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Campaigns » Hand of the Tubo - Singleplayer Campaign

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Hand of the Tubo - Singleplayer Campaign

Author File Description
File Details
Age: Steel
# of Episodes: 2
# of Cities: 1
Difficulty: Hard
Custom Maps: Yes
By the later half of the 8th Century CE, the power of the Tubo (ancient Tibetans) had reached its peak. Coinciding with this, the Tang Dynasty had been weakened by the An Lushan rebellion. The Tubo seized this opportunity and launched campaigns of expansion into the Taklamakan Desert and Tarim Basin. The Tang found themselves ill-prepared, and for decades there was little they could do to oppose the Tubo.

This campaign simulates what befell many western Tang holdings as these events unfolded. Many cities, cut off and isolated from the east, were captured or destroyed. A player will assume the role of a Tang general sent to the region to establish a military presence. You will be confronted with many challenging events and grim choices, and face desperate battles for survival. Will your administrative, military, and diplomatic skills be enough to save you?

A design goal of this campaign was to encourage the use of actual strategy and tactics during battles, not just watching the enemy break against set fortifications. To emphasize this goal, specific design aspects were used. City walls, towers, and gatehouses are disallowed. Also, sabotage by spies is prohibited. Military success will depend on your ability to plan, maneuver, and innovate! Of course, bribing the enemy is still an option, but the design strives to make that an unsucessful long-term strategy.

A player will interact with 7 historically-accurate cities. Resources, commodities, and available structures follow the Emperor model for the Steel Age. This campaign uses a customized pricing scheme for commodities (designed by Shaun), which replaces the game's default Imperial Standard Prices. We believe it offers a more realistic price structure. These customized prices ripple into several aspects of gameplay, and the overall impact adds an additional level of challenge. This campaign features a new custom map of original design, and 'enormous' size.

For chronological continuity, this campaign should be played just after concluding the Sui-Tang 'A Time of Grandeur' campaign.

One extra file is included in the download package. It is a text file 'HOT_Readme.txt', which contains installation instructions, historical background information, campaign design notes, general play tips, and mission hints (warning: contains spoilers).

IMPORTANT NOTE: This campaign is rated 'hard', and should prove interesting for advanced players. For the best play experience, a player should possess an advanced understanding of the game's military aspect, time-constrained missions, money management, trading, labor allocation, monument construction, summoning and using the Heroes, and empire-map diplomacy.

Missions Teasers: (note: the first mission has a 'survival' time limit goal)

Mission 1 - 'An Angry Hand Sweeps Forth' - 3 years, from 762 CE to the end of 764 CE

Mission 2 - 'The Lost Garrison of Niya' - no time limit, begins in 765 CE
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Beijing Tag
Map Design5.0
Playability: 4

Less a campaign, more a pair of charming vignettes. The missions are actually quite short, but playing at VH/PH a fair amount of time needs to be dedicated to thinking about where on earth you can build your housing blocks. And farms, for them to be efficient.

Balance: 4

A variety of challenges - monument, treasury, frequent multi-local invasions, elite housing target.

Creativity: 3

Not a criticism but for me the essence of this campaign is the map/feng shui dynamic rather than any particular novelty such as lack of clay for pots, or trying to gather 30 game in a year as in other campaigns.

Map Design: 5

Superb. Not particularly the visual elements of the map but more in the challenge of where to place your housing and other accoutrements. The map forces the player out of the comfort zone of standard housing blocks - the practice of which I am frequently guilty.

Story/Instructions: 4

Historically apt.

Additional Comments:

In a couple of my reviews I've wittered on about Feng Shui and some players may think it is much ado about nothing. But for me this is what makes Emperor stand out over Phaoroh, Zeus, Caesar and the like. I played those games and enjoyed them. But the FS element in Emperor adds a unique dimension to this game.

Playing at various difficulty levels is a function of practice and increasing familiarity with game mechanics, and I certainly enjoyed my early days of Emperor playing at easy/moderate etc. But looking at some of the saves by good players when they were FS sensitive opened up my eyes to a more challenging dimension to the game, regardless of difficulty level. And it is the FS element that makes this particular campaign so interesting. Playing without regard to FS could make this campaign a doddle at certain difficulty levels, but add the concept of FS discipline (even at moderate levels of diff) and the true challenge of these two vignettes comes alive.

[Edited on 03/05/06 @ 12:01 AM]

File Author
Thanks for taking the time to make a formal review of this one!
(id: shaun1)
Map Design4.0
Playability: 4
Most of the fun was in mission 1. Plenty of options, intricate economics and building challenges to keep the advanced player interested. Novices will probably have to play more conservatively but will benefit from the experience.
Mission 2 was a bit straight forward for speed play. Military action was more interesting then mission 1 but no great challenge for any decent build.

Balance: 4(high?)
Mission 1 was challenging enough for advanced players and playable for novices. Deserving of a 'Hard' rating. Mission 2 lacked some challenging elements perhaps due to my desire for a quick finish time. I'm sure if I stuck around longer that things would have livened up a bit.

Creativity: 4
Mission 1 was a micro-managers dream. There are so many little details that one run will not be enough to explore all the options.

Map Design: 4(low?)
An arid map broken up with streams and hills provides a building challenge. The luster of ore deposits is a deceptive trap inviting the unwary to reckless greed. Invasions didn't use the convenient waterways, which would have made the invasions more challenging/less controllable.

Story/Instructions: 4(high?)
Plenty of details can be found in the readme, but I didn't feel the need/urge during playing to brush up on the historical background.

