What is Battle for Wesnoth?
Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based tactical strategy game with a high fantasy theme, featuring both single-player, and online/hotseat multiplayer combat.
What license is the game distributed under?
How to get informed about new releases?
Check the front page of the website.
A new version is out, but where is the download for [Windows, Mac OS X, etc.]?
The packages provided, other than the source code tarball, are not part of the official project. The BfW team only releases the game's source code. Binary executables or applications are always contributed by community volunteers. If not for these volunteers, there would never be any downloads for us to enjoy. The volunteers compile the game and upload it on their own time, and sometimes they cannot do this in a timely fashion (or at all, at times). Although there are usual packagers designated for each operating system, there are times when other members of the community are asked to step in and contribute when the usual people cannot.
Every time a new version is released, the usual volunteers are notified by the project leaders. Please refrain from making forum posts asking where your download is because it doesn't help anything - the packagers already know, and they will get to it as soon as they can. In the past, the Windows and Mac communities have come together to produce home-grown unofficial builds for the community to use, and the renewed interest in community and learning how to compile is generally a good thing.
Why doesn't Wesnoth have my favorite feature?
Because we are building this game for ourselves, to suit our own preferences. We're not building the game for you, in large part because this is our hobby, not our job; whether you like it or not is immaterial to us. You may wonder, then, what the point is of soliciting ideas, as we do on the forum. We, the developers, have certainly come up with many good ideas on our own, but our players often do as well, and generally ones we don't think of ourselves. If a player comes up with an idea we like, we might implement it. Not because they asked for it, but because of its own merits as an addition to our game.
The beautiful thing about the license our game is distributed under, as compared to closed-source, commercial games, is that if you want that feature badly enough, you can take the code and art of our game and modify it yourself; you are free to re-use any work in Wesnoth, as long as you follow the rules of the GPL. From this, you can build a game exactly the way that you like. Just don't expect us to build that game for you. Building this game is our hobby, not our profession, and you did not pay us to make it; rather, we are the ones who have paid for it, in time and labor.
Do you want help making this game? How can I help?
Yes, we want your help. Whether you're a programmer, artist, musician, writer, translator, level designer, playtester, or just have some great suggestions, you're welcome to contribute. How? You can:
- join the project
- share your opinions at the Forum
- talk with us on IRC
- report bugs you find with Wesnoth and its mainline content
- update the wiki
- play against other players via the Multiplayer menu
- vote for Wesnoth at your favorite gaming web site
- spread the word!
What are the system requirements?
outdated! We are not completely certain, but an x86 running at 400 MHz with 128 MB RAM should be adequate for versions 1.0.2 and below. For versions 1.1 and up we recommend a computer with at least 1 GHz and 512 MB RAM if you run KDE or Gnome as Windowmanager (The game itself needs about 100 MB RAM). Slower machines will have trouble scrolling large maps or processing AI turns with many units. See the forum thread about minimum and recommended system requirements.
I'm bored; how do I speed the game up?
There are several preferences you can change to shorten the time that the AI takes to make its moves. "Accelerated Speed" will make units move and fight faster. "Skip AI Moves" will not show the AI's units moving from hex to hex. Finally, you can turn off all combat animations via the "Show Combat" option on the Advanced tab.
My computer is too slow; how do I speed the game up?
First, turn off the music and sound effects. Turning off the color cursors will make your cursor respond faster. If scrolling the map is slow, run the game in "Full Screen" mode, not in a window. Turn off combat, map, and standing unit animations via the "Show Combat", "Animate Map" and "Unit Standing Animations" options on the Advanced tab in the game Preferences. You can try turning off halos and combat results, but this might make gameplay more difficult. For some tips on tweaking the startup, see CustomizingStartup.
Gameplay and Controls
How do I learn to play?
If you just want to jump right in, start the game and play the tutorial. If you like reading documentation, see WesnothManual. At any time while playing, you can select help from the menu button (or hit F1). The online help is quite extensive and provides information on terrains, weapons, traits, abilities, units and a good overview of how to play.
My unit leveled up but didn't improve. What happened?
This is called "After Maximum Level Advancement" or AMLA for short. While most level 0, 1, and 2 units can advance, some cannot. However, some level 3 units can advance to level 4, or even 5. You can see whether a unit can advance further by right clicking and selecting "description."
After a unit reaches the highest level it can get, every time it reaches a new experience threshold (which increases with each advancement) it gains 3 hitpoints and is restored to a state of full health. This is a minor bonus so that experience gained by maxed out units is not altogether wasted. It is generally better to give experience to lower level units, rather than continue to advance units that have reached their maximum level.
I tried to trap an enemy with several weak units, but it still escaped. What happened?
Most units exert a zone of control (or ZoC). If an enemy moves into one of the six adjacent hexes, the zone of control will prevent it from moving any farther. However some weak units are level 0, meaning they are so weak that they do not have a ZoC. You can still surround an enemy unit entirely with level 0 units to keep it from escaping, but if there is any gap in your ranks, it could escape.
Also, some units have the "skirmish" ability, which allows them to ignore ZoCs.
How can I see where an enemy unit can move next turn?
During your turn you can click on an enemy unit. Wesnoth will highlight all the hexes the unit can move to in the next turn. This is useful when trying to arrange your units to block an enemy's movement.
There's too much luck in this game!
Sooner or later, you will become frustrated when your archmage with four 70% attacks misses all four times. This does not mean that the AI is cheating or the random number generator is futzed. It means you are noticing random negative events more than positive ones. During the development of the game, many mathematicians have done sophisticated statistical analysis of the combat system. Likewise, programmers have examined the random number generator. No flaws have been found, so streaks of "bad" and "good" luck should just be accepted as part of having randomness in Wesnoth. A more detailed rational and discussion of the role that randomness plays in Wesnoth can be found here.
