Ok is some sort of puzzle scenario. i didn't cahnge the language nor the perl files as i'm a noob designing scenarios. anyways i found it funny to play. Be patient this scenario requires some planification to finish.
This entry got seventh place the Microscopic Map Contest. Only contest reviews will be allowed and any other reviews made will be changed to comments by the Granary moderators. This will be moved to a permanent section when it is created.
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Review of Micro 1
This was a pretty fun scenario, it presented a unique challenge. Resource and space management is crucial here if you want to succeed, as well as patience.
The scenario was well balanced(Kind of hard not to be balanced with hardly any enemies). The only thing was that you have to play it on easy, otherwise the enemy catapult comes and kills you.
I don't think I've ever played a scenario like this before. So this is pretty original. The VC's are fairly creative, although they're not the best I've seen.
Map Design: 3.8
Good map design, however, it could have used a few more desert patches, cacti, and that kind of thing.
The story was good, yet rather brief. It had good flavour and was pretty clear, although one the VC about building the TC could have been a bit better.
Official Review and Scoring
First Thoughts: It looks like this contest is a bit lacking in... Descriptive scenario titles. Well, on the other hand, the title is descriptive to a point - it tells us the map is microscopic, and the scenario is at version 1.0; or is it the first scenario of a planned series? Only time will tell. Micro1 sends us on a journey back to a time when the desert was reclaiming land fast. This, considering the scenario is played after the Ice Age ends, is no surprize.
Judging by the scenario instructions, I should migrate my band of people from my sandy, resourceless starting position to a new and better one, and pitch a camp there. Good, this is exactly the scenario type me and Bis submitted as an entry to the Shoreview Contest, ages ago.
After being driven down by the scenario's thoughtful title, and been nursed back to health by the concept idea, I decided to finally click the 'Start Game' button.
1: Playability (3.3)
Better than some scenarios, definately. I feared AoE's pathfinding system will get into my way when it comes to Microscopic Maps, and, well - the main playability problem in this scenario is right in the beginning. I have to make a choice - either make some villagers and start clear cutting, or stick to four villagers and go for dinner. Well I decided to stick to the first option, which, in turn, is obviously more effective, but much more troublesome as well.
Villagers got stuck every half a minute, and I had to act like a policeman in an intersection. You go first, you go second. While the pathfinding system's faults are not the author's faults, it would still be nice to take it into consideration when designing. Once you get out of that cliffy jail though, playability levels increase dramatically - just make sure you always have enough resources at hand, or you will be forced to start over.
2: Balance (3.5)
The Ascent of Egypt Learning Campaign comes to mind. This scenario is downright easy - sort of like an economic scenario. Gather some gold, build some buildings, and you are done. The only thing that can actually disturb you is a massive heavy catapult in your area - so watch that first step. On the other hand, my villagers had no problem dealing with the baddie, boning it to pieces in less than 2 minutes worth' time.
While this scenario is amazingly easy, I can't deduct too many points for balance. Like I said, the scenario is mostly built around economy, so it will be judged accordingly; and there is no opponent who would impose a serious threat, so balance is not a downright serious aspect of the scenario - let's call these bonus points earned by minimalism.
3: Creativity (3.8)
Well if the deserty side of those cliffs looks exactly the way as those few square meters, I would much rather have stayed there with my tribe! The eastern side is portrayed to be much more resource-rich, at least in the scenario instructions, but the map design does not reflect this. The western side seems to be filled with trees, gazelles, and even some gold can be found. Whereas, as you travel towards the east, even though grasslands appear, you will first find - nothing. The eastern side is ok, and fits the instructions nicely, but lots of land is simply - plain; which cries out for something creative. I'll get back to this soon, as this is more fit in the map design section.
Also, bringing down the artifact is amazingly easy, and that is pretty much the only threat you will encounter. Well, I did like the elephants, though. I just missed something that would involve some thinking. I settled down in the new area, started trading, sat back and waited. When I got bored I sent out a villager to scout - he was killed by an elephant, but what did he find? Oh my good God, a gold mine! Quickly, all my villagers stopped the chopping, slaughtered the elephants and started out on an all-around soviet style gold mining operation.
