So you think you have mastered the opening moves of Age of Kings? You think you can hit the hotkeys to build 3 villagers within the first seconds of launch? You think that there is no variation in your opening moves? Forget all that when you play Metropolis. This frenetic map puts you in control of THREE towns! That's right--you get 3 Town Centers, 3 sets of villagers, 3 Scouts and 3 sets of resources! I considered calling this map "Decaffeinated".
Let's be Frank (no pun intended)--this map plays unlike anything else you have probably tried before. Unlike Deathmatch, your starting resources are not inflated, though you can gather them quickly. Unlike High Resources, you have 3 Town Centers in which to train Villagers or research upgrades. Games can be over very quickly if one of the later-blooming civs like the Koreans, Byzantines or Saracens decides to take an Imperial Age stroll through your town. However, if you can survive the attention-deficit-disorder-defying first minutes of the game, the late game may feel pretty normal. But those first few minutes can induce seizures as you attempt to task all of those idle villagers on trees, berries, boar and sheep. You probably won't even notice where you are on the map, who is on your team or what civ you are for the first 10 minutes. Yes, it is that bad.
What crazy things can you do on Metropolis? You might try using your 3 Scouts or Eagle Warriors to kill enemy villagers or sheep. You might try a boat boom of epic proportions. You can advance in age while 2 TCs still crank out Villagers. You might Imperial in 14 minutes or less. If you are looking for a map in which each civ and starting location has an equally fair chance of winning, this probably ain't it. But if you are a twitch player who knows the hotkeys by heart, never ever has to hit the Idle Villager button key, yearns for a Strategic Commander, hits HCCCBEBECtrl-1 without thinking, and tattoos WOOD and FOOD across their knuckles, then enjoy the bedlam.
Aside from the insane starting conditions, the map resembles a miniature Baltic, with a small lake in the middle. Resources are spaced pretty normally, aside from the initial three sets of resources.
Now, is it better to go HCCC or HCHCHC?
Chinese and Mayans might be a bit abusive on this map, since they start with so many villagers. A simple tweak to the script (specify the number of villagers as 3 instead of letting the map pick) can fix this situation, but it won't give the Chinese or Mayans their lost resources back. Huns are deadly too, just because 50-80 Elite Tarkans can knock down any building, even while under attack by the heaviest of Heavy Camels.
For Random Map Scripting Aficionados--the trick I used was just to set PLAYER_LANDS 3 times. The starting units were then just placed for each set of player lands. Fortunately, the lands were all placed together, though you can still have some of your TCs closer to an enemy's TC than your others.