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Knights of Honor is a real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Bulgarian Black Sea Studios (now Crytek Black Sea). It was published by Sunflowers GmbH in Europe in 2004 and Paradox Entertainment in North America in 2005. The game takes place in Medieval Europe, spanning the early centuries of the second millennium in three historical time periods. The player can choose to play as one of over 100 playable kingdoms.
Knights of Honor is played on a large map of Europe spanning from Ireland to Georgia and from Scandinavia to the northern coast of Africa. The map is divided into parcels of land called provinces. Each province is governed by a city and contains several "Rural Areas" which can be towns, farms, monasteries and coast towns. These rural areas can't be altered and are placed randomly across the map before each game. The city, however has room for several buildings which can give bonuses to the rural areas or the city itself, such as more piety in the monasteries when a church is built or a higher income from the towns when a market is present in the city. Other buildings are needed to recruit certain units (such as a sword smith for sword-wielding units or a fletcher for bow-wielding units) or to defend the city such as walls and towers. A city only has limited room for buildings. Thus, not all buildings can be built in a city and the player must carefully consider what to build for a particular city. Compared to other strategy games, building structures in KOH takes a rather vast amount of time.
There are three kinds of resources which can be spent on a variety of upgrades. Money is needed to recruits units, build buildings, etc. It is earned by taxes, trading and kingdom power. Piety is used for increasing your kingdom power and converting provinces to your religion. Books are used to educate your knights and adopting provinces.
Religion plays an important role in Knights of Honor. There are 4 different types of religion: The Catholic Church, The Orthodox Church, Islam, and Paganism. The Pope has much influence in medieval Europe. He can excommunicate catholic kingdoms and call for crusades against non-catholic kingdoms. When the Pope dies, his successor is chosen among several clerics throughout Europe. If the player happens to have a very experienced cleric, there is a chance he will be chosen as Pope. From then on, the player controls the Pope and can choose to excommunicate kingdoms and call for crusades.
Trade and Exotic Goods
Provinces can have up to three attributes called "province features" which allow the construction of certain buildings. For instance if a province contains fertile soil, an apiary can be built in that province. These buildings give access to "trade goods" which have a number of positive effects on your kingdom. For example, horses allows you to build mounted units, wine makes your population happier and silver brings in some extra money. Controlling such provinces is the key to success in Knights of Honor. Besides trade goods, which can be obtained in provinces where the right province features are present or by importing them from other kingdoms, there is another type of goods called "exotic goods". These goods can't be produced within a province but have to be imported by means of an admiralty, the upgraded version of a harbour. Examples are ivory, gems and spices. Exotic goods, together with trade goods, are needed to activate so called "kingdom advantages". There are ten different kingdom advantages each requiring a different set of trade and exotic goods and each giving a different advantage. For instance, the kingdom advantage "Secret Order", which gives you a bonus to your spies, requires the following trade goods: columns, statues, silver and dyes and the following exotic goods: ebony and ivory.
Controlling many provinces certainly gives you an advantage over other kingdoms not only because of more income but also because of the goods and eventually the kingdom advantages. However, larger kingdoms are harder to maintain and defend. Fortunately, your king isn't on his own.
Special units known as "Knights" are what make the players' kingdom, besides himself. Every kingdom has a "Royal Court" which can contain up to nine knights. The player can hire the royal dynasty, consisting of the King himself and up to three heirs, to become knights. The advantage to this is that these four are completely free of charge and have no wages. The only problem is, the King or one of the heirs could possibly die. For this reason it's wiser to hire knights from outside the royal dynasty, especially if you need Marshalls or Spies which usually operate at the front.
Six different types of knights can be hired.
Marshal: The Marshall is basically a general that is needed to command the armies conscripted by players. They are the only other way to gaining more territory besides diplomacy and espionage. The Marshall will gain skills by being in and out of combat, each of which has three 'levels', with a second or third level skill often being significantly more useful than the first level. Such skills could be simple, like being skilled as a Naval Admiral and building boats. However, some skills will reduce the enemy's morale and attrition damage during city sieges. Marshalls have a food capacity which, when it runs out, will cause army morale to plummet. However, it is regained by going back to towns the player owns.
Spy: The Spy is a tricky sort of knight to learn. Usually, spies will attempt to infiltrate the rival kingdoms by posing as a knight. Depending on what job he is hired for, the spy can do a many number of things. For example, if the Spy is hired as a Marshall, he can instigate an army revolt against their own kingdom. Of course, spies do not always succeed. If a spy is caught he will be locked in a prison, where the player can either bail him out for a rather high amount of gold or leave him to rot in a dungeon. The other thing a spy can do is to stay in the players' kingdom and conduct counter-espionage. If another spy is detected, the player can lock him away and can either let him go, execute him, or demand a ransom from their employer. Of course, the latter doesn't always work. If you hired a knight, who actually is a spy from another kingdom, you can torture the prisoner to tell where he comes from.
