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Architects of the Realms of Valhalla Discussion and presentation of the maps approved by the ARV.

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Old September 10th, 2017, 09:02 PM
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Map Reviews (only Top 10)

Map Reviews Thread!
Hey everyone! Welcome to our Map Reviews Thread. The purpose of this thread will be to:
1. Publicly post our official reviews on the playtested Top 10 Maps of each Contest - starting with our most recent Uncharted Wellsprings contest.
2. Inform mapmakers which maps have and have not been officially accepted by the ARV for tournament worthiness. This will allow map builders to see what improvements and adjustments may need to be made to their maps in order to make them more competitive/balanced, if they decide to resubmit their map(s) in the Workshop Thread.
These reviews will only be posted after we've completed the playtesting, deliberation and voting that goes on in our private ARV Thread, as sometimes our decisions change over time as we playtest and discuss the maps. These reviews are the final reviews of each map as they were submitted at the time during the contest and after we've playtested them. Keep in mind, some of these maps only have 2 reviews on them even though there are 5 judges. This is because any map that receives 2 or more downvotes is removed from the process.

Valhallan Wasteland Reviews
Obsidian Wastes by @Leaf_It
Sir Heroscape - Part of me wants to stop the tradition of the winning ARV map not becoming officially sanctioned...but this map does have some problems and I'm going to have to it.

1) no LOS blockers. This is a major problem for me. With as high, long, terrainy and lava strewn as it is, adding on lack of LOS blockers really takes away from the competitiveness of this map for me. Melee needs help, and having nothing to hide behind really becomes a detriment for a melee developing army.

2) Terrainy. This map becomes very difficult for melee to develop. Even with 6 squads of Death Chasers starting 5 spaces out of the startzone I was still routed by my opponents marro warriors who were able to pick off half of my DC's before I finally felled them. By that point, I was overextended, out of position and hurting from having lost half my forces. Imagine what Krav, 4th Mass or some other really strong range units could do here. Not only do you have to climb up levels, but once you get to the level 4 lava on one side, you're forced to dip back down to level 3 and then met with another level 4 on the other side. It's subtle, and at a glance you can't really see how it can be exploited, but believe me, when you can't engage a ranged unit while they're ripping through half of your army, you begin to see where the issues present themselves. The center is also an issue. The molten lava prevents (not a lot, but enough) movement through the center. You not only have to skirt around it, but then you have to climb through the choppy center. It's not ideal and all along the way you have to worry about not ending turn 3 on lava which means you have to position your figures down elevation as you develop, thus keeping them from developing over the terrain. It's really a very tough matchup for melee vs. range, and I just can't see this one passing...it was very frustrating to play on.

3) Long. This map isn't actually super long...but when combined with the amount of elevation an army has to scale throughout the map, this becomes a very long and arduous journey for a melee army to develop properly through the map.

BiggaBullfrog - Obsidian Wastes sports a pretty good build. It does a good job utilizing the Marvel set which I always enjoy, and the theme is cool. The lava is used pretty well for the most part, and the overall distribution and flow of the high points is pretty good too.

There are issues with the map, though. The map is very large with a lot of high ground to cover - you have to climb at least two levels to get to the main level of the map and to cross it, and that slows down melee a ton. If you want to cross through the middle then there are two more levels to climb. It doesn't help that the map is wide open, which can't be avoided when your only LoS blockers available are the two ruins. (Admittedly the Warehouse could be shoehorned in there, but not without significant changes). The lava, while used pretty well, doesn't do enough to mitigate range's prowess on the map. There are still plenty of places to sit on height to shoot advancing melee troops, especially if you take lava ground to sweep off the first few troops and then camp on the non-lava high ground.

I also feel that the glyphs are in too powerful of positions. They're right by some powerful non-lava high ground spots, and taking one of those areas gives you just about complete command over that flank of the map.

In the end, the map seems to have an excess of terrain. I think if the second level were removed completely and the start zones were brought in a bit then that would be a great start to helping it. It seems good and I think it can make it there, but in its current state it's too much of a chore to try to move through the map to be much fun, and camping armies get too much of a boon from that.