I cry out for something new. Some random villains. Not the bandits, they are in every single scenario I ever played - but anything. They would fit so nicely in here. And the western believers just walled in like that? Or the scenario title, 'Micro1'? Oh come on. Windows XP is not called, for example MS-OS4.12 either. Try to come up with something better than that, I am sure you can.
4: Map Design (3.3)
The map is similar to the ES ones in map design quality. It is so amazingly similar, that as far as I know this kind of desert and grass terrain mixing was most widely used in the default ES campaigns. There are some good parts (I really liked the shallows, for some reason), and some bad parts (too much empty space, especially for a microscopic map) as well.
Talking in detail, I did like the author's use of terrain mixing, and his forests lined up so nicely for some reason. The roads of the settlement are so nice to see (you rarely have them today, to be honest). On the other hand, the map design contains nothing new or special, that would earn the campaign a better rating. Too much space is left empty, crying out for something for the eyes to see, but you rarely get anything. The river is used as a placeholder to save some designing space - but for a contest entry, especially on such a small map, that is not enough. I want to see map design - and the river itself was somewhat plain. Don't get me wrong, my problem is not the width of the river. My problem is the lack of design elements.
5: Story/Instructions (3.4)
Instructions are clear, and -relatively- easy to understand; so I won't go into much detail here. The hints are clearly given, although they give away every single aspect of the scenario, which, I think, takes away a lot. You should definately include hints, but do not include something almost the caliber of a walkthrough. It was nice to see a history section, with some dates, numbers, names included - I very much missed that by now.
The story, on the other hand, is simple. Too simple. When coming up with a story, you have two choices - one is, to tell the story of a civilisation, a person, or anything. The other option is to be descriptive, and talk about everything in general, with much less "black and white" and more "grey". The story here is more like the second version, but even for that, it is too short. It badly needs some spicing up, and the complete lack of a scenario instruction bitmap doesn't do much good to the score either.
-- Overall (3.46)
Not too bad, but slightly easy and boring. Some parts of the map do not make sense (an arid place should have lots of open space, simply because noone ever wants to live there), and you will most likely face little to no opposition whilst playing. (Be on lookout for a heavy catapult, which is a unit with minimum range, so taking it out should be a piece of cake)
On the positive side, there is nothing keeping me from giving this scenario a full mark better, if not more, if the author updates it with more challenging gameplay, when the player does not feel the need to go downstairs and make some extra coffee. So be positive - for the scenario is not bad at all, and I mean it! Just try to give the player some work next time, too.
Playability: 4.3 Stuck on a cliff, only room for 3 buildings, you must advance from tool to bronze under the constant threat of “The Great king of Hattushas artifact”. You have room and food for 4 villagers, building a house is possible but not recommended… After some time Suppy’s artifact (Big bertha) might attack you, if you don’t have a priest by then you’re dead! But this is the only real threat, otherwise the only enemies are some elephant kings in the south. Villagers hitting each other over and over again might cause frustration, which decreases the score a little bit.
Balance: 2.6 Bad, the whole thing is about making a Temple in the shortest time possible, if you’ve done that the “artefact” can easily be defeated. To be able to build the buildings needed the player must gather all resources he can on the cliff, but it is fairly easy. Then all you have to do is to gather enough food for a bunch of villies big enough to kill those elephants, and gather your gold. With only one real challenge the scenario is rather easy and boring…
Creativity: 4.7 I’ve never seen such a thing, the Goal is to stockpile 1000 gold and build a town center on a discovery, but the real challenge is to get down from those cliffs. The way the player has to destroy many of the buildings to give room to new ones is quite unique, a very creative scenario by Suppy.
Map design: 4.2 I like this map. It contains no real forest, only some scattered palm trees in the north and the trees next to the road. I was expecting more of a tropical rain forest than a road with ash and beech trees and I feel like asking my people; am I the only one who is disappointed? Anyway it is a good map, it’s only the fact that it isn’t really what I was expecting. Some more work could have been done to the river banks as they make a big part of the scenario, the Cacti look a little bit dull without desert patches or something else, but the overall look of the map is nice…
Story/instructions: 4.8 It is a good story, there are 2 discoveries and the instructions doesn’t tell you which is the right one, but as you usually build tour town at the first discovery you see it is not such a big problem… The story isn’t historical, but yet describes a lot of historical events. It looks a little bit more like facts than most stories I’ve seen in this contest, which makes it very special…