I had fun making this map and i hope you have fun playing it, comments are welcome. There is a little story in the game but not much. (don't have much of an imagination)
Tips on beating this map:
-The moat is essential on beating this map.
-Act very quick when the game starts.
-Make sure there are defences all around your castle.
-A game plan will win it all
I played this map on normal and was almost over-ran, but if you find it too easy, hard should be a real challenge.
The mission sets you in a siege of a castle of the Rat. It's he you have to kill, so he calls to arms his ultimate forces and troops from the Snake resulting in multiple invasions.
Playability - 4.5
A partly prebuilt castle may lull you into a sense of security. Well, it will soon be attcked by waves of invasions that promise hard and busy fighting already on normal level. Right from the start you have to decide for the overall strategy and for many small issues.
- Where is your defence line? In the first attempts it will be the castle (as jdoane intended). There is enough space to build upon and hold a stand for a while. But it would be a fault not trying to expand and reach a self-sustaining level. In a later round I fortified this side of the river creating a distinct killing zone and leaving the back country enjoy peace.
- Do you want to let your first arriving peasants work or do you immediately train them to be soldiers? Into wood and stones or into the moat? The course of the fighting will give you the ideas of what is needed to aid your tactics. More wood for digging spears, more stone for walls? When to start the wheat line? Any use of good things for the attack bonus? (Seldom opted for them so early.)
In any case survival depends on finding the right balance between military and economical side (also the balance insides the economy). In one attempt I sent out 10 wood cutters to the western forest (knowing I would loose all the huts to the raiders), but this did not prove effective. As I became familiar with the situation the golden middle was detectable. The land is quite flat, so the moat needen't surround the walls only.
The long defending part rocks. It was thrill & fun. You're fairly outnumbered and in constant threat of being overrun. Though the invasions lack of sufficient numbers of ranked troops and the Snake only lately discovers the need for siege equipement. Found it best to lower game speed to 20 and direct certain bands of marksmen to single enemy units that were acting at especially endangered spots. As the invasions rise in number and strength, you can proudly watch your city and army grow. Repeatedly a Travelling Fair contributes to the ambiance in the town. Then I set food rations to normal to make full advantage of the taxes. Last tip: Place the market in a comfortable position, you may wish to visit if often.
In a late second part you will turn the tables, using all you have accumulated so far, and easily finish up the Rat.
Altogether a straightforward scenario that brings to bear the strong elements of Stronghold, castle building and defending.
Balance - 4
The first part leaves almost nothing to be desired. Four defence you cannot rely on tower engines or well-armoured melees. Perhaps it could be more ranged attackers and the
total number a little bit less on normal level. Could beat the mission on hard in May 1235. Not sure, if I'm able to fend off the masses on very hard (turning the entire economy into directly supplying the front line).
It helps a lot that all the good and weapons are available at the market. (Seldom have I bougth expensive xbows there.)
Only the siege in the last part is no challenge but just a task.
Creativity - 4
The map reflects the ongoing dedication of jdoane to the game and its aspects. One can be reminded of the original military campaign mission 13 - Snake Eyes. But everything has been done anew and within the concept of "The Deed To The Land" series.
Great turned out some advanced usages of scripting. The effect of multiple invasions arriving shortly one after the other conclusively increases the game play. There is at best short time left to repair and reorganize things. Exciting a moaning message by the Rat announced when a certain number of his troops have been killed.
Also some troops and building restrictions are implemented. The characteristic opposite of numerous invading ground troops and few, comparatively weak defenders is accentuated thereby. (Let me mention: If you disable the beer line, also disable the corresponding goods trading.)
Map Design - 3.5
The lands is consequently split into two half by a nice river. A cute bridge and a ford nearby allow crossing it and may become strategical points. Both factions are in plenty supply of resources.
Much of landscape appeared functional to me, high plateaus for iron, low plains for farms. Not much of the shaping really catched my eyes. So I hardly recognized that the eastern sea is on high level ... But there are nice mixed forests and the layout of the iron deposits in the west looks good.
That both castles have but square outlines and only little custom design may be forgivable this time. (As for a nice one you may compare "A New Chance".)
The big point of scripting has been explained above.
Story/Instructions - 3
Some idea for the scenario is provided in-game.
It's more the clear instructing tips that raise the excitement. Here too is discernable that jdoane has put a lot of the thinking into the mission.
The ultimate opportunity to become coureageous in making decisions.
Thanks, jdoane for the great fighting map. Go on in scripting! Take more time for finer landscaping (look at great maps).
PS: Be invited to visit the forums and read Mapmaking 101. Also to leave comments on others' maps.