I vote to inducting Obsidian Wastes. Looks like our tradition of disapproving the competition winner still stands strong.
Dust Bowl by @heroscaper2010
Sir Heroscape - I'm going to go out on a limb here and give this a tentative

I'm not married to that vote, but I do want to state my stance because I'm conflicted but willing to pass this one.

I think the obvious major issue here is that the Startzone is relatively closed off and has height relative to the lower elevation immediately outside. With that said, the highest height is level with the road and therefore does not present an extreme advantage to armies that wait. BUT ONLY because of the easily accessible height in the center and shadow. What I really like about this map is 1) it's theme and 2) it's flow - the whole map is used, it's fun and few choke points. After many playtests I've been surprised to find that the startzones are actually quite a poor choice to get stuck in. The height is accessible enough in the center and well enough defended that the opposing player is within most ranged units attacks unless they are in their mid or back startzone. But that in and of itself may be a concern if the center height is too easy to access and defend because then it would just depend on the fastest units...so I'm curious to hear about others' experiences. So far, it the map hasn't proven to be broken. I like the placement of the glyphs so that it keeps you trying to get a little out of position to grab the bonus, and the treasure glyphs are in a spot that developing heroes can grab it on the way.

My main qualms are still 1) Is the center too strong for fast moving units who can reach height first 2) can a podding army take the advantage over their opponent within their own startzone and 3) Are the battlements too restricting. #3 I just added because I also noticed during play that my first and even second waves of units could climb over the battlements well enough to develop throughout the map, but the units farther back I had to try and funnel onto the road. At times this made them easy pickings for opponents controlling height, and other times it allowed them to rush up and engage. Either way...I wonder if taking out just 1 or 2 battlements on each side would open up the startzone enough to allow more free moving development.

So, like I said...I like it a lot. I have some concerns...but I'm not sure how they stand compared to your experiences and whether or not they need to be addressed by slightly adjusting the map or not. So far, I haven't had terribly imbalanced or broken games, so for now I'll give it an and see what ya'll have to say about it.

Biggabulffrog - Dust Bowl is a really really cool looking map. One of the best aspects of it is what I call the “hype” factor, which is high before, during, and after playing on it. All in all it just has a lot of fun going on for it.

This uses terrain from 1 RotV, 1 BftU, and 1 FotA. That’s a lot of terrain available, and HS2010 does a good job of utilizing it, though there are just a few more pieces left over than I would like. That’s more of a personal thing, though. Overall the LoS blockers and terrain like Shadow and Road are used well, although since the road is so wide it’s usually easier to run through the high ground than take the detour. The pathing works overall - it’s tight and slow at first, but opens up. It does take a lot to develop armies, though. Especially if you want to take the flanks.

The balance on this map is pretty solid. The glyphs are balanced out. There’s a your-side-my-side Treasure Glyph situation, but you have to take a disadvantage to get one by taking low ground. The main balance issue has to do with the set up of the high ground - it’s easier to get an advantage when going to your left than the right. The high ground is more abundant and easier to take. This turns into a your-hill-my-hill situation, and means melee armies have to extend to keep range from entrenching there.

Dust Bowl admittedly isn’t the most strategically intriguing map, but the levels of hype can overshadow that. There are some frustration points, though. For one, double-spaced figures can struggle with all the uneven ground, and with all the battlements it can be tough for them to take the road in a couple points. The amount of battlements can also make climbing and movement difficult. They’re a blessing for the LoS blocking they provide, but it can be a headache for melee to try to climb to an advantage point with all the battlements in the way. It can also be tough for some armies to attack the hill on their right, due to the 4-level barrier that keeps small figures and some medium figures from being able to engage figures on the hill.

4th and Trons also enjoy this map. Pockets of high ground and an easily-defended start zone are great for 4th, and the Trons love all the bumpy high ground where Gladiatrons can engage figures while Blasts shoot away while Raelin sits nearby. Those two are easily the best armies on this map.

