Overview – Stronghold 2

What Is Stronghold 2?

Firefly Studio’s Stronghold 2 is a real-time strategy game set in medieval Europe. Players take on the roles of lords and ladies of a manor.

How Can Stronghold 2 Be Used?

The game provides a detailed model of manor life, castle architecture and siege warfare. Students can learn about the manorial system. Students can also compare the game’s version of agriculture, lord – peasant relations, and siege warfare to valid historical evidence in order to practice the high order skills of historical criticism (on this point, see Simulations as Historical Interpretations in the theory section)

Equipment Needed

The demo version of Stronghold 2 is free and can be downloaded online. This contains a tutorial with three levels. Although the full commercial version is ideal becauise it allows students to play with the full array of buildings for the manor,the demo is adequate for a complete set of lessons that involve playing the game and critiquing the historical interpretations found in the game. The demo will run on a PC with a 32 MB graphics card (64 MB is recommended for the full version). Students can share computers taking turns playing and taking observation notes. Another option is to use a projector and have the teacher or a student assistant play the game while the rest of the class takes observation notes.

Historical Questions Raised by Stronghold 2

Under each historical question is a series of considerations you should consider as you play the game. Use research from the historical evidence provided to consider how accurately the games portrays these elements of medieval life.

  1. How can the relationship between a lord/lady and peasants best be characterized?
    • What do peasants provide for the lord/lady? What are the effects of the things that peasants provide?
    • Are there limits in the game on what peasants can or will provide?
    • Does the lord/lady provide anything for the peasants? What are the effects of the things that lord/lady provides?
  2. What agricultural and manufacturing technologies were available and how did they limit medieval societies?
  3. To what extent was Medieval Europe a violent society?
    • To what extent in the demo game is your manor under threat of attack
    • When enemies attack, what are their usual targets? Why?
  4. What was the role and function of the village (and manor village) in medieval society, economics, and politics?
  5. How did the medieval economy function? Why did it take the form it did?
  6. What factors made political and military power decentralized in the middle ages?
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