THE HAND OF GOD – THE SANCTUARY OF THE SEVEN TOWERS
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Book of Isaiah chapter 41, verse 10.
For long years you have suffered persecution under the ruler of the land, The Snake, an evil serpent of a man. You and your fellows are worshipers of the One True God, but the Snake jealously desired to receive that worship for himself alone.
In spite of the trials you had managed to live reasonably quietly and peaceably in the land – until now. Just a fortnight ago, the Snake demanded that you bow down and pay homage to him and him alone or he has threatened to kill you all, every man, woman and child.
Unsure of what to do, you called the leaders to counsel together and pray and seek wisdom from above. While you talked, an old man among you recalled that there had once been a place of safety, a sanctuary, in the eastern mountains at a place called, “The Hand of God.” A small advance party was quickly sent off to locate this sanctuary. They reported back that it still exists but it is in ruins and has been desecrated by evil things.
Trusting God’s provision, you gathered together a larger group to travel to the sanctuary, cleanse it, and establish a settlement where you and others who come later will be able to live and worship in peace.
***The Present Challenge***
Foot sore and weary, the days of travel are almost at an end. Just a few more miles now separate you from the sanctuary. As you break out of the forest and into the valley your heart begins to lift and you feel you are finally free of the Snake’s wrath. Suddenly warnings are shouted out from those in the rear. The Snake’s mounted horsemen have been spotted, riding fast directly towards you!
You must guide your group of pilgrims to the Sanctuary and take up the task of cleansing and restoring it. The following conditions must be met for victory.
Restore the walls so the seven towers of the Sanctuary are joined.
Develop the settlement into a pleasant place to live (+5) with 25% blessed.
Encourage at least 77 souls to come and abide here.
Store up at least 144 loaves of bread.
During the game you will face increasingly strong attacks from the Snake. You will also have to survive three trials: Plague, Famine, and Fire.
As conditions at the sanctuary improve, others will begin to arrive to assist you in the work. But if your settlement becomes too rich it will attract bandits.
***As you begin***
The game opens with an ominous view of the ruined and desecrated sanctuary on the east side of the map. But the early action does not take place here. You must direct your attention to the forested western highlands where the party is making its way slowly along and the snake’s underlings are in hot pursuit.
This map is designed to be played on NORMAL. This should give you an enjoyable challenge but not overly hard. On EASY, victory should be considerably easier to obtain but also, due to a quirk with the trigger levels for various events, the game will open with an attack by bandits. This may make the opening of the game a bit more complex than on NORMAL.
It will take less than 20 game years to win (or lose) The Hand of God.
The "hand" is supposed to represent only an oddly shaped mountain which would remind people of God’s hand providing and protecting (see the verse at the top). Some may wonder if the dark spot on hand (visible on the minimap) is supposed to represent the nail wound on the hand of Christ. I want to be clear that this was not my purpose or intent. I felt using a game map in that way would be inappropriate and dishonoring to the One who did indeed suffer on the cross for us all. When I placed the church structures they unfortunately appeared dark on the map but I tried to place them well off the side rather than in the middle of the palm.
As always, your comments and reviews are appreciated. Bismuth
10/30/04 The download file now includes a series of hints (in case you are stuck! The first 19 downloads didn't get this.
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Wow! Another excellent mp by Bismuth!
This map opens up with an interesting scene: your lord is away from his castle, and been pursued by a squad of the Snakes men. After this short skiemish, you are launched headlong into a challenging Economic scenario. Although the first part of the level is somewhat tame, with the enemy invasions been more of a nuisance than a threat, the game hots up around 1/3 of the way into the level. Plagues and Famine hit hard, and a wave of bandit attacks cripple your economy if you are unprepared. The final Invasions took me completely by surprise as well.
This map is well balanced. You have to work for your troops, and so I was constantly boosting my economy to earn more archers, fearing a sudden attack while I was undefended. The economic goals are hard, especially as the invasions/bandits wipe out your economy if unprepared. The final invasion, however, is relentless if you haven't done well economically. You have to jointly defend your granary and your lord if you want to achieve the bread goals. With an relatively undefended castle, I found this a little tough (bear in mind, however, that economics isn't my thing, and I didn't destroy the starting bad things).
This map shines in this area. Although the obvious thing is the Hand design, Bismuth has done several of these already. No, it is the opening battle, the challenging economics, and the furiousness of plague, bandits and fire that are all pulled of in such a special way that make this map entirely original.
Pretty much impeccable. Apart from the question of making a hand fit into a map, Bismuth has rose to the challenge of making a plain, mountains, a ruined castle, and a forest, all in such a way that the A.I. behaves itself.
Very nearly a 5. The story is a good length and well detailed, and includes a bundle of helpful hints to help the stuck player. An extra supporting document, or longer stoy than is on the dowload page would of merited the maps fourth 5.
So, congrats agin Bismuth. And to anyone who hasn't seen this map in action, todays your lucky day!
What a great map from Bismuth! Really good fun and well balanced and what an incredible piece of design work! I played on normal and found it nearly perfect. The gameplay was simple but had to be handled carefully to achieve all the goals set. Victory came for me a few years before the end, it would have been earlier if it wasn't for all those fires! It was good fun to play and easily earns 9/10 here in these two categories. Good work!
The intrictae design of the hand is incredible. What a masterpiece, very creative (looks so good on the minimap!). I did find the layout of the map quite confusing outside the hand though. In my opinion it may have been better if the enemy had had to circle around the hand before attacking the castle, obviousely changes would be need to be made to the surrouding map design. This is just an idea as it would bring more of the map into use apart from just at the beginning. Overall the design is of a superb standard, again 9/10 especially the hand which is so wondefuly crafted. What will it be next time?
Storyline is very good, and again a safe 5! Really nice story, perfect length, a minimap, attaravtive site description and a few hints in the zip file. Perfect! Overall this is a great map from Bismuth and it comes highly reccommended. Keep it up!