Bandits, wizards, and swamp trolls
BY TERRY PACK
In an ancient, faraway land, the King lies near death- and the Princes of Thrania prepare for war! So get out your broadsword, muster your armies, and get ready to fight your fellow princes for a chance to become Tharn V, the next king of Thrania as you battle for the throne!
You'll find the program for this article in the file BATTLE.ARC on your START Disk.
In a distant ocean lies the island of Thrania, a land of fertile plains, dark forests, impassable mountains and dangerous swamps. Thrania was settled long ago by a wealthy family and their servants. Over the centuries, the family built a number of castles and a civilization of sorts spread across the island, until at last the kingdom of Thrania was established.
There has never been a peaceful succession in Thrania. With no precedent of passing the crown, every time a king dies there is a long and bloody war, sometimes lasting years.
Now old king Tharn IV is on his deathbed, and each of the four royal princes is calling up his troops. To complicate matters, there is also Crobvar, who claims to be Tharn's illegitimate son. Crobvar was last seen disappearing into the forest with several gangs of bandits and cutthroats.
Battle for the Throne is a strategy game for one to four players. Each player takes the role of one of Tharn's legitimate Sons, battling for control of the kingdom.
You'll find the game in the file BATTLE.ARC on your START disk. To play the game, first copy this file and the program ARCX.TTP to a fresh disk. Double-click on ARCX.TTP, and in the box that comes up on screen, type the filename BATTLE.ARC and press the Return key. The disk will spin for a minute, the program will print messages telling you what's happening and when its finished you'll find the uncompressed game files on disk. The program must be run in low resolution, and if it's in a folder, the files TITLEPAG.NEO and TERRAIN.NEO must also be in that folder.
When you run BATTLE.PRG, each player becomes a Prince of Thrania and receives a castle and ten troops. They're displayed on a map of Thrania that doubles as the playing board. The troops begin in the castle, but can move to any adjacent square on the board that isn't occupied by someone else's troops.
The number at the top of each square indicates the number of troops there. When it's your turn you can move your troops with the mouse; click once on the square where you have troops, then again on the adjacent square where you want them to go. After you've selected your move, a dialog box will ask how many troops to move.
you need to finish off
those bandits, too!
During your turn you can also attack adjacent squares that are occupied by the troops of your opponents (including Crobvar and his bandits). Depending on how many troops are on each side, either the attacker or defender (or both) may lose troops in a battle; the side that finishes the battle with the most troops wins. The defender's terrain determines how difficult the attack will be. Castles have the best defense; clear terrain has the worst. Be careful when moving into swamps, as your troops may sink in the quicksand or be attacked by a host of swamp evils.
TAX AND SPEND
Each year (every 2-6 turns) you collect taxes based on the population of your territory. The population is the other number in each square on the map. You get 1,000 gold pieces for each household. You can either spend the money you collect or save it in your treasury.
Raising additional troops costs 2,000 gold pieces each. However, due to lags in transport and communication, taxes collected this year can only be used to build troops in castles. Money stored in your treasury from the previous year can be used to build troops anywhere in the territory you control.
If another player captures your castle, you cannot collect any taxes until you win it back or capture another castle.
Plan your spending carefully. You'll find that it doesn't pay to hoard too much gold in your treasury. You'll also find that no battle is a guaranteed victory-a few defenders in a castle may still survive against a huge attacking army. And watch out for plagues, droughts, floods and snowstorms - they may change your battle plans in a hurry!
The game isn't over until only one prince survives-and don't forget, you need to finish off those bandits before you can wear the coveted crown of Thrania.
LONG LIVE THE KING
If you're interested in finding out how the program works, take a look at the files BATTLE.PAS and BREAKDWN.TXT. Battle for the Throne is written in Personal Pascal, but even if you're not a programmer, you may want to read the program breakdown just to get clues to better strategies.
Then practice battling bandit and brother, use your taxes wisely, and watch out for blizzards and wizards in your quest to become the next king of Thrania!
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Terry Pack is an electronics service technician and a longtime ST user and game fan.