Random Map Contest

World Desert Championship

Submission deadline Wednesday, 7. April 2021, 14:00 UTC

Results

Pag – 29.3 Points 1st Place
by Zetnus

A barren windswept archipelago where sheep and goats struggle to find food between the rocks, and villagers scrape together and existence farming and fishing where they can. Map features: -Line formation: odd vs even numbers and lower numbers are closer towards the center -Close starting resources; only 1 boar and only 2x2 stone. -Stone gold and relics on the western islands -Forests and deer and a small amount of stone on the eastern mainland (connected by shallows) -Moderately low fish density

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.6 / 10.0 8.4 / 10.0 9.0 / 10.0 4.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- both very unique and very good-looking
- also the only European submission, so it basically is a must
AlgernonR
Interesting concept with the two bodies of water and feels like it should allow for different approaches and decision making when it comes to civ choices and player positions. Testing would be needed to actually test this though.
patito
Competitiveness: 10
Well balance resources. A hill Infront of the flank of each players, two bodies of water that lead, each one, to a different type of resource. And, of course, the concept of Flank-Pocket-Far Pocket well applied
Complexity: 10
Several things can be done here. Ultra agro on land or the opposite: walling the main land and go full water. The passes to the wood land on the extreme make possible to send some villagers to that resource, even if you lost that body of water.

Originality: 10
I think I never saw the Flank-pocket-Far pocket concept on an hybrid map like this one.

Visual appeal: 4.5
Really well made aesthetically. Love the cliff descending into the see from the main land
biz
strengths:
- different incentives to focus on west vs east. different tradeoffs between using fire ships and longer-ranged ships.
- limited fish seems to strike a healthy balance between water & land (for 3v3)
- if water ends up being too important, disconnected seas provide a natural balance to the game. it’s tough to win one side without losing the other
- defending the front is not complete safety. unlike maps with a single sea, transporting could be more possible than usual (because it only requires controlling a single side)

weaknesses:
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time
- it may be tough to scout the enemy if the middle gets clogged by walls. not a big flaw, but just an additional concern for a map that already starts off without an exploration component
- doesn’t seem like the most interesting layout for land warfare (particularly in a 1v1 setting). seems to lack incentives to control water in 1v1. extended fishing, getting extra minerals, and denying wood all seem much more attractive/effective in 3v3. the tournament is mostly 3v3, so this doesn’t impact the score too much

other (no impact to score):
- the pathfinder leaks information about whether the enemy has walled the rear shallows or not. military maneuvers might be frustrating for players if the middle is walled off and the shallows aren’t (units will path around the entire eastern map, possibly when you don’t want them to)
- it seems difficult to counter (or even detect) whatever the rear players are doing. the balance will be okay because it applies to both teams, but the game tends to work better when disruption is possible. with limited judging time, it’s tough to say for certain what those tactics might be, but the lack of normal disruption (eg. attacking) is dangerous territory
Ornlu
Really funky-looking map. Kind of interesting tbh. I am always curious to see maps with vertically-aligned teams. Shallows at the edges make late-game trade a possibility to some degree. Still, standard-ish resources at the start help the map’s competitive viability. Players would likely hate it, but I think it’s cool.
Ounianga – 27.4 Points
by MangudaiBOT

A beautiful oasis in the middle of the harsh desert, don't let its looks fool you, this place is completely SAVAGE. The lake has 2 fish per player and shore fish, fishing will be a useful boost to your economy, but by no means necessary, additionally, the islands in the middle have a few gold piles and relics that might come in handy in the late game, galleons and cannon galleons will also be able to range a large part of the oasis. The oasis area is home to most of the map's wood, and is also where players, and their starting resources will be located, control over this area is extremely important, a layer of shallows around the lake will make it difficult to wall, but a dock can do the job. The outside desert is a hilly area, which makes it a strong position to hold. Since all extra golds and stone are located in this area, controlling it might prove itself valuable long term. There are four muddy areas in the corners of the map, they are home to zebras and boars, this is a great amount of hunt, however, the hills in the desert and their exposed position make them hard to defend.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.3 / 10.0 7.7 / 10.0 8.0 / 10.0 4.4 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- also one of the best submissions in all categories (top 5) for me
- offers some elements that are not represented in the map pool yet
- maybe not 100 % original, but oasis maps can't be, since there already are a lot
- I like that the fish is not too important, and you have the choice between going for the center water or corner hunt
- so in conclusion, this would be my #1 choice for an oasis map and also for Africa in general
AlgernonR
This is a really nice map. The middle pond is nicely balanced with enough fish to provide an eco boost but not too much so it gets snowbally, and the control of it also adds some value to the later stage of the game. The corners create nice focus points. The map looks really good overall.
patito
Competitiveness: 9
The maps invites you to full aggression but gives you the possibility to retreat outside, and play more defensively. I would just had put a little more fish in the middle. Just a tiny little
Complexity: 9.5
you can invest a little in water, or not. You can go aggro or not. You can take the hunt on the sides, or not. Lots of options
Originality: 10
Great Idea to have a map based around a Lake in a desert. It’s more Oasis than the Oasis map that comes in the game
Visual appeal: 5
I was dazzled by the beauty of the corners
biz
strengths:
- the fish quantity seems well-tuned to make the game exciting and to make more civilizations relevant without running into the usual problems posed by water that has short rush distance
- interesting applications for naval units raiding land economies, and transport ships making walls less of a complete defense
- the corner hunting seems to strike a good balance so that it’s a choice instead of a requirement. i like that it might result in scattered skirmishes instead of players just growing their deathballs in the middle, but i have doubts about that occurring very often

weaknesses:
- short rush distances on land restrict what players can do quite severely. there’s very limited counterplay to certain strategies (especially in 3v3)
- not visually obvious whether sheep belong to your team or the enemy’s team
- not visually obvious whether villagers can reach a certain shore fish
- some players can wall (incorporating a dock) and still use the dock to collect their shore fish. others cannot. some do not even get accessible shore fish. having extremely close land rush distances amplifies these concerns
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has similar layouts every time. however, the scattered resources and general danger level of the map could encourage scouting, so that part of the game might be present to some extent

other (no impact to score):
- actually mining the gold in the middle seems like a hassle (sometimes no space for a mining camp)
- due to limited judging time, it’s tough to determine whether players’ starting bases being so exposed to navies is a good thing, but at least it’s fair for both teams
- an anti-stealing rule is critical for a map like this. possibly also additional anti-laming rules
Ornlu
Seems like a very aggressive water map. Hunt makes Mongols probably too good. Gold is going to be almost impossible to take in the middle due to lack of space, but water control should honestly be enough to win you the game.
Thar Desert – 26.0 Points
by Rorrik

A river runs through the Thar Desert, two if you squint. For the sake of balance, we'll squint. With a river behind each team, they are pushed toward the empty central desert and its extra stone. Acacia forests bound the desert, with those forests beyond the river containing rich gold veins, but also a trade avenue for late game gold. The nearby sea has some fish as well as access to the rear of both teams via the river, but the river is dry and therefore wallable while still having space to dock and create defensive ships in the river. The rivers are guaranteed to be fully navigable end to end, to have multiple crossings to the other bank, to have several docking places, and to be wallable at the mouth of the river. Tigers prowl the wooded areas that the players will expand to as their desert-side woodlines are exhausted.

The lowest number on the color on the team is always placed near the water, the highest farthest from the water.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.0 / 10.0 7.0 / 10.0 8.6 / 10.0 3.4 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- just from looking at the map, I can't imagine how it will be played the best, so I am curious about it
- my favourite for the South Asian map
- the visual appeal is high, but a few plants could be added on the shores
AlgernonR
Water control of the main body of water will give huge eco boost and will be easy to hold once won. The map is highly original though and looks cool. I just dont think it will create the most interesting games if played in a competetive setting. I do like it a lot better as a 1v1 map than as a team game map.
patito
Competitiveness: 10
Nice hybrid map. The fact that lower numbers starts near the river makes possible to plan an strategy and picking civs considering who’ll fight water and who’ll fight land, from the very beginning. Back extra golds, forward extra stones and 2 patches of woods. Lots of things to take care of
Complexity: 10
I love the asymmetrical concept. One water flank, one land flank, and one pocket. Different resources located in different places. A natural area for a trade route. Amazing

Originality: 10
It’s really hard to create an hybrid map that’s bot balanced and original. This one nails both things.

