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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

[Description of Wesnoth distilled from WesnothHistory and WesnothGeography.]

The peaceful villages will heal your troops and earn you a good income to support your army. Cross mountains and rivers, either on foot or mounted, push through forests, hills and tundra, or brazenly cross open grassland, its all here in Wesnoth.

The Creatures of Wesnoth

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.

[Expand and draw on information in RaceDescriptions.]

Finding Your Way Around Battle For Wesnoth


The Main Menu
(Click to enlarge)

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. 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. 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. 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 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.
  • 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.

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

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
  • Play a single scenario against computer or human opponents


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, is probably the most enjoyable, and is the recommended way for new players to learn the game.


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. You can play scenarios against the computer or against other players either over the internet or at your computer. Scenarios are accessed through the 'Multiplayer' button on the main menu.


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.


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.

Human vs AI

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.

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:

  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.

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.

Your Army

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.

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.


[Discussion of gold, how you get it, how you spend it, and how to make it your friend.]

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 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 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 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