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I grew up with an Amiga 500 but Defender of the Crown is not one of the Cinemaware titles I have played in the past. Having spent a few hours playing the game after realising there is very little information to find online, I have worked a few things out. Really, Google gives me no good guides to read. If you found this thread through google in the future year 2015+, you're welcome!

- Jousting. It is actually very easy once you know what you're supposed to do. Knowing seems to be the problem because no one seems to explain this online. Here is what: All you have to do is aim. No clicking. Vertically and horizontally. Your lance needs to hit the center of the opponent's shield. The better your jousting skill, the more margin for error. Here is the most important detail that everyone seems to fail to mention: Your lance will strike when it is at it's highest point. During the charge, your lance will bounce several times. Pay attention to when it reaches it's highest point because this is where it will be when you and your opponent meet. BAM! You will win every time. Cheapest way to conquer land, and the only way to conquer three provinces in a single turn.

- Catapults. First, you only need one catapult for your campaign army. Sometimes the Normans will send rogues to sabotage them and I don't think there is any way to prevent this. Just buy a new one if this happens. As for using them, they only serve a purpose when trying to conquer castles. When doing so you are given a chance to raze the castle walls which will make the actual battle easier. More on that later.

Aiming the catapult takes some trial and error. Once you figure out how to land the first shot, the rest makes for the easiest mini-game of all. It works the same way every single time so once you have figured out how to make the first shot you will always win this mini-game. After the first shot strikes the top of the wall, adjust the catapult one pixel upwards (to lessen the tension). Fire from this position two times, then adjust the catapult one more pixel upwards. Fire two more shots, then adjust the catapult upwards one pixel for the final blow. The walls are now open and supposedly the enemy can not defend as well. I don't know the numbers because they are hidden, but something is supposed to happen under the hood.

- Combat. Whether you are fighting out in the fields, defending a castle or trying to conquer a castle, having lots more soldiers than the opponent is how you win. Stand and fight. Only use Ferocious Attack if you have lots of knights AND if it will tip the odds in your favour. It makes the knights count as 8 attacking soldiers each, which means an even battle can turn in your favor. Most of the time you want to have an actual army with as many soldiers as possible and just steamroll the whole map. Knights are only good for ferocious attacks, otherwise they are no different than a single soldier. Makes them quite pointless except for in very rare instances where you are fighting to a bloody crawl, but why would you? Retreat and rebuild your campaign army. Come back with more numbers than the enemy. Sadly, the game is that shallow.

- Raiding castles and rescuing fair ladies. The mini-game is the same for both. I haven't really figured out how this works, but I believe you're supposed to button-mash the opponent's sword for some time before you start striking at his body. Make him die tired. Don't push straight in and get ripped apart. Keep a little distance so that you will hear steel against steel. The mini-game always starts in the courtyard where you have to fight one opponent while two AI controlled friends fight another two. You need to win against your opponent before your comrades fall, else you are captured. Next you will fight inside. You need to wear down your opponent, push him up the stairs and finish him off without taking enough damage to lose the fight. The "swordplay" attribute gives you more of these invisible health points, but I have managed to win with Cedric, the worst sword fighter. When you feel you have fought and danced long enough, push towards your opponent and STAB STAB STAB. Hopefully he'll fall to the floor and you get the booty, whether it is gold or a very grateful damsel.

- Moving across the map. This is by far the most unbalanced game mechanic in the Amiga version. Moving through your own territories does not end the turn. Theoretically you can march your army up and down the length of England as many times as you want in less than a month if you hold the provinces to do so. Abuse this without shame. At the start of every turn, walk all the way back to your home castle and put more soldiers into your campaign army. The AI opponents do it too. Moving into neutral or enemy territory always ends the turn (as do holding tournaments or raiding castles). If the region has vassals you will lose a few soldiers, but before long the map will be rid of these.

- Robin Hood. That green spot on the map is the Sherwood forest. When you want some extra help conquering a province or a castle, click on the forest before you select which province to attack. Robin will be able to help you three times per game. I suggest keeping these three favors for taking on defended castles.

- Knowing your enemy. The attributes of your opponents do not mean a thing. The mini-games only test YOUR attributes, so don't be worried that your opponent is a good swordsman or jouster. Leadership has some effect on how much your or the enemy soldiers kill during battle, but again, you still want to massively outnumber your opponent anyways. More importantly you want to pay attention to which provinces change hands every turn. Every province that changes hands has a winning enemy campaign army in it. It is up to you if you want to attack them or avoid them. Personally I only attack if I actually want to destroy them or test their strength. Never attack a province where you know the enemy is just to conquer it because it is costly.

- To win the game. All you need to win is to amass a large campaign army. To pay for this army you only really need to conquer many provinces. It doesn't matter if you can't hold them forever, so long as you make some gold from them before you lose them. Raiding castles for gold is a decent way of passing a turn without risking your hard earned soldiers and knights. Holding a tournament is an even better (and cheaper) way to pass a turn and potentially conquer lots of land without blood shed. In the end, you still need some 200-300 soldiers to steamroll enemy armies and castles. I have won a game as Wilfred of Ivanhoe doing nothing but sending forth the campaign army beating the crap out of everyone. If the odds are not in my favor, I flee as soon as possible.

- Useful stuff. Holding down the right mouse button makes left clicking purchase 5 instead of 1 soldier or knight per click. Very useful for spending that 60+ gold you're making from provinces every turn near the end of the game! Wilfred of Ivanhoe has the best attributes by far. Jousting is easy, swordplay is good enough that you can win with careful play. Leadership only matters in even fights and you shouldn't be fighting those battles. Any character will do, though I think Geoffrey Longsword might be too finicky for Jousting which can make your game more painful.

