This is an updated version of my Canyonlands map for The War Chiefs, designed to take advantage of the popular new native types Apache and Navajo, and using the new terrains from the Painted Desert map. It will only work in The War Chiefs Xpack. The only other changes include an increase in the number of natives for lower player numbers.
This random map was originally created in response to a request by several forumers at AOE3Heaven for a defensive type map. This map represents the rugged canyon country of the American West, such as is found in Utah, Arizona and parts of northern Mexico. Each team starts on their own land area, surrounded in part by steep impassable cliffs, divided from the other team by a deep canyon with only one narrow connection. This connection is wallable but it is tricky to get the wall edges against a canyon edge or wall to ensure that the enemy is walled off. The map has adequate silver mines, forest, treasures, and a good number of pronghorn, bison and cows for food, all fairly placed. There are always two Native American villages per team for up to 4 players, and 3 villages per side for over 4 players, only in 2-team games. In FFA there is one village per player. These villages are located within the team lands and will be Navajo and/or Apache. There is a single long trade route with 2 trade posts on each side of the map, on each side of the dividing canyon, for a two team game. For games with over 5 players there will be a third trade post on each trade route. However in a Free-For-All the trade route is disabled as it would end up cutting across canyons and disrupting the defensive possibilities of this map. Player start positions have some randomization for variety. This map is a little larger than standard ES land maps.
There are possible extra treasures and silver located in the central canyon, accessible only via the crossing point. And for a surprise, keep your eyes open for some desert bighorn sheep hiding in the heights. They were really added as eye-candy, but see if you can figure out how to hunt them (and a few may appear in the lower elevations randomly).
In my testing this map always produces fair, balanced maps for 2 team play. Effective play involves scouting the various resources, Native types, and of course, the enemy, as well as taking control of the crossing.
This map supports FFA play well for 3 or 4 players. However, with larger player numbers, with each player on his own 'plateau' the player lands start to get a little narrower and not as defensible - it is harder to keep buildings away from the edges where enemy cannon are able to get to them. Also with larger player numbers in a FFA, the connections start to get more distorted and wider and the canyons more convoluted, making walling a little harder. Play a 5-or-more player FFA at your own discretion; it can still make a fun playable map but some players might not have as great of a defensible position as others.
To play this map, the two files (Canyonlands TWC.xs and Canyonlands TWC.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM2 (not the RM folder for the original game version). Please do not place them in the game's install folder - that will not work. When you start up a skirmish game in Single-player or Multiplayer, use the small blue 'Custom Map' button, which allows you to then select one the random maps in that My Games folder from the drop-down window.
This is one of my favorite maps that I have ever made for any game, and I think one of the most visually striking. It has required a lot of trial and error to get the canyons, mesas, trade routes and connections all working appropriately and looking good. Thank you to ES for giving us the tools to do this! Hope you enjoy the map.
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