Visual appeal: 4.5
Really beautiful map. Love the puddles. It is only missing some camels
biz
strengths:
- presents very distinct choices about what route to take with armies across the map. unsure how relevant it’ll be, but it might make the games feel more like medieval strategy and less like an arcade game
- the lake seems to strike a good balance between being useful, but not the focal point of the game. it’s not obvious how many players should dock and when they should do so. having multiple options is important, especially on a non-random map
- creative use of amphibious terrain, seemingly intended to present situations where forward resources could be safer than backward resources.

weaknesses:
- not much visual distinction between amphibious terrain and land terrain. unclear how many tiles are needed to block off a canal. tough to place buildings quickly in a fast-paced game. what’s the semi-unbuildable terrain around the central forests supposed to accomplish? consider using different terrain choice to improve the clarity and playability
- resource placement issues. sometimes forage bushes & mines are too close to trees. there are ways to avoid this. one team with all forward golds and the other team with a couple safe ones could be unfair if water becomes important (hard to predict)
- hills along the lake makes naval combat very finicky (which gets further compounded by the shore vs desert confusion). is the elevation really necessary?
- the uniqueness of the map is unlikely to manifest since a few tiles of walls can stop the boats, and there are so many places to make backup walls (or a castle) if they break through the first one. however, this is consistent for both teams, so it’s not a fairness issue
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- trade along the map edge seems like a pathfinding disaster (design is fine. just the game engine is not the best). it probably won’t be responsible for any game outcomes, but there might be ways to improve this
- i don’t think a thin ring of trees is the best base layout for 1v1. this seems like a scripting/scaling error, since 3v3 looks okay (there are ways to fix this)
Ornlu
Looks like a solid take on an open hybrid map. Water control is going to be very powerful with all of the fish, but there is still plenty of land to fight on. Interesting choices as to where to put players as you can pick the water flank, pocket, and land flank. I like it!
Kyzylkum (Red Sand) – 25.7 Points
by MightyLancer

The Kyzylkum (Red Sand) Dessert has rich mineral deposits and the world’s largest open pit gold mine. Some of your shepherds have discovered it’s bounty, but have been cut off from you in the wilderness. It will be more than just the large and fierce Desert Monitors you will have to contend with if you are to mine these riches – you are not alone! Local wildlife includes: 2 Wild Boar 4 Goats (and 6 with the shepherds) 6 Berries 3 Saiga Antelope (Ibex) Desert Monitors (1.6 meter long lizards that have a powerful bite) Several Russian tortoise (boxturtles) can be found near oasis hawks, eagles and falcons The map has two areas of interest, the centre has the gold, starting vils and six sheep. Though the Desert Monitors discourage an early vil rush, do not rely on your fence for protection, as it will not offer any. Your TC, hunt and berries are on the outside. Stone and relics along the outside are important for later in the game.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.6 / 10.0 7.4 / 10.0 8.4 / 10.0 3.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- the concept is ver original
- in my opinion its toughest competitor for the region is Valley of Balls and I don't really know for which one I would go, but I think we should not have both
- without starting villagers around the town center, the gameplay will be quite unstandard; I am not sure how well players will like that or whether it will confuse their build-orders too much, if you have to go for boars much later, for example
AlgernonR
I like the unique concept of this map, Im not sure how it will play out as its so different but Im sure there are different venues to take as how to use your locked in vils. A potential imbalance could be how thick the woodline is at each players base, as the corners require more trees to be chopped to breach the forest ring compared to the straight lines. I suppose this should balance out per the teams/players in most cases though and might be a minor thing. Otherwise I like the look of the map and the balance of overall resources.
patito
Competitiveness: 10
Super aggressive map. Possibility for lots of things.
Complexity: 10
From the very beginning I though about several strats: fast feudal and trushing the vills in the middle, going for loom and make a vill war, make the wolf-train into the enemy enclosure… tons of things to do from the very beginning.

Originality: 10
Hard to pull off something more out-of-the-box and at the same time balanced as this map.

Visual appeal: 4
Could use some eye candy, some other terrain or even some other level of elevation in the middle.
biz
strengths:
- middle ring is interesting, but it’s unclear how much impact it has on strategy. some exposed economy is a nice addition
- seems to allow for playing fairly normal games despite having an unusual start

weaknesses:
- not much uniqueness on the outside (which seems to be more important in terms of the game strategy)

other (no impact to score):
- likely has similar strengths/weaknesses as other land-only open maps
Ornlu
Creative concept, but will likely play out very strangely. Villager fights could be likely once Loom comes in. Seems like it would take a very long time to get to the outside.
Arctic Circle – 25.3 Points
by TheMadCADer

Players are in a circle with melting ice on the inside and outside. Fish can be found in the ice and docks can be placed anywhere on the ice as well. Players can take fish with either ships or villagers, but the ice cannot be walled so taking the fish can be risky.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.1 / 10.0 7.3 / 10.0 6.9 / 10.0 4.0 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- we have 3 polar maps submitted, all similar to a degree
- visually very appealing
- but as a geographic location, I would prefer Greenland and/or Antarctica. Possibly the scripts of Arctic Circle and Greenland could be merged, having Greenland take some elements of this (e. g. ice visuals)
AlgernonR
While the minimap is very difficult to read due to unusual colors, the map is otherwise very visually appealing. Especially the ice and water blend is very well done. The map should play well competetively without having any distincively unique features.
patito
Competitiveness: 7.50
Resources are well balanced, but some boar/sheeps might spawn a little too far, taking too much time to scout, and making starts a little too complicated. In addition, players might get close either to the border of the map or to the centre, kind forcing the place to dock.
Complexity: 8.50
Not particularly complex, and although the hybrid terrain opens the possibility to use villagers to take deep-waters fishing. Also, you can either go for the inside lake or the outside ocean.
Originality: 8
Reminds me of continental/nomad, but the hybrid ice makes it different.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Beautiful map. That being said, too much wood in an artic map, seems out of place. Less trees with more wood would have been more appropriated.
biz
strengths:
- the frozen lakes look amazing
- the inside vs outside sea is a well-proven layout, leading to naturally balanced games (it will be tough for a team to get an advantage in all 3 areas: land, inner sea, outer sea). the main originality comes from making the water traversable while still allowing docks to be built there
- the unwallability adds another original distinction between this map and similar ones I have made/played. I look forward to seeing if the 3v3 games are better with that property (i’m sure 1v1 improves, but a position-picking 3v3 has very limited counterplay to certain unit compositions)
- incentives to dock inside, outside, versus focusing on land seem balanced with each other. the map seems extremely well-rounded in terms of rewarding a wide variety of skills

weaknesses:
- wolf placement could be unfair for one team, which becomes a bit concerning on a map where every second and every hit point matters
- not much exploration to figure out where things are and dynamically determine how to approach the map, but there will still be tons of scouting to keep tabs on what enemies are doing

other (no impact to score):
- fish lacks contrast on the minimap, but not a big deal since it’s basically always in the same place
- the traversable lakes unlock extremely powerful builds (villager fishing is extremely fast). it could lead to awkward villager-fighting situations in the middle. if that happens, scouts will join the fight too. wolves and general scouting randomness aside, this affects both teams equally, so it’s not a competitiveness flaw. however, i expect the game plays better when scouts are used for information instead of being monopolized for these potential dark age conflicts
Ornlu
Fairly normal hybrid map, despite it’s odd look. Almost all of the fish being shore fish is going to make fishing eco quite slow. Not much else to say.
Yam Suph – 25.3 Points
by HenkDeSuperNerd

Yam Suph is the body of water which the Israelites crossed following their exodus from Egypt. Players start with a bunch of villagers, a small herd of goats, a camel, and a small hut. They will have to build a town center and establish a settlement, to prepare their exodus through the narrow passage through the sea. A priest (Moses) will lead your peoples, who after seeing the burning bramble bush devoted themselves to the prophet. The priest will be able to heal, but his ability to convert enemy units is significantly reduced (range=1) Starting Situation: Note that it's a nomad start (+275wood, +100stone). You will have +5 extra villagers, a priest and a scouting camel. This results in a 9/10 starting pop-space, after building the Town Center. The priest can heal and convert enemy units, but for balancing reasons the conversion range of this unit is reduced significantly. Sea Corridor: The passage in the middle resembles the sea floor. The terrain is buildable. Since the water is pushed away at both sides, there is an elevation difference, which gives war ships an attack bonus when firing down-hill. Every land terrain on this map is buildable, and docks can be placed at shorelines on a flat surface of water. Resource placement for this map is aimed for competitiveness. Equal amount of forest and equal amount of minerals should be guaranteed, if this is not the case, the map is considered a bugged map. Player objects: - 8 goats, controlled by players from the start - 1 priest with reduced range for conversion - 3+5 starting villagers - a hut that gives +5 pop space - a scouting camel Resources per player: - 1 relic per player - 1 close patch of fruit bushes - 1 close large gold mine (7 tiles) - 2 far gold mines (4 tiles each) - 2 very far gold mine (3 tiles each) - 2 close stone mines (5 tiles each) - 1 very far stone mine (3 tiles) - 2 wild Boars - 1 burning bramble bush, can be chopped down if you don't fear Divine Retribution! (don't worry, it doesn't do anything) Neutral resources: - Equal number of trees, and number of forest clumps for both teams - Fair distribution of fish on the seas: shorefish (200f) in shallow water, Perch in the deeper water (200f), and Marlin in the deepest water (350f) - Fair distribution of additional patches of fruit bushes (far from players) - straggler trees in the desert (palm forest tree) - straggler trees near the shoreline (reeds) - NO WOLVES (or other predators)

This map works in any setting where teams have equal number of players (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4). The map is designed for Age Of Empires 2: Definite Edition (Build: 101.101.46295.0.6421374) If the 'Team Positions' checkbox is ticked in the pre-game lobby, the teams will be placed in position where the lowest number and the highest number of the team (p1 and p7 for example) end up in flank position. If the 'Team Positions' checkbox is NOT ticked, players will be placed at a random position within their team. This does allow players to choose different colours, but it means they won't have control over the position within the team. CAUTION: make sure to pick colours correctly. In a 3v3 that means one team needs to pick the colours 1(blue, flank), 3(green, pocket), 5(teal, flank). The other team will play with the warm colours 2(red, flank), 4(yellow, pocket), 6(purple, flank). Download the zip file in the attachment. Extract it using software (like WinRar). Place the .rms file in your random-map-script folder which most likely can be found by navigating to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\resources\_common\random-map-scripts Make sure the file is named 'Yam Suph.rms' If you want to make changes to the map script for private use, make sure to save the file with a new name. I kindly request not to spread these new versions of the map script without my permission, to prevent confusion among the community. For suggestions, requests, installation help, bug reports or any other map-related questions you can contact me via PM on AoeZone, or message me on discord: HenkDeSuperNerd#3321

