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ARV Maps - November 2017

Posted November 1st, 2017 at 07:00 AM by HS Codex
Updated December 1st, 2017 at 11:00 AM by HS Codex

Map Spotlight
Desecrated Mine, by R˙chean
Author: BiggaBullfrog

Time for another ARV Map Spotlight! This month we’re going back to our first contest, “Ruins of Valhalla,” for an excellent map by R˙chean: Desecrated Mine.

Map Bio:
Only the fossilized remains of a once mighty hive are left to mark Utgar’s subterranean attack. The hive was unleashed through an underground breach powering forth into the dwarven mines and dungeons, leaving behind only death and destruction. The attack left the mines unstable for any further excavation and compromised the dwarves’ stronghold, leaving it in ruins.

Start Zones:
The start zones for Desecrated Mine are spread wide. With a pool of water and a wall blocking the middle, a player has two realistic options for exiting the start zones: right or left. Either way will take units to the road, high ground, and glyphs, so a player can feel safe going either way, which is a good thing: having one route out of the start zone stronger than the others is a common failing in maps.

One thing I like about the start zones on this map is that they give a slight punishment to horde armies. If a player has more than 16 figures in their army, it will be considerably more difficult to get all of them out. Definitely not impossible, but to do so while retaining map control will be harder, which is a good thing, as, with the small footprint of this map, swarm armies could easily control it. The nature of these start zones helps mitigate that control.

Glyph Placement:
The glyph placement on this map consists of two power glyphs on the edges and two treasure glyphs on the road. While standard, the placement works, with power glyphs drawing action towards the edges that wouldn’t otherwise see play. They also balance out the more powerful high ground towards the center of the map, meaning a player can’t just camp in one spot of the map to win the game. The treasure glyphs give a small bonus to heroes on the map, though picking one up can leave that hero open to attack.

Line-of-Sight Blockers:
Desecrated Mine features a lot of line-of-sight blockers, and they’re implemented well. Some are used as obstacles on the highest parts of the map to limit space and visibility of those figures standing there. The hive in the middle of the map also helps cut down on ranged figures’ power, making them have to move if they want to hit advancing figures before they get established.

The smaller trees and outcrops are spread across the map. While there’s only so much you can do with those smaller obstacles, they are still placed to limit line of sight of figures standing on the highest points of the map.

There are four levels of height on this map (well, five, but the fifth consists only of line-of-sight blockers), and it makes for an interesting progression through the map. The start zones are on level one. Level two is a sort of transitory level that leads to glyphs and the road. Level three then mostly consists of the road hexes, and level four features small groupings of hexes that provide the strongest points on the battlefield.

What I like about this is how easily the map flows from one level to the next. It feels natural as you progress, and the movement is rather fluid on this map—there’s not so much difference in levels that you feel restricted when getting around. When you need to circumnavigate the map, the road gives you a quick and easy way to do so. The road also runs past most of the height on the map, making it easy to assault enemies who are holding those spots.

The height feels balanced here. No one point is considerably stronger than another. The highest points in the center give the best shooting options and are the most impactful, but the height on the edges protects glyphs (or allows a player to attack glyphs with a bonus), while having line of sight blocked by trees and outcrops. In play, the action can flow freely from one high point to another, lending to the dynamism of the map.

The pathing on this map offers a lot of options to the players. First there is the decision to exit from the right side or the left side of the start zone. From there, more options open up: figures can run straight onto the road in a beeline for enemy figures, skirt the edges to grab glyphs, climb up to one of the high points of the map, or even switch directions to the opposite side of the map if reinforcements are needed there. The multiple path options allow fluid gameplay as figures skirmish across the map. Since everything is easily accessible, the action happens quickly, and players don’t feel frustrated while getting their figures into the fray.

Desecrated Mine features a lot of excellent mapmaking attributes in practice. It’s fun, thematic, and is worthy of being considered in just about any tournament map pool. It’s not perfect, as there are some spaces that seem irrelevant (most notably the lowest shadow spaces in the center—there is rarely a reason to enter them as it’s so hard to climb back out), but such minor flaws can be found in any map. On the whole, it’s an excellent map with dynamic gameplay. If you haven’t already, give it a shot! There’s also a scenario available in the build instructions that you can try out as well, with one Marro army taking on two other players.
Total Comments 3


Sir Heroscape's Avatar
Great review Bigga! I love this map as well. I still remember our championship round on that map where I couldn't friggin' kill those nasty CUTTERS! haha
Posted November 3rd, 2017 at 01:42 PM by Sir Heroscape Sir Heroscape is offline
Scaperedude's Avatar
Good stuff! I'll have to try this map out!
Posted November 3rd, 2017 at 03:19 PM by Scaperedude Scaperedude is offline
BiggaBullfrog's Avatar
Yeah I remember that game Sir H! It remains to be one of my favorites.
Posted November 3rd, 2017 at 10:58 PM by BiggaBullfrog BiggaBullfrog is offline
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