"The Z Series" is an epic 56 scenario campaign, which the author didnt even bother to include in a single campaign file. Instead the files are simply sequentially named scenario files in a pile inside the zip. This reviewer selected 8 games out of 56 to investigate, including the first and last one. There are very few good campaigns that even have a length of 8 scenarios, and this should be an adequate sample size to judge the quality of the overall work. Its unreasonable to expect the player to have played all 56 scenarios of such a massive work before coming to some conclusions about the contents.
The gameplay entirely consists of random maps;for this, and being so unfun and unappealing gains the base score of a 2. There were no outstanding issues that warrant the minimum rating, but if this reviewer was allowed to score entirely based on his personal fun factor, i would say a -4 or -5 might suffice. Quite frankly the blacksmith rating system was not designed for, nor capable of expressing, the actual playability rating this campaign deserves. I apologize in advance to anyone whose work i had previously rated also at 2\5 in this category.
Scenario one: Its a fortress 8 player 7v1 map with a chunk of "black forest"-esque land plomped in the middle. Each players base has been crammed with thousands of gold, stone, and forage bushes. The players base has dozens of castles and bombard towers. Despite being a TC file you only get 75 pop, you get no starting resources in the dark age, and must grind down every other player with only 75 pop.
Scenario eight: This game plays out on a purely flat, blank world. The enemy has only bombard towers and castles, with no resources and cannot make units so a single treb from the player would be sufficient to win. The players base is nearly hemmed in with hundreds of forage, gold, stone, etc. You get 28 relics just incase you lose your 16 range trebs to their 8 range defenses...somehow.
Scenario sixteen:Its an arabia 7v1 with again all bases spammed with thousands of gaia resources. This time the player has 175 pop against the AI 75 pop, and many AI bases are setup so they are hopelessly crippled. The player has a very conveniently cliffed in base with dozens of accursed towers, so you can crush AIs while being very safe.
Scenario twenty-four: Its a 7v1 crater lake random map. First of all, the AI cant play this map in the first place. Each player has hundreds of stone in their base, handy for the player to make castles which the AI wont be able to break since it has little gold mines. Your again restricted to 75 pop. The first triggers seen in the campaign make their appearance, granting you your UT, elite UU upgrade, and many other goodies for free.
Scenario thirty-two: Its a blank map FFA with three castles apiece, no resources in the bank or on the map, and no triggers giving win conditions. Its unplayable, unwinnable, and unlosable.
Scenario forty: Hope you enjoy playing 7v1 random maps, this time on a black forest you get about 30 relics, hundreds of gold and stone mines and even have one side of the map closed off so you can munch AIs one at a time while not worrying about that pesky second front. No triggers.
Scenario forty-eight: Another 7v1, this time on a custom map similar to Land Nomad, but even plainer. You get vikings vs 7 aztecs, which isnt as hard as it may look as there is almost no gold, and you get 50+ relics to start off with, and you also get the only stone mines on the map. 75 pop again, no triggers. Also all non-barracks military buildings are disabled for everyone, so champ spam like a madman.
Scenario fifty-six: Another 7v1 on a black forest, you get hundreds of stone mines, dozens of relics, and are prohibited from creating ANY military unit or building. Its castles and monks only. Its not as tough as it may sound, since every AI is conveniently locked up with trees so you can attack them at your leisure. Hope you enjoy watching trees get chopped, because onagers and trebuchets are off the table.
It may be challenging enough to win through these 7v1s with 75 pop only, i have to grant the author that much. Its not going to be that hard though, because more often than not the AI faces crippling restrictions itself.
The gameplay is insufficiently differentiated from a random map. The author didnt discover triggers until halfway through, and they are only used to give the player freebies like advanced techs, making it even easier.
Let me guess at the contents of the rest of the scenarios: 90% are 7v1 with thousands of gaia resources added on random maps with the ever-appealing 75 pop limit to spice it up.
Map Design 1
Five random maps were used, which are sufficient for a 2\5 rating. With 3 blank maps as well, its enough to warrant my automatic 1 point deduction given for blank maps.
Its too little even for a 2, and what little is told to the player is in bad grammer and spelling.
Final Thoughts for the author: Please just play any campaign or scenario thats received a 3\5 or higher from anyone, then copy what that game did and try to improve it.