Posted on 04/29/04 @ 02:35 PM (updated 05/10/04
|# of Scenarios:
||Empires: Retail Release
1805; Napoleon Bonaparte has declared himself Emperor and created the Marshalate, to honour his most trusted and talented soldiers.
Meanwhile, the European countries unite to get rid of him, and form the Third Coalition.
It is up to you, and your Marshals, to steer away from diplomatic and military disaster and forge an Empire in Europe that will last. Take on the major European powers of the time (8 powers represented) as Napoleon, and dominate Europe through military might and diplomatic cunning. Make political decisions that can mean the difference between alliance and open war, and lead your forces in battle against enemies you can only hope to beat...
Change history forever; will you avoid Napoleon's pitfalls, or try them anyway, and see if you play the game of war better than the Emperor!
- Difficulty levels are different
- Accurate map of Europe, ~30 cities represented
- Unique diplomacy system
- Unique command system: control your Marshals, who in turn control the troops
- Computer Players use different attack routes and armies to wreak havoc on your nation
- Austria, Russia, the United Kingdom, Prussia, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the Kingdom of the Netherlands are represented and can be interacted with
- Train 4 basic units (Fusilier, Voltigeur, Lancer, Cannon) and 5 additional Unique Units (Red Lancer, Yellow Lancer, Imperial Guard Grenadier, Latvian Fusilier, German Fusilier)
- Force your erstwhile opponents to become your Vassals, and receive Vassal Troops
- Napoleon gives attack boost to nearby soldiers
- And that's not even all...
Move the "Pawns of the Empire.ssa" file to your ActivisionEmpires: Dawn of the Modern WorldDataCampaigns folder.
My thanks goes to many testers, and I was inspired firstly by Hank and Midgard Eagle by the idea of having a Marshal lead an army and the new troops training method.
I owe a lot, too, to the numerous testers who thoroughly played this scenario, gave hints, tips, noted bugs, and gave me general advice. Thank you,
Mechstra, Talon Karrde, Adder, Hank, xLpx, NathraX, iNtRePiD, and First Crusader (who pointed out a bug shortly after release)
- Fixed error in message, where it said Russia in stead of Prussia
- Added Victory Cinematic
- Added extra English invasions on Hard Difficulty level
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
The playability was good.
==changed later after update, bugs are gone now==
The English kept attacking me, but I held them off every time. I made an attacking army with 6 marshalls, and a defending army in Paris with 7 marshalls. I think thats the best way to play this campaign.
The Spanish were good fighters, but with a big army I defeated them.
Creativity was great. Not only the subject, the Napoleonic Wars, but also the diplomacy idea and the recruiting triggers impressed me. Well done here.
Map Design: 5
You've made the map by hand. Great job!! I couldn't make it so nice by hand.
At every feature of the campaign, you gave excellent instructions. Keep on the good work, Kor.
Woad Creations keeps surprising me. How many hours have you worked on this one?
[Edited on 05/05/04 @ 12:49 PM]
I've always been a fan of strategic decisions than tactical ones. I'd rather move around 10 army divisions on a large map than direct the actions of individual soldiers. Pawns of the Empire moves in that direction, giving you direct control of Marshall's who command their own armies. While this doesn't give me full, 100% control it does allow me to concentrate on the strategy of maneuver.
The strategic system works remarkably well, both economic and militarily. Reminiscent of an old favorite of mine, "Command HQ", cities are the focal points of military recruitment. Every 15 minutes you can recruit new troops to rally around a Marshall. At first this feels like a very long time, but as the game progresses it will come around faster than you'll realize.
Since you cannot control individual units you must rely on maneuver and force in order to win battles rather than micromanaging the AI to death. This works well on a number of levels. For one, it reduces the ability for the player to take advantage of the AI 'luring' and 'picking' away units. Two, it forces large congregations of units to fight it out which was indicative of combat in that time era. Since most of the first half of the game you'll be fighting two or more wars at once you'll be spreading your armies thin. On a number of occassions I had to pull together scattered forces and time an attack on an enemy army in order to defeat them. Overall the combat was enjoyable from beginning to end and Derfel did a great job on making a 'new' system within Empires work so well.
