Legend of the Xiong Lovers - Singleplayer Campaign
"Weep not for the lost lovers. Their Great Love has transformed them into Immortal Xiong, to be forever reborn as a mated pair." ~ from the poem "The Xiong Lovers".
|# of Episodes:
|# of Cities:
The poem is fictional, but captures the essence of ancient Chinese romantic poetry. This campaign features a fictional storyline that is told in the same style.
As you experience the story of the lovers, other actual events will unfold. You will face the political and military upheaval of the An Lushan Rebellion, which attempted to topple the Tang Dynasty in the late 8th century CE. At this same time, the Tubo empire (ancient Tibet) was reaching its peak of power. To the chagrin of the Tang, history records that the Tubo exploited the consequences of the An Lushan Rebellion for their own gain. Much of this actual history has been injected into this campaign, and it means your skills as a builder, diplomate, and soldier will all be tested!
A player will interact with 9 cities (8 historically-accurate). Resources, commodities, and available structures follow the Emperor model for the Steel Age. This campaign features a new custom map of 'enormous' size.
Sabotage by spies has been disallowed for this campaign, although spies can still be used for information gathering.
The download zip file contains an extra file named 'LOXL_Readme.txt'. This text file contains installation instructions, historical background information, campaign design notes, general play tips, and mission hints (warning: contains spoilers). Additionally, other hints are available by viewing the album of playtest screenshots in the Emperor Heaven gallery.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This campaign is rated 'Very Hard', and is designed to provide a solid challenge for advanced players. For the best play experience, a player should possess an advanced understanding of time-constrained missions, money management, combat and military operations, trading, labor allocation, monument construction, summoning and using the Heroes, and empire-map diplomacy.
Missions Teasers (note: the first three missions have a time-limit)
Mission 1 - A Love in a Time of Sorrow - 5 years, from 752 CE to 757 CE.
Mission 2 - Tidings of Courage and Tragedy - 3 years, from 757 CE to 760 CE.
Mission 3 - Tears for the Lovers - 8 years, from 760 CE to 768 CE.
Mission 4 - The Rebirth of Xu Lin and Tan Fu - no time limit, starts in 768 CE.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Too many trade, alliance and vassal changes, if the player has to fight for freedom then so should vassals. In mission 4, I might try surrendering to the first scripted invasion and fight the second(favor drop) if it's not called off.
I know the scripting was difficult but it was too much. :(
scripting too intense to be fully enjoyed.
Map Design: 5
I expect most will find similar placement areas as the city grows.
nice but disconnected from the play experience.
I avoid reading the txt file.
I chose to not build a Daoist Temple, thus Guan Di's Exalted status allowed me to use Huang Di(military defense and invasion in missions 1 and 2) and Confucius(Paper for Elite Tax Office in M3 for ~4 years, walker coverage was also helpful early in the mission).
I used the Multiple Infantry Companies trick to get greater advantages for the first two missions. Fought all battles for M1-M3, M4 is another story; perhaps if I replayed the Campaign.
I blocked off enough suspected invasion routes that all the invasions came from the exit point. The bamboo area was my only weakness as I didn't want to block the pheasant pathing. Bridging kept the Panda in place, while allow safe pathing of pheasants and hunters.
[Edited on 06/29/17 @ 06:29 PM]
Re-read the review guidelines so I could provide relevant feedback. A score of 4 means excellent.
The score of 4 is based on the average of the four missions, M1=4, M2=2, M3=5 and M4=4. See comments below on individual missions.
A good variety of challenges - space management, food/mill management, city interaction, military, deity usage, monuments, pathing, warehouse get/allow 'toggling' etc. Pretty sure that most players will find something here that meets their style.
Agree with User 3 and Gweilo's hindsight that he might have over done it on the scripting.
In addition, the timing limits were very fair but the starting cash may have been overly generous.
The guidelines mention 'unique', 'original' and 'something not found', well I might not have enjoyed M2 but it certainly ticks these boxes!
Map Design: 5
Gweilo rarely disappoints when it comes to maps. Unusually for one of his campaigns there is only one, but it is vast and varied, natural looking but I suspect cunning well planned (a hard balance to strike), allows for many different layouts and keeps you on your toes. In particular, it is easy to neglect to check on the quarry and the city warehouse assigned to pull stone to the trading area.
If I was to have another crack at these missions (although I'm not sure I could face M2 again) I would consider limiting housing only to the elevated areas just for the hell of it.
Clearly founded on actual events, a gem for those interested in Chinese history. Instructions are first rate with storyline clues that directly tie into each mission.
Mission 1 - First impressions - wow, what a map! Only the mint and quarry really have fixed locations. There must be at least a dozen potential housing sites most of which would also be suitable for irrigated agriculture. On my original run through I dispensed with guard towers only to find that spies were spawning too frequently for my liking - strangely, popping in the towers never resulted in messages saying that spies had been detected or turned.
Mission 2 - not my favourite. I clearly just didn't get how to make this one work. Too much scripting and instantaneous revolting for my tastes. But an original challenge for which the scenario designer gets (grudging) credit.
Read the storyline carefully, allies are not just there for goods requests.
Mission 3 - grumpy after M2, the smile returned to my face with the chance to go into Elite Overload Frenzy Mode. Which I did. Had to replay once or twice for two reasons - firstly, the tumulus failed to receive the trinkets even though they were sitting in a warehouse slap bang by the exit, and secondly my descent into EOFM gobbled up all the hemp and so I had a housing crash. Ooops.
Relearnt that timing is key - letting the tumulus get its goods before allowing silk into elites seemed to work, but did slow down the fort build making the first invasion tricky to handle.
Mission 4 - pretty straightforward. Add drama, find a space for the monument, realise that you've blocked off stone access so do some statue boshing and then send off your military to liberate the unwashed.
[Edited on 09/11/17 @ 06:09 PM]