it. I can't get the historic castle designs to load.
daffy 2020-05-17 5 points
First, I need to point out that you are playing as a duke of France, not England.
This game is great. If you enjoy Total War, you will like this. It is very replayable, with i think just the right amount of variables to tweak in the beginning. Each faction presents a separate strategic challenge. You can chose to have resources distributed evenly(easier), randomly(difficult), or historically(which actually is easier than random because you know where the resources are). You can also adjust the AI difficulty factor, Lastly, you can play with or without random events. The events help or hinder your progress depending on the choices you make, playing out over the course of many months gametime.
I find the strategy element of this game to be very engaging. You play the game by assigning advisors to tasks. There are three categories, administrative where you gather resources and build castles, military where you recruit units or sabotage neighbors, and diplomatic where you improve relations, scout territories and spy. Each successful completion of a task contributes to an increase in the number of advisors you have. Each task requires a minimum of advisors, so you can't recruit knights until you have at least 6 military advisors. You can also lose advisors from failing at a task. You can also mix and match advisors to complete tasks faster. This is especially useful for castle building, which is the most time consuming.
Castle building does not just improve the defenses of your territories. It also can double resource production as well as prevent rebellions of the surrounding territories. Castle defense, in fact, is not very effective and the UX is a little frustrating.
The tactical element, unfortunately, is not very exciting. The defender gets to chose the ground within the territory, but it is impossible to do this effectively as there is no preview of the battle lines. The only real advantage is choosing a spot where cavalry get slowed down a little, or hopefully getting situated in a forest where your soldiers are slightly more covered from ranged units. This is great in theory, but in reality ground does not seem to have any noticeable affect on the outcome. Maneuvering during battle is klunky. Thankfully you can pause and issue orders, and you can chose an entire group with hotkeys or individual units with the mouse. Cavalry is very strong but need to be timed perfectly or they will be overrun by the enemy and it is nearly impossible to do.
Losing a battle is devastating, which is actually historically accurate. When you are the aggressor, each loss is taken directly out of your standing army. This means a pyhrric victory is also rather punishing. During defense, you only get a portion of your standing army, which means you will probably lose against an equal. However, if you kill enough of your attacker and time the retreat properly, a counter attack may be very successful. This makes timing an attack on another faction very important. This also puts a good need to properly spy on your neighbors, while also keeping an eye on relations between factions to determine when an opponent is weakened. Despite the devastating affect of losing, it is not impossible to recover. You will lose many territories while recovering though, and may need to concede defeat by supporting another faction for the crown.
The pope is also an important factor. He generally doesn't like war, but he loves gold. You can also cede territories to him to improve relations, although he is not allowed to have territories touching each other. Getting excommunicated is the worst. It not only causes unhappiness, it also reduces the number of your advisors. It is also an open invitation to be invaded without any consequences by other factions as relations with the pope is really the only thing keeping you from getting railroaded.
Lastly, you must keep your people happy. Happiness is a sleeper, being that it improves soldier's morale, especially during a defense. Being that Defense can lead to devastating an attacker's standing army and allowing you to make huge gains against them, this is probably the most important thing in the game, and it is often the reason beginners lose. This also adds the need to spy on your neighbor to determine their happiness.
Victory is achieved by gaining enough points to claim the throne. It takes a few months for this to happen, during which every faction will attempt to reduce your points in whatever way they can.
All of these factors make this game a pleasure and challenge to play. Your decisions are important and meaningful. Neglecting any factors will lead to defeat. You cannot win by shear numbers. Even knights, who are terribly powerful on the field, are absolutely useless in a siege. Balance is needed between the pope, happiness, defending against spies and sabateurs, building castles, gathering resources, developing alliances, and of course, expansion and victory. Each playthrough is different, and there is no guaranteed path to victory. This makes for an excellent experience, and I highly recommend it.
David Smola 2019-04-29 -3 points DOS version
I've bought this game long ago, but had to replace my computer with one that uses Windows 10. How do I get it back on my new computer? I use it daily.
russvan 2016-06-12 4 points
hey to everyone who is saying this game is way too slow, holding RMB speeds things up ALOT, you can also turn off battles in the beginning of the game if you want.
TD22 2015-12-21 7 points
If you hold down the right hand mouse button it makes the game go very quickly, there's no need to wait ages for the bars to load.
Cache McCall 2015-12-11 1 point Mac version
Okay, I downloaded but where is the .exe file. I cannot get the game to play. OSX10.5.8
Mean 2015-10-11 -4 points
If you can get a hold of "gemfire" for super nintendo, you will have a MUCH BETTER TIME! Couldn't get into castles. Can't get into Castles 2. Look, I'm 30 something, I AM a patient gamer, but this is just REDICULOUSLY SLOW! If combat was better, it might be worth it. This game may have been great for its time, but its time has passed. The snes is loaded with old strategy games so go that route. Those super slow loading bars to do anything ruin this game for me. Nope. Done with it.
zahid zaman 2015-07-08 0 point DOS version
Love this game,played back in the day on amiga cd 32, great game!! 10 out of 10!
C 2015-04-06 1 point DOS version
retro player, i just tried 7zip (v9.20 x64) and it worked just fine... In fact, even Windows Explorer was able to open the archives (and i believe it would have been able to even with no 3rd party download needed), it even showed me the compression ratio. ;-)
retro player 2014-05-04 -1 point DOS version
I love this game, but cannot seem to unzip the files. Any advice for someone who has tried 7zip and jzip but can't seem to extract anything?
Another Wise Old Man 2013-05-02 4 points DOS version
After a ton of digging through google, I finally found a PDF of the manual for this game:
Note that one site that had it wanted $5.95 for it. Fuck'em.
fr4nk 2013-02-10 0 point DOS version
This game still has copy protection!
After a few turns, you will be asked a question, and if you answer wrong, your game will end. Manual is required to get the answers.
Kiasu 2012-06-10 1 point DOS version
Building ingenious castles was one thing. I had the CDROM version with the fantastic educational footage. It was one of the first multimedia CDs worth having.
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Game Extras and Resources
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