I did run across some bugs though, which kept me from giving this a 5.
EDIT: While my previous bugs that I listed appear to have vanished, I did find some new ones. I defeated Prussia twice, but the chat message said "Russia" when they became my Vassal.
It didn't seem that Russia attacked me at all. This is either a bug or playability issue. I defeated Austria, and about 54 minutes into the game I eventually went to Russia and defeated a very small army near Lviv which gave me victory over them.
Two Marshalls (Augereau and Lefebvre) didn't get the speed bonus, and were still at 13 causing them to lag behind everyone else. Despite these minor bugs, everything else is spot on with the gameplay (Besides for balance, listed below). Playability is now a 5.
I played exclusively on Hard and thought it was just the right challenge for me. It took me almost two hours to complete, and I had to load a save only once (due to a possible bug). Nevertheless, it was still a good challenge and I'd imagine novice and casual gamers would get a decent challenge from the other two difficulty levels.
One issue on Hard though, was towards the end of the scenario. I had vassalized Austria and Russia and was at war with Portugal, Spain and England. Even though they'd occassionally get large armies, the time between attacks and the large amount of troops I received from Austria and Russia (Not to mention the troops I recruited from my own cities) made it near impossible to lose. This wasn't a huge deal, but the ending was a bit anticlimactic. I noticed the English would get discouraged quite often, but it would have been interesting to see them try one last offensive (Based on how powerful France is getting).
EDIT: I noticed there was a Pop Cap implemented in this recent version, however I still found that I had ample troops from mid to end of the scenario. The toughest portion of the war is always Portugal and Spain, and since Austria and Russia always war with you first the gameplay generally flows in the same direction each time you play. Beat Austria, then Russia...then dabble in other countries like CoR and Prussia before attacking Portugal/Spain. No matter how many troops I have, I always end up getting beat out of Spain/Portugal (which is fine), yet they never leave the Peninsula to follow up their successes. This allows me to build up maximum troop strength again and invade. This happens a couple times until Portugal/Spain give in. The player can never lose at this point, however, because the only threat to your country is the sporadic English landings which by this point are easily destroyed each time. Balance score still stands at 4.
I have to give this a 5 because it added lots of new features and rules that made it very different from a normal Empires game. I personally enjoy seeing these kinds of scenarios because it really makes good use of all the trigger options we have in the editor. At the extreme end of the spectrum, we have the tools to really make a whole new game within a game and Pawns of the Empire is an example of that. The AI, while not superb, was adequate for the scenario and considering the myrriad of possibilities within the scenario it's actually quite good.
Map Design: 5
THe map of Europe is very well done. On top of that, the author claims it is a hand-drawn map and not an elevation file. Well done! It's quite daunting looking at a blank map and attempting to carve out a realistic looking map of europe from it. The cities, mountains and forests all did the countrsides justice and seemed to be placed at or near their historical counterparts. The Alps, for example, are high and congested for travel. "High" as in, higher than the rest of the level, as their aren't any huge mountains or anything. I can't dock points for that though, as it's merely an aesthetic and would probably cause pathing problems if anything.
The story backdrop is you, as Napoleon, taking France and conquering all of Europe through total war. The scenario instructions at the beginning were clear enough, and the help text in the objectives box was in-depth enough so that I could easily understand anything that I may be confused with (or had forgotten about). I do like a good cinematic though, and would have liked to have seen one as a reward for finishing the scenario.
EDIT: The inclusion of country descriptions is a plus and just adds to the already informative objectives at your disposal. Nobody should have trouble understanding this scenario. It isn't enough to increase this to a 5 though (My previous rating was a 5, but should have been a 4).
