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  1. #1
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    Let's Play: Knights of Honor

    Knights_of_Honor_Coverart.jpg
    Knights of Honor is a strategy game from 2004, by Black Sea Studious (who are now Crytek Black Sea wiki informs me.) It’s very much like the Total War series, but with less focus on realism in the battles.
    Set in medieval Europe, it’s the standard “guide a kingdom to dominance.” There is an alternative to simply conquering everybody though. The game also focuses on the titular knights, who act as agents performing various tasks like leading armies, spying, priesting or overseeing the cruel taxation of peasants.

    Here’s the intro:

    Statues! Boiling oil! Stern men!
    (The black borders are a bit annoying, and they show up on screenshots too, but I'll be cropping that out. I’m using Debut to capture, since neither Fraps nor Steam works with this game)

    Right, on to the game itself.
    The first thing to decide on is the nation:
    map2.jpgNations2.jpg
    The other options will be as shown. Note the “pause during battles”, if unchecked time passes like normal when you’re in charge of a battle. Meaning that while you’re busy killing peasants, some other army nearby might be going over to siege your town. On hard difficulty it must be unchecked.
    The problem with this is the AI. Simply put, the AI is a terrible general. If you’re playing with this option, you’ll have to delegate some battles to the AI. And if you do that you’ll probably take 5 times the expected number of casualties. So we’ll leave it checked for the normal time-is-stopped-outside-of-this-battle mechanic.


    Anyway, the difference between the nations is not very significant: The position is obviously different, and the national troops are different. There are three kinds of troops: National, local and special. Nationals are tied to the nation, and can be recruited in every province. Locals are tied to the province, and differ from place to place. And specials are, well, special. Crusaders for example are special troops, as they can only be recruited during a crusade.
    The troops are reasonably balanced (afaik) so the nationals don’t matter too much. Archers are pretty overpowered though; I’ve had undefeatable armies consisting solely of longbow-men.
    Whether the nation is a major power, or only has one province doesn’t really matter either: In the beginning the AI uses solely peasant armies, since more advanced troops have building requirements. Taking land early on is pretty simple.
    So, free choice. If you’re interested in a nation, I can check it’s nationals, territories, court and such. Whichever nation gets the most votes, is the one we’ll be playing as.
    Last edited by Zyrden; 11-03-2012 at 06:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds cool,

    I'll chuck a vote in for Ulster!

  3. #3
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    Ulster (from the game): Situated in the northern part of the island, Ulster was historically under heavy English influence. In the 5th century, Ireland was converted to Christianity by saint Patrick. Subsequently it became a centre of christian scholarship. This was brought largely to an end however with the invasion of the Vikings in the 10th century, and that of the Normans in the 12th century. In 1172, King Henry II of England started to conquer Irish lands.

    Ulster_map.jpg
    Ireland is made up of 3 provinces, each with their own kingdom. Our first objective would be to take the other two provinces.

    Ulster_Court.jpg
    The royal family is decent, with a prince to secure the succession. Ulster has a princess too, these are used in negotiations, and can give a considerable boost to relations. Disregard the king’s stats, they’re randomly generated at the start of a game.


    Ulster_province.jpg
    Ulster itself. At the top of the left bar, you can see the province features. It always seems to have fish, and sometimes it has pastures. More is better, I’ll explain these later.


    Nationals : Hobilars (from the manual)
    Hobilars are the famous Irish version of the light cavalry. Armed with short javelins, they are fast and have a good charge.

    Local special: Longbowmen
    Longbowmen are famous for their long bows, which are capable of shooting very distant targets. Their armour is not very good, but their outstanding shooting skills compensate for this.

    Testing a bit, I found that surprisingly few things are static: The people in the court, the villages and such in a province, and the recruitable troops. Town buildings are random, the stats of rulers are random, even diplomatic relations are random. I never realized this. It does mean that only those 3 things differentiate kingdoms. So only the province(s), the size of the court, and the troops really matter when choosing a nation to play as.
    Last edited by Zyrden; 12-03-2012 at 05:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Network Hub Zyrden's Avatar
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    With a staggering 100% of the votes, Ulster it is!

    First, let’s take a look at what we’ve got.

    1_court.jpg
    Niall’s stats are acceptable, economy and diplomacy are nice to have high in the start to get us going financially. Religion is useless at the moment, as it helps priests, which we have none of and have no use for wight now, and helps religious conversions. Everyone nearby is christian like us, so we won’t be doing that anytime soon. I forgot to check the prince’s stats, but they’re not important before he’s king. They can help you decide who becomes the heir, but we only have one prince.

