Finger Lake is a new random map only for AOE3: The War Chiefs, for Single-player or Multiplayer use. This is a new design, a rectangular map with players starting along the more distant ends of the longer dimension, which is 2x the shorter dimension (and size varies, like the standard ES maps, by player number). There is a long narrow lake, rich in salmon, runnng along the center of the long axis of the map, ending before the map edges. This map is significantly larger than the standard ES maps.
There is always one Trade Route on each side of the lake. There are up to several Native villages at various locations, randomly chosen and fairly placed. The Natives will be of one or two types per map (Iroquois/Cherokee, Iroquois/Cree, Huron/Cherokee, Huron/Cree). Mines, huntables, herdables, forest and treasures are pretty standard. The map is randomly summer, fall or winter ( no berries on the winter map). All maps have 2 silver mines per player near the start area (though the second is just out of the starting screen), with an additional few per player further off. Often some of the distant mines will be gold mines rather than silver mines, which provide much more coin.
In my testing this map produces extremely fair, balanced maps for 2 team play. Effective play involves scouting the various resources, Native types, Trade Routes, map terrain, and of course, the enemy. The gameplay on this map is unique and offers a variety of strategies. Do you try to control the lake for its rich fishing? Do you try to advance up just one side of the lake quickly or do you try to hold both pathways? Could you send transports the length of thelake for a surprise attack? A standard fast colonial rush is a little difficult given the length of the map. And the map is very well suited for coordinated teamwork.
To play this map, the two files (Finger Lake.xs and Finger Lake.xml) must be placed in the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\RM2. 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 of the random maps in that My Games folder from the drop-down window. The files will transfer in Multiplayer if your allies or opponents have not downloaded the files. Please do not edit the files or you will have compatability problems in Multiplayer. Please do not place these in the usual folder for the original AOE3(or vanilla AOE3) custom random maps, as the addition of the Huron natives will cause the map to not work properly.
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