Stronghold is a historical real-time strategy game developed by Firefly Studios in 2001. The game focuses primarily on conquest and expansion through military pursuits, but also provides space for economic strategy and development. There is both a business and a military campaign to be played, and both are explained in the game manual.
In its English version the game takes place in Medieval Britain around the time of 1066; however, since there is not always a time limit, plots can continue hundreds of years beyond that date.
Because of its popularity, the game spawned several sequels:
- Stronghold: Crusader (2002)
- Stronghold 2 (2005)
- Stronghold Legends (2006)
- Stronghold Crusader Extreme (2008)
- Stronghold 3 (2011)
- Stronghold Kingdoms (2012)
- Stronghold Crusader II (2014).
In Stronghold, the player takes the role of a lord in a kingdom. The goal is to create a stable economy and an active military to defend against intruders, destroy enemy castles and achieve the mission objectives.
Stronghold contains various modes of gameplay, with both warfare and economic missions. The primary game mode is the military campaign, which is based on a map of England. The backstory to the campaign explains that the King was captured and held for ransom while invading a neighboring barbarian kingdom.
Four Lords take control of the Kingdom, dividing it into their territories. The player is depicted by a young, inexperienced commander, whose father is assassinated in an ambush by one of the brutes. He is backed by two lords remaining loyal to the king.
The player has to reacquire control of the Kingdom by reconquering counties from rival lords one by one. The player has to defeat each of the four Lords in the campaign, receiving help from the King once he has been successfully ransomed mid-game.
An economic campaign is set after the primary battle, where the player re-constructs parts of the Kingdom. The player is set goals to compete against a variety of obstacles, such as bandits and fire.