This map can be played in any team formation. I find it funest in a free for all, It is an unbalanced looking map if you look close at the river position but i made up for it in the oasis. A good way to get a advantage over your AI or Multiplayer enemies is to place archers or fire balistas on the hills surrounding the the fields of oasis.
P.S.- As always comments/ratings appreciated
---Updated: Added bridges to the middle and increased size of building area so all AI can function properly and redesigned the farmland.
Playability: 4 (Revised to 5!)
I can usually tell by looking at a map how playable it is. As far as the player is concerned, this map makes an excellent motte and bailey setup with only a few exposed buildings. The reason I don't give you a 5 is that the AI is pretty clueless; it follows a pre-set pattern.
That's not really your fault, but it's a fact that while most AI castles will fit no problem, some of the more intricate designs like the Pig and Wolf's castles will end up flundering due to poor AI strategy. This map is great for MP though.
EDIT: Excellent! You have made the motte larger for the AI, I see. All the more playable.
The way I see it, if one guy can build one more wheat farm than the other, I really could care less. Stronghold (Crusader) isn't very precise, and you got it generally equal, enough so that it is indeed balanced from a resource standpoint.
This type of map is fairly common, but your particular map is a welcome break from all those "bubbles over the sea" type maps (which are good, but I'm getting sick of them).
Map Design: 5
Very well planned and thought out. You can tell when the mapper struggled and worked out every little kink in the map. :)
It's hard to make a story for Skirmish maps. It really is a pain in the butt. However, you did meet this target IMHO when you gave instructions in the form of hints, instead of a storyline.
Excellent work. Please keep it up; I'm bored of the Skirmish maps I have! :D
[Edited on 07/27/06 @ 10:37 PM]
Posted on 08/02/06 @ 06:06 AM
Playability is good for AI's, and outstanding for multiplayer, for which its best suited. Stone and iron are easily defendable, and experienced players battle it out for a long time on this one. Best played as a free for all.
Symetrically speaking, the map is not balanced, but the resources are. And besides, when there's this much land available, it won't matter if one player has a little more than the other.
The concept of one player to a corner isn't a new one, but it's the little extras in terrain and the eyecandy that make this map stand out. I like the bridges in the middle with the never ending crows.
Map Design: 4
I liked it. Judging from the minimap the design looked a bit rudimentary, but when played actually looks quite polished and detailed. The shoals and bridges bottle-neck enough for a challenge, but not so constricting that sieging is impossible. The mott and baileys were a nice touch.
No story to speak of, but its not a requisite for crusader as far as I'm concerned. You gave a premise and instructions, which is good enough. Stories are always a nice addition that enhances any map though.
I think this is your best map to date.