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It took me about a dozen restarts and 30 reloads to get it done and by the skin of my teeth.
- The 2nd round of fires are insane. I literally counted and at one point had a better ratio than 2 wells for every 3 buildings. Plus they were evenly spread between and around buildings and several times the 2nd multi-tier wave of fires still took out about half my compound and had to reload and pray for less of a maelstrom.
- It's one thing to throw in some cow disease and crop failures, but when you're given next to zero good space for apple farms (the space north of the castle is nice, but is constantly raided) and dairy farms burn down like matchstick houses, having constantly "the wheat crops have gone bad sire." for month after month....that's brutal. Just like months without cows kill leather production.
- If you r castle is wide open..bandits attack the gate and tower. But if you have a completed castle they ignore it altogether and just slaughter everyone outside of the castle walls. This makes sense how? Learned the hard way to not put in that last piece of brick until the rest was done.
- Could the setup be ANY worse? Wood and Iron are miles away, you can't put most of your food close to the granary and half the fertile land will be raided constantly by bandits.
In the end, I finished my leather and maces a few months ahead of time, my stone well before that and I had to un-share my bread and raise nearly 150 bread in the last few months to finish...with 1 month left. I was about a pixel from running out of time.
Essentials... - Once you've got a good force of about 20-25 archers (I put 6-7 on the gatehouse, about 10 on the keep and about 5-6 on top of that big tower by the keep.) You're good. Destroy the fletcher/bowyer for space, money and lumber and put in another blacksmith to make maces. - Similar goes for the wells. Once you've survived the last big wave of fires (about 1/3 of time left), destroy the wells and put all of them to work on resource gathering. I put them to work right away with extra dairy farms, oxes, blacksmiths, bakers, etc. - If you can, get one key thing done the fastest, then you can rip down their buildings and put the same men to work elsewhere without too high of a population. - Keep population down! More people makes it harder to stock up on food. Plus, a more restrained design helps improve benefits of tavern and drinking happiness.