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Eminent Mongols

Author File Description
Sven Schwarz Three campaigns focussing on Temujin's early years, Batu's siege of Kiev and Kubilai's defeat of the Sung empire. Lots of work went into this campaign; I hope you enjoy it.
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Eminent Mongols is a fine campaign that touches on events from the years 1203-1285AD. "Birth of an empire" is the first scenario. You command the forces of Temujin and your main goals are to unite the Mongol clans under his rule and discover the secrets of siege weaponry. You will quickly come under attack from the forces of Temujin's blood brother, Jamuka. It is imperative that you protect Temujin and his advisor, Yeh-Lu Cho'tsai, from harm. Only after these threats are dealt with will your forces be freed to pursue your other objectives. The introductory story is well written with a detailed historical background. The introductory maps are also well done with all the important locations labeled. I referred back to the maps several times during this campaign to clarify which objective was what. They were quite useful in that they matched the game very well. The second scenario, "Great Gates of Kiev", has the goal of taking Kiev and returning the spoils of war back home to Ogedei's court. This takes the form of 4 artifacts hidden in and around Kiev. These artifacts must be taken to a transit point in preparation for their journey home. I enjoyed the simple victory conditions which helps the player to stay focused on their objective. It works much better here than the common "destroy player X" condition often seen in scenarios. The authors use of terrain is very good through out the campaign. The player will come across burning buildings in several scenarios. Elevations and cliffs are used effectively. The swamp in Kiev looks real nice. The weakened walls in the Chin fortifactions are also a cool touch. The Japanese islands in the third scenario are particularly well done. The final scenario, "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan", was my favorite in the series. At it's heart it's a build and attack scenario with a twist. The gold needed to build your army needs to be obtained, at least at the start, via trade with the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Hangzhou doesn't really want to trade with you and is protected by towers. Eliminating these towers will be an early objective for most players. There is, however, another way to obtain gold, Japan has mines. But they are well defended and like in history, it will be a difficult attack if the player opts for that route. Gold will also be needed to build the required palace in Xangdu along with the stone which must be found and mined. The Mongol settlements are scattered around and action takes place in many different places in this scenario. Though this campaign doesn't have anything I haven't seen before, it is pretty creative with many nice touches. Balance is good throughout this work and the campaign doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. The difficulty is pretty even all the way through, without any excessively hard spots. Overall, this is a campaign I can recommend to everyone, I enjoyed it a lot.
Angel Grex
Wonderful campaign by Sven Schwartz, especially the Map Design and Playability, and the way they complement each other. By category, here are my main observations: Playability: Marvelous! Just a whole bunch of fun: explore, devise alternative strategies, enjoy the scenery and nice pathing - then play it again. Pretty much all fixed force, though you can build up some in the third scenario. You have to be pretty lucky to get any one of the scenarios right on the first try - but all the traps and wrong routes are fair and not gimmicky. Creativity: Very good. Nice concepts for victory conditions. First scenario is essentially just gather food, but he's made it fun; the "stuck" Temujin and shaman and the Jamuka execution were cutely crafted. Second scenario is just gather artifacts, but it's a clever twist on this old idea achieved thru nifty Map Design. Third is as diverse a set of VC's as I've ever seen, with some very artistic work in creating the area around the main activity which is really just window dressing, but you want to go back and look at it several times, even though you know the places don't matter strategically. Makes it feel real. Balance: Very good. Sudden, tough pressure from the Keraits in the first scenario. Steady opposition from small Kiev forces on your exploratory approach to the great gates (or perhaps a back door?) in the second, and medium combat while trying to attain multiple objectives (including protecting at least four key units) in the third. Hazards from wild animals and necessity to work for buildup because of well-rationed and scattered resources also help here. One less Priest and 5 less Horse Archers in the second scenario, and a somewhat more active and sustained Sung defense in the third, and I'd have scored this a 5. Map Design: Excellent. The first scenario's Gobi Desert is very believable. Kiev and the flooding in the second scenario are beuatifully done. China, Japan and Mongolia are accurately portrayed in the third scenario, and key cities in China as well as the beginnings of the Silk Route give a nice feel to the setting. Nice use of cliffs, wild animals as hazards, and scattering of resources. Story/Instructions: Very well done. Well-varied victory conditions, clear and useful instructions/hints, and beautiful bitmaps which, in combination with the engaging stories, give you a motivation and a solid understanding of your tasks. Historical Content: Sven managed to cover almost the whole sweep of the period without making it feel jerky. History is accurate, and well interleaved with the story. He lets us understand the hunt for and revenge on Jamuka, the assault on Kiev, and Kublai's reign and contact with Marco Polo. Well-researched, well-written, interesting and educational. Overall: Very fine effort, IMHO. A must for everyone - beginning player to accomplished designer. Great job, Sven!
In short: it is elegant and beautiful. These three scenarios are a good example of how to put exciting, challenging and all-out enjoyable pieces together without stuffing them with units, terrain features and victory conditions. This work scores high in pleasure/difficulty ratio and is of the kind - I think - which makes new AoE-recruits addicted to the game, since it does not run in such a high gear as works by hardcore designers full with gizmos. I would put it at the level of learning campaigns supplied with the game, which are of course flawless, lack bells and whistles, and increase in the required level of skills as they progress. The first scenario is a very simple one with a clear, well defined task, which needs average skills to accomplish, but captures the attention of the player nonetheless. It is the second and the third scenario which betrays the Author's map making skills. Kiev, in the second scenario is very adeptly laid and poses a challenge to enter it with the limited number of units available to the player. The Author lays a big city without heaping building on top of each other refrains from such victory conditions as making tons of razings. The sacking of the city is represented instead by the collection of artifacts - not an easy task at all - which in turn have to be handed over to the Mongol caravan. The third one is a "multi-tasked" beauty with a build-up period before the major battles. While handling minor skirmishes from South, the player has to tend to villager-tasking, while pursuing and trying to corner a reckless allied unit, Marco Polo, to save him from running into enemy fire or from being converted then killed accidentally later by you. The story is a gem, makes a short but interesting reading. This is a campaign worth playing. It is not a full weekend program, but makes for an enjoyable afternoon.
Yamatr00 Didn't like it. Too many fixed forces missions, low armor to your units, too much hit and run and narrow passages.

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