Based on the storyline I played an Uphill battle as a defensive siege. Ome Arie has put in a decent attempt at a siege map. However, some of the author’s choices seriously affect the game play.
Playability 2/5 Unfortunately the massive attacking army engages in small groups. This does give the siege a sense of time, as a siege would historically have taken but also makes Up-hill battle easy to defeat. The time in between waves allows the defender to use extra stone to repair any damage done to the castle. The limited amount of repair stone is a good idea but considering how easy this map is to defeat it is definitely not needed. It is also possible to circumvent this aspect as parts of the castles rear can be deleted, as this part of the fortifications were never threatened giving the defender even more stone for repairs. I played this map on a difficulty level of very hard. After moving all my ballistic units to the outer most bailey, (the only one the AI was ever able to reach), I defeated this map on my first attempt with a phenomenal loss rate of only 2%!
Balance 2/5 Hate to give another 2 but the attacking forces lack of any crossbows, siege engines and engineers makes this map terribly unbalanced. I have seen this sort of troop combination before and it usually denotes that the author was unable to get these units to engage. If so, the reason they would not engage is the wooden palisade used to block access to the side of the river the castle is on. As the engineers cannot immediately access land that would bring the castle in range of their siege equipment they will not engage. This outer wooden palisade is unrealistic. A. It is completely undefended and B. it has no gateways or access through it (even Hadrian’s wall had gates Ome). The attacking troops are given hundreds of ladder men but not enough macemen to climb them. All of the macemen engage in the first wave and are wiped out. After the last mace man was killed the 100 remaining ladder men would not engage. As if all this was not bad enough, the access to the castle is limited to one narrow pass. With the entire enemy force funneled into such a narrow space they are easily cut down.
Creativity 3/5 Standard fare in this category nothing exceptional as far as eye candy. The fortress with limited or singular access has been done before (What hasn’t!) but this is certainly not one of the better efforts at this type of siege. If I may suggest the author should have a look at Steel Storm by Jalis a truly remarkable siege of this type. If nothing else, this will give you some idea on how to fashion this type of map correctly. The castle itself is a sturdy well-designed fortress but a lack of staircases can make troop movements through the baileys annoying if the enemy is close, as the gatehouses will automatically shut. This is a pain in the a** if you are under pressure as you have to deselect your troops to open the gates. Another strange choice is the 2nd bailey. The walls of this bailey have a parados but no parapet, a strange choice to say the least!
Map Design 3/5 the map is O.K. in this department. A lack of any fine detail work makes it a little bland. Some effort has been applied to the surrounding terrain. More time, effort and creativity are required to really ace this category. You should have as much fun designing the terrain as you do making the fortifications otherwise you will end up with a somewhat unbalanced look to your map. Down loaders will be able to tell what parts you enjoyed making and what parts of the map you were just trying to get through.
Story/Instructions 4/5 on the download description page the author offers a brief story. On the Launch page is an even better version. A good effort in this category far more than what one usually gets in the siege downloads. Nice job Ome.
In Short- Read the Forums. The knowledge they contain plus your own natural ability will turn you into a great mapmaker. You have got what it takes you just need the ability that can only come with practice. Keep at it!