Note: This guide was written before Command Blocks were a thing.
Castle wars is a mini game similar to capture the flag, but a lot more destructive. The aim of this game is to gain access to the opponents castle, steal their flag and bring it back to your own castle, or whatever is left of it.
The following rules and guidelines are simply recommendations, depending on the server plugins you use (if you use any), the rules can or will have to be changed to suit your own needs.
The game is played with 2 teams, which can be any size. Both teams should start in their own castle. Once the game starts, both teams will have to try to gain access to the other team’s castle in order to capture the flag.
In our example we have a locked, wooden wall around the castle. Players can climb onto their own wall from within the castle walls, but it’s not possible to climb onto the wall of your oppponent. This means you have to force your way through the wall of your opponent. This can be done by either destroying the wooden blocks by hand, or by firing the large cannon on top of the castle.
As you can see in the picture above, each castle has 3 cannons, 2 smaller ones on the castle walls and a large cannon on top of the castle.
Only the large cannon has the range to hit the other castle, both the walls and the other cannon. The 2 smaller cannons have a short range and are only capable of hitting players walking between the 2 castles and perhaps the outer most layer of the castle wall.
Team work isn’t necessarily required, but it does allow you to quickly load the cannon and fire multiple rounds in a short time. In our version we’ve made the cannons in such a way that you can only fire the TNT when it’s activated by a player, using flint and steel.
Fire spread should be turned off, as the whole outer wall is made entirely out of wood.
Once you’ve gained access to the other player’s castle, the next goal is to get the flag, located inside the castle, on the bottom floor in the back. This is the safest area from explosives, but is quite easy to get to, which means at least a part of your team will have to be dedicated to defending your flag.
Once you’ve got the flag, bring it back to your base and plant it next to your own. You can now either continue and capture their flag again or stop the game and repair the castles. This can all be done instantly with server plugins, found on bukkit for example.
A Few Considerations
There are a few things you may want to take into consideration when you build your own version of this fun mini game.
Firstly, TNT is very destructive. Make sure you’ve got at least an explosive proof layer under your castle and surrounding area. It’ll become close to impossible to reach the other castle when huge holes have been blown into the ground.
Secondly, test the range of your cannons and don’t place too many of them. It’s less fun if the castle is blown to pieces within seconds.
And lastly, consider the age and maturity of the people who might play this game on your server. If you’ve got a lot of immature players who’d love nothing more than to grief other people, use several plugins to put a lot of restrictions on your game. You might even want to prevent people from being able to reload the cannon, as it requires players to place TNT, which could simply be placed all over the place and blown to pieces.
Having only 3 cannon charges could also be a fun way to add an extra tactical challenge to the game, though you may want to increase the range of the other cannons a little.
Other Tips Tricks and Recommendations
You could leave the capture the flag aspect completely out of it. Simply end the game when either castle is destroyed, or perhaps when a specific part is destroyed. Perhaps a statue in front of the castle?
Make the castles out of bedrock and obsidian, with just a few gaps made out of stone or wood. This means you need a lot of skill or luck to get the cannon to fire the right spots in the other castle. This works better with more patient and mature players who work well in groups.
Allow people to repair the castle walls or to setup barricades. This adds another tactical aspect to the game if used well. However, I advise you to only do this with more mature players who follow rules, as immature players usually just completely block a player or their own flag, which could ruin the game for many other players.
Build more castles. This game doesn’t have to be played with just 2 teams. Make 3, 4 or 10 castles and assign 5 or 6 players to each castle. Whichever team has the most flags at the end will win.
Use a plugin to set the explosive power of TNT to just a few blocks. This will make the game last a lot longer and could make it a lot more fun, depending on how patient the players are of course.
This game can be amazingly fun when played with people you like, especially if you create enormous castles. Having dedicated players on specific tasks could lead to some epic battles. Have players defend the walls, load the cannons, fire the cannons, attack, capture the flag, protect the flag carrier, etc, etc. A server wide war could be one of the most epic battles ever.