I really like this map, and it’s been really difficult for me to reach a decision on which way to vote on it. It’s especially tough because no one thing that I dislike is enough to force a downvote alone. But things like the difficulty of pathing and frustration that the battlements can pose, as well as the obvious advantage of just sending figures to camp on the high ground on the right, make it difficult for me to want to upvote it as well. The dominance of Trons and 4th is also a bit too much to overlook. This map is really really close for me, but in the end it’s just missing that competitive level. I’d love to see it tweaked, but for now I vote to Dust Bowl.

Robber - It's not often that you find a map this unique and thematic. Dust Bowl was one of my absolute favorites from the contest because of its creativity. I've gone back and forth on the map's tournament worthiness multiple times, and it's not easily that I vote

My two major issues with the map are movement and height placement. Both of these have been pretty much covered by previous reviews, so I'll keep it short:

- The battlements are very restrictive, especially the ones by the starting zone. I don't like the bottleneck effect that it creates.
- Units to the back of the starting zone have difficulty leaving

- The highest points on the map are easier to access from the left than from the right
- The map has a lot of height variation, making it more difficult for melee and double-spaced figures to traverse the map

These are some of my suggestions for improving the map:

- Remove the battlements by the starting zone. Rather than having the starting zone on levels 2 and 3, place it on levels 1 and 2.
- Lower the castle top pieces from level 3 to level 2, and the two rock hexes from level 4 to level 3.
- To compensate for the now very flat area by the starting zone, make the level 1 sand area more interesting. I felt that this are is the least used during the games. Units travel through it to leave the starting zone and pick up the treasure glyph, but not much fighting occurs. I'm not sure what material you have left over, but consider adding some height or obstacles.
- Lighten up on the battlements near the highest points of the map
- Move the highest points of the map so that they are evenly spaced on the right and left approaches
- Make sure that after these modifications are made, other important landmarks also have good pathing and spacing

I've made a lot of criticisms, so I just wanted to reiterate how awesome I think this map is. I really hope the map can reach it's fullest potential and be accepted in the future!
Lost Road Marsh by @Leaf_It
Sir Heroscape - After MANY playtests on this map...I have to finally give it a

I agree with Tiranx that the one obvious breaking point is that Raelin can hold the highest spot and cover both glyphs while also being able to have a HUGE LoS Blocker to cover any direct shots from equal ground. That alone is game-breaking for me. Other aspects I didn't particularly like either was the road and startzone/development. The Road in my opinion was a little cumbersome and didn't provide the kind of movement for my troops I'd normally like. It helped a little bit getting a few units out of the startzone, but didn't sustain a very strong flow of development. The other aspect was the startzone. It has no major issues, it's just that all my games seemed to lag because of how it took longer development out of the startzone with all the elevation and especially for units on the 6 hexes of land who have to go down into the swamp and then back out. for 6-move figures this map develops just fine, but 5 move figures struggle to develop smoothly after the initial frontline. I think some minor adjustments could be made to help development out of the startzone, but as for required changes, Leaf_it is going to need to find a way to keep Raelin away from that perfect perch for this to be a tournament worthy map.

Tiranx - I was excited for this map because of how the trees created such a unique LoS blocker. However, I have vote this map. Here is why...

Raelin by herself really breaks this map. She can fly to the highest point of the map turn one. In that position, her aura can effectively cover both glyphs at the same time. It is mitigated a little by there being random glyphs, but if one of those glyphs happened to be the defense +1 it would be game over.

A dragon could just as easily abuse that same strategy. I have a few ideas how to mitigate those problems, but I will leave that for the Workshop if it goes that direction.

Biggabullfrog - I was going to do some playtests on this one this week, but you guys beat me to it. But you found basically what I felt would be wrong with the map. I've tinkered with this kind of map before, and the dice fest that it turns into on either side of the central obstacle is just a huge turn off even without Raelin camping. Other pods and "come at me armies" just rock it as well with supreme control over all the important parts of the map.
Ticallan Tower by @Sir Heroscape
Biggabullfrog - On the whole, Ticallan Tower is a solid map. It makes good use of the SotM and FotA sets to make a good sized map, and while the pathing/flow of it can feel a little awkward at times (especially when getting out of the start zone), it doesn’t get congested. Plus it has impressive aesthetics and implements Jungle pieces as well as the central tower well. It is a little long and I wish it was just one or two hexes shorter to let armies get to each other more easily, but that’s a minor nitpick.

