Here is a general explanation of the map. Here's how it breaks down. You must defend a small wooden compound in the wilderness from wolves and the Snake's soldiers. You can hire only archers and spearmen, and your building selection is quite narrow. A lot of bad stuff will happen to you over the course of the map. Food will be hard to come by, as well as other things. You will need to survive the Snake's invasions.
However, here is where the map gets interesting... You have a band of jesters/entertainers that are wandering around the map that give you a popularity bonus, +16, as long as at least ONE of them is on the map. So, basicly, if you have at least one alive entertainer on the map, you get a +16 to your popularity rating. Pretty good, eh? But if they all die, you don't get the bonus anymore.
The map's landscape and gameplay are somewhat weak, but this scenario presents a new style of gameplay. The map shows what can be done with Jalis's template maps and Aubergine's 'How To' articles. Good luck...
Festival is a short but fun game - I played it twice, once on normal and once on hard, and both times finished in 6 game years.
After playing so many Crusader skirmishes lately, it was nice to be able to play a game with a fun premise that I didn't have to restart half a dozen times to win! Playability is almost a 4, but given the limited goals and options for building and economic development, there isn't a lot of variety for play. Playability: 3
Played on normal I had 20% troop losses, and on hard I had 59% losses. Balance for me was good (as in I enjoyed winning!), but it was still easy. I think playability and balance both would be helped by adding a few more goals. If you did that, though, you might have to increase the number of invasions and the length of the game... and then the whole nature of the game would change. Fewer starting goods would also make it harder, but then also the game would probably have to be made longer. Balance: 3
The concept of the jugglers roaming around the map, and the necessity of keeping them alive is unique and what attracted me to this map in the first place. Creativity: 5
I thought the map design was good - I didn't think it was weak as you mentioned, Lord Blood Hawk! Lots of fine details with the landscaping. I noticed that walls can't be placed when the jugglers are very near - the first time through that led to some erratically placed walls as I rushed to put them down before the jugglers returned! Map Design: 4
The story was very good and set the scene nicely for the jugglers. Also included are the instructions for keeping the jugglers alive. Story/Instructions: 5
Altogether a fun map!
Recommended for new players, as they'll have the opportunity to build up troops and a basic economy without getting too frustrated :)
Recommended for experienced players, as they'll get a kick out of the wandering jugglers (and will probably try killing them off just to see what happens) :)