Playing the game
Rampart is a very tactical game. To win you must defeat all 7 levels. The first four levels are based around an island, one at the north, one at the east, one at the south and one at the west, and you must choose to do all of these in the order that you wish (with the west one being the first). Once one has been defeated then a blue shield is placed over that one and you can choose to do one of the remaining levels. Once all four are done you have three more levels to complete, over which you have no control of the order. Once all are done you win the game and get to see the winner screen - a scene where a number of your armoured soldiers are cheering, their swords aloft as their vanquished enemy is underfoot with their ships sinking in the sea behind them.
You can either play the game on beginner level or advanced level. On beginner level you get two continues whilst on advanced level you only get one continue.
Choosing a castleUpon entering a level you see the way the land is orientated. The green is the land and the blue is the sea from which the enemy ships will attack during battle mode. The white structures are the castles. You must now select a home castle that will be the castle you defend initially. A wall is then placed around the castle and you get to place cannons within that wall.
Typically there are three castles to choose between. The best one to choose as your home castle depends on your personal preferences but normally it might be the middle one as this will allow the greatest coverage across the screen. Choosing one in the corner will mean that your cannon balls will have longer to travel if they need to go right across the screen, and a shot cannot be fired from a cannon until the previous shot from that cannon has finished.
Also the castles at the sides may be squashed in to the edge of the screen meaning that castle walls will be harder to repair during build mode as you will be depending on a lesser pool of pieces to show up (like the 1-square piece for example which may not arrive) as they will be the only ones that can fit in the gap. And sometimes, if a fireball has hit your wall between cannon and edge of the map then you may not be able to complete a wall around your home castle at all.
Placing your cannonsOnce you have your castle in place you are given some cannons to place within the walls. Each cannon takes up a 4by4 space.
The number of cannons to place depends on how many castles you have surrounded. If you have surrounded your home castle you get two cannons to place (provided there is space for them), or 4 cannons if you are on easy. Then for each other castle you get to place one cannon (again, only if you have space). Note: You don't have to place all your cannons, especially if you feel they are going to compromise you in the build mode when you need to repair your walls. If you don't want to place a cannon then keep placing it in a place outside the castle walls.
Battle modeNow your castle is set up battle mode will begin. In this mode your enemies will attack and you will be able to fire at them with all the cannons you have that are within walls. Your enemies are:
- Brown ships with a single sail: These will fire rapidly at your castle walls. These take 3 hits.
- Brown ships with a double sail: These will fire less rapidly at your castle walls but will also release troops if they reach land. These take 4 hits.
- Red ships: These will fire fireballs at your castle walls. When these destroy your wall they cannot be built on top of. These take 5 hits.
- Troops: These guys are your only land enemy. They get on land from the double-sailed ships. Once on land they head towards your nearest castle to batter it down (this happens in build mode). During battle mode you can kill them with cannon balls, otherwise during build mode you can build walls around them and enclose those walls to kill them. These guys can also appear spontaneously during the higher levels. These take one hit.
So fire at your enemies to try and kill them all before build mode starts. Tactically you could choose to fire at the most dangerous first to try and get rid of them the quickest. (The most dangerous is probably the red ships, then the double-sailed brown ones followed by the single-sailed ones. If you have troops on land you can also fire at them too, maybe first before the ships.)
Otherwise you could fire at the nearest first as this will mean your cannonballs will have less distance to travel hence you'll be able to fire off the next shot quicker (plus the ships will naturally sail towards you so they will be nearer too once you finish off the first ships).
The other thing to remember here is that some of the ships will be on the move so you may need to aim your cannonballs ahead of them so that when the cannonballs reach there they hit the ship and not the bit of sea where the ship was before.
The only other thing you could fire at is your own walls. The only reasons for doing this is so that you could clear a difficult to repair wall, or that you wanted to destroy the wall before a fireball from the red ship came in.
And don't forget to move your cursor faster by holding down the 1 button.
Build modeOnce battle mode ends you get a period of time (the number of seconds will count down in the corner of the screen: 24 seconds in easy, 21 in normal and 19 in hard) to repair and re-build your castle walls. Here pieces of wall appear one-by-one for you to try and build walls. The priorities here are:
- To surround your home castle (if possible as this will give you the most new cannons to place when on the next cannon-placing round).
- To surround your other castles (this will allow you to gain an extra cannon to place in the cannon placing mode).
- To create other enclosed areas on the map so that you can place some more cannons.
- To create barriers around any troops on the land to prevent them knocking down your castles. Preferably you should enclose them within the walls instantly killing them.
- To create decoy walls that the ships will fire at in the next battle mode round.
- To create barrier walls around the edge of the island to prevent future troops from disembarking or to prevent them making their way to one of your castles.
The decisions as to which of these you do are up to you but you need to get at least one of your of your castles surrounded by a wall (and it doesn't need to be your home castle either, although that is preferable) otherwise you are defeated.
The possible pieces you can get are:
- A 1by1 block which is useful for filling in any 1by1 holes you have in your original wall around your home castle.
- A 2by1 block.
- A 3by1 block.
- An L shape (like the 3by1 block but with a 1by1 attached to it at the end). Note there is no reverse L piece.
- A Z shape (like the L shape but with a 1by1 block attached to the other end).
- A C shape (like the Z shape but with one of the 1by1 blocks moving to the other side.
- A + shape (like a 3by1 block crossed with a 1by3 block where their middle block is shared).
- A corner piece (like a 2by1 with a 1by1 joined to its side, like a smaller L).
- A t-piece (a 3by1 with a 1by1 joined to the side of the middle block).
They appear randomly and you must place each piece before you get the next piece. They can't be placed on pieces of wall that are already in play, nor on the pieces of wall that have been hit by fireballs, nor over the sea or over one of your castles or cannons, or on those troops that run towards the castle nearest them, but apart from that they can be placed anywhere.
Surround a castle with a wall without any gaps within the time limit to stay alive, but if you don't do it in time you are defeated. Then you have to start the level again, unless it happens three times in which case you lose.
Providing you have surrounded a castle with wall then it goes back to the next set of battle mode. The number of battles you have to win to advance to the next level varies (anywhere from three to eight).
Two-player modeThis mode sees you against an opponent. Other than that it follows the same pattern as the single player game except in the battle mode there are no ships and you need to destroy your opponent's castle's walls instead whilst they also do the same to you. If they don't repair their walls in time then they will have to start again. Do this three times and you win.
If you both don't surround your castle with a completely enclosed wall in time then extra time is given for you to repair your walls before battle mode starts up again.
Tactics here are to make life as awkward as possible for your opponent. So what I tend to do is destroy every second piece of wall they have so that it is more tricky to repair than a completely destroyed wall.
High scoresIf you've scored well then you'll get on the high score board (you need at least 500 points initially to get on the board). Here is how the scoring is worked out (on 1-player at least):
|Each time you hit a ship||30 points|
|Each set of troops you destroy||12 points|
|Home castle||150 points|
|Other castle||50 points|
|Each square enclosed within your walls||7 points|
(These territory points include the squares with cannons and your castle on.)
Also a 5,000 points bonus if you choose advanced level.