Posted on 02/07/07 @ 12:32 PM (updated 02/09/07
North to Cramalakh
With the death of Leigur, King of Camralakh, his great empire collapsed. It rapidly disintegrated into several petty kingdoms; Galadan, Milus, Cardil & Elarun. Foreign invaders took advantage of Camralakh’s disunity. Cardil, north of Camralakh was the first kingdom to be invaded by the Nuberakhs lead by emperor Gibre Kar.
Elarun & Galadan:
The citadel of Elarun was heavily fortified and it’s high walls made sieges difficult. As hard as they tried the emperor Gibre Kar’s army could not break into the citadel. Then he decided to lay siege to the fort. The seige was a long drawn one and gradually supplies within the fort were depleted. Finally orders were given to the Elaruns to open the gates and fight to finish with the besieging troops. Eventually the Elaruns were overthrown. In the following years invasions grew and Camralakh began to feel the full force of the Nuberakhs’ invasions. This was a period replete with campaigns. The refusal of the two Kingdoms of the Galadan and the Milus to unite in face of the Nuberakh invasion led to the Fall of Camralakh to the Nuberakhs. In spite of the Nuberakh rule up to Camralakh, the Galadans slowly gained control of southern Cremalak. The Galadans who held the stage of feudal rulers before the coming of the Nuberakhs were a brave and chivalrous race. The valiant Galadan leader, Jodar defiantly held up the banner of Galadan independence in face of overwhelmingly powerful alien attacks. He was an astute ruler and ruled most of western Camralakh. He stoutly defended his castle from further Nuberakhs incursions.The Cramalakh’s legend traces their ancestry to Ishali Leigur - the legendary founder of the race who is said to have lived in the 8th century.
The Cramalakhs who till the 10th century were mostly local feudal lords holding the status of revenue collectors for their Dahir overlords, asserted themselves as independent rulers, after the Kalamar storm had blown over, and took over the earlier kingdoms of the Parunda and Nurbuk.
Milus had a strong economy. Birkale, the ruler of Milus and his army gave earnest chase and in the resultant string of battles. In Birkale's days, a rival Cramalakhs clan had established itself in Sorus, east Milus. The ruler there was Nimunith Parlis. Parlis was a romantic, chivalrous and an extremely fearless person. After ceaseless military campaigns, Parlis extended his original kingdom of Sorus. The kingdom stretched up to the domain of emperor Gibre Kar. The clash was inevitable. Even though renegade Milu soldiers fought against Birkale, the citadel of Milus was never captured.
Hisar: North to Camralakh
Although Jodar & Birkale were not able to thwart the Neburakhs successfully, the saga of Camralakh’s resistance continued to preserve the independence of Cremalak from the invaders. In the period from 1315 to 1320 there was a gradual reclaiming of all parts of Cremalak ruled over by the Nuberakhs. And in 1326 attacked Gibre Kar’s capital Hisar defeating the haughty emperor.
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I am reviewing this four maps mappack in a single review but will explain my thoughts for each map in particular where I feel the need. Fortunately, all four maps have similar quality, so the overall score can also be considered the score for each of the 4 scenarios. Each of the map has a name: Map1 - Cardil; Map2 - Galadan; Map3 - Milus; Map4 - Hisar
The gameplay was absolutely great in every map. There were crucial moments, economy choices and overwhelming invasions over the player, but also the need of tricky tactics and good use of the brain.
I Cardil: A very good PYOK Crusader map is rarely made and this is a nice example of quality. The map has more economy choices than the rest of 3 maps, but that's why it gives a special feeling in the first place. As the time passes, player's village grows bigger and bigger, any mistake against the incoming invasions or events can take out careless players. High re playability.
II Galadan: This is an usual defending-invasion scenario with few economical choices for the player. The desert around the big castle is poor, few resources are coming to the stockpile and defending against dozens of Horse Archers is harder. Yet again the economy requires attention, there are periodical thefts from the granary and the castle must work at its best to hire archers. All of this challenge gives the fun of defending the beautiful round fortress.
III Milus: Milus, as the author did not forget to mention, has at its disposal large areas of productive oases and resources which will certainly give the player the upperhand. It's an easier map than the rest, but the joy of playing it is still high. Here is the illusion that the economy is easy to manage, but losing the map will prove anyone who thought that - he's wrong. Bread production must be taken to high levels and a good market managing will keep the player plenty busy.
IV Hisar: An epic end of the mappack, Hisar features a strong fortress being sieged by the player. The castle has more entrances, which makes the map more playable and fun to play. Despite this time there are no economy choices, the player has to be always with the look upon the game and small mistakes may take out crucial troops. In my opinion this is was the most entertaining map in the pack, but all of them had an awesome playability.
