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Monastery Nileshire

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Map Size: 200x200 (Small)
I've made this wooden Monastery to add to my Monk-Fortress Collection (Which is currently consisting of 2 maps, the other one is impossible to beat, so I won't post it). This is based on the shores of england, and I think it was originally going to be a Viking attack on the castle, but I couldn't change the year, so now Vikings are "Raiders from Central Europe". The Castle is quite high up so I think you should Rotate the Map Twice in order to see the full fortress.

I've used Wooden Platforms as a for of Walls.

Last Time I checked it was:
Attacking: Medium
Defending: Medium,

But I'm not entirely sure,
please post your comments.
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Map Design2.0
Has been a while since I have done this so bear with me.

Monastery Nileshire is one of the many submissions by a new designer to break upon the scene, Skullus. Unfortunately, the author tends to overshadow any one map by submitting so many to choose from at once. I found this map to be a nice concept that showed a genuine understanding for map design and a knack for conveying scenario ideas into an SH configuration.

Playability : 3
The map is delightfully playable. A religious sanctuary under military attack. This is not a new theme but the author has been faithful to keep each group realistic in their respective abilities. What is also interesting is one side having no ballistic support (i.e.: archers, ballista, mangonels and crossbows). When attacking, I defeated the monastery on my first attempt. Playing at the HARD level of difficulty, I concentrated my attacks on each successive gatehouse. Upon breaching the inner ward, I made a B-line for the Keep and quickly cut down the unarmored defenders. When the scenario ended, I had lost 60% of my troops. Truthfully, practically all of the inner wards ballistic units had survived and were raining hellfire upon my men. However, as I was not forced to eliminate these units, they were bypassed, their commander killed and their cause lost.

Defending Nileshire I again opted to play at the HARD level of difficulty. The first serious line of defense you have is an outer wooden palisade. I ordered 25 archers at a time atop this palisade’s two wooden gatehouses and ensured that all were moving towards their destination before the game registered that the gatehouses were full. I ended up with all 75 archers, 8 crossbows and one oil engineer upon the two gatehouses that allowed access to the middle bailey of the monastery. Every one of these units was set to an aggressive stance. My next move was to order all fighting monk units, (70+ ), to the outer bailey between the afore mentioned gatehouses and a preliminary moated defense. This moat was punctuated by what I can only describe as monastic gatehouses. These are more of a facade of security as they were quickly breached. By the time they had fallen, I had moved my “standing army” of monks to the western flank of the enemies first assault line and set them to a defensive stance. This first assault line was primarily made up of pikemen and was a scattered attack by several groups at once rather than one large cohesive unit. I thought the AI was having trouble and went for the kill. I selected all of my monks and moved them towards the enemy units comprising the westernmost flank of this first assault line. Instead of ordering them all to attack one pikeman at a time, I ordered them to a point directly behind the nearest dozen or so enemy units. As my many monks marched towards them and made contact, I repeatedly ordered smaller bands of units that had not yet made contact to double time it to the same location behind the enemy pikemen as before. The enemies flank was soon overwhelmed and I steadily advanced my force towards the enemy center. I then realized the AI’s ruse. My masses of ballistic units had split up their fire at the many pikemen spread out along this first line of assault. Meanwhile, the AI had launched all of its swordsman at my two gatehouses full of archers. Although I had destroyed the western third of the enemy line, I was forced to withdraw my monks, losing some along the retreat, to cover the gates. The oil engineer set to an aggressive stance launched his oil perfectly and burnt many of the attacking swordsman. However, the first gatehouse was breached and half of my archers fell to ground level. Enough time had been bought and between my 50+ remaining monks and these many archers, the swordsmen and the enemies back were broken. At this point with there western flank and center destroyed the enemy was finished. What few strong points this force still had were defeated by my 30+ remaining monks. Their advance covered by my archers who never again came under threat. Surprisingly, my troops suffered losses of less than 25%

