Posted on 08/18/18 @ 05:08 AM (updated 08/21/18
the story is in the map's description
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if you're a pro, you may think this map is easy. BUT THERE'S A CATCH! stone castle buildings, stone walls, and even churches are not allowed to be built! stone cannot be purchased in the marketplace! that's why it's called wooden hell!
V1.1: ballistae have been disallowed
V1.2: signpost locations have been changed
V1.3: a new message activates after you survived, which is basically sir longarm saying "I have returned with the king and together, we have taken back another county"
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This is a pretty good little build-a-palisade level. It provides you a wide range of defensive options with the caveat that fortifications are restricted to wood walls. Also the player has what seems to be a rare opportunity to cheaply access iron, allowing you to raise a fair-sized contingent of swordsmen or knights. There's nothing in terms of events or invasions to occupy your time before the big battle at the end, but, that's okay; most of your time will be spent deciding where to direct your resources as they come in. You have low starting resources and a big hill to defend, and, since you're given so much time to prepare, it is easy to predict that you will face some pretty stiff fighting in the battle at the end. This score did suffer slightly because the sign post placement made the AI take several months to move their troops into position and actually commence the attack. If the sign posts had been moved away from the map edges just a little more it probably wouldn't have been an issue. Once the battle did actually start though, it was good fun, I ended up needing to burn down almost my entire city to win. The only other minor complaint I have is that there were some objects I couldn't use, such as ballistae, but that did not affect this score.
I won this on my first attempt on very hard. The enemy did actually access my keep, but they made nary a dent in the 48 swordsmen in it. Fire was extremely helpful in ensuring a win. I feel like I should have been more challenged.
This scenario is not spectacularly creative, however it has some differentiating factors. You are given moat to dig but you can't use it to enclose your entire castle, I felt like this was intentional and the moat was provided as an optional tool to tighten your access points while not closing off the entire hill. You are also given lots of expensive defensive options, but with 50 starting gold and very little wood, it's up to you to figure out how to get the resources you'll need for them should you decide to use them!
Map Design: 3
The map is rather plain. You have a large central hill surrounded by lower terrain with minor height variations. There are also a few clusters of pine trees. It wasn't much to look at, but it served the author's purpose, and nothing markedly untidy or out of place was left around.
The story is coherent, but it's not very compelling. You know someone is going to attack you, but there's no explanation for how this is known, or why you're being attacked, or why you were knocked out. Perhaps a follow-up level or an epilogue is in order?
A good exercise in wood castle design and efficient economy-building with low starting supplies. The large perimeter of the hill requires a lot of resources to build an effective defense around the whole thing. Give it a shot!
EDIT: I see the author has made an update regarding the sign posts, please note that this review does not reflect that change.
[Edited on 08/21/18 @ 07:08 PM]
It has been a while since the last visitor to this game, but maybe someone will read this one day.
My link to the Review Guidelines is dead, but I'll go by memory of what I've read through the years while searching for a challenging map.
Here you have a rather plain map, in more than one regard, that nevertheless will baffle most players when confronted with the final force sent by the Wolf. Sixteen years of peace is not too long, at least not when you play at very hard.
On the other hand this plain map allows you to choose different tactics to survive the final onslaught.
As Timballisto observed, fire is a great cleanser, but you also have access to a virtually unlimited supply of heavy cavalry and infantry (if you know how to run your economy).
It also allows for the approach I use when I'm thoroughly frustrated, what I call the annihilistic approach.
In the end I was victorious and earned maximum points (25.000, playing at very hard and without loss of life and limbs).
Nothing to suggest this map is a waste of your time, on the contrary, but having played Stronghold for over a decade I have a few aces up my sleeve.
As one who knows how to manage a Stronghold economy properly, my only complaint about this map is its abundance. It's resources galore and I ended up with over 25.000 gold and didn't know at times what to do with this 'cornu copiae' (other than to profit financially). I even had time in hand when I was satisfied with my ultimate defensive measures.
As said above, the possibilities are many, your choice of tactics and accompanying weapons are numerous, and that is the reason for this score.
With a little more effort the map could have become a classic. You 'only' have to think out how to reach your objective, but less abundance and a few everyday-life challenges would make the map much more interesting and challenging.
Map Design: 3
A little more effort would go a long way to please the eye!
Accepting the author's elaboration on the background of his story, again, with a little more effort he could have produced something remarkable.
Definitely worth a try! It's not for the faint-hearted, nor for the slow-starters.