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< 14 Espionage | Index | 16 Technology >

15 Warfare

At the end of the day, what's the point of building an empire, expanding trade and production, and researching advanced technology, if you can't obliterate your enemies with the push of a button? In a world torn apart by untold epochs of vicious fighting, the occasional nuclear bombardment has become almost business as normal.

Warfare can be out of spite, or used to achieve strategic ends. In can hurt, but ultimately invites rebirth and new growth. Perhaps most instinctively, it's nice to see a pompous plutocrat get his ass handed to him by a plucky young anarchist with a couple of cannons.

You can't engage in combat with simply anyone, there are certain protocols to follow. The following table describes circumstances that will prevent an attack.

Physical combat blockers
  • The target has a n00b shield up
  • Either side has a super technoshield up
  • Attacker doesn't have the required resources*
  • Target was attacked less than a minute ago (10 seconds for a draw)
* Cannons for local combat, ICBMs for global combat, coal for both.
Metaphysical combat blockers * Unless a self-hating government, or anarchy.


Metaphysical blockers are waived when the red horseman rides, see the Apocalypse section for details. When war is successfully declared, outposts and domes on both sides are destroyed. It doesn't matter if any shells hit or not, these peaceful institutions are always lost. Diplomats may be executed, but have a chance to escape and become informants.

15.1 Local Combat

Local combat is the process of exchanging cannon fire with visible neighbours. It follows rules and procedures, and has numerous mitigating factors.

Once confirmed, both sides fire their guns in an attempt to hit the other city. Different levels of firepower, munitions, accuracy and combat effects, even the weather can change the outcome of battle. Read the section on Local Combat Victory, and weigh your options carefully before committing to conflict. Players that fail to fight back are known as pushovers, some special rules apply to them.

Combat is initiated with the "Attack" button on the target's player profile. If the target is not visible on the map, the attack button is replaced with the "Nuke" button to allow for global combat.

15.1.1 Firepower

Firepower is of key strategic value, being the numbers of shots you try to fire from your cannons when attacking or attacked. It is a basic measure of how much weight you pull in a fight. Firepower is exactly equal to the number of cannons in your city, unless you initiate combat in which case you can opt to reduce it for that battle only. Defensive combat always happens at maximum firepower. If you have a perma-cannon, it will increase firepower like a regular cannon.

Trades posted by a player cannot be accepted if they would reduce that player's coal below their firepower. For example, if you had five cannons, your 2 COAL : 1 BXT would only be available until you were down to five or six coal, at which point it would be seen by other players as unavailable. This protects you from being stripped of coal and handily defeated. Coal is also protected by firepower during autoharvest and overflow. Manual actions the player takes, including accepting trades, are not affected by firepower.

The deplete firepower autoharvest setting similarly protects your combat coal reserves from being used up in industry, see Deplete Firepower for details.

15.1.2 Munitions

For each cannon to fire, it must be able to consume one coal. If there is no coal, or the firepower setting is lowered, the cannon will not join in the volley. If a cannon fires, it attempts to unload its consumed munition into your neighbourís city.

The most basic type of munition is coal alone. If this shot lands on a city tile, it destroys any building on the tile.

A more advanced munition is uranium ore. When this base material is used, it has the same effect as the regular munition, but also splashes damage into one adjacent tile creating a 1x2 footprint. The adjacent tile is in a random direction, so it may leave the city grid and be wasted. If a different building is on the second tile, this shot has the potential to take out two buildings.

Finally there is enriched uranium. This shot requires use of an academy, or it cannot be wielded. Like uranium ore, enriched uranium splashes damage over to nearby tiles, but in a larger 2x2 footprint, potentially destroying up to four buildings in a single shot.

Every enriched uranium used in combat increases the victim's fallout by 1, whether it hits or misses. Also, if at least one enriched uranium is used against a player in combat, every diamond drill in their inventory has a 50/50 chance of being destroyed. Diamond drills destroyed this way will leave behind 0, 1 or 2 diamonds.

Each of these munitions corresponds to a policy that be selected, as with firepower, by the attacking player for the ensuing attack. Defending players always use the best munitions and maximum firepower they can. If you are using a higher munitions policy and you run out of ammunition, your cannons will consume weaker munitions, in order, until coal, cannons or firepower are expended.

