Digging for water
Many invasions likely
Very hard assignment
Starting funds: 45,000 (Very easy) 30,000 (Easy) 22,500 (Normal) 15,000 (Hard) 11,250 (Very hard)
Year: 89 B.C.
Deep in Gaul territory, the challenge you least expect is to prospect for water for a flourishing city. Plan your city carefully in these rocky lands. Expect some military action.
The Roman Empire wants a city in the heart of Sarmizegetusa. Expansion until the border has been a smooth journey. Sarmizegetusa itself would have been a perfect location for a glorious city worthy of the Empire, with abundant resources such as fertile land, iron and timber. That is, if not for the fact that despite located in northern provinces, Sarmizegetusa is encountering a dry season. The last sources of water in the region are located in perilous spots, as far as the usual eyes can see. Scouts were sent ahead to search for additional water sources, but have yet to report.
Read the scout reports carefully, governor. Or scan the area with really keen eyes. There’s more than meets the eye.
Utilize every source of water at the same time, so that you would not get into trouble if any one of them gets, say, “disabled”.
Sometimes it is not a dishonor for you to not produce goods yourself and import them for use instead.
There are three sources of water located in the area. The first is a stream near the north of the map that leads to the northeast of the map. It is the only largest source of water in the area and most suitable for clay pits. However, it is located right in front of Gaul border. Should you establish here, it must be defended at all costs.
The second water source is at the center of a crater in a hill. Why is there a crater in the hill, you ask? The crater was caused by a, uh, natural disaster.
The third source of water lies at the south most corner of the map. It is currently occupied by natives. Even if you manage to make peace with some, not all locals are fond with the Romans.
There seem to be a fourth source of water, but scouts have been unable to find it...
There are no fishing or sea trade in this region.
The Emperor may have some need for goods.
Revision II - relocated some event points
Revision III - forgot to disable docks and wharves, now done!
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With the high population requirement I'm rather reluctant to play this map again, although it's really enjoyable. There is a lot of money at the beginning and trade is profitable, so one can start at a leisurely pace, which I do like. Later there is some price changes that suggest one should have patricians around to pick up the burden, although I'm pretty sure the map is also playable with only lower level housing (LI/GI) as well, which adds to the scenario's replayability value.
With copious amount of money available at the beginning, and by exporting both weapons and furniture, finances is not much of a problem. The main issues before the player are water distribution and building space. As indicated the amount of people required is quite high, and it seems it was one of the designer's intentions to force the player to build on (almost) all the available land. The water source is under attack as indicated in the instructions and there's not much space to place the clay pits, the reservoir and some defences, but this was obviously the intent and partly the difficulty of the map stems from there. Otherwise well balanced, I was a bit annoyed by the amount of wage fluctuations, as Rome seems was unable to make its mind whether it should pay the plebs more or less. Including the gladiator revolt is always a bit dubious, but here I think is more or less fine, only I wish there were a word of caution in the instructions. I think the designer acknowledged the limited amount of goods available for trade and used it to his advantage (by introducing some price changes), thus making the game a bit harder. Unfortunately with the high favor rating required the two(!) requests the emperor makes are insufficient and one is forced to appease him by sending a lot of gifts. I would've appreciated more requests with moderate quantities to be able to rise the favor, since as they're now it's a bit overdone in terms of quantity and a bit underdeveloped in therms of frequency.
Although there's not something stunningly new here and there are some maps about that use the same approach I feel the combination and the feel the player gets is enough for a four in this category. In practice all the fertile land is on plateaus and there is the labor access problem which combined with the water distribution issue is somewhat new. The earthquake carving out the second water source is also somewhat interesting, making the map more varied.
Map Design: 5
The map design is really good. It's obvious that a lot of work was put forth to work out all the details associated with the problems of food and water distribution. I'd say it's a bit cramped in some places, but as a good thing, since it seems to be one of the designer's intents. The broken terrain and partly inaccessible fertile works perfectly with the other problems posed to the player. I'd suggest though to mention in the instructions that the entrance/exit to Rome are safe, since there is no indications and the player might be misled to think they need to be protected (as I was); this is not a deal-breaker however and the map works fine as it is.
There are clear instructions present and with combination of the scenario's other merits one longs for a more complete story. Aside from the succinct introduction the expectations are stated clear and the player is properly introduced, so an average rating I think is appropriate.
A pleasant well balanced scenario that should appeal to most players. Difficulty, by my opinion, is somewhere between normal and hard, but it's difficult to put it exactly. The invasions are well thought out and not too disturbing, but still because of the other features of the map - mainly limited space, are somewhat a challenging to repel. A bit more work on the instructions would have made a great scenario this otherwise good map.
[Edited on 11/01/15 @ 06:36 AM]
What a surprise. 2 years later and I come back to find a review. Thanks so much. I'll see what I can do about the instructions if I have the time.