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.3 / 10.0 6.7 / 10.0 8.0 / 10.0 4.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- for a different tournament this map would be great
- but it has 2 downsides:
-- the Nomad start, where we already have too many good candidates
-- water control looks like it will be very important, not only economically, but also for protecting your base
-- so as I did not want to see games which will be full of naval battles in the World Desert Championship, I feel that it just can't be included even if it is a great map
Chrazini
Only note I have here is that I don't see the benefit of the nomad start. I presume it's to make it more historically accurate, but I do not think it's worth it. Otherwise incredibly creative map. I love it.
AlgernonR
As thematic as it may be I dont see any gameplay gain by making this a nomad start. The two bodies of water is an interesting concept and the corridor in the middle allows for land armies to pass as well. Although I suspect its a very difficult map to push an advantage on in late game possibly leading to slow lategames. Perhaps adding some advantage to holding the middle passage would be a way to deal with this issue. Visually it looks good although I personally dont like the elevated water even if used as a thematic element.
patito
Competitiveness: 7
While having two separated bodies of water and a stripe of land might seem ultra-competitive, the reality is that once a team has won one of the waters, it’s pretty much over. Then the whole team can concentrate in winning the other side. Or even landing. The middle is easily wallable, and being downhill, is impossible to reach enemy territory through the land
Complexity: 6
I can picture all games being played pretty much the same here. Wall the middle, try to win water. Sneaking a vill seems highly unprovable
Originality: 6
Super original, but at the same time, an RMS based on a myth that happen to be in a different time period seems way out of place.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Really interesting look. I loved the “separated waters”
biz
strengths:
- nice combination of land & water elements that scales throughout the ages. very interesting tradeoffs between trying to win both lakes, just focusing on one, or abandoning both
- needing to control two lakes instead of could allow navy-based (and possibly transport-based) counterplay against players who think walling the crossing is enough of a defense
- best-looking map submission. reflects the theme very well

weaknesses:
- not sure that it was necessary to force attackers to fight uphill. even without the elevation, early land offense might be too weak compared to the other options
- while naval units of all ages seem to be well-represented, i worry that only the later-game land units will matter on this map in a 3v3 setting). the 1v1 version seems to have lots more opportunities to leverage the full array of army options
- the disconnected seas are a good way to balance water, but short naval rush distances still reduce the number of things that matter
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- not much gameplay benefit from a nomad start here. it twists the civ balance a bit, but it’s unclear whether that shift is a beneficial one or not. the extra villagers probably help address that though
- i’m assuming the priest has minimal negative gameplay impact. due to limited judging time, i wasn’t able to make that determination
Ornlu
Water elevation illogic aside, seems like an interesting map. Water control is going to be super important, and that will likely determine the game. 3v3 could make the map play more interesting though as you are going to need to split 3 navies between 2 lakes. Could get campy in late game though.
Sonora – 24.9 Points
by TheMadCADer

Large plateaus in the middle of the map will funnel players into fighting in chokepoints. These canyons contain the extra gold on the map and will be a key area for player to focus on. Players will need to be conscious of the key areas where enemies can push.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.9 / 10.0 7.3 / 10.0 8.3 / 10.0 3.4 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- very original and visually appealing
- since it is very different from any other included map, having some closed map elements, I would like to have it in the map pool, being in my top 3 North American map submissions
- only the vegetation/terrain choices are quite similar to the outer part of Atacama, so maybe the forests can be changed a bit visually
AlgernonR
Unfortunately I dont think the rock formations look all that good en masse, but there is obviously no other way to achieve the map layout you want, so thats fine. The rest of the map looks nice with fitting terrains and blending. I am a bit concerned of the middle, and how these chokepoints would affect the late game. I also think the amount of relics should be reduced, I see no point in adding that many unless the point is to spread them out across the map.
patito
Competitiveness: 8
Outpost generation might be slightly unfair. Some players might get full coverage of their woodlines and/or gold, while the others might get outpost in the middle of nowhere. In addition, the entrance to the “tunnels” might be closer to some players than others. Also, micro the army inside the maze is going to be difficult.
Complexity: 9
Controlling the middle while defending your unwallable base is going to be a challenge for most players
Originality: 10
Having one corridor with all the gold is something that I’ve literally never saw.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Beautiful composition, although the central rocks can look a little funny sometimes. It lacks cactuses
biz
strengths:
- very creative way to represent mines
- dark age struggles for access to more gold in the late-game is an interesting tradeoff, but it’s unclear how well it will play out since trade is an option for 3v3

weaknesses:
- ease of walling the sides could make economic/late-game play too dominant compared to other options. games could still be fun, but this limits diversity of strategies and counterplay
- map is quite similar each time, but not to an extreme degree

other (no impact to score):
- due to limited judging time, if the middle gets walled off as expected, i’m unsure whether people will play this differently from something like oasis (with different wood locations). in 3v3 trade might make the central gold a lot less exciting
Ornlu
Honestly, this map might be interesting if it didn’t have so many relics. It’s not like you have to go through the middle to get to your opponents, but it is the shortest route. It also cannot be fortified too much due to how narrow it is. Yeah, cut the relics and you have an interesting map.
Kalahari – 23.9 Points
by TheMadCADer

Most of the gold on the map is near the players which can be difficult to defend. These areas are cracked terrain, at a low elevation, and surrounded by quicksand. Controlling the rest of the map will result in favorable engagements throughout the game, even if the outside doesn't contain resources that players will immediately need.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.0 / 10.0 6.6 / 10.0 7.0 / 10.0 3.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- competitively and visually good and does fit the real desert well
- however, when looking at other maps that I would wish to have in the map pack, it is unlikely to make it into the top 7
AlgernonR
The combined use of cracked terrain and crater bases is an interesting concept that I like and will force players to fortify the hill in fron of their base and eventually reach out towards the highground. I cant say the map looks very striking beyond that, but it definetly looks nice enough.
patito
Competitiveness: 10
Possibility to expand through the map, but several key areas have to be dominated.
Complexity: 8
I don’t believe there’s a lot of ways for playing this map, but, still the meta seems to be super interesting. Go agro!
Originality: 10
Instead of having to far-privileged location full of resources, you have them next your base… which happen to be in a crater, and in cracked soil. So simple, yet so interesting!
Visual appeal: 4
More eye candy could have been used. Feels a little empty in the borders.
biz
strengths:
- looks and feels like a proper RM map instead of a scenario. Nice!
- very interesting approach to weaken defense and encourage map control
- players can’t just extend their walls as the game progresses. they have to make new ones

weaknesses:
- resources could be a bit further from trees
- map likely has some of the same 3v3 issues as arabia (game balance is skewed towards 1v1s, leading to massive strategic diversity issues in position-picking 3v3s)

other (no impact to score):
- it’s unclear whether the special traits of the map will matter too much in 3v3. it seems like the map has some interesting properties for 1v1, but I can’t raise the score for that because the competition is primarily 3v3
Ornlu
Not the wildest map in the world, but I honestly think it could play fairly well. You are going to be somewhat safe early on, but you’ll need to expand outside of your pit by Castle Age for sure. It does have too many relics though - would like to see that reduced. Other than that, not bad at all.
Antarctica – 23.6 Points
by Zetnus

The world's largest desert is neither sandy nor hot. It is a frozen uninhabitable wasteland covering the continent of Antarctica. Any attempts at colonization require importing wood, food and other supplies. Map features: -Scattered piles of infinite wood instead of woodlines -One granary with 1000 food -No boar or deer -4 starting pigs -Scattered geese -Plentiful fish

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.9 / 10.0 6.1 / 10.0 7.9 / 10.0 3.7 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- we have 3 polar maps submitted, all similar to a degree
- out of those, this one is potentially the closest to the real world location
- but as we already have the wood pile-concept in Umm al Samim, I don't think we need it twice
- what speaks for it is that we should have Antarctica represented, and this one is the only submission for that continent
AlgernonR
Striking minimap, looks good. The "woodlines" i see as an issue though. Apart from the fact that they are straggler removable they also are much smaller and support fewer vils per wood spot. I dont think it works very well in the late game due to that fact.
patito
Competitiveness: 7.5
Resources are (logically) scarce here. No boar can make the start a little weird. Relic spawn can be unfair, since some players might get one nearby that can be reached by land, while other’s players might be forced to make a transport ship
Complexity: 7.5
Pretty straight forward. Open land with some hills, reduced space. And some water

Originality: 8
It seems like a Socotra with water, although due to the nature of the real-world land, not many things can be added
Visual appeal: 4.5
I loved the sunken ship. The granaries look kinda odd.
biz
strengths:
- making the wrong choices spells certain doom. the fish is very tempting though, so there are incentives to spend resources on something other than armies
- navies can sometimes harass resource deposits, so there’s different incentives for fire ships and ranged warships. interesting use of amphibious terrain. however, the map is so open that it’s unlikely for these characteristics along the periphery to matter before one team already gets an overwhelming advantage

weaknesses:
- terrains could be more visually distinct. tough to know precisely how far navies can sail into the mainland. buildability on coasts is also unclear for a fast-paced game.
- it seems extremely difficult to afford things that would need a non-compact economy (or have time to react and produce whatever those might be). i’m wary of anything that encourages even more crossbows in a 3v3 setting. fishing could help address that, but i’m not sure how much people can afford to spend on water on a map this open & with such close spawns. overall, i have doubts about the strategic diversity
- navies being able to range some players’ resources and not others could cause balance issues. geese randomness might be too much for such a punishing map
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- wood is lame-able. map requires special rules?
- it’s unclear how well a pile of almost infinite resources plays, given how poor the game’s villager pathfinding is. due to limited judging time, it’s tough to reach a conclusion about that
- piles of wood aren’t indicated on the minimap
Ornlu
Interesting concept! It is very similar to a map we saw in the showmatch, but I like the idea of the near-infinite wood piles that limit how many villagers can take them at once. The fish around the outside will be nice for consistent food income.
Painted Desert – 23.6 Points
by green eggs