Munition policy Objects consumed / cannon Damage footprint Notes
Conventional arms COAL X (1x1)
Moderate atomics COAL + URO XX (1x2)
Defcon one COAL + EUR XX (2x2)
XX


Note that for enriched uranium munitions, the usual 4-to-1 pay ratio does not apply. You need 1 EUR, not 4 URO.

Munitions have a final major impact: In the event of a tie in the number of buildings destroyed, whoever successfully fired more powerful munitions wins. See Local Combat Victory for more details.

15.1.3 Accuracy

A subtle measurement contributing to victory in important ways, accuracy is the percent chance that any shell fired in combat will reach the city of its intended victim. Shots which do not pass their accuracy check don't destroy any buildings. Shots which make the cut come down on a random tile in the current area of the target city, and have the effect of their munitions.

Various factors make it harder for your gunners to guide their shells to the target. The most important factor is how big his city is: a 10x10 metropolis is much easier to hit than an abandoned warehouse in a 5x5 field full of trees.

Factor Accuracy change
Base accuracy City size, ie. for a 5x5 city, 25%
Telescope* +10% first telescope, +5% second, +2% third, +1% for all telescopes thereafter
Theocracy with church* +10%
Theocracy against opponent with church* +10%
Syndicalism* +5%
Attacker's Fallout* -Fallout %
Bureaucracy* -10%
Windy or rainy weather -10%
Stormy weather -20%
* Does not apply to the accuracy of friendly hill giants.

Note that shots which pass their accuracy check may still not hit a building, if they come down in an empty tile. However, shots that manage to hit the city are still an important factor in victory. See Local Combat Victory for details.

15.1.4 Friendly Hill Giants

If a defending iron miner is not a pushover, friendly hill giants will assist by thowing a boulder at their opponent. This adds one to the size of the volley.

When the hill giants pitch in, it counts as an extra round of conventional munition. The giants do not benefit from any governmental or building-related accuracy bonuses. Their accuracy is based only on city size of the target, weather, and the pale horseman.

15.1.5 Combat Effects

Other noteworthy effects are exhibited in combat.

Some buildings are fragile, and some are dangerous. See the Building Attributes section to learn how these factors can change the outcome of combat.

Buildings destroyed in combat are reduced to rubble. Each refined material in the building cost (save diamonds) leaves a single corresponding base material. These can be picked up later to recoup losses. Spies caught in buildings blown up have a chance to be killed, so a little tussle may be good for cleaning house occasionally.

Enriched uranium munitions add 1 fallout to their target, whether they hit the city or not. Every ICBM impact adds 2 fallout. If a reactor is destroyed, another 2 for the unlucky recipient.

If the difference in amount of enriched uranium used on each side is 10 or greater, the continents will break apart similar to a land push.

15.1.6 Local Combat Victory

Victory in local combat is determined by applying the following rules in order until a result is achieved.

Rule Subject Details
1 Buildings remaining If one side has no buildings after the battle, they lose.
2 Buildings destroyed If one side destroyed more buildings than the other, they win.
3 Munitions used If one side used more powerful munitions, they win.
4 Firepower and accuracy If one side landed more shots on the city, they win.
5 Cannons remaining If one side has more cannons left after the battle, they win.
6 Draw The battle is a draw, no winners or losers.


In the tally of buildings destroyed, trees do not count (unless the player is idle) but domes always do, as do buildings destroyed by other combat effects. Building destruction count is also important in determining bounty tier. Uranium munitions do not have to hit the city to cause a victory for use alone. A perma-cannon does not contribute to cannon count for purposes of determining victory.

Victory results in a chance of collecting bounties, tithes, and vassalizing the defeated player. If an active player loses local combat because they cannot return fire, this is known as being a pushover, and tithes may be reduced.

15.2 Global Combat

Global combat is another tool of the post-apocalyptic warmonger, making use of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to assail players beyond reach of cannonade. Launching an ICBM at a player is also called nuking them.

Although the mechanics are different to local combat, global combat is governed by the same rules of initiation, and has similar consequences upon completion. Either an "Attack" button for local or "Nuke" button for global combat will be available on the player profile, the two are mutually exclusive.

Although potentially more expensive and damaging than local warfare, global combat offers increased rewards: Bounties are +1 tier for targeting a higher scoring player, and tithes are automatically +10%. It's also the only quick way to rid yourself of an unwelcome diplomat or master who is not your neighbour. It is impossible to lose (though not to draw) global combat if you initiate it, see Global Combat Victory for details.

