Danger By The Sea is a large-scale invasion map. And I do mean, large scale. You have a pre-built castle and a handful of units to defend with. You face many, many attacking units in the form of the Pig. Over twenty game years. And herein lies the problem.
I've played this through three times now, only on the third attempt did I manage to muster enough patience to see it through to the end. The principle of a massive invading force is always something that appeals to me, and the map started out as a great scrap. But once i'd collected my defences I had nothing to do but sit back and let the Pig's troops come to me. In truth, I found the map rather boring and perhaps even a bit tedious towards the end. This is a great shame as it started off so well. There are one or two events thrown in to spice up the gameplay a bit. However, many of the bandits (archers and monk) that are scheduled to appear were slaughtered by the masses of troops sitting by the signposts and therefore were redundant.
The 3.0 score is given for a scenario that will appeal to some people, and started off promising. This isn't something I would normally go for, unless it was excellently designed and put together.
Linking on from some of the comments above, I found this all a bit too easy. I was confused by the comments by the author which stated this was for advanced players only. I'd disagree with this, as even a relative novice to the game can use the freedom of the marketplace to buy any weapons they see fit and set them to protect the castle. Whilst the castle looked okay, much of it wasn't involved in the game due to the size. I concentrated all of my units around the inner keep area. Once i'd bought enough weapons and i'd moved my units (predominantly crossbowmen) to the keep, I had little to do. Balance suffered as a result of this. I didn't see the need to set up an economy of any description.
The 3.0 score is given for what is probably a genuine attempt at a large scale invasion scenario, but needs more work done to it, rather than throwing on 500 troops in one go and waiting to see how they perform.
There are parts of this scenario as a whole that are quite well done. Large scale invasions are difficult to set up well and some credit must be given here for a fairly good attempt. The design of the castle is okay, and makes an impressive minimap. What I feel this scenario lacks, more than anything else, is a sense of purpose. It needs some more thought, something a bit special, something different even, to lift the score.
The 3.0 score here is given for a generally good scenario, maybe a bit too average to warrant or justify anything higher.
Map Design: 3/5
Firstly, the castle. It's quite ornate, quite visually appealing and there are some small, subtle but well placed eye candy features too. Some of the towers (round bastions) look good. The castle design is unusual in that for all the display of power it exudes, there is only one small gatehouse between the Pig's troops and your own keep. The AI doesn't seem to recognise this, which whilst isn't wholly the design fault, it is something that should be looked at carefully through careful analysis and critical playtesting. As per previous comments, large parts of the castle didn't seem to feature in the map at all.
The terrain modelling is okay, and there is clear evidence of an effort to put some life into the scenario. However, i'd have liked to see more features, more excitement than what we have here. The landscape is more functional than pretty. The author is on the right lines with what has been done though and it wouldn't take too much work to allow the score to be raised.
A 3.0 score here given for a nice looking castle and evidence of terrain modelling. A good start, but needs more work and more care with the landscape tools and castle design before a higher score could be considered.
The download description page contains some of the author's sentiments on the map. The screen prior to game launch contains the story, which is quite well done and interesting to read. It sets the scene nicely as the map launches and the large castle takes shape before your eyes. I feel an average score here is acceptable.
A 3.0 score given for a good attempt at a story and some instructions. I disagree with some of the comments made about the skill level required to play this, and for me this wasn't the best way to promote your map.
Overall, a good map, with some nice touches to it. Ultimately, the scenario is too long and a bit lifeless. Wouldn't need too much work done to allow the scores to be raised. If you're a fan of large scale invasions, this may be the map for you.
-Reviewed using the Stronghold Heaven Review Guidelines and drawing on experience from over 150 reviews of Stronghold submissions to the site.