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Introduction

An introduction to Atlantis for new players. Mainly based around the Atlantis Echelon game run by Daniel Hadson but a useful introduction to the PBeM game Atlantis. Covers starting up and eevrything you`ll need to do to grow and expand your kingwom.

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A Guide For New Players to Atlantis



Atlantis Echelon


Getting Some Help
Starting Off and Setting Your Faction Points
Creating New Units and Sending Out Scouts
Taxation and Other Teams
Budgeting
The Other Bits
Useful Links

-----------------------

The Second Section

Produce From The Land
Friends and Enemies
The Reveal Flag
Avoiding Combat - The Avoid Flag
The Noaid Flag
The Behind Flag
The Hold Flag
Guarding and Taxing
The Autotax Flag
The Guard Flag

-----------------------

The Third Section

Tactics
Stealing and Assassination
Sequence of Orders
Building
Trade Structures
Ships, Sailing and Consuming
Advice On Building
Teaching
Final Comments



Atlantis is a PBEM - play by e-mail - game. You arrive in a fantasy world of magic and the aim is to conquer and explore and build your kingdom. You issue your `subjects` commands by e-mail about once a week.

The game I play is called Atlantis Echelon and you can find the rules and instructions on the website. Writing articles is a good way of earning silver - the Atlantis currency - and so having wasted a few turns through not properly understanding the rules I sat down and read them properly. Having gone to all that effort, and to earn a bit of silver I wrote this basic introduction for new players !!

First here's the brief introduction to Atlantis itself from the Echelon website..........

Atlantis is set in the realm of fantasy; there you will find elves, dwarves, humans, orcs, dragons, trolls, etc. Some of them you can recruit, some of them will fight you. These creatures under your command will be able to learn how to build roads, cut wood, forge weapons, remain unnoticed, become master strategists and cast powerful spells among other things. There you will compete against other human players for resources and become the most powerful military force or the richest. It is all up to you. It is a mixture of Heroes of might and Magic, Civilization and The Settlers all rolled into one but with a simplified game play.


In several places in the following guide I have quoted passages from the Atlantis rules. They are taken from the "Atlantis v4.0.6 Copyright 1996 by Geoff Dunbar, Based on Russell Wallace's Draft Rules, Copyright 1993 by Russell Wallace". Quoted passages are usually in italics. The only difference between that set of rules and the version of Atlantis run in Atlantis Echelon is that the guards in the starting cities are actually invincible in Echelon... you have been warned.....



Important : these guidelines are not an alternative to reading the rules !! If you start relying on any information in here you ought to double check it with the rules as well, especially command syntax and so on. If you do find any mistakes please let me know. Having said that, you should find it helpful. The full ruleset is located here : The Atlantis Rules v4.06

Getting Some Help

Having recently arrived in Atlantis I spent the first few turns missing orders and then doing nothing in particular. The rules themselves can be a little confusing and detailed, especially if all you want to do is dive in and play.

I have now studied the rules, except the detail of combat rules which seem a little in depth until you start using them, and I`ve prepared this guide for new players. We`ll cover some of the more complicated rules later but hopefully start nice and simple.

Before you go any further get yourself a copy of Atlantis Helper or the Atlantis Crystal Ball. These are programs that read in your report and give you a nice graphical view of what is going on. They show you where all your units are and help you construct your orders.

I use Atlantis helper. They both have their quirks, it looks like crystal ball has more features but helper is a bit easier to use !! (There is another one floating around called Atlantis Advisor that looks very good. If you intend to share reports with your allies it isn`t so useful as you can only view data from one faction at a time, but its much prettier than helper and like helper will let you enter orders.)

For Atlantis helper - cut and paste the copy of your email into notepad and save as a text file (name it something like "turn 1.rep" if you can but helper will load .txt files no problem). Then load in the report. Be careful not to leave any blank spaces at the start of the turn report or it will have trouble recognising it.

At first the display will show the nexus level (which doesn't have a lot on it) so you may need to move to the next map level - unless of course you are still stuck on the nexus!! The surface (strangely enough...) will be called the 'surface level', there may also be a map level called 'underworld' which you won`t be using for a while yet!!

Use the right hand mouse button to move around the map and the only thing to note is once you have entered orders for a unit click in the character box, or on the correct square in the map, to set them or you`ll lose them and have to type them again (oops - quirk) !! When you've finished it can save the orders you've entered as a '.ord' file, which you can just send in as your turn..... although obviously its wise to always double check before hitting that send button !!





Starting Off and Setting Your Faction Points

Obviously as a new character your initial aims are to explore as rapidly as possible, assess the area and find possible places to start building your empire - if possible with the help and friendship of nearby characters. You may want to specialize in magic or trade, perhaps you dream of conquest or wish to earn a living by stealthily stabbing other characters in the back !! However you decide to develop in the future you will have to establish yourself first.


This means you`ll need to send scouts out to explore, find out how to raise income to support yourself and look at getting teams to produce items from the local land. To really feel secure you`ll need to develop combat ready troops to discourage invaders and then start to produce the items necessary to support an expanding kingdom. Obviously you`ll have to have effective supply chains to get the items you produce to where they`re needed. This includes keeping everyone with enough money to avoid them starving.



One of the first things to do is to look at your faction type.

You have five faction points and by default you have the three types WAR, MAGIC and TRADE all set to one point each. This allows you one mage and trade and tax in ten locations. You have two extra faction points to spend and there is no point in not using them. (It is possible the default is WAR 0, TRADE 0, MAGIC 1 in which case it is imperative you set them as early as possible).

What the faction points determine is how many mages you can have (MAGIC) and how many regions you are allowed to TAX in (WAR) or conduct TRADE activities in.

The faction command is set by giving your main leader the command FACTION WAR 2 TRADE 1 MAGIC 2 (for example). If you wish to specialise in magic then you may want to set magic to 3 allowing 3 mages otherwise you have to choose between TAX and TRADE.

Now, most of your income in the game will come through tax, but most of the items you need will be produced (using the PRODUCE command) which counts as trade. This makes it a bit of a balancing act in setting your faction points.

Actual trade itself, the buying and selling of items may become important to you later but will probably only play a minor part in the early months of your faction. This only 'counts' as trade if you are buying and selling special trade items - like PEARLS or ROSES etc etc. Buying and selling of 'normal' items like wagons and men and so on doesn`t count against your allowance.

What does count as trade are regions where you are using the 'PRODUCE' command. This means every region you mine for iron, or produce wood and so on counts as one region for your trade allowance and every region you tax in counts as one region against your war allowance. Setting WAR to 2 and TRADE to 1 is probably the best offset initially as you will probably need to tax to earn income, but you can always adjust it later on. Building ships and structures and so on also counts as trade.

It is worth understanding though as if you create extra units and rely on their income from taxing.... when you are already taxing the maximum regions you are allowed to... the comman could fail, resulting in your men starving. This also applies if you change your points during the game, suddenly you could have too many men attempting to tax or produce. Also note the WAR and TRADE points relate to how many regions you can tax/trade in. You can have several units in each region - so carefullychoosing the regions you tax or produce from is important. (WORK and ENTERTAINMENT don`t count against your TRADE or WAR regions and so they are a useful form of income for units, just not very productive).





