The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242AD v2.1
Posted on 10/08/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 11/30/04
~ Use your courage, strength and faith to outwit and defeat the evil Teutonic Knights!
~ A historically accurate re-enaction of the Battle of Lake Peipus, the decisive clash of arms which dispelled Teutonic ambitions of further expansion in the East.
~ Choose from the three difficulty settings and three army sizes in-game, making for a total of nine combinations!
~ Large armies on either side, with MCrnigoj's famous battle system put to good use - units have high HP and attack, representing their morale.
~ Featuring a stirring Russian military score and many game-enhancing sound effects.
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Duncan_Hardy, member of Historiae Populorum has created a battle in Marko's FÀ style.
Playability - 5
At the beggining of the battle, I was pretty excited about it. I was playing on moderate with moderate army, to be honest. But the thing is, there weren't enough tactical decisions. I got boring after some minutes. Really. Then I tried on Hard with a moderate army. Same thing. But not the first quarter of the battle is exciting, but first half. All has changed, when I decided to take Hard with small army. Wow. Now THAT is a GREAT battle! On Moderate with moderate army, I have just sent troops to battle, and that's it, on hard with moderate army almost the same thing... But hard with small army... Wow! The thing that your army is not very big makes you to think of many tactics. When to send troops, how to win. It's not just "send troops and wait", it is a real tactical battle! Never I have been bored there! And also I haven't found any bugs either.
Balance - 3
Yeah, yeah. Playability is great. But it has got five only for the most hardest level. Other difficulty levels are not very well balanced. As I said, I could only send troops and wait. But you know, even because of the hardest level I cannot give it 5. Because yaeh, hard is hard, but if a player is not expierenced in such type of things, will not play on the hardest setting, and will think that all Marko's clones are just "point, click and wait"? Not very good, I can say.
Creativity - 5
We all know Marko's style. Attack points that mean morale, increased HP. But that is not I gave it a five. It could give it only a three. The thing is, that the dismoral thing, and falling in water thing I think is very creative. Also, the choosing the size of army is also a creative thing.
Map Design - 4
Ok, the Lake was ok, but not great... Heh, how can you make a good ice-freezed lake? I don't know. So I think that Duncan has made an excellent lake, though what is around the lake misses some eye-candy IMHO.
Stroy/Instructions - 5
What to say? Story is almosti historically correct, concerning that there are some changes from real history, and instructions are great.
Overall - 4.4
Well, a great campagin, which is worth of download definately. And my advice, play on Hard with a small army. There then will be a big array of emotions. Good work, Duncan!
The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242 AD by Duncan_Hardy is an excellent fixed force campaign depicting the most decisive battle in the history of the medieval eastern crusades known as the Baltic Crusade. The battle was waged between the Russian city-state of Novgorod, led by its inspirational leader Alexander Nevskii, and the Germanic factions led by the Teutonic Knights. It is to St. Alexander Nevsky that the Russian people will often address their prayers at times when great misfortunes befall the nation and threaten its existence. Players are spirited into the role of the Russian Hero and venerated warrior Saint to lead the army of Novgorod in defense of their homeland. The historic enemy Teutonic Knights, Danes, and Livonians were backed with the crusading zeal of Europe, the blessing of Pope Innocent III and the support of the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1242, Bishop Hermann von Buxhoeven in Livonia finally consolidated enough power to begin a Teutonic crusade into Russia. Alexander Nevskii chose to fight the Germans first, and after what for the crusaders must have been viewed as a chase, lured them on to the frozen lake. It was here that Alexander turned to stand on the eastern shore of Lake Peipus at a place known as "Raven's Rock."
