The splash screen gives you four choices: "New", which brings up a list of games; "Open", which allows you to pick a file; "Connect", which will allow you to pick a game to join; and "Quit", which lets you escape.
Usually you will want to choose "New", which brings up a dialog listing all the games. You can select one and see a brief description of it.
You can also load a game from a file by choosing "Open". This just uses the standard Mac file-opening dialog. You restore a saved game this way. You can also open from the Finder by double-clicking on the file's icon.
Whether you've chosen from New Game or Open Game, Xconq will go through a loading process, which may take a while if the game is large or complicated.
You may get some warning alerts, which are often benign (such as an inability to find some images), but others are indicative of disaster ahead. If you see one and continue anyway, don't be surprised if the game goes up in a cloud of smoke later!
If the game includes any "variants", you will then get a dialog with assorted buttons and checkboxes to choose from. For instance, some games let you choose whether the whole world is visible when you start, or what kind of scoring system to use.
Different games have different variants, but there are several used by many games.
The "World Seen" checkbox, when set, makes the whole world seen right from the beginning of the game. This only affects the initial view, and you will only see some types of units belonging to other players, such as their cities.
The "See All" checkbox makes everything seen all the time, right down to each occupant of each unit of each side. This makes Xconq more like a boardgame, where little or nothing is secret.
The "World Size" button brings up a dialog that you can use to change the dimensions of the world in everybody will be playing. In Xconq, the available area of the world is either a hexagon, or a cylinder wrapping entirely around the world. Click or drag within the display area of the dialog to select an approximate size, or type in the text boxes. You get the cylinder by setting the circumference equal to the width of the area. See the generic player's manual for more details about world size and shape, and be aware that it's very easy to select a world that is much too large for reasonable play (the default of 60x30 is a medium-sized game; 200x100 is enormous!)
The "Real Time" button brings up a dialog that you can use to set realtime countdowns. You can limit both the total time allotted to a game, to each turn, and/or to each side.
The player setup window shows the sides that will be in the game and who will play each side. As with the variants, you will often just want to accept it (click "OK"), since the game's designer usually sets the defaults reasonably.
If you want to change the setup, you first need to understand the current set of sides and proposed players. Each entry in the list of sides starts off with the side's emblem (if it has one), followed by the name of side, then in italics, some information about the player, and then the initial advantage for the player. You, the person sitting in front of the screen, is described as "You", while players that are actually run by the computer are described as "AI mplayer", "AI" being short for "artificial intelligence" (In some games, a player may be a specialized AI, named name, in which case it will be described as "AI name".)
In games that allow you to have more than the default number of sides, you can just click the "Add" button. All the other controls require you to have selected a side/player pair. You can do this by clicking anywhere in one of the boxes describing the side/player pair, which will be highlighted in response.
The `Computer' button toggles the AI for that side. You can add an AI to any side (including your own side; more on that later). You can also remove the AI from any side; a side with no AI and no human player will just sit quietly and do nothing throughout the entire game. Units on the side will fight back if attacked, just like any other units, but if you capture things like cities, the side won't even attempt to take them back.
If you don't like the side you're on, you can use the `Exchange' button to switch. The ordering of the sides is fixed, so exchange just exchanges players between the currently selected side/player pair and the next one. It can take a little experimentation to get the hang of using this, but you can generate any arrangement of players using a combination of selection and exchange.
When you have OKed all the setup dialogs, Xconq will finish setting up the game. For some games, this will take quite a while - Xconq generates random terrain, positions countries so that they are neither too close nor too far apart, and does many other things to set up the game, so just kick back and watch the progress bars.
Once everything is set up, Xconq then opens up the game window, the instructions window, and one map window for you. The map shows you terrain with different patterns, and your playing pieces (units) with small pictures.
Note that Xconq allows all players, including AIs, to start doing things as soon as the windows come up. You may even find yourself being attacked before you know what's happening! This is a feature; the AI isn't good enough to afford to give you any breaks.
The basic pattern of play is to find a unit in a map or list window, click once to select it, and then pick commands from the `Play' menu. There is also an "auto-select" mode that does the selection for you and interprets mouse clicks as movement commands; Xconq actually starts up in this mode.
You can select units by clicking on a unit, shift-clicking a group, dragging out a selection rectangle, or by using Command-A to select all units. A selected unit is indicated by an outline box - solid black to indicate that it can move, dark gray to indicate that it cannot move, and gray to indicate that it cannot do anything at all (at least during this turn; some types of units may only get to do something once in a while). If clicking on a unit image doesn't have any effect, then it's not a unit that belongs to you.
To move a selected unit, drag the selected unit to its desired new location. The unit might not move right away if it doesn't have the action points, but it may get some in the next turn. To move all selected units, do Command-click on the desired location and all of them will attempt to move there.
To shoot at another unit, you can position the mouse over the desired target, type `f', and all selected units will attempt to fire. Since you can select all units, and the ones that can't fire will simply do nothing, you can call down considerable destruction with `f'! If the target is too far away, nothing will happen. 'f' can only fire at units that you actually have under observation. Use `Control-f' to fire into a cell where you can't see anything.
To find out more about a unit, pick "Closeup" from the "Play" menu or do `Command-I'. This brings up a window that shows all kind of data about a single unit. You can leave this window up and it will always be kept up-to-date.
To jump ahead to the next turn, do the menu command "End Turn" or the key `return'. You may have to do this if some of your units still have action points, but not enough to do any of the things you want them to do.
The Game window (`Command-1') shows the status of all the sides in the game. The window shows both the emblem (if available) and name of each side. A small computer icon indicates that an AI is running the side, while a face icon indicates your side's relationship with the side (smiling means friend/ally, frowning means enemy, flat expression means neutral).
Each side also has a progress bar that shows how many actions its units have left to do.
