Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021
This is a highly detailed and challenging game in which you have complete control of an entire
galactic empire. This is much more than a simple war game; players may arrange interstellar
trade routes, make treaties with other empires, control the production of planets, and race
against the enemy to create new technologies and more destructive weapons. This is a game of
power and control, conquest and rebellion, all set in a Machiavellian milieu in which it is
better to be feared than loved.
At the peak of its power, the Imperium of Earth, foundation of order, law, and morality was like
a mud and straw colossus awaiting the first of the summer rains. The wave of support for an
Empire of Man, a force that had built up after centuries of regional conflicts, suddenly ebbed
and dissipated, leaving the worlds of the galaxy with a burning desire for independence.
More than twenty thousand years after the first thermonuclear bomb, the Imperium encompassed
a volume of ten billion cubic light-years and almost a hundred thousand inhabited worlds.
Fifty years later, Earth was a glowing cinder of nuclear ash and half the worlds in the galaxy
had reverted to pre-atomic technologies.
Humanity emerged from the cataclysm not yet sure whether it could go on living now or whether it
had been so profoundly shocked and injured that it would presently die out and reach extinction.
Entire worlds had been consumed in nuclear fire, countless others had lost the technology to travel
between the stars. And everywhere, in the feral competition to survive, the compassion, ideals,
and dreams of mankind, often bludgeoned into submission in war and crisis, now silent and disgraced,
disappeared entirely from the race.
It is into this milieu that you are thrust. More than four thousand years since the collapse,
the worlds of the galaxy yearn for order. As the ruler of a relatively advanced world, your goal and
obsession is to begin the reconstruction that may bring a Second Empire to the galaxy.
Many things are possible in Anacreon. As the ruler of a multi-world empire you will have to make many
difficult decisions. How will your empire be set up? Will each world be self-sufficient or will you
implement an elaborate cargo route to supply specialized worlds? If you choose the former you won't
have to worry about your worlds lacking materials, but if you choose the latter each specialized world
will be more efficient and productive. You will have to decide how many worlds you will devote to
building ships, and how many to producing raw materials. Or perhaps you will want to sacrifice some
industrial worlds in order to establish research universities. In any case, you will have to worry
about how to defend your worlds. Poorly defended worlds invite attack from other empires, but trying
to protect all your worlds may spread your forces too thin. And at all times you will have to make sure
that none of your worlds is too unhappy, or else you'll risk a possible rebellion.
Of course, the real challenge will come from the other empires in the galaxy. Each empire will be trying
to build up its war machine, always conquering more worlds and always building more ships. You will have
to insure that your empire is able to respond to their challenges, either by undertaking your own program
of expansion, or by strategically weakening your opponents' military power. Treaties are always possible;
indeed it is often a good idea to join a weak empire fighting a stronger one, but be careful, no imperial
ruler will honor a treaty that he or she does not believe will be of benefit. Attacks against your
neighbors will have to be planned carefully; even a weak empire will be able to retaliate forcefully if
some of your worlds are not adequately defended.
Anacreon is not a simple game, but it is not a frustrating one either. It is easy to be intimidated by the
sheer complexity of the game. Managing a starfleet, supplying worlds, defending territory, building
stargates--all these skills cannot be learned or mastered very quickly. Fortunately, not everything has
to be learned at once. In many ways, Anacreon has been designed so that a full detailed knowledge of the
game's many intricacies is not required for basic play.
The mechanics of the game are simple. Each player assumes the role of a totalitarian ruler in a small
galactic empire. Every player in turn examines status reports and issues orders each year, a simple process
that includes determining which worlds can become colonies and deploying fleets to conquer them. Once all
players have taken their turn, the computer updates all the worlds in the galaxy and the next year begins.
There are no formal victory conditions in the game, so a game doesn't ever have to end. Usually, however,
a game ends after a pre-arranged set of conditions are satisfied (e.g. a certain number of years, a set
number of worlds, a certain number of starships, etc).
Not every game is the same, of course. There are many different scenarios that may be played, some for
beginners and others for more experienced players. Scenarios in Anacreon set the stage on which conflict
between players occur. A scenario, for example, could pit a small but technologically superior empire
against a large and ponderous enemy. At the beginning of the game you may select which scenario to play.
Scenarios range from simple ones with only a few worlds involved to advanced campaigns in which scores
of worlds clash in combat.
Anacreon was designed primarily to be played against human opponents. Treachery and honor, alliance and
enmity, those qualities which machines find difficult to express, come to the forefront when other people
are involved. With others, the game becomes an engaging exercise in a multitude of disciplines, from
role-playing to diplomacy, from strategy to tactics, all used to their fullest against a backdrop spanning
more than a hundred worlds.
Anacreon, however, can also be played solo. Several scenarios are included which take advantage of the
computer's ability to keep track of large amounts of data. The Jakartan empire in The Pirates of Jakarta,
for example, can prove to be a formidable opponent.
Thinking Machine Associates
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