The game play is an exciting audio and visual experience, however the fast pace of the challenges make the relatively short game of 30 to 45 minutes seem even shorter once victory has been achieved. Nevertheless, players will not experience the challenge as anything but sensational. The programed attacks are marked with change views as are the acquisition of additional forces for the player, and I was a slightly frustrated by them, yet overall it seemed to add to the excitement. The campaign is arguably the greatest use of the AoK game's standard hero Alexander Nevsky (Nevskii), and the fixed force unit is key to the morale of the players large factions and to victory. Yes, this is yet another scenario inspired by MCrnigoj's concept for fixed force battles that portray the known historical figures as units to be protected or targeted for gaining a statistical edge. The morale system requires players to use tactics inside a larger strategy to achieve victory. The only downside to the game is the enemy attacks are made predictable by playing, and once the ultimate strategy needed is realized there remains very little replay value. In any event, it is here on an outstanding map design of the frozen Lake Peipus, were players can take on the role of astute general Alexander Nevsky, and begin the fast paced challenge that win or lose should not take much more than 45 minutes. 5.0
The balance is remarkable as the design provides a new twist on the conventional levels of difficulty found in AoK campaigns. The conventional levels chosen before the game give way to three more choices inside the scenario of army size. So, the conventional choices of Standard, Moderate and Hard are enhanced by Small, Medium and Large player army sizes to great effect. The 9 levels of balance were experienced more as a great amenity by me because I believe players will want to chose the 'Small' army to experience the conventional levels of difficulty as balanced well. Still, this very original idea for balance was considered excellent by me and I imagined from my experience that players of all but the greatest skill will enjoy achieving victory inside a level that might have been impossible otherwise. There is also a timed aspect of the game play and this further enhances the difficulty. I paused for a moment here to consider what precedent I was creating in scoring the balance. In my considerations for balance I put aside my experience of the short length of play time, and my experience of diminished replay value, as the Campaign and Scenario tutorial clearly guides this. 5.0
The creativity is undeniably excellent and this is my favorite of the MCrnigoj's inspired designs I've played. For scenario balance I believe he surpassed some of the MCrnigoj's designs in that the difficulty levels are not made increasingly difficult to the point of being virtually impossible to win. The historic theme is excellent and the game-plot is very imaginative. The opening cut-scenes are stirring, and the custom audio aspect is awesome. The map design surpassed my threshold for excellence and I came away from the scenario feeling I had visited the legendary 'Battle of the Ice.' 5.0
The map is a fantastic depiction of the real Chudskoye Ozero (Russian), or Peipsi Järv (Estonian) lake forming part of the boundary between Estonia and Russia. The large ice field and frozen landscapes are memorable and an ice bound boat and fish trap captured my imagination. The lake banks are designed in a wintery splendor, yet adorned by the historically accurate approaching spring thaw. Technically the map provides some very interesting strategic and tactical challenges that are creatively given as a part of the historical portrayal. 5.0
Story and Instructions:
The historic portrayal is dramatic as the design makes use of a popular myth immortalized by Sergei Eisenstein in his famous 1938 propaganda film, Alexander Nevsky. Neither the Novgorod Chronicle nor the Livonian Chronicle, the two contemporary sources, refers to German knights crashing through the ice. The film is still viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the ice breaking sequence as the obvious dramatic highlight that perpetuated the mythos. The creative use of this a-historical invention in the game-plot is superb, and all motivations for it are accurately foretold in the history supplement provided. In my view this departure in the game plot from the actual history into the popular film's myth was essential to the recreation. The instructions for play were precise, accurate, and well written. The only question I had was with the providing of the walkthrough hint read after I completed the campaign, and I felt the hint to be unnecessary. Additionally a decent instruction screen image and supplemental read me with some very familiar names in the credits was provided. 5.0
I highly recommend this excellent one scenario campaign for a relatively short but exciting experience playing Age of Kings The Conquerors. From the perspective of it's noted inspirational motivation found in MCrnigoj's designs, The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242AD v2.1 has met it's mark. The Blacksmith Review is not a competition, nor is it meant to be a wish list for players. Still, I wish this design could be made to have more replay value by making the enemy attacks less predictable if possible by adding some kind variation to them, and also to make the ultimate strategy different for each conventional level of difficulty. Please, if anyone has any questions or concerns regarding this Review feel free to contact me via email rather than post in the comment section of this campaign.
THE BATTLE OF LAKE PEIPUS
An interesting historical event, portrayed very well by Duncan Hardy. This campaign offers the same kind of MCrnigoj style big battle scenario that we always love. But is it what it's cracked up to be? Almost. Read the following review if you are interested in downloading this excellent campaign, which, if quite low down, definately deserves a place in the best of AOK.
