The Siege of Medieburg - 1297
Posted on 06/16/07 @ 08:02 AM (updated 07/08/07
Hi, This is my first submission. This is about Puddu, a soldier who starts his revenge against injustice. Designed for level MODERATE, this is one of the best scenarios I have made. I enjoy playing it again and again but none (including me) have won it. It requires great Age of Empires skill to win it, I am sure. I am not giving much information here, download it and see. It will be enjoyable although it doesnot have lots of triggers. Please write your view about this scenario. If you want, you can email it to email@example.com. I thank those who download this scenario.
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'The Siege of Medieburg - 1297' is a build and destroy game, in which you are pitted against 7 computer opponents. It is unlike most B&D's, being rather different from a random map game.
The playability of this scenario is amazing. Although it has few triggers, the number of attacks and the strategic ways to defeat them more than make up for it. I took very long, about 4(!) hours to win it, and it was enjoyable all the way. I don't think I've ever had so much fun playing a B&D game. There are no bugs at all.
Well this campaign is meant to be played on only one difficulty level, moderate. This brings it down, because on moderate it is extremely hard! (It is, paradoxically, easier on hard.) There are many different tactics you can apply. My first, 'multiplayer' sort of tactic with mining gold and spamming troops failed utterly. Then I tried to defend the town but was overwelmed. Finally I restarted and rushed the blue player with battering rams and built 4 layer walls at places and that held off attacks for a while until I was well settled in blue's base (carefully preserving his market for trade). This tactic worked and I defended my city for a couple of hours. While defending was hard enough, attacking was even harder, though I was helped by grey getting massacred by yellow. Finally after 2 more hours I knocked down the wonder and won.
I give this a 4 because it's really very hard to win, even for experienced players. I had to pause and use marco polo quite often in the beginning 10-15 min, which is the hardest part of the game.
This scenario is probably the best example of how creativity can be achieved without triggers or use of 'new tricks'. The map was highly strategic and creative, the tribenames were nice and the gameplay was rather unique. I'd have liked Puddu to be renamed though. It's a well thought out map to be played for hours.
Map Design: 5
The reason why the game is so strategic and offers different ways to play the game is the very fitting map design. None of the players can be rushed easily, eg. blue had a castle and green had walls. There were many 'chokepoints' which could be defended at little cost. The town you were given originally could be defended to some extent, until trebuchets came up on the other side of the cliffs. Some places had ice so that you couldn't build walls and you couldn't build dock to cross the river. Every inch of the map was designed to suit the gameplay. Apart from that, it also looked great! The terrian looked good with just the right amount of eye candy. A clear 5 here.
The instructions are quite good, along with a hints section. However I didn't understand at first that the town which had called for help meant it was a gaia town, I was going to the other towns and was puzzled as to why I was just getting attacked.
I'd appreciate a bit more detail. Perhaps a history section? In fact from this game I couldn't even make out if the siege of Medieburg was historical or fiction. Granted this game doesn't really need a story, but I have to evaluate this separate from the playability.
Additional Comments: This game is a good, though extremely challenging B&D, requiring hours of gameplay to win. Definitely a recommended download.
A side note (not affecting rating): It isn't a good idea to name the cpx file 'Puddu'. I had trouble finding it again.
[Edited on 09/02/07 @ 09:12 AM]
This campaign is an above-average B&D simply by virtue of the fact that it is relatively challenging. It’s unlikely you’ll win this at the first attempt. It took me three attempts and because of that the victory message was all the more satisfying. This is simple brute force: you are faced with seven enemies who, either by design or fluke, often launch coordinated attacks. They start fairly early and continue so you have none of the usual B&D luxuries of being to build-up at your leisure. However, it is important to note that you do not have to defeat all your enemies – the victory objective is much more specific, and clear, and I feel the playability is enhanced by this. Having to defeat all seven would have been tiresome and repetitious. I found no bugs. I experienced a little lag at times.
Having been caught on the hop the first time and soundly thrashed, and having adopted a different strategy the second time and still been overwhelmed, victory at the third attempt was actually not as difficult as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, this is textbook balance – you lose a few times but can see a way to win. After the second attempt I started to doubt it was possible to win but if you’re struggling, persevere. It’s worth it in the end. My only reservation is that there is not much variation for players who might be deterred by the difficulty. I played for a short time on Standard level and although I think it is a little easier it is by no means a cake walk. A little more difficulty-level variation might be in order.
Nothing stands out in this area. Everything is solidly done – the map is fine but there is not much else to say. A minor positive was the interesting player names. A minor negative was that the hero is not renamed.
MAP DESIGN (4)
As above, the map design tends to stay in the background. In a game like this you have little time to stand and admire the scenery. It looks like a random map which has been tinkered with. There are incongruities – terrains that don’t blend particularly well, snow next to desert – but it’s no big deal. Chokepoints, cliffs and the fact that you can’t immediately reach all your enemies all add some interest, though it’s a pity there isn’t any elevation. Another common B&D sin which is not committed here is the over-provision of gold. You start with a reasonable supply but you’ll have to venture out and fight to secure enough to win. No turtling allowed.
To the point. There isn’t really any story but you are told what you need to know. There are also hints and I didn’t spot any spelling mistakes.
A recommended download for all except B&D-phobics.
