Stronghold: Warlords Guide for Beginners

Last Update: March 8, 2021


Stronghold: Warlords Guide

Stronghold: Warlords is the latest title in a long line of real-time strategy games from Firefly Studios, and the first installment in the series in seven years. Warlords tasks you with building castle economies in East Asia while fighting off hordes of Mongols, imperial warlords, and Shōgun generals. 

Want to conquer East Asia and unite a diverse set of kingdoms? This Stronghold: Warlords beginner’s guide will tell you everything you need to know.


Stronghold: Warlords Guide for Beginners- Getting Started

There are several ways to go about actually playing Stronghold: Warlords, depending on if you want something story-driven, or if you prefer a quick battle against enemy AI or human players. There are three main Single Player modes and a Multiplayer component that focuses on player vs. player combat.

A good place to start is the Tutorial, under the Single Player tab, which teaches basic game mechanics. This is especially useful for those that are unfamiliar with the Stronghold series, or those that are used to other real-time strategy titles. It will walk you through how to build a base, keep your population happy, and bare-bones combat. The Tutorial is not mandatory, and it’s totally possible to bypass it for the more engaging game types.

Stronghold: Warlords Guide



Stronghold: Warlords offers five campaigns, four of which feature prominent figures from East Asia’s history, including Genghis Khan and Qin Shi Huang. Generally speaking, they’re split into six missions that have you work towards capturing a new territory or defending an existing kingdom. There’s also an economic campaign, which is focused on rebuilding areas of instability through more peaceful means. 

Custom Skirmish

Custom Skirmish gives you the option to face off against up to seven AI-controlled leaders, or in teams of various sizes. There are nine maps to choose from, each accommodating a different size of battle. Some are “Balanced,” which means they’ve been constructed with fairness in mind, while others are “Unbalanced,” which can be used to add either an extra level of difficulty or an advantage over the opponents. You can choose where each leader starts, what level of resources are available from the onset, and the difficulty of the opposing AI.

Free build

This is the choice for those that like a relaxing bit of city building, with a classic flair. There is no fighting or competition with other players, or worrying about maintaining an army— just you, your creativity, and the townsfolk that will help you put it on display. Don’t expect the same depth as Cities: Skylines, but it’s a fun way to pass the time.


How to get off to a fast start in Stronghold: Warlords 

Regardless of what game type you choose to venture into, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of building a base and getting off to a fast start, as enemy players are particularly aggressive when it comes to attacking. 

Stronghold: Warlords Guide


Step 1- Stockpile Placement

The Stockpile will be the very first building that you place, as it’s where almost every resource your workers gather will be stored. Therefore, it’s important to replace the Stockpile in an area that’s equidistant to each major resource. That means it’s, ideally, near a bamboo forest for wood, and iron deposit, a stone quarry, and saltpetre, so that workers don’t need to travel as far to deposit those resources. Of course, this will require some playing around with the maps, as the layout of each one is different. 

Step 2- Wood, Wood, and More Wood

Out of all the Wood that you start with, most of it should be spent building several Wood Camps. This will assign workers to, in turn, collect Wood, which is a necessary ingredient in almost every building in Stronghold: Warlords. It’s very hard to get off to a quick start without a surplus of Wood. 

Step 3- Housing

Depending on how you tweak your resources in the pre-game menu, you’ll likely start with enough wood to build at least a couple of normal Houses. There are six levels of quality to the housing, and taking the quality into account absolutely matters for population bonuses. As a general rule of thumb, you should never build a domicile below the normal House, unless a desperate situation necessitates quick building for a population boom.

Stemp 4- Wall up

Again, it depends on the resource settings, but you’ll likely start with enough stone to build Walls around at least your Stronghold, which is where your Warlord resides. Building walls as early as possible is important, as the AI, no matter who you choose to fight, is very aggressive. 

Step 5- Prioritize Armory

Without building an Armory, you can only train two basic troop types at the Barracks, both of which are weaker than the Archers and Axemen in the starting army that Stronghold: Warlords grants you. An Armory, paired with various workshops, will allow some townsfolk to work on making weapons and armor that are used to then create strong troops. The Fletcher’s Workshop and the Axe Workshop are likely the two you should go for first, as each only requires wood. 


Managing population in Stronghold: Warlords

Stronghold: Warlords Guide

In order to run a successful kingdom, you need to keep your workers happy. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this in Stronghold: Warlords. 

Low population happiness will cause people to flee, so it’s good to make sure you’re ahead of the curve.

Feed Them Well

There are three types of farms you can create to build up food stockpiles: Rice, Vegetables, and Pigs. Each one gives a different level of boost, with Rice offering the most meagre and meat from Pigs giving the biggest. Raising the amount of food that people can consume by building more farms can, subsequently, allow you to raise taxes.

Fear Factor

Fear Factor gives the player a metric of choice. You can choose to have a positive Fear Factor, which will boost your troops’ ability to fight and provide a boost to happiness, or a negative Fear Factor, which will terrify your citizens into working harder, yielding more resources in exchange for happiness. 

Using Gold to build things like Zen Gardens, Theatres, or Arenas will award positive Fear Factor, while various torture devices will impress negative Fear Factor among the population.

With these tips, you’re now equipped with everything you need to know to get your kingdom off to a good start in Stronghold: Warlords. Go forth and conquer! Check out our Diplomacy guide for more tips.

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