This mod aims to add minor content and improve existing without significally changing the gameplay and the overall feel of the game. Unlike in some of the more popular mods, the emphasis is not on adding the most to the game, but rather on adding the best. The goal is to make it feel like the game has always been supposed to be like this: with nothing missing and nothing out of place.

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Rhodesia map showcase: an deep look at the new random map, featured in the mod.

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Rhodesia map showcase

A look at the new random map for the mod - Rhodesia.

Rhodesia preview


Background

Rhodesia is the name that traditionally referred to a region in southern Africa that is now occupied by the country of Zimbabwe. During the game period the area presented by the random map was home to the Kingdom of Mutapa, but it has been found out to be inhabited by people since the beginning of human history. The region is also known for the Zambezi river and Victoria Falls.

An elephant in Zimbabwe Zambezi river



Random generation

Rhodesia is a rather complicated map. In a team game the players start in the northeastern and northwestern parts of this large map. They are separated in the North by a part of the elongated Lake Tanganyika, and a trade route circumflexes it. The shallow yet wide Zambezi river takes a large portion of the South. Two Bantu villages can be found near the river; two more villages are placed in the North for 7-8 player games.

Bantu


In the center there is a large empty plateau, and two minor cliffs neighbor the lake in the North if only 2 players are present. Two small ponds are placed on the opposite sides of the central canyon - in the East and in the West.

Minimaps

FFA configuration is quite different. The river becomes navigable, the lake is absent, the ponds move to the North. Moreover, the trade route follows the river in the South. The players are placed in an arc, surrounding the plateau.


Terrain and biome

A brand new terrain set was created for the map. It features a semi-sandy, semi-grassy ground texture, a suited cliff type, two types of forests and a number of beautiful grass patches. It aims to replicate the distinguished African savannah.

Savannah

New animals are featured in this African environment as well. They are the Wildebeest, Impala and the already present Elephant.

African huts made for the Bantu peoples villages have models based on those created by WyteRaven for his mod. Check him out for more similar content.

Bantu village


Resources

Food

Each player starts with one nearby huntable herd of 5-7 Elephants. Other numerous but small herds of Wildebeest (Gnu antelope) and Impala are scattered all around the map. They have 450 and 350 food per animal respectively.

Wildebeest Impala Elephant


There are no fish or berries, but with plentiful huntables there is no need in either. Overall there is no shortage of food, but the animal amount is not over the top.

Wood

There is a decent number of forests, but they are in the proximity of water, especially the Zambezi river. During the game the players will have to gradually venture further from their colonies to find trees, but there is an adequate amount of them.

Coin

Each player starts with one Tin Ore Mine. It will run out rather quickly, and one will have to find some of the Silver Mines, which are mostly in the vicinity of the starting player areas though. There are no whales, obviously. Thus, coin might become a problem, even in the early stages of the game.


Gameplay and strategy

Rhodesia is an unusual map to play because of the many geographical features it has and the resources it offers. It has large water bodies yet no fish, a fully passable river region devoid of any resources, a blocked middle of the map.

The region between the plateau and the lake may be the most crucial place in battle, as it is the major route to the other team and has a trade route site. Other trading post sites are relatively defendable.

Map view

The resources are balanced, although Dutch and Japanese civilization players may find it difficult to find enough coin and food respectively. Level resource distribution and corners created by cliffs and lakes result in a huge raiding potential. The base is neither open nor easily defendable, and there are basically two possible attacking directions.

Playing this map can resemble playing some of the ESOC maps because of its scattered resources, symmetric geography and unusual minor features, creating chokepoints. It is open to many possible strategies, and might be of some interest to the more skilled players.


Feel free to comment your thoughts and watch the mod - more map reviews and other news are yet to come!

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Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
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