This has to be one of the more playable bloods I've encountered as of yet. The game is extremely straightforward. The map is open to accomodate the inevitable large battles that will take place, and there is not a single place in the game that I found frustrating or difficult to understand. This is definitely a map that was well playtested before release.
Balance is perfect. All players begin with the exact same setup. The map is symmetrical, and the heros and other bonuses are equal. I could find no faults here even after a couple of hours of playtesting.
The map was creative in a few subtle, but very important, ways. A unique trigger system is in place that offers rewards such as technologies, towers, bonus units, extra pop limit, etc., for achieving certain milestones. The way this is implemented into the game is very well done and I've never seen anything quite like it before.
Resources and villagers are provided on islands away from the main map, so you can build up resources. For certain amounts of each resource, you recieve bonuses. In addition, 1000 of each resource will grant you a wonder and the chance at a wonder victory.
The game focuses very heavily on this reward system, which creates a slightly different atmosphere than you'll find in most bloods. I held back from a 5 only because the root idea (blood map) is not original, and the map uses many of the same features as a standard blood map. But the map goes much deeper than most in terms of creativity and does implement some very cool concepts.
MAP DESIGN: 4
The map design is very well suited to the game style. I thought at first that the map was too empty, but after filling it with hundreds of units in a non-stop flow of battle, it became clear that the emptiness of the map was quite appropriate. Terrain mixing is accomplished well, and suits the map's "arena-style" setting very well.
The map is smaller than many bloods, which makes for an incredibly frenzied and overflowing center arena. I felt that a little more detail could have been added to the map to raise the interest level a bit and add to the arena-style feel of the design (statues, etc.), but overall I had no complaints. There was also a fair amount of trigger-created eye candy, such as periodic rings of explosions over the central part of the map, that added even more to the feeling of frenzy during the many sprawling battles.
The instructions for the game are complete and informative. I had no questions after reading them, so they fully accomplished their purpose.
COMMENTS: an excellent blood map, I enjoyed playing it. I am not a huge fan of blood maps (in fact the usually bore me to death), but this one was interesting enough to keep me going; I really don't have any suggestions other than those mentioned above. Good work!