    1_diplo.jpg
    Diplomatically, we’re friendly with Wales and Leinster, and not so much with Highlands and York. Of note is that we have a trade route with Wales. I’ll talk about how amazing that is in a bit.

    This view is part of the “political view.” Here we can get all sorts of information. Such as Relations, which we are seeing above. The filters are in the bow in the lower right corner. From the top left we have;
    Kingdoms, which shows the different kingdoms. An example is in the previous post, the first screen.
    Next is Relations that I’ve just shown. This one also shows alliances, marriages and other agreements.
    The 3rd filter is Stances, which is more useful for looking up who a given kingdom is allied or at war with.
    Next is Religion, simply showing the religion of the provinces. Then there’s rebellion risk, no explanation needed I think.
    1_resources.jpg
    The next one is quite handy, Province Features and Goods. Selecting a feature or trade good in the bottom list, you can see which provinces has that feature or good. I’ll still postpone explaining what these do to keep this infodump smaller. You’ll want to own as many features as possible though.
    The next filter in political view is Units, and works like the previous one, simply showing where a specific unit type can be recruited. Though since units depend on certain buildings, the axeman unit needs an axe smith in a town before they can be recruited for example, it can be a bit misleading. Right now only peasants show up, since they have no requirements.
    1_globalbuildings.jpg
    The last filter is Buildings. With this we can see that almost all provinces have a town garrison. This one is useful for checking defenses, and works like the other filters.

  5. #5
    Network Hub Zyrden's Avatar
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    Speaking of buildings, let’s check if we have any already.
    1_buildings.jpg
    We do! Before I explain them, let’s take a look at towns.
    This is the town of Derry. There is exactly one town in every province. Besides this, there are a number of villages, monasteries and farms. In coastal provinces there is also a coastal village. Towns are where you build armies, and it’s what is keeping the province yours. To conquer a province you have to take the town.
    Now, Derry here gives us a few resources, you can see them at the bottom, beneath the line of men. From left to right, we have piety, gold, books, and in the second row, food and labor. The game uses the former 3 as global resources, we’ll check them out later. Food and labor is for the given province only. Resources are collected or spent about every 5 seconds.
    The line of men above the resources are the serfs in the town. These are your recruiting pool. One unit of troops consumes one serf. Right now Ulster(town names wont be used) can hold 9 serfs, and we have 7 now. It’s easier to see without the buildings tab in the way, you’ll see later. You keep getting more serfs until the town is full. The more food a town has, the faster that goes.
    Food is also the rate at which the town supplies fill up, more is better. The line of grain at the very bottom represent the supplies. Right now we have 100/100, meaning we can’t hold more. Certain buildings can increase this limit. If your town is sieged, the food supplies determine how long it’ll be before they surrender. You’ll also need supplies to give to armies, more on that in a different update.
    Labor is how fast a town constructs buildings. Most of the lower tier buildings need 100 points of labor put into them, while more advanced buildings take many times that. If you want a highly developed town, such as your capitol, you’ll want to get as much labor as possible. Right now we have 4 labor which is quite good considering we have no villages. Every village in a province gives one point of labor, a farm gives food, and a monastery gives piety. In Ulster there are 3 farms, 3 monasteries and one coastal village. Pretty bad actually, since we won’t be able to get bonuses that would apply to villages, such as the tax collector. A mix of the three types is better. The coastal village gives 1 gold.

    Alright, on to buildings.
    As the political view told us, we have a town garrison.
    Town Watch House(I’ll be introducing units and buildings like this, the description is lifted from the manual. And yeah, I call them something different since watch house sounds a bit silly.)
    The Town Watch House holds the Town Guards. The larger the town, the greater the number of guards stationed there. Town Guards are very strong and are very helpful during enemy assaults.
    These give a free heavy infantry unit in a defense of the town. These guys are very good, almost able to defend a town on their own against very early armies. And since there’s a limit to how many troops you can station as defenders, a free unit is always nice.
    We also have:

    Stable
    The Stable is required to train mounted units within the town.
    Requires: Granary

    As it says, this is needed for training cavalry. Now, because we got this for free, the requirements are glossed over. We could demolish it, and then we would need a granary to rebuild it.

    Inn
    The Inn provides basic space for travellers and workers. It also increases the number of serfs in the Province. Citizens spend some time here drinking ale and singing, increasing the town’s overall happiness.
    Upgradable to: Hostel.
    +1 workers in all villages, +2 happiness in the Province

    Pretty much a must usually, though we don’t get any workers out of it due to having no villages. Happiness is chance to rebel, so keeping it positive is a good idea.

