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retake taiwan

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retake taiwan
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Map Design5.0
Well, I appreciate that.
Map Design5.0
(This review assumes 3 is the average score for workable quality.)

(There are three scenarios by the same author. I've played them all and they are substantively very similar - "retake taiwan", "China's unify war", and "war of taiwan". This same review is posted for all three.)

Playability: 2
There are some serious issues here. The game starts off with your side (the mainland Chinese) way above the population cap, which means sorting out your economy is a nightmare. Also, finding citizens to repair cities and build buildings is very difficult. The designer should have either increased the max population cap, or should have brought the number of units down a little. However, the rest of the rules are more or less the same as normal so it's not that difficult to get used to. One major problem is that Wonders have not been disabled, so the enemies will build them. Moreover, Wonder victories haven't been disabled either, so your team starts the Wonder win timer instantly, and the enemies will target your Wonders ruthlessly straight away. These could have been addressed in setup. Finally, enemy nations throw nukes around with abandon - and with a pop cap problem, you can't repair your own cities until later in the game. This should have been addressed: either force the player to research nukes first, or ban them altogether.

Balance: 3
The Chinese can steamroller the Koreans fairly quickly by just sending their units across. However, fighting the Taiwanese, Japanese, and Americans is harder. There's a fierce air and navy war, which is a lot of fun. The Chinese also start off with slightly weaker backwards units, which makes the game challenging. I would suggest giving the Chinese a higher pop cap (like the New World CTW), but forcing them to start off with slightly inferior units and having to research their units before they can use them. Also, it is never made entirely clear why the North Koreans declare war on the Chinese, who are their allies.

Creativity: 3
The placement of forces is decent. The Americans have high tech air forces that will cause the player a lot of headaches (and a monopoly on Stealth Bombers). The Taiwanese have a lot of air defenses and their island is accurately a fortress, making invasion very tricky. However, the North Koreans are using wooden ships with early gunpowder weapons, which was entirely out of character.

Map Design: 5
It's been a while since I've seen a good, solid East Asia map, and this is excellent. Placement of Japan and Taiwan are accurate. It's a little less clear which territories the US is occupying, but the scattered island territories are convincing as naval bases and missile bases. The only small quibble would be that Korea's peninsula is very easily accessible by the Chinese. I would have suggested putting some more mountains there, perhaps to require the Chinese to secure some sea access for greater mobility. (Or maybe just a few narrow mountain passes would work.) All in all, good work with the map.

Story/Instructions: 3
Basic and workaday. The Taiwan flashpoint doesn't really need any introduction and the scenario works perfectly well with what we've got.

Additional Comments:
I love to play any scenario involving China, and it's refreshing to see a Taiwan flashpoint scenario made from the Chinese viewpoint. This scenario could be really amazing, with some more work. Apart from the issues I've mentioned above, this scenario could be very good if there were more scripted events. Perhaps have all countries at peace, but then have American/Taiwanese spies infiltrate the Chinese mainland or vice versa. A few minutes into the scenario, have the situation between Taiwan/China deteriorate into war, and then once China destroys a Taiwanese unit, America could send a few units that way.

Even having a few spy plane units from America (perhaps represented by propeller-driven Bomber units) fly around China could create the plot tension you need. (Like the Hainan Island Spy Plane incident.)

Either way, this is a fun scenario in an area of the world that has been neglected for a long time. There is room for improvement, but this is a good first step.

(Also: the scenario was designed with Chinese characters, so some city names may not show up correctly.)

[Edited on 09/12/07 @ 04:47 PM]

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