Stronghold Crusader 2 is the long awaited sequel to the original castle sim. After 12 years Stronghold returns to the desert with a new 3D engine and powerful Havok Physics. Firefly Studios will recapture the original Crusader’s addictive, fast-paced gameplay and authentic castle simulation.
User reviews: Mixed (941 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 22, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"fun castle rts, havn't played anything but campaign but the combat and building is fun. Needs better production chain descriptions though."

Recent updates View all (7)

October 16

Balance & Fixes Update

Version 1.0.19369

We have released a new update for Stronghold Crusader 2, introducing various balancing changes and a number of hotfixes aimed squarely at addressing player-reported issues:

Balance Changes
  • Wood Camp footprint reduced to 2x3 tiles.
  • Wood Camp cost reduced to 10 wood.
  • Updated starting troops for all AI Lords.
  • Updated all AI Lords' castles.
  • AI Lords will now randomly select their castle size and rotation when starting Custom Skirmish or Multiplayer games.
  • AI Lords will now try to build the largest castle size possible within the available free space in Custom Skirmish and Multiplayer games.
  • Skirmish Trail missions rebalanced to curb rushing the AI Lords:
  1. Breath of the Infidel - Pit of Despair
  2. Desert Heat - Isolation
  3. Way of the Warrior - Lord of The Desert, The Two Brothers and Hope Springs
  4. A Trail of Tears - Mighty River, Predator and Sands of Time
  5. Hell's Teeth - The Peninsula and To The Summit

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed - Slowdown caused by no trees or wood being available on the map for Woodcutters.
  • Fixed - Players receiving a popularity bonus for multiple food types when rations are set to 0.
  • Fixed players’ estates being changed on the mini-map when they were added or removed from a team.
  • Fixed - Players that aren’t in a team in Skirmish and Multiplayer games not being kicked out on game start.
  • Fixed - Multiplayer game lobby not showing correct values for clients when they first join the game.
  • Fixed - Greatest Lord screen being available in non-skirmish missions.
  • Fixed – Issues with Ranger's animation and props.
  • Fixed - Exploit where placing a free wood camp would refund half the cost in wood.
  • Fixed - Village estates colour issues in the Map Editor.
  • Fixed – Various crashes.

Misc Changes
  • Added support for changing available keyboard layouts using ALT+SHIFT.

Please Note - The above version number should now appear at the bottom of the main Crusader 2 title screen. If the version numbers do not match up please exit the game and restart your Steam client, until you force the new update to download.

As a small independent team of developers we really appreciate players taking the time to report bugs and even submit saved games, which is a huge help to us. Going the extra mile like this means we spend less time recreating bugs and more time fixing and testing them. If you are experiencing an issue not listed in the fixes above the fastest way to get a fix is by letting us know. Please do so by submitting a support ticket - Support Site

20 comments Read more

October 7

Infographic & Update Plan

Gameplay Stats

At the end of week one we decided to tally up all gameplay stats, revealing the most interesting figures in the snazzy infographic below. Take a look at your first week of gameplay, which outlines important information such as the number of diseased animals thrown, longest multiplayer game and the total number of castles destroyed:

Stronghold Crusader 2 Infographic

Future Updates

We also feel this is a good time to discuss our current update plan for the months ahead. As we have said before Stronghold Crusader 2 is a hugely important game for us and a title we plan to support with lots of new content. Over the coming weeks and months we will be releasing various updates for the game, focussing at first on bug fixes and fine tuning game balance. Following on from that we have a number of exciting feature updates and DLC planned:

  • Eight additional AI characters
  • New maps for various game modes
  • Classic Crusader 1 maps
  • Steam Workshop Supprt
  • Player requested features such as Strongwall

We could not be happier with the response from players, who have our sincere thanks for supporting the team over the past two years of development. We enjoy reading any comments that reflect fans’ love for the series and those that give us ideas for where to take Crusader post-release. The team is looking forward to implementing some great suggestions and seeing what players can come up with in terms of user-generated content, from custom maps to castle designs. If these early gameplay stats are anything to go by Stronghold Crusader 2 has a long life ahead of it!

43 comments Read more


“For old, war-tested Stronghold players Crusader 2 is a triumphant evolution of the game that they've held dear for the last twelve years.”
8/10 – Strategy Informer

“The game feel polished and modern: It’s properly 3D-modelled and constructed around a rigorous physics engine.”
4/5 – Empire

“Unique, fast-paced castle-building action the way it was meant to be.”
8/10 – Hooked Gamers

Special Edition

The Special Edition includes:

  • Digital Soundtrack Composed by Robert Euvino
  • 'The Art of Stronghold Crusader 2' Digital Art Book
  • Stronghold Crusader HD: Full game on Steam - Already own it on Steam? Gift it to a friend!

