This new random map script is done in response to the new popularity of "Michi non-rush forest" style maps. Gandalf's Forest is a map where players on the same team are connected by small paths through the forest, but enemies are completely separated by forest. Within the forest are multiple small pockets of open land, with extra gold, stone and food resources. The players are separated from these pockets by relatively thin strips of forest (a minimum of three trees wide, but can be wider), and it is possible to chop into them with your woodcutters long before siege onagers are available in Imperial Age. In fact it is usually possible to reach an enemy from somewhere on your team's lands by passing through 2 to 4 of these barrier strips of forest; a team of players working toghether can often reach an enemy land by sometime in late Castle or early Imperial Age, but sometimes not. There is great fun in the teamwork needed to coordinate the woodcutting to reach an enemy, to set up a combined attack, and to establish combined defenses. Patrolling the borders of your clearings is essential to prevent the enemy from reaching you first! Merely waiting until Siege Onagers can be obtained in late Imperial Age is risky, as the enemy may reach you first! Still, the Siege Onager route to an enemy is a very viable strategy, and in a team game someone on each team should be able to research this 'mower of forests'. But there is value in expanding into neighboring clearings in the direction of the enemy early to gain the resources there, rather than just waiting until late Imperial Age to begin hacking through forest with Siege Onagers. There is also more of an element of strategy as to where you will try to break through to your enemy, which player to try to hit first (flank or central), and a decision of whether to try to get some defenses up, such as gates and walls separating teammates in order to compartmentalize your team to prevent the enemy from sweeping through your team immediately should they break through first. I far prefer this map to the standard 'non-rush' maps in common use now because it has more variability and strategy to each map, and it just plain is better looking and more fun.
The map randomly varies between a jungle pattern, a predominantly pineforest, or predominently oakforest for variety. Each player has a small clearing with all of the usual standard starting resources (there is a minimal increase in the starting gold and stone). There is much more than usual extra food in the form of sheep or turkeys, deer, boar and berries locked in the small glades in the forest. There is a little more than usual gold and stone scattered in these glades as well. Relics are standard (5) and are also in these glades to be discovered by the first explorer to reach them.
In testing, I found that if played at a size suggested for the number of players, the players stay separated as planned, but if playing at a size too small for the number of players, there is a possibility that an enemy's lands can overlap yours and there can be an unintended connection. For eight players though, play on the very largest size map, because on the next-to-largest map size there is about a 1 in 5 chance of end player's bases intersecting. So play on an appropriate size of map or accept the possibility of a connection to the enemy.
In my testing, I have found that the AI does not play this as a human would, trying to cut through to the enemy, but does build up an army and attacks once you have been sighted through the forest. I did notice a couple of times something rather interesting - the scout of my computer ally hovering near my woodcutters when they were about to break through into a new clearing, seemingly wanting to be the first into the new area to find resources. I am not sure if that was intentional on the part of the AI.
Check out this post at MFO: http://www.mrfixitonline.com/readPosting.asp?PostingId=914129 for a preview of the map's appearance or just download and try it out!
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I used to play one of the "Real World" random maps that comes with TC or the Black Forest RM, but recently, I've heard of these "michi" maps. I figured that a michi map would be the perfect anti-flush. So I looked around and a found a recorded michi game. It looked very interesting. However, I did a search and couldn't really find any good michi RMS. So I asked around the forums and was pointed to this RMS. I am amazed that this hasn't been reviewed. It is simply excellent.
THEME - 5
The michi-anti-flush-RMS style isn't new or unique, but this RMS is unique. Instead of just a plain michi map which is a mostly resource-rich RMS with a strip of forest separating teams, this map is like a real forest, with many clearings. It isn't straightforward how to get to extra resource or your enemies, which adds an element of randomized play. You have to break through different forest strips, sometimes going through several to get to your enemy. There are paths to your allies, however, which makes trade and collaboration possible. This takes michi to a new level. Play a 4 on 4 on a giant map, and you'll have hours of fun.
VISUAL APPEAL - 5
It's random. Sometimes you play in jungle, sometimes in pine, and sometimes in oak. Small lakes allow you to fish for shore fish and can also serve as eye candy. There is beautifully placed wild flowers and more than one grass type used. Many times I was playing this, it felt like I was playing a well made custom scenario. Yes. The visual appeal is that good. I sometimes have some reluctance when destroying the beutifully placed trees.
PLAYABILITY - 5
Starting is a bit slow (that can be good - no flushes), but the purpose is Castle-Imperial Age fighting, so there's no complaint. This map is pure fun to play, especially when you start breaking through to your enemy. 4 on 4 games are pure fun, with massive amounts of forces confronting on the battlefields. The resources can make it seem like a deathmatch in the late game, but again, that can be fun. The only problem with the playability is that there is not enough hours in the day for more than 2-3 good matches.
This map is good. I guess the path between you and your allies could be made a bit wider (sometimes in the late game, troops and trade carts and buildings clog up paths and you are forced to take out Siege Onagers and Trebuchets to make it wider). Maybe more relics would also make it better on larger maps. Otherwise, this is beyond michi. This is purely excellent.
