There’s no new map this week, so we thought it the perfect time to go back and profile some of the more popular sites of conflict - with an aim to build up a library of tactical guides for all of the maps in Conqueror’s Blade. We start (or should that be re-start), outside the dry dusty gates of Kurak Castle.
While the plans and intentions for it are lost to the sands of time, it’s clear to many that the purpose for Kurak Castle was to serve as a status symbol for its owner, rather than as a base of operations for any serious military force; to help police the nearby trade routes, but little else other to impress passers-by. However, despite its strategic inefficiencies, Kurak Castle is a deceptively tricky proposition for any attacker to contemplate. In an era of history where long-drawn-out sieges are rare, Kurak’s poor access to resources and its distant local population are of little concern to would-be defenders, making in an effective short-term redoubt when under quickfire assault - but one that is eminently conquerable when the right tactics are employed.
Although surrounded by an imposing landscape of mesas and buttes, Kurak Castle itself is situated on a featureless plain, where the only places an attacker can find cover is behind wooden palisades. The map is also notable for allowing engagements along both sides of the castle as well as it’s front, which, together with it’s widely-spaced ladders and siege towers, means the attackers have a wide front to consider and a lot of terrain to cover should a change in tactics be necessary. However, once breached, Kurak Castle can fall remarkably quickly. Thanks to a compact layout where lanes regularly intersect, a final assault could prove decisive if well-timed. Go too early or if left too late, however, then the defenders might doggedly hold the inner sanctum.
PLAN OF ATTACK
- With an intimidating wall to breach, it can be tempting to avoid the direct route and focus your assault on one of the flanks. However, with only a single cannon stationed on the gatehouse wall to defend against two siege towers, unless the enemy is well equipped and organised, a direct approach might not be so inclined to fail.
- That said, a useful tactic is to start with a feint, to trick the enemy warlords into deploying any personal artillery pieces out of position. You can then wheel back around to your primary front, using trebuchet fire to support your advance across the open terrain.
- With ladders situated all around the castle walls, getting a unit onto the battlements is relatively easy. Keeping it is another matter, since as well as its height and positional advantage, the defenders are able to reinforce quickly all along the boardwalk-like battlements. Attacking on two fronts, even if one is a ruse, will always be more effective.
- Time is short for the attacking side, so to extend it you must quickly prioritise a capture point. Point A (behind the gatehouse minarets) will always be heavily defended, but it is the closest to your starting position. If it is your primary target and you find the enemy refusing to yield, it may be time to try to find a way to capture Point B, if only to divide the enemy. You don’t have to be successful in taking Point B, but any effort to do so will draw the enemy out to defend it, which could give your main assault the advantage it needs.
- Once you have secured a position on the walls that you can reinforce against counter-attack, the next stage is crucial. An organised defence will quickly retreat to guard the final capture point, which is flanked by dangerous inners walls. Unless you move quickly and decisively at the right time, the enemy will be difficult to dislodge. A good way to hasten a victory is to drive through to the rear of the castle, taking the last of the defender’s resupply points on the way to outflanking the opposition.
- In terms of its own artillery, Kurak Castle is poorly defended. If you can, try to ensure your warlords are equipped with deployable siege weapons that can be used to stop incoming siege towers and to thin the enemy numbers. With a considerable height advantage over a terrain that lacks cover, siege weapons will be devastating.
- Line of sight and speed of movement are your primary advantage when defending Kurak Castle. A coordinated defence that is marshalled correctly to plug gaps, should be able to run down the clock sufficiently to ensure victory, although that becomes more difficult when a capture point is taken.
- It should be very difficult for the enemy to be able to surprise you, despite the wide-area that needs defending. However, in the thick of a battle, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and allow an enemy detachment to slip through undetected. If you are defending a section of the wall in large numbers, at least try to have warlords stationed at the main towers at the south-west and south-eastern corners of the castle. From there they should be able to detect any enemy trying to sneak through and quickly move to engage them before any damage is done.
- If the outer wall is lost, fall back to the inner courtyard. With three entry points it’s difficult to defend, but you can retain an intimidating counter-attacking advantage if you use the north-eastern outer wall to station any remaining archers and from which to drop down heavier troops into the fray.