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The Mongol Ascendancy Campaign

Author File Description
Al_Kharn This is my mongol campaign contest design entraint. Due to personnal problems, the .ai was not perfected but I'm submitting it anyway.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
This campaign does some things right. The introductory story is excellent. I like the highly descriptive prose and the authors use of Mongol words. The writer tells of "a hundred brave bagatur (warriors) on a khebte'ut (nightwatch). The introductory story does a fine job of setting the situation the player is about to face. More Authors should put as much effort into their writing.

Too bad this wasn't paired with an equally well done bit map. In fact, the canvass is blank in both the 1st and 3rd scenarios. Only the second scenario has a bit map and that one has a problem with the colors being messed up. Overall, I rate the introduction a 3 and the history as an outstanding 5.

Now, on to the scenarios themselves. The first scenario is called "Mongol 1", the second, "Mongol 2" and the last, ( you guessed it! ) "Mongol 3". I'd like to see a little more creativity here, but it's a minor issue. Each scenario has a slew of victory conditions, but I'm afraid some of them could have used some more play testing. The first scenario has the player needing to capture some warchests. Another condition is to bring a hero unit to 3 spies hidden in the city of Kiev. As I was mopping up the last of the resistance in Kiev, I ran across the warchest. I sent the chest back to my rear area after discovering it and gave it no more thought. Sadly, the route took it past one of the 3 spies, who promptly took it. Now, I had a problem. After several hours of play and all the rest of my victory conditions met, I couldn't take the chest back! I had to kill the spy to take the chest and then I couldn't meet the condition of bring hero (Object) to Spy (Object). Better, would have been, bring object to area (Hero to spies locations). Now, of course, this was my fault for not escorting the chest with my units. However, when designing, care must be taken to prevent the player from making fatal mistakes late in a long scenario. I had to use the "home run" cheat to continue the campaign.

The 2nd scenario also has a slew of victory conditions. I played this scenario twice. The first time it ended unexpectedly about 20 minutes after starting with a victory for me. I hadn't completed all the VC's and think perhaps the problem had to do with an unexpected alliance change that made the enemy ally with me incorrectly. Maybe all remaining colors were allied, (some were already eliminated) or it could have been something else. I reloaded the scenario and tried it again, Once again it ended unexpectly and strangely enough, at a completely different point. This time, at the exact moment that I discovered 2 gaia villagers and a chest about an hour in. Victory was again mine and without fulfilling many of my goals. The third scenario again had a problem. This time I couldn't finish the work. I reached a dead end about 10 minutes in. At this point the player discovers a gaia scout who comes under immediate attack from several enemy bowmen. I believe the author intended the player to convert the attacking bowmen with a priest before they could kill the scout. I couldn't get the bowmen to come close enough though. Even with "reveal map" and "no fog" cheats enabled I couldn't figure out how to continue as all other routes met with quick death from unreachable enemy towers. At the beginning of this review, I said that this campaign did some things right. The terrain is good and the maps are pleasing to look at. The author put some nice little touches into the map. Some examples are a Slav house with neat rows of catcus in the yard. They look just like rows of cabbages in a vegetable garden. In the same scenario a sparse forest to the south of the players starting position contains stumps mixed in with the trees. Kiev, a huge city, was a bit too symetical with streets all crisscrossing in neat squares and not a bit of vegetation. It was too plain for my tastes. Also travel through a large forest was hindered more than necessary by narrow trails. It was maddening to move an army through so much tight terrain for such a long time.

These are all that kept me from awarding this work a perfect 5 for terrain. As it is, I rate it a very solid 4. I wanted to give this campaign a higher rating. The author clearly put lots of time and effort into it. With more testing, fine tuning of the victory conditions and introductory bit maps this campaign could be in the "Best of Rise of Rome" group. As it is, playability and balance issues cause it to come crashing down.

[Edited on 02/02/05 @ 11:51 PM]

For me, these scenarios were irritating. It took ages to load them, particularly the first one, which was almost unplayable on my P266/32MB machine, as it took 10-15 second off to process what was happening in the background. Not to mention the several crashes.

The first scenario starts in a maze of pathways within a forest with the never ending challenge of enemy units blocking the way, hidden units shooting arrows from the woods, and lions lurking in the shadow of the trees. The pathfinding proved to be a nightmare. My units got stuck two times in such a way that I had to delete first a composite bowman, then later a horse archer to clear the way. Nothing else helped. Such things should not happen on a playtested map. I could not figure out why the "Kuriyen" switched diplomacy stance in around five minutes intervals. This also indicates, that the scenario clearly lacked testing. The second scenario provided large, enjoyable and challenging set-piece battles with the enemy, but there was some queer victory condition setting, since when I maneuvered part of my troops in a forceps move above the enemy city, I suddenly won the game. Clearly an untested situation. The tower gauntlet with the transport at the start of the third scenario also indicates the lack of testing. According to the Author, the transport was not supposed to last the way back to take additional troops, so the player had to be content with one load and had to select the five most valuable units for the trip - including the Hero. Now, the transport did not even last to the intended landing spot. I had to disembark them next to the last tower, where no landing space was left clear, just the usual one tile wide shore. The landed units had to be directed one-by-one to safe distance, to the originally intended landing spot, while taking fire from the towers. Luckily not the weakest unit, the Priest was targeted, so they could be healed later.

This was very frustrating. I could not figure out either the use of the second Priest in an alley close to the above towers, since checking later in no-fog mode revealed that there is no way taking it out alive from the alley and neither can it be used to supply additional units by converting. In this scenario the Author mentioned the use of Chinese Sappers as the ones who provide the player with siegecraft. At the first attempt, these Sappers (villagers) were slaughtered by the bowmen placed nearby. Later, when I lured away these bowmen with hit and run tactics before "finding" the Sappers, I could not make any use of them, because I could not provide them with the necessary field of view, as no stone was provided to build a tower, only wood. This wood could not be put to any use, since building storage pits - among others - was disallowed by the Author. Not to mention that there was no stone on the map either. So, the Gaia Catapults (revealed in no-fog) perched above the enemy encampment could not be put to use. There was no way to use the army of converted brown villagers either, since no dropsites could be built and why build barracks if there is no food provided? Later the discovery of a granary and a storage pit made war preparations possible, but why was the 300 wood provided at the start? Maybe it was intended to be stone for two towers?

I would also expect more than a title of: "The Mongol Ascendancy Campaign" and the scenarios within "Mongol1, Mongol2 and Mongol3". Otherwise, the story line was interesting and well written, but the long list of hints after the list of objectives was hard to keep in mind. I started the scenarios with interest in them, which was wore down bit by bit, and gave way to impatience.

[Edited on 02/02/05 @ 11:56 PM]

danivan Very Well... That's the good file, and also make me to create new strategy to win that game, the scenario is one of the best scenarios that i have download...

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