Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
Regardless of the mode you choose, with the exception of Survival, House of Wolves plays pretty much the same—you just have to make smarter choices about setting up your would-be kingdom. This guide will help you establish a solid presence in the land and bring down the terrible lord who threatens your freedom.
House of Wolves is a side-scrolling RTS. Your goal in the standard mode is to build up a settlement, use it to raise an army, and send the army to war against the bad guys. Eventually you'll locate the enemy king in his own castle, and if you put up enough resistance you'll bring him down and win the game. Though you can use hotkeys to control House of Wolves, it's perfectly viable to stick with just the mouse.
As was just mentioned, House of Wolves is fairly straightforward on the controls. Point, click. Click and drag if you want to select more than one unit. There's just one thing to bear in mind before you get started. When you select a unit or a group of units, selecting yet more units will only add them to the existing group, not change which units you've selected. In other words, if you order a group you've just selected to walk east along the map, you may also be sending another unit which is somewhere else entirely in the same direction. Always left click on the terrain to de-select units before doing something else.
Buildings and Their Uses
Succeeding in House of Wolves hinges on proper knowledge of your assets. This section will cover the buildings you can create, and their various uses.
- Huts. Though humble, Huts are a necessity. They can spawn Settlers and Spearmen, they serve as drop points for resources, and they increase your population by ten each time one is built, to a maximum of 100. You'll be constructing Huts more often than any other building.
- Chicken Farm. An army can't get far on an empty stomach, and though you can hunt for food from deer on the map you're better served establishing a farm. Chicken Farms will spawn chickens your Settlers can slaughter. Chicken Farms are the cheaper of the two, but they also yield less food. If you have the option, always go for…
- Pig Farm. Essentially the same as Chicken Farms, but you'll get more meat out of a pig than you will a chicken. Always go for Pig Farms.
- Barracks. Barracks spawn Spearmen, Swordmen, and Mounted Swordmen. They're a good early source of troops once you've outgrown huts, but after a while they're rendered obsolete by Fortresses. Don't bother building more than one unless it's absolutely necessary.
- Archery. Archeries spawn Archers. Surprise! Like Barracks, you don't need more than one at a time.
- Blacksmith. Another one-shot building, Blacksmiths allow you to upgrade your troops with greater attack power, range, defensive capabilities and mana. Essential - but building more than one is an even greater waste than with Archeries or Barracks.
- Wizard Tower. Unlike the other spawning buildings, it's not a terrible idea to have more than one Wizard Tower, as they're the only buildings capable of spawning Wizards. Set one up near any Fortress you build.
- Watchtower. Basic defensive structures. You'll begin the game with one Watchtower. Once you have access to lots of stone, ditch Watchtowers for their bigger brothers.
- Tower. Hearty defensive fixtures that rain arrows down on the enemy. They'll last a lot longer than Watchtowers, and dish out a great deal more pain.
- Fortress. The head honcho of buildings. Fortresses can spawn every unit save Wizards, and will unlock Knights, Mounted Knights, and Catapults when created. Fortresses are also the most durable buildings in the game, and coupled with a few Towers and a bunch of defenders can stave off most attacks. Keep them on the edge of your territory for fast deployment and protection.
Understanding the Different Units
Buildings can only take you so far, and in order to bring down the baddies, you'll need a good grasp of the units in House of Wolves.
- Settler. Your basic workers, Settlers are essential to your success. They are the only units which can create buildings, and will do so quickly if deployed in groups. They're also the only units which can collect resources, and if a Settler isn't building he should be busy cutting down trees, hunting, or mining. In larger numbers Settlers can be somewhat potent as a fighting force, since they have bows and can fire from a distance. So long as they're covered by actual military units, sending Settlers along with an army isn't a horrible idea, as they'll be able to set up remote outposts in the field.
- Spearman. The bottom rung of military combat. Spearmen are nice and cheap, but they die very easily. It's tempting to outfit your army with tons of these little guys, and the crowd will look impressive, but it will also lose potency in moments. Only use them early on, or as a last resort.
- Archer. Though they’re not terribly powerful, Archers are a staple of any army with their ranged attacks. In large groups, protected by frontline soldiers, they can decimate an enemy army. Let bad guys get close, though, and Archers are toast. Never send Archers out on their own unless you're fighting a) more Archers or b) an unprotected building.
- Swordman. A mid-range combat unit. Swordmen are your elite troops in the first twenty or so minutes of the game. After that, they replace Spearmen as the grunts of your army.
- Mounted Swordman. A slightly stronger, faster version of the Swordman. Mounted Swordmen can be potent thanks to their second life ability, but moving up to Knights is preferable to making many of these guys.
- Knight. The basic soldier of choice for most armies. Knights will plow through the enemy army and can take a lot of damage in return. The only units stronger…
- Mounted Knight. … are these guys. Expensive but worth the cost, Mounted Knights are very fast, take more punishment than anything else, and stand a good chance of getting back up when they die. If you've found a lot of resources and can afford the expense, creating an army of Mounted Knight frontliners will easily secure you victory.