An attack can be launched through the player profile. Use the news screen or map overlays to bring up the player profile of your intended victim. The reasons for being unable to attack are identical to local combat, with a few additions.

Physical global combat blockers The target must be a contact of the attacker*. Contacts are:
Metaphysical global combat blockers
  • The target must have a higher score than the attacker.
* Waived for missile tests.

Global combat is more straightforward than local combat. When attacking another player, you decide how many ICBMs to use, and hit launch. You will also need one coal for every ICBM you decide to fire, 10 maximum can be launched in one attack. If your target is able to respond in kind they will, launching the same number of missiles back at you. Otherwise they will launch everything they can, and are defeated.

The damage from an ICBM is far greater than any local combat munition, causing a 3x3 footprint of destruction wherever it lands. ICBMs are not affected by accuracy, but instead strike anywhere in the full 10x10 city area. As with local combat, combat effects apply to the buildings destroyed in global combat. See Combat Effects for details.

For every ICBM launched at you, your fallout increases by three, whether it hits anything or not. If you are hit with at least one ICBM, each diamond drill in your inventory has a 50/50 chance of being destroyed (leaving behind diamonds as normal).

Radars radically alter the mechanics of global combat, see Radar in Appendix B for more information.

15.2.1 Global Combat Victory

The victor in global combat is simply the player who launches the most ICBMs. It is impossible for a defending player to win, they will at best tie the strike of their attacker, resulting in a draw.

If the defender does not have enough ICBMs and coal to fully answer a nuclear assault, they are exposed to the usual penalties of tithing and vassalization, and the attacker has a chance at collecting a bounty. There are no pushovers in global combat.

15.2.2 Missile Test

There isn't always a convenient target for a long-range nuclear strike, and that's where the so-called "missile test" comes in. Rather than selecting your victim from the player profile, missile tests allow players to fire a payload off into the wild blue yonder and let fate decide who it comes down on.

Missile tests are initiated from a player's own profile by choosing a number of ICBMs to launch in the same way as a normal nuke strike. A random player in the world finds themselves on the receiving end. This player will be a valid target for the attack (ignoring the global combat rule of contact). The victim will have a higher score than the attacker, unless the red horseman rides. Once a target is chosen, the battle unfolds exactly as normal.

15.3 Bounties

As if the thrill of combat was not enough, bounties are awarded to victorious parties by the IWI. Their reasoning is that the only way to curb rampant battling and mining is to ensure the top players get punished, by encouraging lower-ranked players to come after them! Thankfully, nobody has had the heart to point out their preposterously circular logic.

Bounties are arranged into tiers based on the nature and outcome of the battle. Various battle results affect bounty tier, as follows:

Combat outcome Result
No buildings destroyed No bounty, regardless of tier
Communist loser -1 tier
Fascist victor, loser's outpost destroyed +1 tier
3 or more buildings destroyed* (combined) +1 tier
9 or more buildings destroyed* (combined) +1 tier
15 or more buildings destroyed* (combined) +1 tier
Higher score player defeated +1 tier
Leader defeated +1 tier
Red horseman present +1 tier
* Trees do not count among destroyed buildings in combat, except for idle players.

Tiers awarded for buildings destroyed count total losses for both players. These tiers are cumulative, so nine buildings destroyed adds a total of two tiers, and fifteen destroyed adds three. The maximum prize tier is five, extra tiers are ignored.

Once the tier is decided, the victor is awarded a random bounty according to percentages in the following table.

Bounty Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 Tier 4 Tier 5
1 COAL 40%
5 COAL 25% 20%
5 IRON 10% 15%
5 SAND 10% 15%
1 FOOD 5% 15% 5%
1 URO 5% 5% 5%
1 STEEL 1% 5% 5%
1 GLASS 1% 5% 5%
1 DMND 1% 5% 10%
1 EUR 1% 5% 10%
1 AID 1% 4% 15%
1 DRILL 3% 10%
1 ICBM 2% 10%
5 FOOD 1% 5% 10%
5 URO 5% 15%
5 STEEL 5% 15%
5 GLASS 5% 15%
5 DMND 1% 10% 30%
5 EUR 1% 10% 30%
5 DRILL 1% 10% 15%
5 ICBM 1% 10% 15%
Free hull upgrade 1% 5% 10%


If a player has less than 10 hull when they win a hull bounty, they will be refurbished back up to a full 10.

