Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021 is an ASCII space strategy game in where you play (obviously) as the supreme leader of a galactic empire struggling for global dominance. It contains the common elements of 4X strategy, including planet management and development, exploration, tech research and war.
The game contains several scenarios (although you can design your own with a text editor) that present the general background of the game (number of players, number of turns and difficulty). Each map is randomly generated, and wins the player with the highest score when reaching the turn maximum.
Colonies cannot be created. Instead, there are independent planets that must be conquered in order to adding them to your empire. Colony management is almost automatic, as there are no facilities (apart of certain orbital platforms) to build and resources are used and divided by the computer. The different types of ships and troops, also, are automatically built in planets equipped with the necessary tech. Tech is discovered linearly as you progress, but each planet has a tech level (that also advances automatically when in an empire) that determines what can be constructed there. You can, however, establish the general purpose of a colony (agricultural, military outpost, raw material mine...) and transport freely resources and troops between colonies, and you must pay attention to several statistics (efficiency, warehouses, type of planet...).
As there is no diplomacy (except a message system for multiplayer), Anacreon plays mainly as a game about war and conquest.
Anacreon: Reconstruction is, without a doubt, one of --if not THE-- best strategy games ever made. It was released in the 1988 and bombed, mostly due to its high price and ASCII graphics. It is a 1 to 8 player game in which you build and manage an intergalatic empire. You can build armies, starbases, turn entire planets into chemical plants or shipyards, terrorize and mine trade routes, build stargates, launch long-range cruise missles, decide whether a planet should be isolated or requiring constant supplies from outside (if you should addict your loyal subjects to labor-improving drugs), and much, much more. To say the least, its NOT a simple game. But it is excellent and very fun to play, especially with friends. Definitely Top Dog material, and a must-have for all armchair commanders. Best of all, the author George Morimisato has released the latest and best version (1.3) as freeware, and even converted the entire manual to HTML format. Thanks, George!
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