Barren Realms Elite is a 25-player strategic war-game. The setting is in the future - nuclear destruction has spread throughout the planet, and now only a vast barren void exists. You, as a baron under a great king, must expand your barony throughout the planet, taking advantage of natural resources such as rivers and mountains to become the ultimate baron. This task is not easy though -- you must keep your population content, while maintaining a military large enough to defend your empire against other barons. You must balance size and strength, attack, trade with, and make alliances with other barons. Pirates throughout the planet will constantly plunder the great leaders -- making your job even harder.
Starting The Game
When you begin the Barren Realms Elite game for the first time after a reset, you are presented with a welcome screen, a few playing tips, and prompted for a name of your realm. This is essentially your player name throughout game play. Once you've entered a name that is valid, the BRE splash screen is displayed and you are presented with the main game menu. This menu consists of:
The current version of Barren Realms Elite that is running.
The date that the game began on (last reset).
This option allows a player to begin playing their turns for the day. If they've already played some, the software picks up at the turn they left off on.
- See Status
Displays basic information about the current player. This is basically the same information displayed from within the game from the status menu.
- See Scores
This menu selection shows the scores for the BBS only. Interplanetary scores are shown from within the game.
- See Today's News
Displays the news for the current day. Note that unlike the main menu scoring option, the news can also contain interplanetary news in IBBS leagues.
- See Yesterday's News
Shows the news for the previous day.
- Read Messages
Allows the player to read their private e-mail within the game without entering the game and wasting turns.
- Send Messages
In addition to reading messages, a player may use this option to send a message to any local nation that lies on the same BBS.
- Game Bulletins
Bulletins that the sysop has created, or the ones included with the distribution archive, can be read by selecting this option.
- Game Instructions
Although the game is a vast and intricate strategy game, a brief overview of the game and simple instructions for getting started is included here for new players.
- Help Database
Barren Realms Elite contains a sophisticated help system that can be viewed at any time simply by visiting this option. Help topics on nearly all functions of the game is included here and players may peruse them simply by selecting them from the menu.
The preferences menu option contains some user-defined settings to make game play proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The quit option exits the software and returns the player to the BBS.
Playing Barren Realms
BRE is a game based on strategy and thought. As a baron in a vast kingdom, your goal is to, ultimately, become supreme to all others. Using everything from diplomacy to war, you must build an empire both economically and militarily, all while facing stiff competition from your opponents.
The best way of learning Barren Realms Elite is to experiment - visit different menus, try different options. Below, you will find basic information on how to get a good start and not crumble right away as well as information on some different topics not covered in any specific help section. We recommend after learning a little bit about the basics of this game, you come back and read the latter part of these instructions again, as they will make more sense once you understand the game.
The premier feature of the game is the ability to link over 200 systems throughout the world and bring anywhere up to more than 6,000 players together in a single game. No longer is your goal to become the strongest barony, but instead, the strongest world. Your BBS must come together, facing competition from other planets instead of local barons. Teamwork is the only way to win this type of war.
The Game Itself
Barren Realms Elite is divided into a series of menus which appear during each turn of play. The following are the major sections:
- Diplomacy (appears only on first turn of the day)
- Status Screen
- Payment / Food Market
- Covert Operations
- Spending Menu
- Interplanetary Operations (For InterBBS Games)
- System Menu
The art of diplomacy is a major factor in a successful empire. Defense pacts for local attacks (non-InterBBS) are vital for challenging and defeating larger enemies. Intelligence alliances can multiply the total power of Intelligence agencies. Trade agreements provide tanglible benefits in the form of extra cash - if you have a large population.
This option allows you to view relations with the other empires in the game.
- Tariff Trade Agreement
This is an agreement allowing trade between two realms with government taxation of all goods passing boundaries. It brings an extra income to each empire involved based on population. This agreement is promising for those empires with large numbers of people.
This agreement installs guards along trade routes between the two realms, preventing bombing of trade deals and making trade deals cheaper to send and maintain.
Free Trade Agreement
This pact declares that people are free to travel between boundaries and trade goods without taxation. Large amounts of income are gained through income taxes, but due to the contact of peasants between empires, bad morale and support will spread throughout other realms if not controlled quickly.
The terrorist prevention plan is an alliance between two powers' intelligence agencies to aid each other in finding and preventing terrorist and covert actions against the two realms.