Creating New Units and Sending Out Scouts

In order to actually do anything you need to learn how to create new units. As the rules say its a bit 'unintuitive' - but its not complicated really.

An existing unit has to create the new one - meaning you can only create new units on locations you are at. This unit issues the FORM command. This forms an EMPTY UNIT. You must also give it a temporary number - starting at any number you like but don`t duplicate them if creating lots of units in the same turn !! Then you have to give the unit some money to buy men with (empty units at the end of a turn vanish) so either CLAIM some silver from your unclaimed bank or get another unit to issue the give command (alternatively the other unit can give some men). Men are always available for purchase at the starting city.

The total process looks something like this.

FORM 1
CLAIM 700
NAME UNIT "Battle Brigade"
BUY 10 BARBARIANS
(or BARB for short)
STUDY COMBAT
END
(to finish the new units commands)

You must give the unit enough silver to study that turn as well or they will sit on their bums - alternatively you can set them to work, the location report will tell you how much is to be gained by working in that area. It is useful to also give them enough money for their maintenance, even if you intend for them to use it from your 'unclaimed' allowance, that way you can make sure you are keeping track of how much money you really have left.


The 'other' introductory guide to Atlantis recommends starting with a group of entertainers. Now I used to recommend not bothering with the entertainers...... but its amazing how quickly the generous helping of cash you start with disappears and you start to find the income useful. Perhaps you can afford to train them up to level two though before they start entertaining as this doubles the income they produce :-)


Initially you need some scouts - 1 man units to explore the region. As you get more reports in Atlantis helper will build up a map of the area for you. If you get them to buy horses as well (where available) they will be able to move up to 4 squares in normal weather and two in winter - some areas are more difficult to move through though. In difficult regions like forest and mountains a horse can be essential, a walking unit won`t be able to move at all through squares like this in winter conditions !! Don`t get stuck.....

All your characters need money for maintenance as well - but *if* you have enough unclaimed silver they can claim this and will do it automatically - don`t get caught out or they`ll starve. It seems like you start with a fortune - but it runs out very quickly.

The MOVE order (instead of study in the example above) should be used to send your scouts off. MOVE and STUDY (like WORK and ENTERTAIN) take all month to do so you can only issue one to a unit for that month.


Expect to get at least some of your orders wrong in the first few goes. You`ll learn quickly and its just one of those things.





Taxation and Other Teams

The main source of income is taxation. Each member of a taxing unit can earn up to 50 bucks per turn (depending on how much the region will support and if there are any other units taxing the square). But in order to tax you need combat ready troops - troops with swords or troops trained to combat level one.



Therefore you need to prepare a unit to tax. Even in busy areas there should be some areas to tax - unless you have ended up in the middle of an area controlled by a fearsome faction - unlucky. Your character is probably safe in the starting city - so it is up to your scouts to find a safe route out, or use a magical gate !!

SO create a new unit and train them in combat - its much cheaper than buying swords, see the example above for the commands.

Every hex can provide some income from taxation - although in arid land like tundra it might not be much. How much is shown as part of the description. Towns and cities provide the best income - amounts that seem huge when you first start playing. Unfortunately they are 'defended' by guards and so in order to start 'harvesting' the local tax income you`ll need to prepare troops for the task. Cities are valuable property and worth defending once you keep them - as you can only tax so many areas (only 10 if you WAR is set to 1 point...) then they are valuable hexes to control - and a likely point of conflict.


City guards are armed with swords and in order to get your faction to the point where it is well enough resourced to even take a town it is likely you are going to have to produce items first. For example to make swords yourself (which can be very expensive to buy from your starting city....) you will need miners (and land capable of yielding iron) and then weaponsmiths.......

Ordinary races, like vikings, barbarians etc are an unskilled bunch. They can only reach level 2 of most of the skills (which takes 3 months of study to reach - 1 month will take you to level 1 and then another 2 to level 2) but they do have some skills they can specialise in. Sea Elves for example can specialise in Fishing, Shipbuilding, Longbow, and Sailing. In these skills they can reach the giddy heights of level . Often at level 3 some new abilities appear that become essential to the game - maybe the ability to make more powerful items, or discover hidden resources. So proper training of troops and getting a variety of races to do your dirty work is vital - no faction can live on fish alone !! This means it is a shame to train, for example Sea Elves in weaponsmith - but there are going to be some skills you need very soon and you may have to compromise. Ordinary races can only know one skill - so invest carefully.

Leaders are much more versatile and can learn all skills up to level 5 (and even be wizards) but they are a lot more expensive to buy and maintain. However beyond level 3 further abilities often become available and some skills are only open to leaders at all. This means that perhaps starting small teams of leaders as early as possible might be a good idea.


If you wish to establish a new mage (the sooner the better from a training point of view) then form an empty unit and give it enough money to buy a leader and study magic. Studying magic costs 100 silver and will automatically make the character a mage - if you have your faction points set correctly.


You then have to decide how you are going to establish yourself in the area. This depends a little on the resources available and the races available to train.

Raw materials are gained from the land by units with the right skills. They can either be sold in cities or turned into useful items which in turn can often be sold for more money. Growing towns and cities need many items to grow there economy and selling ordinary items doesn`t count against your trade allowance. Before very long you will want items to arm your troops and build your kingdom.

Things you might consider are something like this.

Iron - is a valuable raw material - it can be used to make both swords and armour and also a host of tools to aid production in other raw items. One of the most valuable raw commodities.

Weaponsmith - takes iron and makes swords or tools. Picks aid iron and stone production, hammers aid weapons and armour making etc.... Also takes wood and makes bows and crossbows - crossbows are a fearsome weapon but needs skill to use.

Armorer - takes furs and makes leather armour (the armour of choice of the stealthy assassin) and uses iron to make chain mail. If you can get them to level three they can make plate armour. Very valuable to sell and in battle.

Lumberjack - harvests wood which is used to make boats and trade structures which increase production. Trade structures will come in useful before very long at all (as you establish regular supply chains), boats will be needed to explore further afield if you are in a coastal region. Wood also makes some weapons and tools - another precious commodity.

Carpenters - make some tools and wagons. Wagons are valuable to sell and if you have horses enable you to haul your produce in larger quantities with less men. The tools they make will only be useful as you are established though.

and so on and so forth....... there is a good table in the rules.

In order for your mages to study beyond level two they will need at least a tower to study in. Your starting city could be a good safe place to do this - however the number of skills you can study opens up very quickly as you study the basic skills, so it could be some time before you need it. You will need quarriers for stone and builders to build the structure.

You have to decide what priority to place on which resources. If you can find a town or city to trade with then concentrate on producing resources that are both usable and sellable- but remember the more you train your men the *much* better they become at producing things and learn extra skills as well. Therefore you may want to choose some basic skills you know will be useful and start training teams as quickly as possible. You are *definitely* going to need some men to tax however and until you know what land is around you won`t know what skills are going to be most useful.





Budgeting

This brings us onto the issue of money. Running out of money is a serious danger, your men will starve (one third per turn - ouch). Careful budgeting is in order - but on the other hand you have a wad of cash and must invest wisely. If you wait too long before doing anything you just waste time and lose your advantage.

