Posted on 08/15/08 @ 07:04 PM (updated 08/20/08
"Fahim Rafiq stared at the smoldering ashes his town was reduced to. Everything was gone, absoutely everything. A few bodies were strewn about, lying mangled in grotesque positions in the dust. Fahim took in his first scene of total destruction with wide eyes. His bags of jewels and gold, which he had before been clutching with a miserly greed, dropped from his hands and slumped, lifeless, on the ground. They could not comfort him now. Fahim was suddenly snapped out of his trance by the sound of sobbing.
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Fahim ran over the sandy dune to find his friend Zayn sobbing over the body of his wife. Fahim bent to comfort him, but suddenly realized that he had not found his wife yet. With a yelp, he ran around the pillaged village, searching for his beloved wife. Fahim noticed many faces he recognized, but he passed them as if they were manikins. Fahim checked every body, but his wife was not among the casualties! A thought struck him, and he ran to a path leading away from his village. However, his progress was impeded when he ran headlong into a short stranger, knocking him headfirst."
Fahim is back, and this time... It's personal. Help him and his merchant friends travel to the ancient land of the Kush, find mercenaries, and oust the Byzantine menace.
Note: Please play Man of the East Part 1 before this, or you won't know what's going on.
Any criticism is accepted! Tell me if you think it is too easy or hard, as I may update in the future.
Thanks to Tailspray for playtesting!
NOTE: If you downloaded before August 21, please redownload due to more bugs I found in the non-updated version. Otherwise, the scenario will be flawed.
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This is of course subjective, and others may rate it differently. I played for 9 1/2 hours and enjoyed about 9 hours of it. The other half hour was walking back to a priest to get healed. All in all, very playable, I enjoyed it.
There are two parts to this scen. In part one you have a couple heroes going against very strong centurions. You can't win one on one. You will have to finesse most skirmishes. Reminds one of the Thach maneuver of WWII air combat where two slow F4F Wildcats can take out a single more airworthy Japanese Zero by flying circles in opposite directions to each other. The Zero follows one F4F and gets a face full of lead from a head on pass by the other F4F. The second part switches to massive siege mode. For me the siege was a walkover. The instructions say to take out the barracks and then back off. I took out all three barracks from outside the walls with my artillery and then slowly attrited the inhabitants until I finished them off with a charge. I only lost about 7 troops doing this. My condolences to their families. I then leveled the Byz city utterly to the ground. It looked like a parking lot.
A lot of thinking went into this one, fitting the developing combat plot into the map.
Map Design: 5
Most designers work hours and days and weeks and end up with a beautiful, functional map with every cliff perfectly sited and every tree hand placed to be both natural and beautiful. That's where Jimmy2 just begins. Next he ensures that every cliff provides exactly the amount of access or impediment that he needs to develop the plot. Then he must take a cav unit and ride it all over the map for days, just adding and taking out trees one by one to allow the player to ride or march through parts of the forest. Then, he goes over the map with layers of growth to give it a totally natural, photo map realistic look that provides an immersive backdrop to his plot. I must mention the little lake with fish and moss and lilies. It looks like a picture post card from the Ozarks, so natural!
And the cliffs are EE stacked to give them a great density and variety. Marvelous work.
Lots and lots of story, instructions, and hints. Would be a 5 except I hardly followed any of them. I'm supposed to watch my resources to get exactly the buildings or techs or units I need. I managed to save up 268 wood, 750 food, 1990 gold, 2252 stone, and then I never built a thing and never bought a tech, just went with what I found. I am supposed to take out the three enemy barracks and get out fast but I simply destroyed the entire city. The hints mention things that I never had to do, to work my way through the plot. In all fairness, I am a very contrary player and I will spend all day if it takes, just to mine and chop everything I can get my hands on, and I am very stingy in a scen like this, always saving my resources for the vital item, and then finishing without ever buying anything. And I must admit, ... I am capable of subverting the plot by declaring war on one of my allies to get them to turn loose of a unit I really want, and then taking that unit and rampaging across the map destroying anything I see, at long range...
This review may not reflect the facts on the ground of the original scen, since it's been updated as of 8/21. I imagine there may be more updates, possibly to have Napata get mad at me when I declare war on them and blow up their nice little town after they were so hospitable to me. Have I no gratitude? Or loyalty? No. But they never got mad.
The final Victory Condition was to get my three heroes to safety in the blue flagged area. I managed to hug the coast and sneak them in past the enemy ships. It isn't actually necessary to build a boat to get them across the river, you can do something else instead later. I put all three heroes on the little blue flagged island but nothing happened so I just danced them around and declared myself Victorious. This is a minor thing, I basically played the whole scen anyway so it's OK.
Highly recommended for download. Thanks Jimmy2!
EDITed: to spell "actually" right. (Thach really is spelled like that)
[Edited on 10/06/08 @ 08:31 AM]