This is an agreement between Realms giving covert aid in terrorist and covert operations to other empires on the planet and in Inter-planetary conflict.
An agreement to cooperate in the sciences, this treaty allows an empire to gain some of the technological advances of its partner.
Full Defense Alliance
This plan, the most balanced and powerful alliance, puts forth a large amount of all of your forces in defending an ally in need. NOTE: This is effective only in Local Games
Declaration Of War
This is used to break an agreement with another empire without causing internal troubles in your realm. The treaty is not officially broken until the other realm is notified.
At the beginning of each turn, you will be shown your production for the year, including gold, food, and industrial output. After this, you will see the current status of your barony, including military, regions, your support throughout the realm, etc.
Paying to maintain your empire is a critical expenditure for any government. You must support your military, maintain your land, and pay taxes. Often, you will also need to use money to increase your popular support or military morale, lest you risk civil disorder.
Feeding your empire is also critical. In order to ensure the health of your entire populace, the government controls all food supplies, providing to the people as necessary. To aid your empire, there is also a food market managed by the entire planet from which you can buy and sell food. However, the supply is limited, and dependence upon the market is dangerous. Coordinated attacks can destroy your reserves and the general market, leaving you in a dangerous situation. Without food, morale and public support will quickly fall and may lead to internal revolts.
Covert Operations are the heart of any successful campaign. Attacking an empire requires only military supremacy. However, to successfully wage war and minimize damage, one must be able to strike at the heart of the enemy and remove the opponent's ability to fight back. Well timed and coordinated covert operations can immensely help in this task. By weakening an enemy internally, one takes less losses fighting externally.
- Send Spy
Allows you to attempt to get military information on another realm. This operation takes place immediately.
- Stir Revolts
Through propaganda, your intelligence agency can create doubts in your opponent's populace, causing rioting and revolting, reducing popular support and placing the enemy government in jeopardy.
- Set Up
This will work to make two empires believe they have declared war on each other, possibly leading to combat. If successful, any treaty between the two empires is void. Used against empires with defense pacts could make attacking one notably easier.
- Support Dissensions
Using extremely strong propaganda, your agents may be capable of internally sabotaging an opponent's military, causing a portion of Troopers to flee.
- Demoralize Forces
This covert operation infiltrates an enemy's military camps with agents set out to reduce the effectiveness of his or her forces.
- Spy On Relations
Your agents will work to learn of all treaties of a particular empire. This is useful pre-war intelligence, in that you can learn of vast alliance networks and/or trade partners.
- Bomb Enemy Targets
Using terrorist methods, your intelligence agency will randomly bomb targets, causing widespread destruction in your opponent's barony.
Bribing an enemy agent gives you the benefit of learning information on the tactics of an opposing intelligence center, allowing your forces to more effectively prevent incoming covert operations.
- Expose Enemy Ops
This operation takes full advantage of your bribed agent. By relaying all known information, your bribed agent effectively gives you almost 100% immunity from incoming covert operations from his home empire. However, because of the level of risk to your agent, this operation is only effective for 24 hours.
The bank provides both a safe storage of money and an interest-gaining environment. In addition, you can get cash relief loans from the planetary leadership as well as make investments for the future. Investments provide their own interest rates, which often fluctuate depending on the amount of investing at any particular time.
NOTE: Interest, Loans, and Investments are only accessible in the registered version of this game.
The heart of your empire is centered upon having a strong defense and large amount of land. At this menu, you can buy and sell both, depending on the setup of the game. In many setups, the amount of military you can purchase is limited or even non-existant, in which case Industrial production is your primary or sole option (Industrial production is explained below).
This lets to switch between selling and buying. Depending on your immediate goals, it may be in your best interests to sell off excess equipment, although it can only be sold at a fraction of the buying price.
Troopers serve as both offensive and defensive battle units. While not very strong on either end, they are fairly cheap both to buy and maintain. One drawback is the added need for food, as compared to other units.
These units serve as offensive-only military units. About twice as powerful as a soldier on offense, they make a formidable attack weapon. However, they cannot defend and, while cheap to buy, can be relatively expensive to maintain.
The counterpart to Jets, Turrets are defensive-only weapons about twice as powerful as the Trooper. Like Jets, however, they are relatively expensive to maintain. Nevertheless, Turrets can make a strong, full-time defense and are impossible to destroy through terrorist operations.
