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Topic Subject: Sparrow's Extreme Challenges - #3 -- Star and Crescent
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posted 11-19-05 08:52 EST (US)   
main thread | main page | all challenges and solutions | rules | honour roll 

Sparrow's Extreme Challenges 
My personal picks of the most difficult maps to play on "very hard" setting. 

This is the map thread for:

Challenge #3   posted November 19, 2005 
Star and Crescent 
by Brave Sir Robyn 
challenge info | download | solution | main thread 

Solution will be published with the next challenge in two weeks.

I just found out some interesting background information regarding the design of this map. First my deep apologies to NAT for feeling the need to share this with you all. NAT is a big football fan supporting Southampton, as is Brave Sir Robyn, however BSR supports arch rival Portsmouth, and you know how seriously the English take their football. From what I gather (USA perspective) the top and bottom three football teams move up and down in the various leagues depending on their performance each year. It's therefore a very big deal to reach the English Premier League (the top) after playing in lesser leagues for many years.

BSR celebrated Portsmouth's (nicknamed Pompey) ascension to the Premier League in 2003 by designing the Star and Crescent map, somewhat as a joke, and incorporated many references to the team and the event. First was basing the map's layout on the team's (and city's) crest, and by luck, incorporating its colors, a yellow star and crescent on a blue shield, shown at right. Plus the team plays in blue and white.

The map starts in August 2003, the start of the league fixtures, and there is a total of 38 invasions representing the number of games that were to be played. BSR tried to put in a feeling of a long hard struggle, anticipating a tough season without much success for a new team in the league.

Elements of the story were tied in, too. Lord Dreadknapp represented Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth's manager at the time. King M'Landric was Milan Mandaric, the club chairman. "...have led your tribe to glorious victories in the previous campaign" refers to record points and goals scored in the previous year. "You must return to the lands of the Elite tribes and defend your rightful place amongst them" refers to joining the Premier League and playing the top teams.

"Be careful though, for apart from a scouting party some fifteen years ago that sunk without trace, your kind has not been welcome here for many generations." - Portsmouth had not played in the top league since 1988.

"Many years ago you once ruled the Elite tribes and your ancestors carved their mark in the landscape for all time." - Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 1939 and held it for a record seven years due to the breakout of World War II, and also won the 1st Division title for two years running in 1949 and 1950.

"You must defeat all aggressors, including the vile and loathsome Scuhm tribe." - a reference to NAT's favorite Southampton team.

Very clever, Brave Sir Robyn.

Please make all posts for this map in this thread.

Please feel free to post your progress, comments, discussions, compare notes, announce victories, or ask for help on this map, but ONLY POST FOR THIS MAP, please. And please DO NOT START ANY NEW THREADS for these challenges. Any new threads started for Sparrow's Extreme Challenges will be locked or deleted.

To post for other maps or for general challenge comments go to the main thread where you'll find links to all other challenge map threads.

Visit the main page for Sparrow's Extreme Challenges to see a complete write up with links, information, and solutions for every map.

Complete this challenge map and be included in the Honour Roll of Extreme Challenge Masters. To be listed for this map make a post in this thread to announce your victory. You MUST state what difficulty you played on so we know which honour roll to put you on.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader

[This message has been edited by Sparrow (edited 11-21-2005 @ 06:00 PM).]

posted 12-02-05 08:34 EST (US)     26 / 46  
Congrats Brave Sir Robyn. That's quite a lively retelling. Glad you made it. A nail biter right to the end it sounds like. I've marked you on the honour roll and put your name up.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-02-05 10:51 EST (US)     27 / 46  

Quoted from brave sir robyn:

By the way, that's a brilliant birdseye picture of the whole map Duc De Noisiel, I think I'll take a copy of that!

And include it to the download file? Be my guest.
posted 12-04-05 05:10 EST (US)     28 / 46  
My solution for this map is up at I built like crazy and this is what it looked like just prior to the last battle:

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-09-05 18:15 EST (US)     29 / 46  
-Admits defeat! -

I can safely say i disise portsmouth more now than ever
(only kidding) I just can't survive the frequent waves of pikemen and so i will have to read the hints/tips..... I didnt want it to come to this but i must finish this now annoying map!

