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Shaolin Monastery - Singleplayer Campaign

Author File Description
File Details
Age: Steel
# of Episodes: 3
# of Cities: 1
Difficulty: Hard
Custom Maps: Yes
During the 5th and 6th centuries CE, Buddhism spread rapidly throughout the Middle Kingdom. Thousands of temples, monuments, and religious sites were built during this time.

In 495 CE, Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty commissioned the building of a new Buddhist monastery at Mount Song. The woodlands surrounding the mountain were called 'Shaolin' by the locals, meaning 'young forest', and thus the monastery's name was born.

Many years later, a strange Buddhist master arrived at Shaolin. His name was Bodhidharma, and his impact on the monks (and Buddhism itself) was immense. He introduced radical new teachings, which included Chan (Zen) thought and a physical regimen program which evolved into a martial art. Bodhidharma's teachings were like pebbles dropped into a still pond, and the ripples are still felt by Buddhists today.

In this campaign you will assume the role of a young Buddhist administrator, sent by the emperor to establish the monastery. You will find that running a monastery is a different experience than running a city. Monks live a more humble life, and the evolution of their community is guided by their religious beliefs. A determined effort was made to incorporate this aspect into the campaign design.

A player will interact with 7 historically-accurate cities. Resources, commodities, and available structures follow the Emperor model for the Steel Age. Sabotage by spies is prohibited in this campaign, although spies can still be used for information gathering. This campaign features a new custom map of original design, and 'enormous' size. The map was modeled from an actual map of the Mount Song area.

For chronological continuity, this campaign should be played just after concluding the Jin-Wudi campaign, and before starting the Sui-Tang campaign 'A Time of Grandeur'. The historical timeline of 'Shaolin Monastery' falls between those two campaigns.

Five extra files are included in the download package. The first is a text file 'SM_Readme.txt', which contains installation instructions, historical background information, campaign design notes, and mission hints (warning: contains spoilers). The other four files are images called 'Shaolin_map.jpg', 'Bodhidharma1.jpg', 'Bodhidharma2.jpg', and 'Sun_Wu_Kong.gif'. These extra files are included solely for historical reference.

NOTE: This campaign places a heavy emphasis on trade, money management, and empire map diplomacy. A military dimension also exists. It is designed for experienced players with more than a casual knowledge of the game.

Missions Teasers: (note: all missions have a 'time limit' or 'survival' goal)

Mission 1 - 'A Monastery For Mount Song' - 31 years, from 495 CE to the end of 525 CE.

Mission 2 - 'A Master Brings Enlightenment' - 14 years, from 526 CE to the end of 539 CE.

Mission 3 - 'The Warrior Monks of Shaolin' - no time limit, survive 10 years, starts in 540 CE.

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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design5.0
Some background - I've played all the City builders from Ceaser 3 onwards. I played Emperor on Hard right out of the box (I owe it all to Grumpus and Pecunia and these forums.) This is my first review - I loved this campaign so much I just had to share!

Playability: 5
Very challenging but also quite fair to the player. The chapters have quite a few tricks but the solutions are available if you think about it and plan well. It really emphasizes trade and manipulating your production and resouces to maximize profits. You will need to squeeze every dollar you can out of your trade partners and stay constantly ready to adjust if the market changes.

Balance: 5
Again, I thought the challenges were fair to the players The time constraints were quite sufficient. The military attacks were reasonable for your rate of progress. You need every advantage you can get to win - but the campaign gives you just enough if you capitalize on all of them.

Creativity: 5
Excellent interpretation of the theme - the rise of the Buddhist monasteries. Disallowing government taxation and the development of Shaolin warriors was handled in a believable manner. So was the importance of Tea and Boddhidharma. (Forgive me, please, if I misspelled that.) The Bhuddist gods are vital to success in this campaign and their special gifts and abilities were well integrated with the story line.

Map Design: 5
Clever and beautiful. The best I've ever seen.

