In this story, Once Upon a Road Home, you'll have the chance to take on the Snake and the Wolf and to seize a castle from one of them... Be quick from the beginning! You are fighting both armies at one time on a large field of battle. Once a castle falls to you, make your men ready and stand firm. A battle to hold your ground will be just at its beginning.....
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As you overlook the battlefield from the roadside, you consider:
“Now that I’ve committed these good men to fight, I must lead them to the victory they deserve. I have taken them off the road home, delayed their returning if that would be their fate, and now I must use them to their fullest, yet again, so that in the end the road home will be there for them: wide, safe and joyful to travel upon.
And too, I must demand high efficiency from the local peasantry and make them rebuild to my troops specific needs. One castle, one economy from this scattered array… And of these good people, I must have one allegiance to his Majesty through their loyal service and duty, affording themselves to this cause only, to my troops, the King’s men and his army. But, for these poor peasants, too, a victory must be had on this day.
Neither the Snake nor the Wolf will lay calmly over this action. I know that too well. I must prepare carefully with all that is mine on the hour so that it will remain so, securely and in peace at the end. This is a stipulate I make upon myself and I must deliver unto it completely, deliberately until it is done… or by God, done shall I be in its place.”
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Playability: 5/5. One word can sum up this invasion map - brilliant!
From the opening battle to the closing defence of the castle, this map is as near to perfect in terms of events, invasions and win criteria as you could wish for. And what an opening! You start with the saved game changed to a map game allowing an instant start, and your troops swarming over the Wolf's castle. Inevitably the victory will be yours to allow the story to unfold. What makes this so appealing to me is that the troop combination is very well done. There isn't an overkill of units on the map, just enough to put up a good fight and just about sustain you through the remainder of the map. Once you have taken the Wolf's castle, it's down to business. You have a handful of economic goals to achieve as well as completing the castle. Frought by invasions and bandit attacks, not to mention wolves challenging your desire to get iron from the mines across the map, this map moves along quite swiftly but at such a pace that you feel in control. Excellent fun from beginning to end, a beautifully constructed map and an absolute joy to play!
Balance: 4/5. On the normal setting I found this to be enough of a challenge to keep me interested throughout. Invasions and bandit attacks were very well done, although I never felt too threatened due to my collection of troops that survived from the initial battle. Economically the goals were acheivable without too much fuss. Only one point to make: the other castle could have been made in a neutral colour. I have to admit that I began to destroy the walls and towers to sell for a bit of a gold boost, which ruined it for me slightly, but that's my own fault. Normally I leave these in situ to add to the feel of the map. Very well thought out scenario and balance was generally very good.
Creativity: 5/5. Credit here goes for the map as a whole. Excellent features in the map design, one of the best openings to a map I have played and all in all a rousing story to hold the map together. Faultless, fresh and quality work throughout. The events are just right in their timing and quantity, the map design nothing short of fabulous and a cracking story to accompany the download.
Map Design: 5/5. My favourite part of the map! Some may not like this, some may, but there are so many small, subtle features here that need pointing out. The road through the landscape is simply breathtaking in its' simplicity and looks like a genuine medieval dirt track. I've seen features like this in the real world and the way it leads up to one side of your castle is perfect. The small pond near the church is another brilliant but simple little feature... just river terain as a pond, nothing more, but it just looks in keeping with the map. Generally speaking, this is a flattish landscape with some slightly raised terrain in areas. The marshy ground is very well represented, the shrubs and plants are placed where you would expect them to be, dead trees scattered lightly across the landscape... something I have always admired in map design for Stronghold is a real sense of atmosphere and this map has just that. The castles are realitic in their presentation, the layout being believable and ruined/battle worn just the right amount. I really can't praise this map enough, it really appeals to me and it's given me ideas of my own. Full credit to the author.
Story/Instructions: 5/5. Another great element to this map is the detailed and engrossing story that accompanies it. The time that the author has spent on attention to detail throughout the map is reflected in the genuine attempt at a story and a splendid introduction to what is on offer. Very well written and presented, it's what every story should be.
IN SUMMARY: There are so many good features of this map that I like that it can be difficult to describe! The map plays very well, has elements of gameplay that would appeal to many people and is one of the best maps I have had the pleasure of playing. Absolutely stunning in its own subtle way and definitely an essential download! Well done!!
First of all, WOW! What a great game! Near perfect in every way.
Playability: It really catches you from the beginning. I was hooked from the beginning! I didn't want to stop until I won.
Balance: Fantastic. The only thing keeping it from being a 5 was that at the end it got a bit slow, but nice surprise there at the very end!
Creativity: Excellent. Nothing truly new, but man what a great scenario and map. A real gem. You definitely put a lot of thought and work into this one.
Map Design: May not have really new stuff, but who cares! It's gorgeous!
Story/Instructions: Nice. I want to know if they get home ok! The only question I had was, "Why did I choose such a dangerous road home? Was it the only way? Were other ways blocked?" But once I started playing, I didn't care why anymore. I just wanted to live through it! And keep my people from deserting me in the process!
Thanks for a great game fleckdoc!
I liked this map and the creativitty!
But I mean, the instructions and story dident all that much match.
I personally hated the map design not to be rude but I thought it was a little bland.
It was playable and frankly and little bit to easy, a good map for beginners who want to go on a venture!