"The Siege of Medieburg - 1297" is a B&D game that features a good gameplay with tough challenges, but rather unfortunately doesnt explore the setting of the siege in any detail. Its a good example of great gameplay defying simplicity;this is no finely crafted masterpiece, but it delivers a good game anyway.
I had a blast playing this scenario;i found the challenge to be intense and invigorating. Around 1:18:xx i had trebuchets pounding the wonder, but to get there was a seriously hard fought battle. The enemy attacks quite early, which makes the usual slow build up of a B&D feel scary;even though your just sitting there make villagers like in any other B&D the knowledge of your numerous and higher-teched enemies being out there is quite intimidating. The map was fairly tight on space, but there was just enough to accomplish what needed to be done, and i soon had a 145 villager economy humming along. Meanwhile to survive that long you will need to hold off many attacks, even including some trebuchets and monks. The push on the wonder was very intense;the game was cleverly set up so that after defeating grey you would have even more enemies to fight, who responded to any advance with a torrent of troops. Most B&D fall apart when the player nears the goals, but this time around the enemies kept up fierce counterattacks right up the end, requiring two armies;one of mass-spammed halbs and skirms to hold the bridge and fend off enemies from the south, while my paladins and trebs pushed on the wonder.
There are a few minor bad things about this map like the journey segment;its rather unnecessary and penalizes new players unfairly, as the AI should be in a freeze mode until the player arrives at the base. Players who are repeating can just go straight to where you need to go, and it just doesnt add much to the gameplay. There also isnt a good reason to include a hero who must not die.
Ultimately however, despite my enjoyment of the game being quite high its not the only factor in the playability rating;I would like to see a bit more complexity for the maximum rating. Optional sidequests, alternative ways to play, there are any number of ways good B&D try to spice things up and i do feel the need to reserve the full 5 for scenarios that have good gameplay mechanics in addition to being fun.
The scenario is very well balanced for something that resembles a 7v1;the enemies have a large preponderance of strength but the player has plenty of tools capable of meeting the task, with an unrestricted Teuton tech tree arsenal. The challenge provided is certainly interesting;given a base nestled into a cliffy mongolia-esque map, the player has enemies on all fronts. Some of the enemies have their own rivalries, which is possibly the most key piece in the entire puzzle;the player can utilize this to help level the terrible odds, so he isnt actually fighting a full 7v1 right off the bat. The AI's fighting strength actually increases as the player gets closer to the wonder objective, which is very nice to see;as mentioned B&D tend to get super easy when the player is fully setup. Thats not the case here;the player could still be at risk even late in the game.
That said, at the end of the day this is just the normal AI after all;although the game was intimidating at first, i soon reassured myself that ive broken down this AI time and time again, and went on the offensive aggressively;the first action the player should take is ram rushing blue and taking over his base, while building layers of walls around the starting area. After i boomed up a bit and got 2 castles in the new land, i deleted a hole in the walls so all AI attacks funneled to this spot. As mentioned elsewhere, the AI still puts up a great fight all throughout the scenario, but after having this setup achieved it felt like victory was only a matter of time now. Part of this is because there is a a bit too many resources on the map;despite using paladins as my main unit, i finished the game with 5k gold and was still mining it.
In summary the map is quite difficult, well balanced and an interesting challenge despite relying on the B&D AI;its just enough for the maximum score range from me in this category. I had to play a second time to find the strategy to beat it, which is a good thing;too many maps are just beatable in one go without a thought. The minor points about too many resources isnt that big of a problem;if you turtle up and get bogged down, these resources would certainly dry up fast.
Assessing the creativity of a scenario like Medieburg\Paddu isnt an easy task. It certainly lacks a great deal of complexity;there are so few triggers, that the author really should have avoided using any at all so he can boast of having made a good zero-trigger map, which isnt something most designers can say. On the other hand, there isnt much gameplay alterations made;it really is just relying on the games base gameplay mechanics to carry the day.
Despite all that, for having made a good, intense scenario with so little crutches it is very impressive;the map is carefully crafted for the action, putting the player in a precarious situation with some interesting possibilities. The diplomatic situation of the map was clever so that after taking over Grey the players enemies ramped up, avoiding the usual B&D of power creep;usually the game gets easier when the player finishes booming, but this one got more intense and hard fought the closer the player gets to the wonder.
However, its the lack in technical excellence that really prevents a higher score from being considered. Without investing some more effort into the storyline and perhaps some more inspired mapping its hard to push this to a 4. The gameplay is great;now it needs the supporting cast to show up and put it in a more favorable light to truly be brilliant.
Map Design 3
The map is fairly unremarkable, being about on par with any random snow map;its the contribution it makes to gameplay that is noticeable. The starting position of the player alongside an intricate cliff maze reminiscent of Mongolia lent a fairly unique feel to the playthrough.
The biggest missed opportunity here is surely the story. Besides significantly raising the score of the review, more importantly the player gets invested into the battles and has a more memorable experience. I really have little idea what the scenario was really about by the end. Besides that the objectives, hints, scouts, etc were simplistic. And why does the scenario file have such an uninspiring name as Paddu? In my campaign list, it ended up bracketed by Sagropireia and RISK-Hundred Years War. Now thats how to name your files.
Final thoughts: A very interesting game despite its simplicity, the "Siege of Medieburg" can be recomended for anyone who wants a tough scenario.
[Edited on 03/25/17 @ 11:39 AM]