Posted on 05/07/09 @ 01:15 PM (updated 08/28/09
|Made with version:
Alamanni Series, Part 1
by Fintrollx and Peter2008
Lauchheim is a historical village in the south of Germania, settled by people of the Alamanni tribe. The story takes place in the first half of the 8th century AD, still the "Dark Ages". The Swabian-Alamannic areas have long since been under Frankish hegemony. The Empire of the Franks has superior military power with strong armoured troops including knights. It is also far greater in culture with the feudal system, literature, and the Christian faith.
You are Hariolf, the Alamannic duke of Ellwangen. Your long-term goal is to bring the advanced culture to your duchy. Therefore you plan to found a Benedictine monastery in Ellwangen. One of your sons shall be the Abbot.
But the rival Alamannic leaders (the Rat, Snake and Pig) will not allow you to grow stronger.
A neighbour has already occupied your nearby estate of Lauchheim, a village with fertile farms and good stone quarries.
-> Reconquer Lauchheim and withstand the fierce invasions of the dukes.
Also, you have to deal with the Frankish lord protector (the Wolf). He plays a rather obscure role and will mistrust you until the end. He will raid you but not destroy you under the condition of a generous bribe.
-> Seek the Wolf's alliance and send him valuable weapons.
-> Use the Lauchheim quarries to bring in the stones needed for the monastery.
Despite war and suffering, the population of Lauchheim will grow.
-> Save food for the winter.
With all these preparations made you will ensure both the goodwill of the Frankish rulers and the prosperity of your duchy.
We wanted to create a map with heavy and hectic fighting.
Next, we developed a varied story and implemented economic goals. Having quite independent farms fooled us into experimenting with multiple stockpiles and storage buildings. (This concept would fit to Stronghold 2.)
The mission is open for taking very different courses. Each time, there will be new pieces of luck and new desasters. Invasions will come in varied waves and from several signposts. They will charge according to the form of your defences.
Many events are triggered by conditions. "Flexible scripting" responds to the behaviour of the player. Rewards will tell you that the village proceeds in a good way while some bad events may draw your attention to certain economic disbalances and thereby inspire you to go on.
So, the map is complex and not easy.
Lauchheim village is big and difficult to survey.
You must be creative in fighting, and you may get new experiences on the art of warfare.
Perhaps you need to train your skills in developing economy and keeping the balance of popularity.
We hope, you stay patient and confident.
As a promise, two special events will help you.
When we started this project, we had many ideas but did not know about some dangers of witchcraft in Stronghold 1 mapmaking. The map suffers from few bugs which turn out to the advantage and later probably disadvantage of the player. Full particulars are given in the text files. There are also hints and tips.
- to Jalis for his template map "7 Cede Events, 1 xbow-event, appletrees and all colours", a great help.
- to our playtesters and all mates who helped us in some way.
Two of them worked admirably hard:
With his patience, Sir_Vet inspired us to find our own taste of balance of scripting.
Lord_of_Hell won the heavy beta version and suggested important details.
The thread in the Map Room forum tells a bit about the stages of the creation.
Enjoy the mission.
Update: there is an expanded story, now. It can also be downloaded from the Miscellaneous section.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
The reason why I dont give all the points - the only reason - is that this map was really very hard to play for me as a beginner.
Beginners, be warned however, this map is addictive.
I gave up on it several times - but kept coming back to it, saying it MUST be possible seomehow.
Eventually I managed by pausing every three seconds and saving every three minutes or so - which made the "playability" slightly annoying for me - but others wont have that problem. Still, it kept me busy on and off for weeks, which is all one can except from a good map.
Another personal thing to rate. As mentioned above, I gave up on it several times, due to my level. So for me personally I would have liked more "resting periods" - at least one - at the second part of the game. But then, on the other hand, I was never bored one minute with this map - which is more important.
I loved the whole aspect, and there are several very interesting details to that map, like the separated stockpiles and granaries in the different sections of the castle,
the careful placement of enemy troops at the beginning which forces you to try several times to find the best way to cede the castle,
the effective use of "simple" features to create natural surroundings, and all the dangers you have to pass before you even "start" the game.
And to ask creativity from the player (for example how to advance, where to get stone or wood) needs some creativity from the designer in the first place.
And, of course, really wonderful story.
Map Design: 5
I dont even want to imagine the time and care necessary to be put in that script. I really think it is outstanding.
The story is so well written, I read it several times - it was one of the reasons to keep me trying to play that map.
Hints are as helpful as they can be ;)
I am not an experienced player, and therefore maybe not the one to have an opinion about things I dont yet understand regarding map making and scripting.
But I still wanted to rate this one, because it really impressed me from beginning to end.
It is not a beginners map, but one where beginners can learn a lot about how to play and SURVIVE a difficult scenario.
This review has been delayed so long, my only regret is that It's being published after a year, lol.
