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Belvoir Castle

Author File Description
File Details
Map Size: 300x300 (Medium)
Difficulty: Hard
Made with version: 1.1
Belvoir Castle – ‘Star of the Jordan’

The Hospitaller castle of Belvoir (‘Fair View’ in French), a few miles south of Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), is the first dateable true concentric castle, built shortly after 1168. Atop a basalt plateau, twelfth century Muslim historians refer to it as a ‘nest of eagles and the dwelling place of the moon’. In Hebrew it is known as Kochav Hayarden – Star of the Jordan – which preserves the name of Kochav, the Jewish village which existed nearby during the Roman and Byzantine periods. The Muslims called it Kaukab al-Hawa – Star of the Winds. It remains one of the most complete Crusader castles in Israel.

This is a fairly standard siege scenario, whereby you take control of the Muslim forces and attempt to take Belvoir. Please look out for the historical write-up that accompanies this Castle of the Week map.

Happy gaming!
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design4.0
Another beautiful historical map by Sulis, which I really liked. It is a classic siege scenario, much like Chastel Pelerin, since you have to take command of the Muslim attackers and lay siege to a Templar stronghold. This time balance and playability are very good. Map design is like always superb and the castle trully looks a reproduction of the real one.
Playability: I give it a 4. The scenario is not difficult, but you still have to be carefull. The castle design in some way limites your attacking strategies, for example your assassins cannot climb the walls of the inner enceinte, so you just have to break down the gate.No major problems, though.
Balance: It's very good, you have the right ratio of infantry/ missile troops and your army is as big as you need to take the castle with an acceptable casualty rate.
Creativity: No doubt Sulis has a real talent in bringing in life historical castles. I didn't give a 5 here, just because the real castle is rather small in scale, and relatively simple in comparison to previous works, like Caesarea or Chastel Pelerin.
Map design: I decided for a 4 for the same reason. The design is anyway very good, with eye-candy all over.
Story-instructions: A well-deserved 5. This time you have a pre-game introduction and the full story of Belvoir included in the zip file.

Earl Listibald
Map Design5.0
Well, X2000, what's the matter with you? Ever heard of a code of conduct? Your's isn't a review, your's isn't even worth a single bit of my machine's random access memory.

To the review.
Sulis, your castle-design work should be placed into the eye-candy section. They are ALL incredibly beautiful and of superior quality! Looking at this map in particular makes me sweat, as I can almost physically feel the desert's gruesome heat. To rebuild a castle with the help of an existing floorplan is a challenge of its own. You master it! The superior make shows your great expertise as a mapper. No detail is missing to spice up your map, lending it a very special and authentic feel.
Creativity, Map Design and last not least the nicely composed Historiography really deserve the highest rating available (which should be extended to 10 in this case!) and I can only say: Thanks for sharing these views with us!!

OK, enough of flattering you.
I am a very seasoned Stronghold and Stronghold-Crusader campaigner. It took me 21 minutes to kill them all (that map you've posted before took me only 15 minutes to finish), inclusive the lord. I didn't even think of applying some special tactics as I only needed to clear the outer towers of archers and then sent the ram in (accompanied with somebody on foot even horses walk stairs) to destroy the main gate while numerous troops, which - thanks to your mercifulness generosity - happened to be under my command, finished off the archers on top of the inner towers. The total losses on the attacker's side accumulated to something less than 40.
I understand that the main issue with regard to these front-page maps is to show to newbies what can be done by opening the SH editor, but a little more of a challenge would be nice to have, please. Actually, I always think looking at your effort and the beautiful castles, that it is quite a shame to see them sink to dust so quickly. You showed a thousand times already, that you are capable of composing enthralling encounters, so these my remarks can be no critique for you, it is merely a supplementary but only verbal defence of Belvoir Castle (e.g.) which, for the sake of its beauty and for the sake of your priceless work, deserved a tougher fight before it would fall into my hands. It is soo beautiful (OK, the flattering starts again, I can't help it)!
That's why it only gets a (perhaps misleading...) 2 for balance and playability.
Yours very much
File Author
Noted, EL. I need to work on difficulty for these maps more than I do, I feel. Thanks to you & Velerefontis for your sensible and constructive reviews.
Velerefontis I read E.L.'s review and I just wanted to make a quick comment on the balance issue. I must agree that this scenario is not difficult, I too managed to kill all the defenders in less than half an hour and with just 40-45 casualties. That's mainly because you can group your missile troops and then begin to wipe out the defenders, one tower after the other.
However, in defence of the map, I have to say ( and that's only a personal opinion!) that addressing the balance issue in siege scenarios with Crusaders defending and Muslims attacking is extremely difficult.
That's mainly because Saracens don't have medium infantry, something not as strong as a swordsman, but fast and deadly, like the maceman for instance. So when you attack a castle and breach the walls you practically cannot send in infantry squads to take out the defenders, as a couple of xbowmen are more than enough to stop even large numbers of the slow moving arabic swordsmen. This means that when you create the attacking (Saracen) army, you either have to give it lots of missile troops, or a horde of swordsmen. And in any case you never get to enjoy the fierce, hand to hand combat on the battlements that made Stronghold siege maps so fun. And which made you say to yourself "at last,it was a long bloody battle, but I made it, the castle has fallen". I think that the guys at Firefly should really consider adding some more units in the mercenary post(maybe a fast,lightly armoured swordsman or an axeman or something like that), it would really help make historical siege maps far more playable.
Earl Listibald Velerefontis, I basically agree. It takes a little extra effort to balance a map out but in this case you have arabs attacking crusaders. A few more macemen/pikemen or 25 slingers accompanied by 6 firethrowers on top of the keep would have changed the balance and would have forced the attacker to turn to a more careful approach. One could also consider the use of deathtraps to deliver some surprise.
Still I love this map, and I will alter its scenario myself in order to give myself a harder time to win this beauty.
Map Design4.0
I agree with Velerefontis that a few slingers or fire-throwers on top of the keep would be more challenging but good work, nonetheless.
I happened to be passing and noticed there was no minimap here. I added the minimap. In the process I had to guess at the version number I guessed "1.1". No guarantee my guess is correct.

[Edited on 05/28/11 @ 06:09 PM]

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