Building and Defending a castle By: Jon Fletcher
Background Information n The Middle Ages was a violent period of time where men fought for power and land. Because of this, castles were built for protection. Castles were built primarily for military purposes since they acted as garrisons that controlled a particular territory and housed defending armies. Castles became residences for lords and kings although as time went on.
Background Information n n It was quite a feat to build a medieval castle. Some constructionists were paid to build a castle while others were conscripted to work on the castle. Life in a castle was either boring or hard work. A castle was very complex and also had many castle features There were also many siege tactics used to try and take over a castle.
Instructions n You are in charge of building and defending a castle. You must make the right decisions in building your castle, and then defend it successfully. Make a correct choice and become more powerful. Make an incorrect choice and you FAIL!
Building Material n You are about to start construction of your castle, but you must first choose what material to build your castle out of. What do you choose to use? Wood ? Stone ?
Hint to building with wood n Using wood would allow you to construct your castle more quickly, but it would not be as sturdy or as easy to defend. Return
Hint to building with stone n Using stone would be heavy and might take longer, but your castle would be more sturdy and could be built higher. Return
n Answer to building with wood FAIL-Although you would be able to construct your castle quickly, it would be very easy for attackers to overtake. Start Over
n Answer to building with stone Good Decision-Although you might take a little longer to build your castle, you will have more of an advantage against attackers. Move ahead
Location of castle n You need to decide on what terrain to place your castle on. You have to decide whether to place it on a hill or on flat plains. What do you choose? Hill ? Flat Plains ?
Hint to building a castle on a hill n If you place your castle on a hill, you will save yourself time by not having to build a moat, but you will not have that extra line of defense the moat provides. Return
Hint to building a castle on a flat plain n If you place your castle on flat plains, you will need to build a moat for protection, and this will take time to build. But you will have yourself built yourself a very good defense system by building a moat. Return
Answer to building a castle on a hill n Good Decision-Even though you don’t have the extra line of defense a moat provides, you save time and can make other parts of your castle stronger. Move ahead
Answer to building a castle on a flat plain n Good Decision-Since you choose to put your castle on a flat plain, you will have to build a moat so you have a line of defense to defend your castle and this will take time. But with you doing this, defenders do not stand as good of a chance overtaking your castle. Move ahead
Moat n Now that you have decided to put your castle on a flat plain, you need to decide what to fill your moat with, you have the choice of filling it with wooden spikes or water. What do you choose? Water ? Wooden Spikes ?
Hint to filling your moat with water n This will be like a river surrounding the castle. Return
Hint to filling your moat with wooden spikes n This will be like a dry river but with wooden spikes at the bottom. Return
Answer to filling your moat with water n Good Decision-with you filling your moat with water, this creates an extra line of defense and makes your castle all the more difficult to overtake. Move ahead
Answer to filling your moat with wooden spikes n Good Decision-with you filling your moat with wooden spikes, this creates an extra line of defense and makes your castle all the more difficult to overtake. Move ahead
Stairs n While building your castle, you need to decide which way to build your stairs. Which way do you choose? Counterclockwise ? Clockwise ?
Hint to building your stairs counterclockwise n This would give you the advantage if you lost control of your castle and then had to attack it and you were going up the stairs. Return
Hint to building your stairs clockwise n This would give the defenders the advantage because they could swing freely with their right hand (left handed people were considered to be evil so everyone learned to fight with your right hand), but descending attackers could not do this so easily. Return
Answer to building your stairs counterclockwise n FAIL-This would not give you an advantage if you were defending and your castle was being attacked. Although you would have the advantage when you are trying to retake your castle, you would not succeed because the stairs would probably be changed. Start Over
Answer to building your stairs clockwise n Good Decision-Since everyone has to learn to fight right handed, this would give your soldiers an advantage while defending since they could swing freely with their right hand attackers would struggle to do so. Move ahead
Towers n You are building your towers on the corners of your castle and you need to decide what style to build your towers. What do you choose? Square ? Round ?