Since Wesnoth is GPLed, it is possible that a new development team will someday "fork" the source and produce a version more like Heroes of Might & Magic, with less or no randomness. Until then, don't charge with your horsemen against troll rocklobbers at night...
The (random unit) is overpowered/underpowered!
The development team has spent years tweaking the units in the game. Each unit has had its gold cost, attack types, combat damage, defensive values, resistances, upgrade paths, and other stats carefully scrutinized and loudly discussed in the forum. However, the game code and the units were being modified right up until the 1.0 release, so some unbalanced units may have slipped through.
If you have evidence to back up your claim, search the forum for past discussions about this unit, and then try posting.
The (random scenario) is too hard/easy!
See above answer about random units.
What do the different difficulty levels do?
That depends on the scenario. Usually, the opponent will get more money and be able to recruit higher-level units at higher difficulty levels, and you will have fewer turns available.
Maps, Scenarios and Campaigns
How do I beat scenario _______ ?
How do I download user campaigns?
Choose "Campaigns" in the main Wesnoth menu. Then scroll down to the bottom and choose "Get More Campaigns..." or since 1.1.5 there is a "Get add-ons" button in the main menu. This connects you to the campaign server. In the campaign server you can view a list of all available campaigns and download them, as well as posting or deleting your own campaigns.
If you are behind a firewall you may not be able to connect to the campaign server. In this case try to download the campaign directly from the campaign server at http://addons.wesnoth.org/. If you know how to change your firewall settings, then you should open port 15003 (version 1.1.1 and up) or port 15002 (versions 1.1.0 and lower). For added security, you can restrict traffic over those ports to the campaign server's IP address (currently 22.214.171.124).
Are there any tools to help me create maps and scenarios?
Yes, the game includes a built-in map editor, that you can use to build the terrain maps for your scenarios.
Unfortunately, there's no simple solution for creating the rest of what constitutes a complete scenario or campaign, which is the WML code. There have been some abandoned attempts at creating complete scenario editors such as CampGen, but they are no longer maintained, nor do they work with the latest stable versions of the game.
You should take a look at the Create section for information and guides that can help you build your own scenario or campaign. Taking a look at how existing content works is also a good idea.
What are the .cfg files and how can I edit them?
The .cfg files are plain text files, saved with the file extension ".cfg". You can create and edit them using normal text editors; just save the files in correct format.
Please note that some Windows programs like to add a ".txt" extension, so the file is instead of "my_scenario.cfg" saved as "my_scenario.cfg.txt". And then the Windows Explorer will hide the ".txt" extension by default, so you may not notice it.
Notepad: After you create a document, click "File", "Save as..." and select "Save as type: All files". To open the document, click "File", "Open..." and select "Files of type: All files (*.*)". If you open someone else's document, and the end-of-line symbols are displayed as small rectangles, you have to use another editor.
WordPad: After you create a document, click "File", "Save as..." and select "Save as type: Text Document". After the document is saved, close WordPad and remove the ".txt" extension from file. To open the document, click "File", "Open..." and select "Files of type: All documents (*.*)".
Starting with the 1.9.x branch, there is a new IDE for helping User Made Content Authors to easily develop Wesnoth Add-ons. The website and details can be found at: http://eclipse.wesnoth.org
I already created an add-on and published it on the server. How can I get translations for the campaign?
How do I place an object or unit on my map with the map editor?
You can't. You need to make a scenario file. There are more details on the maps page.
How do I connect to a multiplayer server, when I sit behind a restrictive firewall?
You have to open outgoing TCP port 15000 - 14997 (depending on the version you use) to play multiplayer games over the internet on the official servers.
How to find players for multiplayer game?
Hang around for a while on multiplayer servers and you might find someone to play with. If you observe other people playing you will get informed when someone joins the servers. Maybe you find someone willing to play in the IRC channel dedicated to Wesnoth, #wesnoth at irc.freenode.net.
How to save and load a multiplayer game
Save the game. Give it a good name, so that you can find it among the other saved games.
Create new game. (Give it a name like "private game for X and Y", so that other players will not try joining it, and you do not have to explain or kick them.) The first item in the map/scenario list is "Saved games", select this. Choose the saved game. Wait for the other player(s) to connect. Start the game.
How can I make my computer into a dedicated Wesnoth server?
To setup a dedicated Wesnoth server, you have to compile the game with the "--enable-server" flag, and after you install, simply run wesnothd from the console. This will start the server, listening on TCP port 15000. To compile the server only you can use the flags "--disable-game --enable-server". If you aren't using a linux or mac operating system, there are a few ways you can compile on Windows... here is one way.
Note: Packages for Wesnoth 1.4 and later include wesnothd by default since it's required by the "Host a network game" option from the Multiplayer menu, which is the preferred option for temporarily hosting a server instance to play in a LAN or privately through the Internet.
Which versions of Wesnoth can play together?
You only need to make sure you are using the same minor version number (6 in "1.6.x", 8 in "1.8.x" and so on) corresponding to stable branch releases. If you are using a development release (odd minor version numbers), you must be using exactly the same version number as other clients, to avoid out-of-sync (OOS) issues in multiplayer.
If you are using user-made eras or MP scenarios, all players should make sure they are using the same, latest version of the add-on.
Where can I find more information about translating Wesnoth?
See WesnothTranslations for a list of currently maintained projects, and methods for contacting their maintainers and volunteering for help, and instructions for starting your own translation if it isn't included in the game already.  shows the current progress translations for different game development and stable branches, mainline campaigns and user-made add-ons.
Other Questions You Have
The best way to get answers to less-frequently asked questions is by visiting the official Battle for Wesnoth forums. There are plenty of people willing to help. Make sure you read ALL of the forum sticky notes and announcements before posting!