A small faction can easily be using 2500 silver per turn in maintenance and study after only a few turns - that means you need 50 men taxing to stay self sufficient, let alone grow - so do watch your silver supply.

This means its also important which regions you choose to tax, try and get a combat ready team as quickly as possible and look for regions with a high taxable income (I think I`m starting to sound more and more like a tory every day.....) Hmmm.... and you have to watch your manafacturing industry as well !! Don`t expand too quickly with little units that stop you developing in more useful regions. If you only have trade set to one that can become a problem pretty quickly I guess.


Another useful way of earning money is writing articles for the times - there seem to be a lot of budding authors at the moment so getting those bonus silver for the best articles is getting harder and harder - but there is some silver for every article, rumour and press release issued so its still worth doing. Its worth noting that as the times is web based in this game submitting a second email with the subject line `Atlantis Times` and the article as an attached text file is sufficient - it doesn`t need to be included as part of your turn orders.

Heres a good way to manage your budget for the first few turns.

Write a list of all your units - if you have several units the same you can summarise like this....

4 scouts
2 mages
3 teams of ten men
2 leaders

Write next to them the cost of maintenance (10 per normal man and 20 per leader) and the costs of studying for units that will study. (10 for normal skills per man, 50 for stealth and observation a whopping 200 for tactics and 100 for magic).

It will look something like this

4 scouts maintenance 40
2 mages maintenance and study 240
3 teams maintenance and two teams study 500
2 leaders maintenance and study observation 120

Total cost 900 silver


Next write a list of units you INTEND to create this turn. It is useful to separate the maintenance/studying costs of these units from the purchase costs. If you add the study costs of these units to your existing units you know how much you will need next turn for maintenance (making adjustments if you don`t need to train units again).

Then add the purchase costs for everything you are buying and the total is the amount you wish to spend this turn


Create two teams of ten men and train them - maintenance and study 400 silver

So - assuming you do the same training next go your maintenance/study costs next turn will be 1300 silver

Purchase two teams of barbarians 1200 silver

So your total costs for this turn are 2500 silver

Work out how much you want to leave in the kitty - say at least 2000 silver.

If you have 6000 silver - 1300 main/study - 1200 purchase costs - 2000 to save = 1500 left over for you to use now *if* you want.

As your unclaimed silver runs out and you start earning money other ways then it gets more complicated - you have to make sure your money gets to where it is needed, perhaps have more scouts running money around, making sure they don`t get caught of course!

As you expand maintaining supply chains is important.

Similarly if you have miners and weaponsmiths you have to think about getting your iron to the weaponsmiths and then getting the swords (for example) to your troops. Your men may be taxing a location and to move them would cost valuable income. Also if you are mining in mountains a walking unit may not be able to move at all in winter - and units with wagons only move at walking pace. So you might have to plan carefully how you will move stuff around - it can be a lengthy process.





The Other Bits

As you move around you will meet other characters - but you won`t always know what faction they are from, and you may encounter wandering beasts as well. Its a dangerous world so be careful - it couldn`t hurt to make a few friends, but can you trust people ? The Atlantis Echelon Community Message board is a good place to meet other players and get advice.

Some people will have scouts trained up in stealth - you can do the same, but other factions may regard this as untrustworthy behaviour. Training leaders in observation is a good way to start guarding your borders and leaders you train in this way can be trained in other skills as well. Also - many of the characters you meet as you wander the realm of Atlantis Echelon may not be REVEALING their faction. So unless you have some skill of observation - you won`t know who they belong too.....

There seem to be lots of wandering monsters and hazards so be careful - your scouts may disappear !!

If you find a city that isn`t occupied by another faction (it has a city guard in it) then it is ripe for you plucking it as a base. You will need a force of combat troops strong enough to overcome the guard (watch out for the ones at your starting city - they`re hard as nails, in fact invincible - so don`t even think about it !! ). The combat skill of the town guards does vary on whether its a city, town or village - I think it goes level 3 for city, 2 for town and 1 for village. Not forgetting that the city guards have swords.... so you`ll need at least equal forces.

Having a leader trained in tactics along gives you a free attack - which if you have enough troops could just give you the Battle and bring armour and weapons to the party - and then you`re ready to rake it in.

Magic is another very interesting area. As you advance in the game powerful mages become important. Perhaps it could be useful to ally yourself with a faction that is all or mainly magic. With you providing the income and defence the other faction is free to concentrate on magic. Powerful spells can be used to summon beasts and create magical items - even aid the economy of your cities and spy on your enemies so it is certainly worth pursuing.

Theres plenty more to learn and do....... I hope to discover them soon.




Fuzzy of the Fuzzymen





Mail Fuzzyman
Voidspace
Void-Shockz Group
Atlantis Echelon Home Page
Atlantis Echelon Community Message Board
Other Useful Atlantis Links
The Atlantis Rules v4.04








Section Two



All of the above (section 1) is enough to get you started, but it won`t be very long before there are all sorts of other things you will want to know and issues you have to decide. This section is a look at a few of those.

Once you have sent your scouts and units out you will start meeting other units, not to mention the odd monster or two. As soon as your teams or lumberjacks or miners venture forth from the safety of your starting city and into the world then the fun starts..... and the risk. Are other characters friendly or not ?, do you want them to know who you are ?, if you are taxing the land are you prepared to share this resources with others or not ?, if one of your characters is attacked in a nearby region do you want this unit to rush to his aid ? The game provides various ways of deciding these factors. Most of these are settings for each unit and they are controlled by issuing commands to the unit (like everything else in Atlantis). The following section looks at these and what bearing they have on the game - and along the way we might accidentally learn a few other things as well.

Before we do that we`ll have a quick look at how to tell what can be produced from each hex.



Produce From The Land
Friends and Enemies
The Reveal Flag
Avoiding Combat - The Avoid Flag
The Noaid Flag
The Behind Flag
The Hold Flag
Guarding and Taxing
The Autotax Flag
The Guard Flag









Produce From The Land

A typical description of a hex would be something like this.

mountain (28,5) in Daledri, 345 peasants (hill dwarves), $1035.
------------------------------------------------------------
The weather was clear last month; it will be clear next month.
Wages: $13 (Max: $897).
Wanted: none.
For Sale: 69 hill dwarves [HDWA] at $52, 13 leaders [LEAD] at $104.
Entertainment available: $51.
Products: 23 grain [GRAI], 39 iron [IRON], 14 stone [STON].


There is no town or village here (presumably just scattered occupants) so we don`t have to worry about the economoy or trade - theres nothing we can sell here but still a few items we can buy.

The region 'Daledri' can be useful when describing areas - for example sending rumours into the times - "The regions of Daledri and Sumbragora are crawling with bandits and should be avoided at all costs".

The figure next to it is how much can be raised in TAX from this square - this is an extremely important figure !! Each taxing 'man' can raise up to 50 silver - so on this square 21 men would be using the full tax potential of this square. If too many many tax at the same time then the income is divided between them. To safeguard your income see the GUARD and AUTOTAX flags described later.

The wages is the maximum a man will earn by the WORK order that month. If the weather is bad it could be a bit less.

The 'wanted' might have items in it if we were in a village, town or city. If you had them you could SELL them to the town, thus helping the economy and helping it to grow. (As well as earning yourself money too....).

