DOS - 1984
Description of Incunabula
Incunabula is an uninspiring game of population growth and development. move your stacks of counters across the board, giving them room to grow and move them to engage hostile forces. The game is interesting in that it allows 1 or 2 players in addition to computer opponents, and includes the option for alliances with computer players.
Unfortunately, it's clunky interface and poor AI make the game more tedious then fun. Just keep expanding, and mathematical certainty guarantees you a win. A live opponent would increase the challenge and I have to assume the game was designed with that in mind.
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Peregrino 2019-08-10 3 points
This is a civilization-type game designed for quick games. A game will usually last a few hours. Up to 6 human players can compete in hotseat mode, together with computer-controlled players, up to a total of 7 civilizations.
At the start of the game, computer players are assigned an "humor" (behaviour) and a Basis of Law, either randomly or chosen by the human player. Sangines and Choleric computer players will usually suicide against others very quickly, with Phlematic and Melancholic computer players being more challenging. All basis or Law are more or less the same except for Khanate. Khanates don't build cities, produce trade goods or develope technologies. They just bully other players and ask for tribute.
A game turn consists on the following phases:
- 1) Movement.
You have a number of population tokens in each hex of the map and you can move them to adjacent hexes. All moves are executed simultaneously at the end of the move round. As there is a maximum of population you can have in an hex, you want to expand as much as possible.
If tokens from different civilizations find themselves in the same hex, they will fight unless their civilizations are allied. Combat is then ramdomly resolved, and the general rule is that the more tokens you have, the merrier. If you attack an enemy city with sufficient force, you can reduce and sack it, destroying it. Total casualties for each civilization are shown at the end of the combat resolution.
There are two move rounds per turn, with their correspondent combat round at the end
- 2) Production.
Population will produce trade items accoding to the type of terrain they are in.
- 3) Trade.
You can trade your production with the other civilizations. Each item has a base trading value, from Salt, worth 2, to Gold, worth 9. Value of the item is increased the more of the same you have. 1 salt is worth 2, but 2 salt are worth 2*(2+2) = 8. 1 Gold is worth 9, put 3 gold are worth (3*(9+9+9) = 81. Up to maximum of 6. 6 Salt are worth 72, 7 salt are worth exactly the same. The key to succesfully trading is to accumulate a lot of the same items.
- 4) Arcana.
Civs expend their trade in technologies. Some arcanas have prerequisites, the game will mark in red for you the Arcanas you need to buy in order to get to the final arcana corresponding to your chosen Basis of Law.
- 5) Disasters.
You can choose the disaster level at the beggning of the game. Disasters include plages, famine, civil wars, insurrections and earthquakes. They reduce population and destroy cities in the hexes affected.
- 6) Population Growth.
Frist, any hex with 6 or more pop tokens of the same civ will build a City, unless there is another city too close. If there is already a city of that civ in the hex, it will be improved to a Major City. Cities produce a lot of trade items.
Next, tokens will reproduce. An hex with 1 token will become an Hex with 2. 2 will become 4, and so on. The maximum population is 6 for plains, 2 for cities and deserts. In mountains, reproduction is slower and population is limited to 5. After population growth, all excess population is removed. Because the maximum pop of a city is 2, it will never grow into a Major City unless you move additional pop there during the moving phase.
- 7) Diplomacy.
Players can ask other civilizations to ally with them, or break existing alliances. A player can only have one alliance at the same time. Khanates will ask for tribute to other civilizations, and if their demands are satisfied they are considered allied for the next turn. The tokens of allied civilizations will not fight each other if they are in the same hex.
- 8) Finally, the game counts the points for each civilization and checks for promotions.
Points are earnt for combat, trading, growing and purchasing arcana. If a civilization has earnt enough points, it will be promoted. Civs also need a minimum amount of cities to promote, except for Khanates (who can't build cities). Civilizations starts as tribes, need 2 cities to promote to Clan, 4 to become a nation, and 5 to become an Empire. After becoming an Empire, they do not need more cities, only points, to become the winner, ending the game.
- 9) If no one has won, a summary of each civilization is shown, you are given the option to save or quit the game, and a new turn begins.
If you are up against only computer players and want to have a challenge, initial position is the key. Drop games were you are set in a place with a lot of back space to grow, and restart until you start in a place boxed-in by other civilizations. It is a lot harder to begin in the western or central part of the map than in the eastern, if you start in the east you can win the game without breaking a sweat and without ever coming to clashes with anyone else. Starting in the SW is more challenging. Phlematic and Melancholic computer players will give you a better run for your money, sometimes even managing to beat you by Points if you are too lazy.
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