Merchant: The Merchant is a trader who can bring in some extra money or certain resources by conducting trade with other kingdoms. For this both kingdoms need a trade agreement. When a merchant is trading with a kingdom he can be ordered to simply bring in some extra money or importing a kind of trade good. For example, if you need the resource "horses" to be able to make mounted units, the merchant can be ordered to import horses from a kingdom with which you have a Trade Agreement.
Cleric: The Cleric is your religiously dedicated knight. He can fulfil several domestic, social purposes. The cleric is a knight who can govern a province, like the builder and landlord. When ordered so, he will start writing books increasing your "book-income" with one. Besides sitting inside writing books all day long, he can also be ordered to do two things in the province. The first is adopting the population. When a province is conquered, the population is usually loyal to the kingdom they belonged to. By adopting a province they give up their loyalty which decreases the chance of rebellion in the province. The second is converting a province with a different religion into your religion. This is extremely costly though, and can be a dangerous job for your Cleric. If your kingdom is Catholic your Cleric can become the Pope and excommunicate Catholic Kingdoms and also call Crusades. The chances of your Cleric becoming Pope when the current one dies is increased depending on the size and power of your nation and how educated he is. If your kingdom is Orthodox, its church will be subordinated to the Byzantine patriarch, however, if you have a level 5 cleric, you can proclaim your church's independence and have him become the patriarch of your independent church. This will make him age, however, and if you wish to maintain your church's independence you will have to have another level 5 cleric ready to replace him when he dies, otherwise, your church will become subordinate to Constantinople again.
Landlord:The landlord is responsible for the food supply, which is a basis requirement for an army. Because of the sheer food available, more people will come to the town as well. Finally, any town under his command can endure longer sieges.
Builder: The builder has one task. He provided a town with more workers, so it may develop more quickly. He also restores any buildings lost from looting at a faster rate then it is without an governor, allowing you to restore food/piety/workers back for the villages. Making looting more lucrative as you totally plunder a village and then proceed to reconstruct everything.
Know that each knight (except the marshal) may be educated with books to gain higher bonuses. The marshal can only gain skills on the battlefield.
Goal of the game
The main goal of the game is to become emperor of Europe. However, you are free to do whatever you wish. There is no set time limit whatsoever. There are two ways to eventually accomplish the goal. The first is to conquer everything from Dublin to Antioch. This can be done completely by military power, but there are many other paths to go by, such as inheriting land because you married one of your princesses to the prince whose father died. However, given the fact that it is very hard to watch after an empire as it grows, the player can simply "Claim the Title" if he thinks he's powerful enough to become emperor of Europe. This means that the player will be voted for or against other major powers in Medieval Europe to become the supreme king of Europe. However, if your proposal is shot down rather fast, every major power will declare war on you for attempting to take the Supreme Throne. There is, every certain amount of time, a game induced vote for the throne of Europe, and it is possible to win this without any votes if you own enough provinces, as you vote yourself to the post. Note that it is difficult to seize the throne by war, first one must destroy all the competing kingdoms. View their military power and attack the one with the lowest first, slowly building enough power to kill the final enemy. A more peaceful method of victory involves acquiring all the Kingdom Advantages. To get all of them requires several coastal villages to bring in Rare Goods and subsequently a large kingdom.
There are certain kingdoms which may also expand by conquering and reuniting the core provinces of a larger empire. If you are playing as Kiev, Muscovy, (also Kazan) for example, capturing the provinces of central Russia (Polotsk, Muscovy, Ryazan, Smolensk, Kiev, Chernigov, Novogorod, Tver, Voronezh, Saratov, Vladimir, Kazan) allows you to establish the empire of Russia. Likewise, Normandy may establish the kingdom of England by capturing the key provinces of Britain (and also destroying the kingdoms of Wessex, York and East Anglia). Once the conditions for forming a new nation have been met you may choose whether or not to change the name of your kingdom; if you do so, your empire receives a one-off gold bonus, as well as receiving a number of bonus provinces. For certain kingdoms, this can offer a very quick way to expand. The flip side, of course, is that neighbouring kingdoms may unite their own nations, and some of the bonus provinces they receive may be territories that are taken away from your kingdom.
- Download latest patch (1.05) from computer games.ro
- Crazy Ivan's Knights of Honor section
- 'Knights of Honor' at MobyGames
- Black Sea Studios forumbg:Knights of Honor