The other important detail though is the 'Products' line which tells us the sort of raw materials that can be got from this hex using the PRODUCE command - obviously by units with the appropriate skill. This particular hex is in the mountains and so capable of producing a lot of iron and some stone....... (and grain as well oddly enough...). As you are only allowed to produce in a certain number of regions (depending on how you have used your FACTION POINTS - remember) - choosing the right places to establish your mines and so on is important. Later on you can boost their production by building trade structures on the hex. At the beginning, when you are not using your maximum capacity its not a problem but its worth bearing in mind - or you might find produce orders start failing and have to re-organise dramatically. Choose 'fertile' hexes capable of at least two different items and have several teams on each one...... that way you minimize the number of regions you are using and minimize supply chain issues and having to defend your workers.

There are also rumours flying around that giving your miners pickaxes and your weaponsmiths hammers (which increase production) - also makes them combat ready... so they can tax whilst producing..... now that would be cool.








Friends and Enemies

In Atlantis you rapidly come into contact with other players and develop a relationship with them - whether that is one of co-operation or emnity depends on how they react to you and what attitude you have to them. Now you will want this 'attitude' to be reflected in the way your characters behave.

To this end you can decide an attitude towards an entire faction. You also have a 'DEFAULT' attitude set which is the way you treat characters who you don`t know who they belong to. As we will see later, in the 'REVEAL' section you don`t always know who you are bumping into.

The possible attitudes are FRIENDLY, ALLY, NEUTRAL, UNFRIENDLY and HOSTILE.

So what difference does it make in practise ?

In summary .....

Ally means that you will fight to defend units of that faction whenever they come under attack. As well as all the things friend means. You will also prevent stealing and assassination attempts against units of the faction, if you spot them that is. You will also give money to those that are in danger of starving that month.

Friendly means that you will accept gifts from units of that faction. You will also admit units of that faction into buildings or ships owned by one of your units, and you will permit units of that faction to collect taxes (but not pillage) in regions where you have units on guard.

(The reason you only receive gifts from friends is to stop an enemy giving you 300 units of stone to stop you moving, for example, or giving your crack squad of longbowmen one orc and bringing the skill level of the whole troop down).

Unfriendly means that you will not admit units of that faction into any region where you have units on 'GUARD (see later). You will not, however, automatically attack unfriendly units which are already present.

Hostile means that any of your units which do not have the Avoid Combat flag set (using the AVOID order - see later) will attack any units of that faction wherever they find them. Definitely a last resort !!

An interesting point from above is that it is very unwise to mix races in units. A unit of 100 Wood Elves can learn up to level 3 of the Longbow skill. But a unit of 100 Wood Elves and 1 orc can only learn up to level 1, which is the maximum level the Orc can know of that skill. Best to keep them separate unless the skill they have learned they can both be equally skilled at.

Factions that co-operate a lot will need to be at least FRIENDLY to each other in order to share tax resources and pass items to each other. They will probably want to be allies in order to dfend each other in battle - but don`t forget if you are allied to a faction that runs out of money you may find they suddenly start 'borrowing' from you without notice !! And of course in the world of Atlantis anything is possible - you may not be able to trust that faction as much as you think, so be careful who you DECLARE an ally.

The command to make a faction a FRIEND or otherwise is as follows :

DECLARE FACTION NUMBER ATTITUDE

e.g. DECLARE 51 HOSTILE - declares faction 51 as an enemy.

There is also the command
DECLARE DEFAULT ATTITUDE

Which sets the way you behave towards people who you haven`t specifically set to an attitude. I would reccommend leaving it as neutral however, unless you have very good reason for changing it.






(* A quick note. Most of the following commands we are looking at are settings which are inherited by any new units that a unit forms. This means unless you are careful your units might do (or not do...) some unexpected things. So it is best to understand them and check your units, they are also very useful. *)



Reveal

You will notice that as you stumble across characters of other factions, sometimes you can tell who these characters belong to and sometimes you can`t. If a particularly warlike crew of men is advancing towards your land and your scout stumbles across them... it might be useful to know who they belong to !! Similarly if you are sending men into enemy territory, or even just unknown territory, you may decide it is useful to hide the faction of your characters. In order to do this each unit has a flag (meaning a setting that is either on or off) called 'revealing faction' or reveal for short. This doesn`t hide their name (or unit number) but does hide who owns the faction.

If you look in the description of your units then the chances are that part of the description says 'revealing faction'. This means that anyone they meet will be able to see who they belong to. If you are a friendly sort and don`t want to offend other factions it can be useful to leave this on - some factions don`t take kindly to having 'unrevealed' units wandering round their land !!!

To switch revealing on the command is 'REVEAL FACTION', to switch it off again the command is REVEAL.

The reveal command has another use though. We have already mentioned the skills of STEALTH and OBSERVATION. There may be times when a unit which has trained in the stealth skill wishes to become visible, but perhaps not display its faction to everyone. Then the 'REVEAL UNIT' command is used, which just reveals the unit and not your faction. To show itself and its Faction, 'REVEAL FACTION' can be used as above.

Heres what the rules say about seeing units.....

Regardless of Stealth skill, units are always visible when participating in combat; when guarding a region with the Guard flag; or when in a building or aboard a ship. However, in order to see the faction that owns the unit, you will still need a higher Observation skill than the unit's Stealth skill.


I believe you will also be able to see the faction of units who are owned by your allies.... but I couldn`t find it in the rules to confirm it, so take that with a pinch of salt !

Update : heres what the rules have to say -
If a unit can see another unit, but does not have high enough Observation skill to determine its faction, it will treat the unit using the faction's default attitude, even if the unit belongs to an Unfriendly or Hostile faction, because it does not know the unit's identity. However, if your faction has declared an attitude of Friendly or Ally towards that unit's faction, the unit will be treated with the better attitude; it is assumed that the unit will produce proof of identity when relevant. (See the section on stealth for more information on when units can see each other.)



So if you want to be able to see the faction of troops or units in squares around you`ll need higher powers of observation than the other units 'stealth' ability. This means observation is a useful ability for scouts.... but so is stealth - even if one of their units has observation skills and can see you, they may not have high enough skills to see your faction......

Obviously standard men, like barabarians and nomads, can onyl learn one skill. SO if you come across 10 men called 'The Happy Miners' the chancers are they haven`t trained in stealth as well. What it also means is that for scouts to be *really* useful you will want to buy leaders. That way you can train them in observation to spot enemy troops, stealth to avoid detection themselves and perhaps entertainment so they can earn money as they go. This of course makes them much more expensive to buy and train... so losing them in dangerous territory becomes more painful as you have invested more in them. As in all things it is a balancing act - normal men will be unable to get beyond level 2 in stealth and observation and can learn only 1 skill at a time so you will have to choose......

Another useful thing you do with scouts is train them in combat, or provide them with a sword. Not for the defensive capability it offers - lets face it, even witha sword if you meet ten men who don`t like the look of you you`re basically doomed - but because it allows you to tax. Now TAX unlike most of the other orders that generate income or goods isn`t a month long order. This means, for example, you can tax and move (or work or study or produce or any of the other month long orders). I guess the logic is that if you`re waving a big sword around it doesn`t take too long to collect the money from the locals !! What it means is that a scout who is combat ready (carrying a sword is enough) can tax and move. Thats up to fifty bucks per turn - more than enough to survive on. It also means that if you are marching say a gang of miners from one region to another a small troop of men who are taxing can provide income to maintain them along the journey.

