Cities of the Frontier - now for BfW 1.11

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Cities of the Frontier - now for BfW 1.11

Postby esci » January 29th, 2012, 10:33 pm

See the exotic Northlands! Enjoy the freedom of a pioneer as you settle wild new lands! Raise the flag of Wesnoth high above your castle towers!

Cities of the Frontier is a new campaign with some added strategic elements. Most importantly, you can recruit Peasant Workers who can change terrain hexes -- building new villages, encampments, and so on. Your goal is to defend your new town from wild animals, outlaws, orcs, undead, and others as you build it up. As you do so, you will have to make decisions about how best to spend your gold: recruiting units, building up defensive structures, or creating new villages to earn more income. The campaign plays somewhat like a single long scenario with some changes as the seasons progress. You win when you build up your gold reserves above the set victory threshold.

Many elements of this campaign are randomly-generated in order to (hopefully) increase re-playability. This will eventually includes the map itself. So if you are someone who thinks the random number generator is out to get you, this may not be the campaign for you.

This campaign shares a few characteristics with other add-ons such as GambCiv, A New Land, and others, with a few key differences:
-CotF is strictly a single-player campaign
-CotF is less focused on decisions about resource collection (there is only gold) and more on decisions about spending resources

Current status (this will be edited as I update the campaign):
Version 0.6.0 is up on the campaign server.
Compatible with the Wesnoth 1.11 series (except 1.11.7), 0.5.1 was the last version for Wesnoth 1.10
Almost all of the gameplay is in place, the campaign is completely playable and winnable, and reasonably balanced. There is also a tutorial for first-time players.

I would love to hear feedback from anyone who tries this campaign.
-Did you see major balance problems?
-Did you experience any bugs?
-Most importantly, is there something you think would make this campaign more fun?
Last edited by esci on January 18th, 2014, 1:14 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Daravel » January 30th, 2012, 12:10 am

I got this error:
Add on had errors and could not be loaded
*my games directory*
Error details:
macro/file 'MIDDAY_HOUR' is missing at ~add-ons/Cities_of_the_Frontier/scenarios/summer_of_dreams.cfg:13
included from ~add-ons/Cities_of_the_Frontier/_main.cfg:68

Then "Unknown scenario: 'A_New_Beginning'"

on BFW 1.9.8
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Elvish_Hunter » January 30th, 2012, 9:13 am

Daravel wrote:Error details:
macro/file 'MIDDAY_HOUR' is missing at ~add-ons/Cities_of_the_Frontier/scenarios/summer_of_dreams.cfg:13
included from ~add-ons/Cities_of_the_Frontier/_main.cfg:68

on BFW 1.9.8
That's my fault. :P During the development cycle, I introduced a new 24-hour Time of Day scheme (alternative to the usual scheme), as we already had the images in core, and this meant adding a bunch of new macros.
Suggested bugfix: update to Wesnoth 1.10.0.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby shadowblack » January 30th, 2012, 11:57 am

I gave this a try on 1.10 (worked fine) and quickly ran out of money. I'd like to make a few suggestions:
- explain about the Stand Down option as soon as the player recruits a unit - any unit, not just a spearman
- once the player is below 100 gold give a warning about low money
- give a warning about negative income if the player is below 100 gold and his income is negative
- make it clear in the text that the player should recruit Workers and NOT a Peasant. Wasting a turn because you recruit a Peasant that can't build instead of a Worker unit can make a short-term difference...

And a question: Is the 2 gold I get from villages the ONLY income I get from them? No way to harvest crops for more gold, or something like that?

EDIT: On my second attempt I started with an wolf right next to my units. NOT fun!

EDIT2: Here's a replay of my second attempt. All I can say is: Too many bandits (and this is supposed to be normal difficulty)! The bats were also very annoying. Consider adding a warning for the player to NOT explore, lest he attracts "unwanted attention" from bandits and animals.
Attachments
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Daravel » January 30th, 2012, 3:43 pm

Got it working, thanks E_H :)

I've only played about 15 turns of the first scenario, just a few comments:
- When you say "4 sixth days", it took me a while to work out what that mean and I think non-native English speakers will struggle, I think it might be best left as "4 turns"
- In the tutorial you recommend the player to build the "forge" but the building is called "Blacksmith" in the build menu
- If you try and build your first building on a tile where it is not allowed, it will still give you the tutorial message as if construction had started.
- It is a slow start - it took a long time to get any momentum and even then I was slowly building my 3rd farm (having to clear forests to avoid expanding too far). Maybe halve building times and just increase the rate of spawns for enemies?
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Gwynnedrion » February 4th, 2012, 3:15 pm

