Hello, everyone! Over the last year or so I’ve created two new scenarios for PAE VI focused on the Bronze Age and Iron Age. This is my first venture into the world of modding, so I apologize if anything here is clumsily presented. I noticed that almost all existing scenarios are focused on classical Greece and Rome, which is reasonable since, after all, the mod is called Pie’s Ancient EUROPE, not Pie’s Ancient Middle East But PAE includes many cool Bronze- and Iron-Age leaders like Rameses, Hattushili, and Ashurbanipal who feel out of place going up against the likes of Caesar and Alexander the Great. So, I created an XL map of the Mid East in two versions, one populated with Bronze Age leaders and the other populated with Iron Age leaders. I’m uploading the WB files here for others to try out. I originally created them in the base version of PAE VI, but I have now successfully tested them in both patches 6.7 and 6.11 so they should be compatible with all patches. WB_BronzeAgeMidEast.CivBeyondSwordWBSave This is an extra-large (127x90) map of the Middle East populated with Bronze Age leaders such as Rameses, Hattushili, Akhenaten, and Agamemnon. There are no useable Iron bonuses on this map, though some may unavoidably get “discovered” through quarry building. Resources are mostly located where they were actually available during the Bronze Age, but I have introduced some inaccuracies for the sake of playability. For example, Lead is found rather more frequently than in reality. This is because I’m using it as a stand-in for arsenic. There’s very little tin in the Middle East, so most early bronze was actually made with copper and arsenic, rather than copper and tin. Still, trading with your opponents will be a necessity, not an option! There is no stone or metal of any sort in Mesopotamia. The start date is 5800 BC, and the game speed is Epic. The scenario lasts 560 turns and ends in 1200 BC. By this point, most civs will be part-way through the Iron Age Era in the tech tree. Initially, I tried making it a shorter game that would actually end at the end of Bronze Age Era, but I found this to be unplayable. There are too many key techs that aren’t available until the Iron Age Era. It’s hard to fight much of a war without rams, supply wagons, or vassal states. But the lack of Iron means that, in practice, you’ll still be limited to what you can build with bronze. The Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates are all navigable! The Bronze Age had few roads, so water transport will be vital to extending your empire. Not to mention that it’s a highly trade-dependent map and the Keftion unit will empower civs that can train it to seek out vital resources in distant lands up- and down-river. I have made these rivers mostly out of Bank and Ford tiles because they carry trade earlier than Coast tiles. I did find that I had to include a few Coast tiles, though, because the AI doesn’t see any value in settling next to Bank tiles. (Can't tell if this has been changed in the latest patches.) WB_IronAgeMidEast.CivBeyondSwordWBSave This is an extra-large (127x90) map of the Middle East populated with Iron Age leaders such as Nebuchadnezzar, Ashurbanipal, Cyrus, and Solomon. There is useable Iron on this map, but it’s mostly located in northern Anatolia and southern Nubia, so you’ll still have to build robust trade networks. You’ll also find that terrain features and bonuses have changed dramatically in some places from what they were on the Bronze Age map. This reflects the changes in climate and river courses over the intervening centuries. The start date is 5240 BC, giving you time to build a powerful economic and cultural foundation through the Neolithic and Bronze Age eras, but this scenario lasts 680 turns, ending in 500 BC. Depending on difficulty, you may actually reach the Classical Era by this point, but that’s reasonable for the calendar date. General questions/complaints which I anticipate about both scenarios: 1 – “Why are there so many bonuses?” This is to encourage the AIs to trade with each other. Like I said, it’s a highly trade-dependent map. Normally, the AIs are pretty stingy about trading resources, but if the ruler of Cyprus has six Copper bonuses and nothing else, he’ll be more likely to consider trading away this valuable strategic resource. 2 – “Why on earth are there walruses in Egypt?” This stems from my frustration with the lack of a hippopotamus bonus. Building an Ivory Market requires either Walrus or Elephant, but most ivory in the ancient Mediterranean was actually hippopotamus ivory from Egypt. There were no elephants in Egypt at all until Alexander the Great’s generals brought them back from India. I get annoyed when the AI running Egypt decides to storm across the map with an army of War Elephants in 1000 BC. Sorry, I know this is just a pet peeve. Creating a new bonus would’ve made the map incompatible with official versions of PAE, so instead I went into Assets>XML>Text>PAEGameText_PAEV and changed TXT_KEY_BONUS_WALRUS to read “Hippopotamus” instead of “Walrus.” Obviously, this is a change you will have to make on your own, since it is not part of the map script. 3 – “Why is ‘No Barbarians’ turned on?” Relax, ‘No Barbarians’ doesn’t actually mean no barbarians. It doesn’t prevent barbarians spawning from bonuses like Deer and Barbary Lions, or from the Barbarian Stronghold improvement. It only prevents them spawning in unmodified terrain. I use ‘No Barbarians’ because of another pet peeve, which is camels spawning in Egypt. There were no camels in Egypt until the Persian conquest in 525 BC. I’ve compensated for ‘No Barbarians’ with a liberal distribution of the Deer, Lion, Horse, and Camel bonuses in their correct geographic locations. You may also find the Elephant bonus buried deep in the desert around Nubia and Syria. This is to allow wild elephants to spawn in these regions without letting any civ claim the bonus and train war elephants. There are so many barbarian-spawning bonuses that if you play this map with ‘Raging Barbarians’ turned on, you will get utterly overwhelmed by bears and lions! 4 – “It’s impossible to build an interesting civ using only the techs of the Bronze Age Era.” Which is why I’ve added enough turns to the Bronze Age scenario that you should be able to access key techs from the Iron Age Era well before the end of the game. That said, I have also introduced earlier capabilities by changing a few things in the mod itself. None of these changes are written into the map (except the above-mentioned walruses in Egypt), so it’s still fully compatible with official versions of the mod. The only change that had a significant impact on gameplay was allowing the Babylonian and Sumerian civs to research Shipbuilding. This allows them to establish trade with the copper-mining civs in Bahrain and Oman at a much earlier date. (I’m actually puzzled as to why these civs can’t research Shipbuilding in the official mod, since historically they dominated the Persian Gulf trade very early on.) I also created two new units, the Papyrus Boat and the Reed Boat, which can be built even earlier but cannot enter Coast or Ocean tiles (only Bank and Ford tiles). However, the AIs don’t seem to want to build these units, so their impact on gameplay has been limited. In a later post I’ll provide step-by-step instructions and code for making these changes in case anybody wants to try them out. In the meantime, happy empire-building!