The best way to do this is to set the 'AUTOTAX' flag which we will look at in a next.

Obviously skills like stealth become essential as soon as you start investigating commands like STEAL and ASSASSINATE - very antisocial !!

At this point it is worth mentioning that most of the flags we will mention need a value to work. REVEAL is the exception to this. If you miss the value off the other commands (like I did for AUTOTAX *doh*) the order will be ignored.



Avoiding Combat - Avoid, Behind, Noaid and Hold

Now when combat happens its a messy thing and all sorts of people can get dragged into it !! Thats not just true in the middle east but also in the world of Atlantis. If a unit of yours (or of a faction you have declared as an ALLY) is attacked then all of your factions in that square will rush to his defence, not only that but *all* your units in surrounding hexes will join if they can.

The trouble is, this means one of your scouts could drag valuable units into a battle when it might make more sense just to sacrifice the scout. Alternatively, non-comabt units like miners might be dragged into a battle with trained troops and get massacred. The last possibility is that you have combat troops in a region - but you don`t want to risk having them moving into combat in another region as you want them to stay there.

Atlantis provides commands for all of these. The first of these, and the most useful, is called......

Avoid

This is for non-combat troops and means that unless they actually get the ATTACK order they will not join any combat. They will not rush to the aid of your units, they will not help your allies... they will calmly ignore battle..... unless they are attacked themselves of course.

Its a very useful flag to set for teams of men that you don`t want to get dragged into battle like production teams or mages and so. Here is the passage from the rules that explains how to use it.

AVOID 1 instructs the unit to avoid combat wherever possible. The unit will not enter combat unless it issues an ATTACK order, or the unit's faction is attacked in the unit's hex. AVOID 0 cancels this.
The Guard (which we will look at later) and Avoid Combat flags are mutually exclusive; setting one automatically cancels the other.



Too Proud to be Helped - Noaid

The companion of the AVOID flag is the NOAID flag. This flag, when set, instructs a unit not to call for help when attacked - meaning other units in surrounding regions won`t come to its aid. There are two schools of thought on it - some people say it is better never to use it and others think it is useful for scouts...... Heres what the rules have to say on using it.

NOAID 1 indicates that if the unit attacks, or is attacked, it is not to be aided by units in other hexes. NOAID status is very useful for scouts or probing units, who do not wish to drag their nearby armies into battle if they are caught. NOAID 0 cancels this.



Don`t Rush Into Combat - Hold

The last of these flags to do with avoiding combat is the HOLD flag. This instructs a unit only to join in combat in the hex it is in. Again useful if you don`t want the unit to leave the region they are in.

HOLD 1 instructs the issuing unit to never join a battle in regions the unit is not it. This can be useful if the unit is in a building, and doesn't want to leave the building to join combat. HOLD 0 cancels holding status.



Hiding Behind the Others - Behind

Combat in Atlantis can seem very complicated with lots of units getting involved - this is particularly true if you plan a campaign and have lots of combat units. You might also bring along a leader trained in tactics and your combat mage and units trained in crossbow skills. Some of these (like 1 leader with just a tactics skill) are useful in combat but you don`t want them wiped out. In other words it would be nice if you could place them behind the other troops so that the bigger units take the hits first. The way to do this is to use the BEHIND flag.

BEHIND 1 sets the unit to be behind other units in combat. BEHIND 0 cancels this.

Units which have the Behind flag set are at the rear and cannot be attacked by any means until all non-Behind units have been wiped out. On the other hand, neither can they attack with melee weapons (ordinary hand weapons), but only with bows or magic. Once all front-line units have been wiped out, then the Behind flag no longer has any effect.


Flag Summary
This is a neat summary of what the different flags do - and what sort of units you might use them for.

Flags :

Behind - Archers (2nd row of comabt) or mages or non combat troops -
anyone you want to stay out of the front line of battle.

Avoid - non-combat troops. Normally a unit will rush to the aid of any
of its own faction or allies that are attacked. That potentially means
your farmers rushing into battle against balrogs. Avoid means they won't
go into battle unless attacked themselves.

Hold - a sentry or something like that. Although they will fight they
won't leave the hex they are on if an ally is attacked in a neighbouring
hex. Anyone you don't want to leave their hex (or the building for
example they are in)....

Noaid - expendable units. Like a scout for example. If attacked you
don't want him dragging other troops into combat. When the balrogs are
stomping round you might set *everyone* to noaid - so the balrog has to
attack every unit seperately............








Guarding and Taxing

Whilst we are on the subject of flags there are two more flags that are useful. We have already talked about the TAX command itself - which must be issued each go..... but there are two related flags. One called AUTOTAX so that your unit will automatically attempt to tax and the other called GUARD which will help protect your income from that region.



The Autotax Flag

Setting this flag means yoiu don`t have to remember to issue the tax command every turn. This is useful for units left in a city taxing and also potentially for scouts who can tax whilst moving. That will only work if you have enough spare 'WAR' regions that you are allowed to tax in. (The maximum number of regions you can tax in is determined by the number of FACTION POINTS you have allocated to WAR). Some tools, like the hammer and the pickaxe also give a combat advantage and means men carrying them can tax - useful for production teams to support themselves (ARMORERS, MINERS, QUARRIERS, WEAPONSMITHS, etc....). If you haven`t got spare regions to tax in units can always WORK or even ENTERTAIN to earn money (if they have the right skill that is !!) - the only difficulty is that TAX isn`t a full month order, whereas WORK and ENTERTAIN are........ You can of course give the unit a sword *and* train it as something else - meaning it can tax on the move and still have a skill of onservation, or stealth, or entertaining etc....

AUTOTAX 1 causes the unit to attempt to tax every turn (without requiring the TAX order) until the flag is unset. AUTOTAX 0 unsets the flag.




The Guard Flag

Now the tax income from cities and regions is, arguably, the most important resource in the game. You have only a limited number of regions you can gain income from and the towns and cities produce vastly more income than the other regions. This means you are likely to want to protect the income from cities where you have conquered the city guard and are gathering tax. This is what the GUARD flag is for. Units on GUARD will prevent other units from taxing unless you have declared their faction as FRIENDLY OR ALLY. You will also attempt to prevent units whose faction you have declared UNFRIENDLY from entering the square. Units on guard are always visible and cannot be set to avoid combat. (Though presumably they can HOLD).

GUARD 1 sets the unit issuing the order to prevent non-Friendly units from collecting taxes in the region, and to prevent any units not your own from pillaging the region. Guarding units will also attempt to prevent Unfriendly units from entering the region. GUARD 0 cancels Guard status.
The Guard and Avoid Combat flags are mutually exclusive; setting one automatically cancels the other

In the next section we will take a brief look at the subjects of building, trade structures, teaching, magic and sailing.












