|brave sir robyn
While the King is away in Southern Iberia smoothing over the embarrassment caused by yourself and Doubletongue during your little escapade there, he has commisioned you, the Abbott of Quiglesbury, to oversee the production of weapons in his absence.
You must journey to an area known as Abbotts Lake and extract the valuable iron resources that lie there, manufacturing the weapons ready for the Kings return. In addittion, you are expected to compensate the King for his travel costs by raising a moderate tax.
You must be careful though, for the area is frequented by Ratty de Puce, an old adversary known to recruit help from other hostile Lords. The King has granted the hire of some of his Knights to aid you and your Monks, and Doubletongue, acknowledging his part in the Spanish Incident, has also promised to send assistance. Complete this task, my Lord, and redeem thyself in the King's eyes ...
This map is the third 'Abbott of Quiglesbury' story, the first being "Special Brew" and the second, a Crusader map, is still in production.
It's a classic style invasion map with a slight twist, designed and tested at normal. It might be possible to play at hard, but I didn't test it for that. Thanks once more to Jalis for playtesting.
Hope you enjoy it ...
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Abbotts Lake is a nicely designed game. Full of challenge with many options for development and defense. Do you focus on food first, or start right in with iron production? Wood defenses or stone? Do you save up weapons for the victory goals or make units for your own defense? And what do you do about the wolves?
While the game is very playable I also found it to be a very challenging map. To be honest, I failed to beat it at all on NORMAL. Thought I was doing pretty well but then an unexpectedly large invasion took me completely by surprise - it wasn't even close. I have also been playing on EASY and am doing better but still no cigar. (I wonder if something I did tripped the massive fires or if they are simply scripted in at a certain time.) Maybe I missed something here. The next reviewer is free to tell me how easy the map is but I would judge it too hard for the average player. Balance - 4, Playability - 5
The map design is excellent. Every bit of terrain has been carefully contoured and textured. I especially liked the erosion gullies and swampy lowlands. The resources are well scattered in a way to maximize the challenge. All this is fit nicely into a medium sized map.
Initial structures are basic - a wooden keep and well stocked granary and stockpile. The player is left to design his own settlement. Overall theme of the scenario is fairly standard. Map Design - 5, Creativity – 3.5
Good story. Well written and informative. It ties in to an earlier map by Brave Sir Robyn which I have not yet played. Story - 3.5
This game will provide you with several hours of entertainment and challenge. Please do download, play and beat this one for me!
Abbotts Lake is a fine example of what Stronghold does best. In essence, your time is spent building up a settlement, manufacturing goods and generating gold to meet the economic win criteria and interspersed with some punishing invasions. The map starts with the arrival of additional troops to assist you, leaving you the freedom to decide where to start and what to do. As mentioned by the previous reviewer, the choice really is yours, and this freedom given to the player in the early years of the game is a real plus point for me. Your time is occupied throughout the life of the map with an assortment of tasks. Hunting down the wolves and bears with a band of archers is not only essential in order to allow freedom for your works, but a lovely side task that doesn't form part of the general tasks needed to win the scenario. Events are triggered throughout the map to perfection, and you would be naive if you thought this placid, peaceful landscape will be an easy win! The map is a joy to play from start to finish!
The eco goals, plus the invasions, plus the little side tasks at normal difficulty level all add up to an extremely well balanced scenario; plenty to do, very tricky in places and always with the chance that one wrong move on your part will see the scenario come to an abrupt end! After a few attempts, I finally managed to win (only just) and this, to me, is the sign of a high quality map that fully deserves the maximum score possible. Weapons manufacture is probably the hardest goal to meet here, you really do need to set up a healthy and effective system for generating both iron and weapons from the start. Feeding your people can be a bit tricky too and it was pleasing to see the flatter areas that can hold wheat and hop farms placed away from your keep, rather than right on your doorstep.
Bearing in mind that this type of map is probably the most common type for map makers, finding something creative could be regarded as difficult. With absolutely no eye candy here (which should not be a prerequisite, I might add), the creative element to the scenario lies equally in both the scripting of events and the fact that you will use the whole landscape before you. First, the scripting: i'd be surprised if anyone scripts a map as well as brave sir robin! Each event, each criteria set out at the start ties in beautifully with the rest of the map. The arrival of your soldiers at the start is a real treat (I wish I knew how to generate a template from one of the in-game missions!) and those fires... do not underestimate how many wells you may need! The invasion forces work extremely effectively and with more than one signpost, you need to cover three side of your settlement. As for the use of the landscape, simple but expertly done design means that pitch (a source of gold and useful for hot oil engineers) is guarded by wolves. The flat areas for wheat farms are equally well guarded. Ditto the stone to build chapels, walls, towers, etc. There's no easy ride here, even the trees suffer forcing your woodcutters to seek new areas for timber. This is map making at its' most creative.
Map Design: 4
The landscape looks so inviting that it lures you into a false sense of security from the start. But who can't admire the boggy channels that divides the map, or the Abbotts Lake itself; the pitch ditches tucked away out of sight, the sense of scale achieved by careful use of the terrain tools. The map design (landscape) is extremely well done, but it can be cruel! Keep a close eye on the location of wolves, they are strategically placed and are not obvious at first glance. Great stuff!
Nearly a 4 score, but not quite enough content. That is the only (very small) negative point, because what is provided is clear, concise, well presented and perfectly suitable to introduce you to the map and what you need to achieve in order to win. A fine example of good writing style.
I absolutely love this map, it ticks all the boxes for me, has masses of replayability and keeps you on your toes all the way through to the end. Very much recommended!