15.4 Tithes

Tithes are peace offerings taken from the vanquished player's inventory and bestowed in tribute on the superior warrior. The objects selected are random, so common objects have a better chance of being picked. The amount taken is based on a percentage of the total objects held by the loser, according to the factors in this table:

Factor Effect on tithe
Base tithe 5% of the loser's inventory
Fascism government victor +10%
Global Combat +10%
Idle loser +10%
Syndicalism government victor +5%
Loser holds victor's palantir +5%
Capitalism government loser +5%
Anarchy government loser -5%
Winner was the loser's vassal before combat -5%
Active player unable to fire cannons (pushover) and human rights are moderate -10%
Active player unable to fire cannons (pushover) and human rights are strict Tithe eliminated (reduced to 0%)


Percentages round up in determining the number of objects taken. A tithe of 0% or less will not be collected, the victory results only in any bounties and vassalage for the loser.

15.5 Vassalage

Vassalage begins with an overwhelming show of force, at which point the weaker player enters a period of deference to his military superior. It's not such a terrible thing, vassals can collect vassals of their own, but there are a couple of details you should know about your new master.

First, neighbours in a master/vassal relationship can see each other, without needing any outposts. As soon as somebody else steals the vassal, this special sight is lost. Second, the master gets access to a vassal trade from the defeated party, see Vassal Trades for details.

It is possible to avoid being vassalized entirely, all you need is more churches than your would-be master when combat concludes. It gives your people the conviction to reject their enslavement, there's just no reasoning with them. Building more churches after combat does not help, however.

If an empire loses any of its last three buildings (not counting trees), all their vassals will desert due to lack of stability. See Instability for more details.

15.5.1 Vassal Trades

Neighbouring masters get access to a special trade from their vassal, called a vassal trade. This trade is always the vassal's base resource, in exchange for the master's base resource, in an equitable ratio (eg. 1 BXT : 1 SAND, 1 IRON : 2 COAL, 8 COAL : 1 URO). The vassal cannot disable this trade, but firepower will still protect coal reserves.

Vassals with the same base resource as their master are not burdened with a vassal trade. Vassals gained through global combat do not provide vassal trades. Like other trades, they are blocked by closed borders.

Available vassal trades appear in blue on the map screen. If you have a master with a vassal trade on you, it is visible among your own trades, appearing in red instead of blue.

15.5.2 Land Exchange

Land exchange is exactly what it sounds like, forced by a master on their neighbouring vassal. Battle mines pack up and and rumble out of town, swapping their cities and map territory. Fallout, monument, diabolical machines, everything attached to the land is traded. Black market restocking timers are reset on both sides. Other neighbours are preserved as they were (since they are still fairly nearby) though outposts may be lost.

As punishment for their cruelty, the master loses all outposts except lighthouses, and neighbours lose outposts for the master. The vassal and their neighbours lose no outposts, and the vassal is given a free aid by the IWI as well as a bonus beneficial event.

The cost for the master to try to force a land exchange on their vassal is 5 enriched uranium and 10 coal, non-refundable. After this price is paid, the vassal has a chance to block the land exchange with a bunker. With a bunker, and one available food to consume, the people can hide and land exchange is blocked. If the people are full, food is not required to hide in the bunker.

Landmines may deal hull damage after land exchange, see Landmines. A super technoshield on either side will prevent land exchange. If either player has dispatched a diplomat to the other, land exchange is prevented. A player who has a doomsday device more than 10% complete on their land cannot land exchange a player who has not yet reached the upper tech tree.

Tech Steal

When a master land exchanges their vassal, there is a special set of conditions which will allow a level of technology to be stolen. The vassal will lose whatever technology they last researched, and the master will gain a random tech which they are currently able to research.

The conditions are:


Tech steal absorbs the power of both palantirs in the players' inventories, destroying them.

15.5.3 Bribery

How does one escape from vassalage? More battling, of course!

Actually there is a non-violent way: Bribery. By shipping some food to your master's people, they are persuaded to release your bondage. Bribery costs a massive five food, all of which the people must have room in their bellies to consume. If the price is paid, the vassalage is cancelled, hunger is set to zero, and the ex-master logs on to find his guilty-looking people all stuffed to the gills.

You cannot bribe the people of a government that hates your own, nor can you bribe a player who has closed his border. If the senate is strict on human rights, the cost to perform bribery is reduced to three food. If they are lax, bribery becomes impossible.


< 14 Espionage | Index | 16 Technology >




BATTLE MINES © Erik Walle 2005-2016
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