Driven from your homeland by invaders, you've discovered that refugees have settled around an old Abbey in the relative safety of a winding canyon. Take command of this settlement and defend the canyon, until you can build up a army to retake your ancestral lands.
Playability (4). This scenario features invasions followed by siege warfare as you try to reclaim your lands. It proved a little hard to get into at first, as I wasn't too sure where my boundaries were, or if I had an ally, but I'm delighted that I stayed with it. Placing hunters' posts proved a waste of wood for reasons that soon became apparent.
Balance (4). Enemy attacks were hampered by the topography. Troops could only infiltrate at one point and it was relatively simple to deal with any threats. There was neither the opportunity nor the sheer numbers required for the AI to be able to land any telling blows to my defences. But this mission came into its own when siege warfare was declared. If I found the invasions relatively easy, then the sieges made for very hard work. The designer assesses this as 'normal difficulty', but I would place it harder than that because of the siege requirements.
Creativity (5). There are cunningly designed defences to provide an intriguing challenge to the most skilful of siege gamers. It certainly beats anything that I encountered on the Crusader Mission Trail.
Map Design (4). "Winding Canyon" is an apt description for this excellent map. There are extremely well-designed, substantial fortresses to conquer, and it was good to see a pukka stronghold keep once again. The only reservations have already been expressed.
Story/Instructions (3). It's a simple story to whet your appetite for the task ahead. I would have appreciated seeing this short narrative repeated within the mission briefing objectives as an aide memoire.
Conclusion. The longer I played this scenario, the more I came to appreciate its challenges, cunning and charm. It took me some 40 game years to conquer. That's over five hours of entertainment and headache. I normally prefer dealing with invasions rather than sieges, but this was the exception to the rule. If you want a thorough workout of your siege tactics, then you need look no further.