This random map script was written by Mark Stoker of the SCN Punk team. Please post your comments here or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ruler of the Holy Roman Empire has passed away without an heir to the throne, leaving the empire in chaos. Now that control of the empire is up for grabs, several competing cities have declared war on each another. Who will be the one to win control over this Shattered Empire?
- You start the game in control of an entire walled city! This means very little building is required during the early part of the game. Very fast castle times can be achieved with this map.
- You start with six villagers instead of three.
- You also start the game with a small army, which includes four militia and two random siege weapons.
- Terrain includes forests plus several small lakes.
- For a completely different look, the map is snowy 1/3 of the time.
- Includes plenty of eye candy!
Shattered Empire, as would be expected from one of the leading scenario crafters, is one of the most visually striking random maps I have seen. It is basically another variation on the Fortress theme and as such is not going to be a favorite among the Feudal warfare fans, but gives more possibilities to those who like a defensive capability and Castle/Imperial warfare.
The Theme is excellently done, with good attention to detail. A nice little opening paragraph in the description sets the scene of warring cities for dominance of the old empire.
The Visual Appeal is again top notch. Some may not like the amount of eye-candy but it is nicely done(though the Vikings should have bear-skin rugs, not those fancy oriental types :) ). The inclusion of random terrains is good, and although some don't like snow, the recent patch changes enable objects to be seen on snow in the mini-map better and snow is now more acceptable to many players.
The Playability is the only area where I have any disagreement with the scripter. The script calls for placement of leaves or other open terrain within forests. Resources such as gold, deer or relics are sometimes trapped within the forest and are unusable by players without considerable effort. This leads to unfair maps, with some players having easier access to their resources. Another problem is with placement of the Lumber Camp - some players get a nice setup with the camp adjacent to forest, some player's camps are many tiles from forest. This again is an unfair situation. Lastly, the lakes do not place very evenly and sometimes they are all at one half of the map, giving one team a little advantage in easy fishing. The use of advanced military units like siege is a big error on some map scripts, but because of the starting walls is fine on this map.
Normally the blocking of resources is graded as a '2' because it is less than normal access, but because all else is so good on this map I have trouble giving playability less than a '3'. Better placement of resources would earn this map a higher rating.