The balance of the map itself is good. It seems a little better to try to develop units to the right because the pathing is more open, but if you invest to the left you can get some really strong holds as well. I was concerned about the Glyphs. The positioning is good to spread out the action, but because they’re so vulnerable they need to be on the stronger side or units won’t go for them. This is especially true in Melee v Range setups. Personally I preferred a pool of Move, Initiative, and Defense glyphs were best - when I tested with other glyphs common in tournament use, they just weren’t good enough to warrant attention.

This map has a lot going for it as far as excitement goes. It looks exciting and gets players wanting to play on it. In game there are a few points that can get frustrating, such as Raelin being able to shut down a whole half of the map, but on the whole that’s unavoidable, and clever play can mitigate those frustration points.

The gameplay here is solid, too. While it can seem that powerhouse armies like Rats Raelin Range, 4th, and ’Trons can dominate on this map, opposing armies can use the tower to their advantage to get close and flank the opponent, focusing more on strategy than just chucking dice. I can nitpick that the gameplay isn’t the most dynamic I’ve seen, and it’s limited somewhat by its low height variance, but it is solid and capitalizes on strategy, which is good.

Overall a solid map with solid gameplay pushing solid strategy, I vote to induct Ticallan Tower.

Nomad - We got in a total of four play tests on Ticallan Tower with units ranging from M-43s and Mariedians, Shades of Bleakwoode, MacDirks and bonders, Heavy Gruts and Bonders, a dragon and Krav. And I played a bunch of Water Elementals with Zaiken (a NWHC figure who bonds multiple WEs). The WEs love this map! I am all for maps that help Water Elementals (they still lost, but it was fun for a while).

The map is fairly flat, but with three levels of height. It can play fast side-to-side on the road. The map was fair and balanced to all eight of the armies we tested. No singular unit type seemed to have an advantage. The glyphs are well placed.

Would I set this map up at one of my tournaments and be confident that I wouldn't hear grumbling about unfairness in regards to the map for the players? Yes.

Nomad votes

Robber - My initial opinion of Ticallan Tower before building it was that it was a bit flat and uninteresting. However, it's grown on me a lot since I started playtesting it.

Overall, my biggest complaint is the lack of height above level 2. Given the available terrain, there's not much that could have been done about this, but I feel that even a couple tiles on level 3 would make the map more interesting. That being said, the map is definitely well designed to make up for this. There is a surprising amount of height variation due to the placement of the water and swamp water tiles. Even though there are no highly desirable places to grab height on the map, each player is still incentivised to move towards the middle due to the glyphs and some of the level two height.

I really like the dynamic created by the castle tiles that stretch across the map, and in particular, the castle tiles on level two. I've got a couple concerns with the placement of the battlements, but nothing too major. Overall, the map feels balanced and tournament worthy.

My vote is
Ruins by the River of Vitality by @Tankyteemo
Sir Heroscape - I've played multiple games on this map and have decided to it.

It's been actually a really fun map to play on, and it's not so terribly high that you can't move through it quickly. In fact, you can move through it with your army deceptively fast. Couple things bring it down:

1) All the battles I played were completely in the center of the map and on the banks of the river. The entire map was rarely used because the low ground swamp is so - relatively - flat that you can develop your army really fast across the center you would almost rather give up the height in order to gain map control as well as glyph control. Because the focus is so central, you force your opponent to counter with similar tactics in order to get in attacks, therefore leaving the outside of the map basically untouched. A balanced map should not play out like that.

2) the embankments are an issue against range. this was an initial worry for many of us, and it is proved here. While faster moving squads may have an easier time of it, they still suffer from the difficulty of reaching ranged figures just a few hexes up the embankment. The height is just enough that a strategic and skilled player can stay relatively untouched while at the same time ranging their opponent to pieces. the initial movement to the other side is very quick, but it's a bit of a deathtrap trying to get out to reach an opponents figures. I love this for casual play, it's a fun map...but doesn't belong on a tournament table the way it's designed currently.