This map takes inspiration from the Painted Desert, a badlands in Arizona, although the end product admittedly looks more like Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Whatever; it's a badlands desert. Badlands are formed by the extensive erosion of bedrock and soils, giving rise to huge canyons and mesas with a distinctive striped appearance. In this map, players start at the edge of the badlands, beneath a forested plateau surrounding the map. Resources are mostly standard: six forage bushes, eight pigs, four deer, two javelinas, two stone piles, but only two gold piles. The middle of the map is rugged and very open, and houses all of the relics and neutral gold. All of the neutral stone, meanwhile, is nestled among the forest at the edge. Players are always going to be extremely vulnerable at the front of their bases, spawning close to elevation with most of their resources forward. While they can retreat into the forest for a more defensible position, doing so will forfeit gold. This map is all about controlled aggression!

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.6 / 10.0 6.6 / 10.0 6.4 / 10.0 4.0 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- might be a map that is the closest to the real world location
- I am unsure about the competitiveness, because I haven't seen it played yet, but originality and visual appeal are very high
AlgernonR
I do like the idea behind this map, but I think for the sake of balance maybe forcing resources forward or balancing the elevation a bit more would make sense. Currently you can have generations which heavily favors one player cause they have back resources and nearly no elevation close to their front. However that nitpicking aside it looks good and is nicely thought out.
patito
Competitiveness: 8.5
The map imposes an aggressive playstyle, where map control is mandatory
Complexity: 8
Players must choose between securing wood or gold. In addition, lots of hills make tons of strategic points to be dominated.
Originality: 8
Gold in the middle, stone/wood on the side is an already-seen concept, but here is presented in a rather original way.
Visual appeal: 4.25
The centre of the map really gives you the sensation of being in the middle of nowhere. Really similar to the real world-desert
biz
strengths:
- mountains look great, both visually and in terms of topography
- seems to allow for playing fairly normal games

weaknesses:
- the mountains are visually interesting, but don’t add too much originality in terms of gameplay strategies
- always being exposed in the same ways limits replayability. even though the map seems random, the strategies wouldn’t differ too much based on that
- sometimes starting resource locations (with respect to amount of safety) are quite unfair for one team compared to the other. seems of special concern for a map this open, although players can still deal with it

other (no impact to score):
- the map seems quite reasonable, but with limited judging time it’s hard to say how impactful the scattered central golds would be. games have to be pretty close for a long time before they’ll matter, and in a 3v3 with this much openness that doesn’t happen often
Ornlu
Not the most exciting map in the world, but not a bad one. Defending your starting area will be quite difficult. Center control does not give anything more than tactical advantage.
Pamir Mountains – 22.9 Points
by Zetnus

A gravelly mountain range in center of Asia, sometimes referred to as the "Roof of the World", through which some of of the northern silk route traveled. Map features: -Players start with a true nomad start -Wood is found exclusively in the mountains where it can be difficult to construct a town center -Overall layout is a random series of flat plains and and a large amount of rocky cliffed mountain areas

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
4.1 / 10.0 6.9 / 10.0 8.0 / 10.0 3.9 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- this one is one of my top 3 favourites
- very original and visually appealing
- as a rather closed map, it is very different from all other submissions
- as I haven't seen it played, I am unsure about the competitiveness, but it does look well-balanced to me
AlgernonR
I dont like the random aspect of the layout together with the nomad start and often very rough TC spots. Vils from different players also tend to spawn very closely together since they can only spawn on the lowland making it far more likely to have players wanting to build TCs on the same locations. I dont see this map as a competetively working one unfortunately. I also dont think the mountain areas look good enough. At a casual level I could appreciate the random nature of the map but I still think the wood options are an issue.
patito
Competitiveness: 5
Veeeeery weird map. I couldn’t figure out where to put the tc. The start is super messy, and the spawning positions might be a little unfair
Complexity: 8
Super complicated map. Impossible to put tcs near woodlines or gold. 100% messy

Originality: 10
Zetnus doing Zetnus. Strange things well done.

Visual appeal: 4.5
Really captures the essence of the rea-life place.
biz
strengths:
- looks and probably plays unlike any other map
- lots of varied map generations. potentially high replayability if it happens to be fun
- rewards good teamwork and communication, but probably not enough to turn big disadvantages into a winning position

weaknesses:
- minimap is extremely difficult to decipher. even after exploration, it’s tough to visually tell whether you can walk somewhere or not.
- very limited counterplay (due to lack of information)
- highly likely to lead to some very unfair games (especially if the map only gets played once). playing lots of games on it (eg. 21) might yield a more competitive result, but that seems like a logistical impossibility

other (no impact to score):
- hard to highlight specific gameplay issues with the limited time i had to look at it. in general, aoe2 is very fast-paced for these kinds of layouts to offer much counterplay. by the time you get information about possible weaknesses (for either side), it’s often too late to do anything about it
Ornlu
Fun concept, but the map has far too little buildable area to be competitive. Also has too many inaccessible areas.
Carcross – 22.9 Points
by green eggs

Carcross Desert, popularly known as "the world's smallest desert," is a dry, sandy area measuring approximately one square mile, nestled improbably among the mountains and lakes of northern Canada. In this map, players start in the snowy mountains, where the lakes, forest, and elevation create numerous choke points. Resources are standard, but watch out for bears! The desert itself can be found in the middle of the map, and houses six relics.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.3 / 10.0 6.9 / 10.0 6.0 / 10.0 3.7 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- like with Central Plateau, I like the creativity with searching for a less known desert and actually making a playable map of it
- the visual appeal is high too
- however, I think it does not fit the tournament too well, since only a tiny spot on the map actually is desert
- especially in 1v1, having that many relics in one spot which is easily accesible can provide very unbalanced games
AlgernonR
While I like the very random nature of the map with the lakes and forest, the fact that they can spawn so close to player bases also can lead to some very unfortunate bases with most golds/stones behind water or forest. I wouldnt mind seeing a version with a bit less water and a bit smaller/fewer woodlines since I personally like a bit more open maps more although as a closed map this one looks really nice. Especially the details on the different heights of elevation looks really good. Do the bears add much to competetive play? No I dont think so, rather they add some luck and restrict the use of forwards and towers. So I wouldnt mind losing them or moving them to specific spots.
patito
Competitiveness: 7.50
Wood generation and lakes/gold position seem somehow random, and might be advantageous for certain players.
Complexity: 8
Pretty straight forward map. Somehow wallable, somehow open. Hilly, so certain cliffs might be highly relevant
Originality: 10
“The smallest desert in the world” it’s a great concept.
Visual appeal: 5
Quite beautiful. The bears, the pines, the snowy hills, the small lakes, everything screams Canada .
biz
strengths:
- looks and feels like a proper RM map instead of a scenario. Nice!
- the relics in the middle provide some incentive to make moves before imperial age, but it’s a very minor one

weaknesses:
- at high levels of play, the ease of walling will make economic/late-game play too dominant compared to other options. games could still be fun, but this limits diversity of strategies and counterplay
- ponds can be unfair, giving some players usable fish and others just 1 or 2 fish. there are ways to improve this
- few distinguishing characteristics besides the relics in the middle. this doesn’t make the map bad, but limits its uniqueness

other (no impact to score):
- consider making the forests a little rounder. the melee/ranged unit balance might be a bit better with fewer pathfinding issues
Ornlu
Quite a jarring map with all of the varying terrain. Lots of winding paths to traverse. Could make walling very strong, and could create some awkward choke points. Interesting concept though.
Valley of Balls (Torysh) – 22.7 Points
by nhoobish

