By King Matthew I
And King Nicholas the Nut
King Matthew the Meat Eater is madly in love with his new wife, Queen Eve, who refuses to eat the venison with which the king’s huntsmen have filled the royal granary, he has even changed his name to King Matthew McIntosh in honor of his royal bride’s favorite food – apples.
King McIntosh is so obsessed with appeasing his new queen, that he has even renamed his kingdom from Venisonia to Applelonia.
He has ordered the people of Applelonia to satisfy the queen’s craving by clearing the royal forest, planting hundreds of apple orchards, and collecting 10,000 bushels of apples within 20 years.
The people are outraged and have secretly sought the help of a nearby apple-hating lord named The Worm. He has promised to send groups of his macemen to help them return the kingdom to its former meat-eating ways.
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I usually don't play maps with such exorbitant goals as 10,000 fruit, but the story drew me in so I thought I would give it a try :)
The main object in Applelonia is to clear the forest and replace it with apple farms. I suspect the sprites were at their limit the whole game, though, as the trees died off starting in the first year, resulting in the forest being cleared without much effort from me by midway through year 3.
On my first attempt, only the first wolf attack happened, but on the second try, the other ones did as well. The bandit attacks still didn't materialize, even though they were in the script. I took a look at the scenario after finishing - nicely scripted, but I think there was just too much going on (i.e. too many sprites) for all the events to happen.
I ended the game with 6500 fruit on the first try, and 7900 on the second. I don't doubt that 10,000 could be reached, but my wrist was protesting too much at all the clicking to place apple farms for me to try again! The first time through I did something which I've never done before, which is to hasten the peasants along by building bad things. Second time I didn't, and had more success. I also learned something about building granaries from playing this map, which is that you can only have a certain number of empty granaries at a time, so you have to build them as you go (thanks to post 207 of the Number Crunching thread for that bit of insight!). Fun game, so playability itself was fine.
Balance... 10,000 fruit... I don't think it would detract from the story if the time period were shortened and the goal lessened. Also, I'll mention it here as it did effect balance (rather than in map design): If you started with fewer trees (and sprites), then I think the wolves and bandits would show up and enhance the challenge. You can achieve the same effect by spreading them out so the apple farms still can't be placed without thinning the forest first.
The map itself was nicely done - although kind of hard to see through all the trees ;-) The iron and stone deposits could be blended more to make them seem a more natural part of the terrain. Also, getting back to the wolves... one trick is to place some wolves on the map so they'll regenerate on their own, rather than relying entirely on the scripted attacks.
Creativity & Map Design: 3
Like I mentioned earlier, the story drew me in - I thought it was cute :) The download comes with a story file and a hints file. Well done!
Altogether a very nice first (eco) map! If achieving victory is your goal, you might get frustrated, but if you approach it as 'just exactly how much fruit can I get before the end' then you'll probably have fun playing it. I did :)
Thanks King Nick and King Matt!