The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game with a fantasy theme.
Build up a great army, gradually turning raw recruits into hardened veterans. In later games, recall your toughest warriors and form a deadly host against whom none can stand! Choose units from a large pool of specialists, and hand-pick a force with the right strengths to fight well on different terrains against all manner of opposition.
Fight to regain the throne of Wesnoth, of which you are the legitimate heir, or use your dread power over the Undead to dominate the land of mortals, or lead your glorious Orcish tribe to victory against the humans who dared despoil your lands Wesnoth has many different sagas waiting to be played out. You can create your own custom units, and write your own scenarios or even full-blown campaigns. You can also challenge your friends or strangers and fight in epic multi-player fantasy battles.
Welcome to Wesnoth
The Land of Wesnoth
The Land of Wesnoth is generally divided into three areas: the northlands, which are generally lawless; the kingdom of Wesnoth and its occasional principality, Elensefar; and the domain of the Southwest Elves.
The Kingdom of Wesnoth lies in the center of the land. Its borders are the Great River to the north, the Lower Hills in the east and south, the Green Swamp to the southwest, and the Ocean to the west. Elensefar, a once-province of Wesnoth, is bordered by the Great River to the north, a loosely defined line with Wesnoth to the east, the Bay of Pearls to the south, and the ocean to the west. There is no government of the Northlands. Various groups of orcs, dwarves, barbarians and even elves populate the region. The northern and eastern borders are not defined, the southern border is the Great River, and the western border is the Ocean.
As you travel around the land you will encounter peaceful villages where you can heal your troops and obtain a good income to support your army. You will also have to cross mountains and rivers, either on foot or mounted, push through forests, hills and tundra, or brazenly cross open grassland. In each of these areas different creatures have adapted to live there and can travel more easily and fight better when they are in familiar terrain. In the hills, mountains and underground caves orcs and dwarves are most at home. In the forests the elves reign supreme while in the oceans and rivers mermen and nagas control the waves.
The Creatures of Wesnoth
The world of Wesnoth contains several races that have joined forces into different factions. Here, Elves and Dwarves fight side by side against Orcs and Humans. In most campaigns, you will mostly control units from one faction, but often you will have a recruit list with units mixed in from other factions, and will not have some units from a faction available. Basically, your recruit list is determined by the plot of the campaign, not by a predetermined ruleset.
Sometimes factions make alliances with others, so you may face more than one faction in a scenario.
Finding Your Way Around Battle For Wesnoth
When Wesnoth first starts it displays an initial background and a column of buttons called the Main Menu. The buttons only work with a mouse. For the impatient, we recommend you: click the 'Language' button to set your language; then click the 'Tutorial' button to run the tutorial; and then play the campaign, 'The Two Brothers' by clicking the 'Campaign' button and selecting it from the list provided.
The Main Menu buttons are:
- The tutorial is a real, but basic, game which teaches you some of the basic controls needed to play the game. Winning or losing is not important here, but learning what to do is. Click the Tutorial button to play. In the Tutorial you are in the role of the young prince Konrad or princess Li'sar, learning from the Elder Mage Delfador - pay attention or he might turn you into a newt.
- Wesnoth was primarily designed to play campaigns. Campaigns are a series of connected scenarios. Click this button to start a new campaign. You will be presented with a list of campaigns available on your computer (more can be downloaded if you wish). Select your campaign and click OK to start or Cancel to quit.
- Each campaign has a difficulty level: easy, medium (normal), and hard. Some have an extra setting, 'nightmare'. We recommend medium as this level is challenging, but not difficult. You may not change the difficulty during the campaign. In case you have serious problems fighting your way through easy difficulty, the guide about BasicStrategy will surely help you. Once you have selected the difficulty, you will start with the first scenario of the campaign. A good campaign to start with is the Heir to The Throne. It is not too difficult on easy, but gets challenging later on. You can find walkthroughs or descriptions of the available campaigns at:
- Click this button to play single scenarios against one or more opponents. You can play the games over the internet or at your computer, against computer or human opponents. When you select this button a dialogue will appear and allow you to choose how you want to play the scenario. To learn more, see Multiplayer.
- Click this button to load a previously saved game. You will be shown a dialogue listing saved games. Select the game and click Ok to load and continue, or Cancel to return to the Main Menu.
- If you select a replay game, you can check the Replay check box. The loaded game will make all the moves from the beginning while you watch.
- Click this button, select your language, and click OK to use it, or Cancel to continue with the current language. The first time Wesnoth starts, it defaults to English, but once you change it, it will start in that language.
- Click here to change default settings. These are explained in more detail in the Manual.
- Click this button for a list of major Wesnoth contributors. You may find most of them at irc.freenode.org:6667 on #wesnoth. Or visit http://www.wesnoth.org for news, forums, and Wiki updates. The project is hosted on https://gna.org/projects/wesnoth, where you can download the latest production or developer release, review and report problems (bugs).
- Click this button to close Wesnoth.
This getting started guide provides a basic introduction to Battle for Wesnoth. You can find more details about playing the game in the Manual.