I felt that the income you get from money is too few compared to the enemies you have to face and the upkeep by spearmen. I got 2 bandit leaders which each 5-7 bandits (green and purple) while I just built my 1th spearmen... Don't have the replay anymore but it needs some changing. Other then that I love the idea of having a wesnoth sim. Keep up the work! :D
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby esci » February 4th, 2012, 11:08 pm

I've known from the start that balancing this campaign was going to be rather more trouble than with traditional campaigns. As regards gold, villages are already set to generate an extra gold per turn in the summer and autumn (i.e. 2nd and 3rd scenarios), so you have that to look forward to. I'll also be posting an update with some balance tweaks in the next few days.

Some advice for right at the beginning of the campaign:
-don't explore for more than a couple of turns -- build your keep right away
-only recruit 1 or at most 2 Peasant Workers
-build a blacksmith as soon as possible
-don't spend time cutting down trees or building up your keep until you're generating income and have a few units for defense
-post sentries -- get 5 or 6 Peasants and put them around the edges of your town. This has a dual purpose - draw attacks away from your Workers, and let you see the bandits coming so you can wait to recruit Spearmen
-Peasants + leadership (your hero) can be fairly powerful during the daytime

I've had more success setting up camp just to the southwest of the river you start near, but that won't be much help in the future as randomized maps are coming soon.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Daravel » February 4th, 2012, 11:17 pm

esci wrote:I've known from the start that balancing this campaign was going to be rather more trouble than with traditional campaigns. As regards gold, villages are already set to generate an extra gold per turn in the summer and autumn (i.e. 2nd and 3rd scenarios), so you have that to look forward to. I'll also be posting an update with some balance tweaks in the next few days.

Some advice for right at the beginning of the campaign:
-don't explore for more than a couple of turns -- build your keep right away
-only recruit 1 or at most 2 Peasant Workers
-build a blacksmith as soon as possible
-don't spend time cutting down trees or building up your keep until you're generating income and have a few units for defense
-post sentries -- get 5 or 6 Peasants and put them around the edges of your town. This has a dual purpose - draw attacks away from your Workers, and let you see the bandits coming so you can wait to recruit Spearmen
-Peasants + leadership (your hero) can be fairly powerful during the daytime
- I think a secondary source of income would be beneficial. I'm not sure what but it has to relate to your success and be vulnerable to disruption. I presume that the merchants would be able to perform this role? Perhaps uncovering artifacts (peasant workers set up a dig site?) and you sell them to the merchants - could also be armour/weapons/items that you can use or sell).

I've had more success setting up camp just to the southwest of the river you start near, but that won't be much help in the future as randomized maps are coming soon.


I completed one full rotation (Summer back to summer - 4 scenarios) and I concur with your advice. I had 2 peasant workers, 2 recruiting keep thingies, kept about 5 or 6 peasants (less as I got more advanced troops) and had about 15 combat units. I concentrated on getting as many village built as possible, around 14 by the time I stopped. I built roads and lots of keep squares for defence for the winter scenario.

A few other things:
- I never built the stable or archers building. for 60 and 100 gold (1,2 or 3 villages worth) it was not worth it when I could level a peasant into an archer and make do with no cavalry.
- The fact that the next scenario begins literally 'the next turn' after you finish the previous one (I had my leader in a vulnerable position because I expected the enemies to reset)
- The long requirement on cutting down trees is a significant hinderance. My intial 'space' had room for about 4 villages and moving into a large area was a real strain.
- I think there needs to be more to do, aside from find enemies. I stopped in my 2nd summer and had around 100 gold, but was a little bored It seemed I had 'won' the game and was just waiting for the gold to come in. I know you're adding more features so this may solve that.
- I sent a peasant all the way into one corner (in the winter!) expecting some kind of bonus, but there was nothing. I admit, I was a little dissapointed.
- Also, I got to the north border and saw the camp. I'll be honest and say that I don't think it'd be feasible to do much else there aside from leave a scout. I definitely think there should be some more interesting options to do once you have battled to one of the borders.