Hint to square towers n If you choose to build square tower, it will not be as difficult to build, but will not be quite as strong as a round tower. Return
Hint to round towers n If you choose to build a round tower, it will be a little more difficult to build, but will be stronger against attacks. This would also give you a better view of the battlefield. Return
Answer to building square towers n FAIL-Although building a square tower was not as difficult as building a round tower, your castle is very easy to attack and attackers will destroy it quickly. Start Over
Answer to building round towers n Good Decision-Although this is a little more difficult to build, you will have the advantage over your attackers when you are defending it. You will also have a better view of the battlefield, giving you another advantage. Move ahead
Shield Wall n You need to decide where to build your shield wall at. Where do you choose to put it? In front of the main entrance ? On the lowest side ?
Hint to building your shield wall in front of the main entrance n Since attackers try to enter to the main entrance a lot, this will make it much harder for them to succeed. But if you do this, your lowest side will be open more to catapults. Return
Hint to building your shield wall on the lowest side n This will make your castle overall stronger but your main gate does not have that extra protection. Also, catapults will not be able to destroy your weakest side, whereas if you put it in front of the main gate, that is where they would attack. Return
Answer to building your shield wall in from of the main entrance n FAIL-Although your main entrance is secure, catapults will demolish you lowest side. Start Over
n Answer to building your shield wall on the lowest side Good Decision-Since you put your shield wall on the lowest side, you take away the catapults attack on that side. Move ahead
First Decision n You see the enemy is coming to attack your castle. What is the first thing you do in order to give to the best chance to defend your castle successfully? Raise up your drawbridge ? Have soldiers fire arrows at attackers ?
Hint to having the drawbridge raised n Although this may take time, this will help you since attackers will not be able to march right away into your castle. Return
Hint to firing arrows right away at attackers n If you succeed at this, you can end the attack very shortly. However, if you fail at this the attackers will march into your castle right away and make your outer defenses pointless. Return
n Answer to having the drawbridge raised Good Decision-Although this takes time and the enemy is able to get closer to your castle, you take away the chance of them entering the castle right away and now have your outer defenses to work with. Move ahead
n Answer to firing arrows right away at attackers FAIL-You leave the drawbridge down and do not have enough arrows to kill all of the attackers. They enter your castle and take it over easily. Start Over
Ladders Attack n You see the enemy is launching their first attack at your castle. You see that they are putting ladders against your castle walls and trying to scale your walls what do you do? Push the ladders off the wall ? Retreat and wait for the attackers to enter the castle, then fire arrows at them ?
Hint to pushing the ladders off the wall n This would not allow the attackers to reach your castle however as you were pushing the castle off the wall you would be exposed to arrow fire. Return
Hint to retreating and waiting for attackers to enter the castle, and then fire arrows at them n This would allow you to be at a safe position when firing arrows, but if you were slow to fire, attackers would enter your castle. Return
Answer to pushing the ladders off the wall n Good Decision-Even though you are exposed to arrow fire while pushing the ladders off the wall, you are not hit since you are very quick in pushing the ladders off the wall. Even though the enemy might continue to put the ladders back up, you continue to push them down and eventually, they give up on the attack. Move ahead
Answer to retreating and waiting for attackers to enter the castle, and then fire arrows at them n FAIL-Although you are in a safe position to fire arrows, you are not able to destroy all of the attackers and they take over you castle and you are destroyed in the process. Start Over
Battering Ram n The enemy is now using a battering ram to try and break through into your castle since you stopped their attack with their ladders. How do you defend this? Wait until the door is hammered down, then fire arrows at the attackers ? Lower soft padded curtains to lessen the impact ?
Hint to waiting until the door is hammered down, then firing arrows at the attackers n This would give you the element of surprise as the attackers would not be expecting this. However if the defenders got past your arrow fire, they would easily have the advantage in taking control of the tower. Return
Hint to lowering soft padded curtains to lessen the impact n This would give you an advantage because doing this will give you time to get more soldiers in different places and possibly stop the attack with the battering ram. But if you fail in doing this, the attackers will easily take control of the castle since you will not have as many soldiers there. Return
Answer to waiting until the door is hammered down, then firing arrows at the attackers n FAIL-You do have the element of surprise, but even though you are able to wipe out the first wave of attackers, more and more attackers come and eventually overpower you. Start Over
Answer to lowering soft padded curtains to lessen the impact n Good Decision-with you lowering the soft padded curtains, you do not let the attackers break down your wall. You also are able to put more of your soldiers in different places to defend the castle. Move ahead
Siege Tower n Oh no! You see that the enemy is now rolling a siege tower toward your castle! What do you do? Throw large objects down at the attackers ? Fire flaming arrows at the siege tower ?
