6 people from NinjaBee played or watched people playing the final four maps. Here are some comments from the group of players which included Jeremy and Shelly who did most of the maps for the original game.
Dragon Claw: Orion1189
* Good original concept.
* Waterfall is cool.
* In practice, our battles ended up taking place on the flat area, and the 2-player team didn't have much height difference to work with, which meant limited variation when the two forces actually engaged. Just lots of pounding.
* We love the 2-on-1 idea! In practice it seems a bit hard for the solo player to win, but your experience may vary.
Kitten Lair: Zee
* We really like that this is not the standard elimination map, but it felt like winning without eliminating the other team was very unlikely.
* The artillery units stuck in place were extremely cool - YaZeus (Kevin) and stay (Steve) really liked this in particular.
* The killable doors (artifacts) are neat.
* The high walls in back of each side (combined with high spikes where the artillery units are) made it a bit hard to see some squares from a decent angle. This could, of course, be blamed on our camera.
Bug Gulch: SpartanWalrus36
* The look of the map could use some work - why not use corner fence pieces on the square fence section?
* There are some great archer positions on this map, which we didn't expect at first glance.
* In practice, this level was really fun, even though it looks rather boring at first. As we played it we got into some fun chases and we found good options for the archers, which turned out very interesting.
Bug Arena: Johnny Sinister
* Another great concept! This is a really cool idea. Unfortunately, it's not really built right to accomplish the idea. There's a single escape point for one team (the blue team) and not one for the red team. This makes the red team's goal to kill the blue team, which is a much harder goal than just escaping. Our experience seems to imply that it would be very hard for the red team to win with evenly matched skills.
* The fences and raised/lowered tiles are pretty clever - it's an interesting tactic trying to know when to poke your head up to hit the enemy, when to use area attacks, and when to heal.
* The requirement to either work around the back or freeze a path is pretty cool, too.
The winner we chose, based on collected votes from the players, is Bug Gulch, by SpartanWalrus36.
I know they always say this, but this was an incredibly hard decision to make! We were pretty evenly split when we first counted, and even after factoring in our second favorite map, we remained evenly split! In the end, the decision came down to which map had actually been the most fun to play, which after much discussion we decided was Bug Gulch!
Anyone besides SpartanWalrus who wants to rework the map they submitted and submit in a future contest is welcome to do so! We'll also give Johnny Sinister, Zee, and Orion1189 a free T-shirt and something else (I'm not sure what, yet!) for being finalists. (so, you guys need to contact me or Jason (stay at wahoo or jfreston at wahoo) with your shirt preference and mailing address).
Thanks again to everyone who entered, and to the forum judges for their help! I would strongly suggest that you guys talk to these map creators and get copies of their maps to try for yourselves, because really, they're all way cool!