Section 3



Tactics
Stealing and Assassination
Sequence of Orders
Building
Trade Structures
Ships, Sailing and Consuming
Advice On Building
Teaching
Final Comments


In this third and final section to the New Players Guide we will be looking at such varied topics as tactics, stealing and assasination, the sequence orders take place, building, trade structures, sailing and teaching *phew* with perhaps a few other subjects thrown in for good measure and accidentally stumbled over. Anything we haven`t covered after this is your own problem !! Most of this information is designed for the Atlantis Echelon game (running Atlantis 4.06 at the time of writing) but the general details ought to apply to Atlantis players everywhere !! If you are playing another game please check the details with your 'house rules', heck even Echelon players ought to check with the rules. I do know that in some of the popular 'other' games TAX has been made a whole month order - which changes a few things.

I am keen to make this as accurate and as readable as possible, so if you find mistakes or feel bits are hard to understand then please email me. Suggestions and comments welcome. Some of the ideas for this were copied from the Echelon Community Message Board, particularly the weirder ideas (like harvesting city guards for swords.... I ask you, or dragging boats over peninsulas - the very idea !!) and I`m afraid I haven`t always credited people.... oops.....







Tactics

One of the things we haven't covered adequately is tactics - thats not your strategy in battle but the specific skill of tactics. In exploration you will rapidly have learned the value of the skill of observation - as soon as you encounter other troops you will need to know who they are. (If you suspect other units aren`t using the observation skill a stealth level of 1, which is easily obtained, becomes enough to slip around scouts and guards). As soon as you enter into conflict you will learn the value of the tactics skill - this applies just as much when attacking a city or town guard as it does when attacking another faction.

When combat starts the *side* with the highest level of tactics skill amongst them, 1 man is enough, gets a free round of attack. If you both have the same level then neither side gets the free round.Often that first round is enough to make the difference between winning and losing.

The first opponent that many people will come across (the lucky ones anyway) is the guard in a town or city. Using that free round it can be possible to take a town with no losses at all. I hope I don`t give too much away by looking at the strength of the guards.......

Villages - 40 guards with swords - Combat lvl 1
Towns - 80 guards with Swords - Combat lvl 2
Cities - 120 guards with swords - Combat lvl 3

These don't have Tactics at all so if you have a leader with any skill level at all in tactics you will automatically get the first attack. If you kill half of the enemy they will rout (run away) and you get another free attack - so the key to killing them all without losses is having a tactics level of at least 1 and enough troops to kill half of them in the first round.
Now a sword = +2 skill, so a soldier with Combat level 3 + Sword = soldier with Combat level 5.

However, ignoring missile weapons, or having swords or horses/riding etc, then 360 troops with Combat 5 should take them out without damage.
360 troops at Combat 3 with swords should do the same.
360 troops at Combat 1 with Mithril swords should do the same.
Troops with longbows or crossbows should do it even easier (so you need lots fewer), since the opponent's skill levels and armour have less impact on the combat model. (In other words you can still kill them even though they have a higher skill level......)

Warning - don't try this until you have enough trained and equipped troops to make it effective. Losing lots of troops that you spent months getting trained can be awfully depressing.

Now if you don`t kill all the town/city guards and leave them for a few goes they will start to rebuild in numbers (meaning you have to attack all over again) but it does leave an interesting option for harvesting free swords.......

Kill the guards, take their swords (you get 50% of them as spoils of the battle), let them come back, kill them again, let them come back etc...

Its easier to just make the swords though....

Once you`ve killed all the guards you can start taxing in hte city. Leaving at least one unit on guard in the city is enough to stop the city guard reforming.

As far as tactics skill goes, Guardsmen do NOT have it, but many monsters do. Lichs, Sphinxs, Dragons all do. Often at level 3+, ouch. If you have a kingdom that stretches out with many borders then you will need several leaders with tactics skills - don`t forget to set them as 'behind' so they survive the battle..... training in tactics is expensive as well as time consuming.

We haven`t mentioned the mechanics of battle much - and there are lots of angles to it. The following is the *important* bit from the rules which covers the basics.

Combat rounds continue until one side has accrued 50% losses (or more). The victorious side is then awarded one free round of attacks, after which the battle is over. If both sides have more than 50% losses, the battle is a draw, and neither side gets a free round.

After that there is a chance for healing (magical or normal) to take place and for the spoils to be gathered.....

Any items owned by dead combatants on the losing side have a 50% chance of being found and collected by the winning side. Each item which is recovered is picked up by one of the survivors at random, so the winners generally collect loot in proportion to their number of surviving men.









Stealing and Assassination

The only time when tactics isn`t going to be relevant in combat is under the assassination rules. If an assination ATTEMPT is succesful then the assassin and victim (or assassin and one member of the unit he has chosen...) have a one on one fight with the assassin automatically getting the free round of attack..... so just because the assassin sneakes past the guards (has a higher level of stealth than the victim has observation....) doesn`t mean he will kill the victim. Heres what the rules say in full....

If the assassin has higher Stealth than any of the target faction's units or its allies have Observation, then a one-on-one fight will take place between the assassin and the target character. The assassin automatically gets a free round of attacks; after that, the battle is handled like a normal fight, with the exception that neither assassin nor victim can use chain mail or plate armor (the assassin because he cannot sneak around wearing metal armor, the victim because he was caught by surprise with his armor off). If the assassin wins, the target faction is told merely that the victim was assassinated, but not by whom. If the victim wins, then the target faction learns which unit made the attempt. (Of course, this does not necessarily mean that the assassin's faction is known.) The winner of the fight gets 50% of the loser's property as usual.

This will be useful for taking out mages or one man units that do important jobs (have high levels of tactics skill for example). Not much good as a method of waging war though !! It could take a while to defeat a three hundred man unit with one asassin....

The rules for stealing are similar to the rules for assassination.... if the thief has higher stealth he succeeds...

The STEAL order is a way to steal items from other factions without a battle. The order can only be issued by a one-man unit. The order specifies a target unit; the thief will then attempt to steal the specified item from the target unit.
If the thief has higher Stealth than any of the target faction's units have Observation (i.e. the thief cannot be seen by the target faction), the theft will succeed. The target faction will be told what was stolen, but not by whom. If the specified item is silver, then $200 or half the total available, whichever is less, will be stolen. If it is any other item, then only one will be stolen (if available).

Any unit with high enough Observation to see the thief will see the attempt to steal, whether the attempt is successful or not. Allies of the target unit will prevent the theft, if they have high enough Observation to see the unit trying to steal.


Useful for getting hold of magical items, I wonder what happens if a thief steal too much to move ??






Sequence of Orders

If you have looked towards the end of the rules you may have noticed a section called sequence of events. This is the order that Atlantis processes your commands in. Now at first that may seem like particularly esoteric information that is of no practical use.... but like many other things in the rules - it isn`t long before knowing the 'order of orders' is vital.

Take this as a straightforward example. You have a scout who is about to leave on an exploration journey, he is currently on the same region as a taxing unit who are to give him some money to support him on the journey (your scout has observation skills and so without working he can`t easily raise money). Now if you give the taxers the GIVE order and the scout the MOVE order then it very much matters which command is done first. If the MOVE order is done first then when the taxers come to give the scout his pocket money..... he will already be long gone.....

As it happens the GIVE order is processed before the MOVE order. So your scout gratefully receives the money and dissapears off to venture into the dark and mysterious realms. As it happens GIVE also happens before TAX. So if your taxers spent all their money last month they will have to wait until next month before you can GIVE anything more away.

