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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 October 19th, 2017, 09:31 PM
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The Scroll of A Couple Puddles

By Leaf_it

Download, Online Game
Required sets:RotV, RttFF, Marvel


Map Bio -
The ruins of a once great yet unknown city lay scattered about. What once stood here, was likely built to harness and protect the powers of the wellspring. It is not known what caused the destruction. All that remains are a couple tiny puddles, though some small amount of power still remains to be claimed.


I couldn't find any major flaws in this map from my first look at it. After the first play test I still couldn't see a lot of problems with it. The road allows melee figures to close quickly with ranged figures trying to pod on height, so that was a major bonus to this map.

With that play test, I started to become concerned that the map was too small. A lot of the maps we have seen lately have been really large. So much so that armies are forced to spend multiple turn markers just moving closer to each other. This map however is the opposite of the that problem. The elevation changes can help balance that a lot unless a figure has flying. So, the next concern was that turn one a dragon was most likely to get a shot off on turn one.

Sir Heroscape and I purposely set up a game to try and break this setup. Nilf and Greenscales faced off against some slow moving knights. Using some tricks with Raelin and Eldgrim, That strategy was easily counter-able. My concerns were quickly resolved and with some other play tests, I feel very confident giving A Couple Puddles a vote for tournament readiness.

I really like this map a lot actually and did not get bored playing on it multiple times. Nice job Leaf!

Sir Heroscape
1 - The entire map gets used. This is a big plus for me when a map can get both armies running around the whole thing, fighting back and forth for position and having a fun time while doing it.
2 - Glyph use. I LOVE Dagmar in this map. To be honest, there have been few maps I've been excited about Dagmar on, but this is one of them. With the tight, close quarters there is always bloodshed and positioning is key, so Initiative becomes quite valuable. Because it's at such an easily contestable and accessible position it's both worth the risk to grab as well as worth the risk to jump down and contest. Really became a key factor in some games as you grab the Initiative end round so next round you can run up the hill and engage troops, or further fortify your position. I'm OKAY with the random power Glyphs on height. I'll admit, I'm not crazy about the potential for a ranged pod to take height and have a power glyph in their back pocket, but it is random, so sometimes it's not worth it. Also, you've got to take the risk and activations to get there and sometimes that's not easy on a map with almost perfect equidistance from the highest point.
3 - Height. There are few maps that get as high as this one does and remain balanced, but I felt it did! The elevation changes are gradual enough that it's not terribl y difficult to move right up and either to gain position or to contest your opponent. Initially my concern was great because of the height domination factor, but melee armies perform quite well on this map as they can develop just as quickly as any ranged pod and get to height at about the same time (depending on who went first). The road is also well placed to assist quick development of melee troops and I didn't feel that they were at a terrible disadvantage.
4 - Size. This is a fun and exciting map because it's a little bit smaller than your typical tournament map, and so the conflict is raging even within the first round. My concern with its size was that a 6move dragon can reach the highest point turn 1 and blast the Startzone or an army on their way up. This is a concern but doesn't prove (yet) to be a game breaking one. Extending the dragon that far out alienates your protective wall of Greenscales (assuming your bonding with them) and can leave the dragon pretty vulnerable unless it manages to max out on its attacks. And like I said, the map is small enough that a melee army can run up the side Fairly well and the road speeds em up even more to fight back quickly.

So overall, while I still have a couple concerns, they haven't proved to be fatal, and I enjoyed the games on this map enough that the balance was strong and no game-breaking features seemed to present themselves.

If nothing else, this map is simple. High hills on the side with a road going through the middle. Simplicity by itself is neither good nor bad, so does this resubmission to the ARV have what it takes? Let's find out on today's episode of Read-Through-Bigga's-Overwinded-Review! Or just skip to the end to see where the thumb is pointing. I don't really care either way.

Looking at the build of the map, Leafy-boy does a good job of boosting the height on the map. There are a lot of holes on the lower levels, but they still solidly support the height on top of them. It's also fun to have a map utilizing the Marvel set, and those extra hexes aren't wasted. The pathing is pretty open, allowing easy access to all parts of the map, the one main chokepoint being if you try to exit your startzone to the right, as well as the middle area with the trees and glyph, but those are pretty open chokepoints and the map flows pretty well (unless you have a horde trying to climb the hill to your right, but going around the ruin both ways helps and it's not a terrible headache, though admittedly not my favorite part of the map either). The aesthetics on the map are simple in a way that I really like. It gives off the feel of a dried-up area that Leaf_It is trying to portray. A kind of once-lush-but-now-barren hill that opposing armies are fighting for control of.

Looking at the map tells you pretty quickly what you need to do on it. Grab that high ground! Granted, that's pretty much how it is on most maps, but this one has the added benefit of the high ground being higher than on most maps with glyphs nearby. While the map is so straightforward that it seems to limit how much strategy plays into it, there is actually a good amount of decision-making that needs to happen as you decide whether to storm a hill for a strong position or try routing your opponent's forces by utilizing the road. Or you can try to be super greedy and take both hills, but I found such tactics to generally fall through hard. The Initiative Glyph in the middle gives you a point of interest as you fight for initiative switches to gain an advantage.

I tested a lot of army archetypes on this map as I was particularly worried about the strength of the hills with glyphs on them. Nothing says "uber strong point" like getting height advantage and a glyph. I was naturally mostly worried about strong ranged armies with good map control - 4th and 'Trons and such - being able to take control of a hill and win with no contest. I was happily surprised to find that such a feat is more difficult than I thought, as most melee armies can reach the high ground at the same time as the ranged armies while using the road to cut through to get at the reinforcements. It's by no means an easy fight for the melee player, but it's not easy for the ranged player either, and the action feels even.

That said, I did have an issue with Nilfheim+Greenscales. Both Raelin and Nilf can get to the highest points of the map in one move, with Greenies coming up from behind to support them. I played this scenario many many times, eventually getting so played-out on this map that I had to take a break and test the rest of the maps on my list. I found that strong melee armies like Heavies and Knights can go toe-to-toe with the Nilf/Green (or WinterGreen) army, and that it's by no means impossible for them to win. But it is kind of a headache when you're swinging at figures with 7 Defense dice. I spent a lot of time thinking about this one, but in the end I decided that since the issue is only with Dragon/Raelin armies, and that most other armies aren't pure melee like the ones I was playing, and that all my other games had been fun, and that the all-melee armies do still win about half the time, that it was a headache worth ignoring in this case.

There is one technical issue that I have with the map in that there is no space underneath the two water spaces. I have, however, talked to Leaf_It about this issue, and pointed out how he could rearrange a couple hidden hexes to put some support under the water. Since the change won't impact the play of the map at all, and he has agreed to make the change, I'm letting this issue go by. (Other judges, I'm just now realizing I never brought this up to you, but Leafy should have an updated PDF up soon, or if you inquire, I can let you know the specifics of the change and you can deem for yourselves whether you like it or not.)

Last edited by Sir Heroscape; October 30th, 2019 at 10:34 PM.
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