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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » Scenario Design and Discussion » The Exchequer: Review Requests, Guidelines, and Tutorials
Topic Subject:The Exchequer: Review Requests, Guidelines, and Tutorials
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posted 08-03-15 03:51 PM CT (US)         

Welcome to The Exchequer!

This is a place for forummers to exchange comments, reviews and critique for files which they have downloaded and played. Here you can request reviews for your files, talk about file's you've recently downloaded and learn about how to write reviews and the rewards that come with it. Anybody can write a review for a requested file, you don't have to have any special requirements. It's not just for official reviewers.


There are great things about writing reviews. Reviews are very useful for the file uploaders because it shows them what other people think about their files. It allows them to see what is good and bad about their files, and the reviews also offer constructive criticism that will include suggestions on how to improve the file in a future update. Reviews are also helpful for downloaders because it gives the downloader an idea of what to expect when they download the file.

When a reviewer reaches a certain milestone they may earn rewards for their achievements:

  • 10 reviews: the ability to choose a custom title for your forum profile.
  • 25 reviews: become eligible to receive Official Reviewer status, and the denotation as such in one's Blacksmith profile.
  • Every subsequent 10 reviews (e.g. upon reaching 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 etc), the ability to choose a new custom title for forum profile.


    Once a forummer has written 25 approved reviews they are eligible to become an Official Reviewer, although this is not guaranteed and may require further improvement on the reviewer's behalf. Official reviewers should be the most dedicated reviewers, writing detailed and constructive reviews that help improve the files they review. All reviews that are rated 4.0 or above by official reviewers will appear in The Blacksmith's Best Files list. Requests to become an official reviewer should be sent via email to HockeySam.

    (In order of number of reviews)

    Possidon (41), Cataphract887 (198), Lord Basse (128), Mashek (125), Jatayu (84), HockeySam18 (82), Popeychops (66), Julius999 (31), Great_Artiste (28), kud13 (15)

    (In order of number of reviews)

    Possidon (241), Tanneur99 (229), Cataphract887 (198), Lord Basse (128), Mashek (125), BrandNewCar (91), Jatayu (84), HockeySam18 (82), Panel (76), Popeychops (66), CerberusXXL (36), Angel Jerusalem (34), Devestator (33), Stephen Richards (31), Julius999 (31), RoboPaul88 (26), DTrungle (25), RF_Gandalf (24), Angel Rasher (23), Angel Park (22), The Downward Spiral (22), Mr Wednesday (20), AnastasiaKafka (20), Cherub Lobby (20), Berserker Jerker (18), Mayank Sharma (12), Dark_Warrior_1_ (11), Ingo van Thiel (8), Matei (7), Cat (6), Gordon Farrell (5), Angel SpineMan (4), Cherub thurdl01 (2)


    The list below consists of a number of requests and/or downloads recently reviewed. Requests are marked R and updates U. Anybody is free to review whichever file they want, but should be aware that the designers at the top of each list are waiting the longest for a review. Files that have received a review in the time of request in this thread will be removed from the list unless a second opinion is requested.

    Cinematic Scenarios:

    Showcase Scenarios:

    Single Player:
    R Alba gu Brath, by Possidon: No Reviewer
    R Cavern Pirates - Captain's Revenge, by rewaider; No Reviewer
    R Project: Just Juice, by Lil_Lebowski; No Reviewer
    R DOOM, by HELLKNIGHT61; No Reviewer
    R Wrath of the Traibs, by Possidon; No Reviewer

    R Ardar Diplomacy, by croatianboss; No reviewer
    R The Lord of the Rings, by croatianboss; No reviewer

    Mod Packs:
    R Wheel of Time: End of the Third Age - Beta, by Seonid; Reviewer: Mashek
    R Realism Mod v1.12 - 250 pop limit, unit/tech edits, by Keisari Tapsa; No Reviewer
    R Still in the Dark Age, by Mr Mew; No reviewer
    R Hero Expansion Redux, by Possidon; No Reviewer'
    R Tower of London, by Pepp; No Reviewer
    R Avignon Palace, by Pepp; No Reviewer
    R Duomo di Siena, by Pepp; No Reviewer
    R Borderland Empires, by Khan Ivayl; No Reviewer
    WAIFor's Amusement Mod 2.4, by WAIFor; Reviewer: Possidon 4.0
    Dover Castle, by DeathPreacher; Reviewer: Possidon 4.5
    Spartan Warrior, by Achesun; Reviewer: Possidon 5.0