    Church
    The Church increases and raises Piety in the Province. It also raises the price for religious conversions in the Province.
    Upgradable to: Cathedral.
    +1 Books in town, +1 Piety in the monasteries.

    If you want to convert a province, it’s a good idea to demolish any religious buildings first. They’ll be useless after you convert it anyway I think.

    There are also some buildings we can construct, shown in the middle of the screenshot. Buildings are divided into three groups: military, civilian and advanced structures. The advanced structures all require other buildings to be built first.

    In Ulster we can build:
    Training grounds
    The training Grounds are required to train any military units other than peasants.
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Tax Collectors Office
    The Tax Collectors Office is the office os the King’s tax collectors. It increases the town’s gold income. (well it would if we had any villages.)
    +1 gold in all villages, -1 happiness.

    This and an inn is usually the 2 first buildings I build. But without villages, it’s useless for us, so we might as well save that 1 point of happiness.

    Tool Smithy
    The Tool Smithy supplies the town with quality tools. It increases the number of workers available in the Province.
    +1 worker in town.

    It’s also the requirement for many buildings. It’s a must-have.

    Granary
    The Granary increases the town’s food storage. Increased food storage allows the town to endure enemy sieges for a much longer period of time.
    +1 food in the town, +100 extra food storage in the Province.


    Fishmonger
    The Fishmonger increases the food supply in the town.
    required province feature: Fishery.
    Upgradable to: Docks.
    +1 food in the coastal village.

    Not much food given, but the docks are important for later buildings.

    And that’s everything about towns. Next, lets look at the global resources.
    1_gold.jpg
    Most important is gold. It’s also the easiest to get, fortunately. Pretty much everything you do takes gold; troops, buildings, knights and sometimes diplomacy. Right now our income is looking a bit shabby: 2 from towns, 3 from the king’s financial skills and 1 from the church (though I have no idea why we are getting money from them, wasn’t it the other way around?) On the other hand we are losing 10 gold to wages for the sole general we have. We’ll fix this in a bit. At the bottom there are 3 piles of gold, representing tax levels: No taxes, normal taxes and high taxes. Regardless of what we set it to, we don’t have enough citizens yet to actually get anything. To the right of that, we have war taxes. This option gives a lump sum of gold, at the cost of nationwide unhappiness. This could make you win the war, but you might have to fight rebels for a long time afterwards.
    1_piety.jpg
    Piety is the second most important resource, used for a couple of things, but not as much as gold. Converting provinces or your nation’s faith takes piety, as does priests actions. Generally I find that as a catholic nation, you always have enough piety, unless you’re fighting a lot of infidels.
    1_books.jpg
    Books are much more difficult to get, but needed nonetheless. Their primary use is for promoting knights, sort of like buying a level for one of them. You’ll need 1000 books for that though and right now we’re getting one. It’s a luxury resource.

    Now, take a look in the top left corner of the screen, that’s the kingdom power. Kingdom power is great. You’ll want it maxed at all times. It gives 2 things: Money and happiness. It goes from -5 to +5, and to increase it you pay gold and piety. Right now it would cost us 395 gold and 100 piety to increase our power to 1. The higher it is the more happiness it gives, at a set rate. The great thing about it is the money it gives: That is based on your population, so the more provinces the more money. And it pay exponentially with kingdom power level. I tried it out, and for Ulster it gives about 1 gold at level 1, but 16 at level 5. Anything above 10 is a considerable source of gold. So unless there are any objections, I’ll be increasing this all the time.
    Last edited by Zyrden; 13-03-2012 at 07:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Network Hub Zyrden's Avatar
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    Lastly (for now anyway), there’s knights. They are shown in the top bar on the screen:
    1_knight.jpg
    You always start with a hired general. There are 2 ways to recruit knights: you can pay 1000 gold to get one, who then has an upkeep of 10 gold. Or you can use the king or one of your princes who work for free. The danger of that is that some knights can be killed, and then you’ve lost a royal family member.
    In the screenshot, I’m recruiting the king for demonstrative purposes. There are 6 types of knights: generals (called marshals in the game) with red borders around their portrait, spies with purple, merchants with yellow, priests (clerics) with blue, Landlords with green and Builders with black.
    This post is already long so I’ll be brief: generals are for leading armies, spies for spying, merchants for making money, priests mostly for converting, landlords for more food in a province and builders for building stuff faster.

    By far the most useful of these are generals, merchants and spies.

