The year is 1294 AD. You, sir Adam Hotspur, have been assigned by king Edward to Aberystwyth Castle to prepare it, and its garrison, for the welsh rebellion that is sweeping all over Wales.
You father, Richard Hotspur, was killed in the welsh uprising of 1282 AD, leaving you fatherless. Since you were the oldest child to be born in your family, your mother, busy with taking care of you two younger sisters, sent you off to work as a page for the king himself. The king liked you, and you soon gained his favour, becoming one of his favourites.
And now, he has given you the honourable task of commanding one of Wales’, not to say Britain’s, greatest castles.
The castle itself is in good shape, but the garrison is too small to withstand a true siege, so it’s up to you to fortify it where needed and enlarge its garrison.. His majesty also requests that you send him some goods to pay for eventual costs in the coming war.
The leader of the rebellion, Madog ap Llywelyn (the Snake) is particularly interested in Aberystwyth castle, since it would give him the opportunity of commanding a well-fortified coastal castle, and will do anything he can to kick you off you feet.
Be ready, sir Adam. It’s time to prove that you’re really made of what the king thinks you are.
The terrain around Aberystwyth has long been recognised for its defensive advantages, and already in the Iron Ages, a hillfort was built atop one of the hills at Aberystwyth.
Another wooden castle, a Norman ringwork castle, was built in the early 12th century. This castle was sited along River Ystwyth.
It was the welsh leader Llywelyn the Great who first built a castle at the current site of Aberystwyth castle. However, even this castle in time became useless against the advances in weapons technology.
The final castle built at Aberystwyth was the by far most impressing one, although nowadays, few know of it.
The final castle was constructed in the late 13th century by king Edward I and his master architect, Master James of St. George.
In 1277, king Edward ordered the construction of several imposing castles in order to maintain peace in Wales, among these, it was Rhuddlan Castle, and Aberystwyth Castle that lead into the future of castle-building. Both Rhuddlan and Aberystwyth Castle were concentric castles.
In 1282, the still incomplete castle at Aberystwyth was burned by the welsh, but the building was soon resumed under the surveillance of Master James of St. George and later his associate, Mater Giles of St. George. The castle was finished in 1289.
In 1294, the castle was again attacked by the welsh, but this time proved to be invulnerable.
In 1404, the castle was again besieged, and this time captured, by the welsh under the leadership of Owain Glyndwr, but was soon recaptured by the English. At this time however, the castle had already lost it’s importance.
Today very little of Aberystwyth Castle remains. Much of the decay was caused by the sea itself, and other by Oliver Cromwell’s slighting during the Civil War.
Since not much of the castle remains today, this once so imposing structure is often forgotten in favour of its better preserved sisters to the North, as Beaumaris or Harlech.
The Authors Notes
This map takes place during the siege of 1294, but is more of an eco-vasion, rather than a true siege.
When I reconstructed the castle I worked from three sources of information: aerial photographs of the ruins of the castle, and two reconstructive drawings found on the net. Too bad, these two pictures were actually a bit contradictory, so I mixed facts from all the sources, and added a little imagination. This is perhaps not 100% true to what Aberystwyth Castle would have looked like in 1294, but it should give you a close hint of what the castle really looked like.
As for the landscape, I (for once) worked from what the landscape really looks like at Aberystwyth. Note that landscape isn’t 100% accurate either, but it shows just about how it looks around Aberystwyth (for example, none of the two small streams exist), smooth-rolling hills, and a large area of level ground just outside the castle (were the town of Aberystwyth was, and is).
The map may be played at any difficulty, but Hard is advised for a real challenge.
Hope you enjoy it, Jasper Tudor
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
The map was extremely fun to play. I enjoyed it immensely.
The economic challenges for iron and armor took the whole time limit but the invasions were a little too easy
The castle was done rather nicely. The differnt wall levels were cool.
Map Design: 5
My favorite part of the map is the design of the forest and the rock formations.
Gave a idea of what was happening and history of the castle.
Overall a great map. Recommended for all players. Keep on designing them.
This map was a wonder to play, it was very fun and entertaining, and didnt bore me like similar eco-vasion maps, there was always something to do.
Balance wasnt an issue in this map, good job.
The castle was very creative and looked cool. Nice custom towers and interesting ramparts...