    R Notepad++ AI Editor, by beladar; No Reviewer
    R Custom Icons Pack, by Possidon; No Reviewer

    AI Files:

    Random Maps:

    Recorded Games:


    Please edit your review after an update. A designer can ask for the removal of all reviews after an update if he feels that they do not represent the actual version of his submission. Reviews that address issues that are fixed, altered or ameliorated do not serve the visitors of our site. A review has to be a valuable tool for the designer and the downloader.

    (In order of date of the update)

    Please read the REVIEW GUIDELINES

    Without trying to enforce the Review Guidelines as something as law, they are still a very important part of the review system here at Age of Kings Heaven, and are used to create consistency between reviewers at the Blacksmith in order to establish fairness and equality for reviews. With the Review Guidelines’ recent update all reviewers need to take into account the new addition of rules when reviewing. However, Angel SpineMan’s primary objective for reviewing in the Old Guidelines still applies today:

    “This article will provide a description of how to write quality reviews for Age of Kings Heaven that are scored consistently between reviewers and are helpful to both the file's creator as well as the potential downloader.”

    In some cases, a small percentage of reviewers tend to review files according to their own rules, leading to inconsistency between reviews at the Blacksmith, which is neither helpful nor fair to anyone. To have reviews at the Blacksmith that are fair and helpful, reviewers have to follow some rules to score consistently.

    If you have any questions about reviewing, please do not hesitate to post in this thread!

    Single Player Campaigns and Scenarios

    There are many invaluable lessons to learn when becoming a good reviewer, and a few other things besides that will result in a good and fair review. Some things are self-evident when reviewing a file; in general, do not review game styles you do not enjoy and review files according to the date of its release. There are many files back in 2000-2002 that received a score of a high 4, which would not fit the standards of today. You have to take into account the standards of the day, and rate accordingly. In addition, if the scenario is designed for original Age of Kings, review it playing AoK.

    Below you will find a general breakdown of each category from a review for your convenience.

    PLAYABILITY is about the fun you had while playing a scenario, and here you need to mention what affected your enjoyment in a positive and/or negative way.

    BALANCE is about how easy or difficult a scenario was for you. You should mention which difficulty you played on when reviewing, although this is not mandatory. A good approach to reviewing a file would be to start with moderate and later change to standard, to see if the scenario was too easy or too hard or well-balanced overall; before ending off with hard difficulty. However, reviewers will need to take into account that not all files are difficulty-level-dynamic. In general, remember that you are rating the file according to your own skill level and not that of others.

    CREATIVITY covers every aspect of a scenario. Remember that a file does not need anything new to achieve a high score.

    MAP DESIGN scores compared to a random map which rates 2.0. Anything worse or better than a random map may be rated up or down accordingly. Some tips for rating this category is that you rate what you see during game play, which means no Marco and Polo. The map size and how much of the map was used should not affect the rating.

    STORY/INSTRUCTIONS is a little more interesting than some. Probably the most common detail reviewers tend to overlook is that this category covers two aspects of any scenario, story and instructions. Not just one or the other. If the file is lacking in one then you can make note of that in the review and mark down accordingly. However, this does not pertain to multiplayer scenarios, whereby a story is not mandatory. In general, the presence of a functional story (while not necessarily being a good story) with instructions should be midpoint, a 3. From there you should be able to give an accurate overall rating for this category.

    Non-Playable Scenarios

    For files such as those where playability is void and map design is the only feature of the file (e.g. entries to the Totally-Terrain Contest), the category should therefore be used to take a look at the technical and creative qualities of the map design, while referring to how that design pushes the boundaries of realism in an AOK environment. One particular thing to note here is that just because the file is all about pretty map design, that doesn’t mean it cannot feature any creative features that might breathe life into the design, such as towns brought to life by wandering villagers, people going about their everyday lives, and other unique devices besides. Basically, anything that goes into making the map more alive and as such realistic should be taken into consideration. As the file will likely feature little anything else other than map design, a single overall rating between 1 and 5 will be fine.