Story/Instructions: 5
I wish I could give 10 here - the thoroughness and dedication that went into the readme is astonishing.

Additional Comments:
This campaign really seems like a labor of love on the part of its creator! I know I'm looking forward to trying your other mods.
File Author
Hello Meghanajh, and welcome to Emperor Heaven.

I don't know what to say except 'thanks'. I know the effort it takes to make a formal review here, and I appreciate the time you invested to do this.

I tried to go in a different direction with this campaign, and I'm glad you understood and liked it. And you are right, it was a labor of love for me. I hope you like some of my other offerings here... ;)

[Edited on 07/12/04 @ 04:34 PM]

Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
Very user-friendly for the more experienced player. Those players with no more than a medium knowledge of the nuances of trade are likeley to struggle, even on 'Normal' difficulty, but as Gweilo2 says, the campaign has been designed for intermediate to advanced players. Don't want that to put off any less-experienced players though; after all, it'll teach you some great new tricks!

Balance: 5
Very fair, but with the absence of Tax Income you will really need to walk a fine line to be successful! Less experienced players may find themselves struggling so hard with one of the rquirements of the 3rd Mission that they could give up (I won't say which objective it is, because I don't want to spoil the fun!). Great job on balance...very challenging but fair.

Creativity: 5
Excellent. What more can I say? This scenario is a great example of what can be produced using the Editor if you put a bit of creative thought into it. Wonderful job!

Map Design: 5
Great scope for city-planning and building and a beautifully laid out map. I particularly loved the harbour area!

Story/Instructions: 5
This bit is great. Hints as to the challenges that will be faced in each mission are given too, so take particular note!

Additional Comments:

This was the first custom campaign I've downloaded for Emperor and if any of the others come close to it, then I'll be well happy! I shall certainly make sure that I download all of your other campaigns, Gweilo2. Thanks for putting in the time and the effort and producing such a great playing experience. You should consider taking this up as a career if you haven't already.
File Author
Hello Centaurus, and welcome to Emperor Heaven. Thanks for taking the time to make a formal review of this campaign.

I'm pleased you enjoyed this campaign, and of course I'm flattered by your ratings. :) I hope you enjoy some of the other custom campaigns here. I have just released a new one called "Challenge at Westlake" which is somewhat similar in scope (if not in substance) to Shaolin Monastery. You may find it as enjoyable.

Custom campaign design is only a hobby for me. It is a way to channel my strong interest in Chinese history, which is why all my campaigns have a historical basis.

[Edited on 11/16/04 @ 06:14 PM]

Map Design1.0
Playability: 1
there is no way to get spices

Balance: 2
way too many trees to clear for any play

Creativity: 1
there isn't enough housing evolution allowed, there are many trading glitches which inhibits smooth play

Map Design: 1
too many hidden roadways, it's more of a maze than a map. way too many trees.

Story/Instructions: 4
well written story, however this is the best part of the campaign.

Additional Comments: I was really excited about this campaign until i encountered the trade glitches and map hassles. it needs a bit of fine tuning.
File Author

It has been several weeks since you posted the review above. I have sent you several emails, which did not bounce, but I have received no replies. I must therefore believe you have decided not to have a private dialogue with me. Thus, I feel the need to respond publicly. Otherwise, more players will be confused by the erroneous parts of your review.

You use the term “glitch”, which indicates a software bug. I assure you there are no trade bugs in this campaign. Many hours of playtesting preceded the release of this campaign, and all such problems would have been reported by my playtesters. Also, this campaign has been released for more than 4 years and none of the issues you wrote about have ever been experienced by other players.

Several players from around the world have uploaded save games from this campaign into the Completed Cities section of the Emperor Heaven downloads. I offer them as proof that the campaign does not contain the problems you noted. For example, the next link shows one such submission:


From time to time a player will report strange problems with some campaigns that no one else has experienced. These problems could be the result of:

1. Not having the game patch installed, or
2. Having a corrupted installation of the campaign.

This might have happened to you. If you do not have the game patch installed, please install it, and you will probably find the issues will be resolved.

