The Ice Age
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It's 40.000 years ago and you are the Cro-Magnon people,
the ancestors of modern man.
This is the time known as the last big ice age, when wild animals and another humanoid, the Neanderthaler, roamed the land.
A land teared apart by moving ice and eroding winds.
You will need to finish on top in the battle for food and provide safety to your people.
>Reach population 32.
Further away from the ice, where the climate is more temperate, there is a Taiga with pine and birch trees. It will be vital to get a steady supply of wood coming in but the Neanderthaler caves are nearby. They have trapped the Taiga with pitfalls and their hunters are never far off...
This map is a bit hard so perhaps these tips will come in handy:
-Completing the objectives early will make things easier.
-Think small, resources are somewhat limited so don't overextend.
-Place lots of woodcutters at the start, and place them well.
The story can be found in the map.
Some geographical and historical data, as well as more hints, can be found in the Zip File.
I hope you enjoy playing this map, cheers, Lord Ako.
[While fixing the minimap link I had to make a guess that this was made with version 1.1 - edited by ericgolf]
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Sorry, Lord Ako,
my first rating concerning the playability of the ice age map was certainly wrong(only 2 points);
now I'll give you obviously 4 points for this good work.
The map was increadibly well designed and I enjoyed playing it. The enemy tribe took a bit of time to eradicate as I only had access to spearmen and they kept on killing my woodcutters and hunters. Other then that it was great.
While short and to the point, the instuctions were crystal clear as to what I should do.
I thought it was a great idea to build it in the ice age and actually have the ice. Wish I'd thought of it.
Very very nice! One of the best designed maps I have ever played on - so geograpically correct - wonderful! Map design and creativity deserve so much more than a 5, really the glacier, braided river and the cave system. All great work! I even noticed the lonely apple tree and villager patrolling out to it every now and again. Now that really is amazing. I think there should be other trees on the map - although I have now completed the map on normal it was a struggle getting in enough wood - I used two different tactics, one of surrounding the caves with hunters posts and having all my woddcutters running alongside the bottom of the map, but it was rather antisocial! It was so nice to build and create a village on the map - such a good position overlooking the river - top stuff. I also cannot belive how many spearmen it takes to kill macemen - so many. On my third attempt it was rather unfair - my spearmen (28 of them) were off to take the caves - then as they began their assault groups of macemen came from the signpost and killed my lord! So frustrating... Anyway this really is a fantastic map, accompanied by a great storyline and interesting goals. Superb - really you are a very talented map designer!
Very nice map! Very original and geographically realistic!
This map isn't easy and isn't that hard too, but I really hate "Time until defeat", so that's probably why it ended up being a 4, not a 5.
As I said, the map isn't easy nor hard: What a real map has to have, but it is really hard to make weapons so I have to rely upon my hunters and possibly my lord to survive.
What else to say? I doubt there was a map like that ever on Stronghold. I also liked the Idea of the glacier. Also, it shows up how to survive with a wooden "castle".
Map Design: 5
Again, very geographically correct, as for the ground and the river. Really liked that one. The glacier also is very curious.
A really original story, but there isn't much of it. Also there aren't much instructions other than hints.
It was really a nice and replayable map. Keep going!
For those of us who remember Ako from the early days of Stronghold Heaven, you'll all be aware that his work was of the highest quality, pushing the limits of the game and always ready to explore something new. After an absence from the game, he's back... and what a map to announce his return! I simply loved this map, a wonderfully unique scenario and genuinely different from anything i've ever played. With The Ice Age, we have a mixture of win criteria along with a time limit, which personally I thought was a bonus to an already addictive map. I had noticed the damage the meagre hunters could add to a scenario if used properly, and they do feature heavily here. As you can only recruit spearmen, their modest firepower can, and does, cause real problems. Clever, very clever. They also did their upmost to pick off my woodcutters, adding a frustrating but novel element to the map. This is one of those scenarios where you don't really realise the work you have to do until you're half way through the game. It may not appeal to all, but I was hooked from the start.
This proved to be a tricky map to beat. You're severely limited in terms of what you can use to rid the barbarians and defend against the attacks, but bear in mind that this is a key part of the scenario and the setting Lord Ako has presented. It took me a couple of attempts to beat it, and even once i'd eventually won I played it through a few more times... as i've said before, a crucial part of a well balanced map is being able to win without being overly difficult or annoyingly easy. I reckon balance is perfect and deserves a 5.0 score. Finding the balance between having sufficient spearmen to attack the barbarians and defend your own settlement was a major feature of the game for me.
There is no way that this map deserves anything less than 5.0 for creativity. Not only do you have a unique and beautifully rugged, bleak landscape that i've never seen done before, the use of the hunters as an integral part of the barbarians' defence and the time limit feature all adds up to something really special. It's the quality of the scenario as a whole and the presentation that should be commended here too. Very different and very well done.
Map Design: 5/5
I don't really know where to start with this! As i've studied geology, I can fully appreciate the work that has gone into recreating some of the terrain features we have here. The polygonal cracks, the braided stream, the tundra area... all are exceptionally well done. Taking away the geological features, you're still left with a breathtaking landscape, expertly modelled and intricate. Using the river function as a glacier just about works, and you need to be a brave person to attempt this and successfully pull it off.
