Posted on 03/31/07 @ 02:30 PM (updated 12/19/07
-- Mission briefing --
"Would you have thought, Governor, at the beginning of your career, that you would one day be sent to Germania?
Oh, of course I have exiled bad governors over there in the past, but now, Germania is part of the empire, and I assign you to build a city along the river Moselle that will be called, Augusta Treverorum."
"The region you are heading too is wild, and you will need patience before your colony ressembles anything like a Roman city. You might even find yourself lost because of the distance with Roman civilisation. The Barbarians who live there still have indeed a lot of things to learn.. The Celtic tribe of the Treverii should not give you too many problems though, as they look forward to the advantages of their belonging to the Roman empire. Of one of your tasks will be to see through their integration as good subjects of the empire. On the other hand, the Germanic tribes, whose presence in this region increases every year, will be particularly upset to see a Roman city at their frontiers, so be prepared to numerous attacks from their part. These cruel Barbarians, who will not listen to a word about civilization, are making their presence felt all along the northern border and so your armies might be called up to defend other cities."
"In spite of these details, I have set high objectives for you to meet. Your city will be prosperous, and make Roman culture shine through these wild regions. Your new province is very rich in ressources, and so I hope to see you build a resplendent capital for Germania Magna."
My 4th mission, on a big map this time with lots of ressources, and lots of invaders. Based on the geography of Augusta Treverorum (Not Trevorum like it's called in the game), with the Moselle river flowing in the center. It's the modern-day city of Trier, Germany, birthplace of Karl Marx. One of the most important Roman cities during the later stages of the empire. Yes, that is the city you get to build!
And thanks to Joshofet for playtesting.
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The scenario works overall, but it is fairly bland. The specific availability of things that can be produced in this scenario combined with the variety of things that can be bought and sold were interesting, but that is the best thing that I can say as far as keeping me interested. I did want to play it all the way through, though, so that says something.
I’m going to talk about both map design and creativity together here. One should get a 2 and one should get a 3, but I don’t know which should get which. Let me explain. I think there is an interesting creative element about the map design but that it failed in execution. I like the river splitting the middle. I like it a lot, that idea has great potential. But the map has to be changed. I very easily was able to get 11 or 12 thousand people on just the east side of the river, so there was no need for me to find space or use the farmland on the west side. This meant that I could handle the invasions that came from the west side when I wanted to by building or destroying a bridge at my convenience. If most of the Farmland was on the west side of the map, then this scenario becomes harder militarily and also from a logistics standpoint in having to move food and maybe resources west to east. I’ll give creativity a 3 and map design a 2. Good idea, bad implementation.
This map is rated as hard and I would have to disagree. It doesn’t necessarily need more or tougher invasions, just better map design. I didn’t even open the sea trade route. I didn’t need it. If it didn’t have quite so many invasions this would be an excellent scenario for someone just learning how to build palace blocks. Even with the invasions it might still be good for that.
Map Design 2
Good voice and flavor but it is not as hard as it is made out to be.
Though it says I playtested the map when it was designed, I did remember little of that when I played it again today. I did not knowingly use any future knowledge, and finished at hard, without ever needing to go back to an earlier save, having met all requests timely, in 24 game years. That implies it is an easy map, not the hard level as mentioned above, and very definitely not the very hard level it says when loading the map file. I built my full city on the East bank, with a dock near the river entry on an isolated part of the West bank, but it did not function very well. I did build a bridge to allow attacks from the West to approach my city, where they could easily be fended off. I only used towers when I had to send half my force on a rescue mission.
Like in the historic Trier, the player has the choice to either build only on the "home" bank, and have a relatively simple defense, or cross the "limes", the border, and fight a tougher battle. The grass on the other bank seems greener, but it comes at a price. That is how it was two millenia ago, that is how Barberouse recreated it in this mission.
The invasions could have been a little bit tougher, and the temptation to cross could have been made bigger, but since most other aspects could have been a bit harder here, all in all it is rather well balanced.
Though the map itself and the scenario is rather standard, it is part of a series of maps. Within the series it is one of easier ones, where it could have been made more interesting by putting the player more at lingo. Still I like the idea, and I like the idea of trying to create the CIII extension the game unfortunately never had, we had to wait for CIV way too long, and that misses the good old feeling this series of maps has.
Map Design: 3
The map as such is rather standard. The recreation of the historic dilemma I have already accounted for above, there are no additional surprises. I'm not a fan of contaminated water, caved in iron mines, or trade interruptions. Unless they make an integrated part of the story, they are just a minor nuisance, and a continuing one.
It's a good story, with historical detail. It could have emphasized the choice the player is given, and it could be a bit more specific on the invasions, without giving away too much of the scenario.
I hesitated to make a review of this scenario, since I was instrumental in its design. However, since BarbeRousse himself is not available to argue his case, and I appeared to have forgotten the map, I decided I wanted to quantify my opposition against DarkGreen. I do agree that the idea of luring the player into the trap of building across the river could have been worked out better, but it is not flawed to the point where it starts interfering with pleasure of playing, and I don't think it deserves a grade below average. It's not a great map, but a good one, my rating is not much higher, but the difference is significant.