If you still experience issues, you might have a corrupted installation of the campaign. Try reinstalling it and see if the problems go away.

However, I suspect that what you are calling glitches are in reality the scripted events I put into the missions, which you might not be used to encountering. I put some scripted events in Shaolin Monastery which appear only rarely in the core game’s campaigns.

For example, you state the spices are not available, when in fact they ARE available – by importation. I'm sorry you missed that. There are periods during the missions when you can't import spices, but later you will be able to import them again. This is due to the scripted events firing. Did you play the missions long enough to see this pattern? This trade pattern is also true for other commodities. I understand that you might not like this design feature, and that’s fine, but please realize it is not a glitch.

So you didn’t like the map. To each their own, but I submit that your rating is far too harsh, when you consider our rating guidelines.

Your comments about the housing level are also unwarranted. Housing evolution in this campaign is based on the model of an ancient Buddhist monastery. Common housing will evolve all the way to luxurious apartment, the highest common level the game allows, so I don’t understand why you say it is restricted. Elite housing is not allowed for historical accuracy, because Buddhist monks lived a more humble lifestyle.

I am curious, did you read any of the information in the SM_Readme.txt file (which came in the download) before you posted this review? What I wrote in that file explains much about the design of this campaign, and reveals information directly related to some of the points you brought up in your review.

In retrospect, I am left with the overall suspicion that you might not have played Shaolin Monastery long enough to uncover the fact that it is stable and bug-free, nor did you stick with it long enough to uncover its nuances and strategies.

In the event you read these comments sometime, I would appreciate it if you would revise your ratings to comply with the guidelines we use here. I understand you didn’t like this campaign, and your ratings can certainly reflect that, but the marks you have currently given are simply not justified.

If you visit this next link, you can read our guidelines for how review ratings should be given:


Thank You,
Map Design5.0
Playability: 4
Very peaceful... and AMPLE time. the time aspect actually got quiet long at times.

As the readme note states "love the pause key", well in this mission you'll love the speed option. after initial set up of city run at 100% speed. Gifting heroes every 3 months and empty your stores once a year through gifts to the other cities.

Balance: 3
A little too peaceful for my personal play style. I prefer a little bit more combat.

Far too much focus on cash flow through the time periods, pushing to get the max profit out of each stage and then stagnating in mission 3 until the 10 year time period is up before cash starts to flow again.

Creativity: 4
My compliments. Clever Sun Wu Kong trick for mission 3. Return to Wu Mountain.

Map Design: 5
Spoiler: look at the water table to know where to place your initial housing block.

Very clever with regard to fitting in the massive monuments.

Story/Instructions: 5
Historically stunning. first class absorption of the player. You can truely adopt the mission and purpose of the mission.

Additional Comments:
Thank you team for a classic mission.

File Author
Hello Seaworld. Thanks for taking the time to understand the different immersion in city-building that this campaign offers. Thanks for leaving the concise review.
tennyson98 This is a very interesting map. I felt the Heroes didnt need to be so long. The trading is right on the edge of making enough money. On the second mission other cities kept asking for Tea and it kept getting higher and higher then it just stopped. I really ramped up tea production to keep up with demand and it just stopped. Having a Palace would have been a real nice addition with a tax office, this would have helped when trading stopped for while.

I really liked all the hills with the trees everywhere.

All in all I really liked this map. I would give it an overall rating of 4.5/5.

This is a must download and play.

To the creator, the time you took to have other cities change there trading demand was really nice. Added a different challenge.

[Edited on 11/20/13 @ 12:56 PM]

File Author
Hello tennyson98, thanks for your comment. You are allowed to leave a review for this campaign, where you can put in your rating. Click on the 'post review' button at the top of the page. I wasn't sure you knew you could do that.

[Edited on 11/20/13 @ 04:27 PM]

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