    Scenarios without Fighting

    An exception to the balance category is when the author of a particular file did not intend any fighting, or very little of, to feature in the scenario. From the review guidelines:

    One important note about scoring the balance category for scenarios is that where no fighting takes place, such as some puzzle scenarios and some RPG-style scenarios, is that just because the player cannot die in such scenarios, that doesn't mean the scenario isn't balanced. Difficulty can also be present via puzzles or other devices, and the balance of these should be taken into account.

    For files such as the Pretty Town Contest entries whereby there is a great degree of walking and nothing else much, reviewers should therefore take into account the author’s intention. If it was intended that you walk around and gaze at the beauty and wonder of a landscape, then you need to rate on that account.

    Rating Cut-scene Style Scenarios

    Cut-scenes rate like any other scenario, the defining factor being that most cut-scenes do not allow any interaction for the player, requiring only that the player sits down and watches. One thing to note is the change of the category BALANCE to PACING, which primarily denotes the flow of the cut-scene. Well timed sequences with good flow should score strongly here, while cut-scenes with little structure or planning, sound effects appearing out of sync and the like, should score poorly.

    Modification Pack Script

    A Modification Pack Script (MPS) is mainly an item for the player, which has a limited use for designers; the content will not always suit a designer’s endeavours in scenario design and is very limited to its audience. Keep this in mind when you rate mod pack scripts for USEFULNESS/NOVELTY and QUALITY/INSTRUCTIONS. The main categories are USEFULNESS and QUALITY for the overall rating of a MPS. Use NOVELTY and INSTRUCTIONS to correct the category rating. Still, for a perfect rating the MPS has to excel in all four categories.


    There is no official guideline for reviewing utilities, but for some ideas you can go here. A utility is a tool for the designer and has hardly any use for the player; keep this in mind when you rate utilities for USEFULNESS/NOVELTY and QUALITY/INSTRUCTIONS. Often you cannot rate the novelty factor because the file is another eye candy map of Lord of the Rings, a Volcano, Waterfall, Trigger Guide, Tutorial or collection of battle sounds. In other words, nothing new. Originally the fifth category was Creativity but this was too close to Novelty, better to have the two rated together if possible. When you feel Novelty does not apply, you can replace it with Creativity. The four categories are of equal importance for the overall rating of a utility.

    Random Map Script

    Review Thread History

    Luke Gevaerts started the Review Request Thread 03/30/2002. Tanneur took over 11/30/2002 until 7/11/2009. Mashek then hosted the thread until 05/19/2012, when it was taken over by Panel until about 01/10/14. After Panel stepped down as staff, it was left alone for about 6 months without being updated until Possidon took over the thread where it was completely revamped and turned into The Exchequer.

    [This message has been edited by Mash (edited 08-03-2019 @ 08:03 PM).]

    posted 09-11-18 07:46 AM CT (US)     876 / 890       
    I've just updated my Custom Icon's Pack to include Technology and Building icons, as well as loads of new hero icons. There's now over 1000 icons in the pack. Please check it out and let me know your thoughts on it.
    posted 09-22-18 06:50 PM CT (US)     877 / 890       
    Hey, I'd like to request a review for my scenario Cavern Pirates 2 - Captain's Revenge
    if anybody has the time/willingness to do it.
    Thx in advance

    The Fall of Hummaria -- Teaser [4.2] -- Project's Thread
    Cavern Pirates -- The Treasure Hunt [4.6] -- Captain's Revenge
    My Blacksmith

    [This message has been edited by rewaider (edited 09-22-2018 @ 06:51 PM).]

    posted 02-16-19 09:47 AM CT (US)     878 / 890       
    posted 02-18-19 02:44 PM CT (US)     879 / 890       
    I've got round to writing a couple of reviews today. Hoping to do a few more in the coming weeks.

