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Downloads Home » Campaigns » Chinese Design Contest: Emperor Wanli

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Chinese Design Contest: Emperor Wanli

Author File Description
Therese Dumas and Stephen
File Details
Version: The Conquerors
Number of scenarios: 3
Experience the vicious cruelty of a Ming emperor, undergo a near-death experience, build the Great Wall of China, welcome foreigners to the imperial court, and repel a terrifying Mongol attack in this historically based campaign.

The Ming dynasty is legendary, reminiscent of great military power and artistic achievement. But who was the most significant emperor of that dynasty, and what was his life like?
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Angel Rasher
Official Reviewer
Map Design1.0
I think perhaps that the author(s) of this campaign might be more suited to the career of a comedian, if they are not already. Indeed, the one redeeming value of “Emperor Wanli” is its humor. Mostly due to the sheer absurdity, but also at the clever wit and biting satire the author put into the campaign, it had me chuckling at some points, and laughing aloud at others.

But alas, humor is not the only area of a good campaign. It seems to me as if this entry may actually have been a joke. Whatever the reason, it still gave me a fun time playing it. “Emperor Wanli” is actually an interactive cutscene, except for the final scenario. You play the role of the animal hating, self-centered Wanli, who also enjoys cutting down his servants and staff with words. In the first scenario, you must watch a rather funny and well-done cutscene, before proceeding to build the Great Wall of China, in order to keep the animals out of China. You see, Wanli had been bitten by a rabbit as a child, and this rather emotional experience left him with a deep hatred for animals (please, don’t ask...)

The second scenario begins almost exactly the same way: with a cutscene that you watch, followed by ordering your onagers to demolish the Great Wall that you have so recently built. I wont discuss all the ‘clever’ plot changes here, but suffice it to say that reading and hearing the story is the only fun part of the scenario.

The third and final scenario, aptly titled “Emperor Wanli’s Birthday Party”, is actually the only scenario that you spend more time playing then watching. After a rather interesting cutscene of King Arthur’s visit to Emperor Wanli on the occasion of his Birthday, you must then attempt to keep the Mongols from overrunning China, which is a task you simply cannot accomplish. In fact, your goal is actually to “lose” this scenario, for it is then that you are victorious.

All told, “Emperor Wanli” provided me with a good 30 minutes of entertainment. Although the story and plot is completely absurd, the map design is weak, all scenarios take place on the same map, and the Instructions themselves are poor (with the surprising exception of the History section, which is actually accurate), I found myself actually liking this campaign, for some twisted reason. I originally intended to give it a *very* low score, but then I realized that if I am honest with myself, I simply cannot do that. The creativity level is simply great, the cutscenes are very well done, and the History, though simply absurd, qualifies for a “2” rating on the strength of the written History Section. Overall, although “Emperor Wanli“ will never be a competitor for the grand prize, and I don’t think it was ever meant to be, you will definitely want to give it a try if you are looking for a good laugh. It’s not one that you will want to replay, since it is little more then a series of glorified cutscenes, and if you are looking for a solid historically based campaign, I would suggest you look elsewhere. However, if you are in a rather twisted mood, why not give this campaign a try?
Angel Jerusalem
Official Reviewer
Map Design2.0
"Emporer Wanli" has to be one of the odder campaigns I've played. Although I have seen some humourous scenarios around the blacksmith ("Kevin, the Unlikely Hero" by JG being one of the better ones), these kind of scenarios don't really belong in contests like these, and surely not as finalists.

All of the scenarios deal with the life of a megalomaniac emporer named Wanli who seems to have some "issues" with animals, (rabbits and wolves in particular, and keep in mind he doesn't like to be asked about it). He has a very poor sense of judgement and I can only hope that someday I won't be like him in any way :)

The first scenario has a puzzling cut-scene in the beginning ("Kill all the hawks in China. And take off that ugly hat!") and a rather baffling victory condition: Given dozens of villagers and loads of resources, the player must build the wall of china in under a very long time.

The second scenario deals with destroying the great wall of china and killing some people, once again, with loss virtually impossible.

The third and last scenario occurs during the Emporer's birthday, and apparantly the Mongols had an invasion in mind as a present. Trying to fight them off is impossible, as they have an infinite number of units all riding towards my capital city. (I was so bored of seeing my city going down in flames, I guessed that the scenario wouldn't be won until the emporer died, so I killed him. I was right.)

The instructions are poor, playability is mediocre, balance is utterly faulty, and that's about all I have to say about those three fields. I feel that the 1's are well-deserved.

Map design, too, would recieve a 1, as a very limited area of the map is used, but since random maps by default get 3 points, and all three scenarios use the same map, I decided a 2 would be suitable.

The History sections were very eloquently written (I'm talking 5 points material here). The problems were two:
1) They had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the story.
2) The history section of the third scenario begins with the word "However", which, I should suspect, mean that it may have been copied from somewhere. Since when are essays begun with the word "however"?

Creativity scored high because it takes a lot of guts to submit such a campaign to a serious contest. And also because it's probably the only good point about the campaign.

Who would want to play this campaign? Nobody, really, except if you're in for a short laugh and an impossible battle. Otherwise? .....

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