Inside an unforgiving clay desert lies a valley littered with mysterious round balls, perfectly shaped and alien in their entirety. Perhaps there is treasure inside? Time to crack one open wide! The Valley of Balls situates inside the Ustyurt Plateau with its remnants of times past. The clay desert expands and the lifegiving Aral Sea nearby declined now. What once was is lost, but the Ustyurt Nature Reserve tries to give a bigger picture of the surrounding areas before the man-made disaster. A land of semi-desert filled with clay, steppes and sparse shrubbery with a resemblance to Mediterranean climate. The plateau giving abundant ground for saiga and other hardy horned mammals to roam. Cluttered by elevation shifts, depressions and pillars alike that offer the grazers a refuge from potential wolves or jackals that also frequent here.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.0 / 10.0 6.4 / 10.0 7.0 / 10.0 3.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- the use of cliffs and the more spread-out central gold mines make it unique compared to other Gold Rush-type maps
- apart from that it is very Arabia-like and looks very competitive, in my top 3 for a central-western Asian candidate
- maybe some camels and/or rocks/rock formations could be added for more visual appeal
AlgernonR
This map has its merits, I like the overall layout and the dotted lines of gold piles along the middle ridge. The fact that this spreads out the key points on the map a bit I see it as perhaps more interesting as a team game map than a 1v1 map. One big issue I have with the map however is the middle area, a gold rush type map with all the extra stones in the middle tends to be very snowbally as the defender has endless supply of stone to fortify the center and rebuild any castles lost. Its possible that its less of an issue on this map since the gold lies elsewhere but even still I think it could be problematic.
patito
Competitiveness: 7
The only problem regarding competitivity is that players start without sheep nor boar nearby, forcing a weird BO/start (like immediately pushing deer or going for berries). Also, it lacks good woodlines
Complexity: 10
It might seem simplier at first glance, but the central cliffs might be a mayor factor for late game, providing a way to wall half a map… considering your opponent didn’t sent an sneaky vill. Playing à-la-Black-Forest is also possible. And, of course the central elevation with the stones seems amazing
Originality: 10
Super refreshing
Visual appeal: 4.5
It’s not an straight 5 because the real life desert is famous for their ball-shaped rocks, and there are no eye-candy-rocks in the map (although there’re not round rocks in AoEII DE)
biz
strengths:
- very interesting visual use of cliffs
- players can approach the map multiple ways, but it’s unclear whether different strategies will actually interact with each other if it’s just walling vs not walling

weaknesses:
- high amounts of gold and stone in bases make the middle areas less important to fight over (especially in 3v3 where trade is also an option)
- the unique features of the map mostly affect how players wall, which is not the most exciting thing to highlight
- few other distinguishing characteristics that would make the map exciting
- ease of walling could make economic/late-game play too dominant compared to other options. games could still be fun, but this limits diversity of strategies and counterplay

other (no impact to score):
- seems like a completely different map for 1v1 and 3v3 (in terms of wallability)
Ornlu
I will not be able to cast a game on this map without constantly laughing at the name. Not a big fan of the extra forage bushes, but other than that, the map seems alright. Just need to fight a lot for gold control, and getting all of the stone in the center of the map is going to be massive.
Huacachina – 22.7 Points
by TheMadCADer

Wood near the players on this map is very sparse. Most of the extra gold on the map is concentrated around a central pool. Players can control the gold in the late game if they control the water, but they will need wood in order to build ships. Most of the wood on the map is in the corners and very far from the center.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.9 / 10.0 5.9 / 10.0 6.9 / 10.0 3.1 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- there are only 2 submissions representing a South American desert (we want maximum 1), and this one in my opinion is more unique (compared to all other maps from map pack v1 and the contest)
- visually appealing, but not that close to the real desert
- even if it was the most realistic choice, since we already have it on many other maps, maybe the bushes could be changed to a different tree type (e. g. reeds or one of the non-forest tree types/a mix of it)
AlgernonR
While I think adding a late game purpose of water control the map (i.e. holding a lot of the extra golds on the map) is good, I also think it would have to be balanced with a smaller early game benefit then. Now there is a lot to fight for cause of the food boost as well as getting all relics AND controlling the main portion of the extra golds. And the pool in question is way too small to ever come back on unless you manage to build a castle near the shoreline. I dont like this aspect a lot tbh. The corner woods provide nice key areas to focus on though and the map looks good overall.
patito
Competitiveness: 10
Fight for the wood on the borders. Fight for the fish and the gold on the middle. Having only 4 sheep make it even harder. Brutal, from beginning to end
Complexity:7
I don’t see that many viable strategies here. There’re two main sources of resources, and you have to fight for both. While plausible, not going for water seems almost like throwing the game
Originality: 6
The resources on the corners have been seen quite a lot of times (African waters, rockslide, Cross…) Water and gold in the middle is also present in several maps.
Visual appeal: 3
Map seems out of proportion, being super empty in most of it, while having ton of resources in both the middle and the centre.
biz
strengths:
- well-balanced asymmetry. access to corner wood is not the same every game, but it’s also fair for both teams (as a whole)
- the central lake & gold gives water an interesting role in all stages of the game (provided the game gets to those later stages)

weaknesses:
- the map seems very good for 1v1. however, 3v3 seems very restrictive in terms of what you can protect, afford safely, and counter opposing plans with. it’s still fair for both teams, but it may lack strategic diversity. many games will end before the unique and interesting characteristics of the map enter the picture
- short rush distance on water limits the amount of civilizations that can compete for it
- wolf placement could be unfair for one team (only a problem if early docking ends up being the best build)
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- the 1v1 variant seems much more likely to yield a close & exciting game (with more counterplay options too), but I can’t raise the score for that because the competition is primarily 3v3
Ornlu
Seems like a very aggressive water map. Water control also gives you gold control, which seems very snowball-y.
Greenland – 22.4 Points
by cebdos (Miaou)

Greenland is the largest island in the world and belongs to Arctic polar deserts. Some interesting facts: - Although mostly white, it was deceptively named Greenland by Erik the Red to encourage others to join the Viking settlement in the 10th century. - Greenland's today flora consists of shrubs, but there used to be birch woodlands until the Vikings stripped the island bare of its natural forests to build homes and ships. - Likewise, Arctic penguins became extinct in 1844 due to hunting and poaching of eggs. Knowing this, I decided to pay tribute to the former Greenland by including trees and penguins. The map is inspired from the surroundings of the city Tasiilaq (see pictures). It ended as a mix of El Dorado and Gold Rush and therefore is quite standard. There are 4 gold tiles per player, but the amount of golds can be tuned depending on when we want the players to invest into controlling the centre. I could also just put stone instead of gold in the centre and give standard gold piles to the players to obtain a different gameplay than El Dorado / Gold Rush, the possibilities are endless.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.9 / 10.0 6.7 / 10.0 5.9 / 10.0 3.0 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- we have 3 polar maps submitted, all similar to a degree
- but this one has a Gold Rush theme, so we have to compare it to other Gold Rush-type maps too, since we don't want too many of those in the map pack and Mount Bromo already is one; maybe we could also add some forage bushes in the center, to make it more distinct?
- I would like to have Greenland in the map pool, since it is an interesting "desert", with its history of deforestation
- could use the water-ice mix like on Arctic Circle, to make it less of a water map
- if we want to have a more-vegetation version of Greenland, I don't see a reason to use the dead trees. Could be pine trees/snowy pines/green bushes/snowy bushes/autumn trees
- since the penguins are meant to not be that dangerous, I would prefer a higher population, but e. g. reduce their attack to 1, potentially reduce their hp, so it is more balanced, because penguins and auks are not solitary animals
- I think it is too much stone on the outside, especially in 1v1
AlgernonR
I do like parts of the map visually, like the elevated areas, the middle part and the tree woodlines. There are also parts that I dont like however, the dotted stones around the shore line, the plant woodlines, and the deep sea pockets of water near the player TCs feel out of place to me. Otherwise a neat concept with two different clear focuses, the water and the middle.
patito
Competitiveness: 9
Good start. Having the fish under the tc provides a nice eco boost, making possible an earlier dock
Complexity: 8.50
Having to fight both for the middle and the water make the map really interesting
Originality: 7.5
I felt it like a mix of continental and gold pit. Good mix though
Visual appeal: 3.5
I like some part of it (penguins!) but the gold in the middle seems out of place
biz
strengths:
- teams have to balance how much they prioritize land versus sea. big rewards for choosing the right strategy for the situation.
- proven combination of coastal & goldrush that works well due to water rush distance being longer than land rush distance (but without too many original differences from maps I and others have already made)

weaknesses:
- the fish the near town center should be made fairer for all players
- wolf (penguin) randomness might lead to some imbalances (it is already a very unforgiving map)
- tough for players to quickly know whether villagers can gather a particular outer fish or not. probably better to make them only reachable by fishing boats
- map feels a bit artificial and generates extremely similar layouts every time. however, scouting to monitor enemy plans is still healthily represented

other (no impact to score):
- this general layout is basically the archetype of separate land control & sea control. if this kind of map doesn’t play well, the game balance itself is flawed. time will tell what the exact density/efficiency of all the resources should be
- with the past few years of walling nerfs, power creep of position-picking, 20 new civilizations, and removal of lag, perhaps these maps should be made a bit more defensive (for 3v3) than how they were tuned before
Ornlu
An odd map for sure. I really do not like the whole El Dorado start. Low amounts of wood is also not ideal for competitive play. Not an unplayable map by any means, but not one that I think is likely to work well.
Death Valley – 22.3 Points
by TheMadCADer

