|Al_Kharn the Great
Posted on 04/18/17 @ 06:53 PM (updated 11/11/17
Become a legend of the sagas!
||Age of Empires II (2013): The Forgotten
|Required Modpack (if not included with the download):
||Build and Destroy
About the scenario:
As legendary Viking king Ragnar Lodbrok, raid England, plunder Francia, and defeat rival jarls to become a legend of the sagas! Play an epic custom scenario based on history, the Norse sagas, and the History Channel's Vikings series. Rise from a petty thegn through raids and plunder to become King of the North and master of the Great Heathen Army. Ragnar, your warbands await your command!
An immersive collection of Norse music from WARDRUNA, featured in the History Channel's Vikings series brings the Age of the Vikings to life!
Massive, Giant-sized map for hours of gameplay!
Realistic portrayal of North Sea geography!
Unique raiding mechanics!
Over a dozen side quests bringing the Norse sagas to life!
40 minutes of Norse music by Wardruna, featured in The History Channel's Vikings series!
About the author:
Filthydelphia is the acclaimed and award-winning designer of over a dozen historical custom campaigns and the official Portuguese and Burmese campaigns featured in the African Kingdoms and Rise of the Rajas DLCs.
Ragnar's Raids requires The Forgotten and African Kingdoms DLCs
Steam Link (Scenario)
Steam Link (Soundtrack)
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Ragnar's Raids is a single player scenario, that follows the story of Ragnar Lodbrok, a fierce viking chief, who raided British Isles and France in the 9th Century.
The scenario offers from 2 to 4 hours of exciting gameplay. There are plenty of sidequests to be done, that nicely add to the main storyline. Player is nonstop "bombarded" with new quest, dealing with rebellions and uprisings, plundering British archipelago or conquering other Jarls' kingdoms. Clearly a 5.
At first it seems, that a small army of barbarians is unlikely to defeat an organized army of British knights or French paladins, but with the first part of the game focusing on the growth of Ragnar's Jarldom rather than burning monasteries it all changes. 5 different enemies range from a normal challenge to a tough fight to seize gold. Player's slowly growing economy is threatened by other Jarls' uprisings and multiple ships patrolling deep sea waters. While player is restricted to 105pop many strong heroes came to assist him. It is nice as they are undead (They respawn at Ragnar's Jarldom), but still player cannot win by using his heroes only. They pack a good punch but are easily overrun and slain. Balance should surely be 5.
Viking raids is a very popular story to portrait, but the author proves once again that even a plot depicted too many times can provide a great base for a great scenario. I particularly liked the including of warbands. Player could recruit special warbands at Konungr Halls (2 in Norge, 1 in Dennemark and 1 in Sverige). At every Konungr hall conquered there was a different warband to spawn. These were a great addition to the normal army. Another thing that I liked was discovery. At every raid player was able to make a discovery (research a tech). The more heroes included, the higher the chance of discovery. The only thing I personally lacked were more enemy heroes. Beside the enemy Jarls and a Scottish hero, other Saxon kingdoms and France didn't have any. There was plenty of Heroes on player's side, most of them depicting Ragnar's sons. One little touch I adored were viking funerals that took place in the water near Ragnar's Hall every time a hero died. Creativity is rated 4.
Map Design: 5
Map design was stunning. The map itself is an amazing recreation of British archipelago, Scandinavian Lands and Northern France. Every single part of the map is done into gorgeous details and Saxon countryside is particular beautiful. Scandinavian part featured nicely created fjords. Even the huts (looking to fit more in Africa) looked like viking homes in the into details designed snowy landscape. Water was designed nicely and terrain mixing and elevation used perfectly. Undoubtedly 5.
The story incorporated into the campaign was well chosen and based on historical facts. History section offered a short text about viking raids and the place they had in their culture and victory screen text gave a nice overview of the story and Ragnar's kin fate, while ingame it was nicely written every time a major event took place. Instructions were short but gave more than enough information for the gameplay to run smoothly. Hints section included some nice tips, while scout gave me a nice overview of the enemy position and army. Everything about this part was done well so 5.
Final Thoughts: A must download for every viking lover or just if you have a weekend free give it a try.
[Edited on 04/20/17 @ 12:25 PM]
Ragnar's raids is a B&D scenario in which you play out the historical Ragnar and raids of the Vikings. The scenario 'York' from AOKHD's The Forgotten is also based on the same theme, but this is better by far, because of its unique gameplay mechanics.
This game isn't a straightforward B&D smash-up. Rather it plays more like an RPG in the initial stages, in which you launch opportunistic hit and run attacks while trying to become King of all Vikings. Later on, you need to keep squashing rebellions at home while also raiding across the sea. There's also a lot of mini-quests that give you a lot of much needed gold.
Perhaps the only annoying thing is that when the rebellions happened my villagers died, and since you can't rebuild any, that's a big problem. Also I found the respawning barracks of blue extremely annoying, and my tax collector objective got fulfilled before all the tax collecters were killed off. But these are just minor things.
The scenario is really well balanced. Unlike most B&D's, the difficulty does not drop off over time. This is because your supply lines are very long ( no forward buildings and you have to ship them over the sea ) while the enemy can just train units right there, which makes sieging the enemy fairly hard. There is also a constant shortage of resources because of having hardly any villagers and gold needing to be raided. I played fully on moderate and because I had enjoyed it so much, loaded it up again on hard and played it half way.
The gameplay mechanics and theme is really well executed, and apart from that there's some really creative stuff like the viking funerals boat, impaled corpses appearing in raided towns, etc. The respawning heroes are also quite useful because you don't have to worry about them dying.
