Posted on 08/24/15 @ 05:30 PM (updated 08/28/15
Hello. Once again I'm coming to you all with a new sparkly adventure!
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This one is fairly hard; you will have to micromanage your food production, population and profits to maintain a small, stable city.
Fair warning though; this adventure is ill-suited for anger-prone people, beginner players, those easily attached to their beautiful cities, and children under age of 3 :P
Good luck (you gonna need it) and have fun!
Update 28/08/15: Several parent city map after flood graphical errors fixed, trade routes made prettier, and during Juga colony the city of Mervera starts selling fleece to alleviate possible fleece shortage problems later in game.
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Played at the Hero level.
No problems with crashes, map issues, etc.)
I was able to work my way through the episodes without reloading until near the end by keeping focused on the goals.
Lots of building and managing resources. Not much military action in the early episodes, which is to my liking. I do love those Orichalc weapons!
A great new adventure that builds to an exciting finish.
Map Design: 5
Building space is adequate with some planning.
Good story line but very few hints, which aren't really needed anyway.
The Queen is dead, long live the Queen.
Played at the Hero level.
I became really curious with this adventure. And with such a beautiful and catchy title along with a captivating parent city map that just draws your attention with eye-candy, who wouldn't? :) And suffice to say, I've finally finished it. :)
I've played this adventure on Olympian level.
As soon as I've started this adventure, all I've got to say was "Wow!!" The first episode was a truly memorable episode, and one I truly got excited with in the beginning of the adventure. Something that's truly worthy of a challenge. :)
You start with a really low treasury in Olympian mode; barely even enough to even build a single housing block, and no where else to request help in generating any additional income. As a result, you will sooner or later go into negative treasury. Alongside the struggling kaleidoscope of harsh beginnings, you'll also find out that the only income you can generate in the beginning of the episode is by selling your only source of food to your one and only trade partner which suffice to say, would only serve to delay your unavoidable journey of debt as you proceed further. The rest of the cities in the world map however, have both low opinions of you and also low economic ratings, which means you couldn't even request anything from them. Hence, careful planning is required and either way, you've got to be prepared for the harsh storm ahead in the beginning of the episode. I had to even take some gambles and a few risks in episode 1 which was really worth it and put me ahead of the game as a result. :)
Around 2 debt anniversaries later, (And at just the right time!!) some scripting would take place that would serve to introduce a second trade partner into the world. And this one would allow you to gather some wood and use it for export, which would enable you to drive out of debt; granted of course that you also sell your oranges to Mervera as well.
Another objective on episode 1 requires that you also build a sanctuary to Dionysus in order "to be in the good side of the Olympians". Now, a simple prayer to Dionysus (one of my more favourite gods) would give you a good amount of wine, that despite having no trade partner to export it to, could still be given as a gift which would increase the recipient's favour more due to its selling price; which could more likely enable you to request a few drachmas or two from the recipient city. :)
You could cheat in this case by just waiting until the scripts appear, and then build your housing block, but I'm not exactly the type of person to do that. It's just not my style. :) And even if you really do this, the requests you'd be ignoring would make other cities annoyed with you more. :)
This episode itself, was truly of a "5" rating standard in my eyes and would've been great if this hair-raising plethora of challenges were consistent throughout the game. :)
Episode Two, on the other hand, gave you a welcome break after the harsh test in episode One, when you would soon discover that one of your rivals would side with you in order to get some precious wine from you at an affordable price, which would soon give you a handsome level of income.
However, the adventure kind of got a bit redundant and a little boring after episode two for me - and sometimes, it kind of involved a bit of waiting, which kind of tired me a little if it were not for the story that pushed me on. :( Episode Three gave you a plethora of cities, eager to trade with you, whilst your main wine importer would side against you. So all you've got to do is just save a few oranges for the colony and get up a population of townhouses which kind of got a little boring.
Parent Episode 4 was a military scenario (finally!!) but it was kind of an easy-to-do military scenario; it kind of felt like a tutorial to me. Just set up the Ares sanctuary, conquer both of your rivals, then set up some frigates that you may never even need in the future and boom boom, that was pretty much it. :(
I was anticipating a bit of action after the second episode, but the adventure didn't really hand it over to me until the last few episodes, which was why I gave it a 4 instead of a 5. And the fact that I also had to wait a bit in some episodes whilst a few didn't have much event scripting too which didn't keep me busy, kind of justified the 4 rating in my eyes. Also, I'm not a really big fan of pyramid building, which was the reason I got put off by Pharaoh, so it wasn't really my taste, though this didn't affect the playability rating however.
