This is my first free build, set near a river in a hilly, foresty area. Build the town or castle of your dreams here. This map has everything you need to do so.
Please let me know what you think of it.
Special thanks to Lord Muck for testing.
I have just updated it with aubergine's suggestions and a signpost for the new patch. I also added a story.
This is a well thought out map making good use of terrain but retaining enough flat plain to allow you to build a truly great castle.
With limited stone resources, you have to plan more carefully than the average free build. The river feature creates some great atmosphere as it forces your workers to travel to one of the crossings ensuring a good spread of movement around the map. Tha signpost allows you to launch attacks, barbarians and archer allies and other new features of the 1.2 patch for SH allow you to get travelling fairs, jesters and disasters such as fire, etc.
This rating isn't applicable to free build maps. It is now! By using the signpost to conjure up attacking armies, you can get some truly awesome battles going on in this map. The AI splits the attacking armies out so that they cover two main areas of the map from where they then attack all three river crossings making this map quite challenging even though you can build up your troops before requesting a siege.
The waterfall, river and estuary are to die for. This map also features the best marsh area I've ever seen - it's one of the most natural looking things I've ever seen on a map! The quarry really is a quarry (rather than just a pile of stone on the ground) and the iron pits are a really nice feature.
Map Design: 4
A good balance here between flat farmland and mountains, etc. The marsh area really is the best terrain I've ever seen on any map. I only have one comment in ralation to the waterfall - it would look better if the edge-of-map tiles were not water as you get the unsightly "map edge water fall" effect when viewed from certain angles.
Story / Instructions: 4
The opening statement is short but inspiring. You are instructed to build on lands which the King has recently captured from the barbarians.
There is a little too much wildlife on the terrain around the waterfall. Sometimes the hunters (if you have too many) can get confused because they try to get to the inaccessible deer. To build on the waterfall, place a tower then build steps to it, then delete the tower.
If for no other reason, download this map to see the wonderful marsh area.