(Updated on 05/11/11
Who remembers King Nick's Great Stand? While it was a good idea, I didn't do a great job. So, this is a totally reworked version. Features:
*In-depth history and storyline
*Large mountain stronghold
*Women and children protection
*Siege food supply system
*Very basic morale system
*Naval trade system for goods
*Siege construction tent
Sound good? Try it out.
Uses the Recharged 2.04 AI. Included in ZIP File.
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For the most part, the game played well. I enjoyed it for the most part, although there were a few things worht mentioning. First, the food supply. I'll go into this in the map design category, as it's an issue of building placement. Second, the enemies were not always focused on entering the fortress. Many times that I played, they sat for almost the entire game trying to knock down the northwest walls, while all I did was sit back and watch; since the walls were backed by cliffs, I was in no real immediate danger from them. I won't take too much off because of this because other tries resulted in them pressing and trying to destroy me, but it was a little comical seeing them bombard walls only to revealt the cliffs behind them.
Balance was pretty good. You weren't horribly underpowered (it is possible to hold them off), but at the same time, it isn't a walk in the park either. It basically comes down to defending your dock long enough to maintain supplies. Your defenses would be enough to hold them off for most of the game without too much trouble, if you did not have to worry about maintaining your food supply. It was difficult because you didn't have enough wood to build ships to defend your allies at the point when the Arab mercenaries were attacking. I would recommend either giving either you or your ally a few warships.
While not overwhelmingly creative, there were some thigns that stuck out to me. The exploding outposts were something I hadn't really seen before, as was the counting down of the food using the Mill. The seige tower and the murder holes were also nice touches.
Overall though, I didn't feel like this scenario was exceptionally creative. It had some good elements, like the food supply, but overall, is a little above average in this category
Map Design: 3
The first thing I notice when looking at the map is how much unused space there is. For one, th elake is enormous and does not need to be so large. It plays a very small part of the scenario and is not worth the amount of space it fills. The southern corner of the map is just blank grass with a few hold off units. The path that the invaders arrive by is also quite a bit longer than it really needs to be and honestly, this scenario could be created on a map half this size.
There was a distinct lack of eye candy on this map. The fields outside the walls were empty where they could have used flowers, craters, cracks, skeletons, or anythign else; even a few trees would be nice. Instead, there is a large empty space with a few exploding outposts. Inside the city itself, it wasn't very visually appealling. I feel like it needs a better spread of buildings (ie, not clumping all the houses in a single row), some road and dirt terrains and eye candy.
THere were a few nice parts that I liked. While there wasn't much eye candy, the castle was nice. It was fairly nice, even if it could use a little more. I also liked the dock area, but even these two areas weren't extraordinarily well designed, but they were better than the rest of the map.
One specific problem I continually ran into was the "food supply." Having the food count down is a nice idea, but placing it within trebuchet range of the walls meant that I always would loose not because I ran out of food, but because it was destroyed by enemy trebuchets. Because I wanted to know how it ended, I opened the scenario and moved the mill to the other end of the fortress, where trebuchets weren't a problem. Once I did this, I could actually finish the game.
Another "problem" is that almost all the walls are backed by cliffs, meaning that I only really needed to defend my two gates, the one cliff jutting out, and the dock. For most of the game, I just let the enemy sit there and attack the walls, since the cliffs were a defense that I didn't even need to worry about protecting. More gaps in the cliffs would be a better design here; it would actually force the player to protect himself rather than jut hole up and let the enemy attack the walls.
The story was very good. I enjoyed it and it was well thought out and explained. Having a good background story and detailed instructions and scouts makes a scenario more interesting and enjoyable. The instructions were clear, the hints were good, and I didn't see spelling and grammatical errors. The one thing I would fix is the names of the villagers near the castle. While calling tham "servants" is fine, I would name each one "Servant." Another thing I would do is rename "Joan the Maid" and "Scythian Wild Woman" to something more generic. If you took the time to rename the huskarls, villagers (who lose their name as soon as they work) and teutonic knights, you can afford to rename the women. These are very minor and so do not affect the scoring here, although they would be good fixes for an update.
Overall, the scenario was enjoyable, challenging, and a little frustrating at times. Despite having a few factors that you can exploit to change the game and less than outstanding map design, it is a good scenario and I would recommend it.