From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki
Revision as of 09:03, 9 March 2006 by Skippy (talk | contribs) (The Game Screen: Correct for 1.0.2 - I'll fix for 1.1.1 when I download it)

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.

Finding Your Way Around Wesnoth

You can use both the keyboard and mouse to navigate around Wesnoth. Some controls respond to mouse only and others to keyboard. Wesnoth supports several languages, so please select your preferred language before playing. You may change the language at any time.

Some buttons contain features beyond getting started, such as Hotkeys and Multiplay, which are explained in WesnothManual, not here.

For the impatient, we recommend you first set your language, run the tutorial, and then play a campaign.

The Main Menu

When Wesnoth starts it displays an initial background and a column of buttons called the Main Menu. The buttons only work with a mouse. The Main Menu buttons are:

  • Tutorial
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, learning from the Elder Mage Delfador - pay attention or he might turn you into a newt.
  • Campaign
Wesnoth was primarily designed to play campaigns. 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. We recommend medium as this level is challenging, but not difficult. You may not change the difficulty during the campaign. Once you have selected the difficulty, you will start with the first scenario of the campaign.
To learn more on Campaigns, see 'Playing a Campaign' and 'Load'. You can also find walkthroughs or descriptions of the available scenarios at:
  • Multiplayer
Click this button to play network games. A dialogue will appear for you to create or connect to a game server. To learn more, see 'Network Games'.
  • Load
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.
  • Language
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.
  • Preferences
Click here to change default settings. These are explained in more detail in the Manual.
  • About
Click this button for a list of major Wesnoth contributors. You may find most of them at on #wesnoth. Or visit for news, forums, and Wiki updates. The project is hosted on , where you can download the latest production or developer release, review and report problems (bugs).
  • Quit
Click this button to close Wesnoth.

The Game Screen

When playing a game the screen is divided into several sections. 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:

  1. Menu button
  2. Actions button
  3. Turn counter *
  4. Your gold
  5. Your total villages
  6. Your total units
  7. Your upkeep
  8. Your income
  9. Current hex type
  10. Current hex position

Down the right of the screen from top to bottom are:

  1. Full map, scaled *
  2. Time of day indicator
  3. Unit profile for last selected unit*
  4. End Turn button *

(Items marked with a * are currently undocumented)

  • Menu button: Displays a drop-down menu with the following options:
  1. Scenario Objectives: Lists the victory and defeat conditions.
  2. Statistics
  3. Unit List: Lists your active units, including their map position.
  4. Status Table: Summary list of visible player units, villages, income etc.
  5. Save Game: Write the current game position to disk.
  6. Load Game
  7. Preferences: see the Manual for details.
  8. Help
  9. Quit Game: Close the game, without saving, and return to the Main menu.
  • Actions button: Displays a drop-down menu with the following options:
  1. Next unit
  2. Recruit: Lists units your commander can recruit from a keep.
  3. Recall (Campaign only): Lists units your commander can recall from a keep.
  4. Show enemy moves
  5. Best possible enemy moves
  6. 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.

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. ;)

Recruit and Recall

At the start of each scenario, your commander is placed in a castle on a special hex called a keep. From here, you can recruit or recall your troops. 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 able to recruit troops. When you right-click on an empty castle hex, a context menu will come up that includes "recruit". Use the menu that comes up to recruit more units. You must wait until your next turn to move recruits off your castle.

At the end of each successful scenario, all your remaining troops are automatically saved for you. 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.

You may only recruit and recall when your commander is on the castle's keep hex. Since most castles have a keep, you can move your commander to any castle's keep to recruit and recall.

Factions and Races

The world of Wesnoth contains several races that have joined forces into different factions. Here, Elf and Dwarf fight side by side against Orc and Human. 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.

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.

Army Units

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. Full details are in the UnitTables and MoveTypeTables.

Method of Game Play

You can play The Battle For Wesnoth as a campaign, a single scenario, multiplayer, or hotseat.

A sequence of scenarios that allow you to develop your army by recalling surviving units from previous scenarios.
A single Life and Death battle where you pit your forces against one or more computer players.
A scenario played over a network with human and computer players.
A scenario played by several people using one computer. When a player takes their turn at the computer, they're in the hotseat.

You can also combine hotseat and remote play. The person setting up the game should set up one position for each remote computer and set up extra positions as 'local player' with the setups desired by the players that will be playing those positions. Once the game starts, the person who set up the game can use the :control side playername command to give control of positions to players using remote computers. Side is numeric turn order. Playername is the name used to connect to the game server for the machine the player will be using.

Time to Play


Campaigns take a very long time to complete, ranging from weeks to months. Typical campaigns have about 20 to 30 scenarios. The main advantage with campaigns is developing 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 probably the most enjoyable.


A single scenario takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours to complete. This is the fastest way to play, but your units are not saved and you cannot use campaign units. Depending on the scenario, you may play with an artificial player or against several.


Hotseat games will take about the same time to play as games played remotely. The time will be greatly affected by the size of the map.


Multiplayer games can take anything from 1 hour to 10 hours, 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. Currently, 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.

Battleworld Training

If you are new to Wesnoth, but have experience playing turn-based hex combat games, here is a way to find out how the terrain and units interact:

  1. Go to Multiplayer, and play the AI on one of the larger maps.
  2. Choose "Rebels". Give yourself two or three times as much gold as you give the AI. Set the leveling percentage to 70% and "gold per village" to 2x if you want to practice with the "standard" multiplayer settings.
  3. Experiment with the different factions (which will give you different units) and fighting against different opponents.
  4. When you consistently overrun the AI, move the gold back to normal or even give the AI more. This will prepare you for the campaigns and to a much lesser extent for multiplayer against other humans.

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 accomodate 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 to 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 number of turns, or pick up a particular object
  • Look at the map: the terrain, the position of your leader and the other leader.
  • 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 unit 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
  • 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 destroy undeads. 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 your ass gets seriously kicked) 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.

See Also