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Publisher: Freeverse    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 333 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 80 MB    Graphics: 16 MB VRAM

October 7, 2003 | Zack Lipowski

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To play Solace, you must first become acquainted with the basics. On the game board are markers for each county (a subdivision of individual kingdom), which have a white circle with a number inside, indicating the countyís particular credit value. Each county is separated by a thick black border.

Credits are the money in Solace. You collect a certain amount of credits depending on how many counties are under your control at the end of your turn. National Treasuries, housing your credits, are in a country's capital.

Besides land counties, which you can control, there are sea zones. A sea zone is just like a county, except you cannot control it nor collect revenue from it. Sea zones are meant as a medium for naval warfare.

Units are represented depending on their class, whether they are land or naval units. For example a cavalry unit, appears as a horse piece on top of stacked chips. These chips tell you how many individual units are in that grouping, called a stack. Blue chips represent 25 units, red chips mark five units, and each white chip is one unit. Land units consist of infantry, archers, cavalry, catapults and ballistae. Naval units are transports, sloops, frigates and galleons.

Once you have the basics down, which can be delivered via a very informative and easy to use tutorial, itís time to start the bloodshed.

First you must choose what type of game you want to play. Traditional is with the Clan Lords, Minx Cartel, Free Cities are allied against the Kilary, the People of Tarth, and the Jinda Empire. Winning requires the capture of five of the six capitals.

Free for All is basically an every country for themselves game. To win, you must capture three of the six capitals.

An Economic game is a setup in which you win if you earn twice the number of credits you started out with.

Finally, thereís my favorite, Total Conquest. To win you must control all of the capitals on the game board. There is nothing like bringing the entire world under oneís tyrannical rule.

Playing Solace each turn consists of up to six phases. In phase one you purchase your units from the unit window. The number of units you can purchase depends on how many credits your counties are earning. Purchasing units is a strategic matter, as you only get your fresh units at the end of your turn, so you have to plan ahead. Once your turn is over, they are placed only in your capital. Naval units are placed on a sea zone adjacent to your capital. Keep this in mind, if you lose your capital you canít purchase any new units until it is retaken.

Phase two is the combat phase, where you battle with enemy units. To attack, simply drag your stack of units into enemy territory or onto an enemy stack. Some land combat units, like cavalry, can move two spaces at a time. Nuances like these are important, as often times it can mean the difference between pathetic defeat or utterly crushing your foe.

There are two types of combat movements, primary and supportive. Primary movements are represented by lighter colored arrows, and usually are set to the first combat movement you direct to a country. Darker arrows indicate secondary combat movements. Depending on your primary combat choice, it affects what country your units can flee too. You are also able to perform amphibious assaults. Combat gets more strategic the more you play, but eventually teeters off and you learn to abuse certain combat combinations.

In phase three you watch combat movements commence. This is comprised of a die roll on the battle board. The battle board is made up of four columns and three rows, signifying a unitís defense and attack power. The attackerís units are placed on the top of the four columns, and the defenders in the middle of the columns. Damage is determined by the roll of a six-sided die. If the roll of the die is less than or equal to the value of the column that the unit is in, then damage is inflicted. Once the attackers have done their damage, the defenders get a chance to retaliate, which is carried out in a similar fashion as the attackers. When battles become especially large, a special 12-sided die is used.


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