||Build and Destroy
1631: After a tremendously successful campaign year, Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, made plans to get his men shelter and support for the upcoming Winter in Hesse. But reports of Catholic troops on the other side of the river Rhine forced the King into action. In a very ambitious move, the King decides to actually cross the river with hand-made rafts in order to prevent the enemy from falling in their backs...
This campaign was actually released in 2001 by my then 15 year-old self and was remade in 2005 by Andreas "aMa" Marscheider, the creator of Anno 782 - Saxon Revolt. After the advent of the HD version, I decided to finally translate the reworked version and bring it to the net.
CREDITS AND SPECIAL THANKS
...of course go to aMa, for reworking pretty much the entire map with new designs, elements and many new triggers while still keeping the Original layout and ideas intact.
This version includes a full text-translation (with one exception being the old scenario bitmap from 2001), but is missing all of the sounds and voice files. However, I plan to record new ones in the future.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
The Rhine Crossing is a work created by the legendary Andreas 'aMa' Marscheider based on a scenario by Ductos. Seeing as the majority of the AoK community are not fully fluent in German, it is great to see this gem finally translated into English by the author of the original scenario and released to the wider public.
This scenario is very entertaining. Though its build&destroy setup it might give the player the impression of a slow-paced game, it soon turns to action as the Rhine is crossed and numerous waves of enemies fall upon the player's units. I found the interaction with the various characters around the map to be well-executed. In general the scenario was challenging and required me on numerous occasions to rethink my strategy, something I did not mind at all.
Overall I would say the game felt challenging without giving the impression of being impossible. As mentioned previously, I was forced a couple of times to rethink my strategy and try again. Though the odds in the first part of the scenario were clearly stacked in the player's favor, this changed completely when the river is crossed. Waves of enemies pour down on the player's beachhead, forcing him/her to quickly build up defenses in this hostile environment. The fact that the enemy fields a variety of troops only adds to the challenge.
The aforementioned interaction with characters across the map was well done and added greatly to the scenario's atmosphere. In addition, the overall map design and use of various game mechanics resulted in a great map. The only thing keeping this scenario from getting a perfect score in this category is the fact that it's currently missing its original voiced dialogues. As we have seen in other translated German works (with 'Chrombasia - The Two Relics' in particular), using the original German voices often leads to a much more immerse world, no matter if they do not fully correspond with the English text.
MAP DESIGN: 5
As we have come to expect from a designer like aMa the map design is simple yet elegant. It features a variety of well-placed objects which seems to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the terrain. The overall map is realistic and allows for a great deal of strategies.
The scenario was accompanied by a short background story which was adequate for a better understanding of forces present in the game. I did however find the player's characters to be somewhat lacking in depth.
In general the instructions were good and gave the player a clear view of his objectives. Whenever interaction with AI characters became possible, the player was notified of this.
The Rhine Crossing is a wonderful scenario which seeks to challenge players. Its build&destroy style allows players to try out various tactics in their attempts to cross the river. A great work and a worthy addition to the AoKH Blacksmith.
The Rhine Crossing re-tells the historic story of the Swedish crossing of the River Rhine in 1631.
I had great fun playing this scenario. I enjoy build and destroy games, especially ones with a real historic element to them and those that require proper strategy to be used (as opposed to "running and gunning"). This scenario had both the historical elements and the strategic feel that I like.
The balance in this game was great.
At first you will feel that the odds are in your favour, but once you cross that river You'll constantly find yourself either adapting your strategy or retreating to a choke point. As soon as the enemies realise you have landed, all hell will rain down on you. The balancing works extremely well and creates an excellent challenge where the player will have to use both their brain and the environment to gain the upper hand.
(Insert Creativity analysis here)
The AI allows for interaction with your allies, which I always find an enjoyable addition to any scenario.
The design of the map is fantastic and looks rather much like the Rhine in real life. The triggers all worked well with no issues at all.
Map Design: 4
The map design was very simple yet professional. It was carefully designed and objects were carefully placed. I absolutely loved the look of the mines in this scenario. Elevated areas, cliffs and choke points present plenty of strategy opportunities.
There were three minor points that should probably be looked at, however:
- The lumber camp which has been renamed "Crane", sitting inside the Repair Bay was still a lumber camp, which meant that villagers were gathering and piling up at the Repair Bay trying to deposit wood, but were blocked from doing so.
