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Free Game Rec: Battle for Wesnoth

November 14, 2012

Are you a Fire Emblem fan? Stop reading this and download this game right now.

Everyone else should probably do the same.

“This game” is The Battle for Wesnoth, a fun, fantasy-themed, and astonishingly free PC game that might not pack a lot of graphical firepower, but does pack the elements of a strong turn-based strategy game into one neat and did-I-mention-free bundle. Here’s the trailer:


For a free game, Wesnoth is very well done. Your troops have strengths and weaknesses based on their race, the terrain, the type of unit, and even the time of day. They level up into more specialized and more badass versions of themselves. When you recruit them, they often come with hilarious polysyllabic medieval-ish or Elvish-ish names (I definitely had a peasant named Aethaennyc once. Pretty sure he died, but that’s the name of the game when you’re a peasant).

They’re also pretty easy to kill. If you’re the kind of person who plays the aforementioned Fire Emblem games with one hand hovering over the reset button, ready to sacrifice 20 minutes of progress to save your favorite cavalier (guilty!), you’re going to need to get over that. But I like it. Units aren’t that cheap to replace, and new recruits start at level 1, making resource management something you actually have to pay attention to.

Granted, you only have two “resources”–personnel, and gold–so it’s not the most complex system in the world. But the game has plenty of ways to make trouble for you. Your money comes from capturing–and defending–villages on each map, experience gains are slow, and healing is very limited.



On the narrative front, most of your units don’t have much personality beyond their names, and the writing isn’t going to bowl you over. But there are plenty of campaign storylines included with the game, and more available to download, along with community-created addons. There’s even a multiplayer mode for when you really think you know what you’re doing. (I don’t.)

Long story short: get yourself a copy. I’m guessing you won’t regret it, since–did I mention?–it’s free.

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