I can upload my replays if that would help you?
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Gwynnedrion » February 5th, 2012, 4:55 pm

Just replayed, doing the things you suggested. Currently at the end of harvest season. Love the game but it seems diverting a stream doesn't work.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby MRDNRA » February 6th, 2012, 10:12 pm

I like the concept. Played a couple of times just to vary starting location seeing as it's the same map currently. Neat challenge, but each time I've ended up losing one of my loyal units after a while. Seems I need to get better at defending. I'm looking forward to the map being randomized. I have just one question currently: are we going to see mages at any point? Some healing sure would help!
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby esci » February 9th, 2012, 3:51 am

CotF 0.2 is now up on the 1.10 add-on server! The major change is that maps are now randomly generated. In my testing all of the maps seem to end up pretty reasonable, but it's certainly possible you might end up with something nigh-on unwinnable if you get unlucky enough.

A repeated warning: this campaign is only very roughly balanced, and contains many random elements. If the RNG is in a black mood, you're probably toast.

Rough change list:
-Random map generation.
-Reduced the cost of both the Bowyer and the Stables to 40 and reduced build-times. Please post if you find building these useful.
-Eliminated random spawning of Blood Bats and Dread Bats. Until I have a chance make (or steal :-) some new low-level animal units, this means relatively more wolves.
-Reduced the equilibrium number of animals a bit. This should make early exploring a bit more possible, and outlaw attacks slightly more predictable.
-Slightly reduced the size of the outlaw bands
-Edited several of the tutorial messages to be more explicit about my early-game recommendations
-Fixed "Divert Stream" option not working
-Added ability for Peasant Workers to upgrade encampments to stone (i.e. to castle terrain) which cannot be burned by outlaws or orcs
-Added some first-scenario "low gold" warnings

Known bug I think I fixed but haven't verified
-flower terrain overlay stays right through winter, which doesn't make any sense but has no gameplay effect.

@ Daravel
For some reason I'm rather attached to using "sixth-days" as the Wesnothian unit of time, particularly as the word "turns" would seem out of character for a peasant. I'll revisit the issue when I get around to adding and revising dialogue. Also, there will eventually be rewards for exploring the map, but closer to version 1.0. Since it sounds like you used the same strategies that I have I'm not sure replays would be all that helpful, but I'd love to hear ideas for what changes you think would encourage alternate strategies (e.g. foregoing spearmen in favor of archers and cavalrymen).

@ MRDNRA
I tentatively plan to add mages and fencers to possible recruits eventually, although the mage-enabling building will probably be expensive.

Please let me know about any bugs you might run across.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Daravel » February 9th, 2012, 9:40 am

I think that at the moment a player is almost forced into a certain playstyle (whether another player can make a different strategy however...) in that you need to build as many villages as possible, ideally once you're making a good amount of gold to be constantly building 1 (or clearing trees in preparation). This is essential because: You need to get 1,000 gold overall, you need to provide a supply of level 1 units, you need to be able to afford the maintenance once your level 0's become 1's and your 1's become 2's or 3's and to do this, you need to be building villages as fast as possible in order to be able to keep up.

Thus, after building the blacksmith in the first few turns you have access to spearmen, peasants and archers (via peasants) and you can never really justify spending the gold on either of the other two buildings (I don't know how much you lowered the cost to). Especially when you realise that you're able to do alright with the setup you have (and if you can't, spending a load of gold on a new building certainly won't be an option).

I think mages might be useful, and fencers as higer level scouts/explorers. But again, the cost of the building. If the mage building is more expensive than the stable (so ~100 gold), that is 10% of your goal and by the time you can spend that kind of money you're probably better off waiting for the 1,000 gold.

The quick fix is to make everything cheaper (which you have done), but that means you can afford more units which makes it easier/slower turns. The challenge was good, I had to spend 3 or 4 attempts to work out my plan, then when I did it was a bit of work to make it succeed and then it was easy, but I was still 900 gold off target and probably having to spend some of that gold for units. Essentially, if you crack it then it becomes easy.

I'll be honest, especially with what I know now, I wouldn't buy either of the other two buildings - I know I can make do with 1. The solution here is probably to have a variety of enemies with different weaknesses/resistances and to possibly change the level up of the peasant. But then, if you force the player to build the other two buildings you decrease their spending power on villages which might put them in a cycle of not having enough money.

This has turned into a bit of a ramble, so I'll summarise: The other units buildings cost too much, and once you know you can just use spearmen + peasants they lose their attractiveness, lowering the cost might work but then it is still a waste of gold. Changing the enemies might work but you wll have to watch the players gold carefully and if you reduce costs then you might end up with huge armies that are boring to control/watch.