Balance: 3
This map is listed as an attacking and a defending siege and operates effectively at both. In other words, the win and loss criteria work and the AI makes a concerted effort when attacking. When the AI is defending, none of the fighting monks have been set to the correct stance of at least defensive and simply stand around waiting to be overrun. Since the ballistic units can be bypassed, as mentioned above, the map is very weak when I played as the attacker. I felt that mixing in some spearmen with the monks would have given the defending force a little more variety and not detracted from the overall Spartan feel the author intended for the monastery. The ballistics units are a believable force of masses of light archers but sensibly few crossbow men. The one engineer if used correctly is the only one you need. I liked the armored attackers lack of ballistics and considering the AI will also bypass the defending archers to get to the Keep, having bowmen to attack with is certainly not necessary. Siege equipment would most definitely be overkill due to the monasteries light defenses. Due to my more advanced fighting tactics, I have to be fair and consider that less experienced players may find the balance of forces much more challenging when defending NileShire hence the rating of 3. For more advanced players the map will give little trouble. Either force can defeat the other in respect to balance. Two opposing armies comprised of very different troop types. When used correctly, either side can easily defeat the other. Overall, average fare in this category. Many good ideas but much more finesse and attention to detail would have made this map a much more engaging experience. Here is an example of what I mean. Placing some good things in the monastery would have given the defending troops a combat bonus. This would have made things more interesting and this detail could be worked into the storyline, why do they have a combat bonus? Does the monastery have a secret they are sworn to defend? Again, just an example of what you can do to offer the down loader a richer map.

Creativity: 3.5
Some nice work here. Skullus has made a wooden palisade with a large wall walk. Wooden platforms minus their stairs have been expertly used to produce, as far as wooden defenses go, a very strong wall with 200 hit points along its entire length. The monastic gatehouses are a nice touch and allow for the AI to make defending Nileshire against it quite fun for all levels of players. The author opted to make a monastery with a very medieval feel as if the wooden defenses are what provided the haven on which the monastery was built. Was it once and old abandoned Roman fort the monks simply inhabited? Or a peaceful religious sanctuary that built the defenses in response to a previous threat or attack. Again, I am trying to show how your storyline and your map go hand and hand and how an author can use them to complement each other. Terrain creativity is at best average, a beach, a stream running from a waterfall to the sea, a forest, a swamp. Many ideas but none very well fleshed out. I felt that the small map size also limited these features from becoming much. The center of the map appears to have banned creativity all together. With the rest of the map showing at least some thought, I found this stark contrast kind of odd. Overall, a solid initial attempt at map making. Ideas abound, some more detailed and thought through than others. For a first map, definitely better than average. I just felt that too many ideas lacked any real concerted effort To give a full 4.

Map Design: 2
Disappointing considering the author obviously understands fully how to use the editor. The Monastery itself is nicely done using some well mastered intermediate level eye candy tricks. Although a fighting religious building is by no means an original idea it is not as common as many other map types. Monastery Nileshire is a decent attempt at this theme. Limiting access points to gates was a death knell for the maps replay ability. Nice use of elevation in the monastery but the walls and elevation changes should have been masked with rocks, shrubs and other fine details. The maps design is fundamentally sound but a complete lack of detail is sorely apparent. This is in regards to the map terrain more than the monastery which, in its design aspect, is average other than the previously mentioned access issues. Brevity in effort in this category led to a brevity in my review of this category.

Story/Instructions: 2.5
A brief story and some instruction on how to play the map is included here. Monastery Nileshire is straight forward so that is all you will really need to play. A small history to accompany the short story is included in the editor and shows an average effort here. In my book really only a 2 has been merited in this category. However, compared to the average storyline being put out there these days. . . . Again, a scant effort brings a scant review.

This is an honest, solid first attempt at map making. Of Skullus’s first submission block, Monastery Nileshire is good for a couple of hours of decent if somewhat easy entertainment.


[Edited on 04/09/07 @ 03:18 AM]

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Map Design2.0
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