Special Edition Customers

To access your digital art book and soundtrack please install the game, navigate to the game folder and open up a folder titled ‘Special Edition’.

By default this is located at:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\Stronghold Crusader 2\Special Edition

If you installed the game in a different location on your hard drive the ‘Special Edition’ folder will appear in your chosen location. The game’s soundtrack can also be accessed through the Steam Music Player, which can be found under the Library tab by clicking on ‘Music’.

About This Game

Stronghold Crusader 2 is the long awaited sequel to Stronghold: Crusader, the original 'castle sim'. After 12 years Stronghold returns to the deserts of the Middle East circa 1189, with a new 3D engine and realistic castle destruction powered by Havok Physics. Crusader 2 will recapture the original game’s addictive, fast-paced gameplay and authentic castle simulation.

True to its roots this new Stronghold will define old school real time strategy, combining RTS and city builder gameplay. Playing as a brutal Crusader Knight or Arabic freedom fighter, you must use a deadly array of troops and destructive siege equipment to decide the fate of the holy lands. Lead your forces into battle as either Richard the Lionheart or the Sultan of Syria in two historic single-player campaigns, with dynamic events such as tornados and locust swarms. Become the greatest Lord by managing your desert economy and seizing control of vital oases.

To dominate the battlefield you will need to command more than 25 unique unit types, mastering their special abilities. Raise morale with the Sergeant at Arms, charge in with the Sassanid Knight, use Archers to launch an arrow volley or scale castle walls with the deadly Assassin. Once your skills have been perfected put them to the test in skirmish mode or take the battle online with up to eight human and AI players. Create teams, choose different AI opponents and design your own map in the ultimate skirmish or multiplayer game!

Key Features

  • Build the Ultimate Castle - Design mighty strongholds and fill them with fiendish traps to crush your enemies!
  • Skirmish Mode - Lay siege to your enemies in fast-paced custom skirmish matches against the AI.
  • 8 Player Multiplayer - Mix and match human and AI players, maps and game modes to set up your ideal multiplayer game.
  • Battle a Wide Range of AI Lords - Classic AI characters return alongside new blood, each with distinct personalities, castles and play styles.
  • Challenge the Crusader Trail - Test your mettle across a range of increasingly tough skirmish campaigns.
  • Co-op Play - Share control over castle building, troop control and resource management in Co-op Mode.
  • Castle Sandbox - Dive into the Map Editor or Free Build mode and construct the ultimate castle without fear of attack.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows® XP/Vista/7/8 with latest service packs
    • Processor: Intel® Core™2 Duo 2Ghz or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800GT 512MB or AMD Radeon™ HD 2900XT 512MB or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • OS: Windows® Vista/7/8 64-bit with latest service packs
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 or equivalent
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 460 1GB or AMD Radeon™ HD 5830 1GB or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
534 of 639 people (84%) found this review helpful
70.3 hrs on record
Stronghold Crusader 2 is the successor to the successful RTS castle simulation game of the same name from 2002, With a full skirmish mode supporting up to eight total players (including fan beloved AI bots) and all new castle co-op skirmish mode, Crusader 2 is your ticket to castle simulation paradise.

For new Stronghold players:

Stronghold Crusader 2 is a real time strategy game set during the crusades, it has a stronger focus on combat as the ingame economy has been streamlined from the other Stronghold games. You are charged to provide food and entertainment for your workers who, in turn, form the backbone of your economy. Mine Stone, extract pitch, farm wheat, or chop wood. Once your stockpile has a steady flow of raw goods you are ready to refine them into weapons, drink, or processed food types. A strong economy is mandatory to support an ever growing military.

On the militant side of the game you have one of the hallmarks of the Stronghold franchise, entirely modular defense system. The map has a grid superimposed upon it which is used to align and place structures. Each wall is placed piece by piece, every tower and gatehouse where you want them. Lay traps such as killing pits and pitch ditches for your enemies and garrison your archers atop your great towers. There are many defensive and offensive tactics to experiment with, sally forth and meet your enemy in the field or bring the fight to your castle and employ traps and tower mounted siege engines to your advantage.

In skirmish mode the base objective is to kill all enemy lords, although multiplayer games have a greater range of victory conditions. The single player campaign has custom objectives and scripted invasions/events. When Steam Workshop becomes available for Stronghold Crusader 2 players will be able to create and share their own skirmish maps and custom missions.