- In the English Merc camp, units created by the AI would block the internal gate. So AI villagers and trade carts from the Merc and the other two allies again were piling up at the internal gate trying to get in or out. I would suggest moving the castle to the left a bit more to avoid gate blockages. Eventually it got so annoying that I sent in a couple of Ongars and set them to attack ground around the gate to clear up the blockage.
- The sign outside the allied town on the right is still in German. My curiosity now wants to know what the sign meant in English.
The story was very easy to follow and historically accurate.
The instructions were also very easy to follow. And the on-screen dialogues were well-written.
There were possibly two very minor grammatical slips, but they were nothing to worry about. Considering the game was translated from German, the translations are excellent.
This is a brilliant scenario that portrays an actual historic event. It is carefully designed and cleverly executed. I would recommend that this game should be tried.
Rhine crossing is a B&D scenario with a historical background. You have to build up your troops, cross the river and destroy your opponents.
The scenario suffers from one major flaw, which is the shipyard and repair facility. The enemies make a hell lot of monks, and they always make a beeline for the shipyard and convert it. Yellow converted the shipyard and blue converted the repair bay. Surprisingly it still works after that but sooner or later orange comes and kills it with a trebuchet even if you stay away from it. If the shipyard is gone and you have no transports, game over.
Otherwise it was all right. I enjoyed building up a forward base on the other side and attacking both of the enemies was not as easy as it looked.
I played on moderate and thought it was fairly well balanced, but the problem with the shipyard drags it down a bit. The cannon area is easily dealt with early on and 400 gold is really cheap to get the mercenaries. In a B&D scenario like this, you eventually win anyway just by training lots of troops.
The scenario is not that creative. It is mostly like an ES build & destroy scenario, with a few additional things like hiring ships, gun station and relics. It's alright but could be better. The lack of sound effects/ music tracks makes it less atmospheric and could use a better AI to make the enemy attacks hurt more.
Map Design: 5
This is where the scenario shines. The map is extremely detailed and well designed. The waterfall, towns, forest area, etc. all very good.
The background story was quite good for a historically based scenario , and the instructions and hints were adequate.
Apart from the transport ship problem this is basically an ES-style historical scenario with a good map design. It was probably rather good at the time it was released and is rather fun to play even now, but I don't rate it too highly.
Crossing of the Rhine
Crossing of the Rhine is a build and destroy scenario reminiscent of the ES conquerors campaign, albeit with a higher build quality and complexity you would expect from the community enthusiasts. The scenario was played on the Userpatch 1.4 and both standard and hardest, and also once with HD edition, moderate difficulty.
While HD edition offered the best overall gameplay experience, i couldnt recommend playing there due to certain potential game breaking bugs. The AI changes in the latest iterations of the game created some issues with the AI potentially killing units you need to talk with to progress, the custom population limit set was bypassed, and some triggers were bugged.(after winning i had to save and reload to get the victory)
The gameplay was what you would normally expect from a B&D scenario and was enough to sustain my 3 playthroughs without feeling bored. The pace was fairly fast as the player had to option to make multiple TCs right from the start and get a strong economy going, which is a plus in these normally slow B&D games. A system of purchasing warships and transports from a shipwright was implemented but it was somewhat annoying to actually buy in quantity as you had to repeatedly click on\off the target. The players docks were arbitrarily disabled to make room for this;im not really sure this adds anything if at all to the gameplay. The force composition of the enemy included hand cannons, monks, and bombard cannons with many bombard towers on their walls which can get annoying as it limits options;however i found myself surprisingly entertained as i massed up gunpowder units myself and fought fire with fire. All three playthroughs wound up in less than an hour each, which i think is a good pacing.
On userpatch standard and hardest;The game was quite easy to defeat with few bumps in the road to victory. No attacks were launched on the players homebase and the players two allies didnt receive any problematic attacks either. The enemy navy was nowhere to be seen despite it being a river type map so the player is easily able to gain control of the river. The player economy was also very strong being able to build multiple TC from the getgo, and probably too many gold patches on the map as i finished with tens of thousand extra despite using bombarb cannon and hand cannoneer strategy. The mercenary faction which can be hired didnt cost much and they experienced the only few raids across the river by the enemy. After i built a few warships i easily sunk all the unescorted transports after that.
Things changed in HD edition;both enemies launched strong raids and even killed a TC and most of my army at one point. They had a good naval presence and put up an even more obstinate defense of their base than before, even pushing back my initial invasion literally into the water. However i do feel the scenario has to be judged within the context of its environment in 1.0C, and in that version it was far too easy.
