Battle of two brothers *updated*
Posted on 07/29/08 @ 01:24 PM (updated 07/31/08
This is my second map. I tried to improve my skills at map designing. I set it on normal, but that's just my opinion on the map,I'm not a very good player, but I tried to balance the attacking and defending. I wrote a small story that goes with the map. Sorry for my spelling mistakes, I tried to fix them, but I don't know if I managed to correct them all.
Maybe I will make a pack of siege and invasion maps for this story , I have the scenarios planned all in my head, I just have to sort them out on paper.
Battle of two brothers
You, Sir Bard, was born on the 24 of August in the year of our Lord 1240. At birth the queen, your mother, died and you were raised by your father, the king Buardus. You had a older brother by the name of Sir Voulan.
As the king's son you lived in the keep with your personal guards, who protected you. The castle was a costal city built on a cliff. The castle was well known of it's defences, the gate was breached only once, by your own father who sieged it. The castle was previously owned by a barbarian warlord, who raided these lands many years ago. Your father brang the castle to it's glory by peaceful trading and aiding the allies at battles, he was respected by all, allies and foes. Your father was smart and whise, so he ordered the peasents to change the route of the river and make it go around the castle so now the enemy has to use a frontal attack.
As you grew, you became your father's favourite child and the kingdom knew you as a brave and whise person at the age of only 16. Sir Voulan was furious, when he heard that father is going to leave everything to you, so he hired assasins to kill you, but the plan failed as your guards captured one of the assasins who confesed that the order came from your brother. When your father heard of this he banished Sir Voulan from the kingdom.
One sunny morning, in the year 1263, you father went to the forest to hunt for some quials, but he returned injured. He was ambushed and shot with a poisoned arrow. On the bed he wrote his will, in it he wrote that he leaves the castle and all the welth to you, that night he died and you became the new king of this castle. Your father's body was buried at the West beaches by the small church under the statue.
You didn't knew at the time, but the arrow came from one of Sir Voulan's men, who were hidding in the woods and waiting for the king. Your brother came up with the idea of killing the king and then besiege the castle with the army he was raising for the last 7 years of his banisment to take back the castle, that righfully belong to him as he was the older one.
As the first asigment as the king of these lands you have to pick up your father's sword and spear and fight against your own brother.
Thank you for downloading and please review it so I can see if I improved my skills from my first map ( The Siege of Trabus).
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This scenario played out as a fairly standard siege map and the AI pretty much did as you would expect. There is one narrow crossing point that the attackers must take in order to siege the castle walls and this point can be defended heavily by moving all archers and crossbowmen to the front gatehouse and flanking towers. With a ready supply of hot oil engineers on standby not much will get past this frst obstacle. To play, the scenario is okay but there isn't a great deal to do. Because of that one crossing point of the river you know what the attackers are going to do and how you can tackle them. It's probably a bit of an unforseen weakness to the design but compare it to a castle where the AI can attack many walls or gatehouses and you can imagine how much more difficult that would be - you're not just focusing on one part of the castle defences but all of them simultaneously. Still there is enough to do here for a good dose of medieval slaughtery and I did enjoy playing 'Battle of Two Brothers'.
This score may be a little generous but the designer has said that this is based on their opinion. For a second map, however, the results aren't bad at all. Again, the balance (and therefore the difficulty) is affected by the one river crossing meaning you can focus your defending troops on this area. Yes, you could well argue that many later medieval castles (and indeed many earlier ones, come to think of it) deliberately tried to 'direct' attackers into the path of their archers and other means of defending (take a look at Krak de Chevaliers in Syria for an example and witness the elaborate and highly sophisticated entrance to the inner courtyards). However, with the Stronghold game a few concessions may be in order in order to improve playability and to make the map more of a challenge. There were engineers loitering around at the end of the scenario, although they did voluntarily leave the map once all the armed attacking troops had been killed off, which makes me wonder if the scenario is set up properly - are they building siege equipment? You may wish to explore this further because the scenario will play completely differently if the castle were to be pounded by several catapults, a few trebuchets and a ram or two!
The scenario was played on normal, hard and very hard. It is within the capabilities of an average player to set the difficulty to 'very hard' and make full use of the hot oil engineers and movement of archers and crossbowmen on the front gatehouse.
A slightly above average score for creativity which is given predominantly to recognise a generally well thought out scenario. The story shines, however, and full credit to the designer for making a good effort with the plot. The story also contains many references to features within the map, such as the redirection of the river and the reasons behind the church near the beach. This small but significant attention to detail immediately establishes that the designer is trying to explain why the map 'does what it does and looks like it does'.
Map Design: 2.5
This part of the review may sound a little critical, but for a designer to improve then the advice given must be taken into consideration. The overall design of the map isn't bad or poor but it needs some work. The castle layout is certainly different but it lacks atmosphere. It feels too 'regular' and planned. That said, it functions exactly as it is supposed to. I noted the attempt at a small harbour and boat which was a nice touch and this is a feature to be found on numerous castles by the coast or next to a river as a means of bringing in supplies and trade. The irrigation of the fields where the farms are (is it irrigation channels?) was a nice little feature. The landscape was okay, but all the action takes place in a small area immediately to the north of the castle and on the artificial platford that it sits on. The rest of the landscape didn't really feature in the scenario. For me, that flat monolith of low plain terrain looks too unrealistic and could have been designed to look like an outcrop of higher ground, blending slightly into the flat lands. This landscape feature does exist in the real world and has been used as a defensive seat - look up Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, which is built upon an outcrop of the Great Whin Sill next to the coast (the Great Whin Sill is a geological feature that extends across northern England and was also exploited by Hadrian when he commissioned the building of Hadrian's Wall). The raised ground north, east and west of the map was okay but needed more smaller rocks, rubble and stones to make the appearance more realistic. As for the flat landscape... take no notice of people who continuously cry out for hills, hills and more hills. Large expansive areas of flat terrain are absolutely fine to include in scenarios. The key is to make then 'interesting'. Try using the smallest or second-smallest brush size and 'dot' in areas of flat grass, the occasional shrub (which you would expect to grow profusely in what appears to be fertile ground) and a few stones scattered around the area. One or two trees wouldn't harm either, but try to place them where you would expect them to grow. You could replace the large and rather ugly area of marshland with smaller spots of marsh (again, small brush sizes needed). The resulting effect is much more natural, more pleasing to the eye but still relatively flat. The smaller areas of raised terrain work well and you don't need to have outcrops everywhere.
What you have designed is fine, but this scenario just needs a little bit more time spent on it and something more natural or 'fluid' for the landscape.
A well deserved 4 out of 5 for a story that is pretty good and sets the scene very well. The explanations for the river course, as I mentioned above, is a nice touch and the basis of the scenario and the title is detailed for all to see. A few instructions were included as part of the text on the Download Desiription Page (such as the clear indication that this is a defending siege map) and even a few apologetic notes from the designer to explain the background and choices made in terms of difficulty. This part of the submission is very well tackled and you should be proud of your effort!
This scenario is fine for what it is and it is certainly worth a look. I can see some potential for the designer, hence the length of this review and the feedback offered. Keep at it, Urby5, because there's a really high quality scenario there somewhere.