There are far too many possibilities for me to cover all of them, the STUDY order for example happens after the TAX order - so a unit that is taxing can happily give away all they have and still study that month (so long as they raise enough to pay for their studies that is...) - if they use all their money stduying though they may starve as studying is done before the money is taken for maintenance. You will probably have to refer to this section of the rules several times until you are used to the basic order things happen in - but even experienced players have to keep coming back to check every now and then.

Here is the complete sequence, copied from the rules.

Each turn, the following sequence of events occurs:

1. Instant orders.

FORM orders are processed.
ADDRESS, AUTOTAX, AVOID, BEHIND, CLAIM, COMBAT, CONSUME, DECLARE, DESCRIBE, FACTION, GUARD 0, HOLD, NAME, NOAID, NOCROSS, OPTION, PASSWORD, REVEAL, and SHOW orders are processed.
FIND orders are processed.
LEAVE orders are processed.
ENTER orders are processed.
PROMOTE orders are processed.

2. Combat is processed.

3. Steal orders.

STEAL and ASSASSINATE orders are processed.

4. Give orders.

DESTROY and GIVE orders are processed.

5. Tax orders.

PILLAGE orders are processed.
TAX orders are processed.

6.Instant Magic

Old spells are cancelled.
Spells are CAST (except for Teleportation spells).

7. Market orders.

GUARD 1 orders are processed.
SELL orders are processed.
BUY orders are processed.
QUIT and RESTART orders are processed.
FORGET orders are processed.

8. Movement orders.

SAIL orders are processed.
ADVANCE and MOVE orders are processed (including any combat resulting from these orders).

9. Month long orders.

BUILD, ENTERTAIN, PRODUCE, STUDY, TEACH and WORK orders are processed.
Teleportation spells are CAST.
Costs associated with these orders (such as study fees) are collected.

10. Maintenance costs are assessed.

Where there is no other basis for deciding in which order units will be processed within a phase, units that appear higher on the report get precedence.

Sometimes it might matter what order units will be processed in in a region - for example if two unfriendly units (or neutral ones) both set the GUARD flag in the same region in the same month - but I`m afraid which one succeeds is basically down to luck.....

It is worth noticing that the FORGET order happens before the study order. This means that if you accidentally set your scout to study something useless like fishing (mentioning no names Scheltsy......) and you`d far rather he knew COMBAT or OBSERVATION then you can set him to FORGET FISH and STUDY COMB in the same turn......

The rules state that it is possible to work out which region gets processed before which region.... yeeowch... I imagine you have to be pretty far advanced before that makes a difference - maybe enemy mages casting spells at each other from remote locations......







Building

Now various things can be built in the Atlantis games. A quick summary looks something like this :

Defensive Fortifications
Trade Structures
Ships
Roads

I`m afraid I`m going to basically ignore roads. They are very expensive to build, difficult to maintain, and only useful to a big faction with profitable 'trade routes' or essential 'supply lines'. Definitely worth exploring..... but not for a long while. They also improve the economy of a city so as you start to reach the limit of new regions you can tax and need to improve the income from regions you already control perhaps they will become important.... for now.... forget it !

Defensive fortifications are fortified building which protect any troops who are in them. They have a maximum capacity and various sizes can be built, obviously the smaller ones are 'cheaper' to build but can hold less troops. Their other use is as a safe and quiet places for your wizards to study. In order for a mage to get beyond level two in any magical skill he will need to study in a tower or other fortification. (Well, it is possible for them to study without this, but they only learn at half the speed).

The main benefit of buildings though is the defensive bonus. Being inside a building confers a +2 bonus to defense. This bonus is effective against bows as well as melee (ordinary) weapons. The number of men that a building can protect is equal to its size.

Be careful though.... only trade factions (factions with at least one faction point on trade) can build anything......

The sizes of the different types of buildings are shown as follows along with the cost:


SizeCostMaterial
Tower1010stone
Fort5040stone
Castle250160stone
Citadel1250640stone


The cost refers to how many 'man months' of labour are required and how many units of stone are eneded to build it. For example a tower, the basic building, takes ten months and ten units of stone to complete. One 'man' with building skill one will take ten months to complete it. Five men with building skill two can do it in one month, and so on. When it is completed ten men will get a defensive bonus from being 'inside' it.

The BUILD TOWER command would be used to start building a tower.

Now the chances are that your men won`t finish the building in just one month. (Its possible of course). In which case the way to get them to work on the existing tower, rather than starting another one ((which can easily happen *ahem* Heroditus), is to ENTER the object and then just issue the BUILD command with no extra parameters. If you look in your turn report it will give a 'structure number' for the building - this is the number you give as part of the command to enter. In actual fact your builders *ought* to start the next turn already in the half finished structure - I got rather confused by all of this and so at the
end of this section I've included the advice I got from a player called 'Rob of Hashfarn'....

Anyway - back to entering structures :

For example - if the description of a region included.....

+ Tower of Oddness [1] : Tower.

Which would be followed by a list of all the units in the tower. The command to enter the tower in that region would be ENTER 1. An unlimited amount of men (apparently ?!?!?) can attempt to squeeze into a building... but only the first few will gain the protection from it. Heres what the rules have to say.

If there are too many units in a building to all gain protection from it, then those units who have been in the building longest will gain protection. (Note that these units appear first on the turn report.) If a unit of 200 men is inside a Fort (capacity 50), then the first 50 men in the unit will gain the full +2 bonus, and the other 150 will gain no protection.


A disadvantage of being inside a building is that *even* with the stealth skill you are still visible.....

Regardless of Stealth skill, units are always visible when participating in combat; when guarding a region with the Guard flag; or when in a building or aboard a ship. However, in order to see the faction that owns the unit, you will still need a higher Observation skill than the unit's Stealth skill.

Watch out - for the next version of Atlantis (Atlantis 5) they`re proposing that defensive fortifications offer a much greater defensive bonus, but also offering the opportunity of seiging to defeat them... I can`t wait !!







Trade Structures

The next type of building is the trade structure. Trade structures don`t give you any defensive bonus but instead are used to increase availability of raw materials in a region. For example, building a mine on a square will increase the amount of iron available per turn by 25 percent. (Building another mine would have half the effect).

They don`t actually help you produce the raw item - if there are twenty iron per turn available in a region and you have five level one miners (producing five iron per turn) - building a mine wouldn`t mean they produced any more iron. It would mean they could produce up to 25 iron per turn from that region...... but you`d need a few more miners to do it.

Virtually every raw material (including entertainment) has a trade structure that can be built to improve production in this way. As you are only able to gain produce in a limited number of regions, depending on how you spend your faction points, geting the most possible out of each region is essential.

I don`t propose to copy the entire list of trade structures and what they cost to build - look in the rules. Although the command used to build trade structures is the BUILD command the skill you need is usually level three of the raw material in question. For example, you need level three of mining to build a mine. The only exception is an inn (to increase availability of entertainment) needs level three of the building skill rather than the ENTERTAIN skill. This means that it is actually your miners who would build the mine. They will still need a supply of the raw material to build it - which will *usually* be wood or stone (you can choose) except for some of the fancy structures. Anyway - its all in the rules under "Building and Trade Structures".