This review expresses my own ideas and opinions about this scenario ,which is, a masterpiece.
- PLAYABILITY - 5/5
Doesn't matter who you are, how good you are, what maps you like and which of them you played so far. This scenario is for everyone. Not only to be played but It also has a lot things to show people about mapmaking. It's very high playability comes from a single thing, and that is fun. Fun is maybe something present in the game itself rather than in a specific scenario, yes, fun is present even in the beginner's maps but It's extremely hard to keep that joy for a very long time, like the Authors achieved in this one. From the very beginning, when the few brave men attacks the king, you actually feel like you're among those troops but then you realise the eco fixing will recoire a larger perspective, then when you get attacked you return to the battlefield perspective. Very thrilling overall. And even if you lose, which doesn't suddenly happen, but the village is first destroyed (if the king's place is enclosed), you say to yourself "damn" then you say "next time It won't happen again".
- BALANCE - 5/5
The ballance is also brilliant, being planned and playtested for entire weeks. The scenario is definitely hard, but beatable. I think no good map can be beaten from the first try. Personally I won the final version on normal on the second try but I knew what to expect from the beta version which was harder than this one. But even an "hardcore" player can have bad moments on this map if playing it for the first time. It takes several tries to accomodate with the map design in the first place. If played right and using some simple tricks (easy/normal difficuly) , later in the game only the fire should be a real worry about the player (that's why I lost on the first try ), but the invasions can also produce serious damage and trouble if played on hard/very hard. That is why it's so balanced - the scenario matches perfectly with the default game settings. You play on "easy" and expect to be easy - and it is. You play on "very hard" and you expect to be very hard - and it is. It is well seen that the authors have spent a significant time to make this scenario that balanced. And if we'd be thinking on the HUGE scripting too... the job of balancing a map like this would be significantly harder.
- CREATIVITY - 5/5
I said on playability that this map is for everyone, and everyone can learn a lot of things from it. Now let's see a couple of them:
First, the map design, which looks simple but it looks very natural and realistic. How? Because the map design is not simple at all. If you'd see everything in the detail, every piece of ground has other colour/texture or other height than any other piece from it's neighbourhood. Everything very creative, you actually feel like in a forest. The "underground" of this scenario, which is of course, the scripting, is something truly unique among other maps of this kind. Lots of detalied events and repeated invasions, as the list would never end. I remember when I first opened the map to see the scripting: I remained speechless. The story, fictional one is of course creative and the gameplay suggestions, even not a walkthrough, are very helpful - one can play the map significantly better after having those ideas better implemented in the mind.
On another hand, some might consider that the idea itself, which stands before the scenario, is not an original one (Recreating history in this case) Of course, let's think how many historical recreations have been made so far - LOTS. Then let's think how many historical recreations have been made of the village presented in this scenario - NONE. Then how is the idea of scenario other than very original? The thinking that it's not creative to make historical recreations is, in my opinion, completely wrong. It's like one would say it's not creative to make an eye-candy map or any other category. I am also aware of what other people think it's not creative - it's not creative because the mapmaker should create something rather than re-create. A thinking also wrong as we are creating things in the STRONGHOLD GAME, not in reality, so everything undone before in the editor (based or not on reality) is of course, original. That's how I see things.
- MAP DESIGN - 5/5
As I said before (because all these 5 categories link to each other) the map design is very varied, no piece of ground being like another. There are wolfes and bears, different ground heights and the trees which are very natually placed, feeling like you actually saw them growing there. All these details makes the forest and everything on this map to be very natural and realistic. But not only the forest is realistic, but also the big village consisting in more small "storage buildings". Well, there would be more to say about the design but only good words about it. I liked everything, and this map is a proof that not the mapmaking tricks (any) makes the design of a map brilliant, but it's about wisely using the basic tools of the editor to create a natural environment. And probably it has an impact on the gameplay as well. Seeing the nice terrain makes people more confident they will finish the scenario.
- STORY & INSTRUCTIONS - 5/5
The Authors release the scenario with several texts (not their title, but what they are consisting of):
Author's notes: Includes details about the scenario as the size, difficulty, who playtested the map and for what was it made, and lastly, the author's thoughts about the map of course
Hints and Tips: Although not a walktrough, the instructions given are incredible helpful for a beginner especially but they are good for any player, pro or not. Maybe more useful even than a walktrough. People who played the map know what I mean. From a walktrough you just get the idea of how the mapmaker played, thought and made up the strategies for himself. With the basic rules that you are given, you spare a lot of time investigating the map.
The actual STORY: Fiction with history, some might think it just doesn't fit. But it does, the story is very addictive and well-written.
Overall it gets another 5
-- FINAL THOUGHTS --
This is a scenario like you rarely see. I'm surprised it only has 400 downloads, when I expected to be over 1,000 by now. Anyone can feel free to rise up question about the review. That would be all.