A cross between Team Acropolis and Bedouins. The high ground is easily defensible and contains much gold and stone and relics. The lowlands contain much more wood and shore fish for food.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.7 / 10.0 7.0 / 10.0 6.4 / 10.0 3.1 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- visually very well-designed
- no other map has the "(Team) Acropolis" concept, which will make this one a unique map for the map pack
- reminds me a bit of Bedouins too, but it still is very different, which makes me excited to see it played
- one thing to consider though is the Nomad start, since we have to decide how many Nomad start maps can be included. 4 would be too many in my opinion, so the question is whether we can add 1 or 2 more; if only 1, I would rather remove the Nomad start from this one than from Pamir Mountains
AlgernonR
I dont think crossing these two maps add much, the nomad start gives nothing interesting to the map. The rock formations on the elevated area doesnt look very good in my opinion and the bedouins lakes are fairly often completely surrounded by a woodline leading to some players having less access to good food sources.
patito
Competitiveness: 9
Start might be a little wacky, and having that many relics so easily could be kinda OP for certain civs (Lithuanians, Aztecs). Besides that, it’s seems a really competitive map
Complexity: 10
Multiple woodlines, possibility to put your tc in your starting location, but with access to a slower source food (berries), but in more easy-to-defend-and-to-wall location, or construct it near to the woodlines and “better” food sources, but more exposed. Imagine multiple strategies
Originality: 7
I really like the relic and the ponds with the fishes, but, as said by the creator, it feels just too much like team acropolis.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Really nice map, although I looked up for skeletons and sculls in the Dead valley, and found none. I would really have loved some more Eye Candy. I loved the rock formation, though.
biz
strengths:
- a map where you actually have to explore to see where resources are and where to attack and where to wall. what a radical concept!
- good risk/reward structure with the scattered food & wood
- seems to reward lots of teamwork / coordination

weaknesses:
- the nomad start seems detrimental here. some players will randomly get what’s essentially an drop site (or two) from it. this might be somewhat balanced by having slightly less farming space, but i don’t think the choice of where to settle is really giving players interesting choices here. and there isn’t any time to evaluate and assess the situation because of limited visibility and the need to basically start building quickly in order to not fall behind.
- large variations in much safer fish & wood (mainly when they spawn behind players) makes some map generations unfair. the sheep-finding / sheep-stealing / sheep-escorting randomness might cause some imbalance, but could also be fine depending on the safety of the other food sources. this is hard to predict
- unit balance (ranged vs melee) might be less than ideal here. mostly a game flaw and not the map’s flaw, but it could be avoided if the forests & ponds were separated instead of intertwined
- it’s unlikely that there are enough ways to beat certain tactics without just mirroring them. the map doesn’t seem too extreme, but the counterplay options in 3v3s are very limited

other (no impact to score):
- pushing deer uphill through the rocks is a pain, but seems like the optimal thing to do in some situations
- the starting scout is okay for 1v1, but in 3v3 the game might focus too much on ganging up on far villagers (and the map seems to encourage having scattered villagers). it’s fair for both teams, so i didn’t deduct points. but for both these reasons, i think the map would play better with a different starting exploration unit
- seems like limited early walling will be effective in some situations, but the coordination and line of sight needed to do this seems pretty high. i think this kind of map would greatly benefit from allied vision being an accepted setting
Ornlu
This map is not competitive. 3 free relics instantly breaks Lithuanians, and the balancing of resources seems like it’d really just promote super campy games. Again, lots of fish also makes Indians super strong. Not very good to play or to watch imo.
Pampa del Tamarugal – 21.9 Points
by nhoobish

A region inside the Atacama desert that has acquired itself a name from a hardy plant that used to cover this vast area. The tamarugo is a bushy tree (felt fitting to use the bush forest for that regard, though it can grow up to 15 metres tall) which manages to persist in one of the most toughest climates of the world. Managing to grow without the benefit of rainfall and even growing on saline soils the tamarugo gets it share of water from dew or absorbing it from the atmosphere and deep groundwater with the help of extremely long-reaching roots. The tree has been vital for the ecosystem with its produce and leaves. For us humans, a source of wood so important that it was almost cut to extinction in the 19th century. Since then there has been effort to replant the tamarugo in increasing numbers to sustain the needs of humans and the wild. Its remarkable traits have caused much interest in the tamarugo, thus causing cultivation of it in countries of different climates entirely.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.0 / 10.0 6.0 / 10.0 6.3 / 10.0 3.6 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- the map design is good, I actually like the line formation, however I think it really does not fit the tournament well, since it is designed in a way that water is very important
- what also speaks against it, is that we already have Atacama in the map pack, so it does not make much sense to represent the same area twice, even if the maps are different
AlgernonR
Water control way too important with fish that will last forever - if you win water early, not only is it easy to hold, it also will give you endless food supply for as long as you keep it. I feel like the fish will have to be reduced drastically. The land part of the map looks fine. Competetive score would be higher if the fish issue is adressed.
patito
Competitiveness: 7
The map presents an excessive amount of resources. Too much gold and possible woodlines, making the game, probably, too long
Complexity: 7.5
Good Hybrid map though, with several of possible approaches. Although fighting for waters is mandatory due to the amount of fish
Originality: 8
Reminds me to certain maps, but I like the spawning locations of TC
Visual appeal: 3.75
It lacks a little bit of eye candy for my taste. Also, the upper part of the map seems kinda “repetitive”
biz
strengths:
- this map doesn’t mess around with small-time features. the multiple distinguishing characters are all important. with huge incentives to prioritize different aspects of the game (water control, land military, land economy), teams would have to balance how much they invest in each area
- very likely that choosing the correct strategy (against an incorrect one) gets rewarded in a big way. however, it’s unclear how interesting the map is if both teams play it well since the large distance between enemies makes it tough to really accomplish anything with a minor advantage

weaknesses:
- takes a long time to travel across the map, so just seeing that an army is being built could be enough to hard-counter it (for example, most feudal units would have to fight against castle age units by the time they finish their journey). it seems to play much better in 1v1 since a single player can’t contest both water and land easily. but in 3v3, the team as a whole can do both
- 3v3 might have some fairness issues with gold placement. if the counterplay to water is supposed to be land offense, then both teams should get similar gold safety (i imagine the team that prioritizes water will more easily be able to defend the area between the TC and the shore than the opposite side)
- in a recent patch, DE kind of soured this map concept with the way villagers & docks interact. hunters can drop ostrich meat off at the dock by switching to fishermen (but they won’t do it automatically). the map design is not really at fault, but i believe enjoyability gets reduced due to this bug/feature
- some key RM skills go unrewarded (particularly in 3v3) since the map has extremely similar layouts every time
- the sea looks a bit too artificial with completely straight lines separating deep / medium / shallow water. some jaggedness or terrain blending would help

other (no impact to score):
- the food along the shore in the middle is nice, but it’s unsafe from both water and land. i doubt it’ll play a big role, but i like that it’s there as an option
- i’m more optimistic about the 1v1 version having multiple viable strategies, but can’t raise the score for that because the competition is primarily 3v3. just sending a single villager forward (there are no wolves) can do a lot to reduce the rush distance, but i don’t imagine anything like that working out in 3v3. 1v1 seems to require excellent scouting which is something missing from most aoe2 maps
Ornlu
Water control is going to be insane with all of the fish. Map still seems pretty solid though. Players are going to need to keep pushing inland too maintain access to resources.
Kharga – 20.4 Points
by ThorsChariot

Special: This map was developed for the World Desert Championship AOE2 tournament, organized by Huehuecoyotl22. The maps submitted for this tournament were required to represent a specific real-life desert or desert feature, and the inspiration for Kharga is the El-Kharga oasis in South-Central Egypt. The El-Kharga oasis has been inhabited since Egypt’s New Kingdom (possibly even earlier), and today one may visit the ancient Temple of Hibis dating back to the 6th century BC. Premise: The sandy dunes of southern Egypt are rumored to be rich in gold, lost and forgotten from another era. You have been dispatched to recover these riches, but the harsh Khamsin has led your expedition astray. Running low on supplies and hope, you reach the summit of a rocky ridge and behold a lush, green oasis in the valley below. Buzzing with life, this spectacle is no mirage, but others have come to claim the bounty of El-Kharga oasis for themselves! Your Scouts Report: Each faction begins the game on a ridge in the North, South, East, or West, overlooking the El Kharga oasis. These craggy bluffs may contain all the stone in the area, but they are too lifeless and rugged to support any fortifications, let alone a starting base. In the center of the region is an elliptical oasis. It consists of water, surrounded by muddy beaches and dense palm forests. Progressing outward from the fish-abundant lake, terrain becomes drier and trees are less thick, but there are still plenty of forage bushes, rhinoceroses, and ibex. Beyond the perimeter of the oasis is the desert. Devoid of life except for the occasional lost goat, these sandy dunes are the only place that gold may be found in this area. Other Notes: The basic layout of this map is pre-computed with two aspect ratios (0.3 or 0.4) and two orientations (NW-SE or NE-SW) for a total of four possible configurations. Even though player start is always the same (in the corner ridges), the map script selects one of these oasis configurations at random, so it is impossible to predict the shortest path to the trees. All features, including forests, gold locations, hunt-able food, sheep, etc. are random with exception of the stone which is always located in the corners.

