The Battle for Wesnoth

Wesnoth Title.png

The Battle for Wesnoth development team
1.14.15 (stable, released)
1.15.1 (development, released)
October 2, 2005 (version 1.0)
Turn-based strategy
Keyboard, mouse

The Battle for Wesnoth or simply Wesnoth, is a free turn-based strategy game designed in June 2003 by David White. The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy war game played on a hex map, with single-player campaigns as well as multi-player matches. A central philosophy in the design of the game is the KISS principle; for a new idea to be accepted, it should not complicate gameplay.

Wesnoth is based on the Sega Genesis game, Master of Monsters and Warsong (also known as Langrisser), although it also strongly resembles Strategic Simulations' 1996 release Fantasy General. White wanted to create a freely-available, open source strategy game that had very simple rules, but had a strong artificial intelligence, and was challenging and fun.

Game environment[edit | edit source]

The Battle for Wesnoth is set in a fantasy environment, in which players build armies made up of units from races such as humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, and more. This includes many custom made races, as anyone can customize the game.

The name Wesnoth was originally developed by the game's creator as a combination of syllables that he thought would sound good as a name for a fantasy land. When the project became larger and more elaborate, the developers created a fictional etymology for the name: the inhabitants of the land of Wesnoth came from the West and North, giving Westnorth, which eventually evolved to Wesnoth. This etymology is explained in the campaign The Rise of Wesnoth.

Factions[edit | edit source]

The Battle for Wesnoth currently has six default factions to choose from:

User-contributed graphic of a Lich in Wesnoth, incorporated in-game.

  • Rebels: Consist mostly of Elvish units, with ent-like Woses, Merfolk, and mages. Most of their level 1 units are capable of both melee and ranged attacks, making the Rebels very versatile. Elves ignore the time of day and have high defense in forests. They are generally faster, but slightly weaker than other units in most other terrain.
  • Knalgan Alliance: These consist of slow but sturdy Dwarves with strong melee attacks, allied with human outlaws that fight better under the cover of darkness. Generally, Dwarves gain a high defense when occupying mountains and hills. Dwarves are also more adept at traversing caves than any other faction and ignore the time of day. They are vulnerable to attack in open terrain, while their human outlaws fight better in this same terrain.
  • Loyalists: These are human cavalry, mages and infantry that ordinarily fight better in the daytime, with mermen allies. They are the most diverse faction, with more units than any other faction except the Knalgan Alliance.
  • Northerners: A faction of Orcs and Goblins, along with Trolls, and Naga allies. Their focus is on cheap recruiting, brute force, and close combat, fighting much better at night. Most units require little XP to advance levels. Units often achieve higher mobility when crossing hills.
  • Undead: The Undead are vulnerable to fire, impact, and arcane attacks, but have high resistance against blade, pierce and especially cold damage. The Undead rely on easy access to magic and poison attacks. Some units are able to drain health from enemies in order to replenish their own, and most are immune to poisoning. Unlike other races, most Undead units have no traits and no personal names.
  • Drakes: A dragon-like race that fights better by day. Most can fly and breathe fire. Their Saurian allies are faster and prefer fighting by night and in swamp areas, though they share the Drakes' vulnerability to cold. Drakes are the most maneuverable faction, though their size makes them prone to attack in most terrain.

The exact units used by the factions, and the faction names, change based on the era or the campaign. The above are the factions of the "Default" era, which is the most played one on the multiplayer servers, and its extension "Age Of Heroes".

There are also a number of user-created factions, several of which are grouped together in downloadable "Eras." For example, the Imperial Era includes the Roman-influenced Lavinians, the Marauders, and the Wild Elves, featuring completely new unit trees and abilities. However, it is quite possible to create factions that can be used in the default eras, though the amount of blessing given by the creators for each may vary.

