Sankt Marien Kreuzung (St Mary's Crossroads)
|Duke of York
Along the border regions of Westphalia and Saxony lie the ruins of St Mary’s Monastery. This once glorious complex was a thriving center of commerce and learning located at a strategic road crossing along the Lohne River. Sacked by pagans many years ago, it is now nothing more than a pile of rubble. His Majesty has dispatched you, Leopold of Carinthia, to this site to lay the foundations of a new city. The region is ripe with fertile soil and abundant game to support your budding population. Timber, stone and ore are plentiful in the nearby hills. Knowledge seeking monks will once again be drawn to chapels built from the beautiful white stone quarried here. With such good proximity to the crossroads and river, trade will flourish.
However, Henry, Duke of Saxony (the Wolf), has recently been stripped of his possession of Westphalia. He has protested that St Mary’s Crossroads lie within the borders of Saxony. He is not at all pleased that construction of this project is going forward. Rumor has it that the Wolf has allied himself with the King of Jutland and plans a revolt. You must be prepared to defend yourself in event this evil plan comes to fruition.
His Majesty has agreed to supply you with archers to bolster your defense in the event of an attack by Henry of Saxony. In return, he demands a shipment of gold, weapons and food be sent to the capital.
Leopold of Carinthia, if you succeed in accomplishing this mission, fame and fortune will be yours. If you fail, His Majesty will be sorely displeased and you would rather wish for death than endure his wrath.
20 Metal Armor
This is a ‘Place Your Own Keep’ invasion scenario. You have thirty game years to accomplish your objectives. You do not have the ability to build fletchers or buy bows. This scenario is designed for players of average skill levels. If you find one site for your keep is to easy, try another. The game will play differently depending on where you place your keep. As always, I hope you have as much fun playing this scenario as I have had creating it. I welcome constructive criticism and feedback.
Duke of York
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Here it is, the review for Sankt Marien Kreuzung, a spectacular place your own keep map from DoY. I have probably never spent so much time playing such a frustrating map, and yet, looking back, I rather enjoyed the challenge. This scenario is like playing three maps in one: an invasion, an economic, and a freebuild. It is brilliantly conceived and you can tell that the author put it an incredible amount of time and, most importantly, patience to produce such a wonderful product.
The first time I played, I got beaten in the first 5-7 years (the script is 30 years long) when a one-two punch of economic hinderences, such as plagues and wolves, and well timed invasions simultaneously knocked out my entire economy and army. But this map is about careful planning and patience--I knew I was in for a long haul when I downloaded this map. If you're not expecting the extreme learning curve, then you may be taken by surprise. Once learned however, this map becomes rather easy--as long as you don't give up and remember what to do at the right times.
St. Mary's Crossroads has that surprise factor when you first play it, so you're never bored and always have something to do; are always on your toes. At first, it seemed rather silly to have plagues, bandits, invasions, granary thefts, and every other kind of awful economic occurance happen in such short periods of time from each other (sometimes they would be just a month apart). It seems like you're perpetually cursed as horrible, horrible things keep happening to you--an interesting twist to say the least. But after finally beating it, it would make sense to have all those things happen, because anything else would be too easy.
The downside to beating this map, however, is that you MIGHT go, "boy, I hope I never have to play that again!" due to the huge learning curve, challenge, and length.
That's not to say it doesn't have replayability, it has loads of that. There are probably dozens of strategies you could employ, and since the map takes careful learning, it would be like playing a completely different scenario every time.
Difficult. Long. Multiple saves. All those words describe the difficulty of this map--I'm sure it's downright impossible to complete on Very Hard, and nearly impossible on Hard. Even easy will test you to the best of your abilities and frustrate you to no end. This may not sound appealing to anyone but the hardcore, but the only hard part (really) about the map is the learning curve, once that's down, you'll be able to breeze through the map on any given afternoon.
Now I was thinking about giving you a 4.5 for balance due to the difficulty, but after thinking it over, I came to the conclusion that all maps are made for certain audiences. Just like how you wouldn't read Chaucer to a class of first graders, this map really isn't meant for anyone but the master strategist and, above all, the patient.
Every event, from the invasions to the economic goals, are executed to perfection, and I am glad that I have played it.
However, you don't feel that way WHILE you're playing it. You feel like you're a little defeated, a little stupid, and just an overall bad player.
To phrase it differently--and more accurately--playing this scenario brings back all the good memories of playing the original campaign, and all the frustrations that came along with them. And THAT'S why I award the 5.
I'm not quite sure if a place your own keep map has been done to such an epic scale as Sankt Marien Kreuzung. Since these types of map are simply not my cup of tea, I don't often play them--frankly, they scare me. You never know what to do and when to do it. But everything, from the bits of eyecandy to the smallest rock seems to add to the map as a whole.
30 years is a huge amount of time, tons of room for margins of error, both on the player's side and the author's. DoY though has seamlessly created a gem that has no errors in the script and is still able to challenge the player to the extremes.
I give a 5 for creativity just because, overall, it's a beautifully well done scenario.
Map Design: 5
Oh how I grow weary of typing such long reviews. ; )
But I must press on!
I almost gave this a 4.0 because of the awkward looking rivers (they seem to turn around almost out of no where) which is a large chunk of the map. But once again, everything in this scenario was created with a purpose: the rivers were no different.
They offered defensive properties as well as hindered your own movement, I couldn't really imagine the map without the rivers, because they really played a pivotal role in how I had defended my castle. The little bridges were a nice touch as well, although they were mostly there for show methinks, as there were plenty of crossing areas.
Gathering stone is dangerous and takes a long time, but is needed for putting up your walls and your chapels. I was constantly putting gaurds on them to fend off enemy attackers, bears, and wolves alike. The stone and iron areas were put in tactical locations, so they couldn't be exploited too easily, another brilliant move. But, unlike the rivers, they actually looked natural--not to say the rivers themselves didn't look good. In fact they looked natural as well, but it was just those sudden turns and bends that irked me a little.
Also, the ruined castle looked fantastic.
Nothing much to say here, it had a hook, reeled you in, and voila: you're trying to desperately establish an outpost on St. Mary's Crossroads. Pretty straightforward, and the instructions were well defined as well. Perfect.
DoY, you made everything count here, so much so that any small detail that isn't perfect can be ignored in light of the whole thing. All I can say is good luck on your future endeavors and that I, and the rest of the community for that matter, look forward to them. : )