My first impression with this map was that it appeared to be in the wrong category.
You start the game with a completed castle, church, market place, apothecary , and 5 huts, 8 orchards and a farm, you also have 3 woodcutters and 2 pitch rigs immediately placed outside your castle wall, along with 2 quarries and 2 iron mines, a big stockpile containing a large supply of wood and stones. is situated on a
plateau near the quarry area.
2 tanners and 2 fletcher workshops are just outside your castle wall, along with 3 armouries containing 20 cross-bows and 20 leather armour.
Your castle and map has an immediate army of 8 mace-men, 20 cross-bow, 2 pike and 5 knights to protect it.
Having checked all this stuff out, I was a bit bemused as to what my role in this scenario would be, as there appeared very little for me to do, apparently, according to the story-line, I have to defend my ancient homeland and repel 4 evil men!!
A sign post has been placed at the top of the map, so will trouble arrive soon , I await the invasion!
Whist waiting for these scoundrels I decided to scout over the landscape.
The map is largely a large flat expanse of grass with a few bumps
(mid and high plane) placed here and there, at the top of the map
there is a waterway that divides two sections of mid plane
(a large bridge connects these two areas), drops down to the flatlands and then returns back up to the top of the map, scattered over the map are placements of wooded areas., no other foliage exists anywhere on the map, there are also large herds of deer roaming across the map area,but no other wildlife has been used.
The map lacks detail and looks unrealistic,this could have been improved by better use of the map editor , I feel the author should study a few of the maps in the download area to see how other mapmakers gain a realistic feel to their maps, also there are some good tutorials around that will also aid in mapmaking, many times a good story has been spoilt by a poor map design, and with some time and effort even a poor story would improve if the map looked good, especially knowing
that Stronghold has been around for a longish time, there is really little excuse for poorly designed maps.
The castle is adequate for this map, although of a strange design,
the author has also placed some nice eye-candy (the bridge and pyramid thinghy) but to me they just appear out of place in this environment.
As for the expected evil invaders, although a sign-post has been placed on the map, no scripting of actions has been associated with it, so it just sits there, maybe it's meant to be a piece of eye-candy?
I am sorry that I may appear quite harsh to this author, but I really do feel that it needs to be polished up a little better and then updated.
As I stated in the opening paragraph, I am not sure where this map should be, it appears to be half completed, although it can be used as a free-build, I don't really believe that this was the authors original intention, all I can say is I just don't get it!
I struggled to place this score,my first thought was to give it a 2, but I settled on a 3, although there is very little to do, you do have a lot of resources to enhance/rebuild your castle.
Far too easy for medium players,very little too do, but new players can experiment with this map.
This area is where this map lets itself down, the map has minimal design, far to many resources,the castle is fully functional from the start,and you could quite easily go out for an hour and let the game play along happily by itself.
Map Design: 2
A bland map, flat, with some bumps,a river and trees, may I respectifly suggest to the author to look at the map editor and use a few more of those items that it has to offer. Rocks,foilage,animals,land sculpting tools, they are all there and can and should be used.
Not much to go on short and sweet, but fails in it's description.
I haven't come across this author before,and I feel that they are new to game design, and maybe a little younger than I am (I may be wrong?),so I have scored a little on the high side on certain aspects of this game.
It would not take a lot of effort on the author's part to tweak and polish the game, as basically it could have potential to receive a better score. A little more time designing and playtesting, before submitting any game, does pay off when it comes to reviews,and you can always ask for someone to playtest your game(as many of us do)before submitting it.
This is far from the worst map I have seen or played, and some people may enjoy it, but for the average player their appears to be very little to be gained, even from being in the Free-build category.