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

See Campaigns for more details

The stable version of The Battle for Wesnoth currently comes with campaigns each having three levels of difficulty. More campaigns, mostly user-authored ones, can be obtained by clicking on the "Get Add-ons" button which connects the player to the campaign server.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Fundamentals of Gameplay[edit | edit source]

To begin with, it's best to click the Tutorial button at the main menu. This will take you to the interactive tutorial, which will teach you the basics of Wesnoth. After this, it is recommended that you play the Heir to the Throne campaign first - click Campaign then Heir to the Throne. As battle for Wesnoth can be quite challenging, you may wish to start on Easy.

While playing, keep in mind that if you mouse-over many items in the game, such as the information displayed in the status pane, a brief description will be shown explaining each item. This is especially useful when you encounter new abilities for the first time.

Victory and Defeat[edit | edit source]

Pay careful attention to the Objectives pop-up box at the beginning of each scenario. Usually you will achieve victory by killing all enemy leaders, and only be defeated by having your leader killed. But scenarios may have other victory objectives - getting your leader to a designated point, say, or rescuing someone, or solving a puzzle, or holding out against a siege until a certain number of turns have elapsed.

When you win a scenario, the map will gray over and the 'End Turn' button will change to 'End Scenario'. You can now do things like changing your save options or (if you are in a multiplayer game) chatting with other players before pressing that button to advance.

Recruiting and Recalling[edit | edit source]

Each side begins with one leader in their keep. At the start of any battle, and at times during it, you will need to recruit units into your army. To recruit, you must have your leader (for instance, Konrad in the Heir of the Throne campaign) on the Keep square of a Castle. Then you may recruit by either choosing Recruit from the menu or right-clicking on a hex and selecting Recruit. This brings up the recruit menu, which lists units available for recruitment, along with their gold cost. Click on a unit to see its statistics, then press the recruit button to recruit it.

Some gameplay

If you right-clicked on a castle hex and selected recruit, the new unit will appear in that square. Otherwise, it will appear in a free square near the keep. You may only recruit as many units as you have free hexes in your castle, and you cannot spend more gold than you actually have on recruiting.

Recruited units come with two random Traits which modify their statistics.

In later scenarios, you may also Recall survivors from earlier battles. Recalling costs a standard 20 gold and presents you with a list of all surviving units from previous scenarios.

Units not only cost gold to Recruit or Recall, they also require money to support. See Income and Upkeep for more information.

Hitpoints and Experience[edit | edit source]

Each unit has a certain number of hitpoints (HP). If the hitpoints of a unit drop below 1, the unit dies. Each unit also has a certain number of experience points (XP). A freshly recruited unit starts with no experience points, and gains experience by fighting enemies.

The hitpoints and experience points are both indicated in the status pane using two numbers (the current value and the maximum value the unit can have).

The hitpoints are also indicated by an energy bar next to each unit, which is green, yellow, or red. A unit with at least 1 experience point has a blue experience bar, which turns white as the unit is about to advance.

Orbs[edit | edit source]

On top of the energy bar shown next to each unit of yours is an orb. For units you control, this orb is:

  • green if it hasn't moved this turn
  • yellow if it has moved, but could still move further or attack
  • red if it has used all its movement this turn
  • the orb is blue if the unit is an ally you do not control
  • enemy units have no orb on top of their energy bar

Movement[edit | edit source]

Movement in Battle for Wesnoth is simple. Click on the unit you wish to move to select it, then click on the hex you wish to move it to. When a unit is selected, everywhere it can move this turn with be highlighted, and all other hexes on the map are made dull. Mousing over a highlighted hex shows the defense rating the unit would have if you moved it to that hex. Mousing over a dull hex will also show the number of turns required to reach it, and clicking will cause the unit to move towards it by the fastest route over this and subsequent turns. If you don't use up all of a unit's movement when you first move a unit, you may move it again. This is useful when having two units switch places. Attacking with a unit will use up its movement. Ending a move in a village you don't already own will also use up a unit's movement, but will still allow it to attack.

Shroud and Fog of War[edit | edit source]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

The game is programmed in C++. It is cross-platform, and runs on AmigaOS 4, BeOS, FreeBSD, Linux (including OS flavors running on GP2X and Nokia n800 and n810 handheld devices), Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, MorphOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, RISC OS, and Solaris.

The game is currently available in 42 different languages.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.