At just under 3 MB, this script is large and estimated to require about 2.5 minutes of transfer time in lobby even if everyone is subscribed to the mod. This is an artifact of DE unranked setup. Author: Discord contact: ThorsChariot#3598

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
2.6 / 10.0 6.0 / 10.0 8.4 / 10.0 3.4 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- visually very well-designed and very complex script
- however 3 points speak against it:
-- we don't want too many Nomad start maps
-- with the villagers starting in the corners, where there is no wood and food, players will first have to walk 2 minutes before placing their town center, so this will make it very slow and less competitively viable
-- we have 3 African oasis maps and in my opinion Ounianga is the more competitive map and its visual appeal is at the same level
AlgernonR
The visual appeal of the map is fairly high and its well scripted. But from a competetive perspective I dislike the corner start of vils + the addition of a hero. I also think the amount of resources arent enough to support an interesting game and are too concentrated to certain areas making it highly random based on initial starting locations and should in most cases lead to short snowbally games. The single goldpiles of 3000 gold is a different approach but a worse one than the regular imo since it means less vils per gold spot and less gold units supportable by players.
patito
Competitiveness: 3
Starting really far from any kind of resources make it super weird. No decent wood lines, no stone mines, and forcing all players to be hyper close to each other kills pretty much any strategy that’s not kamekazi-all-in-style
Complexity: 6
Probably a complete mess once all players got stablished in the centre of the map
Originality: 10
Really out of the box.
Visual appeal: 4.5
Gorgeous map. Outstanding utilization of eye-candy. Might feel a little too empty in certain places, though
biz
strengths:
- good thematic representation of finding an oasis in a desert
- interesting idea to travel forward and then expand backwards over time
- very unique play experience from other maps

weaknesses:
- lots of rule changes (eg. resource amounts in forage bushes / gold mines / stone mines) don’t seem worth the cost of making the map less intuitive. there seems to be enough space for the normal resources, so it’s not obvious why it is this way
- villagers gathering the fish should be equally viable for all players or the fish should just be moved away from the shore so that only boats can reach them
- extremely close rush distances (especially on water) reduce the strategic options for players
- very difficult to play quickly. things like finding free space that doesn't block your own pathfinding, walling with 2-tile large forests everywhere, spending time figuring out which exact desert tiles allow farms and which ones don’t, and making sure not to misclick when all the resources are clumped together in one place detracts from the strategy part of the game
- just one layout (with a 90 degree rotation) makes the map feel very pre-explored and not like a random map

other (no impact to score):
- nomad starts can enhance gameplay if they present lots of different options for where to settle. this is very difficult to do well without sacrificing fairness. it’s a mechanism to put players in different starting situations, but as far as i can tell, this map puts players in the same situation repeatedly (with minor differences)
- due to the limited available judging time, it’s unclear how well the map will play. for anything that’s radically different from normal RM, it’s helpful to include an explanation for the gameplay benefit of design choices (such as the starting scout choice or why teammates are split 2-1 instead of distributed evenly)
Ornlu
Interesting concept, but not remotely competitive. You have to trek across the map to get to a decent TC location, but then you have no mineral resources. It will play horribly.
Chara Sands – 20.4 Points
by Michaerbse

The sand dunes of Chara Sands are surrounded by mountain ranges and forests in the center of the rather inhospitable areas of Siberia. The open nature of the desert promotes aggressive gameplay. Food resources are scarce. There are no boars on the map. You start with 4 sheep (2 groups of 2), 2 patches of deer (3 + 4) and some berries next to the TC. However, on the edge of the desert there are ponds that offer fish. Players have 2 patches of gold (4 tiles each) and only 1 patch of stone with just 2 tiles. Additional gold can be found in the desert area, whereas stone is only available near the mountains. In case you decide to walk through the desert, beware of bears roaming around! Although not originally inspired by it, I guess the map has some similarities with Colosseum or Bedouins.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
6.6 / 10.0 5.9 / 10.0 4.9 / 10.0 3.1 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- reminds me too much of already existing maps
- not too complex
- looks good, but I don't feel that it adds anything new and exciting to the map pool
AlgernonR
I do like the open area in the middle and the secure woodspots at the edge of the map. Its not a new concept but a proven one that works. I am not sure how much the ponds add to the map though, perhaps as a pocket play in the team game version more than as a go to spot in a 1v1 game, but that would require testing to know. The visual appeal on the forest surrounding the player is really good with the mountains nicely embedded into the surrounding terrain. Could use some more terrain blending on the middle area though which at the moment is lacking some visual appeal.
patito
Competitiveness: 6
Relying that much in pushing deer seems not a good idea, specially because map generation can cause a real big advantage or disadvantage for some players.
Complexity: 6
Pretty straight forward.
Originality: 5
Reminds me of not Socotra, Haboob, and other maps like that.
Visual appeal: 4
Visually pleasing. I liked the forest-surrounded mountains, and the lakes
biz
strengths:
- ponds are very fair and seem to provide a reasonable balance between risk/reward. making a few more civilization bonuses relevant on a land map is good
- walling seems to have a reasonable balance between cost/benefit

weaknesses:
- some more unique features or random elements to make different parts of the map feel different from each other would be welcome. it would also increase the replayability of the map
- strategic diversity might be limited (primarily in 3v3). without many economic options, teams will probably have to do the same thing as each other (eg. make crossbows) instead of being able to counter the strategy
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- could blend the types of forest trees used or add other decorative elements to make the map feel more like a place and less like a manufactured arena
Ornlu
On paper it's not the most exciting map, but it looks fairly well balanced. Will likely play out somewhat similar to Colosseum. Laming is much harder due to the lack of boar. Seems fairly competitive.
Soorma – 20.3 Points
by lovemeheyhey

Inspired by the Thar and Kutch Desert of West India, Soorma(meaning 'Brave Warrior' in the local langaugae) features patchy circles of wood that have narrow pathways to walkthrough. The inner circle(farther) has thicker woodlines and hunt to gather and relics on cracked sand terrain, characteristic of the Kutch desert, while the outer circle(closer) patchy woodlines with gold and stone outside, characteristic of the Thar desert. Players start with 6 sheep, 2 boards, forage closeby the TC and a small pile of 200 gold right next to the TC.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.9 / 10.0 5.3 / 10.0 7.0 / 10.0 2.1 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- not a completely new map (which does not disqualify it), but seeing it featured in the 3v3 Indus Cup 2 at the same time would not be optimal
- the ring forests are unique and it looks very competitive
- but I think it has too much gold and stone on the outside; there will never be a problem with controlling gold or stone
AlgernonR
While the circles are a cool concept I dont like how much this limits the wood options for players and how little randomness there is in the map layout. The outside holds too many resources and will likely make the game all about wood control. The space between the circles of wood is way too bland and overall some work on the terrain would be needed.
patito
Competitiveness: 7
Can prove to be quite competitive, but at the same time super predictable. Put a lumbercamp in front and a minning camp in the back.
Complexity: 6
Deers in the middle doesn’t seem worth taking. Plus, you can completely ignore the centre and go for the outer circle

Originality: 7.5
Maybe the strongest point. Having an empty centre of the map is somehow original

Visual appeal: 2.5
The map feels kinda empty.
biz
strengths:
- presents potentially interesting choices about how to split economies. i like that the focus changes locations from early game to late-game. however, i doubt this will occur too frequently in 3v3
- i expect players will wall to make parts of it safer, but it seems tough to defend everything adequately

weaknesses:
- central deer seems like way too big of a risk for 3v3, but i like that the option is there at least
- lack of safety leaves very limited counterplay to certain army compositions in a 3v3 situation (1v1 works better). however, it’s fair for both teams
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time. it’s probably a bit too extremely uniform and scenario-like
- terrain blending and maybe some stray wildlife would make it more visually appealing, as well as if the map was less blank in general

other (no impact to score):
- seems much better for 1v1, but I can’t raise the score for that because the competition is primarily 3v3
Ornlu
Another insanely open map. Controlling wood lines will be quite difficult. Could lead to some very snowball-y games.
Namib – 20.0 Points
by Zetnus

Desert elephants gather around a lone oasis, surrounded by a sea of dunes and the skeletons of less fortunate animals. Map features: -Standard resources except boars -A large number of elephants in the center -3 guaranteed player woodlines -Neutral woodlines are replaced by straggler trees with a large amount of extra wood per tree

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.6 / 10.0 5.1 / 10.0 6.3 / 10.0 3.0 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- competitiveness and visual appeal are high; I especially like the detailed dune creation
- but I feel like it does not offer too much to the map pool that is not already there or can be done better
- Ounianga and Namib are different locations, but to a degree they share the oasis concept, so I don't think there is room for both
- large dunes are already in Simpson Desert, Jalapao and e. g. Painted Desert if we included that one
- also the center lurables are already in Simpson Desert, so that would not be unique to the map either
AlgernonR
Too little wood on the map, elephants in the middle feel like a random element to me, you even can happen to run into several lions on the way there if you actually go for it. Visually it also lacks details imo, having said that the actual oasis in the middle does look very nice.
patito
Competitiveness: 8
Hard to wall, and probably not worthy. Aggressive map, since it’s kill or be killed in no man’s land.
Complexity: 7
Real simple map.

Originality: 9.5
I like the idea of extra wood straggler trees. And forcing the players to go to the middle to get the elephants it’s a great concept.

