This is a map that I made when I first started playing AoW. Somehow it survived on a disk for over a decade! And I'm just now deciding to post it up on here. Better late than never..
||TS Standard Rules
A quick summary of the story is that the different factions have repopulated the banks of a mighty river after an ancient war had wiped out most of the inhabitants in the area. To make things more complicated, an evil is stirring in the depths.
I've play-tested this twice before with astounding results. The AI seems to have somehow figured out exactly what I wanted to achieve. While engaging in diplomacy or waging war, everyone will have to deal with the undead hordes seeping from the earth and destroying everything.
I purposely left out the underground minimaps. Anyone is free to look around on the editor but playing it first without knowing where everything goes is a lot more fun. There are haunted caverns of treasure, passageways to friends and enemies, some easy, some more challenging, hidden inlets, and teleporters connect lands in various ways. There are a lot of random encounters to be had, but not so many that you can't travel anywhere. Let's just say the lone Elven archer scout can't just wander into the forest without companions.
And finally, to end this tiresomely long description, I put work into making things look as nice and organic as I could. Hope you enjoy!
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My Game Setup:
-Playing as Undead
-Allied Victory on
-AI all CPU Emperor and Normal
This is a very slow map. Towns are few and far between, and the terrain is such that it is slow moving. This gives the AI a HUGE advantage, which is perhaps a good thing. I found that the Emperor-level AI was able to quickly build up forces and upgrade towns, while I was producing nothing but archers (and the occasional battering ram) for the first 50 turns.
This is pretty good I think, though it's hard to say with only one play. Some races get hooked up with more isolated starts, like the Dwarves. I think the Orcs are hamstrung by having to start on an island. They get a shipyard, so the intention is for them to expand by sea, but the AI doesn't do this well, and a human player would have precious little cash to devote to a navy. The Orcs can go underground, but it's also slow and the AI doesn't explore/expand very effectively.
This looks like a unique map to me.
Map Design: 3
I liked the effective use of teleporters. I like the large body of water in the middle, separating the map. However, I made several edits to the map (after playing it). For example, I added a few more towns and resource points, so that a human player wouldn't be quite as starved, and I think it will encourage AI expansion. I tweaked the wizard towers so they won't offer life/death summons. The evil races bought the gold dragon spell and were summoning them, only to have them keep deserting. One of my pet peeves are dungeons guarded with lvl 4 creatures that only offer average rewards, so I tweaked those to match up.
The opening story was nice, but signs and message bubbles added to the map would be cool. I added a couple myself. ;)
Some odd interactions played out on this map. As the Undead, the Highmen repeatedly were offering peace to me. The offered early, when I was pretty weak, and a couple times after as I was getting stronger. The Orcs and all other non-evil races declared war on me outright. I didn't feel like I had stabilized my territory until about turn 50 or so. I lost count of the stacks of titans I fended off with just archers. At the moment (game is still ongoing), I'm countering stacks of astras with demon stacks, and it's not going well, as you might imagine.
[UPDATE:] The game ended up going 174 turns. The Highmen were offering me peace all the way to their end, which was so weird. The orcs never went far, even though they weren't harassed much except by a few astras. Goblins didn't fight anybody, but couldn't figure out how to get beyond their starting area. I think the Lizards need to be toned down some, as they have a very strong starting position and a big advantage with their swimming ability for expansion.
[Edited on 09/19/12 @ 10:29 PM]