Bombers are special attack forces. They have no offensive or defensive strength, but can be used in special missions. Interplanetary bombings require bombers to drop the payload, and in attacks, they can be used to target and destroy grounded enemy jets.
Your command headquarters is essential in coordinating your military attacks. A strong HQ gives tanks better coordination and can improve the effectiveness of tanks drastically.
- Region Buying
You can buy the following types of regions:
Coastal lands are excellent for the tourism and resort industry. In good conditions, they are an extremely effective money generator. However, with low public support, your populace loses interest and Coastal territory production slumps drastically.
The mountains are an excellent source for mining natural resources. Because there are few factors affecting production, mountains provide the most stable source of income, but at the same time, they do not average as much as other regions. Because mountains are a source of good raw materials, a large number of mountains also tends to boost productivity of your Industrial regions.
Dry desert land supports the development of solar power generation extremely well. Profiting from these generates fluctuates greatly due to climate conditions, but, on the average, produce more gold than do mountains, but less than Coastals in good conditions.
Industry is the basis of a strong economy. While in some setups you can buy any and all military goods you will need during war, others do not allow purchasing at all. In those cases, Industry is your only source of military power. Industry, forced into free-market competition, is also more efficient at producing military than you buying from the market. With a good base of Mountain regions, industrials can produce even more goods.
Rivers are both an excellent source of revenue through hydroelectric power and a source of food through fishing. While most years the rivers produce vast supplies of gold, more so than any other region, they are often wrought with problems and used instead for fishing to bring extra food into the empire. The people of the land determine what will be produced yearly, without your input.
Self-sufficiency in terms of food production is almost a necessity in a world wracked by constant conflict. Without a stable global market to buy and sell food, you may often find yourself with no source of food outside of your barony. Agricultural regions provide you with a solution to that problem, and in times of global food shortages, could give you bargaining power in selling off surpluses.
By building strong urban centers, you vastly increase the number of people able to live in your empire. These people bring in more tax revenue, and with strong trade agreements, provide empires with vast new markets from which to produce even more cash.
Technology regions are a powerful source of longterm enhancements. Maintaining these research centers early may prove costly, but with time, they allow you to vastly increase the productivity of your empire economically and militarily. Technology regions lead to the following improvements:
- - Increased military efficiency
- - Increased region output
- - Decreased maintenance costs on regions, military, and SDI
- - Decreased Food spoilage
- - Increased Tax income
As the game progresses, your costs will slowly decrease and efficiency will increase (there will not be specific discoveries).
Enemies can use various technological weapons (such as Nuclear Missiles) to reduce your once productive regions to waste. These regions, while still requiring maintenance, produce nothing for your empire. They can, however, be decontaminated at a much lower cost than buying new regions.
A strong Intelligence Agency is based upon having a large supply of agents. In general, the larger number of agents you are armed with relative to an opponent, the more successful your covert operations will be and the less successful enemies will be against you.
The tank is the most advanced general purpose military weapon of your army. About the equivalent of four Troopers, tanks be used both on offense and defense. Their low yearly maintenance costs make them a strong long term investment.
Carriers are a necessity only in the support role. In order to trade with other realms, often carriers must be sent for transport. In combat, Jets have to be transported to the battle field as well, and one carrier serves to transport 100 jets.
The strength of an empire is often determined by its ability to wage war. The final blow in waging war is the actual combat between two militaries, and here is where you get that opportunity. All of the building and developing to create the most powerful empire is tested in war.
This is the only true military battle between two realms. A successful assault an opposing empire brings you extra regions which you can then recolonize to build as you wish.
Nuclear weapons are a good source of crippling an opponent. While costly, the nuclear missile transforms a percentage of an enemy's regions into waste, which then must either be dropped or slowly repaired.
Similar to nuclear strikes, these missiles affect less actual land, but also infect millions of people with deadly chemical gases, significantly reducing an opponent's population.
Biological attacks are similar to the other special attacks, except that they do not damage the land itself. Instead, they are effective against both the general populace and military Troopers.
Pirates often steal military equipment from your empire. Pirate Raids provide you the opportunity to strike back,stealing away military equipment as well as land from them.
This option allows you to see the amount of aid military alliances will provide you if attacked.
Trade between nations is a centerpiece of growth. In addition to helping those in need, many realms with specialized industries coming together and trading their goods can build a network of power unattainable individually. Besides normal trade between empires, you also can put items for sale on a general market at any price you choose.