Whens the next chllenge due?


posted 12-09-05 18:35 EST (US)     30 / 46  
Next challenge is due in about a week. The plan has been to present one every two weeks, if possible early on Saturday morning.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-09-05 22:04 EST (US)     31 / 46  
What units did you make early on?

Do you think i'll get further with spears or archers early on?

posted 12-10-05 04:59 EST (US)     32 / 46  
I have a style which is not common to everybody, but which works quite well for me. When crossbows are available, as they are here, I produce as many as I can immediately, adding in a poleturner after I have at least several fletchers and tanners working. Much later I usually add in armored troops, if available. The thought behind it is this: archers are lightweight troops; small bands can suffer heavy losses and are not very effective against armored troops. Crossbowmen are more expensive and take longer to produce, but are much hardier and have much more stopping power. Time and again I've seen a small band of crossbowmen outperform and outlast a much larger group of archers. And as their numbers grow they become truly formidable.

It's very tempting to produce archers to start, being cheaper and faster, but I just see it as that many more crossbows I don't have. True, going after crossbows immediately leaves you a little more vulnerable right in the beginning, but if you can make it over that small hump you'll be in a much stronger position for the rest of the game.

Here, I added a poleturner after the first fletcher and tanner, earlier than usual for me. More spearmen are important not so much for their fighting ability, which is minimal, but for the delay they can provide, allowing the crossbows (and archers) to do their work. When the first invasion reached the star I had two crossbowmen, and a third added during the attack, plus three or four new spearmen. With delaying tactics, it was enough.

The problem with spearmen, and also with macemen is that when they engage in their style of combat, so many die. You need a good flow of new recruits to keep your strength up. This happens a lot with armored melee troops as well. They're basically made to be sacrificed. Most of the time crossbowmen are not killed, they live to fight another day. Fresh crossbowmen swell the numbers rather than replace losses. Many here may disagree with this approach, and if you've read their write-ups you can see many of their strategies were different.

In this mission spearmen are going to have a tough time against pikemen, so archers or crossbowmen are crucial. You will want as many spearmen as you can muster to help out too, though. Later you'll be able to train your own pikemen, but that won't be until many battles on.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-10-05 11:17 EST (US)     33 / 46  

Playing level = 15000
Troop loss 26% = 7400
Overall score = 22400

This is a real beauty of a map from Brave Sir Robin, and yes I can look at the X with pride! It was a pleasure to finally complete it on ‘very hard’ after sooo many goes, and more strategies that you can throw a stick at – simply excellent fun . So where do I begin?
Well after reading Sparrows last post on his method I can safely say the early Xbow manufacturing was the way forward for me too. The early ‘regular’ invasions were a complete nightmare to handle but I was tactical with pitch and it seemed to pay off. I decided to move the stock pile again, positioning it close by to the iron ore. Xbow production was also started close by to the stock pile. From the start the granary was placed by the apples this was my main source of food until I moved everything into the star.
As the invasions perfectly grew I was always feeling under pressure and wondering how I’m gonna get through the next ones. I loved the sense of expectation I got from playing this map and found it was perfectly in balance even on Very Hard. Although It was a bleedin tough one!
So the enemies grew large and I was scared, I was weary my new found tactics weren’t gonna work, but with plenty of stone being produced I knew I could design some protection….So I was around 2 thirds of the game and I was in great shape…Most of the points of the star was protected and I was loving this challenge, could anything stop me from romping to victory?
Slap me hard in the face! The final invasions were awesome! I lost about 7 times before I knew I had to redesign things….I went back to the save – the time of piece before the BIG invasions and created a compact ( 5 wall thick), 2 big tower fortification that housed just a granary, fletchers building, armory, an inn and a stock pile. The two big towers had mangonels resting on top - it must be known by this time I had around 13 boiling pots too.
So bring it on…it was a rush to finish the compact castle, but my God did it work – with the much needed reinforcements I cruised to victory. The castle proving just too much for the happy go lucky enemy…..So was this map great or what? Brave Sir Robin has crafted such a playable map here, unadulterated fun that asks plenty of questions, indeed Star and Crescent is the thinking man’s invasion map. Ok I played it on VH and it nearly sent me crazy, but what a game….so what’s the final word. Play this on normal and you’ll probably find yourself plunged once again into the beautiful world of Stronghold, play it on very hard and win then expect your head to be hurting and your name in lights.

