Stronghold 3 Strategy Guide – Exclusive Developer Tips

If you are finding it hard to defeat the campaign scenario and lead your men to victory in multiplayer battles, don’t worry, we have called our friends at Firefly Studios to share tips and strategies that will help you fight the toughest of battles.

Be it single-player campaign or online multiplayer mode, these strategies will lead you to victory. At the very least, they will help you refine your strategy against human and A.I. opponents in Stronghold 3.

Starting with the units, this guide will walk you through attack, defense, early and late game strategies that you can use to get the better of your opponent in Stronghold 3.

Note. Before you jump to the guide section, developer has recommended that you play through the economic campaign to prepare yourself for the micromanagement involved in the military campaign and multiplayer.

Stronghold 3 Units Tips

  • Your Lord is a powerful unit. He can easily deal with bears, wolves and armed peasants (so long as they aren’t in too great a number), but keep a close eye on his health. Units cannot be healed and if your Lord dies it’s game over!
  • Armed Peasants are weak and die quickly, but are useful as fodder for your other units (Men at Arms for example) and for drawing the enemy into traps.
  • Macemen are among the fastest melee units.
  • Archers are one of the fastest ranged troops.
  • Crossbowmen are expensive (costing honour to train), but they are one of the most powerful ranged units.
  • Men at Arms have incredibly powerful throwing spears but must recharge after each attack, making hit-and-run tactics a good fit.
  • It’s not worth getting either Archers or Men at Arms into close combat – Their close-range attacks and health are poor, especially compared to their ranged prowess!
  • Idle peasants are useless! If you find all your food being eaten and can’t see why check the campfire next to your keep, if there are tens of idle peasants you’ve got villagers who aren’t working but are eating – Either give them jobs or recruit them to your army!
  • Your Lord can actually act as a tank for other units, so long as he’s well protected there’s no reason he can’t be sent out with the rest of your troops as part of an attack.
  • You may find Men at Arms to be an effective way of bringing down walls and tower units even faster than using the catapults!!!
  • Crossbowmen are the most effective ranged attack against armored troops.

Stronghold 3 Attacking Tips

  • Use a variety of troops when attacking and move them in separate groups, with your armed peasants at the front.
  • Mantlets are relatively cheap and provide excellent mobile cover for your archers.
  • Diseased animals can be used to disrupt enemy castles economy as well as kill troops.
  • Armed peasants are great for setting off logs traps and pitch ditches. Follow this up quickly with your main attacking force and you can avoid flaming death altogether!
  • Key units like the battering ram can either be protected by mantlets or scores of expendable peasants.
  • Men at Arms should be at the rear of any large attacking force.
  • Siege equipment should move behind your attack, else it will never make it to the castle walls!
  • Attacking the front of a castle is rarely your best option – Pick a weak point in its defenses and attack from a distance with a trebuchet.
  • Often rushing ranged troops with fast close-combat units like Macemen is the best strategy.
  • The stronger ground troops can be used to hold back and slow down a counter-attacking enemy force, allowing your ranged troops time to pick them off from the rear.
  • Don’t waste valuable ranged troops like archers and men at arms in an attempt to take out enemy troops positioned on castle walls. A better strategy is to use more expendible units as fodder while your catapults and trebuchets destroy the walls, killing any troops placed on them.
  • If you can sneak around the back of the enemy’s castle and attack.

Stronghold 3 Defensive Tips

  • Hoarding will protect your troops on walls.
  • Towers give your archers extra range.
  • Pitch ditches can be lethal if used at the right time.
  • Burning oil can fend off troops attacking your walls.
  • Traps are an excellent way of reducing the number of enemy archers that make it within range of your castle walls.
  • Braziers will allow flaming arrows which do more damage, however they can only be placed on walls.
  • Section-off part of your castle and line the walls with archers to create a ‘killing zone’ and draw your attackers in.
  • Don’t forget about the danger posed by wolves and bears! There are times when you won’t hear them coming and they can wreak havoc on your town if not promptly slayed.
  • Hay bale launchers are a good way to improve visibility and search for attacking forces at night.
  • If you can’t afford to rebuild walls either repair them or use stake traps to shore up breaches.
  • Troop-heavy attacks that lack catapults and/or trebuchets can quite easily be drawn into killing zones full of traps and ranged troops – This can be done with strategically placed walls.

