Battle For Wesnoth: Wasting Time Open-Source Style

A guest review by Jeremy Cook

The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game available on Windows, MacOSX, and Linux.  You might expect this from an open-source game.  Looking a little farther, a version is apparently available on Amiga, Solaris, OS/2, RISC OS, and Syllable.  If you’ve heard of all of these operating systems, I would be extremely impressed.  I’ve “only” played this game on Ubuntu Linux and Windows, but it was extremely fun and addicting on both.

I haven’t played a lot of turn-based strategy games, tending throughout my early adulthood to steer towards games such as Command and Conquer, Warcraft 2, and Age of Empires.  The medieval theme is perhaps reminiscent of Warcraft.  The obvious difference is the fact that the Battle for Wesnoth is Turn-based.  Also, there is no collecting of resources, or building structures per se.  One simply occupies a village to collect money for it each turn.

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The other thing that sets The Battle for Wesnoth apart from these other RTS games that I’ve played is the fact that your soldiers can level up.  This is done in a limited form in some other games, but the thing that makes it interesting is that your characters are able to be recalled on the next battlefield. Once you get into the higher levels, if you don’t have any sufficiently leveled-up soldiers to recall, you may have a very hard time.  Fortunately, you can generally go back a turn if things don’t go your way, but it’s always a difficult decision when you’ve gained important ground, but lost an experienced character.

The game features knights, wizards, and all manner of monster and other fantastic character that you would expect in a game like this.  The graphics may not be great by today’s standards, but after it’s played for a while, these details seem to fade into the background.

If you have sufficient time to spend on something like this, I would definitely recommend a download. If, however, you have limited time, I would stay away from this one.  It’s a great game, but I would hate to imagine how many hours I’ve spend playing it.

Jeremy Cook is a Mechanical Engineer, avid tinkerer, and part-time writer.  You can find him on Twitter  @JeremySCook or at his DIY Camera-related blog: DIYTripods.com 

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