Monastery in Danger
We count the year 1203. You are Landlord Braveheart, sovereign of a small castle, directly located on a hill next to the Monastery St. Benedict. You’ve just begun to renew the ancient dilapidated monastic parts of walls and to integrate your castle into the monastery to guarantee more protection. The abbey itself, one of the richest and most famous of the county is peacefully situated in a sunny river valley, without any suspicion of that upcoming, baneful disaster.
One morning a royal scout burst into the chambers of Brother Jacob, the monastery’s principal and leading abbot. Completely out of breath and with a vibrating voice he stammered: “The Wo…Wo…Wolf is coming!”
“The Wolf, you said?” Brother Jacob laughed laying his arm on the young scout’s shoulders and answered: “There are wolves here since human being exists in this land. The wolves live with us for centuries and they are God’s creatures, too.”
Now the scout retreated one step back and wiping away his sweat from his forehead he cried: “No, no, Brother Jacob! I mean, it’s one of the most dangerous beasts the world has ever seen; the robbery knight “The Wolf”, who’s spreading fear and terror over the country!” His awful 40 Black Knights on their horses are murdering, plundering and destroying all over the land. You must flee right now, as long as it’s time!”
Abbot Brother Jacob held his tongue for a while, then handed a tankard full of Ale to the scout and resolutely began to speak: “Drink, my brother. That will help. This robbery knight seems to be a tough problem. But God’s on our side, and won’t leave us to our fate. In any case I will talk to Lord Braveheart and we’ll must make an end to this servant of the devil! Finally we’re responsible for our loyal and hard-working peasants, searching for asylum. Nevertheless it’s our duty to feed the hungry population and to cut wood for severe winter times. Let’s do it, with God!”, he said and left his chamber…
Until the first invasion will start, you’ve got a couple of useful years to check the situation and to prepare for defense. Use this time wisely and start to train archers and crossbowmen from the scratch. At the beginning you’ve got a handful engineers waiting for a job – decide yourself, what they should do the best. Granaries, stockpiles and armory are placed in a long distance to each other, intended to raise the thrill. A stable supply of food should be an important objective, too. No matter if the granaries seem to be nearly full at the beginning of the game. You soon will notice, that a growing population guidedly will consume more food. Protect and defend your farmers as well as possible.
There is just one iron mine at work and a second one could be built high above on the northern mountains, but beware of the wandering bears and take into consideration the signpost nearby (enemies!) It should be more advisable to build pitch rigs for an effective defense (boiling oil) of your engineers. A constant stone production will help you to repair or construct different “things” and will also be a welcoming tradeware.Your market place is an important leading part in the game.
Last but not least: Your tanner can’t be rebuilt, if he’ll be destroyed in struggle.
Note: This ecovasion is classified as "normal", but please give "hard or "very hard" a chance, for those players who love more challenge and a creative gameplay.
Your suggestions and ratings are always welcome
P.S.: There's another informative word document about the monks'life attached to the zip-file to read
Best regards and good luck,
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Playability: I found that the first two times played the scenario, I got pasted very soon because the walls were not built up enough. However the third time I managed a win. I thought that the idea of economic and military objectives were good, although the wolves, bears and bandits played around with my popularity a lot.
Balance: The balance was OK. I found that the easiest way to beat back the enemy was to dig a deep moat and pound the enemy with archers, however this is not very satisfying to do. It was in the third try that I latched onto this idea. Firstly I had ample time to set up the moat and troops and, once past the initial invasion, not only were the enemy horses unable to get past the moat but the diggers got pin cushioned. It was then a matter of setting the game speed up and waiting for the villagers to do their duty. However the bandits and wolves didn’t make my popularity good so I had to keep alternating bribes and food allowance but that was easily dealt with.
Creativity: The idea of the fortress monastery is a good one and I think that it was well set up. The scripted events, however were not always on time although I don’t know if my computer is just slow.
Map design: The castle was well built and I liked many of the eye candies like the inn and the execution square.
Story/instructions: This was very good, not only is there a story but also a history of monks included.
Playability: 5. A great play on very hard setting. With the economic goals doubled (due to the difficulty setting) and some tough, very well balanced invasions, it's a grueling, almost 20 year struggle to a very satisfying victory. Large invasions and well scripted events spice things up and you have to pull out all the tricks you can to repel invaders and bandits. The castle is an interesting combination of strong and weak areas with stockpile, granary and armory deliberately widely separated to make production a challenge. It never got boring.
Balance: 5. Excellent balance. Economic goals were well thought out and if they are achievable on very hard, they should not be too hard to meet on normal setting. Invasions are large with a good variety of troops and attacked various areas of the castle. Lots of knights and macemen played havoc with outside production buildings.
Creativity: 4. Lots of creativity shows through here. The idea of a castle built up around an existing monastery is a good one, well executed and believable. Widely separated stockpile, granary and armory, as mentioned above, works well in this scenario and feels appropriate.
Map Design: 4. Good terrain modeling has a nice realistic look. Well designed, partially incomplete castle, shows lots of attention to design and detail. You must study carefully what modifications to make to defend her and how best to lay out production buildings. Monastery grounds are excellent and not overdone. Was disappointed to see this map was locked as it can be very instructive to view the underlying scripting.
Story/Instructions: 5. Excellent story and instructions.
It plays well, it looks good, it's a strong challenge and one of the better maps to come out in a while. A tough challenge on very hard setting that took me two tries to beat. Should play well on normal setting for the average player.
As the story suggests, this map begins with a completed, but partially ruined, fortification. Food and weapons production units are in place.
I was struck right away with all the activity - in the opening month it is already a busy place; knights are galloping through the castle, monks are meditatively treading single file up stairs towards the church, a couple engineers are busy digging in the swamp out back, etc.
Stratego has put a lot of eye candy into his design including an attractive "church yard" with a cross-shaped fountain. I especially liked the iron mine tucked away back within the mountain with the wooden "gate" entrance and also the interesting execution platform (complete with festive tents!).
Overall the terrain is well done with good variation of elevation, use of plants, rocks etc. Water features look good and rock outcrops excellent. Map Design - 4.5, Creativity - 4
I have played this map three times. First time I was defeated at the first invasion. Second time it was the second invasion that finished me off. Third time I completed the "Eliminate all Enemy Units" requirement but failed to achieve all the economic requirements before game time ran out. Unfortunately my own "real time" ran out in the middle of a fourth try and I have not had a chance to play it through again but I think one more try would do it. I did not refer to the hints on the description page.
The castle is spread out and has a complex structure. Perhaps for this reason the enemy attacks were a bit uneven and sometimes confused. Often the enemy knights, after destroying a few outbuildings, would halt beside my walls while they were slowly picked off by my archers. Also the siege equipment sometimes remained dormant or even un-built while the engineers waited out by the signpost. One time, the catapult spent its energy destroying the bridge rather than attacking my walls. This might be avoided by building the bridge in the enemy color. Balance - 5, Playability - 4
Good imaginative story and the included file about monks is interesting. I suggest you place the hints in a separate text file in the download rather than on the description page as some players may want to first try their hand at this game without referring to the hints. Don’t forget to run you text by a spell checker before posting! Story - 4.5
Thanks Stratego for the enjoyable game! I am looking forward to playing some of your other creations.