Visual appeal: 4.5
Hauntingly attractive.
biz
strengths:
- interesting wood placement makes the map look more like a desert
- elephants in the center add more options, although i don’t expect them to play much of a role in 3v3

weaknesses:
- resources should be further from trees
- map likely has some of the same 3v3 issues as arabia (game balance is skewed towards 1v1s, leading to massive strategic diversity issues in position-picking 3v3s)
- visual awkwardness to have both regular forests and 25x-density trees on the same map. players will have to unlearn tens of thousands of hours of intuition

other (no impact to score):
- neutral wood is lame-able. map requires special rules?
- denser trees aren’t indicated on the minimap (nor would the minimap reflect their density even if they were)
Ornlu
Odd map with vast amounts of more or less useless area and a few small areas with tons of resources. Mongols are going to be crazy good with all of the elephants. Tower rushing the only woodlines could cause big problems though.
Syrian Wadi – 19.1 Points
by teutonic tanks

This map is partly based on my ECL entry Dry_River (I didnt want to redo all the position stuff, which takes ages 11). Basically this is supposed to be a Wadi somewhere in the middle East, eg. in Syria or Iraq. The players spawn on top of the cliffs of the wadi, which are on purpose not as high as possible, to avoid 3 hour games. in the shadow of the cliffs are many small spots were not only the water of the last rainfall gathered, but also zebras/ostriches and plenty of fish. In the middle we have a vast desert with very few heat resistant baobab trees. Older empires (basically the charriot archer simulator civs from aoe1) left some treasures such as gold and relics back for which heavy fighting will occur. I immagine this to be a fast paced map with plenty of scouts, camels and archers. Positions shouldnt matter too much here, but what matters a lot is speed.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.9 / 10.0 5.3 / 10.0 5.1 / 10.0 2.9 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- looks very competitive
- I understand the use of the rock formations, but it looks a bit too much
- we already have Karoo (and to a degree Mongolia), potentially Death Valley, those have similar elements already, having teams spawn not in a circle, but with equal distances and with a valley in between
- also, western Asia is represented very well in the contest submissions; potentially this could be used, if we go for only one additional African map, as the African civilisations could be used in an area which is fairly close
Chrazini
The low competitive score is due to many unbalanced generations - otherwise great map.
AlgernonR
Being a slightly adjusted version of Dry River it will also suffer from the same problems when it comes to civ advantages, even if the bonus is nerfed for Indians. Although I have to say it would be interesting to see if anyone would go for water control on the map when played in a team game..
patito
Competitiveness:5
While dry river offered ponds of fish all along the middle, Syrian Wadi have only “coast” ponds, meaning that your villagers are not that exposed anymore. In adittion, I got an elephant bugged between the eye candy rocks and a forest
Complexity: 5
Besides thinking about whether taking the food in the river’s border or not, there’s not that much to think about this map. The middle is just a big empty, and extra golds are so far one from the other that enemy players could take the two closets ones without noticing
Originality: 8
I like Dry river though. I think it’s a good map. It’s just I feel like Syrian Wadi was a downgrade, sadly.
Visual appeal: 3
Some things are visually pleasing, but the middle feels just to empty, and the borders a little too clunky
biz
strengths:
- good risk/reward structure with the fast forward food being unsafe, although it’s not much of a decision because players are basically forced to take it
- good visual clarity. can easily determine where you can and can’t build

weaknesses:
- not a lot of options for choosing a better strategy than opponents or countering what they’re doing. i expect lots of similar builds from both sides, which doesn’t seem like the best fit for a map that’s all empty space in the middle
- gaining a minor advantage (which seems to be all that’s possible) probably doesn’t translate to much because the players are very far apart and enemies need to travel uphill to do anything really impactful
- could use more terrain diversity. middle area could be a lot more interesting, both in terms of visuals and gameplay
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has extremely similar layouts every time. unlike the other submissions, this particular concept doesn’t seem like it needs to be non-random to be fair
- very few civilization bonuses are relevant here, which is extra concerning for a map that’s already very linear

other (no impact to score):
- boats can sail through the middle, but not from every pond. not sure whether both teams are intended to have equal access to that or not. also unsure why boats are even possible. it doesn’t look like a navigable river
- 1v1 version doesn’t have relics and stuff like 3v3 does
Ornlu
The map is very similar to Dry River (obviously). I like the concept, but I do feel like Indians are still going to be seen everywhere like they were during ECL.
Salt Lake – 18.3 Points
by HeavenlyChorus

So firstly, I found this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Salt_Lake_Desert Then I looked at the map Ghost Lake? I turned the ice lake into a salt lake, and cheesed some object generations from Serengeti. There you have it, Salt Lake.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
7.1 / 10.0 5.1 / 10.0 3.1 / 10.0 2.9 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- potentially very competitive
- but not original, so even if Umm al Samim would be the only other map with a similar design (salt lake/marsh in the middle), the high amount of more original maps speak against using Salt Lake
AlgernonR
The map will surely work, but its not really anything new. I think the lake itself look kind of bland and could probably have become more alive with some terrain blending.
patito
Competitiveness: 8
Open map, perfectly playable.
Complexity: 7
As usual, the extra sheep might give you and advantage. Fish in the middle is senseless, though
Originality: 1
As the creator said, it’s Ghost lake after a washed-face
Visual appeal: 3
Nice map. Not worthy an standing ovation, but cute. Despite they’re pointless, the fish in the middle is a nice detail
biz
strengths:
- central fish provides interesting resik/reward. although the variance in fish per pond could be a bit lower for fairness’s sake
- probably results in decent games quite often, but it’s hard to identify how they’d be unique if the lake doesn’t end up being too vital

weaknesses:
- player distance to the middle could be more consistent
- limited early strategic impact of making navies in the middle (the shore fishing would run out by then and probably be unsafe from land units anyways). the map is not worse because of this, but the unique element may not show up often. i like that there’s at least the option to keep on fishing if enemies won’t stop you

other (no impact to score):
- unsure whether the rush for sheep is good/bad here. seems luck-based, but also not a big deal

Ornlu
Eh not the most exciting map to me. Not horribly uncompetitive, but it just feels like Arabia with better Indians due to shore fish.
Central Plateau – 18.1 Points
by green eggs

The Central Plateau (Māori: Waimarino) is a large desert plateau in the North Island of New Zealand, containing numerous active volcanoes. It was the main location for the filming of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Players start close together on the plateau, and must descend to the lowlands around the edge of the map for wood. Resources are standard, but this being New Zealand, there are many sheep to claim. New Zealand also lacks any large land predators, so villagers won't need to worry about wolves. The plateau itself is dry and barren, but contains numerous volcanic lakes and gold piles. It is surrounded by Mt Pihanga to the north, Mt Kaweka to the east, Mt Ruapehu to the south, and Mt Taranaki to the west. This map promises to be highly chaotic and aggressive, with players needing to maintain a presence both on the edges and the middle of the map.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
5.3 / 10.0 4.7 / 10.0 5.9 / 10.0 2.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- having a desert from New Zealand included is tempting, but I feel like similar designs are already there which are more appealing
- in-game it might not matter much, but seeing the plateau and the mountains with corners does not look too natural, more round would look better
- I would like if the mountains (the ones created from terrain) had some function for gameplay, e. g. resources or other objects on top or on the slopes
AlgernonR
I can see the map playing out ok with wood control being the vocal point, but Im not sure Im too fond of the layout. Visually the outside is lacking, the mountains are too symmetrical and look out of place to me - the middle is nicely blended however. Personally I would have liked it better to see some very small woodlines in the middle area as well, as a fall back point perhaps.
patito
Competitiveness: 5
Gold distribution is super unfair. Some might generate on the plateau, others under the plateau and some on the hillside. Having wood only in the edges and gold only in the middle forces players to focus on two separated ecos.
Complexity: 5
Might present some elaborate gameplay, but it seems unnecessarily complex.
Originality: 5
Again, it’s original, but not in a appealing way
Visual appeal: 2
To Square and symmetrical. Feels to forced
biz
strengths:
- the map is an interesting blend of safe and unsafe resources
- expansions being easier to defend than the starting bases could lead to interesting situations

weaknesses:
- everyone rushing for extra sheep at the start of the game doesn’t seem too great for competitiveness (it seems great for chaos)
- positioning of resources (eg. gold in front vs gold in back) can lead to fairness issues. on a random map, maybe you can adapt and deal with it, but when opponents can memorize exactly how to exploit that advantage (because the overall layout is always the same) that becomes unlikely
- players don’t seem to have equal access to ponds (especially in 1v1). this has become a bigger issue now that villagers can drop food off at the dock
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has similar layouts every time

other (no impact to score):
- the corner mountains and plateau seem could use more variance instead of seeming so artificial with perfectly straight lines
Ornlu
Just a very open land map. Not too sure what point the ponds have. Not likely to play horribly though.
Charas Sands – 16.1 Points
by JAVI 1

The Chara Sands is an area of sand in Siberia. It is a small and cold desert rounded by pine forest. The map have gold and relics in the central dunes.

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Competitiveness Complexity Originality Visual Appeal
4.9 / 10.0 4.9 / 10.0 4.1 / 10.0 2.3 / 5.0
Huehuecoyotl22
- as this is just a copy of the in-game Arena script with removed walls, and changed theme plus some elevation, this is not original at all.
- competitively it will mostly work, but the elevation generation is not balanced
AlgernonR
The elevation in the middle is a problem and would need to be balanced away from player bases. In some cases (as in the screenshot above) one players gets this huge hill in front of their base and quite frequently will also have main gold or stone forward. Otherwise I dont mind the Arena-ish look of the map but without walls, makes the base fairly wallable in most cases and provides safe wood options at all times. The amount of player golds and stones are also good in my opinion with extra golds to fight for in the middle. However I think the placement of these extra resources also need to be looked at and adjusted to make it more balanced. Perhaps concentrate the extra golds a bit more to the middle.
patito
Competitiveness: 9
classic start, open map. Reduced space, and hills between players assures a good aggressive show!
Complexity: 7
Not really complex. Pretty straight forward game.

Originality: 8
A hilly Not-Socotra… again, something that was never seen before. And having 0 relics it’s original

Visual appeal: 4
Cute map. Sand and Ice, like the real deal
Final Score: 8
biz
strengths:
- limited safe space pressures players outward in an interesting way
- good visual clarity

weaknesses:
- the hill seems very unfair for one one player/team
- some key RM skills go unrewarded since the map has similar layouts every time
- few distinguishing characteristics. this doesn’t make the map bad, but limits its uniqueness

other (no impact to score):
- the 1v1 map seems a bit more interesting/fair, but this is mostly a 3v3 tournament so no points can be awarded for that
Ornlu
It looks like Arena without the walls and some hills in the middle. Not likely a bad map, but not the most exciting in the world.