For existing Stronghold Crusader HD players:

The biggest difference players coming from Crusader HD will notice is the transition to a full 3D game engine. Many of the same units feature in both games but I'll make a note of where they differentiate. Crusader HD fans will also notice a simpler overall economy with many previously gimmicky mechanics streamlined or just removed.


The following times were recorded using the time it took an archer to traverse a flat terrain map and are done on the diagonal (corners: top left to bottom right). Stronghold Crusader 2 has an additional map size and all map sizes for Crusader HD use numbers to represent size (eg 200x200).

Stronghold Crusader HDStronghold Crusader 2
Map SizeTime in secondsMap SizeTime in seconds
400x400118Extra Large220


-Changed! Faith - churches now operate similar to the Granary and needs candles to operate which are built in the chandler's workshop.
-Changed! Inns have remained largely unchanged but you only need to place one inn now to cover your entire populace.
-Changed! The Stockpile, Granary, and Armory now have unlimited storage capacity meaning you only need to place one.
-Changed! Iron Mines now require an Ox Tether much like Stone Quarries
-Changed! The Market can now be set to auto sell goods when they reach a preset threshold.
-Changed! each weapon type requires it's own unique workshop.
-Changed! Tower mounted siege engines can not be placed on stone towers, they incorporate their own wooden tower.
-Removed! Hunter's Hut, replaced with Pig Farm
-Removed! Fear Factor has been removed, troops will no longer receive a malus or a boost based on your economy.
-Removed! While not exactly a building, moats do not feature in the game.


-New! Slave Driver - whips nearby slaves into a frenzy
-New! Healer - units within range slowly regenerate HP
-New! Whirling Dervish - a poorly armored melee unit with a strong first contact attack
-New! Sassanid Knight - light knight with special charge attack
-New! Ranger - proficient with both sword and bow but has poor range
-New! Sergeant-at-Arms - units within range receive a HP boost
-New! Conscript - basic weak units, no weapons required to recruit
-New! Hussite War Wagon - can station units inside, provides protection and mobility
-New! War Wolf - super catapult
-New! Burning Cart - creates fire on impact, triggers traps
-Changed! Spearman now called Man-at-Arms and can throw his spear
-Changed! Maceman only requires a mace to recruit now
-Changed! Knight now called Templar Knight and can fight mounted or on foot
-Changed! Fire Thrower renamed to Oil Pot Thrower
-Changed! Battering Ram - Can now only destroy Gatehouses
-Changed! Catapult - can no longer throw diseased animals
-Changed! Portable Shield renamed to Mantlet
-Removed! Slinger
-Removed! Ladderman
-Removed! Siege Tower
-Removed! Tunneller

Engineers are no longer recruited but automatically provided if required when recruiting siege engines. Also, due to the 3D engine many of the map tricks previously used to create eye candy are impossible but there are a fair selection of set pieces to add some much welcomed variety.

Note: for those wondering how to access the map editor, go to your steam library dropdown menu and elect to filter your library by Tools. The map editor should show up on the list of utilities as 'Stronghold Crusader 2 Map Editor'. After a small 2MB install you are ready to start map making.
Posted: September 22
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196 of 228 people (86%) found this review helpful
47.0 hrs on record
Please read on before simply accepting this as another "Yes" review, because this a very mixed opinion. First, I would like to clarify this is from the Point of view of someone who has been playing Stronghold since the first game came out, and has consistently played every single installment to near completion - Aside from Kingdoms, which is mediocre imho. Maybe you'll agree, maybe you won't - Anywho, this is how I felt.

The Good:
- Solid skirmish mode, much like older renditions of the game.
- Very old school Crusader vibe/feeling to it. Remake successful.
- All of the new units are interesting, aside from the slave driver - Which I don't care for.
- New Unit special abilities are cool and add depth without overpowering or ruining units.
- New Siege engines that are also interesting and for the most part useful.
- Resource caches, Lion Dens, Outposts are all neat additions to the old crusader formula.
- Varied AI characters like the original and a promise of DLC Lords in the future.
- Really like the "curtain walls." I was skeptical of them until I used them in a trail mission.
- Took the good things from SH3 while leaving out most of the bad things.
- Neutral territory reminds me of the old territory system of SHC.
- The new buildings (like the wooden barricades for example) are interesting.
- Genuinely enjoyable game with as much replay value as the original.
- New ally system where allies mood affects how willing they are to do your bidding.
- Departure of Free form SH3 buidlings. Return of efficient, grid-based building system.
- Better physics, especially in regards to arrows - which bounce off and break on walls.
- More realism, such as troops pulling out pick axes and tools to smash walls down.
- Beautiful destruction physics. I've gotten into trouble from watching castles go down.
- Unit costs fixed or improved (Assassins especially brought back to reasonable price!)
- Much simpler Editor than SH3, albeit still with as many options.
- Able to play as other lords, and even choose what your lord looks like in skirmish.
- Buildings change when playing Arabic or Crusader Lords.
- Genuinely enjoyable game. Can't even lie, I will put 100 hours or more into this, easily.

