|J H McAuley
This is a roleplaying/build and destroy scenario covering Robert the Bruce's struggle for Scottish independence against the English. It spans the period from the demise of William Wallace and the legend of the spider in the cave to the Battle of Bannockburn.
||Age of Kings 1.0
||Build and Destroy
Bruce must first steal money and supplies from the English, build an army, find welcome help and finally wrest the important castles of Scotland from English control, using bribery and trickery as well as brute force. Bruce's squire is ever-present to gain intelligence and offer advice.
|Author||Comments & Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Battle for Scotland is a Build & Destroy with RPG elements, designed for original Age of Kings. The story is historical, you play Robert I the Bruce, King of Scotland in his battle for independence covering the years of 1306 - 1313. The story starts on June 19, 1306 with the future King's defeat at Methven against an inferior English force led by Aymer de Valence, later Earl of Pembroke (Visit his grave in Westminster Abby. His second wife, Marie de St Pol, daughter of Gui de Châtillon, founded Pembroke College in Cambridge).
PLAYABILITY: Battle for Scotland is an entertaining, challenging scenario played with the correct settings. I played twice, with the original version 2.0, early resign patch on hard and with patch 2.0a on hardest. Version 2.0 gave an uneventful boring experience due to an old ES, AoK bug, the enemy forces guarded a relic in the north of Scotland with their entire army (Heroes, Onagers, unpacked Trebuchets, Long-bowmen etc.), waiting for a monk who never arrived while the player could build up, raze and convert almost undisturbed. The difference in game play and challenge with the patch 2a was remarkable, after the build up on the Isle of Arran, it took two attempts to establish a base on the mainland but I do not know if the patch fixes the bug or if it was a random event. Anyway, to play a bit different I razed Stirling not following in game messages and objectives when a bug occurred, a short cut, the famous tutorial's hole in the wall and I won skipping some of the objectives, reading, "All castles save Stirling are destroyed or under Scottish control!" Well the in game messages around Stirling said that "Scotland should not attempt to storm such a powerful castle" and I continued as intended from a saved game. 3
BALANCE: You build up on a small island without enemy contact but scarce resources force the player to venture out, which is a good balance aspect. The category rates the game on hardest, played as intended and there was challenge in the beginning. From mid game on, it became too easy, the scattered resources on the mainland are fine for human players but the standard AI has difficulties handling them. 3
CREATIVITY: The escape from Methven, landing on Ailsa Craig where Bruce hid watching a spider spinning its web, building up on Arran, sneaking into a castle by a secret tunnel was creative. I especially liked the historical information in game. 3
MAP DESIGN: The map made from scratch had islands, elevations, cliffs; the mountain area in the north was above average. However, vast areas were flat with editor green grass, while the towns and forts were too small, not realistic and/or appealing, there was no terrain mix, one watercolor, medium deep. Overall, the design was about random map quality. 3
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Good historical story, some errors though. Robert the Bruce fought some battles after he returned to the mainland in February 1308, but from the ones mentioned here he only took Perth in January 1312, while he burned Ayr already after the battle of Stirling before Falkirk during the first war of Scottish independence. To retake the castles took three years, there was no "Year of the Castles", Linlithgow in 1310, Dumbarton (here replaced by Ayr) in 1311, Perth in 1312, Roxburgh and Edinburgh in 1313. It is good to mention historical events with in game messages during the second Scottish War of Independence. You learn that the English captured Bruce's family in 1306, wife, sister and daughter imprisoned, his younger brothers hanged, his enemy King Edward died 1307 followed by his weak son Edward II, which changed the tide for the Scots and Bruce held his first Scottish Parliament in 1309. Another good element, click on and area triggers with information about the castles, only missing for Edinburgh in the east. While I am lenient with regard to grammatical and spelling errors in my reviews as AoK is an international fan site, you should at least spell historical places correctly, it is Linlithgow Castle not Lithlingow. The objectives were clear and the hints sufficient. 4
OVERALL: Battle for Scotland is an entertaining scenario.
SUGGESTIONS: The player should avoid attacking Stirling, reason, the enemy has nine castles, out of which four are in Stirling. You win with four or less player 2 castles, trigger 9 condition 0 'Own Fewer Objects' Source Player 2, Object List Castle Quantity 4. Player 1 wins by destroying Stirling and one of the five objectives. The correct trigger to fix depending on the objective is, condition 0 to 4 either 'Destroy Object' or 'Capture Object' (Source Player 1) Set Object the five castles.
OBSERVATION: Player 2 defeats your allied player 3 early, which is good for the balance. Player 3 has the AI character set to 'None' and the game engine places TC and three villagers at random on the map.
Computer personality 'None' was in common use for RPG like scenarios before AI scripts like Passive, Freeze and Immobile Units came out and/or were of common knowledge. Computer personality 'None' does not build up nor does it train any units and thus will not advance through the ages, it makes military units immobile unless an enemy approaches, but not the villagers. Other than some custom-made AI scripts, personality 'None' will explore with military or civilians, exception to units like monks and trade carts for example. Monks still convert sighted enemies and trade carts need a market in sight to move.
With regard to the above, personality 'None' does not suit a B&D. The author provided 1000 wood, stone, food and 4000 gold for player 3, which it will not use. Here with a TC and three villagers, two explore, the third will gather a resource until player 2 attacks, destroys the TC and kills the three villagers. The initial diplomacy setting has player 3 as enemy to player 2, while player 2 is neutral to player 3. The player 2 Standard AI will ask to adjust diplomacy, but there is no AI to respond and player 2 changes to enemy towards player 3.
Probably the author intended the early defeat message of your ally as a measure to create tension, while you are still far from landing on the mainland.
IN CLOSING: I recommend the download to the average player.