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Destroy the Castle
by Dennis Gaffney

The trebuchet was one of the most devastating weapons of the Middle Ages. During medieval sieges, this destruction machine crushed castle walls. Using trial and error, medieval engineers adjusted the trebuchet to make sure its missile hit the castle wall—and destroyed it.

NOVA's science game, "Destroy the Castle," is very much like the real thing. There are five elements you can adjust in your trebuchet:

  • stone ball weight
  • sling length
  • counterweight design
  • distance from the castle
  • whether to add wheels

Build it right, and you will crush the wall.

Build it wrong, though, and you may have to face some painful consequences.

Special thanks to Jim and Fran Sammons for their help in designing "Destroy the Castle."

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