Zhan Guo

General Information:

  • Name of Scenario: Zhan Guo
  • Final Score: 17/30
    (Breakdown: 0-10 terrible /11-15 Average/ 16-20 Good/ 21-25 Excellent/ 26+Best possible)
  • Name(s) of Author(s): Prometheus
  • Type of Scenario: Classic History
  • Reviewed by: Kevin Klop (a.k.a. willemvanoranje)


Zhan Guo is a scenario about China in the third century. The country is
split, and your goal ofcourse, is to take as much cities as you can.
You start with a lot of alliances, but from day 1, one ally will ask
you to declare war on another, and to be sure to accomplish the goals,
you better join the in their crusade. Allies will turn their backs on
you, and you will turn them down severale times as well. An alliance is
no insurance, you just got in to one of the most treacherous world in
it’s time, and there’s no escape..

Playability – 4.5/5

Were you able to finish within a reasonable amount of turns? YES (1)

Did the scenario avoid being tedious or repetitive? YES (1)

Did the scenario capture the essence of what it was portraying? YES (1)

Was the choice of and interaction between races appropriate? YES (0.5)

Did you enjoy playing the scenario? YES (1)

player doesn’t need to much time to complete this scenario succesfully,
and can finish before the maximum of turns is achieved. This is a plus
in my opinion, ’cause even with one hour a day, you won’t need long and
still have a lot of fun. The scenario is about conquest and conquest
only, meaning that you are either the offensive or defensive party, so
that makes it a little bit repetitive. But that cannot be fixed, every
war scenario has it, and you still have fun playing. The fun rate in
this scenario is very high, once you started off. The first few turns
can be very boring, when you are at war with just one or two other
civilizations, and you don’t even know which. The turns consist mostly
of moving units through the map to the enemy. But once you reached the
enemy, and other civs declare war, the fun begins and you can find
yourself lost for an hour or two.

Units – 4/5

Were the majority of units changed from default Civ2 units? YES (1)

Did you discover any inappropriate unit sounds? NO (1)

Was the scenario free of ‘unbalanced units’? YES (0.5)

Were there innovative combinations of special unit abilities? NO (0.5)

Were barbarian units appropriate when they appeared? YES (1)

but three by Civilization II original provided units have been changed
by Prometheus to be used in the scenario. There are different units
with different functions, and often each civilization has its own
version for a certain function. A good example is the defensive units
that cannot move: There are several types of Towers, each used by a
different civilization. But even with the whole bunch of units one can
choose from, the player will probarly build just four or five types:
diplomat, one of the towers, heavy infantry, an offensive horseman and
another defensive, cheap unit. Some people probarly don’t even build
the offensive horseman, for it has a lower movement than the heavy
infantry and has the same strength. The unit’s special abilities aren’t
used fully, in my opinion. Most units with abilities have 2x defence
strength against Horses, and some units have the Alpine ability or 2
space visibility. Some units have the Amphibious Assault ability, but
that has not been used in the scenario at all (not by the reviewer). So
some units certainly have special abilities, but to say that there are
innovative combinations is too much.

The barbarians are
a different thing. Their activities concentrate mainly in the south of
the map, and a bit in the north as well. The northern empire (meant to
play) have little trouble defeating the few barbarians that attack the
cities, because they have the Great Wall wonder in one of their cities,
and most southern cities are equiped with City Walls as well. Both
terrains in the north and south are filled with stationary barbarian
units though, and killing for example a horse, makes a few new
barbarian units appear, which will try to attack a city, because they
are angry you killed on of them.


Research – 0.5/5

Was the progression of advance to advance done properly? NO (0)

Were the advances properly related to new units and obsolescence? NO (0)

Was the tech tree of high level of complexity? NO (0)

Were non-event messages amended to suit the scenario? NO (0.5)

Was the civilopedia properly updated? NO (0)

I can be very short on this one. The tech tree is limited to the
special techs for one civilization, that cannot be shared or conquered
by others in another way than stealing through a diplomat. Research is
slowed down artificial in the scenario settings and it is abvious that
the scenario creator doesn’t want the player to research anything. I
know it can be hard to design a good working tech tree, but even a
small one would have been sufficient here.

there is no game.txt, most non-event in-game messages haven’t been
changed. Now most don’t need a change, but putting the messages ina in
this case ancient chinese perspective would have added to the game.
There is a pedia.txt included, but to be honest; I couldn’t find out
what the creator changed in it except for the word ‘triremes’ for the
Lighthouse description is changed to ‘ships’. The creator forgot to
edit some words, for example it still says that the ‘Tavern’
(Colosseum) can be enhaned with Electronics, and it still says that the
Workshop (Stock Exchange) is cumulative with MarketPlace and Bank.

