This is my fist I've uploaded so please any tips or criticism would be nice.
I've made the map so that you can build a large or small defensible castle, (or you could do both). Each castle location has a different resource avalibility around it (depending on whether you expand across the river).
This is not a bad map for a first map. It does have its problems, though.
A sufficient amount of resources to begin with, plus plenty of space to build farms, mines, quarries, not to mention walls and fortress-making buildings = good playability.
Although there are some, erm, cliffs hidden under the sand in the "big stronghold" cliff. These mean you will be able to build almost anywhere in that section - but not quite.
Balance: no rating, as you can't rate castle builders for balance. It gets a three as a placeholder for my opinion.
See map design for more details.
I can definitely see building some different types of castles in this map. The openings for gates on the big hill, and the designs of both hills leave only one's imagination to fill in the details.
However, the map design is generic.
Map Design: 3
But not even quite that.
The stronghold mounds aren't badly designed, but as I mentioned before, there are some "hidden cliffs" which make building slightly less than ideal. However I have more complaints.
Big blobs of fords are not pretty. I would say that's the biggest problem.
The lack of beaches on the edges of the river, the lack of ornamental shrubs and cacti, and the lack of terrain variance make this map less pleasing to the eye than it could be, although it's not a bad looking map (except for the fords). I can see a decent castle being built in this map.
(On a side note, I do not like the unevenness of the slopes coming down from the "stronghold cliff gates", as it makes walls look uneven and unattractive when they are built. Not much you can do about that, I suppose.)
Not bad. Learn how to do some detail work, though, and your designs will be spectacular. Learning how to write a story might also be good.