Another issue I forsee is that the games needs more buildings available, but again, in doing so requires more peasant workers (gold), more space (gold/time on trees) and more units to defend (gold).
Last edited by Daravel on February 9th, 2012, 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby shadowblack » February 9th, 2012, 2:51 pm

I gave the new version a try. It ended up badly because I decided to go explore (BAD decision), but that's not important. This time I managed to survive Spring and get to Summer.

I find the Forge too expensive early in the game, yet you need it in case you get swarmed by bandits. This forces the player to build as many new villages as he can, and as quickly as possible (in order to quickly get a positive income), which results in forcing a certain play-style on the player (as Daravel mentioned). There's also no way to recover if you make any mistakes - or just get unlucky - early in the game against the bandits, due to limited finances and limited units.

Question: Why can't workers upgrade the keep to a stone keep? And why can't the bandits burn the keep?

Having some more buildings to build is a good idea. For example Windmill: 50 gold, 3x3 flat area, doubles the gold income from villages, only one mill gives you a bonus, requires Forge.

Another way to gain more gold, like mines or trade, would be nice.

If you haven't done so yet you should add a warning for the player in autumn about "no gold from villages during Winter". Okay, I see you've done this.

I'll now go try using Bowmen instead of Spearmen.

EDIT: I made a second attempt. This time I did NOT build a Forge. Instead I chose to build a Bower (sp?) and used Archers against the thugs that attacked me. Later I also build a Stable to recruit Cavalrymen. This time things went fine, until that stupid orc arrived near the end of the summer. He had TOO MUCH GOLD! It's bad enough that on Normal difficulty Orc leaders are level 3 and arrive with 3 level 2s as guards. Do they have to have so much gold, too?

During Autumn I got bored and did not finish playing. But until I stopped I never felt the need for a Forge or the Spearmen it provides. Overall I'd say Spring is what predetermines whether you have a chance at winning, or not. If you manage to survive Spring without too many casualties and without spending too much gold, you should be fine for the next two seasons (or at least until some uber-rich orc arrives).

Question: Is there a way to turn water into grass?
Attachments
CotF-Summer_of_Dreams_replay1.gz
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CotF-A_New_Beginning_replay1.gz
(47.04 KiB) Downloaded 208 times
CotF-A_New_Beginning_replay.gz
(45.72 KiB) Downloaded 187 times
Last edited by shadowblack on February 9th, 2012, 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby Daravel » February 9th, 2012, 4:32 pm

I decided to watch my replays and make notes of what happened, what I was planning and where I had issues. Not sure how useful you'll find it but I'll also upload my replays. This is spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Comments:
Spring
As you can see, from turn 3-7 I have little to do and my workers are vulnerable until about turn 6
From turn 9 on I have one worker pretty much only building villages

In turns 10-18 you can see I have 120 gold, few good units and -3 income. It is now imperative that I build villages to gain a positive income
I bottom out on 26 gold to gain +2 income

Turn 13- you can see that my workers are prevented from building as the units in close proximity would disturb them

Turn 15 units levelling up, causing me to lose precious income.

16-20 nothing much happens

Turn 20, worker builds village, between him and the rest of the villages is a patch with two sets of forest, originally set aside for stable and bowyers.

2 recruiting hexes only. 2 workers only. Peasants as sentries. At this stage I have my stronger units spread over my border

Turn 22 spent most of my gold on villages - constantly building them - now at 1 gold and 0 income

22- no gold for anything, several bandits incoming levelling further reduces my income

Using my peasants as soldiers

turn 30 gold spent on units (perhaps a mistake?)

No sense in standing a unit down, no idea how big the next attack will be or when

Turn 36, leave my leader on castle - assume there is no danger as the scenario rests - how wrong i was! Map is exactly as it was before.

5 villages, 2 income, 14 gold. 8 losses (all peasants)

Summer

Extra gold is good. Focus is on building lots of villages.

Turn 1 - expansion into the north - no room in my area without excessive, lengthy clearing of woods
Turn 2 - exapansion plus greens coming. stretched here

Even with the increased income, +5 income due to levelling. and unit losses are a problem, top is covered by 2 units

Turn 7 more purples!

turn 7 on - northern worker just builds villages. Other worker is used for combat

Turn 10 - lines looking a little thin.

