Posted on 10/26/03 @ 12:00 AM (updated 10/30/03
The sound was faint on the cold morning air. Perhaps dampened by the fog that had begun rolling in off the sea about an hour before sunrise. They were still some distance away to the West. The sound was unmistakable however, the creaking siege train, the horses it was the 88th returning from their victory on the Cumberland Downs. They had annihilated the loyal 14th Division and the important harbor at Cumberland was now in the hands of the rebellion. Even before the harbor had fallen, you and the fastest elements of your loyal 7th Division rode hard from Southern Cross to reach the 88ths barracks at Manathma. Knowing Cumberland was a lost cause the enraged King devised a plan. Not only would he have revenge but also an example would be made of the disloyal 88th Division. They would not reach the warmth of their barracks. The Kings orders had been as concise as they had been clear. There was to be no surrender, there would be no survivors. The 88th would be cut down to the last.
Author's Notes: This map can only be played as a defending siege. The difficulty level does not matter as the troop combinations and numbers are fixed and cannot be changed. If you do not ambush the 88th before they reach the safety of their barracks they will become nearly impossible to beat. There are several different strategies that will work but save your macemen for eliminating the archers at the barracks. You must follow the King's orders to the letter. The entire enemy force must be eliminated to achieve victory.
Your loyal 7th Division begins the siege inside the ruins of Manathma Castle.
For your mission, the King's scribe has generously provided the following excerpt from the Royal Archives:
Manathma Castle was built on the site of an earlier manor house that was erected sometime after 1150 AD. In 1194 Robert Manathma, Lord Manathma the Elder, demolished the wooden manor and began building a medium sized castle of stone. The rapid construction was completed by the turn of the century. Brazenly, Lord Manathma the Elder had failed to acquire a royal license to crenellate. His Majesty's Grandfather was then King and although upset with Roberts he decided to overlook this transgression due to Robert's unquestionable loyalty. The trouble began upon Robert's death in January of 1207. Robert's son, Geoffrey inherited his father's castle and title becoming Lord Manathma the Younger. Geoffrey was little more than a brigand. He used the castle as a base of operations for pillaging and raiding the surrounding countryside. To put an end to this the King moved quickly to have the unlicensed castle declared illegal. The Royal 88th Division was mustered and marched for Manathma. Records of the siege indicate that the Division arrived on the morning of September 22nd 1207. On the 23rd the 88th positioned its siege engines in the low hills to the West of Manathma Castle. Lord Hollis, the Division Commander concentrated his efforts on the castles Western Tower and Great Gatehouse. On October 5th the gatehouse was breached and the garrison surrendered. A contemporary account of the siege states that Lord Manathma the Younger was dragged from the great hall and executed, beheaded in the castle's courtyard. Following what became known as the Manathma incident. The King re-stationed the 88th Division at Manathma. A division barracks was built to the Southwest of the castle as the cost of its upkeep was prohibitive and it was not equipped to handle a division-sized force. Perhaps to make a statement the King ordered that Manathma Castle 'be slighted and rendered untenable' a task that was enthusiastically carried out. The defenses were rendered useless and the castle was abandoned soon after.
Ambush At Manathma is Chapter 3 in the Saga Of the Seventh.
The Story thus Far...
Ambush At Manathma
The Cumberland Downs
The Battle At Andolin
The Vierville Draws - (coming soon)
Also Related - 'The Interlude' Battle Of the Solomon Sea.
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Well a very playable more with no dead time, and various tasks to fill : open ground melee (the ambush) and fortification assault (typical siege). Player have no real reason to loose his time in very careful movement, patient weakening attrition war or tortuous movement to find the way too attack. Here, raise the flag and enjoy incessant fight, except to reorganise your troops between the too phase of the game (ambush and siege). Where talent here is obvious, it’s that it don’t means you need no tactic, coordination and instantaneous reaction/initiative during the game, so far. So far… Because it’s not an easy map. It’s even a savage slaughter.
Here, I was very annoyed to rate this section. For me it’s 5. According the review guide “suffer several defeat before find the good way and win”, it will be also a 5 for most… but what about the beginners or even average or confirmed players at stronghold but starting to play siege. I fear they could be hopeless. What this map gain in originality, it loose a little in balance, because no difficulty setting is applicable. Your troops are already on the map, enemy to, and nothing could change that. Easy setting to allow beginner to enjoy the game is simply ineffective. The mapmaker isn’t a spring chicken and I suspect the map in test was balanced to give him some difficulties. That simply means everybody will have to raise his skill to Unikunok one ? Hmmm ….
Well however I thing the map is perfectly winnable for most. It could be bloody, some would probably have to make several try. For beginner I advice to download the map and play it. Even if you loose you will be able to admire author skill to make stunning building.
Map design :
Mapmaking. Easy here to see it’s an Unikunok map : )
Excellent work like always, especially with wood fortification and use of stair. This map use also particular technique to create ruined towers, using walls rather than game’s tower. Very regular earthwork are also present, and once more it’s a typical author signing. The landscape is also typical, but here I’m not sure it’s a good thing. Work on landscape is not absent so far, but it let a grim felling of austerity. Such land exist no doubt. I will think that rating landscaping could be interpreted in beauty, or realism, or reckon of work and personal style of others, even it’s a bit far of your own. Unikunok land, imo is unlikely to attract tourist for summer holiday ; )
Considering I’m usually indulgent for landscaping in siege map, and that building work and earthwork are at least excellent (euphemism) I decided to rated the map 5. It was a very short decision however, and 4 was a long time my opinion. More Luxurious and baroque landscape in the next map Unikunok ?
an original map, no doubt. Innovative too. The enemy column let a realist felling of military discipline. The idea of ambush is original. I didn’t remember to have see this, since an episode of the official stronghold campaign. With the attention for detail which characterise the author, enemies, which are expected to come back from action are even mostly wounded. Even enemies defend themselves and inflict loose to you, due to the game engine they appear to be very mechanical and mindless. However with the imagination everybody would have, playing a map and immerging in the story/game, it’s just the translation for stronghold of an ambush, where enemies are catch by surprise, unprepared, and doomed to be cut in piece. I think too, the 88 th is exhausted after his campaign. I will be brief on other originality since I speak about it in sections above, but it’s an unusual siege no doubt, and of quality.
Story is long, interesting, and very well introduce the map. A great work once more. I let the funniest for the end : Manathma ? I suppose it’s somewhere in great Britain. Story of their lords is interesting and typical. But I had an unexplainable doubt, perhaps because of the name. I search an where ever I searched no Manathma. Lol. I highly suspect the background is a fiction, but the author made impressive work on the story and detail, that it appear to be true. (I’m wrong ?)
Overall, an over the rating, section by section, I thing the map well deserve his 4.8 since it’s a great an addictive siege map. The only little problems are, this map, inspire as gaiety than wandering in the Burren, Ireland, in winter by a rainy day. Second, I think beginners in this map have no hope, or back door to escape their fate.