Map Design: 5-
The map is really well made, it conforms to the geography of Britain, Norway etc. quite accurately and the terrains and such are quite well done. I would have liked to see some snow in Scotland though.
Another high point of this scenario, the author narrates the story really well, and the custom sounds and music give a really authentic feel to the whole atmosphere. Objectives are quite clear cut as well.
This is an amazing scenario. No reason for any deduction in rating.
Ragnar's Raids is a quasi-historical scenario dealing with the exploit of the semi-legendary Ragnar Lodbrok. As Ragnar and his sons, the player will start as an enterprising raider and go on to unite all the Norse lands and lay waste to the Christian kingdoms in the North Atlantic, including Francia, Scotland and the assorted kingdoms in modern-day Britain. It was played on both Moderate and Hard difficulty using the HD edition.
Before I go on to list several annoying bugs, it must be said that the scenario is a ton of fun to play. The designer clearly found a way to showcase the strengths of the viking civilization and the map design adds to this. The game plays out as a hybrid of RPG and build and destroy- your core army consists of Ragnar and his sons- hero units that respawn at your home base when killed (wounded) on a raid. You have a few villagers to gather food, wood and eventually stone, but you are restricted from building. Increasing your population cap and getting access to additional production buildings is done by conquering nearby Norse Jarldoms- adding an element of RISK-like gameplay to the whole thing. You gain gold by destroying (raiding) enemy buildings, and you can recruit warbands of unique units in various Halls (monuments) as you gain control over them. The main gameplay loop thus consists of a mix of exploration, raiding enemy lands to supplement your gold income and navigating the Norse politics, taking opportunities to secure additional Jarldoms and increase your own army. Advancing through ages is also gated by your progress uniting the Norse lands, so at some point you may hit a roadblock in your raids, as the enemy resistance gets to be too tough. Although this cycle was generally well-done, there were a few technical niggles I must mention:
-when fighting Alba (Scots), their only source of resistance are their Barracks that constantly spawn Militia, who turn into Woad Raiders when repelling the player's attack. If the player levels one of these 3 barracks, but then moves on, eventually the barrack re-spawns. This means the only way to defeat Alba is to destroy all 3 barracks in the same raid AND place a unit on the rubble of each one to make sure it does not respawn first.
The scenario's approach to researching many important technologies was to research them through triggers while the player's hero units are raiding. I found this to be hit or miss, as some technologies (such as castle, barracks and blacksmith upgrades) would correctly display as researched on the tech tree, while others (monastery techs like Heresy and Faith) would not.
These are small detractions from an absolutely MASSIVE scenario, however, and neither truly impacted the enormous amount of enjoyment I got from playing through it.
The difficulty of the scenario is rather lopsided. Early on, when you are just starting your path to conquest, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Your one starting longboat and warband of Nordic Swordsmen, along with a bunch of Gaia units you can discover through exploration can all be easily lost on a raid gone wrong, or a poorly timed battle with your fellow Norsemen. By the same token, early successes in securing neighboring Jarldoms could see you pop-capped with Gaia units whom you can't upgrade facing the triggered "rebellions" facing more teched enemy troops. In this, the difficulty may appear to be overwhelming.
However, the scenario contains a few game-breakers that can be discovered through exploration. Littered throughout the forests of Saxony and Frisia are Gaia units for the player to discover- Slingers and Elite Throwing Axemen- 2 ranged units that do immense damage to infantry, and can make subjugating certain infantry-focused enemies a cakewalk.
Things get even better once the player reaches Imperial Age and has access to Elite Longboats. At this point, about 70% of the map is within range of their arrows, and most enemies become trivial. only the strongest units, such as Elite Teutonic Knights of Frankish Paladins can survive a single volley of 20 Elite Longboats. Destroying several enemies becomes trivial, as landing parties accompanied by Siege rams now meet very sporadic resistance, and at any sign of trouble, the enemy can just be lured under the longboat fire.
Due to these ups and downs in difficulty, I feel 4 is more appropriate here. The scenario is very easy if you know what to expect, but can be very difficult if you just wander in blindly.
There are many incredibly creative touches here. The raiding mechanic at the core of the design is certainly innovative. Raising troops via warbands, triggered events like rebellions, Viking funerals, and militia being drafted into Woad Raiders for Alba; The implementation of Viking politics as a way for Ragnar to gain increased power among the Norse; These are all neat touches that contribute to a great scenario, brimming with creativity.
Map Design: 5
The map is varied and reflects each land well: the frigid lands of the Norse, the dense and wild forests of Germany, the plains and moors of Britain- it's all here. I like the use of Wonders as important landmarks, and overall, the map was both well-detailed and added to the gameplay, being a joy to explore.
The scenario did an excellent job telling the story of an ambitious raider's rise to a legend. Each important event, such as completion of a sidequest or discovery of a new area was accompanied by an explanation of the event's significance and historic background. The aftermath addressed all of Ragnar's heroic sons, being a great set-up for the York Battle of the Forgotten. The main story involving Ragnar's shifting alliances with major Norse Jarls and kings was not overtly detailed, but provided a good sense of the backstabbing politics of the era. Overall, I enjoyed the story quite a bit.
The instructions, hints and Scouts were likewise quite informative, giving a good description of the potential enemies and an opportunity to plan for how to counter them.
Additional Comments: Ragnar's Raids is one of the best scenarios out there, and certainly the best when it comes to the Vikings. Any fan of longboats and berserkers owes it themselves to check it out.