The King has grown tired of his bumbeling commanders ineptitude, and has informed me to let you know that he will be attacking your Stronghold with his own army at noon tomorrow. The King has also asked that I tell you to think about getting your affairs in order. He has repeatedly asked you and your "kind", to move from his lands and yet after two attacks by his Majestys forces in the last week, you continue to refuse. He is at his wits end with you and says you will be dead by two of the clock, tomorrow in the afternoon. Now what do you say? P.S. Those who dislike large scale, siege battles should look elsewhere...
Listen to the author and DEFINITELY do not play this on Normal or Easy. It won't be a challenge. Play it on Hard as Sir Deacon suggests.
Played on Hard, the outcome depends pretty much on how you use your Knights. I had a hard time using my engineers effectively cause the geeks kept geting killed before they could drop their oil (arrows are flying everywhere for a long time). But, I didn't really need the engineers that much. The King managed to breach a gate (because 3 oilers tryng to get there with pots got mowed down), but the few invaders who got inside quickly got cut to ribbons because I had about 50% of my bows waiting on them.
In the end, the hardest part of the scenario was getting it to end...lol. Sir Deacon - this is not a slam - I'm just trying to forewarn others. After you kill off the attacking force, if the Victory sign does not come, take a bunch of bows and go scour the countryside. You will find a Knight here, a crossbowman there. I found one crossbowman in a distant corner firing at God knows what.
PLAYABILITY: Defending on Hard forces you to actively play at times. If a little more involvement was required, it would be a 5.
BALANCE: I had a first try win with 43% losses - about 10-15% of those coming when I got tired of a horde of Knights sitting beyond arrow range at the end and attacked them with my bows with no infantry support (was just trying to get the scenario to end). I would imagine that using your Knights differently than I did would make the victory quite hard to achieve. So, above average balance, but still room for the attackers to press a little harder.
CREATIVITY: There is a little bit of deception thrown in in how the attack sets up, but I bet most alert gamers will enjoy that aspect of it. Creativity gets a 5, not due to eye candy, but due to design of the Castle.
Map Design: Very pretty! I question the need for it being so huge since the action all takes place in one corner, but I can't mark it down for that since I haven't tried to manipulate itand see if it would work on a smaller map. The Castle was designed in such a way that it felt like it might have been a real one - not one created to take advantage of Stronghold nuances.
Storyline/Instructions: Dude - use a spell checker! Overall, the storyline and instructions give you everything you need to know to play the scenario - especially the note to play it on Hard. However, one part of the storyline didn't seem to match up (maybe I interpretted it wrong): it says I have previously been attacked by the King twice in the last week, yet I see no real signs of damage to my Castle when I start. That gaff should be corrected.