Biggabullfrog - When I first set out to play on this map, I thought it was going to be a quick and easy down vote. It's so large with such a height difference between the middle and the sides, I was ready to just play a few games with 4th vs melee to break the map and be done.

My games, however, were shockingly close. Melee was doing really well, and even winning some games. So I switched tactics, figuring a Rat Raelin Range Pod could easily claim a bank and hold it. And that worked mostly, but melee armies were still doing really well at contesting the ground, and proving the map to be much more balanced than I thought. What's more, where I thought this map would be a boring camp-fest, I found it to be really fun, making for exciting games with interesting strategy and action. I found myself really impressed with the map. Tankyteemo did a good job of balancing the strong high ground by limiting how many figures can start on each side of the map; going left is a better move and has better defensive positions, but you can't fit as many figures on that side. Going right is easier due to the amount of figures you can start on that side and the easier elevation, but is balanced by the ground being relatively lower than on your opponent's side.

Something still wasn't sitting right, though. Something felt off, and I kept testing to find what it was. In the end, I found a couple problems with the map.
The middle is terribly open. The LoS blockers do a great job of keeping start zones safe, but figures in the middle, or figures that need to cross the river to get to range on the other side, are out in the open with nothing to hinder Ranged figures from picking them off.
The riverbanks are really steep. Climbing out is a pain, and there's no way to speed it up. If there was a piece of road connecting down into the river or just easier elevation changes, that would make it easier to get up and out to attack other figures.
Wannok isn't good enough on this map, in my experience. It's position is too weak. You usually want to use Wannok to pull camping figures off of their perches by doing damage to them over time. But if Wannok is in a place where ranged figures can easily shoot it from height (which they definitely can on this map), then ranged armies are more than happy to let you take the glyph because you're both giving up hill control and giving them an easy kill anyway. In order to justify holding the glyph on this map, I think it needs to be something stronger like Gerda or Astrid that will help in fighting uphill to take the banks.
While I'm at it, I'm not a huge fan of how this map uses RotV, but uses less than half of those hexes in the map. The build is good, but if it could be reworked with BftU or MtCB, or something else, I think it would better the build. But that is a very minor note comparatively.

So while the more defensive ranged armies I was playing weren't over performing on this map (they were definitely strong, but didn't feel unbeatable (oh, and due to the steep banks, Blasts/Glads still rock this map)), aggressive ranged units (mainly cleanup units) shine too brightly. They can attack figures in the open easily and use elevation changes to their advantage to keep from being attacked. I did really enjoy the map though, and where I began thinking I would down vote it quickly, I ended wanting to up vote it. As is currently, though, I feel that it's just a little too easy for ranged units to get too much value on it.

It's really, really close. But as-is, I vote to inducting Ruins by the River of Vitality.
Swamp Fire by @JaesShurrig
Sir Heroscape - This is a hard one for me to vote on cause I actually really like it. It surprising flows well, and the games I've played on it have been very fun. It was not as broken as I originally thought, and I'm not sure it's BROKEN yet, but I'm definitely sensing it needs some work. There are things about it that don't necessarily break it for me right now, but I think just need some adjusting. First off, the whole right of the map is very narrow. The lava river really cuts off movement and development out of the startzone, as well as the jungle bush. There is literally 1 hex to move through the right of the map and that causes a lot of issues because you're also forcing the player to sit units on lava over there as well, which doesn't activate till the end of the round, but it still deters them from wanting to develop units that way. The rest of the map actually develops really fast and easy but that was definitely an issue. Aside from that, the lava also acts as a natural barrier with which ranged units can sit behind and pot shot other units while running away. This usually happens more late game, but can still be a problem. I honestly think the easy fix here is taking out one of the middle lava hexes in that river and replacing it with a swamp water hex. The lava terrain on this map is unique. Instead of on height, it is on the low ground. I actually like it because it really changes the way you traditionally play with lava. Now you play it like it really is supposed to me, hiding on height while it heats up below you. You run really fast across it to jump up onto a safer spot. I kinda like that, but I can see the issues with it as well. It gives range an advantage if they can get set up because they can force melee to take engagements below them AND while they are on lava...that's not good in my opinion. WITH THAT SAID, that actually didn't happen too often during my games, and I think that was because the map flows fast enough that melee do have a chance to engage range before they get too established. But, there is the issue of the center. I think it's okay...but not great. It's a little congested and is especially wonky with the lava next to the 3hex height. I don't like that and I can see that being a really good campy spot for the ranged units that get there first and can hold it. So while I like this map and overall it's pretty good, I think there are just a few things that need to be altered or worked on before it's ready for tournament tables.
for me

