For hundreds of years the Kingdom of Kaspia had prospered. It was the centre of trade, culture and religion in the eastern world. The people had enjoyed comfortable lives, the ruling class grew gradually more distant from the real world.
||Build and Destroy
This was their downfall, although they could not see it coming. Word of the Kaspians great wealth and treasures reached far around the world. Eventually word came to King Rungar of Varia in the far north. The Varians lived a hard life and were a warlike by nature. Seeing opportunity King Rungar sailed his army south down the great river and launched a suprise attack on the ill-prepared Kaspians.
Many of the Kaspians fled, even the King, before this mighty foreign army. Although his son, Prince Dario, did not...
Dario now leads the resistance along with his loyal retainer Captain Lino. Together they hope to drive the Varians out of their home and take responsibility for what the King left behind.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
I loved playing this. I was always on my toes, waiting for the next attack, scouting cautiously for the Kaspian remnants, trying to find resources. There were no bugs and everything was smooth. I never was confused about what I had to do, since the Scibadi followed the very profound KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid. The goals were straightforward, as were the side-quests. I was never distracted from the game by bugs, mistakes, confusion, or boredom.
I loved exploring every bit of the map. I loved meeting each of the remnant leaders and was pleasantly surprised every time I chanced upon soldiers engaged in a skirmish, whose survivors would join my force. I enjoyed the challenge of being restricted to the Feudal Age, and in trying to fight off Berserks and Cavaliers with spearmen and skirmishers, due to the lack of gold. That said, I almost jumped out of my seat with joy when I found the mines. All in all, this scenario was fun to play to the very end and never lost my attention.
The scenario was difficult but not unbeatable, so long as you knew what you were doing and paid attention. I was attacked relatively early on and was unprepared, resulting in losing my first time. The second time, I went to work right away instead of exploring the map. Since gates were not available, I used houses instead. Placed in the gaps in the wall, they served as very effective stoppers, allowing my towers to shoot down on them.
What made it even more challenging was the fact that gold was very sparse. I almost jumped when I found the large mine and saw there was gold there. Food, wood, and stone however, are available within your walls, at least in small amounts. There's enough to break out and destroy the enemy camped on your doorstep, which opens up the rest of the map to you.
There weren't any difficulty differences built into the game or ai (as far as I could tell) so I didn't see much difference in the difficulty settings. It was still challenging enough to present a good game, while not so hard that it was impossible to win. I'm sure that better players than me could probably win faster/easier than I did, but I found it a pretty balanced game. The only thing missing is difficulty variations.
This scenario was very creative. The map itself showed details and subtle nuances that could very well have been ignored or left out. The idea of setting a scenario in what is essentially a wasteland requires a good deal of creativity to pull off in the first place.
I was also pleased with the different results I got from the remnant leaders based on whether I sent Prince Dario or Captain Lino. Captain Lino usually resulted in gaining upgrades to Lino himself and the ability to improve your soldiers, while Dario more often proved to be more likely to recruit the soldiers to your cause. I especially liked how one of the option resulted in the group turning on you, which I did not expect in the least.
The story wasn't particularly creative, being a (very well made) variation on the standard "defeat the invader to regain your homeland" scenario. That said, the creativity in other areas made up for this, as the overall presentation was much better than the sum of the parts.
Map Design: 5-
I loved this map. The forests were well made, with clearings and paths that seemed realistic. The clearing for the enemy base and for the small port town both felt like I could have seen it in real life somewhere, given the right opportunity. The eye candy used for these small towns was just enough to give a good, rich feel, but not so much that it was excessive. This applied to the entire map.
I was also very pleased with the destruction of the land. Individually placed trees, rocks, rubble, bamboo, plants, and craters give variety to a mixture of dirt 1, broken road, and leaves. I haven't seen too many scenarios that are set in a barren land, probably because it's hard to make realistically. Scibadi hit the proverbial nail on the head with this map. Every patch of terrain, every tree, every bit of eye candy was specifically placed and the end result was brilliant.
I think Scibadi made a good choice in not building the enemy towns himself, rather relying on the AI to do it for him. The two smaller enemy wings start out only with a Town Center and villagers, but this small start emphasizes the feel of an invading army that hasn't settled yet.
Other highlights include the secluded monastery and the bridge to the island, as well as the ruined palace, which sets the stage for the final showdown. The attention to the details are spectacular, everything makes sense. In the area where there are patches of small plants, deer and wild horses roam. Near the destruction of the palace, the rubble and skeletons increase, while elsewhere, the land is simply empty, but by no means bland.
The one critique I have of the map design here is the use of hay stacks to line the palisade walls of the enemy camp. While it serves as a very good barrier, forcing you to go through the gates, it kind of sticks out as unrealistic and strange. When taken as part of the whole, however, it actually does work and it doesn't stick out, unless you specifically pay attention to it. You might be able to achieve the same effect with a mixture of broken carts, rocks, hay stacks, and other eye candy and provide a more realistic situation.
