Another Desert map, few eyecandy but... it is desert.
Between the green south and the mountainous north there is a wide desert. As in reality, stone is abundant in the desert (lots of Sahara is rocky) but gold is present only in the mountain area. In reality, gold is usually present near tectonic faults, and the long cordillera to the north resembles a fault, like the Dead Sea Fault.
Visual Appeal: 4
It is impossible to give a 5 to a desert map. People like eyecandy. It has a good feeling, so a 4 is proper.
Unique gameplay! Teams start lined to the map edge. Only one player per team is flank. The rest are pocket, and the corner ones in a 4v4 are the safest players. However the pressure to the flanks is expected to be intolerable in every 3v3 or higher game.
Not suitable for FFA or in general more than 2 teams, since the corner players are safer.
Gold is across the map. The distance in a huge map is just terribly long and it is very hard to mine early. Stone is more accessible. The totally open desert area makes trade too risky for long distances.
The usual flank-pocket differentiation does not apply here. It is an unexplored area in terms of gameplay. Cooperation will be the key, the flank should be the leader of the team since his success will decide the wood of the whole team.
People have to drop TC near their starting points and skip gold for later. AIs cannot play the map efficiently since there will always be streams of villagers going to gold while others will return to wood. Also, almost all AIs assume that gold is always present in reasonable distances early.
Even if it looks like an expert map, superpockets will have the chance to develop in peace so it might be fun for players of lower skill.
Mapmakers should definitely download this map. It opens up new possibilities even for 1.0c.