Editorial note: We know you have never heard of this – we know this because we thought of it first and coined the phrase “Stronghold rush strategy”. 🙂
Although rather well balanced, Heroes of Might and Magic III offers many subtle differences between castles, and gives you a lot of space to display your strategic acumen.
Stronghold is generally regarded as a weak town. Although this might be true, there is a hidden advantage in it; it is very cheap and you can build your units quickly and try to overwhelm the opponent – this is the, so called, Stronghold rush strategy.
Namely, few of the Stronghold heroes have Logistics as one of their starting abilities (Dessa is specialized in logistics), enabling you to approach the enemy Town within days. Most of them have a great advantage on the attack (usually +4) – which can be a big edge in the beginning, while all the Mage Guilds on the map are still level 1 or 2.
During the first week, you can start building Rocs. They can fly over the battle map quickly, and attack the enemy’s archers, blocking them from shooting at you from a distance. Provided that you find the right resources, you could build the Behemoth’s Lair on the 7th day of the 1st week. It’s actually harder to find 20 crystals and built Cyclops (6th level unit) than to purchase your first Behemoth (7th level).
Combined with the Haste spell early on, while you’re the only player that has 7th level unit you may have a tremendous advantage in rushing your enemies, within the first few weeks. Alternatively, you can always cast Stone Skin on your Behemoths, making them harder to kill.
You can leverage your Behemoths and Rocs to crush through the creeps on the map faster than anyone else, and attack your enemies’ weaker-level units. Your guys will have a plus on attack in hand-to-hand combat, thanks to your offensive heroes. The enemy may try to counter your attack with lower-level spells and units that are typically only up to 4th level.
If you are fast enough to start moving through the map, you should be able to use Stronghold’s upper hand to eliminate at least one of them.
Even on larger maps, you can use the same strategy to surprise and rush one or two of your enemies, taking their towns, eliminating them from the game, and later developing their towns to build stronger units and more powerful magic than you would have in Stronghold alone.
Then you can slow down the development of your Stronghold town for a bit, in order to develop a stronger one. In this way you overcome Stronghold’s main weaknesses such as deficiency in magic power, or a limited amount of spells offered by your Mage Guild.