Posted on 04/03/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 04/30/04
Our story begins with a page from Captain Goodwill's ship log book:
His Majestys Ship Tempest (5th Rate)
Date: May 2nd 1619
Embarked: Bristol. England
Destination: Jamestown. Virginia.
I, Captain Thomas Goodwill, have the sad duty to report to His Gracious Majesty. James, King of England and Scotland, the loss of His Majestys ship, Tempest.
We sailed from Bristol on 1st February 1619, with His Majestys new Govenor, Lord Calthorne, and a regiment of the Kings Light Foot, 72 settlers and full supplies, en route to our new colony, Jamestown,Virginia.
On the forty-ninth day out of port we encounted a mighty storm, the like of which I, and my crew had never seen before.
For 3 days and night, we were battered by mighty winds and gigantic pounding waves, having lost the Mizzenmast. which crashed through the Poop deck, quickly followed by the loss of our Bowsprit and Jib sail, our ship was blown off course, and eventually our keel smashed into the rocks off an unknown shore.
I cannot accurately chart our position, as during the storm, my sighting instruments, were swept overboard, along with my midshipman. but from our last position, I estimate we are somewhere off the West Indies.
The Tempest, being crushed by the storm and rocks, was abandoned, there not being enough boats for all on board, most were forced to make there own way to the distant shore, the screams from the poor souls we left behind were such that I held my hands over my ears, and cried to God to take pity on them.
We made for the nearest land and beached our boat, climbing to the top of the cliffs we spent the night huddled amongst some old ruins.
The storm was spent about midmorning the next day, Lord Calthorne, and the rest of us knelt in prayer and asked God for our salvation.
We left Lord Calthorne with the women and made a search for any other survivors,
Our hearts were overjoyed to find that our other boat had also made it to the saftey of the shore,
There now being 22 of us we decided to make two parties to search the shore line.
Sadly, before very long, we found 17 poor drowned souls, and then almost having giving up on finding anyone alive, the other party returned with joyous news, our young cabin boy Henry Abbots was found clinging to a large barrel of Port. I feel some were more pleased to find the Port, then poor Henry!
We also collected some flotsam from the Tempest and carried it to the campsite.
When the sea mist had cleared, we could see the Tempest, still afloat!
Hurriedly, we took to our boats to see if we could re-float her, alas she was too badly holed and we decided to take as much of the supplies and tools as we could find.
On our third trip to the Tempest, we heard a creaking and splintering of the ships timbers, and the Tempest slipped beneath the waves before our sorry eyes.
We are now 23 souls, Lord Calthorne, myself and six of my crew, 3 soldiers of the Kings Light foot, 12 men women and children, and poor Henry Abbots.
Our campsite is near an old Spanish settlement, which for some reason has been abandoned.
We have tools, some weapons, grain and seedlings, wood from the ships hold, and a supply of meat and bread.
The land below us seems to be fertile and filled with grazing animals, with many trees, sturdy enough to build dwellings with. and maybe a vessel of some kind.
Lord Calthorne truely believes we will soon be rescued, but, alas, I fear his heart rules his head.
For my part I feel we will be here for some time, with little hope of rescue,
I have good men, tools, and with Gods gracious favour, the will to make our lives bearable.
My one doubt is that I feel we are not alone.
Captain T. Goodwill.
Castaways is not a game that will be winnable on your first or second attempt, on the normal setting (unless your very very good), so please be patient, dont give up, the game does grow on you.
If you do fail try playing on easy setting.
I have designed the game settings to reflect the hardships of life as a small colony on a far flung shore, many of the early colonies and settlements did fail due to disease,famine or by being killed by the natives. Life was hard in those days.
The map/settings have not been locked and may be adjusted or improved as you wish.
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Excellent story! I enjoyed the very detailed development and "historic" background. One wonders whether this is taken from an actual account of a voyage and shipwreck. This map comes with over 800 words of textual support including hints and a bit of humor. Story – 5
Sir Prise has created an interesting and natural looking map with an island divided into parts by waterways. Good use of terrain shaping and good placement of items such as trees, rocks, plants, etc. Water and swampy areas were very realistic. Overall good layout of features to maximize the challenge of accessing needed resources. I have seen few maps that were this well done. Map – 5
I especially like the “Spanish ruins” on the island. These are well done and add to the atmosphere of the game. The wooden dock / access ramp is a nice touch. Most of the ruins are built in an enemy “color” which prevents the player from salvaging materials. The only portion of the ruins which seemed out of place to me was the partially buried small gatehouse. Whenever one of my units walked past it I could hear the portcullis clanking shut. Creativity – 4
The game does not immediately appear to be difficult but in fact it is quite challenging. I had to restart a number of times at the beginning until I finally sorted out the steps to take to avoid early disaster. There is also clever little trick at the beginning for access to other parts of the island. But I never managed to get to the quarry stone. (Edit: Yes, now I have found a way - but I won't give away the secret)
This scenario incorporates a large number of negative “events” and by mid game these were becoming overwhelming and frustrating. At one point, a short few months brought robbers, plague, fire, wolves… On several occasions my popularity and population dropped to minimum levels and all I could do was crank up the game speed and wait for things to get better. Sir Prise warns about this in his notes. Life probably really was this hard back then sometimes, but for me, personally, it took away a bit from the fun of the game and from my desire to replay it. I played on NORMAL. Playability – 4, Balance – 4(now 5)
Very good creative scenario overall. Castaways could keep the average player busy for hours. Only I would suggest the author reduce the severity and frequency of the negative events. This was the major drawback to the map. Some tweaking here would bring up the playability score to a 5.
Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more of your creations on SHH.
Thank you for your very fair review of Castaways Bismuth,and the high scores you have given the game, as this is my first ever submitted game I am very pleased with the result.
I have read through your comments and have adjusted some very small aspects of the game:
Re-rated the game setting to Hard.
Added a very small amount of eye candy to ruins.
Removed buried gatehouse and replaced with landing stage.
Having read your comments regarding the event settings, I have decided not to adjust them, as I feel the game would become to easy to complete. I am sure that now that you have played the game a few times these settings are not so frustrating as when you first played. As stated by you the game is intended to give the player many hours of playing.
Thank you Lord Ako for your review, I reloaded the game back into the editor to check out the deer problem, seems you were correct, while I added some eyecandy after Bismuth's comments, it seems my deer climbed up a cliff to where they shouldn't have been!!!
I have since sorted this problem( which did not appear in the original game). The game has been updated now and the deer are roaming as free as the wind.
Sir Prise, as I have played a bit more and revevaluated your excellent scenario I decided the balance really should be a 5. I changed the number below.
"I would also very much appreciate another players review of this game." - Sir Prise
And you shall have it...
This was a fantastic map, it has the right look, feel and is very enjoyable to play. A must have in my opinion.
Played at hard, needed 4 quick tries, then pulled of a 6 years early win.
I had a really good time playing this map but there were some things that bothered me a little. While the economy was very challenging, the bandits and wolves were never really a threat. I had so much archers that I kept moving forward and erected towers and such. As a result the bandits and wolves only mattered for my popularity.
What I don't understand is why you've allowed hunters and placed deer but made the deer stuck so the hunters can't get to them. My guess is that you originally wanted me to place stairs to "release" them but then placed a sign post neer them. This way, I'm not allowed to build anything there. But I liked your extended wintimer, that might catch some folks offguard, lol.
The story is superb, and that together with the lovely map design really dragged me in and enhanced my fun.
The map itself is very well balanced, but as I said before I would've liked it better if I didn't feel so safe all the time with all those archers and the small amount of bandits. Access to resources was very wel balanced. Economy was a real pain to get going, which I think is great. I also liked your marketplace restriction, disabling it can really enhance a scenario, which it does here. I do feel some of the goals could be raised a bit, particularly the amount of weapons that have to be produced.
The story is really good and written from an interesting perspective and the map has some creative stuff in it as well. I liked how you hinted at how to "bridge" certain parts and your ruins were well made as well.
Map Design 5
While the landscaping isn't the best I've ever seen the map does look charming and has a nice feel to it.
My castle looked very beautifull on those cliffs, build between the ruins. I was also happy to see you restricted the farmland and made it harder to get going by placing that forest on top of it. Wood and stone were accessible just right and placed in a believable way.
I really liked the two graves inside the ruins, incredibly well done.
Definately some of the best I've seen.
The story is so well written, very interesting and I'm looking forward to learning more about the captain.
The hints in your readme file were helpfull and I loved the little poem at the end that hinted at what to expect.
It's good to see you placed a minimap here but why not add the full story to the description page? It is surely one of the maps best aspects.
It's hard to imagine that this is the designers first map!
You are very talented and I'm really looking forward to the second part of this series. Keep up the outstanding work Sir Prise!
p.s I'd love to see what you can do with an invasion map as well.
Castaways is a wonderfully challenging map from Sir Prise!
