Prairie Rivers 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 two parallel rivers separating the teams, each with 1-4 shallow crossings. This map is somewhat larger than the standard ES maps. If you look at a map of the American Prairie, there are numerous rivers running from west to east, often fairly parallel. This is the appearance I have tried to recreate in this map. The map uses 4 different terrain patterns, randomly chosen, each of which represents a part of the plains.
There is always one Trade Route on each side of the map, each with 1 or 2 trade post sockets (player number dependant). There is also a Trade Route with more trade post sockets running the width of the map between the rivers.
There are up to several Native villages at various locations, randomly chosen and fairly placed. The Natives used are the mounted warriors found in the game - Cheyenne, Apache and/or Comanche. There are generally more natives than on most maps, although the number will vary.
Mines, huntables, herdables, forest and treasures are pretty standard. 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, river crossings, and of course, the enemy. The gameplay on this map is unique and offers a variety of strategies. The use of the natives should be routine. There is a posssibility of defensive play at the crossings. And the map is very well suited for coordinated teamwork.
To play this map, the two files (Prairie Rivers.xs and Prairie Rivers.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 Apache and Cheyenne natives and new War Chiefs terrains will cause the map to not work properly.
Thanks to ES for providing the tools to make random map scripting possible.
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