Happy gaming. Andy

posted 12-10-05 13:14 EST (US)     34 / 46  
Congratulations Andy! I've put your "X" up on the honour roll. Great to hear you had such a fun.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-11-05 09:07 EST (US)     35 / 46  
Cheers Sparrow, i'm pleased to get through this 1 here's a pic of the final moments.

posted 12-11-05 10:18 EST (US)     36 / 46  
Is that russian? thats one crazy alphabet!

well to me anyway


(sigh...... another one beats me! )

posted 12-11-05 10:49 EST (US)     37 / 46  
hehe, The Russian language is just a bit potty all round The alphabet has slavonic roots and contains 33 letters, here's some info i've just fished from the net.
PS. I'm sure you'll do this one soon enough. I must admit it was really difficult but it can be done.

The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters, 11 vowels, 20 consonants and 2 letters which do not have a sound (instead they make the word harder or softer). Also hand written Russian looks different to printed Russian.

Cyrillic alphabet (Êèðèëëèöà)
The Cyrillic alphabet is named after St. Cyril, a missionary from Byzantium. It was invented sometime during the 10th century AD, possibly by St. Kliment of Ohrid, to write the Old Church Slavonic language. The Cyrillic alphabet achieved its current form in 1708 during the reign of Peter the Great. Four letters were eliminated from the alphabet in a 1917/18 reform.

The Cyrillic alphabet has been adapted to write over 50 different languages, mainly in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. In many cases additional letters are used, some of which are adaptations of standard Cyrillic letters, while others are taken from the Greek or Latin alphabets.

posted 12-11-05 11:07 EST (US)     38 / 46  
Glad to see the game also comes in russian.

The font set that shows the date seems thinner.
Just wondering what country map does come for the original missions... England?
And of course, I'm sure the voices are in russian...

posted 12-11-05 11:10 EST (US)     39 / 46  
Hello there Duc de Noisiel, the missions are set in England and it comes shipped with russian FX. Happy gaming. Andy
posted 12-11-05 15:58 EST (US)     40 / 46  
Interesting stuff, Andy.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 12-12-05 09:45 EST (US)     41 / 46  
-whistles in acting as if hes finished the map!-

"yep this maps a peice of cake!
I wish

Thanks for the russian info and game hints guys , im making progress.

WARNING!!!! run and hide when i beat this map, i'll storm in here and party like crazy! - nearly there.......


posted 12-18-05 17:40 EST (US)     42 / 46  
Hi. I haven't plyed SH1 for quite a while, saw this challenge and it sounded interesting. I have just registered for forum but have completed two of the do I let you know?

I completed Star and Crescent on Very Hard. ( I have always played all maps first on Very makes it the most interesting and frustrating for me ha ha ha). It took me several evenings and a weekend and over a couple dozen attempts. I finally realized I was not building enough stuff or with high enough population at the start.

Finally built a couple farms, iron mine and quarry inside a serperate "fort" that offered some protection. Great map. I have always found Brave Sir Robyn and Duke of York to offer really tough maps. AWESOME, frustrating map. Always being pushed back onto the back of your feet!

I did the print screen button but was unable to "save" ending score. I remember it was 1500 or 15000 with 66% lost troops.

posted 12-18-05 21:15 EST (US)     43 / 46  
Congratulations, Duke of The Glen. Glad to have you posting here. What you have is just fine. It's not required to post a screen shot. I've put you up on the honour roll for this one. If you've completed any others just make a post in the appropriate map thread to let me know and I'll check those, too.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 01-21-06 22:01 EST (US)     44 / 46  
I've just completed this one on hard. Great map, really enjoyed playing this one.

