Knights of Honor (video game)
|Knights of Honor|
|Developer(s)||Black Sea Studios|
|Programmer(s)||Panayot Vaniozdravov Yanazov|
|Composer(s)||Borislav Slavov Glorian|
Knights of Honor is a real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Bulgarian Black Sea Studios. It was published by Sunflowers Interactive 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 Armenia 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 swordsmith 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 long time. The main goal of the game is to become emperor of Europe. However, the player is free to do whatever they wish. There is no set time limit.
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. Towns themselves also generate hammers (used to construct certain buildings) and food which determines how long they can withstand sieges.
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 catholic Pope has much influence in medieval Europe. He can excommunicate catholic kingdoms and call for crusades against non-catholic kingdoms. When a player chooses to go on a crusade they are granted powerful Crusader units. 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, a successful crusade can result in a puppet state that is unquestionably loyal to the leader of the crusade or plunder the town for a huge sum of gold. The Catholic Church is located in Western Europe and the Mediterranean. Orthodox factions are located in south east Europe and answer to Byzantium. These factions can declare independence and form their own churches which grants them a greater sum of gold while lacking the disadvantage of being excommunicated which results in a gold penalty. Islamic empires have the ability to call a Jihad which is similar to a Crusade and will cause armies to spawn at their borders and attack any invaders or rebels. This is a powerful ability but it has a long cool down period . Islam is found in north Africa and the middle east. Paganism is the smallest religion being found only in Scandinavia and some parts of eastern Europe. Pagans do not collect piety (a religious resource used to build certain units and buildings and perform some diplomatic options) so are free to focus on gold and are not troubled by religious problems such as religious tension but they have a penalty on their income and have bad relations with all other religions. Paganism is the only religion the player or other kingdoms cannot convert to, the only way to play as a pagan nation is to start the game as one. The player can renounce his faith and adopt another official religion (except paganism) but such religious conflict will often split the kingdom up and one must reunify the nations as a result.
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 the kingdom. For example, horses allows mounted units, wine makes a population happier and silver brings in 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 a bonus to spies, requires the following trade goods: columns, statues, silver and dyes and the following exotic goods: ebony and ivory.
Controlling many provinces certainly gives 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.
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.
Six different types of knights can be hired.
The Marshall is 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 or by pillaging the farms of an enemy kingdom.
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 many things. For example, if the Spy is hired as a Marshall, he can instigate an army revolt against their own kingdom, Landlords/Builders/Merchants can divest their respective resource from the town they rule or even attempt to seize it for their kingdom and Clerics can spread discontent among the masses while spies of their own can make the monarch of the kingdom pass away unexpectedly. 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.
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.
The Cleric is a 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. The Cleric 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.
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.
The builder has one task. He provides a town with more workers, so it may develop more quickly. He also restores any buildings lost from looting at a faster rate than without a governor, allowing restoration of food/piety/workers back to the villages. His natural expertise also improves the durability of structures in battle, making walls and gates more difficult to destroy.
A large community of modders created a lot of content for the game, though nowadays almost all has been lost in the closure of Sunflowers/Black Sea Studios Website. But some mods have been restored and have been recently developed thanks to the nostalgia of some players. One of them has created a mod which allow to play on new monitor resolution such as Full HD - 1920x1080 and 1366x768p. It adds many new content and tweaks. 
- "Ultimate Edition - HD Patch & Overhaul (EN/FR/DE) mod for Knights of Honor". Mod DB. Retrieved 2017-03-05.