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Leylines is an intriguing turn-based strategy game of exploration and conquest.
Set in a fantasy world, it lets you pit your armies, magic and commerce against up to seven opponents and a hoard of barbarians. Start from a single city and work your way up to a grand empire. Train over 160 different units and cast over 90 different spells to gain the upper hand.
The source of your power lies in your cities, where all your gold and units are produced. You can handle the micromanagement yourself, or leave it to the automated queuing system. A hands-on tutorial is available to get you started on city production and other things.
Build marketplaces to increase your cash flow, or magic portals to connect cities. Use spells to increase productivity. Keep the people happy by organising festivals, or crush them under heavy taxes. And build mighty Monoliths to be remembered by for generations to come.
Control over 160 different units, from the lowly scout to the mighty bladesinger and from the stealthy druid to the awesome dragon. Find out which unit should be used to fight which enemy.
Units serve to explore the world and defeat enemy units on the battlefield. However many units have special powers such as building farms, teleportation or controlling enemies.
Over time, unit gain experience and become stronger. Also units can be enhanced by a variety of spells, such as Flame Aura, Storm Run and Imperviousness.
World maps range from tiny (24x24) to huge (64x64) and consist of twenty-five distinct terrain types.
Instead of playing a fixed scenario, you can use the random world generator. Specify size, climate and terrain diversity and you'll never lack for a new place to explore.
Of course every world comes with its hazards. Icebergs can sink your ships; your troops can scorch to death in the desert or catch disease in a swamp; and during winter the lakes freeze over and hills become impassable. Use hostile terrain to form natural barriers from your foes.
The powers of magic lie at your fingertips! Specialize in any of four distinct schools of magic: Body, Mind, Energy or Chaos. Or, combine them for a broader but less deep skill.
Then research and cast over ninety different spells to improve your harvest; strike your enemies with plagues and storms; imbue your troops with ancestral knowledge and flight; and harass opposing wizards by clouding their minds and changing their visage. You can even cast two spells simultaneously.
But beware, for disaster will strike your cities if your magic should fail you!
Heroes can be recruited to support your cause. Unlike regular units, heroes are one-of-a-kind and can be trained in a variety of skills to your liking. Given enough experience, heroes become the most powerful units in the game.
You can build farms, watchtowers and fortresses to improve and defend your country. The map also contains special locations such as gold mines, arenas that enhance your units, and of course Leylines.
Up to eight players, either human or computer-controlled, can compete in a hot-seat game, or over e-mail. Players can join in teams and can enter binding pacts with one another. Of course you can send each other messages and make plans to gang up on your friends.
Alternately, two players can play simultaneously using split-screen mode. One player uses the mouse controls, the other uses the keyboard. This way you never have to wait for your turn for long. This is also very suitable for cooperative play or for teaching beginners how to deal with the barbarian hordes.
Leylines comes with a complete scenario editor that you can use to create your own worlds and share them with your friends and over the internet.
The most interesting part is the flexible scripting language, that can be used to stage elaborate events and encounters. Want special victory conditions? A mystery forest that continually generates monsters? A nasty thief walking over the map and stealing from everybody? Use the internal editor and write them yourself. Even with little programming experience it's easy to learn, and on-line help is provided.
System requirements: Windows 2000, ME, NT or XP. DirectX 7.0 or above.
The Linux version requires SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) and should work under any release.
Macintosh users can play the Windows version using Virtual PC.
Leylines is Freeware.