From: "Laura Omniscient" Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 17:57:34 PST A Few Useful Tips for Lords of the Realm II In my opinion, Lords of the Realm II is one of the greatest games ever made. Here are just a few generic tips that might help you beginners out there. Cattle Farming Since your success is ultimately due to the prosperity of your county(s), it is highly recommended that you make sure that your serfs are fed adequately. I have found that cattle are probably the best means of sustenance, due to the fact that they provide you not only with meat (if your ration bar is set that way) but dairy as well. Usually, dairy alone can feed anywhere from ¬ to « of my population in each county. However, the larger a herd gets, the harder it is to maintain. It is best that your herd crowding is kept at "average". Also keep in mind that you are only given a set number of fields and, on the harder difficulties, fields constantly suffer from floods and/or droughts. Grain Farming The alternative to cattle farming is grain farming. I wouldn't recommend that you try to sustain your entire county solely on grain--it is best used alongside cattle. Each field you plant requires 10 sacks to be sown and in the fall, when the grain is harvested, you receive 120 sacks for each field. Grain is quickly acquired this way, but larger populations devour it like water. If the county you are in has a large number of fields, I'd recommend that you reserve about 3 or 4 of them for grain and the rest for cattle. Weaponry I have found that the two best weapons that are worth your time and expenses are the sword and the bow. Swordsmen have high defense and tend to hit harder than pikemen, which would be the next best choice in the attacking department. Knights, too, are good, but their cost is so high and their only tangible advantage over swordsmen is speed (if you want speed, get macemen, which are dirt cheap!). If you do choose to use knights, keep in mind that their superior speed enables them to reach the enemy first and so they usually die first. It is best that you hold them back until the others have gone, or apply a separate strategy to them (such as covering your archers). Also, never underestimate the power of the bow. Archers are essential for seiges. Castle Building Get the biggest castle you can, as soon as you can. The larger the castle, the more free archers you get and the higher your tax revenues become. This is the key element to the higher difficulty levels. Defending/Seiging When faced against a formidable army twice your size, you would probably lose, right? Not if you are defending a castle. When defending a castle, your odds are significantly higher. Due to the favorable terrain, your archers are able to defend twice as well. Another useful advantage of castles are burning oils. A royal castle comes equipped with about four of these. These can be dropped from the battlements and, when aligned correctly, can seriously devastate your foes. Use caution, however, because your own troops are not immune to them. Seiging, on the other hand, is quite tricky. When seiging a wooden palisade or motte-and-bailey, you probably will not have to build any seige engines if your army is big enough. Though a battering ram is useful, it will take too many seasons to prepare if your army is too small. If you see a Norman keep, take it as a green light to build one or two seige towers and/or a battering ram. Catapults and battering rams work best against stone and royal castles. Opponents In my many months of playing this remarkable game, I have come to identify the different distinct qualities that personify each of your four opponents. The Baron serves as your finesse opponent. He mainly attacks when provoked, and is fond of sending small armies usually consisting of about 50 or so peasants to devastate your fields (which is also done by the other three oponents, as well). Alliances with him are weak and expensive. Don't bother. The Knight has a sexy voice...and that's about it. He acts like the Baron, but is more hasty in his attacks. Once The Bishop has set his sights on your lands you will have no choice but to destroy him immediately. His strategy consists of acquiring as many counties as he can, as quickly as he can, and building a royal castle to adorn each and every one of them. The armies he throws together are always three-person (as seen on the map) armies consisting of maybe 100 pikemen, some archers, a few swordsmen, and about 600 peasants. This is where his weak point is. Since peasants drop like flies, this isn't a problem. Take advantage of it. The Countess is much like the Baron. Her armies are usually medium-sized and well equipped. Her fault, however, lies in castle building. She depends on the motte-and-bailey for defense in almost all her counties. Maps Many different maps are available in both Lords of the Realm II and the Lords II Siege Pack. My favorite map is the Crusades. A challenging, fun game can be achieved here by selecting either "hard" or "medium" difficulty (if you are starting a custom game) and starting over until you are situated in the Latin Empire. This location isolates yourself, and thus while your opponents wage petty wars against each other, you can conquer counties, amass wealth, and BUILD ROYAL CASTLES! The Autocalc Option While in battle, at the bottom right of the screen, there is a bar of options available to you. The one furthest to the right portrays a picture of a computer. This is the autocalc option. When faced against small, stupid armies full of peasants, this option works wonders. NEVER use this during a seige, though. Any dummy with half a brain can seige with better results. Well, I hope this article was informative for you. I know that there is nothing of importance contained here--it is only a few of the things I have learned through experience. --Laura the Omniscient