The Bad:
- Stone is completely unbalanced. Walls cost 7 stone just for 1 square
- So, 100+ to make 15 Tiles of wall! WTF? So even a basic castle is 500 to 1000's of stone.
- Furthermore, walls also break much quicker - Causing lots of problems in the heat of battle.
- Buildings have ridiculous costs, which is ridiculously high (200 wood for a Market? Seriously?)
- Bare, boring, pathetic campaigns - So much for paying $10 extra for "additional campaigns."
- No campaign is longer than 4 Stages, and the mini campaigns are Only 2 stages long!
- Cavalry units cannot attack buildings anymore, making them significantly less useful.
- All of the Special Edition Features (cost an additional 10 dollars) were pathetic at best.
- Half of the artbook is on the official site for free, and it's only about 20-30 pages.
- The two mini campaigns take 10 minutes, and the 10 shields speak for itself in lame-ness.
- Only redeeming thing was the soundtrack. basically you paid 10 dollars for an old OST.
- Missing the things introduced in SH2 that were memorable, like feasting, honour, etc.
- While many did not like those features, I feel like the economy is really bare without them.
- Mediocre Maps. Crusader only had 3 or 4 maps I didn't like, this one has 3 or 4 I do like.
- Many maps don't have any resources available, or are too unbalanced to enjoy.
- Pretty much need the Map Editor if you want to have truly good maps.
- some glitches and crashes, though this is to be expected.
- pathetic sized unit caps and building caps.
- At 1 v 1 it's perfectly fine, but even 4 player matches feel very tiny.
- Bland building selection, needs more towers, bastions, etc. SH3 had so many options!
- Overpriced with the promise of even more (paid) DLC in the future.

All in all, I feel like the game as a whole is really good - But I feel like it is horribly overpriced. 50 Dollars is too much. I felt like none of the features I got in my "special Edition" were all that special, and were not worth 10 dollars more. I feel like this game would've been much more fair to be sold at around 20-30 dollars instead (Crusader was 19.99 when I got it on release). Do yourself a favor and try and get it on sale, or at discount - it is a very fun game and I will keep playing, but it is incredibly over priced - Especially the "special edition" which was anything but special.
Posted: September 27
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673 of 886 people (76%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
I am one of the stupid ones who got my hopes up after seeing reviews and hearing 'its the original game, but much improved with more additions bringing it up to date' ... and so i bought it.
What a mistake!
No laddermen
No seige towers
No moats
No engineers! to use, build or put into your seige equipment. This changes gameplay massively, as it used to take time to get decent wall defences, because you had to first build the engineers workshop, produce engineers, and build a big enough tower, then build a ballista/mangonel etc on it, and then put your engineers in them for them to function. Now i just buy a bloody ballista tower as soon as the game starts and it begins shooting longrange hail marys from the get go.
What about PIMPING my castle... **** in 2002 i could put flags and the likes around, not in this remake.
No EVIL / NICE system in the castle. Gone are the days of building dungeons and setting out heads on spikes to scare your populace ****less so you can tax them etc... this also kills gameplay in a big way, that was so much of the fun!
Have to agree with most of the other comments.. The WALLS come down like polysterene blocks, so effortlessly and quickly.
Maps are tiny, one of the only flaws in original also. but its 2014 youd think they could have fixed that!!! Makes it annoyingly irritating to have resources far from castle so you can NEVER fully have your castle emcompass everything. You are always rebuilding or defending your resource buildings out in the middle of nowhere.
No more leather armour
No info when you scroll over buildings etc
No more peasants saying provocative gestures when u click em
No tunneling men?? that ive seen
The AI keep repeating the same tripe over n over again, its 2014 ! get a heap of new sayings in there not just 1 or 2 !!!
AI is not improved, they do the same **** over n over again from what ive experienced.
Economy is broken. Just build candlestick maker buildings and sell them at market and basically dont have to build any other resource buildings cause you can buy goods at market from candlestick profits!