This section describes all the menus.
The File menu includes the usual sorts of commands that all Mac programs share.
Note that there is no Undo. Hey, this game is a life-or-death struggle, and you may have noticed that you don't get an Undo in real life either...
This menu is for various kinds of searching.
Unit by Name...
This menu is the main set of commands that you can give to individual units. When you specify one of these, the units affected will be whatever is selected in the window. If the window is of a type that does not have selected units (such as a help window), then the items on this menu will be disabled.
The "More" menu contains additional actions, typically those that you will need less often.
This menu is for overall control of the side you're playing.
End This Turn
Move On Click
Auto Jump Next
Auto End Turn
This menu is for the creation and arrangement of windows.
'o'has the same effect.
The rest of the menu lists the windows that are currently open. You can select a menu item to bring its corresponding window to the front.
The View menu gives you control over the appearance of the window you're currently looking at. Each kind of window that has any view controls will have a different view menu. Currently only map and list windows have view menus. Each window has its own view settings, although you can set defaults for new windows from the preferences. You can find the descriptions of each view menu's items under the description of its window, below.
Mac Xconq lets you have many windows open at once. Each type has its own specialized functionality.
A map window gives you an overhead view of some part of the Xconq world. As you might expect, you can scroll around to look at different parts. You can also zoom in and out using the small zoom icons in the lower left corner; zooming in ("closer mountains" icon) makes the cells larger, while zooming out ("farther mountains" icon) makes the cells smaller, so you can see more of the world. You can zoom way in or out!
The optional "top line" of the map window supplies you with information about what the cursor is currently over, plus the current game date.
The map control panel is along the left side. At its top is the auto-select/move-on-click button. Below that is a set of find-next/previous buttons. The next set of buttons is controls for how the map will be displayed. These behave identically to the map's View menu items.
Since maps are the main interface to Xconq games, you have many view menu options for controlling their appearance.
[update this to reflect current organization]
The game window shows you the turn number or date of the current turn, as well as any realtime clocks that may be counting down, and a list of all the sides. For each side, you see its name, the emblem for that side, a progress indicator, and icons indicating the side's attitude and whether it is being played by the computer. You may also numbers indicating scores and/or real time remaining.
The progress bar shows how much movement a side has done during the turn. This usually goes down during the turn, but because it indicates a percentage rather than an absolute number of actions, the percentage may go up sometimes. For instance, if some of your units that have already acted are captured, then the percentage goes up because the total number of actions has gone down! A gray bar indicates that the side has finished all movement for this turn. There may also be a gray area below the black area of the bar, which indicates the percentage of units that are asleep or in reserve. Note that a player can always wake up sleeping or reserve units at any time before the end of the turn.
A unit list window just lists all the units, one line each. This is useful for getting a more organized look at your assets. A unit listing shows the icon for the unit, its name and type, action points, hit points, supply, etc.
You can create more than one list window.
If you select a unit in the list and then choose Find Selected from the the Find menu, then a (randomly selected) map will be scrolled over to that unit.
List view controls typically either affect what will be listed, or the sorting of the list. There is also an item to control the size of the unit icons.
by Acting Order
For any unit, you can create a closeup window. This window supplies full details on the unit. The info in the window is in a format shared by several interfaces: see the "Unit Info" section of the generic play manual for more explanation of what each of them means.
You use the construction window to control the construction of new units. The window comes in two parts; the left side is a list of all the units that can do construction, while the right side is a list of all the types that can be constructed. You select a unit on the left and a type on the right, then click on "Construct" to add a build task to the unit's task agenda.
Each unit on the left side is preceded by an estimated number of turns
to complete the type of unit that has been selected, or
-- if the
unit cannot build that type. If the unit already has a build task, that
is mentioned after the unit's identification, and includes the number of
units to build as well as the status of the one currently under
Each type on the right side is preceded by an estimated number of turns
for the selected unit to complete one, or
-- if the selected unit
cannot build that type. If the type has a tech level prerequisite for
construction, that will also be listed, with the syntax
n1/n2/n3], where the numbers indicate current tech level, level to
build, and max level. Following the type is a count of how many
completed units of that type exist, with the number of incomplete types
in parentheses. You can type a single character to select a type;
typically the first letter of its name, otherwise use the single
character in parentheses immediately following the type name
At the top of the window is the button "Construct" that sets up build tasks, and next to it a button "Research", for when you wish to add to the tech level without building any actual units (such as when you're using several units to accelerate some unit's construction program). Note that a build task will automatically do research if necessary before construction can begin. The top also includes a small text window where you can set the number of types to build.
The notices window tells you about what is happening at the moment. Look at this to see what is currently going on.
For information about what happened in past turns, you can scroll back in the notices window, or you can look at the history window.
The history window is a comprehensive record of what has happened in the game, from the first turn on.
The scores window lists your win/loss record.
The instructions window is the basic info about what game you're playing and what you're supposed to do. Many game designs have few or no instructions. There is a Help button that just brings up the help window, for convenience.
Xconq's help information is organized into a list of topics. When you first open the help window, you will see the list, and a row of buttons. To look at a specific topic, just click on it.
The "Topics" button goes straight to the list of topics, while the "help" button shows you the topic describing the help system itself. "Prev" and "Next" buttons take you through the topics in order, while "Back" goes to the last topic you looked at.
Mac Xconq understands all the single-character and long-name commands that are defined for Xconq in general.
The Preferences dialog includes several screens of options you can set, the specific screen being chosen from the popup at the top of the dialog.
The File screen gives you some options relating to files.
Write Game Statistics File
The Map Display screen allows you to personalize your map windows.
Prefer Color Unit Images
Prefer Solid Color Terrain
The Font screen gives you control over the size and appearance of the text used in various windows.