Play a Game
There are two basic ways to play Battle for Wesnoth:
- Play a sequence of connected scenarios, known as a campaign, against the computer (Campaign)
- Play a single scenario against computer or human opponents (Multiplayer)
(Note: The development of multiplayer campaigns is currently underway).
Campaigns can take a long time to complete .... Typical campaigns have about 10-20 scenarios. The main advantage with campaigns is that they allow you to develop your army. As you complete each scenario, the remaining units at the end are saved for you to use in the next scenario. If you choose not to use a unit at all during a scenario it is carried over to the next, so you don't lose units you don't use.
The campaign is the primary form in which Wesnoth is intended to be played, and is the recommended way for new players to learn the game. Some Official campaigns also describe the history of Wesnoth as scenarios are completed.
Multiplayer games are played with or against other players, which may be human or AI-controlled. There are 4 major options: 1) Join official server, 2) Connect to host/server, 3) Host networked game, 4) Local game.
By selecting this option, you may play either competitive games or cooperative games. Competitive games include 1 vs 1's , 2 vs 2's or even free-for-alls (FFA's). Cooperative games or scenarios include survivals and other user made scenarios, which may include RPG elements or other elements which are not present in campaigns or competitive games. In general, cooperative scenarios require downloading from the Wesnoth Add-On Server. In all games, you have the option of assigning any sides control by the AI.
Multiplayer games can take anywhere from 1 hour to 10 hours (or more, for very rare map settings), depending on how many players there are (and the size of the map). The average time is between 3 to 7 hours. Games can be saved and loaded as many times as you like. So, it's possible for some games to last 1 or 2 weeks, even though the play time is only a few hours. You cannot carry over units in multiplayer from one scenario to the next, so building up your army's strength is possible only within the scenario.
Join Official Server
By selecting this option, you will be connected to the official Wesnoth server via the Internet. This option will allow you to play with other players from around the world.
Connect to Host/Server
This option allows you to connect to other computers or servers, including the official Wesnoth server. You may use this option to join a multiplayer game via a local access network (LAN).
Host Networked Game
This option allows you to create a game that can be joined by other players via a LAN network.
This option allows you to play a game involving 1 computer only. You may still assign control for other sides to other players/AI.
The Game Screen
Regardless of whether you are playing a scenario or a campaign, the basic layout of the game screen is the same. The majority of the screen is filled with a map which shows all of the action that takes place in the game. Around the map are various elements which provide useful information about the game and are described in more detail below.
Across the top of the screen from left to right are the following items:
- Menu button
- Actions button
- Turn counter *
- Your gold
- Your total villages
- Your total units
- Your upkeep
- Your income
- Timer or clock
- Current hex type
- Current hex position
Down the right of the screen from top to bottom are:
- Full map, scaled *
- Time of day indicator
- Unit profile for last selected unit*
- End Turn button *
(Items marked with a * are currently undocumented)
- Menu button: Displays a drop-down menu with the following options:
- Scenario Objectives: Lists the victory and defeat conditions.
- Unit List: Lists your active units, including their map position.
- Status Table: Summary list of visible player units, villages, income etc.
- Save Game: Write the current game position to disk.
- Load Game
- Preferences: see the Manual for details.
- Back to: Return to previous turns without opening the Load Game dialog. Not available in all games.
- Quit Game: Close the game, without saving, and return to the Main menu.
- Actions button: Displays a drop-down menu with the following options:
- Next unit
- Recruit: Lists units your commander can recruit from a keep.
- Recall (Campaign only): Lists units your commander can recall from a keep.
- Show enemy moves
- Best possible enemy moves
- End Turn: On your turn, select it to end your turn.
- Your gold, villages, units, upkeep, and income
- Quick way to check how your army is doing. A negative income means you'll lose gold, a positive means you gain gold. Upkeep is the gold you pay your units. Villages shows how many you own, each village will give you Gold.
- Current hex
- Shows the terrain type and position of the hex pointed to by the mouse. If a unit is on the hex, its resistance on that terrain is shown after the position. The position is in column, row order.
- Time of day indicator
- Putting your mouse over the indicator will bring up a tooltip showing the effect of the time of day. Wesnoth has a 6-turn day and different alignments have bonuses depending on the time of day.
Recruit and Recall
When you first start a scenario or campaign you will only have a few units on the map. One of these will be your commander (identified by a little crown icon). Your commander is usually placed in a castle on a special hex called a keep. Whenever your commander is on a keep (not only your own, but also the keep of any enemy castles you capture) and you have enough gold, you can recruit units for your army. In later scenarios you can recall experienced units that survived earlier scenarios. From here, you can start to build your army to conquer the enemy.
The first thing you will probably want to do is recruit your first unit. Press 'ctrl-r' (or right click on an empty castle hex and select 'recruit') and you will be able to recruit a unit from a list of all the units available to you. Each recruit is placed on an empty castle square. Once you have filled the castle, you cannot recruit any more until units move off. Your opponent's commander is similarly placed on its castle keep and will begin by recruiting its troops -- so don't dilly-dally looking at the scenery, there's a battle to be won.
At the end of each successful scenario, all your remaining troops are automatically saved. At the start of the next scenario you may recall them in a similar way to recruiting. Recalled troops are often more experienced than recruits and usually a better choice.