Ships, Sailing and Consuming

This leads us neatly onto the third class of item that can be built - the ship. The skill necessary for building ships is.... wait for it.... the Shipbuilding skill.... Ships can be used for exploration, carrying troops and trade. Again you`ll need at least one faction point on trade t o be able to build ships and for the ordinary three vessels the basic material is wood. As you advance in the game war vessels can be built of tougher wood and their are even rumours of flying ships that can float across land. For every ship you build though, you`re going to need some sailors.

Like other skills- if a ship needs 10 sailors to sail it (like the clipper) that can be either ten level one sailors or five level two sailors and so on. Their maximum capacity is in units of weight. The rules has a big table of how much everything weighs under the movement section. Your basic man (or leader) weighs 10 units.... so a longboat (the smallest boat) can carry up to 20 people. That would cost 25 units of wood to build and take 25 'months' of labour.

One of the difficulties with sending off explorers on a boat is that unless you fancy loading them up with silver before they go they are going to need some way of feeding themselves. (I do wonder what they do with hte silver though - I can`t imagine there are too many restaurants out in the ocean ??). Ocean regions have no money available from working and the only resource that can be produced is fish. This means in order to support men for long sea journies or explorations you are going to need a team of fishermen on board.

There are various raw materials that can be used as food instead of using silver for maintenance. Normally these items - grain, livestock and fish - are worth more than the 10 or 20 silver maintenance they save. On a long journey though, you might have a plentiful supply of fish and wish to save your silver for when you arrive (to establish a taxing unit once you have landed for example). By default your units will use silver first and only use FISH as a last resort - but you can set the CONSUME flag to change this. The full order syntax is as follows.....

The CONSUME order instructs the unit to use food items in preference to silver for maintenance costs. CONSUME UNIT tells the unit to use food items that are in that unit's possession before using silver. CONSUME FACTION tells the unit to use any food items that the faction owns (in the same region as the unit) before using silver. CONSUME tells the unit to use silver before food items (this is the default).

So CONSUME UNIT sets the unit to use food before silver and CONSUME sets it back again. Useful if your landing party starts farming livestock and then eating the produce !!

Once you have built the ship and used the ENTER command (like entering a building) the unit of sailors issue the SAIL command in the same way as the MOVE order. (Another unit of sailors can assist the unit who owns the vessel by issuing the SAIL command on its own...). Other people who are in the vessel are free to study if they want - otherwise they will have to twiddle their thumbs for the duration of the journey.

One interesting possiblity is that ships may be able to cross small peninsulas. A ship can actually sail into a coastal region as there is assumed to be a harbour there. It may be able to sail off in a different direction to the one it arrived from - if a thin strip of land (one hex only) separates two oceans a ship maybe able to sail from one ocean to the other - presumable via something like the panama canal !! The reason this ought to be true is because if you imagine building a ship on that square - you must be free to sail in either direction, so unless the game distinguishes between building a ship on a coastal square and landing on a coastal square... you ought to be able to do this !!

To give a ship (or another building) to another unit the PROMOTE command is used. The unit who issues the command must be the 'owner' of the object. The owner of the object is the first unit on the list of those in t e object. This is particularly important for ships because only the 'owner' of the ship may give the SAIL command with directions.

PROMOTE [unit]
Promote the specified unit to owner of the object of which you are currently the owner. The target unit must have declared you Friendly.


And of course should you wish to dispose of the ship (or other structure), rather than leaving it to be stolen (!) you can always issue the DESTROY command to get rid of it (not at sea though... !!).







Advice On Building from Rob


Building a mine.

Initially you order 'Build Mine' at the end of the turn, your unit is inside the structure, whether it is finished or not. So next turn, if you need to continue building, you order 'Build' and you continue with building the current structure you are inside, in this case a mine.

You don't need specifically to enter it, as you never left it. Once you have finished it, you need to either 'Move out' or 'Leave'. 'Leave' is preferable....

Building the trade structure increases the productivity of the hex. Any activity in the hex can access that increased productivity, you don't have to be inside the structure. If you have built 4 mines in a region (cumulative improvements of 25% + 12.5% + 6.25% + 3.125% = 46.8% improvement) you do not need miners to actually be inside each mine to gain that improvement.

Structures (towers, ships, mines etc) are owned by the unit who is at the top of the list of the current occupants. Initially this will be the builder. If you walk out of an object, then you don't own it any more and ownership drops to the current person at the top of the stack of occupants. If the object has no-one in it, then it is un-owned. If someone comes along and moves in, then they own it. However, most reasonable players should be open to discussion on this.

Promotion is mainly useful to move people around in the unit stack so that the right people are in charge. For example, on a ship, if I have a fishing unit, and a sailing unit, I need to promote the sailing unit into the top most position otherwise they can't sail the ship and the ship stays in the same location and a turn gets wasted.






Teaching

And finally.... well, until I get inspired again that is or someone points out something I`ve missed out..... the subject of teaching. Its really very straightforward - if you (or someone you have set as an ALLY or FRIENDLY) have a unit with a high skill level in the same region as another unit that is studying that subject then they can issue the teach order. Any studying done with a teacher counts for double - the only condition is that the unit giving the teach command has to have a higher skill level than the unit learning. Teaching is a month long order so the unit that TEACHes can't STUDY or PRODUCE as well, they can however tax.

TEACH [unit] ...
Attempt to teach the specified units whatever skill they are studying that month. A list of several units may be specified. All units to be taught must have declared you Friendly. Subsequent TEACH orders can be used to add units to be taught. Thus:

TEACH 1
TEACH 2

is equivalent to


TEACH 1 2

Example:

Teach new unit 2 and unit 5 whatever they are studying.


TEACH NEW 2 5


The main restriction on the TEACH command is that.....

Each person can only teach up to 10 students in a month; addition students dilute the training. Thus, if 1 teacher teaches a units of 20 men, each man being taught will gain 1 1/2 months of training, not 2 months.
Note that it is quite possible for a single unit to teach two or more other units different skills in the same month, provided that the teacher has a higher skill level than each student in the skill that that student is studying, and that there are no more than 10 students per teacher.






As final comments just to say that because this a 'web-based' game of Atlantis some of the 'email type commands' are superfluous - particularly the ones relating to the Atlantis Times. There is also a list of factions with their email addresses on the website (although it can be difficult to find !) - for this reason the FIND and ADDRESS command are obselete. I don't know of anyone who has tried the #email command but I wouldn't rely on it working ! Also we don't think units are able to cross water and so the NOCROSS flag doesn't do anything. We still have to test this for flying units but we are sure this is the case ! Perhaps some of the more exotic flying units may be able to cross water........

There we go... obviously if I think of anything more I`ll add it - but I`m far more interested in making this readable and useful. Please give me feedback, even critiscm appreciated !! Hopefully I don`t give away to much to spoil your enjoyment of the game. Happy Atlantising !!

If anyone were to write an advanced guide it would have to explore specific strategies and techniques of growth and warfare - for example advancing fighting units in triangular phalanx (covering 3 regions) with a tactician behind..... or how to harvest balrogs or perhaps how best to defeat an attack by a dragon mage. If anyone is interested in reading or writing such a tome then perhaps they could contact me.......

Fuzzyman


Last Updated 07/07/03


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