Cool Games: Battle for Wesnoth

Battle for Wesnoth is a turn based strategy game with a fantasy setting which I discovered while poking about for iPad games. On the iPhone its costs a dollar but generally its a free game you can download and play at no cost. It was created and is maintained by an open source community that clearly loves the game and has translated it into more than 30 languages and many different platforms.

When you play Wesnoth you pick one of many scenarios to play through which usually contains 3 to 30 maps or stages. Each scenario has an overarching story, sometimes with small cut scenes that string together a series of tactical battles. Each unit you recruit gets a name and can level up in various ways over time. These units can then be recruited in the next scenario (though they do tend to cost more). A key to the strategy is grooming and protecting these units as each battle tends to be more difficult than the last. Of course using these potent units constantly puts them in danger so there is definitely a balancing act.

Many of the scenarios are quite fun and there is a vast array of factions and units that keep the game interesting and varied. The production values are good, but don’t expect the flashy animations or voice acting. The design is kept stripped down to ensure that its manageable for a volunteer based development team.

All in all its my favorite iPad game and reminds me very much of my early strategy gaming passions in all the best ways. The iPad interface really works well for these types of games and I wish there were more of them around. For a buck (or free on a PC), if you at all like turn based strategy, you must try it out.

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