Choose your side and fight for it and dont forget Maya's!
||Build and Destroy
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There were few bugs, but nothing significant, until I reached the end. I had defeated the Mayans and all of the Britons, but I didn't win. I opened up the scenario and found that there was no victory condition, meaning that the only way to win would have been to destroy my allies, or, as I did the second time I player, build a wonder.
There were also some issues with the behavior of the computer players. The "Founder of Teutons" starting building a wonder almost every time on hard difficulty, and some of the smaller towns randomly decided to attack me on a number of plays.
Easy. Very easy. First of all, as soon as you pick your settlement, you get 15000 of each resource. You can essentially play this like a Death Match game. What makes it even better is that you choose between fighting the Britons or the Teutons. When you're the Goths, it's a pretty safe bet to fight the Britons' archers, given that you have Huskarls that eat archers for breakfast. Once I had a town, my strategy was simple. Make Huskarls. Lots of them. Then march into the enemy base and wipe it out. Despite not having access to siege weapons or castles, it was ridiculously easy, even when I sided with the Britons. With 15000 food and gold, you can afford to take pretty heavy casualties.
The small towns are absurdly weak, and posed absolutely no challenge at all. Your starting units (about a dozen) are enough to destroy both small towns without casualties, even on the hardest difficulty. The larger cities were a little harder, as their walls kept you out. With enough Huskarls, though, their gates did come down. Once they were in the city, the Huskarls did what they do best: wipe out everything.
Even on the hardest difficulty level, it was very easy. The strong enemies focused more on fighting each other and the Mayans than they did on me, allowing me to build up a massive army and march right into their city. Even having to turn on my allies was no problem, even if I waited long enough for the AI to react and set me as an enemy.
There wasn't much creativity here. Map design was average at best and the story was non-existent. The only thing even a little creative was the ability to chose your side. Most scenarios are quite linear, at least restricting you to a certain primary objective. Getting to chose which side I took was something I liked and something I hadn't seen as often. While not particularly original, it did add a little variety and increased the replay value.
Map Design: 3
Map design was mediocre at best. It looked like a random map with towns placed down and some extra eye candy added in a few places. In these cases, however, it seemed like the eye candy was placed for the sake of having eye candy. At the starting point, there are ruins, a statue, a few graves, a couple shipwrecks, and a rug. There didn't seem to be any reason for these being there. The only other place I saw eye candy used was a small camp, where the eye candy seemed too much. It was like eating a rather unexceptional steak and then suddenly taking a bite and getting mouthful loading with way too much seasoning.
Roads were all the solid white road, essentially leading you right to each settlement, and didn't appear realistic at all. At some points the road went through large forests, but often, there were trees in the road, forcing me to go around the forest altogether. The map was rather flat, with a few hills here and there, and was primarily solid grass, with a few areas of dirt 1 and palm forest. There was no mixing of terrains and the cities were not city-like at all (either solid grass or a random spiderweb of roads with buildings placed haphazardly around). The smaller towns were, on the other hand, not bad. They could use maybe a little eye candy or terrain variation, but I got a good small-village feel from them, which I liked.
Very limited instructions. I was told to keep my hero alive, join a town, and destroy the enemies and Mayans. There was no story at all, nothing about who Marlin was or who the enemies were or why we needed to destroy them. Once I had won, the victory message told me to "Kill the king;" this would have been better to know during the game, if in fact, it was telling me how to win.
There were grammatical and spelling errors in the few places where there was text, there was no history, and the hints and scouts both were limited to a couple phrases. Aside from one message at the beginning telling Marlin to join a village and not to die, there was no storyline or instructions at all.
Overall: It's essentially a death match game with a few starting towns. No story, very easy, average map design. If you enjoy being able to build a massive army and destroy everything in our path, this might be right for you. If you want a challenge, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.
1) Develop a storyline, even if it's something simple. Who is Marlin? Why is he getting involved with this war? What do the Mayans have to do with the story? Who are those soldiers int he little camp by the Britons? A story with this kind of stuff can make it more interesting to play.
2) Consider allowing the castle or at least siege workshop. Without siege weapons, the player can only really throw their soldiers at the walls, incurring heavy casualties, until they finally break through the walls. Allowing a ram or trebuchet would allow you to also make another change...
3) Give the player less resources. 15000 of each is a little over the top. For one thing, you can't build castles or stone walls, so that much stone is useless. The food, wood, and gold allow you to very quickly boom to your population limit and keep it there all game. Less resources and maybe a few siege weapons would make it more difficult while not making it unbeatable.
4) Put some time into the map. Vary the terrain and elevation a little. Mix in other dirts/grasses to make it look more realistic. Use the other roads as well, and put some breaks in it. A solid line like the road now doesn't look realistic at all. In the cities, you could mix the unbroken road and the broken or fungus road to give it a more realistic feel. Spread your eye candy out. use some flowers here and there, maybe add a couple mountains, but don't clump all your eye candy together in a couple pockets.
[Edited on 02/13/11 @ 09:14 PM]
"Two kingdoms" is a deathmatch-style B&D scenario, unfortunately not a real improvement over a standard random map game.
At the beginning of the game you have only one character, called Marlin, which is supposed to go and choose from one of four villages, therefore also choosing one of the two factions (britons or teutons). This is actually the only really interactive element of the gameplay. The first part of the scenario, in which you go across the map with your sole character, is very boring and actually pointless because nothing happens during the "travel" through a very bland countryside. It's like an RPG , only without any action whatsoever...you can kill some wolves if you really want to, but that's all. It would have been easier and less time and nerve-consumming to just choose the villages from the beginning by clicking on one of the town centers or something.
Once you get to one of the four flags you gain control of the respective village, with its buildings, soldiers and villagers. Then the game becomes your standard run-of-the-mill death match, with 15000 something resources of each kind. You and your allies must defeat your rivals (teutons or britons based on your choice), and also some mayans (go figure).
Nothing much to say here, it's not really more than a random map game in terms of challenge.
The only somewhat creative part is the beginning, the idea of a choice between two factions, but the result is not worth it, as i have shown in the "playability" section.
Map Design: 2
Most of the map is random map quality, with very little attention given to details...sometimes even leaving me wishing it were a random map. Jungle and oak forests next to each other don't really give the best impression. Terrain mixing is minimal and the cities look bland.
This category is by far the weakest. No background whatsoever is given on the events or the main character, which will become anonymous as soon as you join your faction, and will not influence the scenario in any way (you only need to make sure he doesn't die). The two Kingdoms don't have any background. The instructions/hints/scouts are minimal and filled with grammar errors.