I've spend a lot more time on this map than my other one, and hope people will like it. The fortress is built out of the rocky shores of Mandrilla, and was made as one of the largest monestries of it's country. Monks have lived there, and the nearby village, for many centuries until Duke Almére took over the fortress in search of treasure and knowledge. The Monks have hired you to retake their castle in return for new technologies, artifacts and gold.
Reasonably challenging, try to find the weak spots in the castle. The village still has some enemy scouts, but are easily rid off. Unfortunately, Stronghold doesn't allow you to defend the castle. By adding a keep, it would allow you to defend, but the CPU wouldn't attack for some reason. So, alas, this is an attack only map for now. Hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think.
Playability: 4/5. I have been playing this map on and off for about a week since I first downloaded it. It's a bit of a tough nut to crack and takes time and a bit of planning to win. But it is addictive and very playable. As an attacker your work is cut out and the castle design is troublesome enough to keep drawing you backe, wanting more and trying a different approach.
Balance: 4/5. Initially I thought this map was impossible. I sacrificed a lot of troops to progress to the stage where I could try to take out those archers. Troop combination is key here and you need a combination of swiftness and strength. There are masses of archers flamking the walls of the monastery. I tried to combat them with masses of archers and crossbowmen of my own but they simply didn't do enough damage, even in enormous numbers. I opted for macemen, pikemen and a few knights, using the pikemen to force their way in through the back entrance (south and east of the main gate) and along the walls, closely followed by macemen for speed and attacking strength. Knights were moved to the enemy Lord and left to attack in their own time. Within about 2 minutes I had lost most of my troops and still had 20 or so crossbowmen to deal with. Bad tactics? Maybe, but just a reflection of how tricky this map is to beat, regardless of what troops you use. Hard setting is just that, i'd recommend trying on normal as well if you are having difficulties.
Creativity: 3/5. Okay in terms of idea, map and story. Nothing radically different but well put together. Nice to see a map without a keep, this is in keeping with the story and theme.
Map Design: 3/5. Generally okay, decent monastery building, certainly functional and whilst the landscape may be a bit lacking in something, it's functional.
Story/Instructions: 4/5. There is evidence of a bit of a story here which is pleasing. I'm also pleased the author has tried to inform what worked and what didn't and the instructions are helpful and informative.
IN SUMMARY: A tough map to beat and more functional than inspiring, but not bad overall.