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The Anarchic Kingdom: Getting Started

The Anarchic Kingdom: Selecting a Player
The Anarchic Kingdom: Selecting a Player

Friday, 8th December 2023

The Anarchic Kingdom was released in 2021 as a jam game. It takes the simple gameplay concepts of the Hammurabi game of the 1960s, adds a combat element, and introduces competition by having multiple "kingdoms" trying to outdo one another. The text user interface of Hammurabi is swapped for a graphical one, but the numeric core of the game is still on display.

Getting into the game is relatively easy, but understanding why you lose takes a bit longer. So it's time for me to write a few articles to help new players along. In this first article I'll be looking at the first steps you'll take as you play the game.

Click here to play The Anarchic Kingdom in Your Browser.

There's no proper title screen in The Anarchic Kingdom, but instead there's a player selection screen. Eight baronies compete in The Anarchic Kingdom, and any number of them from one to eight can be controlled by human players. By default they're all set to "Computer", so choose your favourite name or shield design and choose it as your own.

The user interface is controlled by the arrow keys, and your choice of Enter or Space as a "fire" key (some of the screen prompts mention Space, but Enter is always an alternative). There's often a square cursor on the screen, as is the case on the player selection screen. Move it to your favoured shield and press Space to switch it from "Computer" to "Human" control. I've chosen Villiers in the example.

Then move the cursor to "Start game" and press Space again. Many options on the screen can be selected by their initial letter, so pressing "S" on the player selection screen will also start the game.

The Anarchic Kingdom: Introduction Text

The next screen tells the story of the game, and it's worth reading at least on your first playthrough so you get an idea of what you're doing and why. Pressing Space again will take you to your barony.

The Anarchic Kingdom: Initial Barony State

There appears to be a lot going on on the Barony screen. The important parts are the date and the numbers at the top of the screen: the six numbers in the table in the middle, and the position on the top right. On the first turn, all baronies are in equal first place.

The date ranges from January to December. There are always twelve turns in a game. Once you're familiar with the interface, a whole game takes no more than fifteen or twenty minutes. There are certain extra things to think about in the first and last turns of the game, which I'll mention as they come up.

Land is the physical size of your barony, and it's how your barony is ranked. Peasants are the civilian population of your barony: they pay taxes, and it is from them that you recruit your military forces. Gold is used to recruit and maintain military.

The other three stats are your military. Castles are static defensive buildings that will protect land in the event of an attack. Knights are units that are sent out to other baronies to seize their land and gold. Footmen can act in either an offensive capacity like knights, or can aid in protecting your land like castles.

You can look at other baronies using the Next and Previous options on the menu. Either move the cursor bar to them using the arrow keys and press Space, or simply press "N" or "P" to select them. At the start of the game, the baronies will have identical statistics, although the graphics will vary.

The graphics are decorative only. The combinations of sea, forest and mountain in the background are different for every barony, and help you to identify your own domain when paging through the baronies. The city on the horizon will shrink or grow based on your ranking during the game. The array of icons in the foreground will grow more or less impressive as your barony goes through changing fortunes. The graphical display gives you a visual way to compare your barony to the others.

In the next article I'll explain the game mechanics, and go through the process of taking your first turn.

The Anarchic Kingdom

Size 72kb, downloads 528.

The installation files to run The Anarchic Kingdom on your DOS computer or in DOSBox. The package includes the executable and its data, a manual in plain text format, and a README.TXT file explaining how to start the game on a DOS computer and in DOSBox. (read more...)


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