Biggabullfrog - I'm happy to say that this map surprised me in a lot of good ways. Looking at it before testing, I was thinking that it would just be a range fest of terrible proportions, due to the lava on the low ground and jungle on the high ground, and that melee wouldn't stand any chance on it at all.

The map works a lot better than I was expecting though. Melee had a decent time against most ranged armies, and the high ground, for the most part, isn't terrible to contend. However, as usual, the main gameplay issues came from the super competitive armies.

With a 4th horde, you can get your men on the highest ground in two turns and shoot for days, doing enough damage to your opponent's army that by the time they take you off that center rock 3-hex, you'll win any battle of attrition for the rest of the game. Rats and Gladiatrons are also excellent at screening key points to make it so if your opponent wants to make good attacks on you then they have to stand on the lava and take extra damage. Since a lot of ranged figures have a really easy time of shooting the glyphs, it makes these camping strategies that much stronger, and you can usually keep Raelin in your start zone without moving her if you just focus on those defense areas by the lava.

It's a lot more fun than I was expecting, and I would play casual games on this map for sure. But competitively, it's not there. The jungle doesn't help advancing units enough - it only helps if you're already on high ground. The lava helps instead of hinders camping armies. And the pathing, while not terrible, is just off enough that it doesn't help developing melee enough. But it sure is beautiful and fun, and a lot closer to great than I expected. I'd really like to see it reworked. But for now;

I vote
Forest Fire by @rednax
Sir Heroscape - Yeah after many many play tests on this map I’m going to it. I want so badly for us to upvote a map and get them passed, but it I think there’s value in keeping a high standard and being picky because we want these maps to be considered competitive enough for solid tournament play. This one “feels” balanced for the most part but each time I play it I keep getting a “bad taste in my mouth” and I’m not sure why. But after a lot of playing and some careful scrutiny I think I have decided why this map is getting a downvote from me.

The main thing for me is flow. It’s subtle and deceptive but this map creates some flow issues. The majority of movement and conflict is on the roads, and that can be an issue on this map when the roads are narrow and at certain points can be clogged up...especially down near the 4-hex tree...it’s especially a nightmare down there at times. Another thing is the lava. I really like lava as a height option to discourage camping, but I also believe strongly in lava being more dispersed to allow safer movement through the heat. I think this map does a little too much lava on height to the point that I avoid it until it’s absolutely necessary to grab a quick height attack or force an engagement. I like lava being used as hot stones where you jump between/across the heat and take height when needed, but a whole hill of lava causes me more to avoid it and just skirt around the edges. This proved to be the cases in many of my games, where the center height was only utilized sparingly for the risky or unexpected attack.

My last thought in this was the distance between Glyphs. I believe that Glyphs should be positioned in a way that the holders (or units nearby) can quickly traverse across the map to contest the other side. I particularly look for this for Wannock because Wannock plays such a huge part of the endgame that units farther away should be able to get back in time to contest someone camping out on the glyph. This map isn’t terrible, but it is noticeable that it takes 2-3 activations for Melee to reach from one side to the other from glyph to glyph. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if Wannock weren’t so easily protected. Not only does a figure HAVE to access the glyph from the road to get a height attack, but it only takes 2 figures to block off the way to the glyph holder (one on the water and one on the road) this then requires the opponent to try and wrap around the tree to hit on the other side which takes time and potentially futile of the opponent just repositions to protect the other side. It’s an excellent casual map...but there are enough issues IMO that I don’t think it holds for a competitive tournament map.