The same goes for the colonies too. I wanted a bit of action and despite Adem giving it with the minotaur (but nothing much after that), the other colonies didn't really give much of that. I wanted to see something like, I dunno.. A side story or something. Was kind of disappointed a little. :(
The second-last episode on the other hand, was the other episode I really enjoyed aside from Episode One. The huge flood scenario and the opportunistic enemies I conquered earlier, whom turned their backs on me and attacked me. Fortunately, the storyline made you prepared for this when Apollo's priest gave you his warning (I wasn't prepared for the flood though, lolz). But well, I instead, took this moment to be creative in city building, (which in fact, very rarely happens to me) by building all my housing in the mountains whilst repelling invasions at the same time. :) I was pretty much proud of what I did so far too and forgot a little about the adventure. :D (I even conquered everyone on the map and angered my last remaining rival so much in order to test that fortress I built. :)
But eventually (with much regret), I just had to move on to the last episode, where the Queen just died and I had to prepare "her departure to the afterlife" by building a tomb for her and fill it with different varieties of wine, orichalc, sculpture and armor, which is indeed, VERY reminiscent of Pharaoh and the mastaba tombs. :D - Very ingenious too, to put "x amount of resource for colony" objectives to represent that. Really creative. :)
*phew*!! The playability part is finally done and it's time to move on to the balance.
The juxtaposition of situations existing in the first episode gave the most perfect definition of balance to me. The good timing of events, the lack of funds available which would've yielded a negative cash supply later on, the rather negative opinions of other leaders at the start making it unlikely to get help from them; and then the transition of contrasting events at the right moment that would help relieve you out of debt. It was brilliant.
And then after the relieved scripting, the resource requests from other cities would stimulate you to build your industries if you haven't already and make a decent profit (and a decent opinion of you in the world). Indeed, some may think this isn't really a big deal, but it was in my eyes. :) It was like the missing piece in a puzzle for me. :)
Episode two gave you a breather and a pat on the back after the dreadful first episode, which would balance out the situation the player would have to go through.
However, like I said previously, the other 4 episodes after that (upto the tidal wave episode) didn't give much of a challenge, which was why I rated balance a 3 for this adventure.
The first true military episode for instance, (which was after the first colony episode) was very disappointing. I just wanted a bit more than just get up an Ares sanctuary and conquer both cities (which were both one-shielded cities anyway). I mean, having an objective of ruling 2 cities made me anticipate that I would at least have a few invasions against me or whatnot, but well the opposite happened. I invaded them instead. :( - maybe I was too haste in this episode so I didn't truly experience the events taking place, but it was kind of disappointing. :(
Another military episode later in the adventure where you have to conquer another city, was too, kind of disappointing because it only took one try with my military, Ares troops, Ares himself and another ally (couldn't remember which one) to take the city itself and I already had so much money by that episode. So I just bribed every attack. :( It would've been nice if there was some sort of quest or something that could reduce a 6 shield city to 5 shield. But since this was implemented to be a "Titan" level adventure, well.. I could understand that. But still, it was kind of disappointing as I expected more of a challenge in that episode since the Queen declared war on Atlantis; which indeed was a pretty big thing. :(
The colony ones were.. so-so.
Juga was kind of annoying really. Taking away much of the trees there and putting a housing block made me think I'm playing a facebook game because of how uniformly intense the scrubbing and forests were as they both filled the entire map. And the objectives were almost to the point of just build a few industries and go. But an Artemis sanctuary was also required for some variation, but given that I had big funds at the time, it was kind of annoying rather than challenging. The other colony requested an Atlas shrine to be built, but had some pretty similar annoyances, but at least the map was tidier.
Adem on the other hand, was a tad better than Juga.
