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Game locations that are good positions when defending against enemies.

In games that have combat, some game world areas are more easily defended than others. Strongholds are the ones that are especially suited for defensive fighting, often having few ways of reaching time and letting defenders covers these access ways.


Both the Siwa Oasis and the Seawall Battery levels in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory lets the Axis team have easily protected Strongholds which the Allies team needs to clear so they can destroy the level objectives.

Some levels in Team Fortress Classic and Team Fortress 2, e.g. Dustbowl, are built around one team trying to conquer levels from the other team by gradually taking over control points. The defending team is supported in keeping these control points by having strongholds in conjunction to each control point.

Using the pattern

Strongholds primarily need to be easy to defend. This requires that accesses routes to them are Choke Points where relatively few defenders can hold of enemies with potential numeric superiority, having good Line of Sight of these routes help. Strongholds are more useful when they in addition have Line of Sight over nearby Arenas, possibly through having Sniper Locations.

Strongholds make good positions for Bases, so if these are available they are likely to be used at Strongholds locations and thereby affects how the pattern works.


Strongholds are locations in Game Boards, Game Worlds, or Levels that make keeping Area Control easier. By doing so they are Strategic Locations and encourage Camping and defensive gameplay. They often contain Sniper Locations. Maintaining control over Strongholds require that players adopt Guard goals.

Enemies in Strongholds are more difficult to Overcome, while defending against them in Strongholds are much easier. In both cases this may lead to Repeated Domination and because of this make attackers adopt Stealth goals rather than try head-on attacks. As soon as Strongholds are occupied, they are Inaccessible Areas to opponents of the those present in them.


Can Instantiate

Area Control, Camping, Guard, Repeated Domination, Sniper Locations, Stealth, Strategic Locations

with Enemies

Inaccessible Areas

Can Modulate

Arenas, Enemies, Game Boards, Game Worlds, Levels

Can Be Instantiated By

Choke Points, Line of Sight

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki. However, it was first introduced using another template by Hullett and Whitehead[1], and a more detailed description in this template is available[2].


  1. Hullett, K. & Whitehead, J. (2010). Design Patterns in FPS Levels, paper presentation at Foundations of Digital Games 2010, June 19-21, Monterey, CA, USA.
  2. Stronghold pattern by Kenneth Hullett.


Kenneth Hullett, Jim Whitehead