The playability was good, with many nice touches, like the Morale system and the same battle system that was used by MCrnigoj in his battle campaigns, but it could have been better. I like the idea of being able to choose the sizes of the armies you played with and against. The main reason I took one point off this score was that you just seem to rush straight into the battle, and then not much happens except for more troops joining the almighty scrap. What could have been done to bring this up to a five was that there could have been maybe been something unexpected, like a huge, unknown flank attack from the enemy.
Beautifully balanced, honestly, beautiful. Your success in battle really does seem to depend on your experience level and what difficulty you choose. If you are a beginner, choose Standard level and you will be offered a challenge, but still a challenge you can overcome. If you are an intermediate, choose Moderate and the difficulty was perfect. And so on. The balancing in this campaign was a masterpiece.
Some nice touches, like men falling into the lake and a tartar reserve who can be called upon, or another reserve from Novgorod which is activated by sending Alexander to talk to them. However, from playing this I get a feeling of deja vu. Yes, this is exactly the same battle system as Tannenburg. I know the author is part of the same group, Historiae Populorum but still. If the author had differed the system a bit more I would have given a 5.
Far above average, although could have been improved in many ways. I know, decorating a frozen lake is hard (I actually attempted this exact same scenario myself) but a better job could have been done. And the map isn't accurate, as it has cliffs, but accuracy doesn't come into the score. What really matters is that the map seemed quite lifeless, the lake being completely frozen over. If there were some sea rocks, or much more eye candy around the outside, or even if the lake wasn't in such a strange shape, it would have gotten a five.
STORY / INSTRUCTIONS
A brilliant depiction of a historical event, it is like history just comes to life inside what is (dare I say it?) a game which is not really known for it's accuracy. This is perfect, it has only one problem however, which was explained in map design. But that doesn't make the score any different, because everything else was so good in terms of accuracy, and a nice long read in the history and instructions section, as well as very clear hints. This definately deserves a five.
Not very much to say here. There was a good soundtrack, very good infact, but that is pretty much all I can put down for other comments.
Although not quite as good as MCrnijog, this is definately worth a download and a good long play through, and most of all it definately deserves a place in the Best of AOK section. Download it now!
The Battle of Lake Peipus by Duncan Hardy is a “Mcrnigoj” inspired, fixed force, single scenario campaign, depicting an historical battle that took place on the frozen lake of Peipus between the Teutonic Knights and the Russian city-state of Novgorod, led by Alexandre Nevskii. This battle was important in the history of the medieval eastern crusades, and the Teutonic defeat had a serious effect on future events. Lake Peipus is situated north-central Europe between eastern Estonia and northwest Russia. It divides Estonia from the Pskov region of Russia. Its southern section is known as Lake Pskov. Lake Peipus empties through the Narva River into the Gulf of Finland. On the frozen strait between Lake Peipus and Lake Pskov, Alexander Nevsky defeated the Knights in 1242.
The game play is exiting and quick paced, with many audio files that add atmosphere. A cut scene introduces the player to the setting and the armies, and this really sets the scene for the upcoming battle. Once battle commences, there is a sense of urgency to marshal and group your troops to defend against the approaching enemy. The game is relatively short, and rarely lasts more than half an hour, but it is a very enjoyable half an hour indeed. However I did find a few things that greatly detracted from my overall enjoyment of this scenario. Firstly, the author recommends the campaign be played on machines with 256 or more Ram. My main machine has 512, which is double the amount suggested. However it is only a 600mhz processor. I found lag to be a major problem, even experiencing a crash on two occasions for no apparent reason other than lag, and as such I don’t recommend the scenario be played on a machine with less than a 1ghz processor. It plays fine on my other (2ghz) machine. I haven't deducted from the score for this, I just wanted to make the reader aware of this potential problem for older machines. A more serious issue though, there are many change view effects early in the game, I found these to be most frustrating once battle had commenced, but even worse is the change view effect to the Orthodox Priest and Alexander during the cut scene at the start of the game. Often this causes a crash, especially if the player has moved the screen during the three display instructions that introduce the story. Ensure you follow the author’s recommendations, and do not move the mouse! Also there is a change view effect after the battle is won, this changes the view close to the edge of the map again, and depending on what part of the map the player is at, can, and indeed does cause a crash. I suggest the player, when nearing victory, moves the screen to a position near the area of the Orthodox Priest to avoid this problem. Another downside to playability is the fact that the enemy doesn’t go on the offensive. They will charge to your location, done via tasking triggers, but if you retreat your army or move away from these locations, either intentionally, or unintentionally, the enemy will just stand in groups waiting to be attacked. You can then easily single out and kill the enemy commanders, and effectively destroy the enemy’s moral, making victory far easier. If you stick to playing the way the author intended, or expected, then this is not a problem, but I can’t help feeling this is a loop hole in game play that could have been addressed quite easily by tasking the armies to key units within player 1’s army, instead of locations on the map.
