Economic map. 400 x 400.
The year is 1070 and Lord Gowen is dead. Before even rigor mortis can set in Gowen's body, Duke Heldren and a contingent of his men ride hard to the Gowen Hold...
Duke Heldren, ahh, now he's a fine one... himself a master of four holds purportedly ceded to him through nefarious means... he was oft times heard, though no one can substantiate the claim, to have professed himself Lord Gowen's dearest supporter... his most ardent friend even... one might well seek an answer as to how these rumors got about but suffice it to say that even Lord Gowen himself, had he still been in such a state of mind as that which is required to answer a question of this magnitude, would be hard put to do just that...
Despite Heldren's haste, he arrives at Gowen Hold shortly after the Royal Inquestors. Frustrated is the least of what he feels right now but patience, having twined itself to him as a bedfellow, serves him well once again as he settles himself in to wait out the investigation... meanwhile...
Long has been the contention between Duke Heldren and Duke Guillem...
Guillem soon learns that Heldren has ensconced himself at Gowen Hold... of more note is the fact that Heldren is none too pleased with the bandying about of a particular name... that being Gowen's Ridge... Heldren's up to something... Guillem, believing Gowen Hold has no legitimate heirs, makes with all speed for the Royal City to beg an audience with the Crown Regent...
Gowen Hold, a small province with three districts... Gowen's Ridge is one of the three districts located off a coast... an area heretofore left alone... this nondescript region has now become the center piece in a powerful game that stretches to the very crown itself!
Lyulf... his Lady mother was sent to Montfort Hold while he was yet a babe in her womb... he knows next to nothing of his mother's past nor of his father... what little he has been able to glean has given him a healthly distaste for the word bastard... young Lyulf, to all intents and purposes, grew up with more advantages accorded one of his birth... something he knows he owes entirely to his mother... she who is called Lady but is snickered at behind her back... she of such an indomitable spirit that she willingly chose to endure this shame rather than leave her son... his Lady mother , Audrina... yes, it was she who made sure Lyulf received a well-rounded education... it was she who made sure Lyulf learned how to manage an estate... it was she who made sure Lyulf progressed in the ranks from page to squire to recently to Knight... she was the hammer that drove him... that made him into what he is today... four shared the Lady Audrina's secret and out of the four, only two are alive today...
Guillem arrives at court and has been granted an audience with Regent Boughfield... Boughfield, having been previously instructed by the King as to how to handle the situation, listens attentively to Guillem's complaint and proposal... what Guillem proposes would indeed put him in a prodigious position but alas Boughfield cuts the meeting short... he thanks Guillem for his concern and explains that he can best serve the crown by helping to prepare Gowen's Ridge for it's heir apparent... The flabbergasted Duke has no choice but to acquiesce...
the Lady Audrina receives a Royal Missive concerning Lyulf... one that she has been awaiting for many years... she chuckles...
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Gowens Ridge is a classic “place-your-keep” scenario. The author gives you a very free hand to build up and to develop your colony right from the scratch. A good deal of imagination and tactical skill is required to manage this seemingly unspectacular map. I personally experienced lots of fun and challenge, though I don’t believe that it would be playable successfully on “very hard”. Even on “normal” you’ll have a hard time to achieve all demanded goals with regard to the time limit breathing down your neck.
The earlier you’ll get the southern iron deposits and these sleeping and lurking wolves under control, the better will be your chance to be victorious at the end. That’s quite possible to restart several times until you will find out both an effective building sequence and a suitable method to get rid of these annoying wolves.
You have to deal with a fine eco-map rich of substance representing a well-tuned concept that really “bites”. In my opinion, map design is the weakest part of a superb map. It’s a solid work, but some areas look unnatural or clumsy like the northern plateaus and other elevations. The stone deposits have also an artificial effect on me. Besides, with regard to the objectives you are forced to colonize the eastern half of the map, while the western wild regions don’t play any part in this scenario and remain nearly “untouched”.
There aren’t any special features or characteristic highlights on this map apart from a small landing stage located at the northern coast.
The author “dgenese” created an entertaining and vivid story, written up imaginatively and impressing by its easy and fresh style. Because of that you never can stop reading on – simply excellent!
Don’t miss this fine and challenging map, it’s worth a try (or two)!
Map Design: 4
Cool map. The creator doesn't force you to handle it the way he wants it to be played (it's highly annoying when map creators do that) and it's a very challenging map, without having the sense you're up against a flood of disasters.