Current version: 1.0.0
|# of Episodes:
|# of Cities:
Hi there! This is my second Emperor campaign focusing on the period of time when China was reunited under the Song Dynasty. I do hope you enjoy it! :)
This is a campaign consisting of five missions. Most of the goals are attainable and can be reached, though a couple of missions are considered "Hard".
There is a text file included with this download. It contains SPOILERS about how to play the campaign, the kind of events you'll find and so on. DO NOT READ IT UNLESS YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO COMPLETE A MISSION!
Please note that ALL missions have been thoroughly tested for playability. While some missions are harder than others, a good knowledge of trading and how to balance the cities budget will help in completing the campaign. Novice players should probably avoid this campaign as it includes some advanced strategies that may result in mission failures.
Although I have tested these missions extensively (and even Gwelio has helped with balance issues, thanks! :D) to ensure events are fired as intended and that they can be "won", it is possible that I have either made the missions too difficult or made a mistake in the events. If you've found an issue with a mission, I'd like to know! Post in the comments section with the following:
* Mission you are playing
* Event/year the issue occurred
* What the issue is
I cannot guarantee I can fix all issues, as some may be introduced as a result of engine limitations, but I'll do my best to tweak missions to ensure they play appropriately for all skill levels!
How to play:
- Download the file using the Download File button above
- Extract the contents of the DATA folder to the "Campaigns" folder for where your installation of Emperor is installed.
- Open up Emperor and select Custom Campaigns, then select "Enemies of the North"
Please note that the audio files provided in this download are 2 second blanks and contain no speech. This was done to ensure that the required briefing/victory tracks played. They "may" be replaced with voice tracks in a future update.
Any comments/reviews are welcomed! I would really like to get into making campaigns for Emperor across different time lines, knowing how this one played out will help immensely! :D
== Changelog ==
This changelog is updated when the campaign has been updated for any reason. It includes information that relates to each change. Only the latest version can be downloaded from the site, this is provided as a form of historical guide of the campaign's formation.
1.0.0: Initial Release
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
===SPOILER ALERT===SPOILER ALERT===
Read further at your own risk because spoiler details of the campaign are revealed in my review.
This campaign is a great example of the adage "the whole being greater than the sum of its parts". While nothing stands out to me as brilliant, the overall play experience provides maximum fun. I really felt like I was helping shape the Song Dynasty, and didn't want to stop playing. Essentially, playability is just how much fun one has while playing. I found myself binge-gaming this campaign over a continuous period of days. I was that emotionally invested.
The designer rated this campaign at the "Hard" level and I do agree with that. Players of beginner to intermediate skill levels will find the most challenge. Advanced players will probably want to set the difficulty level at "Very Hard" to generate more challenge. There were some buildings and Heroes that were allowed to be used when they were not historically accurate for the 10th & 11th centuries CE, but this did not negatively effect the balance. The trade commodities could also have been improved; for example, no city bought wood or hemp, and some cities wanted to buy spices but they could not be obtained by any import trade (only by making a goods request). The demand for carved jade seemed overblown to me; I would have preferred to see a better variety of commodities in demand. However, my biggest reason for not giving top marks in this category was due to the two continuation missions being a little too easy. They could have been enhanced by tweaking the mission goals and scripting.
Certainly a high level of creativity is found in this campaign. For a campaign containing 5 missions and no time limits for any mission goals, I really liked the spacing of the beginning date in each sequential mission; it seemed logical, and I did not 'repeat' playing any years in the new missions. I also saw evidence of advanced scripting techniques that helped the feeling of immersion (military request events, etc), although sometimes the scripting seemed mismatched with the storyline. For example, the Lin'an vassal scripting in mission 3 would have been aided by first letting me see a scripted "city conquered" event, and/or setting the favor of Lin'an lower. You see, I was able to stop Lin'an from becoming my vassal by requesting it to be my ally in the same game month, and because Lin'an was at 'Agreeable' favor towards me, the alliance was accepted and thus overrode the scripted vassalage. This allowed me to keep an ally for the whole mission (and I'm not sure the designer intended that). Also the recurring scripted droughts in mission 2 have no significant impact when firing in the month of March, before any growing really begins.