    I’ll demonstrate how useful the merchant is, since they’re the best choice for first knight.
    Currently are losing 4 gold. But we have a trade agreement with Wales. Let’s put that to use.
    1_trade.jpg
    The trade route, with an unskilled trader (our king) gives 10 gold. Later on, we’ll be able to trade for trade goods too.
    1_wealth.jpg
    For now, gold is what we need. And this single trade route pays the upkeep of a knight. Obviously, getting a new knight for a trade route is useless, since his upkeep will take up all the profit from the trade. But with a family member, it goes straight to our coffers. If we had the books to train promote him, we’d get even more gold from this.


    And that’s it for today's lesson, it’s certainly long enough eh?
    What to do now?
    We have several options. At this point I’d like to build our economy first. I’d recommend making the king or prince a merchant and get all that sweet gold from Wales. I’d also recommend firing our general, since he’s simply a drain on our money. If we need a general we can always use a family member. This early in the game, there’s not much danger of losing battles, so long as we get actual troops and not the peasant armies that the AI will be using.
    There aren’t really any buildings other than the training grounds we need right now, since the tax collector gives us nothing, but all building give benefits (provided you have all types of rural areas).
    And who are our swords directed at? I assume that we will be warlike, since the game is a bit boring without military.
    Wales is already our friend, should we try to improve upon that?

    Updates will be mostly daily, though probably with exceptions. And they wont be as long as this (Christ this took a long time to write).

    Next time we’ll look at kingdom advantages, trade goods, and maybe the army. And hopefully tonnes of gold.
    Last edited by Zyrden; 13-03-2012 at 07:01 PM.

  7. #7
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    Hi! I've heard that soon the new version of Knights of Honor will be issued. Did you hear something about?

  8. #8
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    Woo go Ulster! Fireing the general and recruiting one of the family as a merchant to bump income seems to make the most sense. Uniting the whole of Ireland under your rule seems to be a fairly do-able short/mid term goal and would let you expand out from there?

  9. #9
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    As far as I know, there was talk of making a sequel years ago, and people were excited, but it never happened. Black sea studios who made the game, is now part of Crytek, so chances are they won't be making anything related. Indeed, their old forums are pretty dead by now. I don't really know, but I doubt there will be a new game.

    Unless its just some spambot, and I was just fooled :/

  10. #10
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    The general is dismissed, and our king starts to trade with Wales. After boosting our kingdom power, the economy is looking good.
    2_econ.jpg
    Kingdom power doesn’t give quite the 16 gold, since in the test game I had a larger population apparently. It’s still nice though.
    You’ll notice that trade actually gives 12 gold. The better your relations with your trade partners, the more gold you can get.

    2_wales.jpg
    That’s why I’m trying to get on better terms with them. Currently they’re at war with York.
    2_walliance.jpg
    And the price for an alliance is to attack York. Since we have no troops at all, and would rather secure Ireland first, I declined. We did make a non-aggression pact however.
    A bit later, they try to get our help again:
    2_wcalltoarms.jpg
    Again, I decline.

  11. #11
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    After that, the Papacy sends a message:
    2_ptrade.jpg
    Having more trade agreements is always nice, so I accept, and try to get allied with them.
    2_palliance.jpg
    They asked nothing in return.
    Diplomatic agreements come in tiers: The first is a trade agreement. You must have one in order to get a non-aggression pact, which is next. Then you can become allied.
    Above you can see our status in the symbols beneath their rulers portrait: The ring is grayed out wince we have no royal marriage, the dove means we are at peace, and the others are the agreements.

    Back in our lands, 5 kingdom power also gives us a lot of happiness:
    2_happy.jpg

    As for our prince:
    2_court.jpg
    He is far more warlike than his father. He’ll be good to have later.

  12. #12
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    I’ve been building military buildings, first a training grounds:
    2_build.jpg
    You can instantly build a building, but at an exorbitant cost. The building itself costs 500 gold.
    After that A fletcher was built, so we can train archers. I built this first since they’re more useful in defenses. At least, they would be, if we had any walls.

    Fletcher
    The Fletcher crafts bows and arrows. He is required to train ranged units in the town.
    Requires: Training Grounds.


    The training grounds gives access to many military buildings, and I missed a couple last time:

    Moat
    The Moat is a trench full of water encircling the town, which can only be crossed via a drawbridge. Moats are the most sophisticated form of fortification and make the town almost invincible against enemy assaults.
    +20 siege defense for the town.

    Siege defense affects how long the town will last in a siege. So yeah, moats are amazing. But, they cost 3000 gold and takes a very long time to build. So they’re for the most valuable towns.

