Castaways - The Explorers
Posted on 06/21/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 06/30/04
Castaways - The Explorers
It has been 10 long and hard years since our ship,the 'Tempest' was hit by a storm, smashed upon the rocks and gently slipped silently beneath the waves,and the survivors and I were stranded in this unknown land, not knowing where we were or how we would ever be rescued.
Our small settlement, since that time, has grown and given us all a good way of life, but alas, we all yearn to be returned to our homeland, to be united with our familes and friends.
After the death of poor Lord Calthorne, from the Devil-sent plague, it had been my misfortune to be elected the Overlord of our small settlement, a task I did not wish, but had cast upon me by the trust of my people.
In the early years of our settlement, we fought both the elements and the native tribesmen, and we struggled to survive, but with time, we became accustomed to the seasons weather and we eventually befriended the local tribes.
From them, we learned that this land is called 'Carre-Neehyma', a name that means 'The Garden of God', we also learned that they were harshly treated by the Spanish, whom they called, 'The Bright Chested Men', and fearing that we were of the same like, they were at first aggressive towards us, fearing for their very lives, but with time and patience we have both learned to live at peace with each other.
Many of them have settled among us, and some of my crew have took the local native girls as their wifes, this union of souls has been richly blessed by both sides and as such has made our existance more bearable.
We have taught them our Christian ways and beliefs, and have shown them how to grow wheat and make bread, we have also introduced them to our ale, which they call 'Yi-Tah-Na', which means 'Fall-Down Water', in return they have given us many of their herbs and spices, fruits and plants, and shown us how to cultivate them.
We have also learned why the Spanish were here, and why they abandoned the settlement. Our friends told us that the soldiers made them dig deep into the hills and bring out the glowing stones, they were forced to work night and day and many of them lost their lives.
This went on for many months until less and less of the Spanish came to the mine, the few that did stand guard had strange red spots on their face and arms, and soon these few no longer returned, finally when the natives had built up enough courage to enter the Spanish Camp, they found all of the men there dead, their bodies covered in the strange red spots.
From their account, it would appear that the Spanish had suffered from a plague of smallpox and that they had all succumbed to the said dreaded pox.
Over the years we have explored small areas of this land, and from the tales of our friends we have learned much.
Now that our colony is of such a size, we now feel the need to establish a new settlement further inland.
I have decided to lead a small number of settlers and natives to establish a supply camp, from where we will be able to explore further inland, we have supplies and are well armed.
We will be following the old Spanish road that leads inland to the site of the deep ravine, near where their mines are sited, a journey of some three days.
The land there has a bountiful supply of deer, and is fertile enough to grow crops.
We know that this land suffers from the fever, and we will need to provide herbs and potions for our men.
We will give our trust to God and prey for success.
Captain Thomas Goodwill
This game, I have rated as Hard, a true reflection would be Very Hard, which may only appeal to experienced players.
Please note: 30th June 2004 - Extra Help File added to download.
Important information for players:
You must have either the latest edition of Stronghold or the Stronghold patch version 1.2 installed to play this game. The patch can be obtained from:-
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Before I begin to review this terrific game...
This is not your usual economic map, with a set of goals requiring simultaneous attention. This is a carefully scripted puzzle of a map, where you have to figure out each piece before moving on to the next. I think it would be hard to score it in comparison with other eco maps, so I'm not going to - but as something unique, in a class by itself. That said, on with the review...
When you first open the game and see the goals, you'll think, 'Is that it? No problem!' Just keep in mind, each of the goals is meant as proof that you've achieved a piece of the puzzle. Normally if a game took me this many tries to win (and you'll have to look in the Map Room to find out exactly how many it took), I'd score the playability and balance much lower, but in this case I have to admit that I've played it over and over and not lost interest. I still need to win it from one of my own saved games, and not one from Sir Prise, which he so kindly sent me. Each section of the map has its own evils (wolves, fires, etc.), so it's carefully balanced... but it's also incredibly hard!
Balance: 5 (changed to a 5 after reflection, since the difficulty of this map is largely what makes this map!)
The map is beautiful and very carefully thought out. Once you've finished it, you'll be amazed at the care Sir Prise must have taken to construct a game like this. Everything appears very natural.
Creativity & Map Design: 5
Nice story, and lots of extras! A fun hints file to translate, as well as an extra help file for when you get
spectacularly particularly stuck.
Altogether a splendidly unique map - definitely worth a look and a try or two or three or...
There has been quite a bit of talk in the forum about this amazing map and some have suggested it is impossible to win. Certainly it is not impossible but it is probably the most challenging and tricky map of this type that I have ever seen.