The author attempted to mix things up with optional victory conditions, various mercenaries and friendly villages to protect. However the mercenaries turned out to be no-brainers to purchase, the villages took care of themselves easily and the optional victory condition, gathering the enemies relics, actually turned out to be mandatory;i couldnt complete the scenario all 3 times without doing it in addition. Also the AI resigned a few times before i could even fulfill the objections so some custom AI should have been included. And that relic victory has another issue, is that most of the relics are stored in the enemies main cities, meaning you would have to militarily crush them in the first place to even get the relics, making it no different from outright conquest. There were two monasteries with relics outside the cities, and more should have been done along these lines so that this way of playing is a possibility.
Map Design 3
The map featured fairly decent terrain, simple but effective with no unbroken expanses of any one terrain;the forests were adequately broken up and detailed as you would expect. However i do feel the map would have simply been better if the exact same scenario was ported into a map size 1 larger, simply to add some extra\empty space between things. Its a remarkably small map for how much is going on. The enemy side of the river was quite tight and it was difficult to even place a few buildings. Some kind of countryside landscape would have been called for here perhaps.
The hints and scouts section offered a fairly solid breakdown of affairs, and i wasnt in any confusion about what needed to be done, except that i was never entirely sure where and what we are doing here in the first place. Who is the Count of Tilly exactly, and what is our motivation for taking him down? There is no personality given to this villain, and we would have benefited with some insight into his character, showing his dastardly deeds oppressing villages in the area, or the like.
I feel a low score here for a historical scenario is appropriate as the ES campaigns managed to lay out the historical perspective, and sometimes managed to personalize our protagonist as well, but this scenario managed neither. I can only infer from my limited historical knowledge we are in one of the religious wars between the leagues of protestants and catholics but i know little specifics about this era. Victory brought little sense of accomplishment, as a clear picture of what we achieved was not painted. I had little investment in the outcome and felt little triumph at having taken down the Catholic League or Count Tilly. The character of Gustavus was not utilized at all, for example displaying his charisma by visiting locations personally with mini events or rewards. With all the comparisons to an ES scenario, this story would have benefited greatly from a cinematic intro or intro scenario which would illustrate the lay of the land before playing.
Final thoughts; A good scenario but not especially worth considering for download over a number of any other B&D maps.
[Edited on 02/23/17 @ 09:17 AM]
Crossing the Rhine was a entertaining B&D by aMa and based on Ductos' creation. Featuring nice gameplay with multiple objectives in order to win, it anyway lacked some things. For example, a common issue to the B&D scenario designers, a proper use of hero (Gustavus Adolphus) was missing, instead having him sitting in the camp the whole game was a bit dull. Also AI should have some reworking done to make it a bit more challenging and some problems with Shipyard fixed. Maybe having AI attacking allies a bit more and an objective forcing player to defend them would enchant gameplay. I also missed actual incorporation of Count Tilly. Here the scenario could stop following history and make the player catch Tilly alive and get ransom for him, for example. Otherwise an entertaining 2 hour game. 4-
Balance was a bit dropped here, with player's access to all resources very easy and no proper use of his 3 allies, in fact only donating him more resources to further drop rating here. While AI's defense was very strong at his base, the rest of his riverside was unprotected and the 2 churches with 4 relics unprotected. 3+
Scenario had some interesting aspects, for example player could not build docks and had to rely on a Shipyard, building him ships for a great cost and forcing player to protect them (until I chopped down entire forest and ended game with 25000wood). There were some nice side quest and mercenaries to hire. Overall very good but some use of Adolphus would be nice (Extra attack for Adolphus standing in the battlefield for example). 4
Map Design: 5
Map design was a very, very good, probably the best aspect of the scenario. Once again aMa proved his amazing skills in designing, this time Rhine and it's surrounding area. Adolphus' starting camp was really nice, also all the gold and stone mines were created very nicely. In one word - Gorgeous. 5
History behind the scenario could be slightly more explained, especially the role of leaders (Adolphus and Tilly). I missed beautiful voice narrations from other aMa's work here, that always added nicely to the gameplay, even if I did not understand it without written English text. There were some minor mistakes in the translation, but I won't count that in. 4
Additional Comments: A great scenario indeed, but the sands of time made it suffer a bit. Anyway a nice B&D to play, but there are better in the Blacksmith.
[Edited on 04/29/17 @ 03:47 AM]