Sea of Tonteria by RF_Gandalf
These are 2 new random maps, with the original concept from Tonto_real, Emperor of the Tonto clan. He requested a Baltic type map that was always green, had more stone than usual, with a central island with some resources, and which had narrow coves or gulfs between players. These two maps are my attempt to give him his request.
The first, Sea of Tonteria-land is just like Baltic except for the above changes. Each player gets an extra starting stone pile. The center island has a few deer, one gold and one stone pile, but on higher map sizes where the island is larger there is yet another group of deer and a second smaller gold and stone pile. Resources are otherwise like Baltic, but the sea has more fish than the ES standard.
The second, Sea of Tonteria-rivers, is like the above description but with a river between each player, and a shallow connection between each as well. Obviously, this gives a possibility of a more defensive style of play, but the rivers also allow better access to fishing for each player as well. This second map has a few more fish than the first to help \'fill\' the rivers with fish too.
Occasionally the central island gets squeezed to a rather small size, which is due to the way the lands are put down by the map generator.
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Thank you, RF_Gandalf, for having made these maps! They play as you've described them and members of Tonto Clan, both multiplayer and singleplayer, have been enjoying their use for some months now.
Thematically and visually they are just super, cycling from temperate to tropical climes and flora and fauna on maps that are both water and land which also gives a nice variability to the scene without having to contend with glaring white snow and ice.
Playability-wise there isn't anything that you can't do on them, and in multiplayer the resources on the island in the sea often provide whomever gets there first with a bit of a bonus (or it can be shared when teaming)... while the singleplayer almost always gets it (though if the island is small his colony there can be wiped-out by marauding enemy forces and warships).
People will have their favorite between the two, either the SOT-Rivers version which has the dividing rivers and shallows connections, or the SOT-Land version which has connections of solid land like Baltic btween the expansive civ 'areas'. My personal favorite is SOT-R. =)
A footnote about the Sea of Tonteria maps are that because there is quite a bit of water as well as land on them, the player(s) always want to play them at one size larger than the normal for the number of civs selected so that they perform best and civs don't get 'squeezed" for buildable space in their 'homelands'.
Another is that shorefishing as a villager vocation is excellent on these maps. =)
I know the objective was to make a Baltic map-like with some variations, however this fact in my opinion doesn't change the fact the the theme has been already taken. I mean: Nothing quite original here. In the SOT-rivers version, the rivers make a big variation on the theme because you can fish securely for a longer period of time that on the land version, this will allow a faster development. The rivers make that the player could defend their homelands against masive and early land invasions by walling the shallow. These two variations make more interesting to play the rivers version than the land version. I ranked with 2 points the land version and 4 points the rivers version for an average of 3 points.
Fine. More patches with dirt land or more different kinds of terrains would make the visual appeal better. Lack of eye-candy. In other reviews I posted I didn't consider the eye-candy feature, but now I think it is important to include them on all the maps.
3 points for the land version. 5 points for the rivers version. I liked too much to play the rivers version, specially if one of the river is shared with an ally. I loved building castles and towers in cojunction with my ally along the river and building lots of fish traps there.
Unfortunatelly the rivers option blocked the land commerce with AI's, but I think this kind of evaluation against AI's is not the point here.