Finding shelter amongst the driving sands has always been the challenge for Lord Sharaton. Now with the small outpost in place, he can finally build up a defense and claim the near by oasis and provide for the King. Without the efforts of the Lords people, this region will surely fall and the Kings fate will be written in the dead sands of time.
This economic mission is played from within your custom scenarios selections. Although the goals are mostly economic, there is also a good deal of military planning and protection needed in order to survive.
Playability (4). I looked forward to playing this scenario because I've enjoyed the designer's earlier economic missions in Stronghold. There's military action as well as economic goals to achieve. With limited starting goods and finance, there's the usual quandry about what to build first and what to spend your precious cash on. Get it wrong and you pay a heavy price. It's a challenging concept.
Balance (3). This turned out, for me, to be rather more a test of stamina and perseverance than beating opponents and hitting targets. I always play at the slowest game speed, but this mission doesn't exactly reward that approach. For example, it's a round trip of 15 game months for a woodcutter to produce 12 pieces of wood. The marketplace, of course, doesn't stock the stuff. I ended up with 34 woodcutters in order to achieve the population requirement. I had to resort to placing random killing pits, long after enemy action had ceased, in order to remove wood from the stockpile. This wasn't too realistic.
Creativity (3). I could see the rationale behind the mission concept, but didn't think that it quite paid off. The first 10 game years could have been a little easier, and the military action should have been carried on for longer.
Map Design (4). This is a grittily realistic map that fully lives up to being called the "edge of hell". Raw materials are available, but at a considerable distance from kith and kin.
Story/Instructions (3). It's a simple story to introduce you to the coming conflicts.
Conclusion. It seems churlish to offer criticism to anyone who takes the time and effort to prepare and upload a scenario for our gaming pleasure. However, I don't think that this particular one quite comes off. I would certainly recommend increasing the game speed at certain points, but that might upset your military planning in the earlier stages. I would certainly advise relative novices to steer well clear.