|Dragon of C
After your last mission "the coastal Castle" the Pig escaped from captivity and now he´s looking for revange. Retreat back into the hills of your county and use a ruin of a old castle to defend your life and to support furthermore the kings long fight against the riots with money and food.
Beware of the Pigs troops - he will find you and they will surley try to kill you.
Have fun and let me know how you like that mission...
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This scenario takes on the format of a standard invasion with economic goals to achieve. The balance between defending against the attacks and meeting the win criteria was very good, with gameplay flipping between military and castle management with ease. The events were troublesome at times, and you should not neglect protecting against fires! Meeting 100% ale coverage as well as obtaining the necessary amount of ale in the stockpile was quite hard to achieve, but once the gold requirement was met (via taxation and selling all surplus stone), I could buy hops from the marketplace and put plenty of brewers to work. The scenario would have been more of a challenge without the ability to buy hops and would lead to the player making full use of the low terrain to place sufficient hop and wheat farms. With no time limits to meet all the win criteria, the scenario can be played at a steady pace and there's no need to play at a frantic pace. All in all, playability was above average: a good scenario, plenty to do throughout, decent invasions and a smooth scenario from start to finish with everything working as it should.
Whilst the map is quite a challenge (those economic goals are quite steep and you definitely need to 'think big' developing your castle), I did feel that the use of a win timer would have elevated the scenario into a different league. The relaxed approach one can take in this scenario meant that a bit of patience will result in a victory without too many concerns or worries along the way. As a result, however, Withdrawal in the Hills is a perfect map to play for those with little experience and is a great introduction to eco-vasion scenarios. The invasions were eventually stemmed by placing a few small towers and placing 10-12 crossbowmen in each, with several pikemen guarding the steps up to the top of the tower. Likewise, a reasonable collection of macemen placed near your iron ines will see off the attacks from the knights. The option is there to further wall-in parts of your land to the east of the river if you wish, although it isn't necessary. Despite these few problems, balance is generally very good across the whole scenario.
It would only be fair to say that this scenario concentrates on a tried and trusted method among a number of map makers. Invasion scenarios with economic goals are fairly common as they appeal to a number of players' preferences. Therefore, whilst this doesn't offer anything unique or new, Withdrawal In the Hills is a fine scenario in it's own right and is boosted by the fact that everything works as it is meant to. Some nice structures in the shape of the stockpile, granary and wooden-topped stone bridge are pleasing to the eye. A good effort by the designer.
Map Design: 3.5
Let's talk about the landscape first. Generally speaking, the terrain tools have been used well enough, although there are a few areas that would benefit from a little more time smoothing over rough edges and final polishing. The appearance of the landscape as a whole (i.e. viewed from either the minimap image or from afar during the game) does reveal an interesting terrain - it certainly isn't a boring landscape and many elements do look quite real. Some areas of marsh land were very good and just needed a little more plant life or rocks perhaps to make it jump out. However, this scenario's strong point is the functionality it displays. There is a decent enough walk to obtain iron and stone, and a further trek to obtain pitch (useful to either sell or to furnish your castle with hot oil engineers). The flat terrain needed for wheat, hop and apple farms however is quite limited given the size of the population you need to feed and the ale coverage/requirement. Good chunks of the landscape played a role in the scenario (rather than having large swathes of terrain that serve no purpose apart from looking good) and you will find yourself covering the majority of the landscape before you during the game. This I liked a great deal.
Sadly, this let the overall score down. The story is very limited and there is no real introduction to the scenario to compensate. You do have a few storylines to start you off but this map deserves to have a decent-sized story to draw the player in. Still, not a bad few lines per se.
This is a very pleasant scenario from start to finish. Many parts of the design reflect good quality and even after an hours' gameplay I was still occupied in meeting the win criteria. A very good attempt, with Balance and Map Design verging on a 4.0 score, but not quite there. Well done!
Was impressed how easy the mission plays. Future player should confine themselves to normal level - you're not in need then to tear down the very beautiful granary construction whose size is limited. But you must keep your population accordingly low.
On any level, gameplay will go on smoothly and consistently. Most items of economy are there. (Dragon of C doesn't seem to place value on requests for any fear factor.)