Will write more as I think of it or discover more!
Finally!
Thanks Sufyan!

Somebody should make this sticky, I spent the last 2 days trying to understand how fights and jousting works.
PS: Now.... did somebody discover how to play the game in a correct aspect ratio?
Post edited April 01, 2015 by MrBoat
Thanks for the excellent tips!

Before reading these tips I couldn't win a joust and now I only lose like 1 out of every 10 jousts.

Also the catapult help was invaluable. Although I've noticed some castles are trickier to use the catapult on than others. But after a while I guess you could memorize the start pixel spot on each.

I played the Amiga version and had already been exploiting the moving to own territory not ending your turn :-).

I have yet to win a raid or rescue a fair lady...I tried button mashing and keeping distance before coming in but my Ai buddies seem to lose pretty quickly. The reference card says that you left click to thrust with your sword and try to strike opponent when his sword is in an upright position. Double click for a double thrust and don't delay or you may be captured. So yea... still no luck with that. I am curious how Robin Hood helps if you use him on a raid though it seems like a waste possibly...

Robin Hood seems to only add (numberwise) some knights to your party but I've been using him on castle invasions anyway. This game gets a lot easier once you master jousting and start rolling in three territories a turn curbing the AI that looks most likely to win.

Also thanks for the right mouse button tip for faster spending money five at a time!

Castles seem to be worthless if not your home castle. I tried building one in the first game but there doesn't appear to be a way to man castles outside your home one so they just get conquered like any other province as far as I can tell...
Very good tips. Many thanks! :)

During the swordfight scenes, the strategy that worked for me was to constantly keep under attack the first guard in the courtyard, cornering him. Still, it's somewhat a trial-and-error.

Tthe second guard is most vulnerable when he's halfway on the stairs, attack him there, get in a few hits and force him upstairs, then quickly retreat when he starts to attack back. Wait until he's halfway down again, then repeat. He'll fall eventually.
Thanks for the advice.

However I still seem to be unable to win a tournament... :-\
I'm having a real problem just playing around with the jousting. Whenever I try to play with anyone other than Wolfric (or whatever, the guy with "strong" jousting), I find that at the point my mouse is as low as I can get it (as far as I know), the lance still is bouncing to where the TOP of the shield is. I cannot seem to get it to go any lower and therefore, jousting with them is strictly impossible. I have attached a screenshot which shows where the lance ends up despite my constantly moving the mouse downward (and not trying to do anything else). I don't know if this is an issue with the emulation, or if there's something else wrong, but it makes it essentially impossible to win.

Also, the sword fighting also feels impossible with anyone other than Geoffrey. This time because if I stay in one place, I die. If I move backward to remain at range, I can kill the first guard, then both my allies die, and I lose. If I try to push the guard to stay in place, I die. There is no real middle ground that I can find that actually works, and a lot of my inability to find it is thanks to the utter lack of communication of what is being done. I honestly don't even know at what range I or my opponent is being hit. All I know is that sometimes there's a clang, and I usually end up captured without knowing whether I died or an ally did.

Maybe I'm just being ultra-critical on games right now because I just finished a game design class, but this is NOT good game design. It's also worth noting that Jousting with Wolfric is too easy and boring, and sword fighting with Geoffrey is super easy and tedious. All the other characters are worthless (as above) in these respective minigames in my time playing.

Edit: I should mention that this was on the Amiga version. I'm going to try the DOS version tomorrow and see if it makes a difference.
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Post edited May 14, 2016 by Infin8ty
I just tried the EGA version. Here. Don't use the launcher. Setup DOSBox yourself and set the cycles LOW (around 400 seemed to work the best for me). If you don't, the swordfighting and jousting runs WAY TOO FAST. The downside is the "Reel 2" loading takes much longer. Oh well. However, I noticed that the swordfighting is way easier here, probably because you can see the health bars and you don't need to push the last guard up the stairs (and you don't need to enter the door before your comrades die, you just win if you defeat the first guard). The jousting is... confusing. I'm not sure if it hits at the highest or lowest point, as the last frame when it's deciding victory seems to vary between the two. Also, you need to hit each button every time you want the lance to move. Overall, I think the EGA version is superior if only because you can actually play the swordfighting and jousting and at least have some chance (although I've yet to figure out the jousting in the EGA version). The Amiga graphics are nice as is the music, but the gameplay is terrible in comparison. It's still not what I'd call a really "good" game though....
While the knights ride to joust, place your mouse between the red/white and blue/white tents as shown in my pic. You'll win all your jousts.
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ThoniBulletti: While the knights ride to joust, place your mouse between the red/white and blue/white tents as shown in my pic. You'll win all your jousts.
I have not tested this myself but it seems rather brilliant! It never occurred to me that the mouse pointer position would carry over to the jousting screen.
So, um... I can't remember if I played this on the NES or the Apple IIE... Maybe both??
Regardless that was … well … far longer than I care to admit.

Raiding controls.... (since no one mentions this... anywhere...)
Up and Down Arrows: raise and lower your sword
Left and Right Arrows: move forward and backward.

This next one is the key....
Enter (return) attacks!!!! I lost so many raids trying to find that darned attack button.
It helped a great deal using CTRL+F11 to lower the cycles between 300-400. Just wow lol
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ThoniBulletti: While the knights ride to joust, place your mouse between the red/white and blue/white tents as shown in my pic. You'll win all your jousts.
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Sufyan: I have not tested this myself but it seems rather brilliant! It never occurred to me that the mouse pointer position would carry over to the jousting screen.
For real, just try