Hint to throwing large objects down at the attackers n This would also give you a chance to stop their invasion as well as possibly break their siege tower. However, this would be difficult since attackers have protection from the siege tower. Return
Hint to firing flaming arrows at the siege tower n This would set the siege tower on fire and would completely destroy the tower if successful. However, you would have to be quick in firing arrows and be very precise. Return
Answer to throwing large objects down at the attackers n FAIL-You are not able to stop the soldier since they are protected by the siege tower. They are able to withstand your attack and overtake your castle. Start Over
Answer to firing flaming arrows at the siege tower n Good Decision-With you firing flaming arrows at the siege tower, you set it ablaze and even kill some of the attackers using it. But best of all, you stop the siege tower and stop this attack. Move ahead
n Digging The enemy is launching another attack by digging under you castle in an attempt to collapse your walls by putting wooden supports under the walls, then burning the supports. What do you do? Fire arrows from the top of the castle wall at the attackers ? Dig under the invading army's tunnel before they reach your castle wall ?
Hint to firing arrows from the top of the castle at the attackers n This will help you because you can possibly kill the diggers and stop this attack temporarily. However, if the diggers are able to get underground quickly, you will not have a chance at killing them with arrows and your castle wall will probably fall. Return
Hint to digging under the invading army's tunnel before they reach your castle wall n This will help you because if you do this, you will completely stop this attack. However if you do not reach in time, your castle wall will fall and you lose the lives of your diggers. Return
Answer to firing arrows from the top of the castle at the attackers n FAIL-You are not able to destroy the attackers since they get under the ground. They bring down your castle wall and take over your castle. Start Over
Answer to digging under the invading army’s tunnel before they reach your castle wall n Good Decision-You are successful in digging under the invading army’s tunnel before they reach your castle wall and take away this attack. Move ahead
Castle features n n n n Moat Outer Towers Stairs Curtain Walls Shield Wall Outer Wall Battlements Gatehouses Murder Holes n n n n Inner walls and towers Bailey or Ward Keep and Auxiliary Buildings Food Storage Kitchens Wells and cisterns Dungeon Return
Moat n n n The first line of defense for a castle was the moat The moat could be dry or filled with water. If the moat was left dry, it would be lined with wooden spikes The moat usually had a drawbridge the went across it, unless the castle was under attack and it would be drawn up. Not all castles needed moats though. If you were on a hill and mounted someway, you usually didn't need a moat. But if you were on a flat surface, you usually needed a moat. Return
Outer Towers n Towers were tall, round or square structures were built into the length or corners of the castle walls. They were higher than the castle wall but built in the same manner. If the towers were rounded and projected out from the wall or at a corner, they gave a better view to the defenders. The tops of a tower could have hoarding or be crenellated or roofed, and the tower also usually had arrow loops. Return
Stairs n Stairs in the towers were often circular turning clockwise while going up. This gave the advantage to defenders because they could swing freely with their right hand (left handed people were considered to be evil so everyone learned to fight with your right hand), but descending attackers could not do this so easily. Return
Curtain Walls n n n This was the outer wall made of stone or brick The walls ranged from 6 to 10 meters high and 1. 5 to 8 meters thick. In many castles, the wall thickness varied according to the area’s vulnerability. The wall was actually two walls. Return
Shield Wall n Some castle had a higher outer wall called a shield wall. This wall was most often placed on the side of the castle that might be especially vulnerable to siege weapons like catapults, trebuchets, and siege towers. Preventing objects from going over the walls into the bailey was another thing the shield wall did. Return
Outer Wall Battlements n n n n Most outer walls had battlements on the top of the wall including: Crenellations: Rectangular blocks that alternated with openings across the top of a wall or tower. Soldiers could shoot through the openings and hide behind the blocks. Walkways: This was a place where soldiers could stand guard and defend the walls during battle. Some walkways were built into the stone, while others had wooden walkways on the inside of the wall. Hoardings: Covered wooden overhangs that ran across the top of the wall. Hoardings had holes in the flooring where soldiers could dump various objects on attackers or shoot arrows at them. Breteches: Similar to hoardings, bretches were small overhanging rooms on French castles that jutted out from the wall. They were made of stone, and had windows or arrow loops, and also had a floor opening. These opening could have arrows shot through them or dump objects from them at attackers. Arrow loops: Narrow slits or openings in walls and hoardings from which archers and crossbowmen could fire arrows. Many arrow loops were wider on the inside and tapered toward the outside of the wall so that the archer could have a wide view of the field. Embrasures: These were rotating cylinders with an arrow loop that were built into the wall or tower of the castle and could give an archer a very wide field of view. Return crenellations Arrow loop walkway
