Dazzling fire is in front of your face. Another Quarry burst in flames. An idiot dives in the marsh to save himself not realizing that he dove in to oil. The fire spread along right to it. It lit. Who knows what transpired today. Could've been the lightning that struck or a slave with a torch. You wipe the sweat of your brow and heave a heavy sigh. Increasing border patrol skirmishes happen everyday and it's been harder and harder to control the iron and stone on the cliffs. But as long as you draw breath it will be defended.
Shouts erupt as you see his troops climb up the cliff to the mines. "Charge!" each of your soldiers runs down the hill towards the enemy. Black shafted arrows wiz back and forth. Then the battleline is formed. A bloody melée. You dodge a swordman and cleave a line through his chest. Useless Arabs you think to yourself. You kill another and you see your men likewise. You gain the upper hand and the mercenaries plead with you but you give no quarter.
This happens everyday.Your soldiers are weary and their morale low from the marches. You must finish this soon or your enemy will finish you!
A hard map to rate, but I'll gladly do it, so here goes:
I played against Saladin, and found playability is very bad against AI. I imagine it would be much better against a human opponent (most skirmish maps are), so I'll also consider that. Progress VERY slow going. Not necessarily a bad thing, as some patient players enjoy long drawn out battles. However, because of sheer volume of marsh, most will find the map frustratingly slow. You could decrease map size, or marsh volume, but adding more land and players would be the easiest thing to do.
So much marsh aside, I loved the balance. It's a symetry map, but seems more like a naturally random layout when played - it's not often that happens. Good balance of resources, everything you need is there in decent proportions. I like the fact you have to move across the marshes to defend your stone, iron, and extra wood. And if one resource location is lost, there's always the other.
Showed good creativity. Attempting a map like this is different and daring, and map design can stagnate when one does not attempt to push the limits of design. Good job
Map Design: 3
As mentioned before, I liked how you must defend your resources, but the map is simply too large and marshy for just 2 players. A little more terrain could enhance the expanses of marsh too. A great example of this is the map entitled "The plains of Atum", the 32nd map in the crusader trail that comes with the game.
I really like it. Entertaining, you can really envision the perils of existing in this bog!
I hope you didn't find this too critical, just a little helpful...I enjoyed the strategic aspects, but simply too large for 2 players. This is something I learned early on when I too, made my first map as a 400x400 slow-going for 2 players. It didn't get many downloads. It wasn't even rated! The last two maps you made look great. I look forward to playing them.