A fictional story of the military campaign against the Viet in South China. Perfect Feng Shui possible. Download contains a Notepad document with additional comments, but no spoilers.
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This campaign provided an adequate entertainment value, but could not peg above 'average' on my personal fun-meter. Some reasons for this were:
1. Repetitiveness in the mission designs.
2. General lack of scripted events
3. Trading was curtailed in some missions due to certain buildings being disallowed.
4. Disallowing the player from breaking an alliance hurts the flexiblity of military strategies, as well as general diplomacy. This is especially true for players playing at 'Very Hard' difficulty (as I was).
5. Only one rival city is fortified, reducing the challenge of conquest in a military-themed campaign.
6. The unavailability of the hero Sun Tzu (always fun to have him in a military-themed campaign).
7. The lack of agriculture, mill, and marketplace in missions 1 and 2 left me with little to do for the length of the survival times, which in my opinion were too long.
8. The lack of residential walls in mission 3 meant that channeling walkers was virtually impossible, which made trying to place farms, mill, and marketplaces an exercise in frustration.
The campaign meets the 'hard' difficulty rating assigned to it by the designer. It is definitely challenging to veteran players, but I could not give top marks due to the following:
1. The lack of residential walls in mission 3 insures walker pathing cannot be controlled properly. This means placing agriculture, mills, and marketplaces are mostly futile.
2. Too much starting treasury is given in some of the missions, especially the last one.
The creativity is adequate. The campaigns meets the criteria of a military theme. Some of my observations were:
1. The maps are interesting and challenging.
2. Perfect Feng Shui is attainable on all maps.
3. The storyline is good.
1. Lack of available heros, especially Sun Tzu in the last mission. His special skill in speeding the movement of armies on the empire map was sorely missed!
2. Missions 1 and 2 were basically the same.
3. General lack of scripted events.
4. Lack of trade options, especially in mission 4 due to some building types not being allowed.
5. Lack of invasion points on the maps made anticipating the arrival point of enemy invasions very predictable.
Map Design: 4
The maps are original and are interesting. Resources, prey, and predators were placed logically. I couldn't quite give top marks here due to:
1. Some maps had a few graphics glitches.
2. Most of the trade routes on the empire map are simple straight lines. Some of them overlap, making it difficult to track movement on the empire map.
3. The map in the last mission needs more ramps on the hills to offer better usage and replayability.
4. Only 1 city on the empire map is fortified. Perhaps that wasn't the best map design for a military-themed campaign?
5. The map for mission 4 has fishing points, but fisheries are not allowed.
6. The maps had a lack of invasion points, making the location of enemy invasions predictable.
The story was original and was entertaining. It might have been a little better supported by mission goals, but it was above average nevertheless. Some things that prevented top marks were:
1. Why was agriculture, mills, and marketplaces disallowed in the first 2 missions? It would have been helpful if that was explained in the mission briefings, or in the prophecy.
2. Why were residential walls disallowed in mission 3? If it was intentional, it should have been explained to the player.
3. Why was fishing disallowed in mission 4 when nice fishing points are available? That might have been explained to the player. Instead it looks like a design oversight.
I played the campaign at the 'Very Hard' difficulty with the house-rule of obtaining perfect Feng Shui on all maps. Under these conditions, advanced players can find a good gaming experience in 'Word of the Prophet'.
There are some constraints put on the players that are an intentional part of the design. There are workarounds to some of the constraints, if you are creative. I found them to be a little tedious, but you may not.
Congratulations to Neils for another solid campaign for our enjoyment.
[Edited on 07/09/12 @ 06:43 PM]