At the beginning, as Sir Prise warns, this game appears deceptively simple; the economic goals are not large, the map seems to contain abundant resources, you are given 30 bows to arm your archers. But as you play you begin to realize that the different parts of the map are connected in a very complex manner and many important resources are not easily reached. There are constant struggles to maintain food stocks and popularity. Negative events (wolves, fire, plague and more) are carefully timed to maximize the challenge.
I had to restart many, many times as I slowly worked out the steps to move out into various portions of this map and utilize resources.
If you expect to achieve victory in your first few attempts, you are likely to be disappointed. However, the map allows you a number of small victories or puzzles to solve along the way so each time you play and loose, you feel you can use the knowledge gained to do better the next time. It keeps you coming back.
Early on I thought I would give only a 4 for balance as it seemed too hard but with further thought, I believe if it were easier it would not have been as much fun and the final victory not as sweet. Balance – 5, Playability – 5
The terrain itself is about as perfect as it can be. No bare, unadorned, patch is to be found on this map. Erosion features and shaping are very well done and the water features are excellent. Rock outcroppings also are extremely realistic.
The map portrays the site of an abandoned settlement and is dotted with ruins of buildings and mines. These are well rendered and creative. And fit well into the story. I can only imagine how many hours it must have taken to design and tweak this creation. Map Design – 5, Creativity – 5
I only have one thing left to score. Who could read the interesting, intriguing, detailed and humorous story and not give this scenario full points. The words on the description page are also repeated in a text file in the download along with a most curious hints file written in the language of the “Carre-Neehyma” people. (You will have to see this for yourself). Story - 5
When I finally completed this game it was only by the skin of my teeth in December 1699 – the very last month before time ran out. I played on NORMAL setting without resorting to any hints but I did receive some good suggestions from my son as he watched me play.
Thank you Sir Prise. “Castaways – the Explorers” has set a standard that will be hard to beat – but I hope you are even now working on the next map!
Wow! What a big surprise by Sir Prise!
Without any doubt one of the most exceptional eco-scenarios I've ever played. Played on hard, needed four attempts ("very hard" I didn't finish yet, maybe someday...). A fascinating and exciting puzzle, that you have to put together piece by piece, to reach all necessary resources simultaneously conquering a lot of dangerous situations in an unknown wilderness. It's incredibly hard to play, several restarts (especially for beginners) force you to find the most effective methods to fulfill all economic goals just in time. And it will become a real thrill towards the end of the time limit. But therefore this map never is annoying and it attracts you in such an addictive manner, that you want to play it for hours and hours.
Because of the long distance of stone and iron resources from your keep an additional thrill is guaranteed. The enormous herds of wolves on each map's corner nearly make it impossible to start a rational stone and iron production. So I've sent out a few archers hunting wolves and bears in carefully luring them back to the ruined tower where I've had posted the remaining archers awaiting all the ferocious beasts. A funny but sudorific job until the land was totally liberated. After that "necessary work" all my peasants and miners could do their jobs without any interruptions. Occasionally approaching bandits didn't disturb me at all - they were retreated without any severe problems. Food supplies worked very well because of the huge herds of deer right from the beginning. Later on I've placed three wheat farms on the single three suitable areas to build up a well-functioning bread production.
Altogether a successful imposing connection of some editor tricks (components of the puzzle) like the "wood bridge" or the "hidden moat" along with a breath-taking story and a mysteriously looking design.
I liked that extraordinary landscape, where you suspect many dangerous events lurking for you behind each tree. The Spanish gold mines and ruins and the bizarre character of the well modelled landscape (imo a little too rough, but it's subjective) give you a certain feeling of isolation. Sometimes you are seduced to pause the game studying and watching the different sections of this wonderful map
A sample copy of particularity that everyone should imitate. A thrilling story with a funny translation part of a native hint's text.
I absolutely can recommend this kind of a creative map by Sir Prise that includes new ideas and helps you growing up your abilities.
What a great map! It took me four attempts to solve it. Each was just as enjoyable as the final.
This scenario is very payable and a delightful challenge. Everything is geared to keep you on your toes. 5
The balance is tricky. There are hundreds of predators to defend against and defeat. 4
The Creativity is excellent. 5
The Design is superb. The ruins and abandoned buildings highlight the story and add additional challenges to using the land. 5
One of the most intriguing and thorough back-stories I’ve read. 5
Fantastic map and a lot of fun! Great job!
-Dread Pirate Roberts
This one is a brilliant map from Sir Prise, it really differes much from any map you played before. Obvious rules and choises doesn't work here, so you have to learn how to play in a very creativity way.
Starting to play first I felt a big anger, I thought the aims are not reachable, and all the map is a mockery.
But when I realized how to reach the island with iron, I was greatly happy and proud of myself.
Reaching other islands was easier, because I've already knew the concept how I can do this.
The only thing I missed in the map is the ability to build an archer workshop, but it's оne of the difficulties for an interesting game :)