UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

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stencil
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UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by stencil »

Though the Ideas Forum correctly notes that add-on rankings are subjective, rankings have been posted at least in 2009, 2010, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018a, 2018b, 2019a, 2019b, 2020, 2021, and rolling, so I think there is an ongoing interest. I agree with a 2012 thread that notes reviews from a single player can at least provide comparative information for those wanting to sift through the many possible add-ons, so here I’d like to provide mine. I would also love suggestions from others on content they think might appeal to my preferences (below), especially from older versions (pre-Wesnoth 1.14).
My review criteria
My review criteria are story, length, and mechanics, with humor, brevity, and creativity scoring higher than drama, complexity, and balance (though all can be good). I would say a 'Short' campaign might have <10 scenarios. For context, I played mainline campaigns roughly in the order AToTB, Liberty, AOI, SoF, half of HttT, DiD, TSG, TRoW, EI, UtBS, SotA, based mostly on length. I played the UMC campaigns below mostly between October 2020 and March 2021 (Wesnoth 1.14.14 – 1.14.15), so many of the add-ons have evolved since then. For the 20 UMC campaigns I’ve played enough to feel comfortable rating, I’ll provide starred reviews roughly following a normal distribution, followed by ~20 one-line impressions of other add-ons which may (probably won’t) be useful to other players. Even a one-star review means I liked it more than the unstarred add-ons. Each of the three review criteria are rated from 1-5, with sum totals corresponding to stars: 3-5 one, 6-8 two, 9-11 three, 12-14 four, 15 five. I’ll also note what I’ve read are some great campaigns that I just haven’t tried.

[Additional notes: my ideal difficulty definitions follow. Easy: a player with >10 hours playing could play the entire campaign straight through without having to reload anything (i.e. no knowledge of enemy gold or upcoming events/scenarios needed). Medium/normal: same player might have to restart a scenario or two (e.g. finds out enemy camp is in opposite direction in fog than thought). Hard: same player might have to go back more than one scenario to successfully complete campaign (e.g. missed a key recruitable ally, needed to level a certain type of unit for enemies on one scenario). Because of that, and since I value story over challenge, I usually play on easy (I know, lame). I always play with music off, so I have no idea about music quality. Also, apology for the formatting, I couldn't identify how to insert a table properly.]
Campaign name______________Stars___Story__Length__Mechanics__S+L+M Sum
Voyage of a drake RPG_________5 5 5 5 15
My opinion:
The beautiful child___________4 5 3 5 13
My opinion:
A beastly tale________________4 4 5 3 12
My opinion:
Chyrospitals__________________4 4 4 4 12
My opinion:
Grnk the mighty_______________3 5 3 3 11
My opinion:
Strange legacy RPG____________3 5 1 5 11
My opinion:
Three sisters saga____________3 4 4 3 11
My opinion:
Swamplings____________________3 4 4 3 11
My opinion:
Five fates____________________3 3 3 5 11
My opinion:
Bad moon rising_______________3 5 1 4 10
My opinion:
Sojournings of Grog___________3 4 2 4 10
My opinion:
Legend of the invincibles_____3 3 1 5 9
My opinion:
A group in a war______________3 2 3 4 9
My opinion:
The heist_____________________2 2 4 2 8
My opinion:
A few logs____________________2 2 4 2 7
My opinion:
Rulers of Irdya_______________2 1 3 3 7
My opinion:
A little adventure____________2 1 3 3 7
My opinion:
Wild frontiers________________2 1 2 4 7
My opinion:
Elvish dynasty RPG____________2 1 2 3 6
My opinion:
Castle of evil spirit_________1 1 1 2 4
My opinion:
One-line impressions of other campaigns
A northern village_____Tiny maps! Hooray! But also pretty meh storyline. Finished it anyway.
Xalzar quest_____Saurains are almost as fun to play as goblins, but after a level or two it felt standard, so didn't finish.
Inky’s quest_____Played first level, but couldn't really connect with being a cuddlefish cuttlefish.
Mountain witch_____Played a few levels, but again huge difficulty variation without enough story to justify.
Strange alliance_____Another one with decent first level but then seemed generic, so stopped.
Soldier of wesnoth_____Seemed interesting, but didn't get past first level (setup seemed too similar to Northern Rebirth).
Maurading thieves_____Liked idea of winning without direct battles, but didn't take time to learn the unit specializations.
Captured by a nightmare_____Decent first scenario, but then maze on second scenario made me stop.
The rising underworld_____Looked into b/c same author as Voyage of Drake, and seemed like quality story but too long.
The ravagers_____Detailed story, but too violent for my tastes, so stopped after a couple scenarios.
A magicians tale_____I played one scenario, but didn't connect with the unique magic system introduced.
Shattered loyalty_____Played first scenario fight, but it seemed pretty generic.
Invasion of Eliador_____More a puzzle game, and story didn't draw me in.
Dungeons of Wesnoth_____Not my taste to build defenses.
A goblin adventure_____Lost their wolves? Seemed good, but not quite as funny as Grnk/Swamplings, so didn't finish 1st level.
Rebellion in the fields_____Seemed interesting, but again didn't go past first level.
Mage of runes_____Didn't really want to keep track of possible buffs for every unit, though seemed interesting.
Antar son of Rheor_____Difficult first level kept me from investing more.
Return of Sir Charles_____Couldn’t really connect with story taking modern Briton into Wesnoth.
Talentless mage_____Too silly, first level was too long for the humor to keep it going.
Affably evil_____Didn't particularly like taking role of evil dude.
Coming of the storm_____Purely tactical first level, plus seemed long campaign, so didn't invest into it.
Finally, I've read that IftU/AtS, TLU, ANO, OoA, Genesis, Saving Elensefar, the Dragon Trilogy, and TFoB are all good as well, though my impression is that each is probably longer than I'd really enjoy.

