Like The Perfume Hunter, this game is designed for group, rather than individual use.
The story line is that a knight has been given a gift of land and has to build a castle quickly in order to defend it. He is given only ten days to complete the work so that he can demonstrate his authority over the native population, and in that time he must prepare the mound and the ditch, set guards, fell and haul trees, build the tower and fences, and obtain food.
The accompanying booklet contains a pupil worksheet which may be photocopied, and this allows the group to keep a record of the work done each day together with the gains or losses of soldiers and workers.
At the beginning, the group are told that the type of castle to be constructed is a wooden motte and bailey, that they have 91 soldiers to help them, but that the 85 local workers cannot be trusted alone. Their first task is to evaluate from the map three possible sites, each of which has advantages and disadvantages.
Gradually more and more decisions have to be reached, so that the soldiers and workmen are all sensibly and usefully employed. Every so otters the screen display shows in graphic form how the work is coming along, and gives an up-date on the state of the workforce, some of whom may have been the victims of accidents, surprise attacks, or lack of food.
Fletcher's Castle would be an excellent resource for use within a program of work on the Norman invasion. Although the historical content of the program is very limited, its success lies in the focus it provides for logical reasoning, and the development of oral language skills. Children will love this game, and the teacher or parent will find it fascinating to observe the group dynamics.
: single key commandsKeyboard play
: goodUse of colour
: bright and sensible, for both the graphics and the textGeneral Rating:
This is an interesting and absorbing simulation which will spark off a whole variety of learning activities. Highly recommended.