Well, the objectives were kind of similar to Juga, but it had a minotaur that guarded the main resources. At first, he didn't pose much of a threat, but later on, the b@$tard destroyed my granary 3 times, destroyed a roadblock for whatever reason, and just made a huge mess. :D I mean, the dude even wrecked my profits up, lmao. :D (you put the targets on random, didn't ya? You cheeky b@$tard! :D ) So I had to get Theseus to the city as a first priority just to make my living easier, but boy was he picky. It was a pretty nice challenge, with no complaints. :)
I would love it more however, if there was some additional story. For instance, maybe there was a leader who didn't like you coming to his territory, but had trouble with the minotaur. So by killing it, you've made a friend for life, which would help you at any cost - like in the Miletos colony in the Perseus and Medusa adventure. :)
Some other things that affected the 3 rating was that some episodes didn't really keep me busy. I mean, sure they had events that consisted of quite a lot of trade price changes to certain goods, but these were minor changes like.. oranges costing 7 drachmas higher, or wood getting 5 drachmas cheaper, which didn't really affect my gameplay strategy much. Other things were wage expectations which I never really paid attention to, and trade stoppages/trade opens up events, but they were either just one city or two and I never had the audacity to change my tactics here. Other things also include the fact that the colony episode objectives were pretty much the same thing, which kind of made the colony episodes pretty cliched. :(
Would've been nice if there were some things that really affected the way you play the game, like high price changes of export goods randomly, making them much cheaper and thereby forcing you to shut down and open up other industries and thus, forcing you to be versatile in trade, or other things like that. It would've honestly made the adventure a tad more memorable in my eyes, but ah well. :)
I was pretty much stuck on whether to award a 3 or 4 in this category, a 4 would've merited because of the first 2 episodes and the big disaster in the 8th episode, which I love; but I had to award a 3 because the 3rd to the 7th episodes were pretty redundant, including the colony episodes despite having contributed to the story significantly, and the creator's attempts to make me juggle my priorities instead of aiming for the objectives didn't really affect me at all. :-S
Yes, it deserves a 5 for creativity. :)
The creator really made an effort of bringing his story to life in this adventure; of how you would take the role of a young Queen Sagea and see the city built up to how she recalled it in her memory, which kind of spurred me to want to continue the adventure to see what will happen next. It gave me anticipation, it gave me curiosity, it gave me excitement to the very end. :) It even gave me the utmost pleasure in rebuilding the city and customizing it in my own ways. :)
Was kind of sad to see the Queen's fate in the end though. :( She was just misjudged. :( But this is where we get to the beauty of the last episode. :)
Like I said before, the last episode really reminded me of Pharaoh, where pyramids would be constructed for the dead and resources and stuff would be prepared and placed inside the tomb along with the dead to take to the afterlife. The episode goals were really creative there and ultimately, it gave the whole adventure a deserving finish. :)
Map Design: 4
The parent city map was beautiful.
Creative use of beach design, cliff designs, subtle scrubbing on appropriate places and rock placement marks evident observations of a very creative map maker. :) However, the forests were a little overwhelming, but that was just a minor issue and it doesn't reveal why I didn't reward this adventure the top marks in map design. In fact, it was some of the colonies that kind of altered the rating.
Firstly, Adem was fantastic.
I particularly love the Cothon-like area and the placement of meadows and orichalc ores in an almost enclosed space. :) I kinda wanted to build more housing on the cliff-tops too, but well, too bad there weren't any access to them. :( But aside that, I still loved the map as a whole. :)
Juga on the other hand, was just a densely populated array of trees and scrubbing, along with a weird river which didn't display much signs of beauty for me. I mean.. Yes, it was supposed to be in the middle of an African jungle, but it would've been nice if there were, I dunno.. A few big rocks or two which would've improved the map a bit more rather than just uniformly scrubbing and tree-ing the entire map. :( What about some small ponds surrounded by forests, or some small lakes or waterholes or something that would give it extra character than just trees and scrub? It would've honestly been more interesting to see. :(
Kanwa was at least better than Juga by far, but there were so many uniformly vertical lines in the map that it kind of really put me off from playing this colony. They were present in cliffs, beaches, shores etc. Well, at least there were some rocks that disguised it, but well.. The vertical lines were still really distracting me. :(
As usual from Haspen, a beautiful story to go along with the adventure. :)
Not to spoil it much (as if I have spoilt enough..), the adventure takes you into the fictional story of Queen Sagea, and like the Titanic film, she would be telling the story of her life, beginning from the Founding of Sagis and how her short reign changed Atlantis, to her city being subject to immortal threats. It was a really enjoyable read. And this reflected well on its role in giving clues to the reader to what will occur in each subsequent episode. :) A really beautiful story. :)
Nope. I pretty much said everything here and it was starting to get a tad too long. :)
[Edited on 09/29/15 @ 07:06 PM]