The only thing that really set me off was that you didn't attempt to cover the messed up walls with rocks or hills, where they don't follow a continuous line. Also 1 tower is messed up so you can see thru it, but other than that great job on it.
Map Design: 3
Personally, the map was kind of bla, next time maybe add some more natural rock formations, not just rocks lying flatly on top of a plateau. Try some gently sloping rocks mixed with some shrubs and larger rocks for a better effect. Also, when making forests, try to add more shrubs and deer to add for a more interesting look. In this one though, not any deer because of the bears.
Nice story, but it lacked the true power of a 5. But otherwise a good job here.
-Great Castle, only minor problems
-Excellent Playability, it was very addicting, one of the very few that I said "I gotta finish this map!" :)
-Played without the bailey...Ah! Much Better!
-Lord Iluvatar Ambarenya Earendil
[Edited on 12/08/05 @ 09:45 PM]
The earliest records date lead mining around Aberystwyth Castle as early as 1301. However, the castles on the coast of Wales were mainly built and used to 'shock and awe' the Welsh into submission (which didnt work). The castles (like Aberystwyth Castle) were also used to protect the king and other VIPs when they visited Wales. The Welsh sieged the castles frequently, but usually gave up or fled when reinforcements drew near or during harvest. These coastal castles were built using the newest siege technology of the day. They were used to protect important sea routes and ports, and were blockaded by welsh ships from time to time. I dont believe that the lead mining was as extensive as it is represented on this map. I also think that the english would just wait out attacks inside, and wouldnt risk men on protecting the mines or other nonsense like ale brewing.
The castle looks like it was a serious headache to build with the elevated ground. But this hard work doesnt seem to pay off in playability. I found myself deleting alot of the stone, and making my own new entrances. The starting gates into the thing are not as defensible as they look and it seems to be a real problem to defend a spread out or flanking attack. You also can buy crossbows and leather, so you can get 50 crossbowmen in each tower if you want.
The stength of the invasions are not realistic because the welsh didnt siege castles with armored horse. The english may have had a small group of cavalry stationed at Aberystwyth Castle during this time (10 or fewer), and probably only for ceremonial purposes (king visits and jousts)
The castle is meticulously designed from a aerial view map. It gets a five because of the hard work and effort to recreate the castle during its glory days of the 13th century.
Map Design: 3
The write up states to delete parts of the castle! WHY? Why not go in and make it work with your original plan of eco-vasion. I dont like how the castle works when defending. Getting hops grown and harvested, 45 iron, and thousands of gold to meet the high goals takes too much time. Other people may disagree with me on this.
Alot of work went into the details of the castle. Almost a whole history of the area! Since I study history, I dont mind extra details and facts. Others may find it long and boring.
A weak "Thumbs Up" for the historical significance of the castle, and for the effort on getting the castle to look like the original from the aerial view.
[Edited on 12/10/05 @ 03:29 AM]
Before Aberystwyth Castle was submitted to Stronghold Heaven Jasper gave the SHH community the opportunity to play test his creation so to iron out any problems. An excellent idea and one that I personally recommend, but unfortunately for me I didn’t play an updated version of Aberystwyth Castle, I didn’t even play a map with significant tweaks that would set apart the 2 versions. No, what I played was but a clone of what I played in my play test. Should I be disappointed? I guess so. Although I only mentioned a couple of pointers, there were 2 other play testers to gather knowledge from, but it seems Jasper was content to stick with original version.
The burning question: Is Aberystwyth Castle an ok, good, great or barn storming map?
You could poll 50 different people and I think the results would be pretty stretched. For me I firmly rest it in the ‘good’ category in the poll. Why? It’s better than just good!
Map design – 3
Balance - 4
Creativity - 3
Story – 4
Playability - 4
I just felt when I played this map there wasn’t enough character in map design and creativity for me to get totally involved, this therefore reflects the score given. I can appreciate the historic view points and the effort put in, in terms of recreating the landscape, but even i found this to be a bit unnatural looking. The biggest plus from this map for me is the fact it did offer a solid Stronghold experience when it came to game play, but yet it wasn't 100% convincing.
Don’t get me wrong, I think this map shows Jasper as a promising map maker. I just don’t think this map is better than some of the others I’ve played since being part of the Stronghold Heaven community. I’ve no doubt Jasper will produce bigger and better maps in the days and months to come. Hope to see other work soon. Andy