- Catapult. A ranged weapon that's fantastic against buildings. Catapults are the weapon of choice for taking on Fortresses in larger armies. Never let Catapults travel alone! They're helpless without an armed escort!
- Wizard. The support units of the army, Wizards use healing magic to keep your units healthy (insanely helpful in the field) and can blast units at a range with fireballs (decently helpful). Once again, these guys cannot go places on their own. They need an escort.
Nothing comes of nothing. You'll have to collect resources constantly if your kingdom is to prosper.
- Wood. By far the most plentiful resource, wood is gleaned from trees. Upon building a hut, your Settlers will automatically begin harvesting wood. Only at the beginning will collecting wood be an issue.
- Food. Most units require a bit of food to create. To field a big army, you need a ton of food. Set up five or six Pig Farms, and have them constantly manned, and this will never be an issue. You can also get food from deer, though this method is slow and inefficient.
- Stone. Archers and many advanced buildings require stone to build, notably Fortresses. You can find stone by harvesting it from the light grey rocks peppering the countryside. Try to have your Settlers harvesting stone at all times.
- Iron. Your more advanced units will need iron in spades, and you can get it to them through mining grey rocks with darker grey strands running through them (only common the further you explore) or by killing enemies. The latter route is probably how you'll get most of your iron.
- Gold. Very similar to iron though a bit easier to get, gold can be found in stones with gold speckles or on the bodies of slain foes. You'll use it often for purchasing the most elite of units, and it's particularly useful if you want to field a lot of Wizards (recommended).
The Bad Guys
Despite how the game is initially presented, there are two groups of baddies in House of Wolves. One side is a compulsory kill; the other only becomes a real problem on Hard mode.
- The first, obvious lot are the evil red-clad soldiers that have taken over your home turf. They'll periodically send out raiding parties to destroy your buildings, and as you progress to the east you'll have to take out their own encampments. Though they share many of the same units as your side, the red army only has Watchtowers, Tents, Towers, and Fortresses as buildings. They also occasionally have your units captured in cages, and you can gain extra troops by freeing these prisoners.
- The second, less obvious bad guys dwell in the west. These consist of monsters (primarily trolls and spiders) which will attack anybody who tries to expand into their territory. On Hard mode they'll also attempt to raid your camps at the same time as the red soldiers, and can prove just as dangerous in sufficient numbers.
- You begin life with a Watchtower, a few Settlers, and resources. Your first step must be to expand your worker base. Have your Settlers construct a Hut or two, and use those Huts to spawn a ton more Settlers. Most of them should go on woodcutting duty.
- Five or six of them, though, must be dedicated to setting up Pig Farms. You'll have enough stone to build at least a few of these structures. Get several of them working on slaughtering pigs and you won't have to worry about food ever again. (After some building up, that is.)
- Set up a Barracks and Archery. Another Watchtower in the east can't hurt your chances, and an Archery will let you set that up. Using the iron you started with you should also spawn some Swordsmen, along with backup Spearmen; these guys will easily rebuff early raids.
- Prepare for attacks. By this point the first enemy soldiers should be incoming, possibly on both sides. Let your troops stave off the soldiers while your band of Settlers fire on any creatures that try to invade from the west.
Moving Up in the World
Your kingdom is now operating somewhat smoothly, and with an ever-expanding base of Huts you can quickly reach a population cap of one hundred. Now it's time to expand.
- Leaving your troops on the east side of your base, spawn fifteen or twenty Settlers and send them west to locate sources of stone and fresh trees.
- A big enough group can easily eliminate any spiders they meet without taking damage.
- Don't press your luck, though; once your Settlers start running into red spiders, they should stop expanding and consolidate what they have.
- Set up new Huts, and possible a few Watchtowers, and make the most of the terrain.
Having expanded, you'll want to take a look at the more advanced building options. The stone structures will still be out of your reach, but a Blacksmith and a Wizard's Tower should be easy enough to claim.
- Set up both, and use the Blacksmith in particular to upgrade your units that are already on the field.
- Swordsmen and Spearmen deserve a bit of a boost, though upgrading Archers isn't a bad idea either.
Eventually, with enough growth of your army, you'll hit the population cap. Huts won't get you more people; you'll need to increase your population by saving princesses from the clutches of the enemy. After fending off an enemy attack, send a sizable force out to take on initial enemy encampments.
