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Boris the Thief - Part 1
The story is included in the zip folder, it's a bit to long to put it up here.
You are Boris the Thief and you have stolen both the Rats and the Snakes gold from their treasuries. Your escape has brought you to an old abandoned outpost, place your market and get ready to spend your gold, there are a few goals to meet and a timer to push you. Spend your gold wisely making more will be hard, your 2 new friends want it back and will be crashing your party.
I hope you enjoy my creation.
By - Sir_Vet
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This map was fun and took a little thinking on what to carefully spend money on, especially since wood had to be bought. However I felt it was slightly simple, the same thing must be done to win, not too many ways to go about it, so it only gets average playability rating.
Balnace was nice, wooden walls were expensive to build so elaborate castle could not be built, and leather armor must be used to make troops to defend against the heavy metal enemies that could not be beat with bows alone, even though leather was needed for victory.
Personally I am not a fan of such an eco based map, so the rating is lower here. They are fine as vic. conditions, but I still prefer a more militarily based one. Scenario does not stand out too much, as far as uniqueness goes. It is very high quality, just not super unique, only stay in a small portion of the map and defend while making weapons...
Map Design: 5
Map design was great. The marshed looked like much time was spent on them and the surrounding terrain was natural as well.
Interesting story about a theif to set up a motive both for the attackers and the reason for the economic requirements. It was entertaining and made the map actually have a solid purpose.
Additional Comments: Great job with the map overall, I was pleased with it, had a fun time playing. I look forward to the next map in the series.
After a truly enthralling and entertaining playthrough of Boris the Thief, I felt obligated to review it; such a fine attempt shouldn't go without feedback or notice. Although the map was very enjoyable and kept me on my toes with a multitude of varying events and three different signposts, there are some noticeable flaws that prevent it from becoming truly good--among these are its lackluster invasions, ecleptic difficulty, hard to read story, and some script issues. However, none of these problems stop Boris the Thief from being a perfectly playable and engaging map, and should be a must download for fans of small scale invasions and economic missions.
Playability - 3.5
From the very outset of the game, I felt like there was too much--for lack of a better term--"freedom" for the player; overall, the map didn't give the player much direction in what kind of route to take in order to complete its two objectives. Should the player slowly amass iron by collecting it from a sort-of-far-away iron deposit, and wait out the invasions? Or should the player blow all of his or her gold early on by buying large quantities of iron, wood, armor, and swords? Should the player build walls around everything? Or should he or she build walls only around the cow fields? This level of choice can be taken as one of the map's greatest strengths and its greatest weakness. While no two playthroughs will be the same, there is no core gameplay device that's shared--no huge battle; no special gimmick; nothing. This makes the map accessable yet unwieldly at the same time.
The two objectives (craft 28 iron maces and 28 leather jerkins on normal) are so varying in difficulty that it strikes me as unfair. I was able to acrue 30 iron maces before even an eigth of the allotted time had passed, but the leather jerkins proved so fatally and infuriatingly slow that my impatience often led to my demise. It didn't help matters that the player couldn't build extra dairy farms, and that the random fire sometimes took the only two that were there. I'm all for the whole "making it worse for the player" thing, but it's a general rule of thumb for me to never include a harmful event that cannot be countered. In Boris the Thief, these types of events (the fires-at least if they take the dairy farms-the plague occuring with no option to build an apothecary, the cow malady) serve no purpose other than to annoy the player.
Oftentimes I wondered why I couldn't build good things or bad things to increase the combat versatility of my troops or the work ethic of my peasants, and I think that being able to build them would enhance the gameplay, but that's just my opinion.
There seemed to be a disconnect between early invasions and later ones--that is to say the change in difficulty between invasions is either miniscule or skyrocketing, and it's never easy to tell which is which and for that matter: why. Why am I fighting spearmen and archers in the first invasion and then moving on to pikemen and crossbowmen only to move back to spearmen and archers? There needs to be a constant and steady increase in difficulty in the invasions as the map progresses, like raising the elevation on a treadmill during a workout. Also, the time until loss condition serves no purpose. I was able to complete both objectives on normal well before the bar hit the 3/5ths mark, but perhaps you tested this on a harder difficulty setting.
Like many scripts, Boris the Thief has a lot of flaws, but overall the map is still playable, and one can tell that the author went to great lengths playtesting. Good job!
Balance - 4.0
The only real qualm I have about the balance in Boris the Thief is the ecleptic and random difficulty of the events you doled out to the player. At one point you could be killing easy-to-mop-up-wolves, and the next be frantically trying to fight a fire that suddenly decided to spring up on your irreplaceable dairy farms. I believe that with a few minor tweaks, such as toning down the fires just a tad and making a few extra buildings like the dairy farm and apothecary available for construction, the map could be near perfect script-wise. Regarding the invasions, I've already mentioned that there is no steady, constant increase in difficulty, and that the invasions are uninspired and sometimes pitiful.