    I've reviewed UDP - Deathly Cliffs which is one of my all-time favourite multiplayer scenarios, giving it a score of 4.6

    I've also reviewed dontstayafk's Grim Reaper mod giving it a score of 3.8
    posted 03-03-19 02:17 AM CT (US)     880 / 890       
    Hi all, I'd like to request a review for my Upload: Project: Just Juice
    mainly just looking for tips on the map design because that is the only part I have completed so far.
    Thank you.
    (id: Mashek)
    posted 03-03-19 05:46 AM CT (US)     881 / 890       
    Great to see that you're active again, Possidon. I apologise for the late approval of your reviews.
    Hi all, I'd like to request a review for my Upload: Project: Just Juice
    mainly just looking for tips on the map design because that is the only part I have completed so far.
    Thank you.
    Added to the thread.
    Al_Kharn the Great
    posted 04-18-19 06:20 PM CT (US)     882 / 890       
    Not sure if anyone has time, but I would be curious to see a review for Rise of Genghis Khan submitted last year. Full disclosure, I am working on a scenario that uses some similar concepts and I'm curious to see how people felt about them, even if it's not a formal review (could just be a few thoughts in the project thread). Feedback received from Ragnar's Raids and Ironside (official review or not) was pretty helpful in progressively fine-tuning the raiding warband mechanic.

    Filthydelphia Creations
    Tristan & Iseult ~ 1st Place (tied), 2014 Historical Scenario Design Contest
    City of Peace ~ 2nd Place, 2014 Minigame Competition
    Dragon's Head, Serpent's Tail ~ 2nd Place, 2016 Defend the Spot Competition
    Ragnar's Raids ~ 2nd Place, 2016 Historical Scenario Design Contest
    Complete Campaign Collection
    posted 04-19-19 06:40 AM CT (US)     883 / 890       
    I'll play it again today and try for a write-up. I remember quite fondly playing it several months ago and thinking it was probably your best custom campaign work to date.

    Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

    "Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal:
    But the good name never dies of one who has done well." - Hávamál

    "Hockey is the only sport left for true men." - ax_man1
    posted 04-25-19 02:02 PM CT (US)     884 / 890       
    I have submitted a review for Rise of Genghis Khan (4.8). An excellent scenario well-worth several plays

    Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

    "Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal:
    But the good name never dies of one who has done well." - Hávamál

    "Hockey is the only sport left for true men." - ax_man1
    posted 05-02-19 05:48 AM CT (US)     885 / 890       
    REQUEST: Could someone review my "DOOM" file? It is a short scenario. It lasts maximum 45 game minutes. So players can finish it easily. If someone has a free time to finish and write a review I will be grateful to that person.

    [This message has been edited by HELLKNIGHT61 (edited 05-02-2019 @ 05:54 AM).]

    posted 06-28-19 04:16 PM CT (US)     886 / 890       
    May I please request some reviews for Wrath of the Traibs it seems to have gone under the radar slightly, despite it's anticipated release.
    posted 07-09-19 09:53 PM CT (US)     887 / 890       
    I submitted a review for "Valhalla's Edge". After much deliberation, I settled on a 4.0

    Unlike Al_Kharn's other scenarios (Rise of the Khmer, Ragnar's Raids and Ironside) I don't think I need a replay to make up my mind on this, so I was able to actually give it a score.

    I am also playing "Lord of the Steppe" and I expect to review that next before going back to a number of scenarios I planned to review last yeear before I took a break from AoK for a bit.
    (id: Mashek)
    posted 08-03-19 08:10 PM CT (US)     888 / 890       
    Great work guys! Keep them coming. I have a few unfinished reviews sitting in a folder that I really must get around to completing.
    posted 08-07-19 03:08 PM CT (US)     889 / 890       
    Been on a bit of a reviewing spree of over the last few days. I’ve just written 10 reviews for various Mod Packs that I am using in my upcoming project and hopeful there will be more to come over the next few days I have off.

    Btw - I”’be also just crossed the 250 review milestone.
    posted 08-07-19 08:27 PM CT (US)     890 / 890       
    I need to do quick replays of both Ragnar's Raids and Ironside, before I can review them and also finalize my thoughts on Rise of Genghis Khan. I feel there's a progression of ideas across these scenarios, though I'm not sure how much I can compare them in the reviews without going off-topic.

    I've had a lot of thoughts about these, but I'm also having a very busy week (travelling for work, and gonna be out of town again for the weekend), but this is something I want to get done before moving on to other things.

    [This message has been edited by kud13 (edited 08-27-2019 @ 09:00 AM).]

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