In a world not so unlike ours, armies of men have fought for aeons, so long that they do not even remember what for, they do not care either, all they know is that they must win, be it either by allying with someone, or by going all out in a battle royal. Either way, after each battle, they somehow find men, and so they fight again ad again, as it will go on for further aeons to come.
Note: Meant to be a 2 player, but can be a four player, there are two smaller sectors on the map, if you play 2 player, with AI's s well, give the AI the smaller spots usually, they are not as good positions, this is the only way it is an unbalanced map.
Playability: 4/5. Skirmish maps are a new feature to Crusader from Stronghold and the playability and replayability becomes important IMO, with a multitude of options available and opponents. This map scores well in terms of playability largely due to the large scale of the map and the options to build to your hearts' content. This was a good skirmish map, if a little basic in design, but still provides a good challenge.
Balance: 3/5. With the options available via skirmish you can pick and choose your enemies. In terms of combat it is difficult to score this based on playing against one specific opponent as we all know that the Rat is generally a poor AI opponent yet Richard is much better. Economically, I rate this as there are smallish outcrops of iron and stone and oasis grass is not abundant, so micromanagement becomes key to building both a decent sized population for weapon production and being able to feed your people. Good effort here, though.
Creativity: 3/5. A solid effort. It's good to see a slight variation in terms of map design, but unfortunately there was nothing that really stood out with this map. Saying that, it's not a bad map at all.
Map Design: 3/5. Big map, with the option of 4 AI opponents to battle against and their castles built in the corners of the map, with acreas of open space for some truly momumental battles. I liked the raised terrain as the standard fare with smaller raw material deposits rather than huge swathes of iron and stone. The only thing that lets this map down for me is the terrain modelling. It's a little basic and featureless, but with a new game and new landscape appearance comes a new challenge and i'm sure that Ring Wraith will improve here and add more features in future judging by his Stronghold maps.
Story/Instructions: 3/5. I was pleased to see some care given to introducing the game in terms of playability and what you can expect from it. Combined with a short story this sets the map up from the start.
IN SUMMARY: Not a bad effort. I had an enormous castle and hundreds of troops against 2 and then 4 enemy lords and enjoyed each battle. Nice work Ring Wraith!