Please let me know if you have other suggestions! Thanks.

Edit: Alphabetical list of campaigns presented (recommendations, suggestions)
A beastly tale
A few logs
A goblin adventure
A group in a war
A little adventure
A magicians tale
A new order
A northern village
Affably evil
After the storm
Alariel's journey
Amarantine Stone
Antar son of Rheor
Bad moon rising
Captured by a nightmare
Castle of evil spirit
Chyrospitals
Coming of the storm
Dungeons of Wesnoth
Elvish dynasty RPG
Five fates
Genesis
Grnk the mighty
Hearts of the north series: Melody of Wrath, The Demon of our Ourselves, Ray Among Shadows, Distant Memory
Inky’s quest
Invasion from the unknown
Invasion of Eliador
Legend of the invincibles
Mage of runes
Maurading thieves
Mountain witch
Oath of allegiance
Ooze mini-campaign
Rebellion in the fields
Return of Sir Charles
Rulers of Irdya
Saving Elensefar
Shattered loyalty
Sojournings of Grog
Soldier of Wesnoth
Strange alliance
Strange legacy RPG
Swamplings
Talentless mage
The Altaz mariners
The beautiful child
The dragon trilogy: A Song of Fire, War of the Jewel, Aria of the Dragon-Slayer
The founding of Borstep
The heist
The ravagers
The rising underworld
Three sisters saga
To lands unknown
Trapped
Voyage of a drake RPG (my favorite)
Wild frontiers
Xalzar quest
Zombies: introduction
Last edited by stencil on August 6th, 2021, 4:57 am, edited 4 times in total.
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this game!
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MathBrush
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by MathBrush »

Very interesting!

Have you tried the Ooze Mini-Campaign? It's pretty fun, especially scenario 3 (you could always skip to that one if the first two are too dull, you won't lose anything).
Drake Campaign: A Fiery Birth
Knalgan Alliance Campaign: Drunkards, Dwarves, and Doubloons
Dunefolk Campaign: Asheviere's Shadow
Northeners Campaign: Goblin's Glory
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Lord-Knightmare
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

If you want story-driven campaigns, then you should see the works of fable_lake. His hearts of the North series, though a little buggy at some points, are very good for the story-driven plots. I have played three of them, and they were all quite enjoyable. Felt like I was inside an interactive novella.
vghetto
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by vghetto »

Hi,
Thanks for trying out my mod WF.
May I recommend "The Altaz Mariners" to you? I found that mod to be quite impressive and enjoyable.
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

May I recommend "The Altaz Mariners" to you? I found that mod to be quite impressive and enjoyable.
TAM is quite a nice recommendation. I played the very early release of it. However, it doesn't quite fit into the "short, story-driven" category.
stencil
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by stencil »

Thanks for your comments, MathBrush, Lord-Knightmare, and vghetto! I have not tried any of those suggestions, so I’ll definitely look into them. vghetto, I’ll have to play WF again sometime as well and just choose different starting options. Lord-Knightmare, in looking at your creations, I learned that there are a dozen “Scenarios” on the add-on server that are listed separately from campaigns, so those all seem like great possibilities for “short, story-driven.” So thanks for that discovery!

