You’ll seldom find such well-playable and well-thought out maps like this one. You feel that this map has been finely tuned up and tested before publication. You’re allowed to develop both economically and militarily, being perfectly synchronized to the increasing invasions. Well done! Temporarily, you will notice some lack of food, especially during the periods of invasions , but if you’re clever you should get this evil under control.
Almost perfect! At the end, the final invasion might appear more dramatically than it is actually. None of the invaders succeeded in entering the courtyard after destroying one of the gatehouses. They all died through pitch fire and by hails of arrows. Finally, I was able to put most of the enemy catapults out of action, and that surprising reinforcements shortly before the last assault has been a welcome event. I admit that those annoying hostile macemen were regularly playing cat and mouse with me, and destroying my distant woodcutters’ huts, mines and quarries several times. At least, my dairy farms were spared destruction. All invasions start in the south from three different signposts, and each time the enemy is directing his attention to the main neuralgic points around the castle.
Sometimes you will find such kind of maps that are characterized by a special touch you can’t put into words. The convincing concept is crystal clear and I had much fun playing this extraordinary scenario. I liked those restricted trading options (wood, stone, iron), and I made good use of them from time to time. The designer is offering a hidden variety of playability you should use right away from the beginning, in order to manage all the tasks and to beat off the enemy.
Especially those sandy hills and stone fields in the eastern desert caught my fancy. Also this inaccessible tempting zone on the western side of the river is worth mentioning, because of its huge pitch resources that you can’t dig. The castle itself is a simple rectangular constructed fortress strengthened by a few towers and turrets guarding all directions, and protected by a deep moat surrounding the entire complex.
There’s no real story in the true sense of the word, but the author gives us a good description of the forthcoming invasions, and detailed hints/instructions inexperienced players could use in case they should fail.
Note: I just have to contradict the author. SH Crusader hasn’t got any various difficulty levels.
On the whole, I enjoyed playing this refreshing map by “artofmath”. Just have a try!