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Varus, oh Varus

Author File Description
Alkhalim This scenario is divided into two phases

- In the first one Arminius and his men must unite enough of the other Germanic tribes under their banner, that they will not make any problems once you start...

- Phase two, in which you need to ambush and defeat Varus and his Legionaries deep within the forest of Teuteburg. The Romans have a huge technological advantage, so choose your moment and angle of attack carefully.

The other tribes:

* Tencteri: By far the biggest threat since they are the only tribe having access to bronze age units. They will likely throw huge numbers or cavalry your way, so you better have a steady defense going. If you can afford to do so, fortify the bridge they need to cross and use that natural chokepoint.

* Chatti: Very aggressive early on, but once you have your first brigade of soldiers ready, you should be able to hold the line against their mix of tool age military units.

* Bructeri: If unprovoked, they will not pressure you. However they sit on huge stone reserves which will greatly increase your capabilites to create walls, towers and slingers.

Also there are various smaller tribes scattered across the map which will gradly join you without any bigger efforts.
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design3.2
Playability: 2.3
Was tedious for some parts of it and wasn't very satisfied by killing the four generals and their leader, Varus. It's not something I would want to play again. But it was a nice first-time experience. The bases weren't very difficult to get through once you had an army of about 50 slingers. There wasn't any moments that made you "think outside the box." It was a straightforward, build and destroy scenario. The hills made it slightly difficult to take the ruins but weren't much of a challenge. I shouldn't of spent 1 and a half in game time hours on it (but was playing on speed 2). I would keep losing economy for having some random hole in my walls.

Balance: 3.2
You're given the restriction of staying in the tool age which makes it more challenging. And because only one of the enemies raids you with bronze age units, it doesn't make it that difficult unless you play no walls, no balls like I did and only used houses for walls. I did hate those two gold piles taunting me and reminding me I'm stuck in tool :p.

Creativity: 2
There wasn't much creativity found throughout the map. Nothing that really shot out to me as a puzzle.

Map Design: 3.2
The map design would have to be what was most appealing but there was still a lot that could be worked on. You could use way more terrain than grass, tree's water and cliffs. There are more terrains than those ;). The waterfall looks nice in DE but looked funny trickling down in 2.0 speed, not something you can really fix. I liked the bases on the hills and the addition of a bridge as a choke point to fend off yellow. I also liked how I had to cut across the small section of tree's to get to Varus and his army.

Story/Instructions: 1.8
I think story wise is quite lacking, there were a few lines of text of story. Maybe try giving players more history on the event. The hints were sort of helpful but there shouldn't be more lines of text in hints than anywhere else.

Additional Comments:
Make sure you specify that the scenario is for AoE: DE. It's a nice first attempt. Don't let my advice/ critiques shun you away from singleplayer map designing. It's much better than my first attempt and making a map :D. Try adding little puzzles in your scenario in the future. This is a good starting point and I like your efforts to adding eye candy in places.
Map Design2.9
Playability: 3.5
It plays like a standard B&D scenario, which is fine by me as I love B&D. The enemy bases were positioned nicely enough and the restriction of the Tool Age added some challenge which I can always appreciate.

I was a little disappointed to discover the enemies don't use custom AI or PER files at all. I understand one or two of the more basic opponents not using them but every enemy used a preset AI or PER file .. so technically you are fighting random map AI's.

Balance: 3.5
You start with a bunch of scouts, some walls and a small tool age town. The enemies have a few military units and tool age bases to begin with but will eventually advance to the bronze age. The imbalanced Tool vs Bronze has been done many times by now but I love it all the same. I just wish I weren't fighting random map AI/PER's.

Creativity: 2.5
It's a standard B&D map. I for one love B&D and prefer it over puzzle or mixed force maps but there is some lost potential here. Overall it is average in this department. Not bad, not amazing either.

Map Design: 2.9
The map screams ES-style to me and it would actually fit perfectly into some of their original campaigns. That being said, much like some of their lesser scenarios, this one suffers from being TOO basic (with the exception of the candy bridge).

This map is just too empty for my tastes. There is just too much plain grass space. We have tons of terrains available to us in DE but this map looks as though it were made with RoR. I think more terrain variety and forest mixing would help.

The layout = Good
The detail = lacking

Story/Instructions: 2
There are only 2 lines of instructions. They were clear but you missed an opportunity to enrich your scenario.

[Edited on 05/22/19 @ 03:07 AM]

Map Design4.7
Playability: 4.7
It was pretty playable because I beat it on EASY without glitches. It was alittle too hard IMO, since I lost multiple times on Standard to Hard before moving on to EASY. Typically I win matches against the AI on the STANDARD or MODERATE difficulties. But this is more of a balance issue and anyway somewhat challenging maps that take a few tries are considered good.

Another reviewer, stevenmcclintock, complained that the Designer did not use any special AI or PER for the enemies but just left them with practically Random Map AIs. I don't really understand what the reviewer's practical complaint was, since the enemies fought well considering that the Brown player was limited to the Tool Age. The Yellow player just produced cavalry and a few axemen or clubmen for attackers, but based on the Instructions, that was what the Designer intended. Likewise, the Orange AI hardly attacked me, but that was probably the Designer's intention too. From my POV, the enemies were hard enough and built bases well, so I don't see a real problem with the enemy AI choice.