Map & Terrain – 3/5

Were you impressed by the terrain in general? YES (0.5)

Was attention given to geography and historical details? YES (0.5)

Were you happy with the city, fortress, terrain improvement? YES (1)

Were city names and the placement of cities correct? YES (1)

Were there innovations used in relation to terrain? NO (0)

terrain used in Zhanguo, looks nice. All kinds of terrains got a new
graphic from creator Prometheus, and new resources were invented to
create the right atmosphere. The terrain was a bit chaotic sometimes
though, but that didn’t cause any trouble.

The one
thing that troubled me was the historic accurasy. It’s true that this
civil war happened, but the date used in the scenario is totally wrong.
The scenario starts in 230, and after playing a few turns, you see that
you are in 228, meaning that you are in the B.C.’s. The creator tells
about the fall of the Han-dynasty, so no mistakes can be made. The
Han-dynasty ruled over China from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220. The civil war
this scenario is about went from A.D. 220 to A.D. 589. This scenario
takes place in only one part of the scenario (20.5 years): the
conquests of the Ch’in. My encyclopedia tells me that the conquests of
the Ch’in happened from A.D. 280 to A.D. 317. This is in my opinion a
very large error, and should, no must be
improved in the next version. About the geography, though, I couldn’t
find real mistakes. Every language writes those city names different
(Bejing or Peking, Ch’in or Tsjin, Mao Tse Tung or Mao Zedung) so I
didn’t pay much attention to that.

I am happy about the
looks of the cities, fortress and terrain improvement. The look nice
and fit in the terrain used. A full point for that.

Care & Details – 3/5

Did you find the documentation adequate? NO (0)

Was the events file sufficient for the needs of the scenario? YES (0.5)

Were you happy with the improvement and wonder icons? YES (0.5)

Did you find any apparent errors? NO (1)

Do you think a lot of effort was put in the scenario? YES (1)

documentation was given at all, except for the pre-scenario
information. I think that isn’t a good thing at all, because most
people do not know anything about this time period in China. A small
Word document or just some background information in the very short
readme file would be enough. It’s too bad that there is such little
information, now. That is something the author might want to change in
the future versions he might be planning to making.

An other point, which is
sufficient, is the eventsfile. The file isn’t too large and provides
the scenario with an acceptable amount of events, mostly used to tell
about the death of an important leader or to enhance the AI. The best
events are the ‘randomturn’events: the creator has put in the
possibility that a certain civilization declares war at the player.
This adds a nice extra thing to the scenario and forces you to never
weaken your defences at the borders. For example, you are on the edge
of a full-scale-final-battle attack on the three eastern civs. All your
units are there and are in the middle of an important battle, when over
sudden, the civ south of you declares war at you and takes over all
those size 10 cities without proper defence. You don’t want that to

The icons used in the scenario are chosen well
and look nice enough to give a full point for it. Prometheus had put a
lot of effort in making this scenario and did a good job in my opinion.
Prometheus is not a newbie on the scene and knows his part of scenario
building, which he has proven in this one.

Originality and Technical Proficiency – 3/5

Did you discover many units not used in other scenarios? YES (1)

Is the theme of the scenario a completely novel? YES (0.5)

Were complex events used to carry the story line or enhance the AI? YES (0.5)

Did the author deal with all areas which could be modified? YES (1)

Any other innovations meantioning? NO (0)

Every unit was new to me, so that is a plus for the creator. This
doesn’t mean that all the units are his ofcourse, but since there is
only given credit for the ‘base infantry unit’ to the unknown CtP
author, I assume all of the units are new. The theme of the scenario is
a completely novel; one part ‘civil war’ (220-589) of ancient China,
but I explained everything in the Map section. The author dealt with
almost every part that could be modified, and that is only posotive. A
full point for that.

Overall Assesment and other points of Interest:

Overall, the scenario is fun to play. The creator made a big mistake
considering the time the scenario should play, but this does not affect
the playability in any way. It is a shame that there is no tech tree
used, and too bad the units don’t success eachother. A thing that would
certainly improve the scenario is the background information; the
creator could add a file with historical details and extra information
for the ones that had to check their encyclopedia to know more about
it.The graphic part is done well, and the creator can be happy about
that part. Overall I can recommend this scenario to everyone who likes
a war scen’ and doesn’t want to spend too much time.- willemvanoranje

Final Score: 17/30