After a couple of tries where I ran into trouble in the first few invasions, I finally got off to a decent start, and sailed through fairly smoothly... Started off with a fletcher (longbows), some woodcutters, and a couple of apple farms. When the woodcutters started bringing in wood, I added a second fletcher (crossbows), a dairy farm, a tanner, and some wheat and hops farms, plus a poleturner (initially spears, switching to pikes once I had iron and an armorer) as soon as I had the money. This gave me a couple of archers and crossbowmen in time for the first invasion, and a few more each time, which was just about enough to hold off the early invasions.

Once I had a decent food production going, I started adding some quarries, then iron mines and pitch rigs. As I got enough stone, I added towers with ballistae on the points of the star, eventually sealing it off completely. Then the invaders started attacking my mines and farms so I ended up building a wall around the quarries and some farms in the west.

After seeing off the last invasion from the snake, I added as many pitch rigs as possible (I had to buy wood by this point). When the final invasions came, I had enough pitch to turn the valley into an inferno.

Playing level: 10000
Troops lost: 11% = 8900
Score: 18900

Might just have to try this one on very hard at some point. If I can survive the first few invasions (maybe by using pitch much earlier, as brave sir robyn suggested), I think I could make it to the end...

(Ironically, I notice Portsmouth lost 5-0 today...)

posted 01-21-06 23:34 EST (US)     45 / 46  
Excellent work, Lord Coeur, and thanks for the nice post. I've checked off this challenge beside your name.

DoY's infamous TREASURE ISLAND - Challenge #13 - Sparrow's Extreme Challenges for SH1 and Crusader
posted 04-23-06 21:50 EST (US)     46 / 46  
Well this one was hell. Pure tedium from start to finish for me. I restarted several times looking for something that would work. I came up with something functional, but by no means perfect. I gated all the points except the southern one. I went with 2 fletchers early set on bows. Hoping to conserve other resources and maximize units. To counter the weaker archers I had I used pitch on that southern spoke to burn the enemy on the way up. This became my basic strategy for much of the game. Gradually increasing defenses on this area and moving to crossbows and spacing my archers to allow for lighting of ever increasing pitch zones. So I expanded pitch production when I could having all the northern spots by the end. I needed that and some purchased before the final battle.

For food I used the four cheese spots I found on the center area. I went with apples and then to wheat. I probably should have gone to wheat earlier, but I didn't realize how bad things would get and its space requirements are taxing. Although this mix did help at times with its food bonus.

I bought ale and kept at +3 or +4.

I put my houses at the outer edges. I lost some, but not too many.

8 woodcutters early and then dropping down due to blights and over-production.

I put one quarry on the three areas and gradually increased to 3 or 4 tethers each. Trying to balance prodution with attacks.

I used bad things before the last battle and switched to good as it began.

I bought an apoth once, but not sure she is useful unless you use her early. And she takes up valuable space. A coin flip I suppose.

I used 3 stock spots for the beginning moving to 5.

I used about a dozen tanners and fletchers total.

I had about fifteen towers at the end with mangronels and three smaller ones.

The only new thing I found for me was that with the towers on the spokes I could block things off and use stairs out the back and a backwards wood gatehouse abutted to it to allow for production to pass through each tower smoothly.

I put towers on the smiley face. Adding to my killing zone and protecting other items I built here.

I went zero infantry which was a mistake being that my open area allowed the enemy to reach the keep area often and the keep itself 6 or so times.

The final attack was hell. I had 75% of my defense in the south and 75% of the attacks came from the north. Even though I was able to pound each attack with 4-6 mangronels the crossbows still depleted these towers of most archers.
And I was able to use pitch better for southern attacks hitting their approaches easier.

So it was enough to barely survive. Losing too many troops. Although there were positives in my defense. I would have probably preferred constricting my defense for the final attack. Bringing everyone in around the keep to a tower network and using boiling oil for support.

And for some reason I didn't block off the southern spoke for the last attack.

One positive of the open area was that the enemy rarely went after outside buildings and generally headed straight for the opening. Although this may be true for a sealed castle. I don't have anything to compare with.

That's it. I lost 30% of my men and am glad that one is over.

[This message has been edited by Ironfist88 (edited 04-28-2006 @ 11:49 PM).]

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