The game is extremely playable; I simply didn't find anything that seriously impeded the ability to play the game, and had fun the whole time. Very well thought-out game design.
The balance is, for all intents and purposes, perfect. The players all have the same starting setup, and all starting units are equal in strength and number, including each player's hero.
The map is essentially a slight variant of a classic style. The players build up and try to control the center of the map to obtain victory. Unlike many I've played, the player must actually mine through gold to get to the objective (a relic), which requires them to maintain a constant defense against 3 enemies until they break through; there is no grab-it-and-run gameplay in this scenario. That adds a huge amount of prolonged intensity to the gameplay.
MAP DESIGN: 4
The map design is good, with a fair amount a terrain mixing and a logical layout. The best part of the design is the contained feel of the central area. When you get 4 players duking it out in the center, it feels incredibly chaotic. The map creates a very good atmosphere once the game gets going. My only request would be more eye candy and terrain mixing.
I had no questions, case closed. The instructions do their job well, and they do it in a concise and no-nonsense manner that is good in such a fast-paced game.
COMMENTS: I had a lot of fun playing this game. despite the fact that the central idea is not terribly original, this particular map was very enjoyable and recieved favorable comments from those I played it with. I have one suggestion, though:
Resources are wasted quickly in this game; it might be a good idea to start off with more. The beginning army seems like it is big enough to give you time for resource-gathering, but it gets eliminated very quickly, leaving a large gap while players re-group before getting a stable economy going.