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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 February 18th, 2019, 01:54 AM
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The Scroll of Rocky Mounds

By Leaf_It

Download, (Download)
Required sets:RotV, RttFF X2


Map Bio -
They had not taken kindly to his passage. He was certain they would be following him, though he hadn't seen anyone. In an instant he felt the ground rush up to meet his face. A large flat rock jutted out a little higher than the rest right where he had been running. Quickly he darted around a rocky mound, and behind a tree to rest for a moment. Then he saw it. Just barley visible in the moon light, the glistening golden gleam on a newly unearthed treasure. Had He accidentally discovered something powerful?...


Ok, first impressions for this map. The build itself was straightforward and the map was plenty stable. The only piece that has any chances of falling over is the ruin in the middle, though it stayed up throughout all the games, including the one against my 7 year old. Visually the map looks fairly entertaining. The games on this map progress fairly quickly utilizing the roads. The road tiles dominate how this map is played, The road tiles make it to where the glyphs do not get taken and stay taken until endgame when one side has established dominance of the middle. The team that captures the middle can take and hold the glyphs. The other team has to then fight an uphill battle and either has to take hits from height while trying to knock figures off the glyph, or engage the enemy figures on height. Between taking glyphs or taking height, in my games the characters always took the height. Extra attack dice are better than really anything if you have to pick. Every game played was a fight to takee the middle bits around the ruin, but once that was taken, victory went quickly to the side that took it. Even though it looks visually great, it wasn't too exciting for me to play on. I played 4 different games on it, with competitive tournament builds. There aren't any bottle neck areas from what I've seen, and there is plenty of room to move figures forward. They just seem to get the best out of moving all figures down the roads. There are a couple of perches through the middle. If you can get a ranged dragon on one of the middle two hexes it can sit there and devastate while guarding the glyphs. The road is easy to get onto, but to keep the bonus it funnels your troops down a specific path. While not a bad map, I was not super excited about it while playing on it. The two hex pieces in the middle on height can become roosts for ranged dragons or figures like Q9 where they are hard to kill and control the map. Once those spaces are taken, it went down hill for the other team on most of my games. The figures trying to take glyphs were too easy to kill from the highest point of the map. I vote for this one. The biggest reasons were the middle areas dominating the height on the map and the glyphs at the same time, along with the two hexes that can be easily defended by a 2 space powerful figure with range. Also with the road paths it really keeps the battle focused in a couple of places. The sides of the map are not used until endgame when one player takes the middle of the map.

Sir Heroscape
This was actually one of the first maps I playtested after the contest. It's taken me a while to get a feel for it. At first, I didn't like it and felt it was too long and open. While there are some nice shooting lanes, there is plentiful height to grab to get extra defense while marching across and the road helps to speed things up. It was also nice in that if you took one side of the center, it was very easy for the opponent to sneak around the other. The potential raelin perch outside the startzone is not only engageable by road, but it's also not in a great spot because on this map it really only covers a small area. I like that. This map really discourages podding because of the glyphs that are so far out and the road and height that advancing armies can use to their advantage. I like that. It's a really neat map, it looks good, and after a long time of growing on me, and numerous playtests, I'm gunna give it an for induction.

One of the first things noticed about Rocky Mounds is that, while large, this map makes good use of the road and relatively flat terrain to allow easy movement across it. Figures can get where they need to be fairly quickly, and combat is allowed to flow easily. The start zone allows for smooth development, but the pathing out of it does matter, so the wide nature of the start zones means that placing becomes a tactical choice when deciding how to develop your army. I view this as a good thing, since maps that encourage clever start zone placement always get a bump in my eyes, but the terrain is forgiving enough that it won't ruin your game if you place sub-optimally.

This map takes a unique approach to the "strong hill in the middle" kind of map by putting a ruin in the middle of it. The hill is also fairly exposed, with a lot of routes leading into it to allow assault. The ruin also means that if one player takes one side of the hill, the other can utilize the blind spot to maneuver into a position to attack it, and one of the glyphs will be safe from enemy fire. The LoS blockers mean that players can stay out of sight until ready to attack the enemy, and fights for the hills become strategic games of positioning.

My main concern for the map were the pockets of height scattered close to the start zone. The level 2 pockets are countered by much of the rest of the map being level 2 as well, so while ranged figures can camp there, their firepower is limited by position and level. The single hex, level 3 rock hex was concerning, however, as Raelin could sit there and give defensive bonuses to figures on the other level 3 pockets nearby, making a strong pod that had at least one glyph in easy shooting range. In my games, however, the ruin on the hill again proved to be a great LoS blocker, along with the trees, to allow figures to "sneak up" on the pod by sticking close to it and moving close before charging in. Figures trying to camp were just about blind to that whole half of the map, and there was plenty of room for counter tactics.

This map has just about the right amount of plays and counter plays. My games felt interactive and I enjoyed them. I vote to induct Rocky Mounds.

We conducted six play-tests on Rocky Mounds. Before starting play on this map, I feared that the central high-ground surrounding the ruin where ranged figures or a dragon could pick-off the opposing army with ease would be the downfall of this map, but I found that melee-based armies were able to easily contest that area and that access from the opposing start zone could be cut off in the first round. The map is solidly built, fairly pleasing to the eye, and has no bottlenecks. Side-to-side flow is fair with the site blockers via the two longer road paths or the shorter path through the rocky mound. The glyphs are placed in decent locations and difficult to hold – this is one map where the best strategy may not be to go after the glyphs right away, which is a nice change from most maps. There are a number of battlefields that use this terrain combination – Rocky Mounds is just different enough. To be honest, this is not one of my favorite maps and some of the battles might be uninspiring, but the question is: Is the map tournament worthy? The map meets the criteria I consider when selecting tournament maps and I would not be disappointed to see it at a tournament regardless of the army I brought to play. I vote for Rocky Mounds.

Last edited by Sir Heroscape; October 31st, 2019 at 01:12 AM.
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