    Palisade
    The palisade is the most basic shelter for citizens during times of enemy invasion. Without it towns are invaded instantly - the result of which is usually many casualties.
    Upgradable to: Stone Wall.

    If a town doesn’t have palisades you don’t need to siege it, just assault it.

    Axe Smith
    The Axe Smith is required for training units armed with axes.
    Requires: Training Grounds.
    +1 worker in town.


    Armoury
    The Armoury is required for training armoured units within the town.
    Requires Training Grounds.


    Spear Maker
    The Spear Maker is required to train units armed with spears.
    Requires Training Grounds.
    Upgradable to: Halberd Mastersmithy.


    Swordsmith
    The Swordsmith is required to train units armed with a sword within the town.
    Requires Training Grounds.
    Upgradable to: Sword Mastersmithy.


    Now that we have some military buildings, we can train some units. So let’s see what we can get in Ulster.

    Hobilars 800 gold 70 food
    Hobilars are the famous Irish version of the light cavalry. Armed with short javelins, they are fast and have a good charge.
    Requires: Stable, Horses, Spear Maker

    We have a stable, but we don’t actually have horses in Ulster. They’re one of the random province features. No cavalry yet then. The stable actually gives 2 workers though, so it’s good for something.

    Peasants 50 gold 20 food
    The Peasants are the cheapest and weakest unit. Usually they are armed with pitchforks and wear no armour. They walk in bunches, not formations, and have the lowest basic morale of all.
    We’ll probably never make these, but kill plenty.

    Bowmen 80 gold 50 food
    Bowmen are one of the most basic ranged units. They use nothing but a simple bow.
    Requires: Fletcher


    Spearmen 300 gold 50 food
    Spearmen are the most typical defensive units and are equipped with spears. They have a good charge and can be deadly for mounted enemies.
    Requires: Spear Maker

    Swordsmen 300 gold 50 food
    The Swordsmen are the backbone of every army. They are lightly armoured and equipped with swords. Their low price makes them very popular.
    Requires: Swordsmith

    These 2 units are pretty comparable. I think spearmen are more defensive, and swordsmen are better at killing, but I’m not sure.

    Longbowmen 2000 gold (!) 50 food
    Longbowmen are famous for their long bows, which are capable of shooting very distant targets. Their armour is not very good, but their outstanding shooting skills compensate for this.
    Requires: Fletcher

    With a good general, the best ranged units, maybe even the best units period. The extreme cost is because they’re local special units, and not nationals. Any province in the UK can recruit these, but national troops from another nation cost twice their regular price. This applies to province you’ve conquered as well: You’ll be able to get their nationals, but at a high price.

    The question is: Which ones do we want? Are we going for a balanced army, or a specialized one? Right now we can barely afford even one unit of longbowmen, so I’d prefer the other types.

    And now for something different: Kingdom advantages
    2_advantages.jpg
    There are 10 different advantages, all giving rather nifty bonuses. Like Urbanisation, the one selected. To get one, you’ll need to own the trade goods required.
    2_tradegood.jpg
    Urbanisation requires Salt. To get salt, we need a province with brine deposits as a province feature, and then build a mine. The trade goods on their own do nothing, but the advantages you can get with them are very worthwhile. In Ulster we have Fish, which gives.... nothing. Highland however have marble deposits, so they can get the marble statues trade good, one of the requirements for the Grand Cathedral. It’ll be a while before this stuff comes into play for us, and I’ll mention it again when it does.

    Since we’re going to unify Ireland, I checked Leinster and Munster, the other parts of Ireland. Leinster have all the basic military buildings already, meaning they can recruit the same troops that we can. Even worse:
    2_wealthiest.jpg
    They have a big pile of gold to spend on troops, and a higher income than us. Quite intimidating. Our relations are on the better side of neutral though, so they are not likely to attack us. They’re the middle kingdom though.
    The bottom one, Munster only has a town garrison, no other military buildings, and even has a point of unhappiness. Definitely our first target.

    Something else to think about; there are some big nations out there, should we try to become friends with some of them? Relations don’t increase from agreements, we’ll have to bribe them (either with gold or marriage) or attack their enemies.
    We have enough income to afford a knight. Should we get one? And what kind? Leinster is going to be a problem, but a spy could help with that. It might take a long time to work though.
    And if we’re going to fight them, it might be a good idea to get a general, rather than risk our prince. Generals gain experience and levels from battles, so it’s best to decide early.
    And Ulster, are we going to build a military fortress or a financial hub?

    Next time, we might actually kill something!

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