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ATPM 3.06
June 1997




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Review: Castles—Seige & Conquest

by Tom Beadling,


Product Information
Publisher: MacPlay Division of Interplay
Phone: (80) MACPLAY
Fax: (714) 252-2820
List Price: $34.95 U.S. for CD-ROM; $19.95 diskette (where available)

System 6.0.7 or higher
Monitor with 256 colors
2 MB free RAM
13 MB hard drive space

The year is 1312, a time of tumult in feudal France. In your palace, sweat beads your brow as you ponder the famine ravaging your provinces and the treachery of the spy you ordered to Brittany last month. A messenger from the arrogant Duke of Burgundy suddenly appears, ominously demanding a gift of gold. On the other hand, a fanfare of trumpets has announced completion of your castle in Nantes, doubling your production of metals and suppressing an incipient rebellion by your ungrateful subjects.

This is life in Castles: Siege and Conquest, MacPlay’s aging strategy game, now in its third incarnation since 1990. As one of five ruling lords vying for the vacant throne of Bretagne, you are challenged to employ all your resources, political; economic; diplomatic; and military, to outwit your opponents and claim the throne.

In an age of multimedia-conceived games, Castles seems woefully quaint at first blush. Its vintage 512 x 384 window floats on your monitor screen, the ’port is pure DOS, and text messages drive much of the game play. If you don’t disable the tootling music track, you will surely go mad. The game is made no less eccentric by the QuickTime clips from the silent classic “Alexander Nevsky” that punctuate game events. But don’t be misled. Skilled gamers who take this AI too lightly will quickly find they’ve won, not the coveted throne, but the post of Rat Catcher, Food Taster, or Village Idiot, depending on their point score. It could be worse. Beheading is another common reward for failure.

To reach the throne, you employ scouts, spies, saboteurs, police, diplomats, merchants, and armies. You must call councils, maintain the happiness of your surly subjects, cultivate alliances, recruit soldiers and siege engines, and manage your economy. Each province produces a single product, wood; metal; gold; or food, and whatever products you are unable to produce must be bought from your allies or purchased on the risky black market.

As in all well-conceived strategy games, Castles is easy to learn but difficult to master or, in this case, “impossible;” the other three difficulty settings being hard, average, and easy.

[castles2 graphic]

Most game play takes place in the “strategic” window. From here, you direct the activities of your provinces with all actions limited by a strict economy of “ability points.” These control the amount of time required to complete tasks, the critical factor in real-time game play. You can divert, say, political efforts to the military, but beware of falling into disfavour with the Pope. Diverting military effort to the economy can jeopardize your defenses. In addition to the main window, a tactical window allows you to design and build castles for the defense of your provinces. All combat also takes place in this window.

[castles3 graphic]

Military gamers take heed. Armed aggression has no advantage over commerce or diplomacy as a path to victory. There are a few deployment advantages to be gained in the tactical window, but actual combat plays out automatically. Relying on warfare alone will quickly win you the post of Court Jester, though neglecting one’s army and building cheap, flimsy castles will have the same result. Victory points toward the throne are awarded for armies, diplomatic relations, happiness of your subjects, economic wealth, provinces owned, size and number of castles — in short, the whole complex of your status as a ruler.

“Castles” isn’t for everyone, of course, least of all gamers who take neutron blasters seriously. But if you value well-conceived strategy game play in a stylish and witty, albeit dated format, it might be fun to acquire this minor classic from the days when the phrase “Mac strategy game” was almost a non sequitur.

[apple graphic] Copyright © 1997 Tom Beadling, When not employed as a Food Taster, Tom Beadling is a labor union editor in Washington, D.C.

Reader Comments (41)