Your force should consist of the following:
- A handful of Swordmen: These will form the core of your offensive wall. A larger group of Spearmen who can draw some of the fire away from your Swordmen and overwhelm the bad guys through sheer numbers
- A cluster of Archers: They'll line up behind your melee fighters and pelt your enemies with arrows
- Several Settlers: They can also fire at a range, and you'll want them for establishing more remote outposts as you make your way along
- One, possibly two Wizards: They provide the essential service of healing your units between fights, and can launch harmful spells at a range
With a force of roughly thirty or forty soldiers you'll have no trouble steamrolling the first few encampments you come across. This will get a bit trickier as you run into Towers and, eventually, Fortresses, so don't overstretch your bounds too much. An army that's overmatched will find it very difficult to retreat (your guys like to fight to the death), and it's quite easy to lose a large force because you got cocky.
Your ultimate goal is to kill the enemy king, and to do that you'll need a potent force. Once you start running into enemy fortresses, put your advance on hold, set up a little outpost your army can defend, and look to surrounding resources.
You want to take advantage of any stone deposits you 'liberated' along the way by setting up Huts for harvesting purposes. If stone is lacking in the east, look to the west. It's generally easier to kill monsters than soldiers.
Why this emphasis on stone? Because once you hit enemy Fortresses, you should build at least one of your own. Fortresses are capable of spawning every unit already featured (besides Wizards and Settlers), and they're an impressive defensive fortification besides. A Fortress will also unlock the strongest units in the game, including the impressive Catapult.
Catapults will allow you to bring down enemy Fortresses a great deal more easily. Set up three or four Catapults at the rear of your army, recruit a few more Wizards for healing, and set up a more potent assault force at the front.
Beyond this point, your game is a simple matter of steady expansion and conquering of enemy Fortresses. Every time you crush a Fortress you'll free a princess, and her influence will increase your population cap by five. Use this to bolster your army to an impressive size and gradually flatten more and more bad guys. Add Knights and Mounted Knights to your ranks, keep upgrading via the Blacksmith, plunder every resource you come across…
… and, eventually, you'll come to a Fortress with a much taller figure sitting on the ramparts. This guy is your target, and once you trash the Fortress he'll come down to play. Your tactics won't be any different from normal when he does; he's just a beefed-up melee brawler. Strong, but he can't stand against an army that's thirty-or-more men at a time. Rip him down!
After the king is thwarted and the land is safe, you'll be shunted into Unlimited Mode. Though the land is freed, enemies will continue to spawn endlessly in the east and west. You can play this as long as you like, expanding your army and gobbling up more and more resources. That said, you might now be ready to try a new challenge….
After you’ve completed House of Wolves once, you'll want to look at Survival Mode. The game has changed: there are no longer enemies in the west, and you can expand as far as you want without repercussions. Unfortunately, the enemies in the east remain, and they want to steamroll your kingdom. They will eventually do so, as their numbers become more and more numerous each round until they eventually overwhelm you.
Also? There's a great deal less time between attacks. Your preparations must be swift.
Here are a few tips for making the most of Survival Mode. You can't win, but with some clever play you can last a long time.
- Your first priority should be setting up a defence, even if it's relatively small. Get a force of Spearmen up and running as soon as you can.
- Enemies only come from the east. Let them steamroll the first Watchtower on the edge of your territory and use the Fortress in the middle as your front line. Concentrate your troops here, and set up at least one Tower.
- Ignore the resources to the east. Go west. There are no monsters in Survival Mode.
- Get Wizards deployed as quickly as possible. You want to preserve your troops rather than replacing them.
- Don't be afraid to include your Settlers in your ranged defence. Twenty or thirty of them can help turn the tide, so long as they're protected by a solid front line of Spearmen, Swordmen and the like.
- Mounted units are fantastic in Survival Mode. Not so much because they're fast, but because they have a good chance of coming back when they die.
- Don't forget to upgrade via the Blacksmith! Upgrades are essential for beefing up your troops.
Some Guy on November 22, 2017:
There is not that much strategy to it... I just zerg rush em with Spearmen and settlers...
Bolt Boy on June 29, 2017:
I have two questions.
Can you destroy of move your own buildings?
And why is my unit count in the negatives?
Mike on September 18, 2016:
The real problem is pig farms. You have to manually slaughter pigs which takes a ton of your time. It's not so bad to beat the mission, but if you continue playing afterwards to try to clear the map, it's nearly impossible since the raids get stronger and stronger and you can only gather meat so and so fast even with hotkeys to go through settler groups.
Matt Bird (author) from Canada on May 27, 2013:
Yes, pretty much. It's been a while since I last played, but from what I remember the stone has no streaks, the iron has dark streaks, the gold has... gold... streaks. I found that stone turned up less and less often the further out I got.
Lars on May 27, 2013:
How do you find stone? I can't find any "light gray rocks peppering the countryside." Maybe I already used them all up? Do they look the same as iron mines, only without the dark streaks?
BipedSnowman on May 15, 2013:
I employed a very aggressive strategy of building. Turns out, enemy units don't respond to being hit by a tower's bowmen. Rather than employing two armies, I have a couple settlers that build towers outside of range of sight for the enemies, but within range of the towers. Then I wait, build another tower as close the first as I can, and wait again. Boom, quarries!