Sons of Heracles

General Information:

Name of Scenario : Sons of Heracles
Final Score : 17.0 / 30
Type of Scenario : Classic History
Name of Author: Stefan Härtel
Name of Reviewer: Kevin Klop (a.k.a. willemvanoranje)

Summary of Scenario:

of Heracles is about the birth of the state Sparta on the Peloponessos
and it’s growth to one of the mightiest states of the Mediterranean in
its time. You start as a small village with just few units, and you
must end as the ruler of Greece. This scenario will take up a lot of
your free time if you want to play it, so better think twice or even
more before you download and play this scenario.


Playability – Section Sub-total: 2.5/5

Were you able to finish in a reasonable amount of turns? (Score: 0 )
Did the scenario avoid being tedious or repetitive? (Score: 0.5 )
Did the scenario capture the essence of what it was portraying? (Score: 1 )
Was the choice of and interaction between races appropriate? (Score: 0.5 )
Did you enjoy playing the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )

amount of turns needed to finish the scenario is large, very large, too
large. After starting the scenario and playing it for a full 10 days, I
still wasn’t finished and decided to ‘rest’ for a while. The scenario
captured the essence of what it was portraying, but by doing that it
was very repetitive. The only thing one will do a lot is attacking the
Messenians and defending against races from the north. Every turn
again. The intercation between races was good, the Messenians are
offensive and hate you very much, but they are also very inferior. You
can easily wipe them out with 2-3 hoplites and your hero unit. It will
take a long time though, you will never be able to conquer more than 3
cities at the same time, because you have to wait until they have their
defence before you can move your hoplite to the next city. The waiting
makes it less fun as well. On the other hand the passive role of Athens
is something I would’ve changed. Athens has a lot of cities and a large
army, but they never attack you or even encounter you before your
conquest leads you to them. Athens could’ve played a larger role on the
sea and maybe in aiding other civs against you, though the last
suggestions probably would’ve made the scenario even more the same. I
didn’t enjoy the scenario much, but enough for half a point.

Units – Section Sub-total: 3.5/5

Were the majority of units changed from the default Civ2 units? (Score: 0.5 )
Was the scenario free of ‘unbalanced’ units? (Score: 1 )
Were there innovative combinations of special unit abilities? (Score: 0.5 )
Were Barbarian units appropriate when they appeared? (Score: 0.5)
Any other unit related problems (like shield placement)? (Score: 1 )

a great part of all original Civ II units were changed, it still
could’ve been more. A more diverse collection of units would have been
possible. The creator could for example have put in some succession in
the units, by having three units named phalanx, but one just a bit
stronger than the other, and the stronger one making the weaker
oppsolete: succession. A good thing is that there were no extroardinary
strong units that just rampage through the map destroying and
conquering everyhting it sees. In your first turns you will get a
general, well even he is being damaged and can’t destroy 3 units
without healing. It’s too bad no serious innovative combinations of
unit abilities were made, except maybe for the settler ability of the
Spartan hoplites. But since they’re so strong in battle, one will
probably not use those abilities. Hoplites are for war, the Helots
(slaves, prisoners of war) are for settling and improving terrain. The
barbarian units in the scenario that appeared were correct, but that is
because the only time they appeared was by event. The creator did his
best on the units, resulting in units without any problems.

Research – – Section Sub-total: 3/5

Was the progression of advance to advance done properly? (Score: 1 )
Were advances properly related to new units and obsolescence? (Score: 0.5 )
Was the tech tree of a high level of complexity? (Score: 0.5 )
Was the civilopedia properly updated? (Score: 0 )
Were there dysfunctional improvements or useless technologies? (Score: 1 )

researching is very hard in this scenario, there are some advances. The
progression of advance to advance was done properly well, I fully agree
with it. More new units, which you really need, come with new advances,
as do new important buildings that make your research faster and help
you defend against the strong phalanxes of the Arcadians. Because of
the slow researching the tech tree isn’t very large, but it has enough,
maybe even too much techs to research. There are a lot of techs that
don’t bring you anything but access to a new tech, which is pretty
irritating seen the fact that researching 1 tech already costs about 20
turns. Luckily I couldn’t find any useless technologies, that would’ve
cost Stefan Härtel another point.

