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FireFly Studios' Stronghold is a combination of a building simulation (like SimCity) and a real-time strategy game. The player can build and conquer castles, populate lands with his peasants and defend his estate from invaders.

Castle management involves food production, resource gathering, processing supplies and weapons production. Peasants must be satisfied and efficient, and these needs are done through food ration sizes, tax (or bribe) management, nice or cruel town elements (boost happiness and efficiency respectively), religion and popularity supervision. Should popularity rise above 50, more peasants will enter the castle until the capacity is filled, otherwise they will leave, and all production will eventually halt. Occasional disasters can occur, such as plague, fires, sudden apple tree rots and even attacks from wild animals and bandits. Many of these can be avoided (with apothecaries, wells, and proper defenses), while others cannot. These events can sometimes affect popularity as well.

Combat is based mostly on sieges, where one player is the attacker and the other is the defender (though there are exceptions to this in the military campaign). Armed units require weapons, gold and available peasants (who are replaced once a soldier moves to the barracks, as soldiers do not count as peasants), and are commanded in a typical RTS fashion. Ranged units like archers and crossbowmen can man towers and walls to gain the height advantage, while low-tier melee units like spearmen can repel ladder carriers (who enable invaders to climb enemy walls) when they are adjacent to a wall. Engineers can build various siege weapons (catapults, mangonels, rams, shields, siege towers etc.) or carry pots of boiling oil to spill on enemies below the walls they stand on. Pikemen, swordsmen and knights are more resilient, while macemen can deal a lot of damage very quickly.

The game has two principal modes, military and economic. The military campaign (of 21 missions) follows the story of a young lord in the land of an overthrown king, and must reclaim it from the band of four dukes responsible for the fall of the old kingdom: Duc de Puce (The Rat), Duc Beauregard (The Snake), Duc Truffe (The Pig) and Duc Volpe (The Wolf), all with different personalities, play styles and difficulties (The Rat is the least competent, and The Wolf is the most resilient). Endorsed by his commander, Sir Longarm, and eventually other local lords, the player takes back the land county by county, restoring what is lost and defeating his nemeses before saving the king and helping him regain leadership.

The military mode also features individual scenarios such as sieges and invasions, as well as a multiplayer mode. There is an economy-based short campaign (of 5 missions, without much of a storyline), individual missions and a free build mode. Finally, the game offers an in-built map editor for those who don't find all of the above to be enough.

The game is lost if the player's character, the caped Lord who mostly resides in his keep, is killed, or if another critical objective of the specific mission is not met.


FireFly Studios' Stronghold Windows Some funny "dialogues" with the enemies
FireFly Studios' Stronghold Windows Trading stuff
FireFly Studios' Stronghold Windows A workshop for crossbows
FireFly Studios' Stronghold Windows It's money-time! Watch out, "Pig"!!

Promo Images

FireFly Studios' Stronghold Magazine Advertisement
FireFly Studios' Stronghold Magazine Advertisement
FireFly Studios' Stronghold Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "要塞" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Twierdza" -- Polish title
  • "Stronghold" -- Common title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Simply a fantastic game Windows Kate Jones (480)
Great game my liege! Windows Depth Lord (1003)

Critic Reviews

GameStar (Germany) Windows Oct, 2001 87 out of 100 87
IGN Windows Oct 26, 2001 8.7 out of 10 87
Gry OnLine Windows Dec 13, 2001 87 out of 100 87
Inside Mac Games (IMG) Macintosh Jun 12, 2002 8.25 out of 10 82
ActionTrip Windows Nov 16, 2001 81 out of 100 81
JeuxMac.com Macintosh Jun, 2002 4 out of 5 80
PC Zone Benelux Windows Jan, 2002 80 out of 100 80
Gamesmania.de Windows Oct 23, 2001 79 out of 100 79
GameSpot (Belgium/Netherlands) Windows Nov 16, 2001 78 out of 100 78
Eurogamer.net (UK) Windows Nov 01, 2001 6 out of 10 60


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Christmas shopping reference

There is an interactive voice in the main menu that reminds the player of Christmas shopping 10 days before Christmas.

Variations on different markets

The German release has the campaign storyline set in Germany instead of England. Some versions of the game also have differences in the menu interface and the Pig's appearance (sometimes his head is covered).

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Contributed to by Unicorn Lynx (181419) and Jeanne (76206)
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