An Iron Job Jack O' -- 1208-1214
Once upon a time on a small map there were 6 archers and 4 fire throwers, and 5 spearmen that keep trying to tell me they will not let me down, my Lord told me to come here and get him 56 ingots of iron, 56 ingots of iron that's to easy I said why not send someone else, but my Lord assured me that I would be challenged.
So I took the Iron Job and to this day I would say challenge was an understatement! First thing I had to do when we arrived was get some wood and clear the trees on the hill for the wheat farms, while those chores were being done I sent the archers and firethrowers out to clear the Arabian Crossbows so we could start collecting some iron, when I started to put in the buildings I soon realized the space was much smaller than I thought, so I crammed some bakers in front of the stock pile and a few more with the mill on the hill, I also put the armory and pole turners up on the hill so I could make some money for food, the houses went along the right of the keep, enough for 66 peasants, it was all I could do to feed my people. In the end it was the swing of taxes that kept the economy going.
When I was done with the crossbows guarding the iron, the mines went in as we gathered more wood, and on the hill the trees were cleared so the wheat could go in. The cost of putting in the two poleturners left me with just enough gold for some fire pots, overall balance was the key, and when the Arabian swordsmen came in it was a good thing some of the archers and firethrowers were back on the keep, the spearmen let me down again. In the end my 6 years of hard work payed off I managed 71 ingots of iron.
A Challenge-- I am issuing a Challenge, I will post 2 maps, 1 map is the hard version where you need to acquire 56 iron ingots in 6 years, the other is the challenge map, I have removed the win condition, your goal is to gather as much iron by Oct. 1214, 6 years, I have a save from Sept 1214 and I gathered 71 ingots of iron before the defeat. If you would like to try and beat my score, send me your saved game from Sept 1214 and I will post your high score here. I know I could have got more but I wanted to leave you some room to get a higher score. There is no time limit, I will post high scores as long as I am still playing.
High score- Sir_Vet- 71 ingots.
High score- Peter2008- 100 ingots.
High score- Peter2008- 115 ingots.
High score- Qtlilkeg - 125 ingots.
High score- Peter2008- 140 ingots.
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This mission is even stronger than the author might have imagined it to be. Within 6 game years or 24 real life minutes (at game speed 40) a whole drama of Crusader economy takes place. All aspects reveal Sir Vet's dedication to the Stronghold series and – once again – his profound skills in mapmaking. To proclaim a challenge is a welcome idea.
Found the map highly attractive. At first it seems hard to overcome the manifold difficulties and limitations that are linked together from the start (low popularity, no space for farms, enemies on the map, certain crucial trading restrictions). To tackle that you are offered enough possibilties to choose from. With some buildings and certain trading goods available you can try different strategies and change them in the next attempts.
In this way you will face the minute details of Crusader economy, some of which may be often taken for granted. Then you will discover yourself as the player, the one who does what you can to find out the solutions, set the course, and deal with events. Most exciting is to experience how increasingly better things may work as you replay and implement improvements.
There are 5 "dice" in the game.
1) The initial downfighting of the hostile crossbowmen: How many own units will survive?
2) The behaviour of the woodcutters: Where will they chop before trees can regrow?
3) The fire events, above all the last one: Will they spare the iron mines, or how much of them? This event fits well to medieval wood settlements and keeps the game scary while all the other events can be foreseen after some attempts. If the fire starts on one side of the iron deposits you can raze and replace one or two mines within a second. If it starts inside the area any high score is lost.
4) The invasion: Will the Arabians slay a miner bearing a bar just in front of the stockpile? (Even an innkeeper on his way with a keg is not that valuable here).
5) The "rest" is set by the player.
I guess the setting of this player-centred map provides a busy challenge for everyone's level. Beginners will be happy to meet the request in time (without letting the economy go down the tubes). Intermediate and better players may feel themselves forced to rethink their strategies. So all are offered a possibilty to closely consider the interrelations of good production / distribution and popularity, to train skills or even to overcome habits.
"Dice" 5) is the structure of interrelations a player sets by answering a lot of questions: What do I spend the initial gold for? Where do I place the first woodcutter's huts, and where around the trees on the oasis? Which is more important, taxes or popularity? When can I be "cruel" the most efficient way? When shall I send out the first miners? How many mines can I arrange to place?.Am I prepared to take best profit out of good events (or do they only help to cover bad running economics?) Am I allowed to disband the soldiers who survived fighting the xbows? Do I place wells and where? How far must I let the population grow, up to 74, 82?