In Interplanetary Games (Games setup to run between several BBSes) you experience the most exciting and challenging aspects of BRE. Instead of playing against up to 25 local players, you are now immersed into a universe filled with anywhere up to more than 6000 players scattered throughout the world. Instead of being a single entity, you are now part of your BBS, your team, working with them to become the most powerful BBS in the league.
This option allows you to view the top players and BBSes throughout the league ranked by various statistics.
These can be highly beneficial in any assault. Combining the forces of espionage and terrorism, you can do heavy damages to your enemy right before sending the final devastating attack. As in local covert operations, these operations are vital in destroying an enemy's ability to wage war.
Send Trade Deal
As in local play, you may send trade deals to other empires on other planets. However, unlike local trade deals, you may not make any demands in return for the goods you provide, and the target always has to accept that which is sent.
Create Group Attack
This will set up a new attack force to be sent to either an entire planet or a single Barony. You can set when the attack leaves and before that time, anybody on your planet can join in the attack. Returns will be divided according to the amount of forces you each put in.
Join Group Attack
This lets to join any of the attack parties waiting to leave.
Indiv. Attack Force
This allows you to send your own strike force to a single player on another planet. You get twice as many returns if you send the attack yourself, but you can't attack an entire planet.
As in the local messages (mentioned below), this option allows you to send messages to other systems involved in the game.
Bomb Enemy Food Market
This operation gives you a chance to bomb the central food market of another planet. Many of these, combined with other effective operations, have the potential to put enemies through civil war.
This option allows your forces to covertly weaken an enemy planet's basic economy, reducing returns on investments due back in the next few days. Note that only registered systems offer investments.
Bomb Enemy Trade Market
If successful, this operation destroys a portion of all goods stored in an opposing planet's trading market.
Bomb Enemy Trade Routes
This operation attempts to destroy portions of all trade deals in transmit throughout an opposing planet.
These attacks launch powerful missiles against their targets damaging a variety of areas of the realm.
This option will send a spy to another BBS. He(she) will report information on all incoming group attacks and Gooie Kablooies allowing realms to prepare for the incoming onslaughts.
Gooie Kablooie Ops
The Gooie Kablooie is the ultimate weapon of destruction. Only one can be created at a time, and it takes a great deal of funding by all members of the BBS.
Once funded (funding depends on the size of the target), the Gooie
Kablooie will begin construction. Once construction is complete (a few days), it will be launched to meet it's target. Immediately upon arrival, 10% of the regions on the planet will be destroyed instantaneously. Every day of it's existance after the first day, another 5% will be destroyed, up to a max of 5 days at which time it will self-destruct.
The only way to destroy this "thing", is to keep battling it with
Jets until destroyed. The destruction of this weapon requires the cooperation of the entire planet, as the amount of jets required is enormous, and the damage irreversible.
Technology has developed space-based protection against a great deal of enemy forces in the form of a Strategic Defense Initiative program. Building an SDI, however, is fairly expensive and maintaining it will only cost more. The more territory you control, the larger your program will need to be as well.
The potential benefits of an SDI including destroying up to 50% of
incoming enemy missiles as well as reducing the effectiveness of enemy jets and bombers attacking your realm by up to 30% and 20% respectively.
Because your planet is working as a team, any spy reports obtained about an empire on another planet is stored in a global database, which can be accessed by this option.
This option lists the approximated time for data to travel to another BBS and back. Generally, most operations you do will take about this long.
Communication is often a centerpiece of cooperation, whether between individual empires or between planets. Use the messages to coordinate, plan, and organize your offenses, alliances, and general plans.
The system menu is a special menu accessible from the Spending menu. It supports a variety of options that aren't accessed frequently, such as controlling the tax rate in your empire and setting industrial production levels. In addition, it allows you to access a variety of other menus such as the Covert Ops and Trading out of sequence. The Preferences submenu also allows you to normally skip a variety of menus that aren't used often. The option to abdicate will immediately delete your empire from the game so you may start over the next day. This menu is constantly changing in each version, so various options may appear as time goes by.
Barren Realms Elite is a game which has been designed to be simple to learn initially, but success is based a great deal on experience and cooperation. Much information has been left out of the documentation so that you can learn by experience rather than reading instructions. Used in InterBBS mode, BRE is a much more competitive and enjoyable game, requiring a great deal of cooperation and organization between players. We hope you enjoy the game, and good luck!