The Spanish ruins were terrific - I think one reason I had to restart it the first time through was that I was too busy examining the eye candy to pay attention to getting the economy up and running properly! It really looked and felt like the castaways had come across the ruins of a lost civilization, complete with abandoned fields and graves. I enjoyed finding ways to make the different parts of the map accessible, and also just enjoyed rotating the perspective to see different parts of it. Creativity & Map Design: 5
The story was also wonderful and did a great job of creating expectations and setting the scene for the map. It was also included as a text file, along with a picture. Also, nice minimap on the description page! Story/Instructions: 5
This was a very challenging map! I restarted a few times and faced defeat once when the wolves overran the lord. I found myself wishing there weren't quite so many bad things occurring, as just keeping the population fed and happy enough to stay around was quite the challenge in itself! I heard "People are leaving the castle" about ten times more often than "People are coming to the castle". Still, the difficulties made me want to conquer it even more! Playability & Balance: 4
Thanks for a great map, Sir Prise - it's one I'll come back to and play again!
Everything is perfect, there're lots of dissapointing events, but it's still quite possible to win. The most important is not to forget about the food and the defence.
Good, not easy at all. The stone is too far, so you'll have to protect the walkway for your workers.
Agree with previous rewies. I really like the idea of broken bridges...
Map Design: 5
Looks like natural, lovely design.
- Care about your lord (mine was first burnt, then killed by bandits while walking around)
- Save the game at every suitable moment, cos' in "Castaways" everything changes like in the real world ;)
WARNING: possible spoilers ahead!
I very, very much wanted to like this map. I really did. But to me, it fell into the "challenge vs. gimmick" trap. A challenge is a situation where, while you may be defeated, you want to come back with a different strategy because you know that the map CAN be beaten. The gimmick is something you either "get" or you don't. Nothing in between. I found and fixed the two "broken bridges", and bridged several other cliffs, but never found a path to the quarry site.
The gimmick was the killer here. I played for several enjoyable hours solving the other challenges on the map. But once I realized that I couldn't win without stone, and there was only one quarry site, the whole game stopped. There was no point in playing if the stone was inaccessable. I simply stared at the map, hoping for the "a-ha" moment that would get me to the stone. It never happened. Game over.
All "game stopper" puzzles should have some way to solve them without waiting for "divine inspiration". That was not the case here.
I was really impressed with this design. The challenge of devoting resources (woodcutters) to clearing farmland while fighting off wolves was particularly creative.
Map Design: 5
Absolutely beautiful. The other reviewers say all that needs to be said.
Entertaining and detailed. But this might have been the place to post hints or coded solutions to the "game stoppers". The "suggestions" didn't do the trick.
I didn't want to rate this map as low as I did. But to realize how many hours I spent playing this map in vain because I never had the "a-ha" moment, what else could I do? I don't want others to waste the time I did.
I know I'm just missing the one little inspiration that would make the whole map as enjoyable as others seem to have found it. But that's the whole point of this review.
It seems that the problem has something to do with the Mac version of the game. I was given a save game from a PC user, and a formerly uncrossable river ford was now crossable. Someone testing this only on a PC would never know. But Mac users will have to edit the map to make the ford more "robust" or the map is unwinnable. Thus I revalue the balance, but still fail the playability because Mac users are people too. :)
[Edited on 03/19/07 @ 09:33 PM]
OK, I give up!
How do you get to the stone???
I Stopped playing Stronghold entirely for a few months just because of this scenario. I thought that maybe a fresh look would help, but no. And it's driving me nuts, because otherwise this is a great map!!!
I have successfully developed the left and bottom of the map. I'm actually doing quite well except for the lack of stone. I also repaired the "Broken Bridge" near the stone site in the upper right. But that expanded section is still cut off from the rest of the map by a combination of cliffs, river, and sea. The bears and rabbits can't leave that section, so something still needs to be done.
I can't seem to connect the islands at the top. I can't cross the river. And while I've crossed some cliffs by building stairs, I can't cross the last cliff at the far upper right.
So, since you can't win this map without stone for churches, you have to reach the stone. Several people have claimed to win, so SOMEBODY give up the secret! I don't care if you do it with hints, or put it in code to avoid spoiling the "fun" for others. Just help! Please!
UPDATE: Mac users will have to edit the map to make it winnable. There are two river fords on the most obvious path to the stone. The left one (near the starting point) is fine. The right one (near the stone source) will need more "ford" squares to allow units to cross.
[Edited on 03/19/07 @ 09:39 PM]
email me. I beat this map. I see that I have a very early game save. If the route to to the stone is not complete it is very nearly so. I will send you the save and you can ask me for more hints if you wish :-)
PS put the word "stronghold" in your subject so as to avoid my spam filter
[Edited on 01/14/07 @ 02:36 PM]
I have to say that recently I've played this map on 1.3 version with HD patch and I had a problem with wade area. So I had to change the map a little and then it was ok.
My suggestion for the players is to reduce the required level of the blessed people (80%): it's reachable, but takes too much time and you'll have to build about 10-15 churches.