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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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]