What i’ve ultimately tried to achieve in Rocks and Gold Coins is to submerge the player into a fast moving frantic environment with options plenty. The idea of feeling in control was something i was striving for – blending this classic sensation with fear, tension and responsibility to subtly create an altogether different world the player initially faced. This ethos being the corner stone of the maps game play.
In it’s infancy i was buzzing around with loads of creative thought for the scenario. I liked the idea of having to cede the castle before defending it against invasions – this was my initial concept before opting for the traditional game. I find all the characters in Stronghold pretty cool, so they all feature in their own quirky way within the story line. Prepare for plenty of invasions that will keep your CNS on guard: Everyone seems to want a piece of you!!
This map has been vetted pretty thoroughly on ‘normal’ and ‘hard’ by just me – although it’s very much doable for the beginner, i found it challenging on ‘hard’ and was too afraid to try on ‘Very Hard’. I’m very happy with the balance and the timing of events. (that’s not to say it’s too linear) and i personally think it will keep the most apt of Lords busy whilst they wrestle between economic goals and the invasions that have no mercy. There’s no doubt a map must be balanced and this one doesn’t disappoint.
The map design was inspired by some of the maps that i’ve downloaded in the past (very good they are too) I tried to blend the natural resources with the general landscape – i found the marsh worked well alongside the abundant islands; which were the back-bone of the visuals.
This map is something i think a lot of players good or bad will enjoy – so go on give it a go It’s taken me some time to get together and now it’s complete, i’m pleased with the result. I hope Rocks and Gold Coins is something you’re after….Good luck.
N/B BIG thanks go out to my very patient and loving wife Olesya, who has stuck by me through thick and thin during this quest for the ultimate map.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Playability: 4 Unusual and rather fun map. It took a long, long time to get the economy in gear. This kind of design usually doesn't work too well. An isolated castle complex with the topography allowing only one narrow access path in. These are usually easy to defend and rarely offer much challenge. This map has a pre built castle complex in the center guarded by mostly low cliff walls and large moat. Only a couple of widely separated points allow access to the moat making it virtually impenetrable. While destroying some walls and filling in some of the moat could gain you more buildable area, I didn't choose to do that. Access is via a single causeway protected by an outer gate complex. There are some additional gates closer to the keep.
But this map does work, however. And it works best on the economic side. Wood, which you will have a constant struggle with until you are well established, is outside the complex and some distance away. There are frequent invasions that usually start on the other side of the map. This strings them out and separates some of them as they make their way around to the gatehouse. The AI seems to act unusually here, groups stop in odd places, and some split up and go different ways. The mace men included in all invasions play havoc with the woodcutters, they mostly make a beeline straight for them. Thank goodness you can buy wood, but striking a balance between wood, food and gold is tricky. You have limited space for food production, so that's tricky, too. If you explore the castle carefully, there is actually room to build a nice little economy, but everything needs to be shoehorned in like a puzzle.
Balance: 4. A real fun balance of difficult to gather resources, restricted locations for building, and availability of buildings and items. Really kept me struggling for a very long time to get the economy humming while maintaining an adequate defense. One of the things that sets this scenario above most others of this type is the limits imposed. Limited space to build, you cannot build walls or towers (stone or wood), only a stone gatehouse. You cannot buy or quarry stone, but you are given a small supply for repairs. You cannot expand or move the stockpile. You do get inns and bad things, a big help. There are economic goals for gold, crossbows, and leather armor, but you can build quite a few crossbowmen and still meet the goals. Wood is always your biggest problem, keeping you from expanding as fast as you'd like. Strung out enemy troops many times prevent you from placing buildings until they pass by.
You start with a smallish army of various troops, but a buildup of crossbowmen is needed as fast as you can. You would also be wise to take advantage of the pitch. I only used oilmen, but pitch ditches probably would have helped even more. I never really felt secure, but somehow the defenses always seemed to work. On the downside the great distance traveled by invading troops strings them out single file and makes it easier to pick them off, even the large invasions. Increasingly large invasions are well balanced with many heavy troops. Unfortunately their stalling and fragmentation makes them easier to deal with.
I played on very hard setting and found it relatively easy to defend, although I did lose a gatehouse and one tower. I trained quite a few crossbowmen, sold a lot of crossbows and still met the doubled economic conditions well before the time limit. It's strange, I mostly felt I was fighting a tough, uphill struggle and yet towards the end I began to realize I was in great shape with plenty of time to spare.
Creativity: 4. Good creativity in scripting and making a single point access castle into a good challenge.
Map Design: 3. Interesting but a little rough looking. Could have used some more terrain modeling and smoothing. Nevertheless nice looking and enjoyable.
Story/Instructions: 4. Story and instructions in balance with the general scoring of this review. Would have been nice to have a mini map.
All in all a challenging economy to build, and although fairly easy to defend, it's not a foregone conclusion you won't be overrun. I personally wish it had been a little tougher, but I think most players will see it as a tough map balanced well for their skills. It's different, it's fun.
Generally I agree with Sparrow's recent review, but here are still a few subjective suggestions:
On principle it may be correct to generate many crossbowmen for a stable future defense. I guess 40-50 of them should suffice to resist the total series of invasions. Since the enemy just has to locate the one and only access to the keep (through the main gate), the player can concentrate his efforts to post all his archers and crossbowmen near to the hostile marching-up route. Attempting to place any food production lines like apple orchards or wheat farms out of the castle isn't recommendable so long as all invasions have passed by. And the important woodcutters are permanently destroyed by straying macemen around your castle. In that case it's advisable to force iron ore production (for sale) as well as pitch production (for defense). Besides you soon have to stabilize a frictionless and intensive production of bread for a smooth food supply (= raising your popularity).
Armory or Blacksmith in my opinion were totally superfluous, so I pulled them down replaced by fletchers to reach my weapons'goal faster.
Playability got disturbed for a while, when too many peasants waited on the keep's campfire (about 18); None of them left the keep,if I wanted to call them off a new task. So I had to pull down some of the Keep's surrounding walls to get them free again for work. The notorious shortage of the story and explanation are formulated very generally, but it's o.k. I liked the specific map-design, especially the self-willed construction of a castle on limited building land. The landscape itself is functioning, but solid without any special highlight or eye-candy. Maybe some smoothing needed, a little too rough sometimes.
I think, beginners would rate this map's difficulty as hard, because of the increasing invasions and the sticky economic development, what might cause enormous problems for "newbies".
All in all a very promising start for a first ( I didn't find another one of yours since then) map, Andy Baz.
Enjoyable and well done