Overall though, the most significant part of this map's design is the feel it has. Playing this map, there was an atmosphere, an atmosphere of destruction, of a fall from glory. I could almost see the battles that had taken place, the skirmishes and the villages destroyed and there was a very tangible sense of stubborn resistance by your country.
This was a very pleasant scenario to play, partly because I had some sense of the story behind the scenario. The History section has a quality, but brief, narrative of the coming of the Varians and the flight of the Kaspians. He also included a very fitting image, which I felt added to the story. The story outlined here fit very well with the map, together giving me both the past and present of Kaspia and her destruction.
The Scouts and Hints are both detailed and helpful. In the scouts tab, the author gives a brief look at the enemy (which is what scouts should do), and in the hints tab, there are not only suggestions on how to play the scenario, but also how to win it, including such simple tips as assigning your heroes to a hotkey.
There was not much updating of the storyline throughout the scenario, but with the defeat of each subsequent wing of the Varian army, Rungar's brief dialogue conveyed the rising hope of the Kaspians, thus not needing anything further.
Even the endgame messages were good. I felt a sense of conclusion with the loss message, and with the victory message, there was the culmination of the hopes of the Kaspians and the conclusion of this battle, while still leaving room for a sequel or continuation (I hope?).
Overall: A great scenario, I loved every minute of it. Highly recommended for download. This scenario allows you to play out a moving story and provides a very entertaining game. I played it again to fully experience the game again, and in order to get all the results from the side quests. It's that good. Click the download button right now...Why are you still reading this? Download this scenario!
(Also, Scibadi, if you're considering a sequel, I will download it the moment it appears in the Blacksmith.)
It is really hard to have a high playability score with a build and destroy without a lot of triggers, unexpected events and an excellent story continuously developed during the game. Unfortunately, these elements are almost absent in Reclaiming Glory. In my opinion, the serious lack of triggers do that the game play of the scenario is too near from a random map to be totally captivating for the player. In spite of this, the author created something that is fun to play, and different of most of the B&D. Been restricted to Feudal Age and fight against cavaliers was an interesting challenge, especially when you are largely outnumbered by the invading army. Also, the varian chiefs dispersed on the map enhance nicely the playability of the scenario.
Because I did not wanted to write in this review that Reclaiming Glory was too easy, I tried it on Hardest. So I can say that it is just impossible to survive if you stay in the first base: too much enemies, too soon and not enough resources to deal with them. For experimented players, finding a way to don’t be crushed after ten minutes is a great challenge (personally, I only discovered one way to do this: a forum rush against the enemy base located at the north-west, which have a lot of wood and gold to gather). For me, it was just perfect. The problem come after, when the economy of the player is too strong and his armies too numerous for computer’s ones, especially when he get upgrades for his troops. The invader can no longer resist against a tiding wave of pikemen and skirmishers. The fortifications around the hero that we need to kill and his powerful bodyguards provide some additional challenge, but, like in most of the build and destroy, after a certain point of the game, it becomes almost impossible to been defeated.
The author had some really good ideas when he created this scenario. The principal one is to restrict the player to Feudal Age. How many AoK fans remember how it is frustrating to can’t reach Imperial Age (as it was the case during the half of the Joan of Arc campaign). To be obliged to raze castles and fortresses with nothing more effective than poor rams, when a trebuchet could do the same job at miles and miles from its target… Now, they can imagine how interesting to attack a fortified city without any siege equipment! It was a nice flash to use this concept in a scenario: we learn to love the poor rams. Another creative element is the variation of the advantages given by the varian chiefs according with which hero talk with them. But the story is a bit classic: the enemy invaded your lands, so drive him out of your country.
Map Design: 5
The author has a great talent for map design. This one is not a perfect masterpiece, but not far of it. The map creates an atmosphere, and told some history, the history of a land half-destroyed by years of war, where the life is hard. Every detail, each part of the land was designed with a lot of care, and my eyes enjoyed each part of the map. Just awesome.
The instructions were clear: the player exactly knows what he has to do, and the hints help to use a good tactic to finish the objectives. The story as also a basic background that explain shortly the events that happened before the counter-attack of our two heroes, but there is not enough details about the characters and new developments during the game to deserve a perfect score. Last thing: I liked the introduction picture. It fits with the atmosphere of the scenario.
Reclaiming Glory is a good build and destroy, more enjoyable than most of what is submitted in the Blacksmith. The author shows that he has a great talent in scenario design, and globally, the only thing that misses to raise the level of his creation is some additional work. Most of the time, the principal difference between a good and an excellent scenario is the time spends on it to improve its game play, its map and its story. If Scibadi continues on this path, I think that his future will be glorious as scenario designer.