The scenario can be played on 3 difficulty settings, and with a choice of three army sizes also. This effectively gives the player a choice of 9 difficulty settings. I started on moderate with a medium sized army, and found the game to be challenging at this level, but playing the second time around I knew what to expect, and as such I chose moderate with a small army, and again found a good challenge. This allows for a good reply value too, and is certainly a highlight of the scenario.
Creativity can be found in all aspects of this design, the hole in the ice, selecting the size of army, excellent starting cut scene, and the many audio files that really do add to the atmosphere. The way the author has recreated an historical battle accurately in to a scenario was the most creative part of the design for me. Much of the inspiration for this scenario is borrowed from other designs, but I feel the author has been very creative in implementing these into an accurate reconstruction of an historical event.
Map Design. 4+
The map design is above average, and with the limited snow terrains available in AoK, the author has done an admirable job of recreating the frozen lake of Peipus. With good use of eye candy, and some good strategic positions incorporated in to the map design too. There is however an over use of cliffs, and this detracts greatly from the feel of the map. It’s also inaccurate if you study a geographical map of the region, and the use of vegetation and elevation would have better represented the look and feel of the map, as well as being far more accurate to the actual location.
Story and Instructions. 5+
The recreation of an historical battle is excellent, and the story and instructions support this fully, you get a simple objective, a wealth of hints, and clear tips on how to proceed. At no time during the game was I left wondering what to do next, it was simple, rout, or destroy my foe! The overall story is informative, and well written. I came away with the feeling I had learned a great deal about this event in history. This is not just a game; it is a lesson in history, and a real credit to the author, and his research.
The Battle of Lake Peipus by Duncan Hardy is an excellent recreation of an historical battle. The game play rarely lasts longer than half an hour, but it is a most enjoyable half hour. If you are a fan of “Mcrnigoj” style Fixed Force scenarios, and as long as you don’t move away from the intended battle areas, you will not be disappointed here. I highly recommend The Battle of Lake Peipus, and look forward to seeing more from the author.
If you gather your units around the Orthodox Priest, they quite quickly gain attack points. Simply standing a large number of your units next to him and waiting for the enemy to be tasked to their positions, gives the player a way to strengthen their troops to a point where they are a lot stronger than their opponents. This is cancelled out by the fact the enemy also gains attack points, but if the Grand Master is killed, and other key enemy units, then the enemy stop gaining attack points. So I found that simply avoiding the main battle, moving my units to the Orthodox priest, and sending the Cav archers to attack the Grand Master, and other key enemy units, gives the player an easy way to win. Again tasking the enemy to key units within player 1’s army would help elevate this.
If the Orthodox Priest moves to heal allied units, then the moral benefit he gives is lost, personally I think he should be tasked back to his location, and not allowed to enter the battlefield.
If Alexander is battling, player 1 only gets a moral bonus if the fighting is around the flag that is placed when the battle commences. In my opinion a moral boost should come whenever Alexander is fighting amongst his troops, and not only when near the flag.
'The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242 AD' is a single scenario with FF gameplay, based on the historical battle fought on Lake Peipus between the knights of the Teutonic Order and Russian state of Novgorod. The Novgorod militia, led by the cunning Alexandre Yaroslavich Nevskii who previously routed the Swedes at Neva, gathered on the eastern shores of the still frozen over lake Peipus while the Teutonic Order gathered on the western shores, supported by Scandinavian mercenaries and auxiliaries from Denmark, Estonia and Sweden and Crusading allies from Germany. In all, they likely numbered 2,000 to 2,500 men. The Novgorodians around 6,000. The impetuous military branch of the Teutonic Order would strike first, in all zeal to capture Alexandre to quickly disintegrate the Russian leadership and morale. The outcome of the battle would decide the future of the Northern Crusades, and the Order's ever-expanding arm into Russian territory.