Turn 11 - fail encampment - thought you would be able to recruit onto it from the keep!

Turn 12 - Gold! 11 income. Finally able to do something.

Turn 12 - enemy leader is poisoned - happens a lot

Turn 14 - incoming Orcs, I actually had to reload back a few turns and send my units north earlier because of the weight of their attack. I need units badly, but again, levelling has depeleted my income so I need to build villages. I'm expanding a lot with fewer units.

Fortunately the level 3's do a ton of damage

Turn 16 Get saved by them fighting each other, happens a bit and stops me getting their full force

Turn 18 the workers hold the line. Fortunately 13 income to get units with
Turn 20 that's a lot of Orcs

Dangerously building with workers to fund new units and levelling.

Turn 22 it's looking pretty bad for me.

From then on it's a case of build units, hold that line and hope they don't attack from any other direction

Turn 27 pretty much done with the Orcs

Turn 34 building encampments for defence now. plenty of gold and plenty of good units to defend with.

from 27 till 36 pretty easy. Last turn shows that the start of autumn will be fun.

78 losses 11 villages, 23 units, 12 income

Autumn
No new Orc leaders will arrive - i did not realise they were recruiting on the map. So I decide to go kill one

Also, no gold in winter - decide to build villages a plenty. Also to build encampments and roads

Turn 2 I decide to not bother with the stable/bowyer and build road instead

Turn 3, I intend to push out the Orcs both north and east but change my mind on east. North it is. I'm really stretched with little guarding my middle

Turn 9 - Found the Orcs, defeated them then tells me I can leave a guard and see when people respawn. So I consider it. Then turn 10 happens.

Turn 11 ohhh shi--. Whew, castle is safe! epic fail!

Turn 13 loss of blacksmith.
Turn 15 100 gold, 16 income. Good times.

Turn 19, lucky on the villages!

It's all mostly calm apart from a few crazy turns but I was in no real danger.
Turn 24 roads comin along nicely, and building encampments for defence.
Turn 32 peasant off for an explore, takes him all winter to get to the corner!

Autumn was pretty easy.
264 gold, 14 villages, 18 income, 20 units
I think I can survive with no income.

Winter

I won't discuss it as i have no time.
But, it was harder (I think)
I stood down several level 3's and reduced my income loss to acceptable levels.
Peasant severely dissapointed when there was nothing in the corner
From then on it seemed to easy and just a waiting game
Oh, the green (?) bandit leader stands in the ice for 50% of the scenario
Nothing happens for about 10 turns - they are walking across the ice - but nothing to do at all as there is no building.

Hopefully you can use this to pinpoint the issues around income/other buildings
Attachments
CotF-Winter_of_Storms_replay.gz
(75.46 KiB) Downloaded 206 times
CotF-Summer_of_Dreams_replay.gz
(83.7 KiB) Downloaded 187 times
CotF-Autumn_of_Gold_replay.gz
(73.47 KiB) Downloaded 217 times
CotF-A_New_Beginning_replay.gz
(48.85 KiB) Downloaded 211 times
Dialgoue editing for non-native English speakers - I will edit your scenario/campaign dialogue
I can also help re-write your campaign dialogue, drop me a PM (Completed projects: The Sojournings of Grog)
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Postby MRDNRA » February 12th, 2012, 1:45 am

I've played up until about half way through 2nd autumn so far. Still only got around 100 gold, 9 villages. Not lost many units so far, although at one point during 2nd spring my line was on the verge of collapse, I had all my active units (6 or 7 level 3s!) at the time in the south defending a huge wave of bandits! Managed to hold them off, without recalling due to lack of gold, and began a fair paced recovery. It's helped that my starting location was directly between 2 lakes, however, I noticed a mistake I made during the bandit spring siege: prior to the siege I had placed outposts not to defend from land but to defend from the few units that kept going in the water!!!!! I have also at numerous points save loaded due to my leader dying (one of the outpost hexes my leader at one point seemed to be getting 0% defence rather than the usual and indicated 60%). Still, assuming I ever amass enough gold, at least I've hopefully learnt what to do and what not to do.

Oh yes, I should note I used Daravels strategy of building archers and cavalry buildings before building a forge. With archers also requiring less XP I was able to level up a few early on during the relatively minor early skirmishes.

A quick question: how do roads affect gameplay? I've not used them just yet so I've not found out.
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