Map & Terrain – Section Sub-total: 3.5/5

Were you impressed by the Map in general? (Score: 1 )
Was terrain properly adjusted to fit the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )
Was attention given to geography and historical details? (Score: 0.5 )
Were you happy with the city, fortress, terrain improvement graphics? (Score: 1 )
Were city names and the placement of cities correct? (Score: 0.5 )

map used in ‘Sons of Heracles’ is one of the Peloponessos and a part of
the land north of it and Attika. The map is very good work, and it
impressed me, especially because I find making a accurate map of an
excisting place very difficult. The terrain was changed as well, though
it wasn’t much more than other graphs. As mentioned before, the map is
pretty accurate as far as I can tell, so attention is given to the
geographical details. A thing that I didn’t like was that there were a
lot of cities without a name. I think there is no record of citynames
there, only one that says there are cities, but still the creator
could’ve solved that an other way. He could’ve made zero-movement units
of them, or just called the cities ‘village’ or something. We can’t
complain about the graphics for cities and terrain improvement. Though
I sometimes said otherwise in other reviews, I now decided to not be so
harsh about fortressess anymore.

Care & Details – Section Sub-total: 3.5/5

Did you find the documentation adequate? (Score: 0 )
Was the events file sufficient for the needs of the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )
Were you happy with the improvement and wonder icons? (Score: 1 )
Did you find any very apparent errors? (Score: 1 )
Do you think a lot of effort was put into doing this scenario? (Score: 1 )

the readme.txt, a few lines are decated to historical background. I
think a scenario should contain more historical background. It would be
good if he would have included some URL’s for more information or
something, but I find this insufficient. The events were ok. They
fitted the scenario well, but could’ve been expanded with some extra’s,
for example small notes on historical background in-game, so you can
compare your results to what happened in real time. The icons for
wonders and city improvements look good. Some of them are new to me,
and after reading the credits again, I discovered that Stefan made some
of them himself. The right icons are chosen for the right city
improvement. I cannot do else than give a full point for that one. The
last point for this section is the one for effort. I usually don’t play
scenarios where the creator didn’t do his best, and besides that I
think it’s unfair to give someone not the full score for effort. One
has obviously spend a lot of free time in his project, and one would
not release it if he thought it was a bad scenario at that moment.
Therefore Stefan Härtel gets a point for effort as well.

Originality and Technical Proficiency – Section Sub-total: 2.5/5

Did you discover many units not used in any other scenarios? (Score: 1 )
Is the theme of the scenario completely novel? (Score: 0 )
Were complex events used to carry the story line or enhance the AI? (Score: 0.5 )
Did the author deal with all areas which could be modified? (Score: 1 )
Any other innovations worth mentioning? (Score: 0 )

units used in the scenario were partly designed by the creator himself.
He would’ve done more, but computer problems made it impossible. Maybe
an update will provide us with more units in the future. We will see.
The scenario should be a complete novel, but the events aren’t used to
tell anything about the Spartans except for two or three little, small
messages. I would’ve given 0.1 point, but since that is not an option
it comes down to 0 points. The events do enhance the AI though,
simulating rebellions and risings, and that ofcourse adds something
interesting to the scenario. The author did deal with a lot of areas
that can be modified, and in my opinion he did it sufficient. No need
for more changes other than more units.

Overall Assessment and Other Points of Interest:

the scenario is nice. It is a more difficult scenario, which isn’t easy
to win. Especially not on the higher levels. The AI is strong and it
could happen that they wipe you out. You must be careful when starting
wars: if you pick the wrong one……

Bad Objective System: -1.5
A bad move of Stefan Härtel is the objective system. Even if you have ALL the objectives, you can’t get higher than a Marginal Defeat!
The maximum of objectives you can get in the scenario is 20, but for an
Absolute Victory, you need 94! I guess the creator has missed a spor
there, he probabl;y wanted every city to be an objective, but instead
he just made a few cities an objective. This costs him a lot of