PLAYABILITY: It is that time of the year again, I suppose. Sifting through the seeds of time and searching for another historical-based FF scenario that I could be drawn into. 'The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242AD' was such a title, and even after three years since having downloaded it is still an enjoyable scenario that offers a good half hour worth of gameplay. Gameplay is fast and intense and begins within the first few minutes after a particularly well-conveyed introduction. With chilling scenes of Teutonic knights charging across the frozen lake and collapsing into the ice, the atmosphere was immersing; the direction of scenes and complimentary sounds and music also set the stage quite well. The scenario is widely inspired and adapted from MCrnigoj's historical-based scenarios, 'Tannenberg 1410 AD' and 'Hattin 1187 AD' using the author's increased hp fixed force style of gameplay and system of battle. With that said, the game has a lot to offer in enjoyability and gameplay within the popular genre. Overall, there could have perhaps been a bit more effort put into the scenario, with enemy units remaining idle on the battlefield after I had drawn my men away, requiring me to attack again to bring the battle back into swing, and the predominantly distracting issue of lag. Apart from these two issues, the gameplay overall felt potentially less than what it could have been. Still, the decision to select and then determine the file's difficulty by choosing an army size offers plenty of replay value. 4.0
BALANCE: Beginning with the three standard difficulty levels: standard, moderate and hard, and the three in-game options for selecting an army size, small, medium and large (smallest being the most difficult) the game has six playable options to choose from for a suitable difficulty level, with nine overall combinations. I began on moderate difficulty, opting for the medium army size and found myself confronted with quite a challenge. As more and more units from the field joined in the battle, the balance was weighed against me and fighting opted to quick decisions to regroup men and sit them within strategically steep and/or narrow areas to give myself an edge. I suffered a few reloads where important units were cut down or my men were scattered and picked off in small groups, but in all offered a very good challenge for me. Selecting hard and a small sized army, I found myself faced with the same problems of holding my force together and more, requiring drastic falling back and hit and run tactics with my horse archers. The challenge was three times as demanding, and with other difficulties still to choose and the option of a large-sized army still unselected, there are plenty of choices and situations a player can put oneself into making for high replay value and a perfectly-balanced game, or at least very near to one. 5.0
CREATIVITY: Creativity was well above average, with a rather stirring introductory speech and overview of the two forces arrayed against one another. I spotted units falling into holes in the ice, selecting the size of the army to determine difficulty, receiving reserve and mercenary forces, frozen over boats and other interesting Gaia and map design formations. In general, the concept was adapted from the historical event quite creatively with atmospheric sounds and music, and the genre's popular use of increased HP and AP to extend the length of battle. 4.0
MAP DESIGN: The map is above average, a design of the cold and icy landscape of Lake Peipus which is only just beginning to thaw in the early April spring weather. For the most part there are hills, cliffs and pine to represent the Russian countryside, and a few commendably placed objects such as fishing boats still frozen in the ice from last winter and a frozen-in jetty. The cliff formations were interestingly conveyed, and the map in itself is quite technical in that there are a few places where the player can hold the enemy off with, but the appearance of all this gives the impression that it was rushed with little thought of placement. The map lacks realism with far too many flowers and flowerbeds replacing terrain mixing, especially in the kind of icy weather present. Although this is not necessarily a realistic depiction of the historical location of Lake Peipus, the map still does its job as an iced-over lake, and so I rate it a weak 4. 4.0-
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Excellent. Featuring a good description of the historical account, plenty of hints, a scout section detailing the whereabouts of the placement of terrain and units and good, in-game text giving the impression of the fierce battle to be fought, this category receives nothing short of full marks. Besides all this, the acknowledgements and references to sources were very much appreciated. This is a good representation of a historical event. 5.0
CONCLUDING: 'The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242AD' is in its own right an entertaining and well-adapted historically-based scenario, with a captivating atmosphere and fairly fulfilling gameplay. Although it doesn't necessarily stand out as being creatively distinct in its own right from other historical scenarios, I highly recommend this scenario to all FF and historical enthusiasts.
In a sentence - Stirring and atmospheric.
In closing - A highly-recommended download.
[Edited on 09/30/16 @ 08:05 AM]