|Duke of York
In response to the recent survey posted in the forum, I have created the following scenario. This is my first attempt of creating a map without a pre-set keep. The size is large and it has some tough economic goals as well as a few major invasions to keep you on your toes. Thank you for downloading Elmwood, I hope you have as much fun playing it as I have had creating it. I always welcome comments in order to create better scenarios.
Duke of York
Elmwood – a river valley
Sir Steven, Earl of Lee (the Snake) has established a small trading outpost in Elmwood Valley. This river valley is located along the disputed border region with Lord Holland (the Wolf). Elmwood is rich with mineral resources and is easily accessed by the Salisbury Way. His Majesty is concerned about the dangers that may befall his nephew (the Snake) and has ordered you to reinforce him. You must quickly exploit the resources of the valley and fortify your castle as the Wolf will not sit by and idly watch. There have been rumors afoot that Sir Steven has allied himself with the Wolf in hopes to wrest the throne from his uncle. No matter how the Earl acts, you must protect him and establish a royal presence in Elmwood. It is up to the king to decide the fate of his nephew, not you.
Complete the Castle
Player Notes: Your mission is to protect the Earl of Lee. You may attack him if you must, but if something were to happen to the king’s nephew, it could mean great trouble for you.
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Playability : 5
One of the best map I had played. My mistake (unvoluntary), playing it at hard that enhanced economic goal and turn the game a little too long. First 20/25 years were awesome. End of the game was more boring since I had so many troops that it let no hope to the enemy and worst weakened his invasion because of the limit of the game.
Anyway I really enjoy this map, perhaps the best invasion map I either played.
Balance : 3
A well balanced map but... It suffer perhaps to be a too long map, so at the end you have often too many troops. At hard, once more first 20/25 were exceptional and fight frantics. It doesn’t deserve a 5 however, because of the invasion way : enemy must cross narrow bridges usually at archer range (or close to) from your castle : result is a deadly trap. An other problem (and linked to the precedent) in my eyes is to allow player with killing pits and pitch. I really hate to had to solve problem in a pyromaniac way. Narrow bridge to cross + pitch traps = no real battle nor fun except perhaps for psychotic pyromaniacs players. Killing pits are an other matter, but here I had so many wood that I sometime build killing pits only to close my advisor mounth with his “stockpile is full my lord”. Ecogoal : bless people is irrelevant : I builded church only on the last year to achieve this goal. I even don’t understand the purpose of this goal which have no matter with the story. My people simply drink beer for decade and last year stop drinking to go to church :-)
I feel an unscrupulous player regarding the story could achieve all goals more quickly than expected by the author (tested at my second attempt). Last, weapons trade, even restricted to spear mace and leather armor is a very bad mistake imo, but I don’t want to speak more about this major problem. Wood supply is also too generous, perhaps a tree fungus would be welcome.
Map design : 5
A master piece. Map is beautiful, but a bit tricky. Something which appear close could be far and far could be closest than expected. With one of the first invasion of the game I was in danger to loose because of an unexpected way for my enemy, and I suspect the author to have been enough sadic to voluntary hide it. Anyway a beautiful map. Events are very well use, it’s obviously Duke of York is far to be a rookie mapmaker.
Creativity : 4
It could be see as a classical ecovasion, but it’s well serve by the story if you follow it : an enemy on the map you must avoid to attack (and/or kill to be exact) + invasions you must resist. I was very pleased to play an invasion map of quality letting me to build your own castle.
However Duke made a fine use of terrain, and if I was permitted to build my own castle, I was unable to build for his defense large towers, nor have the benefice of thick walls. Terrain is very well use to prevent this. The result is you can build YOUR castle, but it’s, regarding history, a realistic castle an not an heroic fantasy colossal fortress.
Edit 07 august 2003 : creativity raised from 4 to 5. Rethinking about this map (dont ask me why, and why today) I think it worth more than a 4. It's not only the fact I missed, as an other reviewer pointed, your have a neighbour lord you can kill, but also the attention on details for his town. It's original to have an ennemy you cant harm, and the story give convincing reason for that. It's also original to see in his town unsual details like a buffon or a ladies.
Story : 5
Imaginative, realistic, well writted with a smell of plot and hypocrisy (possibly on both side :-). A very good story. Story even had an influence on me the first time I played that delayed my victory :-)
I played it twice in V1.2. First at hard, with my habit to don’t buy weapons nor make too much use of pitch and killing pits. It was a rather long game but very interesting, dangerous, and with lot of real activity most time.
Second time at normal I fully used of all possibility and the game was far less frightening, easy to be correct, and I finish it in 25 years instead of 40 first time. I had to concede that playing it for the second time avoided me mistakes I did the first time and at normal instead of hard.
Thank Duke of York for this map of great quality, I enjoyed it a lot. I was pleased to find a “let me build my own castle” invasion. To many invasions maps have prebuild castle that cut you of half of the pleasure of the game, create something and be a castle builder.
A very well designed map and scenario overall, and near the beginning one of the hardest I ever played. However, near the end it becomes a bit boring, as you build an ever bigger army and the stone and iron areas become defensible. I applaude DoY for making this map, it was a flawless blend of fighting and extremely difficult economical chalenges. The addition of the Snake's castle and the fact that you can't kill him was a nice twist, and added to the difficulty considderably.