(updated 11/29/03) Stronghold Heaven :: Drakensberg - The Dragon Mountains
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Drakensberg - The Dragon Mountains

Author File Description
Bismuth
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Difficulty: Normal
Drakensberg - the Dragon Mountains. (version 3)

**The Story**

The origins of the form and nature of the Dragon Mountains are lost in time. Was it natural erosion or the work of some great civilization of the past which so shaped this escarpment of volcanic rock? Legend does say that whoever raises his flag on the summit will be invincible. Even as the Dragon may loose a limb or head and regrow it, so the stronghold located here cannot be defeated.

Test the legend with this siege. Best played as attacker. Experienced players should probably set difficulty to HARD or VERY HARD.

**The Reality**

The REAL Drakensberg form the backbone of the Kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa where I lived for sixteen years. While hiking and camping in these peaks I could easily imagine them to be the home of strange creatures and the scene of epic battles of the past. The misty and mysterious peaks seem to be right out a chapter from "The Lord of the Rings." Interesting to note that J.R.R. Tolkein was born in Bloemfontain in South Africa just a few hundred kilometers from this mountain range.

The Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) are Known to the Zulu people as Ukhahlamba (The Barrier of Spears). The Basotho refer to them as Lithaba Tsa Natala (Mountains of Natal).

This is my FIRST SIEGE. I found the biggest challenge was establishing balance so that the game was not too easy or too hard - fair to play. Did I succeed? Your feedback is most appreciated and will help me improve.

You may enjoy my other "image" map. Orc Caves - Invasion #628.

Some nice photos and background info on the Drakensberg can be found at the following web sites:

http://www.satowns.co.za/Photo%20Library/drakens/photo_thumb2.htm

http://kwazulu.hotelguide.co.za/drakensberg-mountains.html

***Update***

Version 3 containes modifications based on the review by UnikUnok.

Enjoy! Bismuth (johnregstuff@hotmail.com)
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
UnikUnok Long overdue revision 7/16/04, Apologies to Good Sir Bismuth. If possible I would have scored this newest version as a 4.5, Well Done.

Bismuth’s Drakensburg the Draken Mountains is in the Crusader fashion with the castle producing an image on the mini-map. Like the Wolf producing the face or the Snake creating an 'S', Drakensburg-The Dragon Mountains produces what else? A beautifully rendered Dragon. The map possesses some wonderful work. Bismuth is one of the newer designers quickly moving to the forefront at SHH with his exceptional maps recently. It is for this reason you could almost throttle him for some simple overlooks that decimated what would have been an extremely high rating for this scenario.

Playability 3/5 you are killing me Bismuth! Such wonderful map work and I have to give a three in playability because as a defensive siege the map did not end. As the map has been locked, (why?), I was unable to discern exactly what caused this to happen. If one would like a review, as the author has indicated he would, I suggest you do not lock the map. As a reviewer, it is invaluable for me to see what you did as to be better able to help you, just a thought good Sir Bismuth. The battle can still be fought as a defensive siege but you will not get the victory page, only the scribe’s verbal notification that the castle has held strong. IMO this map is only challenging when played on a difficulty level of very hard as a defensive siege. Please note that I am a veteran. Rookies may find Drakensburg perfectly suitable on an easier difficulty level.

As an attacking siege Drakensburg excels. Essentially the castle is divided into three separate wards. This is good work as one is forced to assault all three separately. I chose to play on a hard level of difficulty and with the troops provided. To take Drakensburg is quite a challenge. My losses were appalling at 86% and that was on my second attempt!

Balance 4/5 the common mistake of the castle garrison being comprised of almost all ballistic units is made here. This creates a strong singular aspect to Drakensburg that is unavoidable no matter how you play. Naturally this also limits the maps re-playability factor. The attacking force is strong but a little lacking in ballistic units of its own. The author has compensated a bit by giving the attacking force a large number of siege engines and engineers. The large gold amount is OK as Drakensburg is a very ‘long’ castle. A more patient tactician than myself could simply use this asset to march at leisure around the castle and destroy all the strong points in the defenses. A little less funding might have been better. Confining your map to the confines of the wacky AI is not always the best idea. The author might have been better off making Drakensburg either an attacking or a defending siege instead of both. IMO a really good attacking or defending siege is far more valuable than a lesser quality attacking and defending siege.

Creativity 5/5 what can I say, I really like the idea presented here. By no means original the use of the mini-map to create a picture is certainly not over used. There is also the fact that it is extremely well done here. I especially liked the Dragons fire/stream effect. The large number of attacking engineers creates a wonderful battering ram platoon. I loved this as they advance upon your castle like a 20th century tank column. Drakensburg has a lot to offer in this department.

Map Design 4/5 some of the terrain work is great. Overall, I felt that more could have been done with high detail such as dirt, rocks, grass, etc. I would like to have seen working buildings in the castle ward. This is merely a personal preference however. I think the defending siege would have been far better if the separate outer fortification, the dragons ‘arm’, had been deleted. This structure drew a lot of fire away from the castle proper. Thus, it weakened the AI’s assault. Other than this aspect, the castle itself is excellent. A lot of attention has gone into the defenses such as the wall walk access and gatehouses. This is what makes assaulting Drakensburg such a challenge.

Story/Instructions 5/5 although Bismuth has not written much of a story, he has provided a wealth of interesting information about the area. The author has even included links for more information if the down loader should like. Also well done are his playing instructions they are easy to follow, accurate and concise. This is the way this category should be done and as with most of the aspects of Drakensburg shows attentiveness to detail.

In Short- best played as an attacking siege. As it is, at least play Drakensburg as an attacking siege first. The much maligned defensive siege will give away some of the challenge when you choose to play it first. If the author fixes the defensive niggles, I will be happy to change my score. Drakensburg-“the Dragon Mountains” is well worth a download if you are in the mood for a nice looking map and a challenging attacking siege.
Bismuth
File Author
Thank you UnikUnok for the excellent, detailed and humorous feedback you provided for Drackensberg. One of the things I really appreciate about SHH are the people willing to put time and thought into generating these reviews - to help others improve.

And the Dragon will return - better than before!

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Added:10/27/03
Updated:11/29/03
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