'Reclaiming Glory' is a single scenario depicting the fictional Varian invasion of Kaspia, led by King Rungar III, while the Kaspian king has all-but fled the country along with many other corresponding nobles and soldiers. In the face of the Varian onslaught, Prince Dario and a small number of men stubbornly refuse to yield their country to a foreigner, and in a dubious attempt make preparations to hold back the tide and retake their country.
PLAYABILITY: For a build-and-destroy game 'Reclaiming Glory' is refreshingly different, uniquely so. Indeed it's not very often these days that you come across a rare gem such as this. There was never a boring moment exploring the sometimes mysterious countryside and turning the tide of war as my forces pushed back the Varian onslaught, all but desperate to quell the last of Kaspian resistance. You sense the devastation of a land that has suddenly soured at the coming of war, and dubiously you proceed to shaft up stretched defences while meagre resources means you will eventually have to venture out from your starting base and into unexplored territory. There is little time to prepare and early attacks quickly keep you on your feet, with my first three attempts leading me into restarting the scenario and saving plenty of times afterwards. The lack of gold means spearmen, skirmishers and scout cavalry becomes the staple of your land force, all ready to hold off, it at all possible, the Varian offensive. The initial first hour of the game was one of caution, constant micromanaging, and a bit of underhand tactics, against a much stronger foe. Houses were proven replacements for palisade or stone walls, while being disabled, and numerous watch towers kept the enemy at bay. The more land I retook the more I stumbled upon much-needed resources, seemingly left behind in the Varian retreat, and giving my forces the added thrust of being able to train stronger units at a tandem. This was good, because it felt like I needed to take risks and throw the fight back to the enemy, in order to have any chance at victory. There are many little creative nuances along the way, and the more you explore the war ravaged land you soon discover other villages, remnants of the once great Kaspian people and small oasis' in a wasteland. Here, depending on who you bring to the doorstep, you may collect help from the survivors, in the crux of unit upgrades and greater attack or hit points for Captain Lino, or supporters for your cause should Prince Dario visit them. That being said, the challenging attacks presented earlier become visibly lack-lustre, and soon however, it is the enemy on the defensive as my forces brazenly sweep aside all in their path. It seems only a matter of time until I have achieved victory, although rather guiltily I took my time, hoping to relish in what has so far been a very enjoyable scenario. The story begins with an interesting mark, but is devoid of further development as the scenario progresses. It would have been nice to feature more in-game events, story development, and a more rewarding conclusion once I had laid the Varian king to rest. 4+
BALANCE: I played on moderate, and to be honest I lost a couple times as the early enemy attacks caught me unaware. I quickly did away with my fondness for exploring good map design and built up my starting position into a veritable fortress, using houses to patch up gaps in the walls because of the loss of stone and so much as palisade walls, while focusing much of my peasant productivity on gathering stone and wood so that I could build as many watch towers as possible to throw back any determined assault. However, the lack-lustre AI gives little impression later on in the game, while still forcing the player to take one step at a time, but nonetheless creating too few soldiers and lacking much aggression to take my steamrolling forces on. A suggestion to the author here might be to allow one of the Varian players (there's three of them in all) to age up to Castle on hard difficulty, and to train more mangonels, scorpions and heavier troops, but not so much that the game becomes a nightmare. 4
CREATIVITY: Creativity here does not come in the gauge of new trigger tricks or anything fancy but there's still much here, small little instances, whether through the map design, objectives and story, that compliments the game well. The mechanic whereby depending on which important unit you bring to the outlying villages and volunteers found around the map in order to receive better upgrades or volunteers, adds a nice layer of depth to an otherwise straight-forward B&D. While the story is quite standard, the inability to progress to Castle Age along with disabled walls, gates and docks made things challenging, and only adds to the flavour of the design. 4
MAP DESIGN: The map design is very pleasing, and I particularly enjoyed the author's unique tone here. The author utilises a very harsh terrain scheme, with layers of dirt 1, individually placed trees, sparse resources and a thorough placement of Gaia objects, going into the overall impression here. The effect is really quite impressive and there was never a boring moment exploring the mysterious land, wracked from war and seemingly crawling with enemy soldiers. 5-
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The tale is a classic one, but it's short and simple, and hardly detracting from the experience. Hints were sufficient but never really needed and even the scouts section provided some useful insight. The bitmap compliments the atmosphere of the game well, I am left wanting more. However, little story progression during actual play and a lack of in-game events hurts the rating. 4
CONCLUSION: 'Reclaiming Glory' is certainly one of the year's highlights, with loads of enjoyment and its own unique map design. While the AI could do with some tweaking to offer more challenge in the latter half of the scenario, this is a very good effort and fans of the genre should not look passed this.
In a sentence - This is vintage B&D, with fun challenging game play (at least for the initial part of the game) and complimentary map design.
In closing - A must download.
[Edited on 03/13/18 @ 06:15 AM]