THE DOGS OF WAR
by Night Conqueror
The Beggar's War lasted a full ten years and eight months. During which, it devasted the lands of both Thevia and its sister nation of Trinia. It was an honorless war, where heroes, kings, peaseants and soldiers all fell together. It was in the small village of Maldon, which lay right on the border of Thevia and Trinia, where the conflict finally met its anti-climatic end.
From the Scenario:
"The Dogs of War is a strategic, defensive scenario. This particular scenario takes place during the end of the 10 years war. In it, you will control Lieutenant Pinchley, a decorated Thevian commander and his loyal aide Sergeant Maximilian. Your objective will be to delay the advance of the Dogs of War, a violent band of ex-soldiers, and their commander Colonel Vampa."
Classic "Defend the Spot" gameplay, with major additions.
Use specialized engineers to repair buildings and defences.
Utilize strategy to defend your position in many different ways.
Engage yourself in the deep story of The Beggar's War.
Expert use of triggers to create an engaging gameplay experience
Engineers about to repair a bridge
Two knights entering Maldon City. Once used as a fortress, it has now been inhabited by settlers
Recruited villager walking to be trained into a spearman
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'The Dogs of War' is a strategic mix style scenario, in which you have to defeat an evil colonel and his horde of troops. It is different from a normal defend the spot scenario because you have to fight at multiple locations rather than one spot.
The scenario ranks high in playability, as there are many things for you to do- in fact too many! You have to look for resources, train soldiers, repair buildings, talk to people, etc. all within a limited timeframe. The battles are also fun because rather than two large armies smashing at each other they are fought by roving bands of soldiers across a huge countryside. You have to choose what to protect and what not to, and inflict maximum casualties on the enemies.
The training system has a lot of problems with it, because you have to manually task most of the units one by one to it otherwise they will get stuck. This is a pain when you're making an army of 100s of units AND have to do other stuff besides. Even the upgrading and training cavalry was that way. There were also some minor bugs like the message 'Holz has cut of communication' every time a villager was killed and an apprentics blacksmith died for some reason and the other tagged along behind my knights forever till I changed diplomacy and got rid of him. But otherwise the gameplay is fantastic, highly replayable with plenty of choices.
I played the game on moderate, and found it quite challenging. Mostly because of the unit training system. I had to consult the walkthrough and made it narrowly. The units you get to use are mostly weaker units so it is difficult to do anything other than put the whole army together and defend the pass. One thing I noticed was that you could build houses, so I built a lot of houses as cannon fodder and to block off paths. Overall however it was still difficult, including the duel.
Although there are no completely new concepts, the scenario is quite creative in terms of the ways of gathering resources, repairing buildings etc. The spread out battles was a good idea, although it could be avoided. I noticed a 2000 HP war wagon near each spawning spot, which I suppose would be like a supply wagon ( and also prevent people cheating ). The sidequests were good and the background music was quite appropriate, although the sounds ( made while gathering ) were somewhat weird.
Map Design: 5
The map is very good, much better than a random map. It conveys a wintery atmosphere very nicely. There is no overuse of eyecandy and the 'marking' of the resources was a great idea. The terrain was well blended and the map was also strategic because you had to choose which areas to defend.
The instructions and hints were very detailed and a helpful walkthrough was provided, which was good because it would have been less interesting to play without them. The story is quite standard: hero protects villagers from villain and his cohorts. But it was well executed and I believe better than 'any story' , and deserves a 5 here.
This is a great scenario, one of the best this year. Highly recommended for download.
PLAYABILITY - 4+
This game seemed a bit boring to me at the preparations, despite the advanced systems. Somehow, however it is perfectly triggered and very smooth, I felt that part of the scenario missed something. But the battle and duel both were very fun to play and challenging, so this scenario deserves a strong four.
BALANCE - 4
This game felt very proper for me on standard, however the battle was a bit hard the first time I played it. It was hard to keep an eye on the two heroes and weak spots together. However, these were the only disadvantages and this section still deserves a four.
CREATIVITY - 5+
This game is the most creative I've ever played. The first part of the game featured a very advanced training process. You could use your orators to recruit villagers, then upgrade the villagers at one of the training spots and after that even mount them or upgrade them again. The engineers who could scavenge the field, repair bridges and buildings et cetera were also a very nice idea aswell as the "influence" system where you could use your Lieutenant to convince village leaders or hire mercenaries. The duel also featured some very good new ideas.
MAP DESIGN - 5
The map design was very realistic. However it lacked terrain mixing, that was not a big point. The duel area at the ruins was perfectly designed and the whole map had lots of possibilities for strategic manouvers etc. The city of Maldon was also very realistic with suburbs and good eyecandy. The villages looked good aswell.
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS - 5
The story was very enjoyable and complicated with accurate descriptions about the main characters and the area where the events take place. The instructions were quite clear, but at the training the instructions referred to the hints section which was not very clear, but understandable for me.
Another excellent map which certainly is worth the download, especially when you love defend the spot. Actually, everyone even the ones who don't like defend-the-spot should download this NOW.