I realize that I should include an alphabetized list of scenarios, so that if any other people look at this post over the weekend it would be easier to give suggestions without having to read my entire wall of text. So I’m editing the first post to include that. I welcome any other ideas!
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this game!
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

Lord-Knightmare, in looking at your creations, I learned that there are a dozen “Scenarios” on the add-on server that are listed separately from campaigns, so those all seem like great possibilities for “short, story-driven.” So thanks for that discovery!
Most of my scenarios are on the 1.16.x server. The ones in previous servers are either unsupported or broken. Just letting you know if you wanted to give them a whirl. I do have an RPG or two coming up soonish.
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Simons Mith »

@stencil
One tiny thing: what's your definition of 'short'?
 
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by stencil »

Hi @Simons Mith,
Thanks for your clarifying question. I admit I am not consistently strict in length criteria in my reviews; The Beautiful Child is clearly much longer than A Beastly Tale, though I recommend both of them (based on story-length interaction). In general, I'd say a campaign <10 scenarios in length would be 'short,' though even that can be deceptive (e.g. UtBS, where several individual scenarios feel like multiple scenarios lumped into one). So maybe small(er) maps, few(er) units, and few(er) scenarios all contribute to my ideal 'short' campaign.
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this game!
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lhybrideur
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by lhybrideur »

There is a few that I would recommend.
Alariel's journey and Amarantine Stone but they are on 1.12
The Dragon Trilogy (quadrilogy now)
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Heindal »

Thank you for playing and reviewing my campaigns. If you liked the style, you should play 'Trapped'. That was my first campaign and has references in the other add-ons (Five Fates and Strange Legacy). It is rather short and has several endings like Five Fates. It also has a lot of secrets and options you don't 'have' to find them. Also you get a ending score which shows your path in the future.

This add-on is also a reference to the games 'Pet Protector' and 'Project Princess'.
There are also some references to Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Monkey Island and Rpg grinding games.

The problems about several endings is, that the storytelling will always be worse, except you invest a lot of time.
Unfortunately these are all sparetime projects.

Considering Strange Legacy - yeah it is long, the story should end with the defeat of the first boss in Winter City. I than added a challenge for all players, which is Chapter V, where you can play more than just one character and have 'teammates' that could actually develop their skills. Most of the mechanics are meant for hardcore players (such as designing own equipment).
The future belongs to those, who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Developer of: Trapped, Five Fates, Strange Legacy, Epical
Dungeonmasters of Wesnoth, Wild Peasants vs Devouring Corpses
stencil
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by stencil »

Thanks for your suggestions, @lhybrideur and @Heindal. I'll add your recommendations to my list. @Heindal, I especially like the idea of the ending score you mentioned in Trapped to show future paths, as that's been a challenge for me in replaying campaigns (i.e. it's not clear how much of the story I was getting/missing). Keep up the good work!
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this game!
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by Aldarisvet »

Hi.
Well, you missed two my campaigns.
A Whim of Fate and Zombies: Introduction. The first one has 16 scenarios and not an easy first scenario, probably even on Easy (depends on skills and the desire to think about tactics).

But the second one is short. Only 5 scenarios in length but it has 6 option choices in sum for second and third scenarios. It is really easy on Easy.
facebook.com/wesnothian/ - everyday something new about Wesnoth
My campaign:A Whim of Fate, also see it's prequel Zombies:Introduction
Art thread:Mostly frankenstains
stencil
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Re: UMC add-on content: my reviews and solicitation for short, story-driven campaign suggestions

Post by stencil »

Hi @Aldarisvet, thanks for your suggestion. I am sure that I missed many campaigns, so I am very glad for more recommendations. I'll add Zombies: Introduction to the list.

Also, general note to possible readers, I tried out most of the single Scenarios on the 1.14 server over the past week, and my conclusion is that I think maybe a single scenario is a little too short to provide much of a storyline. Although I did like the Dragon Fight scenario and the Scenario with Robots for their creativity. Also, I did indeed enjoy the Ooze mini-campaign that @MathBrush recommended (and made me rethink my Elvish dynasty RPG rating). I haven't tried anything yet from the 1.16 or 1.12 servers that @Lord-Knightmare or @lhybrideur recommended, but I'm looking forward to more great discoveries going forward!
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this game!
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