Additional Comments:
Most of my interest/entertainment was derived from mission 1. Mission 2 lacked some of usual details I expect from the designer or perhaps I just missed them by finishing early.
PS: Every time I give a review I have to review the 'review guidlines'. This helps organize my thoughts and focus on the sub-catagory specifics. I tend to focus more on the missions then the campaign.

[Edited on 05/26/06 @ 09:33 AM]

File Author
Hey shaun, thanks for leaving the review!
Strategic Indian
Map Design5.0
If you like to play easy mode, then stay away from this. You are welcome!

Playability: 5
(Insert Playability analysis here)
This is a fantastic mission. Both missions are short but very sweet. You can experiment on where your start locations can be but space is limited.

One constant change can be where you place your mines. I chose the south west corner as it had enough nodes and wood but you can choose the one on the center of the map and connect it with your main trading hub. Mind you then it is right where the invasions come. So my choice of south west was most fortuitous.

Balance: 5
(Insert Balance analysis here)

The first mission is BRUTAL, I could not get the 5 weapons per year goal in M24 to M13. I got it in the last year and since it is a "Survive mission", the calculation is done once the mission is over. That tided me over. The 2nd mission involved a lot of invasions but with an all cav army I could move to the most critical spots. With 3 invasions from different points of the map, you have to learn to balance where your troops need to be and not throw them in a blob. This was very enjoyabale.

The most sneaky event was an invasion by kucha (?) town which came on my zodiac year and i did not get a warning (or i skipped it) as i also got an animal gift. With the unnoticed enemy burning down my industrial hub, I had to reload a save. Only one in M2 I promise.

the money goal was nice 30k is easy, I won the mission with 100k as I was too lazy with the monument after the epic M1 completion.

Creativity: 5
(Insert Creativity analysis here)
Very very nice! Fantastic. Keep it up. M1 was easily one of the hardest missions i ever played...

Map Design: 5
(Insert Map Design analysis here)
Beautiful map! I spent the entire 11.2k+2k (Debt money) in planning the city. I was at it for hours! Needless to say i made a fresh start but the map is excellent!

Story/Instructions: 5
(Insert Story/Instructions analysis here)

Great story! I loved it, you feel the doom coming and the lights going out. But me being a cheeky soul got 1 cav fort up with 4 bois, Huang Di and kept attacking Lhasa. The weapons bounty I kept let me train fresh troops for free. This was not the idea of the game designer or was it Gweilo. I am curious to know.

BTW how to you post screenshots of finished cities? Not just of the minimap but of the entire city at an angle from a distance.

Curious to know!

Thank you again! It has been a pleasure!

Additional Comments:
File Author
Hello again Strategic Indian. Once again, let me thank you for leaving your formal review.

I opened up this 18-year old campaign in the Campaign Creator to refresh my memory about it. Let me share some thoughts on it, tempered with the gift of hindsight.

I really think I missed the mark on my choice for its difficulty level. I should have rated it at the "Very Hard" category. I studied its design and even re-read my "Readme" file that I included in the download, and I cannot remember why I decided to rate it at "Hard". Oh well.

This is not one of my favorite campaigns, but it did provide a short venue to experiment with some map design features and scripting techniques that I liked (and reused in many later campaigns). Surprisingly, I created 174 scripted events in these two missions. These events cover a variety of aspects such as city favor adjustments, military requests, trade changes, etc. All stuff I was tinkering with back in 2005.

I still like the map for this campaign, and have been pleasantly surprised that many players also seem to like it. It is challenging and takes planning for the best results (especially on which location of iron deposits to choose). This is the only map I can remember creating that has two patches of iron ore deposits located relatively far away from each other.

This campaign also used Shaun's excellent custom pricing scheme for commodities, which you will notice I used throughout the 4 campaigns in the "Xia Diary" series. I really like how this custom pricing scheme ripples into various aspects of gameplay (with the overall impact of increasing difficulty).

In mission 1, the scripted "military request" events were the option I provided to allow player's to obtain more weapons quickly, but of course players must quickly place and train a military unit to respond to these requests for aid. It didn't really occur to me that players might also gain weapons booty by attacking Lhasa with their small military in mission 1. Bravo to you for exploiting that additional option.

You seem to really like using cavalry units for your military, so let me invite you to play the "Horsemen of Wei Qing" campaign. It is not as difficult as this campaign, but it does feature all-cavalry armies.

If you have screenshots to share, just email them to me and I can share them here on the EH site, on the Emperor Facebook page, or both locations. Look for my email address at the bottom of any of the 'README' text files included in my campaign downloads.

[Edited on 11/29/23 @ 09:18 AM]

Strategic Indian hi gweilo
The missions were an absolute treat.
Also knowing the fact that I could game the system beyond what the creator intended is a special treat!

I could not capture Lhasa but the weapons i got were enough. I could also maintain a good enough economy with 3 elite houses with the "High wages/Outrageous taxes" method, to bribe the first 3 invasions of 400 gold each. I could have fought them but the influx of settlers in this critical early game is far too important.

The mine placement was very intelligent on your part and i am glad i took the path I did. However, in a later game, i plan to use the central iron nodes.

Please consider my comment about "Expert level" above and beyond the "Very hard" level. This one is expert level imho. What an absolute joy!!!

I will review a few of fruit_muts campaigns next as they are some of the best out there.

I look forward to more "expert" level campaigns from you. Also is there a way to take screenshot like these ? https://i.redd.it/a608kn4da6gy.jpg
(Please note this is not a printscreen of the screen but the entire city is shown)

Is there a link on the forum on how to go about taking screenshots?


File Author
Hi TSI, I now understand what you are asking about that screenshot. My understanding is that you need to find a trusted site to download and install the "widescreen mod" for the game in order to capture screenshots like that. I personally do not use the widescreen mod, so I may be mistaken.

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