Map Design: 4
The maps seemed to be originals and get points for that. The empire map design was good too; the cities were placed in historically-accurate locations and had accurate climates for their regional placements. I'm not a fan of placing trade routes through intervening cities (which this campaign does). Although that might provide a historically accurate trade route, it makes it hard to see the trade routes on the empire map when several cities are trading with you. (In my opinion this is one bit of historical accuracy that should be overlooked to improve playability.) I could not quite give top marks in this category due to these items:
1. The two temperate maps did not have enough trees near rocks and elevation changes to provide more options for obtaining perfect Feng Shui. This hurts the replay value of the maps.
2. The Daxingcheng map (arid) had salt deposits north of the Great Wall footprint, but they could be totally ignored for gameplay purposes because other salt deposits were placed inside the Great Wall footprint, near the player's city. It would have been more challenging to force a player to mine salt from those deposits outside the great wall, where they would be forced to protect the mines from the bears and enemy invaders.
3. The storyline of mission 3 says the Hangzhou map is teeming with fish and wildlife, but I found none on the map. Was this an oversight? This map was my least favorite of the campaign; I had no reason to build anything on the other side of the river, and didn't.
4. Chang-an appears on the empire map, but it never activated in any mission I played. Did I just win the missions too soon before it activated? Was this intentional by the designer, or an oversight? Not sure.
The storyline stands out and is well-written. It has a logical progression and is (mostly) historically accurate. It provides a nice summary of the Northern Song Dynasty. I could not give top marks due to the following:
1. It told me the Hangzhou map is teaming with fish and wildlife, but no fishing points, prey, or predators were found on the map.
2. The continuation missions' storylines mention events that I never encountered while playing, probably because I finished the missions too fast. For example, I never saw any attacks on Daxingcheng in mission 4.
3. The mission victory storyline splash screens were rather sparse compared to the mission introductions. I would have liked to have read more about events occurring in the Song Dynasty.
I was involved in the design and playtesting of this campaign during its development. I have waited this long to make a formal review so that I could play it again fresh, with all prior knowledge of it faded from my memory.
Here are comments from my playing of each mission:
M1 - Definitely my favorite mission in the campaign. It was a real challenge to find perfect Feng Shui, but it is achievable. I really enjoyed building my army, fighting, and conquering. I completed M1 in 9 years at 'Very Hard' with perfect FS. Maybe my only complaint is that most invasions spawned at the same point on the map as the map's exit point, so the enemy soldiers often stopped for months at a time to kill traders, instead of attacking my city. That lowered the challenge of fighting the battles somewhat.
M2 - Very nice desert map with excellent placement of sand dunes. My only complaint is that the salt deposits outside the great wall can be ignored, because there are other salt deposits on hand near where the city will be built inside the great wall. I completed in 13 years at 'Very Hard' with perfect Feng Shui, mostly because I delayed the great wall construction until I could recruit a full military. Still a fun mission.
M3 - Probably my least favorite mission. It was quite difficult (but rewarding) to find perfect Feng Shui. The lack of game and fish on the map made upgrading food more of a challenge, but other cities provided imports for that. The scripting for Lin'an was confusing based on what I read in the storyline. I'm not sure I was supposed to be able to ally with it instead of having it as my vassal (which would have triggered a rebellion quickly, since I had no military in my city that early in the mission), but I didn't complain because I got a bail-out loan from Lin'an. Completed mission in 7 years at 'Very Hard' with perfect FS.
M4 - My return to Kaifeng was not a real challenge since I had overbuilt in the prior mission. I completed both monuments quickly using Xi Wang Mu, and never encountered any problems with enemies anywhere on the empire map. It was fun to tweak profits to meet the treasury goal. Completed mission in 6 years at 'Very Hard'.
M5 - My return to Daxingcheng was too easy since I had overbuilt elite housing in the prior mission. In fact, I started the mission with the 'profit per year' mission goal already fulfilled due to the 'bleed over effect' from the prior mission at Daxingcheng. The treasury goal was also easily completed since I started the mission with 140K in my treasury. By the time the mission was over, I had over 500K in my treasury, so playability would have been improved by raising this mission goal. I did have a blast fighting Shanyang, and liked the scripting that forced me to fight (or bribe) most of the battles. It's good that the battles in the sand were entertaining, because a 15 year survival time is pushing a player's patience.
Sajuuk, thanks for an entertaining campaign! I recommended it on the Emperor Facebook page too, so I hope more players will enjoy it.