Stronghold 3 Early Game Strategies

  • If you can, harass your enemies early in the game to disrupt their economy.
  • You can build your first wood camp for free if you’re already out of wood, so use up all of your wood on other buildings before building your wood camp.
  • Build plenty of food-generating buildings early on. You can quite easily have high taxes and limited rations without negatively impacting popularity, so long as your granary isn’t empty.
  • Concentrate on building up your economy first, it’s much easier to recruit and pay for an army if you have a stable economy than if you try to do everything at once. Your Lord should be able to defend you from the earliest of attacks.
  • Place your stockpile quickly but also consider where you put it. The location of wood as a resource is constantly changing, where sources of stone are more static.
  • Bribing peasants to increase popularity is a short-term strategy that isn’t terribly advisable! You’d be better off over-developing food and ale to start with, allowing you to actually raise taxes instead.
  • Building a church early in the game is often the best way to get control over your economy. Without one you lack a key mechanism for maintaining popularity, putting you at a significant disadvantage.
  • Stronghold 3 is a defensive game so “Zerg rush” type attacks simply won’t work. In general you’re much better off opting for a fortify strategy.
  • You have two options for blocking early enemy attacks – A wall of troops or a wall of stone – Both have their advantages and require slightly different economies to establish.
  • If all you have to deal with is wolves and bears don’t bother creating a barracks, your Lord can deal with animal attackers and you’ll need all available peasants early on to build up your wood/stone supplies in the allotted time.
  • Don’t waste the space around your keep – It will cost fewer resources, time and land if you use this space for housing.
  • Honour is a key resource for producing the more powerful units. If you can, it’s good to start generating honour early on, otherwise however rich and populated your village is you’ll only have access to the weaker units.
  • A variety of food types is an easy way to gain popularity – Try to balance your food resources early on.
  • Leave space for stables – Mounted knights are one of the easiest ways to dominate later in the game.
  • Punishment buildings might make you less popular, but they increase production of things that do – Like ale!
  • Keep an eye on your population level – It’s quite easy to get caught up in resource production and forget to build any hovels!
  • Managing your economy properly sometimes takes more than a quick look at the UI. Click on each building to see what other options you have (turning off consumption of particular foods or selling resources for gold for instance).
  • Make sure you properly manage your food level at the start of every game – An empty granary can be hard to recover from if a bad event strikes!

Late Game Strategies

  • Battering rams can take a lot of punishment and can also be used to absorb ranged fire for melee units, sometimes much more effectively than mantlets.
  • Although in many RTS titles disrupting your opponents resource gathering/production is an early game strategy, in Stronghold it is a viable tactic throughout. A long, sustained attack on another player’s economy, followed by a powerful siege attack is often the best course of action.
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on your economy and popularity. It’s easy to get caught up in army production, forget about running your town and end up with an empty granary!
  • Over production of food has secondary benefits – Sell your leftovers for gold!
  • Don’t be afraid to delete your buildings near the end of a battle. This is an easy way to free up peasants so that they can be recruited to fend off that final wave of troops.
  • If you run out of space within your castle walls don’t be afraid to build outside them, but always protect your peasants!
  • If your popularity is stable, the first thing you should do when a happy event appears is to raise taxes! (Or drop rations if you don’t have much food).
  • If you run out of space for new buildings try cutting down some trees.
  • Don’t be afraid to shut down whole industries as your needs change.

Calling all Stronghold Veterans – don’t hold back, share your own tips with us in the comments below!

Zawad Iftikhar is the founder of, an FPS enthusiast and a Call of Duty veteran, having participated multiple eSports competition.