I have been your advisor for decades, my lord. If I have ever misguided you, then behead me. But you know, just as I know, that I have played an important part in the growth of our castle town. You do remember how I sacrificed my best novice when defending you against the raiders when you were a yound child? Enough of this. There are more important matters I need to tell you.
As you know, many parts of Humeria, especially the Northern principalities, have relied on cheese and meat for centuries. However, the principalities on the fertile river valleys, like the ancient Kikun Chinick River valley, which have more space for apple orchards and wheat farms, have continously demanded that fruit and bread along with ale should be the main diet of the kingdom. It is quite obvious that their motives are quite selfish. They have wanted this for so long, that the High King has finally agreed to their requests and has sent the following letter to all the Five Guardian Kings of Humeria:
"By the order of the High King, the Great Unifier of Humeria and the Keeper of Peace, and the Royal Council of Humeria, the Land of the Five Guardian Kings and the Priviliged People of the Great Realm and its Great Golden Gods and the Divine Synod of the Holy Realm have announced the following Great Announcement:
There shalt be no more hunting of deer in Humeria.
There shalt be no more cow breeding and cheese production in Humeria.
Hunting is now officially outlawed and anyone caught hunting deer will be burnt at the stake. The same law applies to dairy farmers.
The Divine Synod of the Holy Realm has announced that the Great Golden Gods have accepted these new laws and anyone who has an opposing opinion will be burnt at the stake.
The Royal Council also demands a small tribute from each town (exluding river valley towns). Providing this tribute will serve as a show of loyalty.
The High King also wishes (read: demands) that every Guardian King would accompany him on a Great Banquet. The menu consists of venison, cheese soup and other luxury foods.
The new laws will be in effect after the High King's Great Banquet.
The High King of Humeria"
My lord, after we had our dairy farmers and hunters unemployed, we have had the following problems:
1. Four riots organized by disgruntled hunters.
2. Two riots organized by angry dairy farmers.
3. A majority of our people has moved to the nearest river valley town.
4. Many hunters have become poachers.
5. Your popularity has fallen.
Now, in order to pay the tribute, we will need to utilize the ancient little valley which we have always called "The Fertile Crescent". It is not as green as used to be, but we should be able to use it to produce the bread, ale and fruit we need. However, there's a problem. Bears and wolves block the valley and we can't send our farmers there as they would surely be eaten by the ferocious beasts. We should first equip some of our men with spears and then kill all the wild animals blocking the Fertile Crescent.
At the moment, it seems that there's a drunkard (a former hunter) slaughtering our peasants around the campfire! Hurry my lord, kill the drunkard before he kills our noble peasants! (you'll understand this sentence when you start playing ;-)
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Playability - 3 - While the start of this mission was fun once the wild animals had been killed it became far too easy and really stopped being fun.
Balance - 3 - While the instruction did state this was meant to be an easy mission I felt it didn't offer enough challenge for all but the most novice player, even attempting as I did to meet all the objectives at once (rather than just one which allows victory) I still had no problems at all at hard. Some slightly more challenging objectives would be more in keeping with the effort that went into the rest of the scenario.
Creativity - 4 - There were some very creative elements to this scenario, the story, the overall map and eye candy, the "drunkard" starting scene. The events and objectives though kept it from being a 5.
Map Design - 5 - Great map, certainly not "pretty" in the conventional sense but it was perfect for the story. There were lots of interesting features which all worked together to create an outstanding map.
Story/Instructions - Very well written, amusing and interesting story that sets up the whole map premise. Players should also make sure they look at the excellent readme (though I would skip reading the Hints section)
Playability: 3/5. This map has some great elements throughout, and I found this to be a very well done economic scenario overall. In terms of playability, it suffers slightly. The map is fantastic up until the wild animals are killed, as commented already. After that it loses it's way a little. Regardless of this, it's still an extremely well done map. Good fun too.
Balance: 4/5. Tricky. Those wild animals are a real pain, feeding your people even more of a trial, but get it right (took me a few attempts) and you can see what the author is trying to achieve. Initially hard, it does get easier but can easily go so wrong. Novel and interesting map.
Creativity: 5/5. This map oozes creativity. As an economic scenario it's one of the best I have played, without a doubt. There is a great deal about this map that is different and I have reviewed this after playing most (if not all) of the other maps Yoshi has produced. You feel as if you are transported to another world with the story. The simple idea of a once fertile land is well done, the map designed to support this. Strange and yet familiar. Difficult to put into words, I really do think you should play it to see what I mean!
Map Design: 5/5. What can you say about this map design to give it the credit it deserves? Sheer brilliance? Stunning idea transposed to perfection into Stronghold? Either way, the rendering is second to none. The map is certainly unique compared to most on offer here with an incredibly mysterious feel to it (see the stone circles features) and I really do think that the bleakness, the rugged feel to the map is brilliantly suited to the story. Beautifully done. The castle and features within (small fountain, walling) are simply breathtaking in their simplicity and the castle looks and feels believable. Absolute quality.
Story/Instructions: 5/5. As briefly touched on above, the story to accompany this is a lesson in itself in how to do it right. Yoshi really has created his own world and the story is strong, flowing and extremely well presented.
IN SUMMARY: Regardless of the rather easy ending, this map is so well done and is perfect for what it is. I love it, I really do. A great example of how to ensure the map links to the story, how the creativity and ideas compliments the map design and vice versa. Without a doubt, a recommended download. Essential, even.
I didn't like that this mission ended when you only completed one of the goals. It would have been much mroe interesting had the player needed to finish all of the goals. - Dianna