EDIT-FINAL REVIEW: The difficulty on hard is considerably hard now, posing a formidable challenge. Balance remains the same though, for reasons I stated above. It also has something to do with playability, as every game starts the same (War with Austria and Russia) which normally means the quickest way to win the scenario is to beat them (Then declare war on them again ASAP to make them a vassal). Once Austria and Russia are defeated, there really isn't any reason to mess with any other countries but Spain and Portugal.
The addition of a final cinematic has raised my story/inst. score to a 5. It really helps cap off an outstanding scenario and making it feel like a complete work.
A superb scenario that really alters the rules and gameplay of Empires into a new experience. I would love to see more scenarios like this, but due to the high trigger and design skills required for these kinds of scenarios this will likely be the last one we'll see for awhile. It may not appeal to hardcore RTS'ers, as it takes away their ability to win through unit micromanagement, but in my opinion that's what I enjoy the most about it. :)
[Edited on 05/23/04 @ 11:46 AM]
(Insert Playability analysis here)
Playability, i can't say much, it speaks for itself, and if you've played the game you know what i mean, and if u have't, stop reading this and play it.
(Insert Balance analysis here)
Although some countries like Portugal and Spain get more infantry than the player does, the ability to use cannons and cavalry balances it out.
(Insert Creativity analysis here)
Derfel has really shown creativity in this map in portraying what Napoleon had to do, face alot of guys and win. Derfel has developed a new system of controlling units, and the Foreign Diplomats is a great idea.
Map Design: 4
(Insert Map Design analysis here)
The terrain could have been more detailed, but i understand that the maker wasn't trying to advertise the beautiful scenery in Europe
(Insert Story/Instructions analysis here)
The instructions are, in my opinion better than the ones in either of the Admiral Yi, General Patton, or Richard Lionheart campaigns, and they are easily understandable.
Additional Comments:Derfel, the map is great, i can't think of a way it could be better, if more detail was added to the terrain, it would make some areas of the map untraversible, and would take out many of the different routes the austrians and russians take when they attack france.
Pawns of the Empire
Pawns of the Empire takes a lot of creative ideas and meshes them together into an unforgettable playing experience. The campaign begins in 1805 just after Napoleon has declared himself emperor of France. You are given control of Napoleon and his marshals and through them you are able to lead vast armies. The goal of the campaign is to bring all of Europe under your continental system and under the heel of France. This goal is accomplished through war and politics.
[ Playability 4 ]
Placing the player in control of an empire and making them feel as if they are in control of an empire is a difficult challenge, but Pawns of the Empire pulls this task off in superb fashion. The campaign is able to accomplish this task in numerous ways. Firstly, the ability to annex and vassilize your neighbors really helps to give you the feel that you are a power hungry megalomaniac out to forge an empire. The whole system actually made the campaign a bit reminiscent of the game play found in Europa Universalis II. Secondly, the fact that you control your armies via marshals helps to convey the fact that you have only a loose control over your armies. This loose control, though it did help the game play along it also hindered it in several ways. One of the major problems about controlling your armies via a marshal is that it is impossible to retreat from battle. While this is somewhat realistic it removed a large part of tactical engagement out of the campaign. Once you enter an engagement you are pretty much stuck in it. Lastly, the use of the town centre in Paris in order to get upgrades and maps every 15 minutes was a nice touch that helped to convey that empire feeling.
Unfortunately, while playing this campaign I did run into a few bugs. The first bug I ran into was one that had plagued me during my beta testing of this scenario. After I vassilized the Confederacy of the Rhineland after their revolt I was unable to receive troops from them. The second bug is really something out of the designers control so I will only mention it as an annoyance and I will not take it into account in the final score. Units tend to be left behind a lot. Sometimes units tend not to follow a marshal or any marshal. While this isn’t a big deal, it can be highly annoying. In my run through the campaign I had 4 cannons outside of Paris that refused to move, considering how valuable cannons are I was fairly irritated.