Balance: 3.7
You can only reach the Tool Age, but your Yellow German enemies to the east get the Bronze Age. I don't think that this is a good disparity because the idea is that you are both German barbarian tribes. Historically the German barbarians would have had iron, I think, and not just axes made of weaker metals. But still, as I mentioned earlier, maps that are a bit challenging are considered good, so I can't complain too much.

On HARD mode, I got a good start, focusing on getting to the Tool Age by hunting deer NE of my base and gathering Gaia scouts around the map edges. But about 12 minutes in, a mob of brown axemen and Yellow scouts slaughtered my base and TC. I relocated north near my two towers, but the brown and yellow forces massacred me there too, leaving me with no food or villagers. I don't know if even an expert player could beat this on HARD. One problem is that the Brown and Yellow players are allied against you.

On MODERATE, I built a few towers and a wall blocking the bridge in the middle, and I even first sent a villager over it to the southeast edge of the map with the gold, where he found some Scouts. But at 41 minutes into the match, the Yellow player cut through the towers and wall with his horses and besides that, I was only scraping the northern and eastern edges of the Brown base with my attackers. It seems you need like 6 towers and 15 archers and a double row of walls blocking that bridge and the shore tiles on either side of it to protect yourself from the Yellow cavalry.

On STANDARD, I tried three times to use the strategy of A. using my scouts to gather the scouts around the map while B. building two storage pits at the spot with the deer NE of the Brown base and by the horizontal strip of woods just SW of the bridge and then putting towers by the west edge of the bridge and by my storage pits. I wanted to use this strategy to block the Yellow cavalry riding westward over the bridge like the HINTS advise. The problem is that the brown troops keep massing and attacking those storage pits and also attacking my base. So I don't have enough forces and towers to defend both the storage pits and my base. Meanwhile, the enemies each get a villager mass of about 20-30 villagers (about the same size as mine) and attack my base effectively about 15-17 minutes into the match.
Next, I tried just confining myself to my main base after gathering the Gaia scouts around the map, getting 30-40 villagers ASAP, and then building an army of slingers and putting towers on the east edge of my base. I was able to make a slinger army that could take out the brown base or at least the north part of it around 30 minutes into the game. But a few minutes later as I was attacking the Brown base, multiple streams of Yellow cavalry assaulted my base and was even too much for the combination of my slingers, 5-6 towers, scouts, and some archers that I was training. The Hint section says to hold them off at the bridge, but like I said earlier, I was not able to build towers there because of the Brown enemy.
I guess that instead of building slingers early on, I need to build archers and towers until I can control the eastern bridge area, and once I've done that, then I can build the slinger army. The problem with using a slinger army for defense instead of archers is that Stone is limited.

On EASY, I beat it in an hour 24 minutes using the strategy of focusing on my own base until I had enough archers and towers to defend it from cavalry and then I built a slinger army.


Creativity: 3.5
The Roman legion is just stationary in the North corner, practically waiting for you to annihilate it with archers and towers. In my playthrough on EASY, after I defeated Brown and Orange and built a wall at the bridge with towers, about the same time as I was attacking Rome's legion through the northern route (coming at them from their Southwest), the Yellow player actually broke through Rome's wall and fought alot of the legion with the Yellow cavalry. I guess I could just wait while Yellow fights Red's stationary troops, but that would be a boring strategy when I can take Red, or even take Yellow on EASY.

Fighting an assortment of enemies was creative, and the bridge design was creative, but since the battle is supposed to be against Rome thematically, making Rome a practically weak enemy due to it being stationary really hurt the creativity. You can argue that Rome was ambushed, making them in a way sitting ducks. But even in that case, the main enemy wouldn't be another German party in the battle (the Yellow German player).

So in summary, my main complaint for the scenario is really that the Romans were just a stationary force, like sitting ducks that did not demand special strategies other than making a lot of archers and towers to soak them up. In contrast, your main enemy in this mission is the alliance of other Germanic tribes, which is not historical for this battle, especially considering that one enemy gets a higher Age than you.

Map Design: 4.7
The Map Design had neat features like the bridge. It actually is done in a creative way because AOE1 does not have a Bridge unit like AOE2 does. So here the Designer used a land bridge and put stones along it in a way that made it look like it humped in the air a bit. I have seen instructions on how to make this kind of bridge on the Heaven Games AOE1 site.

The bases also had good creativity, coming with walls, buildings, paths, and ruins.

The rivers could have used fish and the Roman force should have been made bigger IMO if they are going to be set stationary like that.


Story/Instructions: 4
There were a short Story and instructions, but it could have used a more story and more importantly there should be much more in terms of Hints for Average players because you are facing off against 2 active German opponents with bases and one of them gets the Bronze Age while you do not.

Additional Comments:

Overall it was a good mission because it was neat to play against a couple enemies like that. However, my two main complaints are that it was hard enough that the Designer should give more Hints and that whereas the Story is about ambushing the legion, the practical reality of the gameplay is that you are focused on fighting the Yellow and Brown players.

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