I feel sorry for the people who haven't seen this RMS. Stop playing Black Forest and plain michi and start playing Gandalf's forest - the best of both worlds.
Firstly I have to say the description page for Gandalf’s Forest is excellent and 100% accurate, and I feel there is little or nothing more I can offer to the description with this review except to say: WOW!
Gandalf's Forest is a no rush “Michi” style map. “Michi” meaning a map where each player is separated, usually by a band of trees, thus preventing an opponent executing an early attack upon you (Flush). Gandalf’s Forest takes this theme one step further though, each player is separated from their opponents by numerous bands of trees, and connected to any allies via a thin path through these trees, but instead of the usual large areas that are controlled by each player, there are numerous small isolated pockets. Within these are various resources, and the occasional relic. This certainly sets the theme apart from other michi style maps, and never have I had so much fun, and anticipation of what lies beyond, when cutting down trees!
Visual appeal 5
As with all scripts bearing the name Gandalf, I’ve come to expect quality and variation in visual appeal, and Gandalfs forest is no exception. The maps are always a delight to view, with a good blend of terrains and eye candy used. Each time you play the map will be predominately Pine, Oak, or Jungle terrains, offering variety, and these are always very natural looking. This is a true credit to the author’s outstanding ability.
Each player starts with the usual villagers, Town center, a scout, and the same reasonable amount of resources. There are the usual 5 relics on the map, and these are generally in the isolated areas on the map as are extra gold and stone deposits. Getting to these by cutting through the trees offers high rewards to players willing to search. As with all no rush maps, there is improved balance for players of varying difficulty, but Gandalf’s forest seems to take this one step further and many times I have found myself being out flanked by players of considerable less skill than myself. The many isolated “Glades” or pockets really do add to the game play. You will find yourself chopping through in to these to find what lies beyond, and locating the enemy is often forgotten about with the anticipation of what lies hidden in the forests. Playing against AI players is less fun, as the AI rarely breaks through to your base, but playing a good quality custom AI offers and exciting challenge when you do finally break through to the enemy’s base.
Gandalf’s Forest is in my opinion the best Michi type map there is, and the fun factor is incredible. I have never had so much fun playing a map of this type, and having played it already more times than I can remember, I am yet to tire of it. If you are looking for a no rush map you won’t find a better choice, and I highly recommend Gandalf’s forest.
Thank you R_F_Gandalf for this great RMS.
I must start my review, by saying that this may be the most underrated map I have ever seen. The theme is rich, and is a great start for a new player to get going. It is based on the "Michi" style of play, which omits any type of Feudal age attack, which teaches new ones and intermediates alike, how to build a strong economy, without worry of 10 skirmishers harassing your lumberjacks. What I think is most important is how much teamwork experience you can gather. If you are playing 2v2 or 3v3 online, it is up to you to communicate with your allies on where to attack his base, which part of the trees to cut down, and when to attack with your pumped up military.
This is a very well thought out map. There is a random chance of Oak, Jungle, and probably some more. Probably the MOST outstanding part of the map is the teamed areas. Each allied member has a very small walkway to one each other, therefore making sure you can help others with defense or vice versa. A very good thing to add, I would give VA less than 4 if it didn't have it. There is alot of flowers, tons of different trees, and alot of eye candies that snatch your attention for a little bit. It is very harsh to see these pretty flowers be flooded in bodies of enemy opponents from my Longbowmen, however. A real pity.
This is such a fun map, I believe everyone would enjoy it. It is the only map my brother likes to play, besides some default ones. With the imposed imperial age fighting, Newbs and Inters and even Experts alike can spend hours playing this map alone. Like I said, this is the most underrated RM
VISUAL APPEARANCE: 5/5
TOTAL: 5/5... FLAWLESS MAP!!!
My vote for map of the year! Cheers Gandalf, I love pretty much all of your maps, keep them coming, all right?
[Edited on 04/01/05 @ 10:05 PM]
Black Forest is by far my favorite theme, and you added moss and anchient ruins, so a five here.
Visual Appeal: 5
Looks very cool, especially when you cut through all the pockets.
Very fun. I once got a map where the lands where connected, but it was fun never the less. Pockets and coping and seige onaging... it is entirely worth a download.
Thankyou for such a great map. I hope to see more of your cool maps very soon.
Gandalfs Forest is a Michi style map. Most Michi maps seperate players usually by bands of trees. This michi map though looks like a very realistic forest. You have to break through different forest strips, sometimes going through several to get to your enemy but there are paths to your allies bases. This make trade possible.
Visual Appeal: 5
Sometimes you play in Jungle, sometimes in Pine Forests and sometimes in Oak Forests. There are small pools with shore fish in for fishing. These also serve as great eye-candy. The elevation is wonderful and the resources/wild animals are nice. There is beautifully placed wild flowers and more than one grass type used.
I was playimng on this map for 2 hours before realising I hadn't even built an army! 2 hours of gathering resources and researching techs but I still didn't get bored. When the fighting began the game got so much better. This map is pure fun to play, especially when you start breaking through to your enemy. I played a Standard Game, 3v3v2. The game went on for hours with no break.