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Downloads Home » Single Player Scenarios » The Anarchy of King Stephen

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The Anarchy of King Stephen

Author File Description
Al_Kharn the Great
File Details
Version: Age of Empires II: DE
Style: Build and Destroy
England, 1135 CE. King Henry has died without an heir and the kingdom is in turmoil. As Stephen of Blois, defeat your rivals to rule England during The Anarchy. But beware: a far greater threat is on its way.

  • Defeat your rivals, crush the Welsh rebellion, and invade Ireland while building your power base to resist a much stronger threat.
  • Fully voiced campaign.
  • Battle over a massive, 360x360 map -- 225% larger than Giant!

    About the Author:
    Filthydelphia (xbox: PhillySouljah) is the award-winning designer of historical custom campaigns and official content for the Age of Empires franchise. Formerly part of the Forgotten Empires campaign team, his works include the Portuguese, Burmese, Bulgarian, Italian, Indian, and Sicilian campaigns featured in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition as well as several campaigns in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Outside of Age of Empires, he is a captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
    Official Reviewer
    Map Design5.0
    This is an excellent, challenging scenario based around the interesting historical period known as The Anarchy.

    Playability: 5
    This scenario combines two distinct styles of gameplay in an inventive way, and pulls off this novel approach brilliantly. The conventional B&D elements are mainly present, although some options are closed off. However, to have any hope of success the player needs to engage with the mechanic of capturing castles (and their surrounding settlements) to become stronger, as this is the only way to increase the population limit from a low level and also the only way to access certain units. That kind of mechanic can be clunky, but here the creator has come up with a way of making it work seamlessly. The result is unique and entertaining. A potential pitfall would be pacing, but happily victory can be declared after completing the climactic objective without the need to exterminate all your enemies afterwards (although you can if you want to). Some variety is also added by an optional side-quest to conquer Ireland, which provides an economic boost that I found invaluable. The only slightly odd thing I noticed is that the player can be effectively gifted some relics, as yellow monks will helpfully go and find them and try to bring them home - sometimes walking through the player's territory where they can easily be snagged.

    Balance: 5
    I played on Hard difficulty, and I was certainly posed a stiff challenge. The enemy attacks start off gentle but they soon pick up the pace, coming from various directions and using a range of different units which they upgraded as time passed. On my first attempt I got penned in and gave up when swarming enemies ravaged my economy. On my second attempt I did slightly better and conquered Ireland and managed to survive until a mighty invasion came. It was only on my third attempt that I put much more energy into going on the offensive, and was ultimately successful. Even then though, I found that capturing castles was very difficult, due mainly to the population limit constraint and the constant reinforcement of enemy troops. It's really impressive how challenging the scenario is despite the player being given a lot of freedom of choice and manoeuvre, and how the player is compelled to go on the attack quickly.

    Creativity: 5
    The very core of the gameplay is creative, combining different styles in a way that I have not seen before. The units and buildings available to the player have been tweaked to make the gameplay work well and also to fit better with the atmosphere of Norman England. For example, longbowmen may be trained at the archery range but powerful knights can only be trained from the castle and the only way to get a castle is to capture one from the enemy. The main objectives are essentially straightforward, but I appreciated the inclusion of the optional objective of conquering Ireland and of two optional challenges.

    Map Design: 5
    The map depicts England, Wales and part of Ireland with an approximately realistic layout. It functions perfectly for the gameplay, with lots of space and sparse gold mines, and it also looks good. I especially liked the beaches of the south cost, the fenlands of East Anglia, and the ruins scattered around. Some areas could perhaps be described as a little bland, but overall I still think it merits a top score.

    Story/Instructions: 5
    The instructions are exemplary, being clear in every respect and coming with a nice introduction at the start which gives an overview of where the principal foes are located. The setting and story of the scenario suit the gameplay perfectly. The explicit storytelling comes in the slideshows before and after, and in two notable events that occur during the scenario itself. An impressive feature is how each of the slideshows, and seemingly every message during the scenario, is voiced with a British accent, which is a nice bit of polish.

    Additional Comments:
    The creator is prolific, but of all his scenarios that I have tried (which admittedly is far from all that he has made) this might well be my favourite. It is virtually flawless.

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    Map Design5.0
    Favorites: [Who?]3
    Size:50.29 MB