Nile map showcase
In this article we will take an in-depth look at the Nile random map, featured in the mod. Nile River is one of the most iconic regions in Africa, and it would be an inexcusable mistake not to include it in the mod.
The Nile is a major African river, and is arguably the longest in the World. At 160 km long, its delta is the craddle of ancient civilizations, and it will be the focus of this random map.
The mighty Nile river flows through the middle of the map, separating the teams that start in the South. Flooded delta region is in the North, where a Sufi temple may be found.
Two more temples, one on each bank of the river, are placed in case there are 6 or more players. Those are, however, no ordinary Sufi temples - African Sufi native temples have a different unit in the mod, as battle elephants weren't widely used in Africa in the game time period.
Two trade routes are present on each side of the map, with 2-3 trade sites each, depending on the number of players. They can usually be easily defended by the teams due to their proximity, with the possible exception of the top trading post.
Only the delta can be crossed by land units. In a free for all configuration, another shallow region is generated in the South, where the trade routes merge into one. In a King of the Hill game, the monument is placed in the northern delta.
Terrain and biome
The random map has a terrain blend of Deccan and Yellow River with palm forests. This gives the map a unique yet familiar look of a fertile river delta surrounded by a somewhat Saharian landscape.
The shallows are full of reed, and the forests and grass patches stick to the river. The latter has the iconic dirty brown waters and muddy banks.
The huntable animals found on the map are Oryx and Barbary Sheep.
This terrain mostly consists of the original game textures and units. It makes it possible to make a map like this available for non-modded games as a custom random map.
I would like to thank Garja for the inspiration I drew from his ESOC map Fertile Crescent, which has a similar terrain.
Each player has 2 huntable herds.
- The closer herd consists of 7-9 Barbary sheep, each with 350 food.
- A farther herd has 6-8 Oryxes, each with 400 food.
- One or two Oryx herds spawn in the neutral territory of the delta in the North.
Unless a FFA configuration is generated, fish can be found in the Nile. However, scarce amounts of fish makes it impossible to be the primary source of food for several players.
There are no berries on the map, but I will probable add berry bushes near the river in the future updates.
There are a couple dozens 3-5 palm groups scattered around the map, but their inconvenient position and insufficient numbers make them an unsatisfactory permanent lumber source. For the primary source of wood one should cut the numerous dense forests close to the river and in the Delta. Their proximity to the water make these forests possible raiding targets. This opens the potential for a strategically interesting gameplay.
Each player starts with a 5000 coin Gold Mine. Other coin mines are scattered all around the map with the possible exception of the Nile Delta. The greater initial gold source allows for a coin-heavy turtling strategy and makes up for the lack of whales.
Gameplay and strategy
Though the map is not larger than usual (it is actually smaller in tiles per player than most random maps), it feels like one because the Nile splits the teams the same way Orinoco river does. For this reason rushing is problematic, as the only way to reach your enemy is through the shallow river delta. It is possible, however, as the enemy would not have any other natural defences, and because map control is rewarding.
It is worth noticing than docks cannot be placed on the river itself, but can be built near the delta. This makes the northern region even more important, and water boom - less feasible. However, especially in case of more players on the map, 1-2 gentle slope areas are occasionally generated along the banks, where dock construction is possible.
The gameplay may be similar to Orinoco, but there are noticeable differences. For one, the delta region is not simply a shallow, but rather a large and important fertile area. There also are trade routes on this map, and navy is of lesser importance. It is also more balanced in for FFA games.
In the end, it is to the players to decide what strategy they find best for this map. Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments - it is always appreciated!