Oscar Rickard Casley · May 20, 2000 - 01:01 EST #1
Do you know where you can get the full version? If you do please e-mail me.
Craig · August 27, 2001 - 13:15 EST #2
I, like the others, would like to find out where to find the game. Interplay-Store doesn't seem to have it.
anonymous · October 1, 2001 - 13:00 EST #3
I have the full game. I will send it to you if you want to buy it. If so, how much?
anonymous · October 12, 2001 - 05:16 EST #4
Where could I aquire all or some of the Castles games? I don't mean buy, I want to find a web site I can download them from. Anybody?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 12, 2001 - 13:37 EST #5
Considering the age of this game, you're probably going to be hard pressed to find it anywhere. The Macplay web site is still there, but the URL at the top of this page doesn't seem to work anymore. Thus, any downloads you find are going to either be 1) a demo only, or 2) an illegal copy.
Terry Laffoon · October 21, 2001 - 19:22 EST #6
Anybody know where I can get just the first disk of Castles 2: Seige and Conquest. I have the full version but my first disk got fried.
Michael Bakshi · November 5, 2001 - 19:40 EST #7
I, like the rest, would like to know the link of the download file for Windows or Mac. I have both platforms and I absolutely love this game. Can someone give me a definite link? E-mail me and I can send you a valuable program in exchange if you can send Castles (demo or full) to me over the internet.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · November 6, 2001 - 19:16 EST #8
I inquired at the MacPlay web site about the Castles game, and received the following reply:
The title that you are referring to is handled by the Interplay brand of MacPlay. (About a year ago, we purchased the MacPlay name from their company, but do not offer support for their older titles.) For support help, you can find information here:
E-Mail -
Phone - (949) 553-6678
Thanks. --Guy
MacPlay Support
I hope this helps someone. Good luck!
M. Bakshi · November 6, 2001 - 19:28 EST #9
Thanks. I emailed them and I will post a message here if I get a straight answer from these guys.
Jordan · November 23, 2001 - 09:58 EST #10
I would really like to know where I would be able to purchase or download the game. E-mail me if you have information.
Maurice Palmer · December 15, 2001 - 16:21 EST #11
I know where to get the full version. I don't think the game is all that fun, so if you want to buy it from me, I will send it to you. E-mail me.
Lisa Sullivan · December 23, 2001 - 19:31 EST #12
I also would like to get this game for my computer. I have been searching and searching and can't find it anywhere. Please e-mail me about where to get this game, either by download, or to buy it, it doesn't matter.
Morpheus · January 14, 2002 - 06:42 EST #13
Does anyone know where you can get this game, either by download or buying it?
anonymous · January 15, 2002 - 16:18 EST #14
I saw it for sale on eBay once, so you might want to check there.
Tim · January 17, 2002 - 17:37 EST #15
OK, here goes nothing: does anyone know where to get a download of the full game? I've played the demo and I like it very much. They don't make these games anymore today.
St Klein · January 27, 2002 - 06:49 EST #16
Can anybody tell me where to find a full Mac version of the game?
Chris Knight · January 31, 2002 - 20:16 EST #17
For those of you looking for Castles 2, I just found out that Interplay is planning a re-launch for some time in Q1 2002 and you can now pre-order it at their site. If anyone can get me a copy, e-mail me because I'm in the UK and they don't deliver here.
Doodypie · February 2, 2002 - 10:08 EST #18
I happen to have the game also. One of the first games I ever bought and I didn't really play it too much. It came on two 5.25" disks. So, if you have a newer computer, you might want to make sure it is on a CD or on a regular 3.5" disk if you buy it. I happen to like Lords of the Realm 2 better then the Castles game.
Riley Anderson · February 14, 2002 - 17:51 EST #19
Hi. I'm a very big fan of this game and I used to play it when I was little. Now that I'm older and refound it, I've only got the demo. If anyone knows where I can get a copy, please e-mail me.
Michelle · March 23, 2002 - 12:15 EST #20
I would like to at least find a demo of this game. I played it years ago and I want to see if this one is like I remember or if I'm thinking of something different.
AJ · May 12, 2002 - 18:22 EST #21
Where can I find Castles--Seige and Conquest to play it?
Richy Steckler · May 24, 2002 - 21:22 EST #22
I need to find the full version of this game. I have a gay demo and it cuts off. Someone please help me!!
Tim McGreer · June 20, 2002 - 22:03 EST #23
Hey dudes, you should look at eBay if you want to buy the game. And if you do not like to bid on stuff, you can just press 'buy it now' and forget the whole bidding thing.
ATPM Staff (ATPM Staff) · October 4, 2002 - 00:52 EST #24
Please stop posting comments that mention the web sites that offer old games for download (AKA abandonware). Just because a developer is doing nothing with the software any more doesn't mean it's suddenly free to duplicate. They still own the copyright on it. Any comments posted to ATPM that discuss how to obtain illegal software will be removed. In addition, tips have already been listed above (within past comments) on possibilities for finding an old copy of this game for sale. No more are needed on this page.
anonymous · November 14, 2002 - 12:09 EST #25
The full game is avaliable for £4.99 from most ''Toys R Us'' stores in the UK. If all else fails, Northampton definitely has it in stock.
Wicked · April 2, 2003 - 14:43 EST #26
Dantone · June 20, 2003 - 12:49 EST #27
Where can I find any copy at all (demo or full)? I don't care if it's a demo, I just want to play!

Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · June 20, 2003 - 13:27 EST #28
Dantone (and anyone else) - take a moment to scan through comments already left before commenting on any site. If you scroll up a bit, you'll see a note I left a while back that stated how to contact MacPlay Support for how to acquire the game.
Zack Bickford · December 16, 2003 - 10:52 EST #29
I have played the demos of the Castles games and I would like to have them. I really want these games, so if any one knows where to get them, please e-mail me.
anonymous · February 21, 2004 - 17:37 EST #30
If you buy this game off of eBay, make sure that the seller includes the manual. Every so often, the game will demand that you open the manual to a certain page and type out the 5th or 7th or whatever word in a certain paragraph on the page. If you fail twice, the game automatically closes down and you have to start from scratch. Therefore, if you don't have the manual, the game is just a supped up demo. This annoyed the hell out of me when I was 10.
Christian · March 6, 2004 - 14:44 EST #31
I have the full CD-ROM version of Castles: Siege and Conquest. It is in its original CD case and includes the instruction manual. Please e-mail me if you would like to buy it and please tell me your offer.
Dave Hannah · April 25, 2004 - 16:02 EST #32
I love this game but I don't know how to get it for under $40 or it can't be shipped to Canada. E-mail me at if you know how i can purchase this for under $30.00 and can be shipped to Canada.
The Conqueror · May 23, 2004 - 19:31 EST #33
this is a bit embarrassing but does anyone know where i can find the answers to those VERY annoying questions in the game? i sort of.....lost the instruction booklet. : ( if anyone knows PLEASE tell me asap.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · December 18, 2004 - 14:08 EST #34
Those who continue posting where to acquire this game for free, claiming it's now "abandonware" may as well cease your efforts, as these comments will be removed. The concept of abandonware is not what most people think it is. Just because a developer has ceased working on an application and, in effect, has abandoned it, does not mean that the developer has lost his or her copyright on the application. ATPM can not and will not be a venue for revealing where to download software illegally.
Anthony Nickel · August 31, 2005 - 15:35 EST #35
i need to know where to find a book for castles 2
Pirate · July 15, 2006 - 01:40 EST #36
I have the the CD ROM to this game, I live this game, I have looked everyware and I was wondering if there are any cheat codes that can help me out in the game, (like more resorces and stuff like that) I was also wondering if there is a copy of the manual on the net or something, I don't care if it is just a hyperlink text or watever, I just want to read it to help me out.
sh00ter12 · July 31, 2006 - 22:25 EST #37
I am another huge fan of "Castles: Siege & Conquest". I played it when I was a kid, and I would love to find a way to play it again. My questions to the blogging community:
1.) Is there anyway that I could get the original game?
2.) Is "Castles 2" as good if not better than the first game, and would these games work on modern computers?
3.) I love strategy video games. Anyone have suggestions for modern day strategy games? (I am a big AOE fan... anything else)

Please share, or shoot me an e-mail.
ChromeWINTER · June 21, 2007 - 19:41 EST #38
I obtained an used iMac with a load of MacPlay titles in the box. Oddly this iMac doesnt have a floppy (well, we knew that!) Selling the game on Google Base. For fans of classic Mac games like this check out my site only the one copy but some other historical info avaiable.
Chess613 · December 2, 2008 - 13:39 EST #39
I absolutely love this game and have recently begun playing it again via SheepShaver (which allows me to run OS 9 virtually on OS 10.5). I plan on scanning the book and making it available online if there are some who are interested in playing again but lost the book. Just email me.
Jessie · December 3, 2009 - 02:28 EST #40
I love this game! I played it when I was a kid, and was thrilled to come across the disc at my parents house recently. No booklet, but I found the answers online by google searching word for word the questions. I was surprised that it runs and plays on my computer. It's as thrilling as it was when I was 10.
Grenth · March 4, 2010 - 18:27 EST #41
does anyone know where i can get the booklet for Castles: Siege & Conquest , i have the 7 disks for installing it and i just put it on my new G4(well , new for me) But i can't find the booklet anywhere! if one of you guys know where i can get one , or if you have one yourself please email me.

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