Ahh the list is endless.



Gameplay is not even as fun as original !!!!! :(
It starts to freeze up on any settings medium or higher... on ultra it sucks as soon as you have over 2 ai one one map.
Not my pc, i built a high specd rig with 4.8 eight core an 3g graphics card etc... poorly designed game. i run all other games on ultra no probs.

Ok, rant over.

Graphics not good, just ok. until it starts to freeze up.
Only cool thing was haybale launcher thingy.
So if your into firey haybales then fork over all your dough, otherwise DONT BUY !
I hope they fix this game but i highly doubt it !!!
Posted: September 25
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50 of 53 people (94%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Click for Gameplay Trailer - Preview

+ many comments
+ nice sound effects
- orient music nervs after a certain time

+ surprising events
+ nicely hectic
- no cutscenes

+ simple control
+ castle building is easy
- you dont see the weapon range

Game Size:
+ 60 skirmish maps
+ sandbox mode
+ steam version contains stronghold crusader hd
+ 2 campaigns with 39 missions

+ nice physic effects
+ nice animations
- monotonous maps

+ attack your castle on weak points
- ki is very dumb

Units & Buildings:
+ 20 units
+ 8 siege weaponary
+ 8 defense buildings
+ good economy
- formation nearly useless
- no experience for units

New Content (short list):
> 8 KI characters. atleast 6 characters are planed to be added after the release.
> new units:
--- european: sergeant at arms and templar knight.
--- arab: whirling dervish, slave driver, sassanid knight and healer
--- siege engines: fire ballista, war wolf and war wagon
> special abilities for some units:
--- whirling dervish: whirling attack
--- slave driver: boost for slaves
--- assassin: togglable stealth
--- siege camp: arrow storm
--- sassanid knight: charge
> multiplayer coop mode - 1 castle 2 players
> togglable dynamic events: sandstorm, fire, tornados and locust swarms
> new economic system
> new housing system: based on distance from the keep
> unit group formation

Stronghold Crusader 2 is the actual castle building itself and of course the castle destruction.
Castles require stone and consist of walls, towers, tower defenses,and gates.
Fortify the castle further with extra defenses like spike pits, exploding oil canisters, or cages filled with rabid dogs.
You can arm yourself with catapults, trebuchets, and flaming heavy arrow launchers. There's even a battering ram or giant catapult with the head of a wolf.
Each unit has its use; a sum of distinct strengths, weaknesses and abilities that make them suited for different situations.
Complex siege weaponry meanwhile can be constructed to smash down fortifications and to create breaches in the enemy's defensive parameter,
The biggest and most obvious change is the shift from the 2D isometric perspective of the first game to the fully 3D worlds and battlefields that are on offer here
The game features a campaign (brutal difficult curve) that spans a handful of missions that serves as a tutorial, and then a main campaign that spans over twenty missions. While there's no story, the campaign tries to set you up in different scenarios on a variety of maps.
There is also a free build mode for those who would prefer a more peaceful castle building experience.
You can enable events, both beneficial and disastrous to make it more interesting.
Overall I've found Stronghold Crusader 2 a great strategy game with nice moments and a fun co-op mode.

Thanks for reading! If you Like my Review, give me a Thumbs up in Steam (not the youtube video).
I make this for the Community and your help is greatly appreciated :)
Posted: October 8
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199 of 295 people (67%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record

Firefly removed the castle management part from his notorious series and betted on RTS part of it. it made a completely different game from what we use to, overall the game is fairly playable, but it has at the current state the same "feeling" as stronghold 3, wich was a disaster.
But since the game is fairly new, and how responsive to its community firefly has been, i will gave them the benefit for the doubt and i'm pretty sure they will re-implement the things we always wanted and the things that made the stronghold serie reputation to this date.

My favorite stronghold game to date was Stronghold 2 so my opinion may be unpopular because this one was the only stronghold game where the castle management had actually more/same impact has the strategy part. so i'm must say i'm overall pretty disatisfied with Stronghold Crusader 2 BUT i would still recommend it for people who are looking to play a Real Time Stragey game, (NOT A CASTLE SIM !).
If you are more a castle sim player you should go and buy Stronghold 2, the most under appreciated yet the most in-depth one to date.

Pros :

-Okay Graphics
-Good Strategy Game
-Good units

Cons :

-Low amount of production chains
-No fear factor (good and bad alignment buildings)
-Walls easy to breaks and buggy

For now i recommend the game BUT if firefly dont fix it in the next 6 month the game will simply die.
Posted: September 22
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