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Stronghold 8

Author File Description
File Details
Ruleset: AoW: SM - TS Standard Rules
Map Size: M
Levels: 3
Single Player?: Yes
Co-Op vs. AI?: No
PBEM/Hotseat?: Yes
Multiplayer Online?: Yes
# of Wizards: 8
# of players: 8
Skill Level: Advanced
Password Protected: No
Surface Minimap:
Cavern Minimap:
Shadow Minimap:
Stronghold is a Multiplayer map designed for a balanced game for up to 8 playable races. The game can be played as a team game or in a free for all format. All of the races from the Shadow Magic game are represented on the map. Each Wizard will start with two cities which will be located either on the surface or in the caverns on the game map.

You can find other versions as well as other game scenarios at
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Nice map and it shows that you don't need the latest v1.4 patch to make good looking maps with a lot of variety in the game! I'd still recommend it, of course... ;)

Teh author put a lot of detail and content in the map! This map wasn't made in a day!
Starting positions seem equal! So it seems like an interesting map to try online!

For pbem, it is often nice to have a story or give the map some personality. This is not the case here, but nor was this intended, I guess (no events or story).


~ Swolte

[Edited on 07/06/06 @ 11:36 AM]

File Author
Thanks Swolte. I appreciate your comments. I actually made this map over a year ago. I play tested a few games with some other players and made some final tweaks to it. I thought about whether to add more scripts and events and whether to use the 1.4 patch effects to it but felt it was best to leave the scenario in it's original form since that was how it was designed and balanced.

I already have a couple of maps in the works with the 1.4 patch. ;) Let's hope it doesn't take a year to finish and release them.

Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
Simply put, this is a fun map to play. Instead of going with extremes, (extremely high powered starting forces, or starting with a pioneer and a farmer) the mapmaker has created a game that starts you out in a comfortable balance, with some nice units and two nice cities, but nothing exceptional. Lots of room to choose the style of your growth as a civilization while still giving a good kickstart of units and financial options to get the ball rolling. The sphere picks were tastefully selected to offer most playstyles with a premade wizard to choose, whether it be pure mastery of a school, or a grand cosmic mix. Well done.

Balance: 5
The balance here goes beyond merely giving everyone the same number and level of units. The wizards themselves have been carefully selected and placed to create a range of conflict that leaves none of them with a clear advantage over the others. I caution lan players that if you commonly use the “customize wizard” feature, make sure you stick with the racial alignment of the premade who’s place you are taking. If that is observed, however, I forsee no possible imbalances arising from anything less than the ineptitude of the individual strategist.

Creativity: 3
I gave this a 3, quite simply because there is no creativity. This isn’t a bad thing. Creativity can go wrong sometimes, and warrant a score below a 3. This author just went with a very neutral approach. The visual themes in the map are very much what you would expect from a fantasy genre. They layout is simple and direct, with chokepoints at predictable places. There is no scripting or backstory. To quote from Radiohead: “No alarms and no suprises.”

Map Design: 5
While the layout isn’t necessarily creative, it is, in point of fact, well laid out. Tower chokepoints between primary expected development areas give the game a smooth and exciting flow. And of course it must be mentioned that the map just looks fantastic from a purely artistic and aesthetic view.

Story/Instructions: 3
A 3 for the same reason as creativity. Nothing done wrong, but nothing done well. Just nothing done.

Additional Comments:
A friend of mine grabbed this map at random for a quick game. We wanted something to play that none of us knew yet, and I’ve been very displeased with the typical results of the random map generator. This map filled the bill perfectly. No story or crazy scripting, just like a random map, but without nonsensical and imbalanced start locations, shadow gates to nowhere, two houses of healing right next to eachother (for those really deep wounds?) that random maps seem to be plagued with. And on top of a good and honest design framework is a true sense of beauty and art in the style I’ve come to expect from a fantasy genre. Maps like this deserve a special recognition for being able to supplement the random map generator in ways that it is incapable. I doubt I need to encourage this author to continue to produce, but I would like to encourage other map makers to persue this style and to put aside the crazy scripting schemes every now and then for a map that takes us all back to the roots of what made this game great. The units, the spells, and the battles they bring.
Behyorral Well done.
Map Design4.0
Similar in style to the official multiplayer scenarios.

This map has:
-Full Cave system and full Shadow World
-Standard heroes and items
-One or two oddball recruitable Level 1 Onerons as a melee unit (NOT a wizard)
-A few Teleporters in the Shadow World
-A few Independant Area Guards underground

Playability: 5
There are multiple vectors to defend and attack - watch your back here. I really enjoyed it.

Balance: 5
I didn't notice any obvious balance concerns.

Creativity: 4
No comment.

Map Design: 4
Overall a very nice looking map. Despite its Medium size and the presence of 8 Wizards, the good terrain layout and wizard spacing makes it feel less cramped than some 4 player scenarios.

This map loses a point due to Area Guards in the caves - I didn't mind the occasional Level 1 unit by itself, but getting attacked out of nowhere by a Level 3 Wyvern or Eagle Rider was somewhat annoying.

Story/Instructions: 4
As an MP scenario created in the same style as the official ones, this map neither has nor needs a story.

Additional Comments:
As with any 8 player map, unless you intend to make allies, you can expect to spend some time purging your remaining foes from the world after you already control half of it. With 3 full layers to deal with, you may wish to conquer enemies hiding in the Shadow Void last, as there are only 4 cities there but numerous points of entry. If you do seek to control the Shadow, the Shadow Lock spell is a great way to minimize and eventually eliminate the number of enemies running around grabbing structures from you.

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Map Design4.5
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