Keep this in mind: give the player all the tools he or she needs to fight off harmful events, and let them do as they will. But not supplying the means to fight these events is--in my mind--potentially gamebreaking. Thankfully, the player didn't have to deal with a lot of these un-counterable events.
Though the amount of gold you made available to the player seemed random at first, it was a good amount, and was adaquate for aquiring both enough iron and wood to build a space station while also funding a small garrison of soldiers. Next time though, make sure the gold, and for that matter any resource, that you dole out an even number instead of just random amounts.
Another one of my pet peeves--potential cheating--has also been avoided, for the most part.
I've mentioned about all there is to mention about balance, you did an excellent job tweaking it, but it still needs some fixin.
Map Design - 4.0
Map design has never been my forte, but I feel that you did a wonderful job sculpting the landscape. My only qualm about it is that I've never seen herds of deer frolick through a murky marsh. So although not entirely realistic, the map is well done and pleasing to the eye, which is what you were probably aiming for.
Another problem I have with it is the limited space, but that's mostly a tactical thing to make the map more difficult, and it works.
Creativity - 3.5
This review gets shorter and shorter which each section, and for that I apologize. It's getting late over here however, and I'm losing my will to go on as sleep threatens to take me. But I promise that I'll finish.
As far as creativity goes, there's not much going on in this map in any respect. I'm giving you a 3.5 simply because there's not many maps about bandits and thieves, but otherwise it's pretty much just a straightforward eco-invasion that's decently executed. Some eyecandy could have spruced it up a little, or a rival lord in the area, or something; anything really.
Story/Instructions – 3.0
A good story can make or break a map, but to have a good story requires more than a basic plot. It varies from one reviewer to the next, but I score a story based on proper spelling/syntax, how much it interests me, and literary techniques like imagery and metaphor, etc, etc.
While I was reading your somewhat lengthy story (which is not a bad thing) I had the distinct urge to take a red pen and mark all over it wherever I found a mistake or where I could see improvement. Your strong suit seems to be mocking the enemy lords' irreverent and silly speech habits, like the Rat's stuttering or the Snake's constant repeating of "hmmmmmmmm," and you had me genuinely chuckling during the conversation bits. Everything in between though was like taking a stroll on Captain Picard's scalp: lifeless and barren. I was able to follow the plot, which is a good thing, but you should really get someone to edit the things you write, just to fix it up a bit; you never want to present a first draft.
I can tell that you put thought into the story, however, and for that I thank you. Too often maps get released without stories or even descriptions. At least you attempted, and that's good enough.
All in all, Boris the Thief is an enjoyable map that's not without it's quirks and flaws--but what map doesn't have at least a few flaws? None of them should stop you from downloading and playing such an engaging invasion; you won't want to skip past it.
[This review was submitted in French and was kindy, translated into English by Desert Monarch. The original french review is below. - Edited by ericgolf]
A very good map. That has been well thought out ( You will need your gold to construct your defences, but also
to get your economy up and running) The events on the map are well planned out. Fires are spread
out very well, just like the plagues. The invasions are well thought out. Not only in number but
also the type of troop attacking.
Another well thought out point in the scenario is "the limited amount of taxes"
wich you do not often see in Stronghold scenario's. "economy of recources and units"
You will have to defend a small fortified town. The wall's have been well placed, just like
the towers and units. In order to fend off the attacks you will need to make good use of your
man at arms, crosbowmen and archers. "without taxing your economy to much"
In order to beat the map the player will have to think quikly. Because he doesn't
have much time. The pauses between the invasions are just about perfect, just like the timelimit
Thanks for you work, Sir_Vet!
(... and sorry I am not able to write this review in English...)
[End of DesertMonarch's translation]
Une très bonne map, au fonctionnement original (gestion de l'or au début pour construire sa défense et son économie), avec une suite d'évènements bien programmés : les incendies sont bien dosés, la peste aussi, les différentes attaques très bien orchestrées en nombre et type d'unités.
Un autre point original dans ce scénario, est les limites qui nous sont imposées, et que l'on ne retrouve pas souvent dans les scénarios de Stronghold : économie des moyens et d'unités, on se retrouve à défendre de pied ferme une petite place forte, sans overdose de murs, de tours et d'unités. En dosant ses arbalétriers, ses hommes d'armes et ses archers, on parvient à résister à l'ennemi, sans grever son économie. Bref, on doit réfléchir, et réfléchir vite, mais sans non plus trop se prendre la tête.
Les pauses entre les différentes vagues d'assauts sont bien gérées, ainsi que la limite de temps.
Merci pour ce travail, Sir_Vet !
(... et désolé de ne pouvoir écrire cette critique en anglais...)
[Edited on 10/21/09 @ 03:14 PM]