- The Confederacy of the Rhineland vassilization bug
- The implementation of some system to pull units of battle
[ Balance 5 ]
I am somewhat of a wuss so I played this campaign on medium. I found medium to be fairly easy. This tends to be the pattern in campaigns easy is really easy, medium is easy and hard is hard. I am not sure how long it took me to finish the scenario as I didn’t play it all in one sitting and game clocks are notorious for being completely wrong. I would estimate that I was playing this campaign for at least two hours. Two hours worth of game play for one scenario is quite substantial.
This campaign has a massive learning curve to it. The fact that you have to move your armies with marshals, capture cities and engage in diplomacy would be incredibly daunting to someone new to RTS campaigns. The instructions are highly detailed and more then sufficient but the learning curve is still quite large. Due to this learning curve I would have a hard time recommending this campaign to players that are new to RTS games and new to campaigns. This campaign is more for the veteran scenario players out there.
[ Creativity 5 ]
This scenario oozes creativity. There is very little about this scenario that is not creative or impressive. I could spend pages rattling off the various impressive and downright creative aspects of thus campaign, so in order to shorten this already long review I will look at what I thought was the most creative aspect.
The most interesting aspect of the campaign would have to be the vassilization – annexation system. If you choose to annex a nation you are able to receive more armies in the long run, but the chance of revolt is a lot greater. If you choose vassilization you do receive as much in the way of armies, but the chance for revolt is greatly diminished. When dealing with your vanquished foe you often have to take into account your current situation in order to decide what is the best route to take.
[ Map Design 5 ]
This campaign takes place on a map of Europe that is fairly well done. The map is clean and design seems to be catered towards allowing lower end systems to play through the campaign flawlessly. That being said the map is lacking slightly in the eye candy department. It is always a toss up to decide whether to go for more eye candy or to limit the eye candy for the lower end systems.
Map Design Improvements
- Eye candy for higher end systems
[ Story/Instructions 5 ]
The history behind the scenario is nicely set up and the instructions are more then ample. There is a lot of information that has to be conveyed within the scenario and the author manages to convey all of it.
Like I said earlier Pawns of the Empire takes a lot of creative ideas and meshes them together into an unforgettable playing experience. The ideas within this campaign are highly ambitious and the author pulls them all off flawlessly. However, as I mentioned before the learning curve is a little daunting for this scenario so I warn those of you who are new to RTS games and scenarios in general.
Edit: After reviewing an outline of Europe in comparison to an actual outline I have decided that the outline of the map is indeed sufficient and I have adjusted the Map Design section accordingly.
[Edited on 05/18/04 @ 03:52 PM]
The playbitly is awesome, everyhitng in this campiagn is so perfectly done
The balnace is sweet, because yes you start at war with 3 people but they all do nt attack at the same time, one thing that pissed me off was that i declared war vs portugal and then they got help from england also like 15 mins after war with portugal spain revolted so i had a huge problem down there other then that Purfect.
Yeah creativeness wasn't all that special , jk, this was a sweet scn and you just came up with this, I LOVE anything that happens while the U.S.A is still growing, 1700's to 1900's is my time period so this scn is the best one i have seen bewteen those time periods.
Map Design: 5
WOW! you made this map by yourself, must of took a long long long time,so thats why i'm giving you a 5
the instructions were pretty clear to me, to dominate all countries, especiall united kingdom, spain, and portugal.
Wow! this is the Best Scn on the face of the planet earth, I liked everything about and 1 thing I think you could of done, you could of made Napolean as a moveable character, thats my opinion ( try my war of 1812 Scn's out PLZ!!)
It's good though too short. And by my opinion you should have put in the Ottoman Empire. I saw that you have made such a player but you didn't turn on the needed triggers for the player to be active. What happened? What changed your mind?
Map Design: 4.9
Very good map. Though you could have made Egypt too.
The instructions are good but some things aren't mentioned.
But above all this is still the best scenario I've ever played in EDOTMW including the original ones.