The Traders of Purple
This is the official Team B entry for Pinky's and Fudgy's Shoreview campaign contest 2005.
The campaign consists of two scenarios on which we spent around three months. It features the rise of the Phoenician nation.
Have fun and post your comments!
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Playability - Very fun. This scenario kept me wanting to play even when I'd been beaten to a pulp, just to see if I could get the buggers! Great fun. 5
Creativity - Lots of creative elements stand out here - the use of trade (not often used anymore in scenarios), shaky alliances and lots of design elements such as forumer cameos ( ;-) ), guards marching and the like. The objectives are also good and realistic and not thrown in to make the scenario harder - they work well with the story. Excellent work. 4.5
Balance - The first scenario is very hard, with bandits constantly on your toes, lots of objectives to fufill and a large enemy city right next to your base. The second scenario, while being easier, is still difficult. All in all, a challenging campaign but enjoyably so - the odds are so far against you at times you feel you have to play on! 4
Map Design - Looking at these maps, I can only say one word - amazing. Every square on the map has been painted with meticulous care and wonderful use, but not overuse, of eye candy is in abundance. There are beautiful and realistic nomad villages, desert oasises, trickling streams, luck mountains and grand cities. It's truly a delight to discover more and more of the map, everything blends in seamlessly. Wonderful. 5
Story/Instructions - Excellent historical sections, with bite sized chunks of history, as well as a nicely written story and helpful hints that blend in with the game - given to you from the viewpoints of two different advisors. Bitmaps are also nice, and represent gameplay well. 4.2
Overview - A brilliant campaign - Team B have really knuckled down on this one and it shows. 4.5
This would probably not be a choice of fans who would want a clash,bash,smash,and dash fixed-force campaign(even though that would come later). They are both for build-up scenario lovers, which might take away a bit of fun from some player(or I could be wrong)
Although it might not show, quite a lot of things in this campaign is very well-thought. For one thing, I know that the serene bird trick at the very beginning of the first campaign is invented by Bismarck himself, and it gets bonus points because it uses some different personalities for different tribes. (I also noticed that he has included an Andrea Rosa player in scenario, then I proceeded to track it down and destroyed it:=))
You might think that it is very easy from the beginning. Let me assure you that it is not. For example,in the first scenario,about 5 feet your scout runs outside of your initial starting point in any direction, he'll be sure to get attacked by a bowman/axeman/scout and you will be forced to start over. The .ai and .per files in the campaign will greatly enhance the enemy, making it a tough battle for you.
It is a fairly nice-looking campaign. The only problem was that the Team B could have added a few more eye-candy over the map since both of the campaigns involve deserts and a bit more effort into the map design would have been a lot better.
You play an ancient Phoenician King, who was forced to set out and find new land by your priests and ancient writings. Then they go and form Carthage in Europe. The geographically-accurate bitmaps covering the Middle East and Europe are quite a nice addition to the story.
I felt that there was just too much fiction in the story of a historically-accurate campaign. Although there was nothing wrong with the story itself, so sorry.
It is a good campaign overall. With a very impressive story, great enemy actions and a fairly nice map design. It is worth a download.
What happens when a talentuous map designer teams with a master of personality files? You got a fantastic campaign to play! "The Traders Of Purples" splits the history of the Phoenicians in two chapters, the rise of their civilization and the establishment of Carthage. You will play with two different technology folds, trying to optimize the different bonuses you get.
This campaign has high replay value. The challenge becomes gradually more intense, which I liked a lot, although the first mission has a quite slow beginning. The second scenario seems a tag too easy, in my opinion the enemies should make less fishing ships and more war galleys, but they behave correctly according to the scenario layout (perhaps it was just an impression, since I was playing with RoR and I wished more benefits from queueing units). Another little drawback of the second scenario is the map size: it could have been slightly smaller, avoiding many large areas which you will likely miss (unless you are a fanatic of exploration). Luckily these are minor flaws, and the overall playability is still very high.
You can play at your own pace. It is a choice between difficulty and gameplay, but I think most players will enjoy the rythm of this campaign. In my opinion everyone can play "The Traders Of Purple" and have lot of fun. Please, don't misunderstand me: I'm not saying it's a walk in the park. I'm saying it's a five-stars balanced campaign.
Nice use of individual VCs variants and combinations, as I expected, although being a 2-missions campaign it can't have many objectives. The authors did a great job focusing on the trading abilities of the Phoenicians in the first scenario. The hawk blessing (Bismarck's trademark), the mixed dead trees, the dried out rivers and many other ideas (not to forget the uncommon subject) make of "The Traders Of Purple" a very creative campaign under many aspects.
Map Design: 4.8
We can see a very good job on all aspects of design, with a nice attempt at real world mapping. Even if they're mainly desertical, both maps contain lot of interesting features, natural feeling corners and even cutscenes - not to speak about a suspect old fogy settled in northern Italy along with his pet cat :) The two only downsides are the lack of elevation in the first scenario, and (always in the first mission) a large desert which is nicely filled with terrain cracks but little more else: unfortunately it happens to be the region surrounding the start location, thus the very first thing players will see (however a bit more of exploration will reveal magnificent details). The second scenario shows a nice map of the Mediterranean basin, but strangely it's turned upside down. This takes away something in atmosphere, because players must take some time before they are able to orientate themselves in the unusual perspective.
The story and instructions were excellent, with clean bitmaps, interesting and informative history notes, and really helpful hints. The objectives were clearly pointed out, and I never had trouble remembering what I was supposed to do as in other campaigns. The nice story and mission objectives were always condensed into a single page, which suits me good.
Historical Rating: 5
This campaign marvelously fits the theme of our contest. Not only that, it has been developed with extreme care toward its historical content, withouth lacking a nice fiction component. This is the most reliable Phoenician campaign available, as far as I know. What a shame there are only two scenarios to play. I'd suggest to Bismarck and BBalazs to hold this project on the road, and release it again with at least one more scenario. It would be another success.