The balance is the reason for not giving a perfect 5 in the review. Although all maps were time-consuming to play and win, only Hisar, the fourth map was close to perfect difficulty. More exactly, all maps had gameplay gaps and issues which made them a bit easier, and I am NOT refering to destroying & selling the walls/stones.
Doing a parallel note about the selling stones issue, I did not use that in my favor. The author admitted it's presence and just asked the players not to use it in his favor if he wants the fun to stay, but still, In my opinion it should have been fixed (by disabling the stone-trade) as a part of people who will play the maps (more or less) will use it. In a very small part, the balance score is not a 5 because the presence of this issue - despite I haven't used it, but it can be called a winnable strategy. However, let me detail every map and I will point out every aspect which kept me from not giving the perfect score.
I Cardil: As a respectable PYOK, choosing the starting position is absolutely crucial and important for the times which will follow. In my view the player should place his keep on flat land, as the sand hills might create trouble for the future buildings, and the map needs a considerable developed economy with bread production and weaponry production, for both melee and missile. I admit however, choosing the sand hills as a start can have two small advantages compared when you're on flat land: The fire will spread slower as the buildings will tend to be more distanced; And more iron incoming. This was the only scenario from the mappack on which I lost - once. I completely forgot about water pots in case of a fire, and about in the middle of the game a huge fire started, affecting all buildings within seconds; Had no chance to recover so I restarted. (all the other maps were won in the first try, harder or easier)
II Galadan: The player holds a big round castle in the middle of the map - nothing could go worse, as there are multiple sides from which the invasions can and will arrive AND the player only has a hand of troops compared with the enemy attacks with many zeros (I mean, hundreds, lol). This is the map with the highest chance of using the selling stones issue I spoke earlier, however it is not that hard playing it "normal" either. The economy options are few and there are only a couple of buildings all over the castle and the castle's population is also low. Producing as much gold as possible for hiring troops is highly required.
Untill the last scenario moments, invasions are coming from a corner only, and certain troops can be concentrated in that direction, lowering the eventual losses; The last strike against the player however is occurring from 3 sides so what are the chances/choices to win? When I saw what was going on, I knew I had no chance at all and had to chose the salvation-tactic. I gathered all troops and archers to the keep: The over 100 archers (arabian and european) kept away the incoming (horse)archers and significantly damaged the arabian swordsmen; 50 Slingers were cleaning everything around the keep, and when 1-2 swordsmen managed to get upon the keep, they died instanly by my own swordsmen. This was a way better tactic to handle the final attacks, even If I had to destroy all wooden buildings and leave the walls empty. Overall, the map was difficult but the first invasions were a bit too easy.
III Milus: The second defending-invasion map, but completely different in gameplay. This map has a huge economy potential and with the resources used properly, the enemy has little chances to win the game. As the author sais it, the player has the upperhand. The castle shape is weird but beautifull, made only out of walls, yet the player is allowed to build towers. There is plenty of farming space for a strong bread production, a lot of gold can get out of it then. The availability of shields however makes the map a bit easier than it should, having the height advantage of towers would have been enough in my opinion. That however doesn't make the map too easy, a good use of fire throwers is also needed, for the many arabian swordsmen who attack the gates and walls.
IV Hisar: In this case I think, suraj kept the best for last. In my opinion this is the best map in the pack, I enjoyed a lot sieging the castle and I found it quite tricky too. The enemy castle is fulfilled by arabian archers at godly heights, plus some diehard fire throwers due to a shield in front of them ; Fortunately the player has plenty of archers, crossbows, and 30 shields. Fire traps are present in the way to the first gate - incautious/rushed players would instantly lose half of their army in it. Even when breaching in the castle, many swordsmen set on aggressive are waiting. It takes some time to figure the winning strategy - it's not so hard or not too easy, I think it's very well balanced but not perfect.
All maps have similar & general points when talking about creativity. We could mention the following in the map designs:
- Original desert terrain. Sand dunes are realistically shaped.
- Original castles. Creating a structure that looks realistic and beautiful is not easy and sometimes it takes a lot more effort than just re-creating a historical stronghold.
From the story we can mention:
- Original ideas and author did it with his own brain.
MAP DESIGN: 5
The terrain and structures made by surajsubba are just incredible. Even the minimaps themselves are masterpieces. Basically all the scenarios are featuring a poor desert, eventually some oases(I;III) and castles (II;III;IV) to defend or attack. But the way the author designed everything is purely breathtaking, the maps could be even submitted as eye-candies. The desert made out of sand dunes - which are looking like the wind itself shaped them - is just amazing, and he did that four times! The sav-to-map trick is used to create brilliant-looking custom farms, a time-consuming work for sure. In the end, the big sized strongholds are something unique and spectacular.
All maps had a well-written story and some paragraphs for two of the castles created. In another document, as instructions, the author mentioned his opinions and strategies for the maps. A very good work therefore.