I really can't praise the map design enough. Simply stunning.
As comments have already suggested, there may be a lack of a genuine story here, with this part of the scenario concentrating more on information and background to support the map landscape. I don't really see this as a poor aspect though, certainly not when you see the wealth of information provided. What I did like was the simple, clear and concise way that the content was presented. This should appeal to many people, including those that aren't interested in geology or have no real knowledge. I found the information here to be of a very high quality and fully supported the scenario.
Wonderful landscape. Highly addictive scenario. Tricky and taxing to play, very satisfying when you win! Absolute quality from Lord Ako, as you would expect.
Yep, I like this one... ;)
...And a year later after downloading this map, I've finally mastered it on very hard. It deserves a review, so here goes. This is a very interesting map due to the restrictions placed on you and usually there is always something to do. Your only source of archers comes from achieving the objectives laid out for you. Otherwise, you can only produce spearmen. This is both a hurt and a help to this score - it forces you to think in unconventional ways, but at the same time there is a great disparity between the forces you have to contend with and the soldiers you have available to you. Hunters can act as stand-ins for archers, and you have to try to keep some around for the purpose of, at the very least, countering the enemy hunters, which will hound you continuously, and this increases the playability score. The location of the woods is probably one of the greatest difficulties presented to the player in this map, as well as the numerous killing pits placed within the forest. This is easily mitigated, but a few scripted events as well as the constant barrage of enemy hunters will frequently disrupt your wood supply. This also increases the playability score, although walling off all of the killing pits is slightly irritating. You only have one real option for a plentiful and reliable food source in the end game, dairy farms, so largely your wood resources are competed for by farms and spear production. Everything else is mostly an afterthought, and wood isn't a limiting factor in troop production if you're managing it properly. Speaking of wood, I should note here that I had some difficulties in getting Stronghold to register that the keep was enclosed. I believe that it was using the wrong tile to track the pathing, and that the keep was moved at some point during editing, or some other thing happened that might affect the pathing. This was irksome as it delayed the receiving of reinforcements and caused me to lose wood while trying to rebuild the walls in a way that would trip the enclosed keep condition. Chasing down the wolves was always a good challenge. Crossing the map involved dodging the constantly-shifting enemy hunters, and typically my archers were significantly hurt from the group of wolves nestled up near the glacier and the signpost, opposite the corner that contained the enemy camp. It gave me something to do while I was waiting for the woodcutters to deliver their first loads. As for the reward gained for eliminating all of the enemy troops, it really only served one purpose - to be used in order to achieve one of the goals in time. Had I tried to eliminate the local neanderthal tribe prior to the second attack then I couldn't have repelled said attack. The archers simply weren't worth the loss in spearmen, especially due to the unavoidable losses caused by the killing pits. Even if you could afford to bring up masses of spearmen, great vigilance was required to fend off the enemy, the second attack especially. The enemy had to be engaged piecemeal or you would lose your forces entirely (pitting spearmen against macemen was evil!). This was a good thing for the playability score. One thing that hurt this score was the lack of level ground for placing dairy farms near the keep. There was plenty surrounding the keep, but it was far away enough to warrant moving the granary, which was impractical for a long time. This was more an irritant than a gameplay challenge to me, but it wasn't too significant. One small complaint I had is that the positions of some of the killing pits seem rather unreasonable to me, specifically the ones that are outside of the cave but not in the marsh. If I remember correctly the premise was that the woods were marshy and so a misstep could kill you, so putting killing pits on the top of a hill seems rather unfair.
Certainly a good challenge. The problems posed by the troop types have already been discussed - archers will have only a limited impact on the invasions, due to the number you can actually obtain and the fact that you're up against macemen. So essentially your best defense is masses of spearmen. This makes life difficult, because massing them in the first place takes some work due to the location of the forest. All of these things taken together caused me to take several fresh attempts at completing the level, perhaps one too many, but still I appreciate the challenge here.
This is a very, very creative concept. You can't approach this in a traditional manner, especially, again, due to the lack of archers. It's particularly galling and yet it's also one of the best aspects of the map. Also the author gets points for not only removing the one wood source far from your keep, but also from complicating matters with killing pits and the occasional enemy hunters that meander in that direction. The glaciers are great, even if they have a tendency to unfreeze in my version, as well as the braided river and the enemy camp. The setup of the available technologies and the landscape feels appropriate to the proposed setting. Of course that setting in and of itself is a big contributor to this score - taking Stronghold and extending it to something of this nature worked really well.
Map Design: 5
The map design is great. It feels perfectly bleak for the most part, giving a good indication of what it might have felt like to live in the time of the melting of the glacial ice sheets. The glaciers are awesome, again, as well as the braided river, and the plains. The hills are good-looking also. Not much to say about this, the evidence is in the map...
The actual story included is perfectly appropriate for the scenario - a primitive person describes what you should do and that you will get help if you do well, and that you will be killed if you don't. I don't think much more background is needed than that, although the information provided with the scenario is also helpful. Regardless, the story is good enough for a five.
This is an excellent scenario, a different kind of scenario that will frustrate you by stealing away the tools you would normally use to deal with macemen and even enemy hunters. Your own archers are a precious resource to be conserved.