Gatehouses n Connected with the bridge over the moat, gatehouses were inside the wall. But they were more than just doorways. They were long tunnels with arrow-looped towers at either side of the entrance. a grated wooden or iron gate called a portcullis covered the outer opening of the gatehouse. The portcullis could be raised to let things in, and closed while under attack and defenders could shoot arrows through the openings. There was also a drawbridge that led to the gatehouse. Return
Murder Holes n Murder Holes were put above the gatehouse. Defenders would throw boiling water or different objects through the murder holes when attackers came close to the main entrance. Since attackers had to get close to the come close up to the castle to overtake it, murder holes were a great thing for defenders. Return
Inner walls and towers n Inner walls and towers were much like the outer walls and towers in the way they were constructed and their features they served. One difference though, was that the inner walls divided the bailey or ward into different sections. Return
Bailey or Ward n n The bailey or ward was a wide open space from a military standpoint, So invading soldiers that made it here would be exposed to arrow fire from the outer walls and towers as well as the inner walls and towers. The bailey also served as a marketplace for festivals and fairs, an area for tournaments, and a practice field for drilling soldiers. Return
Keep and Auxiliary Buildings n The auxiliary buildings and the keep supported castle life. Buildings like the chapel, great hall, and kitchens were integrated into the keep sometimes and sometimes they were separated. The keep also served as the main residence of the ruling lord. They were square or circular and made of stone. The keep also served many other purposes. Return
Food Storage n The storage of food, beverage and gold was in the lower levels of the keep, since defense usually occupied the top levels. Return
Kitchens n Kitchens in early castles were separated from the keep in kitchen towers because of the threat of fire. Castle designers moved kitchens into the keep as brick construction became more common. Return
Wells and Cisterns n The wells and cisterns collected water for a castle. The ability to get freshwater played a key role in if a castle could withstand a siege or not. Cisterns collected rainwater from the roofs. Some castles had rudimentary plumbing that channeled water from the cistern to sinks. Return
Dungeon n Dungeons were usually in the upper parts of the keep because it made escape more difficult, but to make escape even more difficult, they were moved later to the lower levels. Return
Siege Tactics n n n Ladders Siege Towers Battering Rams Digging Catapults Return
Ladders n Attackers would sometimes set huge ladders against the wall and try to scale the castle. Climbers were vulnerable to arrow fire and objects thrown at them. The ladders could also be pushed off the walls by defenders. Return
Siege Towers n Another way attackers would attack the castle would build large wooden siege towers and fill them with soldiers. Other soldiers would wheel the tower to the base of the curtain wall. A plank would be lowered by soldiers from the top of the tower, and then they would storm across it onto the battlements and hope to outnumber the defenders. Although siege towers were large and heavy, they provided cover for the invading soldiers. While they stormed across the plank single file, the invaders were vulnerable. The towers could also be set on fire by wooden arrows. Return
Battering Rams n Battering Rams were used to break down the gate of a castle. If attackers could do this, they could enter the castle fairly easy. Some battering rams were covered to protect attackers from arrow fire and thrown objects. To defend against battering rams, defenders would fire arrows (if attackers were vulnerable), lower soft padded curtains or wooden walls to lessen the impact, or brace the castle doors or gates to withstand the forces of the blows. Return
Digging n By mining under them, attackers could bring down the castle walls. The attackers would dig tunnels under the castle walls and then brace the walls with timber supports. After they dug the tunnel far enough to the other side, they would set the tunnel ablaze, destroying the timber supports and have the wall collapse. By digging under the invading army's tunnel before it reached the wall, defenders could counter the attackers attack. Return
Catapults were used to launch objects over a castle. They launched everything from large rocks to dead bodies. Castles stood a better chance if they had a shield wall around their castle. If a large rock was launched at a regular castle wall, it could completely destroy it possibly. Catapults were also used for intimidation. Return
Congratulations! You have successfully built and defended a castle. You are a true hero!
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