To get more than 125 bars, almost every second must be played right. The tension grows if you need 20 boards of wood for a new mine and just have 19, or 40 gold for the last fear inducer to reach a higher level of productivity and have to wait for next month's income. That's not micro-managing, that's miniature-managing.
Several things are worked out uniquely on this map.The dense combination of obstacles (and possibilites) at the start. The idea to let fire throwers attack xbows, a most likely suicidal undertaking even in combined charge. Playing time is limited very strictly.
Not least the coherent shaping of the landscape adds to the atmosphere. Every corner of the map is touched while playing. Once again Sir Vet has created a whole peculiar world!
Map Design: 4
The map is well planned and skillfully modelled. The impression is wild and bizarre. Dominating are sharp lines of rocks and a play on elevations. Canyons cut through plateaus of different heights. The wind has worked on some slopes in the south. Some aspects that may reveal themselves only in a second look I find very successful. There is sand blown to the left side of the western canyon. The lines of rocks are often shaped fine and varied. Also the plants are distributed carefully. Have a look at all the different cactuses along the western canyon. Choosing thin coconut palms fits to the wild area (with some olive trees in between for variance and a single fat cherry palm next to a pond). The interplay of trees and rocks upon the plateaus creates a convincing homogenous mood. Tricky are the path to the huge plain with iron and the distribution of iron tiles all around (found space for 30 mines).
Only the edges of the canyons on the very left and right feel a bit forced. The signpost exclusion zone required the southeastern part of the map appear over-proportioned. Last I cannot fully understand why the plain in front of the fertile greenery is wide and sandy (apart from the character of the mission).
A grinding Jack-o pumpkin face hides inside the area greeting all the fans of that harvest celebration. It looks funny (and devinitively unnatural :) – who cares?)
The story is fun. In fact providing little background for the mission but telling it's probable course. This however is done in a seducing way. The I-report is double talk and hides many hints (the one to use poleturner's workshops I'd like to advise players against).
Instructions and explanations of the Challenge are clear, concise and well thought through.
Sir Vet, your idea with the map worked very well. Perhaps you can check the naturality of some overall map characteristics next time to make it more "perfect". Also, perhaps a longer history next time.
My thanks also go to those who programmed such abilities into Crusader.
While some units can dig moats - alas, why aren't they able to dig through rocks and earth to overcome obstacles such as the frontier between the big field of iron deposits and the smaller eastern spot?
This map – like other maps with close scripting and time limit such as Castaways, Lost World (both SH1) or Sir Vet's Iron Hill – could serve as an "advanced introduction" into Stronghold economics for people who love the game and really want to know the wheel going round.
Personal remark: After some eager tries I managed to find the most efficient sequence of multiple activities to luckily bring in 140 bars of iron. :) Tried different sequences and had fire catastrophes in between. Sorry if I would spoil the contest this way. Whoever struggles hard and gets, say, 100 bars can be truly proud of him- / herself.
(Right-a very good map,intriguing concept with the micro management that is required by the player in order to achieve the objective.Getting rid of the x-bow troops was fun,using my firethrowers as bait while the few archers shot them,as for the attack-his lordship got his hands dirty!The fires were easy to deal with, onlythree waterpots needed.Iplaced most of my buildings in a line to the left of the keep,built a chapel spent more gold on 'good things and raised taxes.)
(This required only one restart so i could decide on the best strategy,not much room for agriculture-with this i placed a wheat farm and bought ale,when i had sufficient stocks i raised taxes for more'good things.However my score for iron ingots was a measly 57,just as the victory message played.I shall try again soon and email the saved game.)
(I agree with peter2008 in some ways,but i like twisting canyons-my last few maps have a few in them ;).I enjoyed the idea of having very little farmland and opted for the 'soft' option.The reason is i enjoy a challenge.Scratching my head wondering 'where do i place the woodcutters'?and getting the balance right.I agree with stratego it is reminiscent of 'robinson crusoe,the best approach is patience and play it a few times to get the 'feel'. )
Map Design: 4.5
As before,you have a good ability to make interesting looking maps,many times i almost lose the mission as i (the mouse/camera wander the map going for a virtual stroll!The design is easy on the eye and yet i was strangely drawn to to grinning smile of 'jack o' lantern'-like those paintings that follow you*.)
(I agree with peter2008,the story is fun and provides the necessary background for the scenario,there a few 'dead ends' but a good player... well i'm not going to spoil the fun)
I liked the way the jack o lantern was placed*
Additional Comments:Over all another great map
and a worthy challenge.Finally regardging my cup of tea-i'll have earl grey(without milk)two sugars and a slice of lemon thankyou.:)