Stronghold is a strategy game made by Firefly Studios back in 2001. It is the first game of a successful series.
Story is set around 1066 in medieval Britain and it talks about a young boy trying to avenge his father's death, who was killed by the main antagonist of the game, while at the same time King of Britain was kidnapped and 4 enemy lords who have captured him have divided the land among themselves.
Player plays as the young boy whose name is not mentioned and his goal is to defeat 4 enemy lords and rescue the King and avenge his father.
Helping you with your mission are 2 Lords who are more experienced in combat than you and who still remain loyal to the King.
The game allows you to choose between economic and military campaign but I will talk mostly about military because it is more interesting.
There are different kinds of missions you need to complete like: siege a castle with a limited amount of troops, defend against multiple waves of enemies each harder than the last or collect required goods in limited amount of time. The more you progress through the game missions of course get harder, more enemies come to attack you, they are more armored and armed and they attack more often, but you also unlock more troops, building and different kinds of walls to protect you and your citizens. To build something you need to have high popularity in your kingdom, free peasants around your campfire (will talk about later) and enough material and gold. The most important thing in the game is your Lord. Lord is a troop which walks around your castle and if he is killed your mission is over and you need to start all over again or from your last save so make sure you protect him.
Popularity system is the most important thing in the game, it goes from 0 to 100, if it is below 50 your peasants will start to leave your castle and you will not be able to create any soldiers or hire workers. It can be increased in many ways:you can build churches which will increase your religion stats,reduce taxes,increase food rations or produce ale. There is also Fear Factor, it goes from -5 to 5 and it depends on if you build good building which improve popularity but decrease productivity of your workers and there are bad buildings which decrease popularity but improve productivity.
Your workers, they gather around the campfire in your castle and after you build something that needs a worker one of them or more if required will get up and get to work. You can only have a limited number of peasants around your campfire and if you have too many your popularity will drop.
Like I said in popularity section if you build bad buildings productivity will increase so your workers will start bringing extra rations or extra wood and stone. If no workers are available you will need to build more houses for them called huts, each hut has place for 8 peasants, but be aware more peasants means more food spent.
MY opinion about the game!!
Game is incredible considering it was made 18 years ago, it is fun and you need to think to actually beat the game, will you train 15 archers or should you spend your gold to buy food. All your progress can go to waste if you choose badly. Of course it's not perfect A.I sometimes makes stupid mistakes and some things sometimes don't work as intended but it's nothing game crashing. So conclusion is that you should play it. It's not expensive and it goes on sale every now and then, who knows maybe you can get it cheap with its sequels.