All game types use the same soldiers, called units. Each unit is identified by Race, Level, and Class. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses, based on their Resistance, current Terrain, and Level. See http://units.wesnoth.org/
Life and Death - Experience
As your troops gain battle experience, they will learn more skills and become stronger. They will also die in battle, so you'll need to recruit and recall more when that happens. But choose wisely, for each has strengths and weaknesses a cunning opponent will quickly exploit.
Your army does not fight for free. It costs you money to recruit units and money to maintain them. You start each scenario with money carried over from previous scenarios (although each scenario ensures you have at least a minimum amount of gold to start if you didn't carry over enough from previous scenarios) and can gain more by meeting scenario objectives quickly and, during a scenario, by controlling villages. Each village you control will give you two gold pieces income per turn. When you first start a scenario it is usually worthwhile to gain control of as many villages as you can to ensure you have sufficient income to wage war. You can see your current gold and current income at the top of the screen as described in the section on the Game Screen. More information can be found in the manual.
Save and Load
At the start of each scenario, you have the option to save it. If you are defeated, you may load it and try again. Once you have succeeded, you will again be asked to save the next scenario and play that. If you have to stop playing during a scenario, you can save your turn and load it again later. Just remember, a good BFW player never needs to save during a scenario. However, most beginners tend to do so rather often. ;)
Getting the Most Fun Out of the Game
Remember, the idea of a game is to have fun! Here are some recommendations from the development team on how to get the most fun out of the game:
- Consider playing the campaign on 'Medium' difficulty level, especially if you have prior experience with strategy games. We feel you'll find it much more rewarding.
- Don't sweat it too much when you lose some units. The campaign was designed to accommodate the player losing some units along the way.
- Don't abuse saved games. Long ago, Wesnoth only allowed saving the game at the end of a scenario. Mid-scenario saving was added as a convenience to use if you had to continue the game another day, or to protect against crashes. We do not recommend loading mid-scenario saved games over and over because your White Mage keeps getting killed. Learn to protect your White Mage instead, and balance risks! That is part of the strategy.
- If you must load a saved game, we recommend going back to the start of the scenario, so that you choose a new strategy that works, rather than simply finding random numbers that favor you.
- But remember, the aim is to have fun! You may have different tastes than the developers, so do what you enjoy most! If you enjoy loading the saved game every time you make a mistake, looking for the 'perfect' game where you never lose a unit, by all means, go right ahead!
At the start of a scenario
- First, read the scenario objectives. Sometimes you do not have to kill enemy leaders; instead it is enough that you survive for a certain number of turns, or pick up a particular object
- Look at the map: the terrain, the position of your leader and the other leader(s).
- Then, begin to recruit units. Cheap units are useful to soak up the first wave of an enemy's attack; advanced units can then be brought in as support. Fast units can be used as scouts, for exploring the map and to quickly conquer villages.
During the scenario
- Try to capture and keep control of as many villages as possible to keep the gold coming in
- Keep units in packs so the enemy cannot attack from as many sides, and so you can outnumber each enemy unit. Put your units in a line so that the enemy cannot attack any one of your units from more than two sides.
- Different units have different strengths and weaknesses depending on terrain and who they are attacking; right click on units and select "Describe unit" to learn more
- You can use lower level units as cannon fodder, to slow down enemy. e.g. you can use them to block enemy reaching your important units
- You can cause damage to enemies with advanced units and then finish them with lower level units - to give them more experience (and finally make them advance to next level)
- When you have a White Mage (advances from Mage) or Druid (advances from Shaman), put it in the middle of a circle of units to heal them as they move across the map (Shamans can do this too, but not as well)
- Losing units is expected, even advanced units
- Time of day really matters:
- lawful units do more damage at day and less damage at night
- chaotic units do more damage at night and less damage at day
- remember to always check the time of day on the right side of the screen. Plan ahead - think about what it's going to be next turn as well as this turn.
- Some units are resistant or vulnerable to different kind of attacks. Mounted units are weak vs pierce attacks. Fire and holy (arcane) attacks destroy undead. To see how much a unit resists an attack type, right click on the unit, select 'Unit Description', then select 'Resistance'. It will show you how resistant a unit is to different types of attacks.
An important part of succeeding at Battle for Wesnoth is keeping your units healthy. When your units take damage you can heal them by moving them onto villages or next to special healing units (e.g. the Elvish Shaman and White Mage). Some other units you will encounter, such as Trolls, have the ability to heal themselves naturally. You can find more detailed information about healing in Chapter 2.
Winning a scenario
- Advanced units are needed to quickly kill enemy commanders, and to avoid losing lots of units.
- The quicker you win a scenario, the more gold you get; you will get more gold from winning early than from all of the map's villages for the rest of the turns.
- Killing all enemy leaders usually gives instant victory.
More general tips
- After slaughtering scenarios (where you take lots of punishment) there are usually "breathing room" scenarios where you can rather easily gain some gold and experience (advanced units)
- Advanced units have higher upkeep than lower level units (1 gp per level), loyal units are an exception.