Caldera is a new random map script with the geographic pattern of a long dormant large ancient volcano. It features a central raised mountain around a central depressed caldera floor, which is studded with gold much like the central area in Gold Rush. Players start around the base of this mountain, where there is adequate wood. There are no forests on the top of the mountain or on the floor of the caldera.
Resources are slightly different from standard. First, gold is only found in one pile in each base, plus one random pile per player away from the base, and in the central caldera floor. Second, stone is also only in one pile per player base, plus plenty scattered randomly about the top of the mountain, which is really much like a plateau especially on the larger map sizes. Animals are pretty standard, but with a few extra sheep and a few extra deer herds scattered about the sides and top of the mountain.
How does this differ from the standard maps with respect to gameplay? Really, gameplay is quite similar to the Gold Rush map but the addition of the elevation around the caldera makes holding the heights an especially important goal, as castles, towers, and ranged units have bonuses against lower units.
The standard AI can play this map pretty well (though it does not target the extra gold in the caldera as well as human players do). I also tested 2 of the custom AIs found in the Blacksmith: Sayan_AI and Tiger RM - these play the map much better than the standard.
I feel this map like a gold rush map more or less. I know it is hard to have new ideas because almost all of them have been taken by other maps, but maybe changing the initial units by placing two scouts or some towers in order to make some variations against the gold rush map. I liked the elevation efect.
Fine. However the rocks look very artificial. Maybe placing the rocks surrounded by trees will look better.
In my clasification it is an open map. Surely I'll play it again with my friends. It has enough space to build in the whole map. In my personal likes, I prefer closed maps.