LN Insane is a “Nomad” type theme, where each player starts with just 3 villagers spread out across the map and no TC or scout. The theme is nothing new but it does offer a change of scenery. The maps are slightly different from the standard Nomad and instead of the Coastal setting, the author has created a predominantly land based setting with numerous elongated lakes. This ensures that naval battles are unlikely to take place, and if you prefer to play land based games, then this script a good alternative for the nomad theme.
Visual Appeal 3
The maps are always grass terrain and Oak forests, with a good number of narrow lakes, and although look pleasant, there is little variation from this. While there is water blending used, there is little in the way of terrain blending, or forest mixing, and baring some use of elevation the open areas do tend to look quite plain. There is no use of eye candy, and only the aforementioned lakes improve the visual appeal.
There is a reasonable amount of resources; wildlife to hunt, and the addition of fish in the lakes enables Dark Age fishing to speed the gathering of food. There are the usual 5 relics, and occasionally the layout of the map can make these hard to reach. In true Nomad style, each player starts with just 3 villagers randomly spread across the map. Starting with just standard resources means you need to gather 175 wood (200 start minus 100 for the lumber camp) before you can build a town center. So careful consideration is required by all who play as to which civ they choose, Huns will suffer at the start on this map (for a change), and Persians will have a head start! I recommend playing on Medium starting resources to avoid these imbalances, or use them to give less skilled players a head start. As with any Nomad game seeking out a good starting position can make quite a difference, and with the addition of the aforementioned lakes, I found some great strategic opportunities from both an offence and defensive point of view. The only real downside is the fact that gold deposits are often clumped close to one side of the map, and if you are fortunate to start and then build close to these, you gain a real advantage in gold gathering, but then this can be the case with all Nomad maps. One note, if you play regicide then you get a Castle at the start and the extra villagers too. I found this strange for a Nomad map, but I guess this could be just personal taste.
There is one major problem with all custom RMS of this type, the Standard AI has real difficulties playing them, this is due to a number of factors, but it is by no means a direct fault with the script. The default ES Nomad script has extra resources for each player at the start to allow for the building of a Town Center, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any way to carry this over to a custom RMS. Also there is a default strategic number within the standard AI that requires 2% of the map to be explored before any buildings are allowed to be built. To compensate for this the Standard AI when playing Nomad scripts sets it’s villagers to explore initially to compensate for the lack of a Scout. Again there doesn’t seem to be any way to carry this over to a custom RMS, and even including the correct AI map type info seems to have no effect. The solution is to play against a custom AI like Alliance ThundaEmpire (ID235 in the AI section), and set the starting resources to medium, after a short delay the AI will start to build guaranteed, and this AI offers a more balanced game no matter what skill level you are at.
LN Insane offers a nice change in scenery from the standard Nomad script, but because of the lack of variation in terrains used the maps look quite plain, and very similar each time. There are some good strategic opportunities with the lakes, and the game play is a sort of cross between Highlands and Arabia. If you are a fan of Nomad maps, then this is defiantly worth trying out.
Notes to the author
Try to use more terrain variants with a script, blending terrains and mixing of forests really help with visual appeal, as does the addition of eye candy. (Flowers, rocks, ruins etc) Above all try to encompass a theme that has not been done before. With just a little more effort I’m sure you will be creating top quality scripts, and I look forward to seeing more in the future.