Owen Thompson's Mongol Campaign Design Contest entry is a very easy play, and would be fun for beginners. It is not competitive as a contest entry.
My comments by rating category are: Playability: Average. Pathing good, wrong attack/defense strategy can get you killed. More than one way to win first scenario, which is most fun to play.
Creativity: Below average. Final scenario requires you to break enemy control of Wonder and Ruins; second requires breaching walled border to reach and destroy Government Center; first is a basic "kill 'em all." Some denial of buildings.techs to force you to think. No special effects, unusual victory conditions that I saw.
Balance: Below Average. In first scenario, enemies all fight each other while you build up to unstoppable strength. In other two, which involve no buildup, you have enough Horse Archers, Priests and Siege to run the table quickly if you're at all clever. ai/per files seem to have little effect in keeping enemy active/strong.
Map Design: Average. Maps look like Random Maps tailored a little bit to create choke points and barriers. Couple of nice touches, extra effort, such as swamp in first scenario.
Story/Instructions: Below Average. Instructions correct/hints adequate (except in 3rd scenario, where there are none). Victory conditions work, but victory/loss messages bland (and not done for third scenario). Fair bitmap in first scenario, but none in second or third. No story beyond that necessary to assign player mission.
Historical Content: Below Average. General flow of campaign is Temujin uniting the clans, invasion of China, march on Hungary. First scenario features fairly nice pre-1160 history of Mongol people; other two have no history description at all.
Overall: Owen designed this under AoE, rather than RoR as the contest rules required. I got the general impression he ran out of time or energy on the last scenario. Worth a play for newbies, but not a contest winner.
[Edited on 02/02/05 @ 11:45 PM]
Posted on 10/11/99 @ 12:00 AM
Perhaps the author did not have enough time to devote to the campaign. Scenarios 2 and 3 have no bitmap and scenario 3 has no text at all! Not even victory conditions. Scenario 1 seems to have had the most time devoted to it during design. The map designs get some plus points for one or two added touches, like swamp effects. All 3 scenarios were very easy to win. The enemies never presented serious challenges, even though breaching the walls in scenarios 2 and 3 took a little bit of time. Historical content was minimal. The victory conditions (when described) were uninspired, e.g., collect all the artifacts, destroy the government center, etc. The only scenario that generated any feeling of urgency to win was #3, because the victory conditions were Global, with an enemy Wonder already built at the start of the scenario.