|Bob the Lethargic
Portgate - Dere Street Road
The Emperor, Antoninus Pius, has decided to try to conquer Scotland. He has moved his legions north to the newly built Antonine Wall and has left the Hadrian Wall undefended. But all does not go well in the north. The emperor has decided that the defenses of Hadrian's wall must be restored.
He assigns you the task of recruiting the soldiers needed to defend the Portgate section of wall, between the cavalry forts of Haltonchesters and Chesters, with its three mile-castles and sentry towers. This section of the wall is just north of the river Tyne with the town of Corbridge to the south on the river. Dere Street Road, which runs through the center of the area, is one of the main trade routes between Northumberland to the south and northwest into Scotland. The less used Devil's Causeway Road also runs to the north.
He requires that you build a modest sized but highly cultured and prosperous trading suburb and ordnance depot in north Corbridge to take advantage of the lucrative trade available along Dere Street and to intimidate the barbarians of the frontier. The local native village of Fourlaws to the north is quite eager for Roman goods. He also orders you to provide the weapons needed for the newly recruited soldiers for the entire eastern section of the frontier. Therefore his requests for weapons will be many, along with some occasional requests for pottery, timber, and oil. In times of emergency he may even call upon you for troops. And while the area south of the wall is peaceful, packs of barbarian raiders and wolves still roam through the frontier area to the north.
Can you achieve all this and protect Northumberland before the invading Picts mass for a large invasion?
Medium Consul Level
Loaded as a Saved Game City
Scenario Starting funds: 6884 dinarii with 2000 bailout loan from Caesar available
Highest Housing Level: No limit
Buildings Not Available: Fishing docks
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*** Note to the original author of this review in the Forums --- Some of the ratings that you gave are changed, as I will almost never allow a 5.0 rating to appear. In my book, a 5.0 means absolute perfection, and no better could possibly have been done. As this should be a rating that is nearly impossible to acheive, most of the 5's that you gave have been scaled back to 4's. The 5 for Story/Instructions remains because of my appreciation for Bob's detailed description files.***
Without question, this senario was one of the best that I have ever played. The map is stunning, and plays really well. The only small drawback I could find was that I found the requests easy to complete, and military action too easy to fight off. The remedy to this is to wait for the larger invasions later in the game, but in my opinion this only adds to the playability of the scenario!
I found the introduction to be both helpful and informative, and with the inclusion of a bitmap image and extra information on Hadrian's Wall, I could give the introduction no less than a "5"!
Money seemed to be the only problem early in the game, and when my trade was up and running, my funds stabilized around 20,000. Trade with the natives seems to be essential, and the inclusion of the native village was a nice touch.
The population requirement, coupled with the Prosperity and Culture requirements, means that you really need to think out your building strategy before you start. By the time it comes to build your palace block, you may find that you have no space left!
Overall, I have to recommend this scenario to everybody out there. As shown by it's very high score, it's a very well though out piece, and I look forward to BTL's next offering!
I have one quandry with any map whereby attacking armies must hold up until the user destroys trees. I know this was done on purpose, but I feel it detracts from the playability of any map.
Although the attacks are weak and the requests easy to moderate, the combination of population and prosperity make up the difference into a nice challenging puzzle.
Map Design: 5
Best I have seen, wonderful.
Not terribly difficult to win (7.5 out of 10 or so), but challenging to achieve perfect scores at the earliest time possible. A very fun map to try and excel playing. I ended up with with 80 prosperity using all Grand Insulae.
The scenario was good fun, there are several ways to go at it. A good connection between military and city-building challenges.
Maybe the whole thing could be a tad more difficult. Ideal weapon/furniture/pottery production sites right at the river entry caused plenty of money. Invasions were a decent challenge for me (at least as long as I had only few towers), especially since I started to build up my cohorts a bit late. Enemies get to the wall quickly. Add no towers for an additional challenge. I didn't find space to be an issue.
I liked the idea of a "wild" area north of the wall while building the city in the safe south.
Map Design: 5
Very good and complete design, farmland leaves a lot of possibilities, although it might me too much.
Awesome descriptions of what the governor is doing and what he is responsible for.