Nomad - Forest Fire by @rednax is an intriguing map. I like the aesthetics, the theme, and the hexagonal shape. But, after four play-tests on Forest Fire I do not think it is tournament worthy. First to the Wannock glyph has a pretty good chance of holding it throughout the battle. There are four choke-points between the lava and the road wall that slows or prevents movement from side to side. Figures toward the back of the start zone often need two turns to get out of the start zone while potentially taking attacks from height. In one battle, Zelrig bombed deep into the start zone on the first turn with no chance of being attacked by a melee army in their first move. Zelrig also got off a second Majestic Fire with some success and the battle was pretty much determined after turn two of the first round as the Greenscales took control of the road and the glyphs.

I think with a few tweaks to this map it could work.
Cracked by @superfrog
Sir Heroscape - Only played on this map once, and I had Glads/Blasts which you would think would rip through on this map. They should have, but I was too eager to take the center, and the lave burned through half my glads over the course of a couple rounds. Had I been more patient and set up a little better, I would have decimated the melee army I was fighting (and I was for the 1st half of the game). This map lends itself to too many tight corridors, especially in the center. Even with the lava, the games are very sluggish on this map and movement is tight and difficult to push forces through. That alone doesn't make the map completely broken though. What DOES is the shadow path. I didn't realize it until I was watching that same podding guy playing 10th Reg on this map during our NHSD tournament. This map is perfect for a Startzone pod. What he did was put Marcus in the center of the startzone 7-hex next to the shadow and then surrounded him with 10th reg. During gameplay he could sit there and shoot to the center of the map (even with just 6 range). This wouldn't be so bad except that his opponent never even engaged that position! All he had to do was put one figure somewhere along that shadow path to cut off any chance of reaching him. Even if they did engage the 7-hex startzone tile, there's still them attacking up and only one figure can get there. If there were other ways to attack the position it wouldn't be so bad, but if a figure blocks the shadow, the only other path to that position is all the way on the other side of the startzone. You'd have to fight through the other side of the startzone to reach the position, all the while being blocked off by water, lava and a narrow shadow path. This is exactly how that guy won. He stayed in his Startzone and waited, and then ripped through his opponent.
I vote

Biggabullfrog - After a couple games on this map I found Sir H's insight to be very on-point. Whoever has the range wins this map since there's no compelling reason to leave the area immediately out of the start zone. Even though the map is small, it takes a deceptive amount of movement to cross it. It takes so long for melee armies to make their way across the map that at least half of them will die on the way, and by then the ranged army will have had a good defensive position for a few turns. I really wanted this map to prove me wrong, but it just didn't even come close. The pathing is too slow and engagement points too weak for it to be any good for melee.

I like the concept, but for me. I'd like to see it reworked though.
Icy Crevasse by @cmgames
Sir Heroscape - I think this map is one we don't really need to playtest to see the broken aspects of it. I think it's appropriate to just vote on this one as is. I witnessed a pod army handle a strong Heavy Grut army at our NHSD tournament just by sitting in his startzone on the 7-hex height position, and that was enough for me to realize this map with it's height in the startzone is just too broken as is.

If we are in agreement to just vote on it...I give it a
BiggaBullfrog? Robber? Tiranx?

Robber - Agreed. I like the concept of the map a lot, but I don't think it is balanced enough to be fair in tournament. A well-played pod can decimate most melee armies.

Biggabullfrog - Yeah... Campers wreck this map. Heavy Snow makes it difficult to develop armies with any sense of urgency. Armies can try to make a beeline through the middle to take out campers, but that's a gamble, and definitely not one in favor of the melee army. The three routes across the map are narrow and easily held. At best it's a dice grind battle of attrition that's not strategically involving or exciting. At worst it's a straight-up slaughter for whoever has the longer range. It's pretty enough, but unfortunately doesn't have the gameplay needed for tournament play.

I vote to induct Icy Crevasse.
Valhallan Wasteland Inductees:
Ticallan Tower

Uncharted Wellsprings Reviews
Spoiler Alert!

Last edited by Sir Heroscape; February 10th, 2018 at 05:07 PM.
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