Mother Of All Battles
Capture The Flag
End Of Atlantis
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History of the games
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About Sean O'Connor
The object of Slay is to capture the whole of the island by killing all of your enemies' people and capturing their land. To start a game click on one of the tree icons. Each icon represents a different island that you can play on.
Playing the Game
The land that you own is divided into territories of adjoining hexagons. Each territory of two or more hexagons in size will have its own capital, shown by a house. The money that a territory has is kept in the capital.
At the beginning of each of your turns a waving flag will appear over the capitals of any territories which have enough money to buy new peasants or castles. Click on the capital and its information will be shown in the box to the right of the screen. If there is either a peasant or a castle shown in this box you can then click on one of them and drag it onto an empty hexagon in the capital's territory. Once you have bought a piece you can never sell it back.
If your men have neither captured an enemy hexagon nor chopped down a tree during this turn they will jump up and down to show that they can still be moved. You can pick up a jumping man and drag him as many times as you want within his own territory, but he can make only one attack per turn onto an enemy hexagon adjoining his territory or chop down one tree in his own territory. He may not attack enemy hexagons if the hexagon is too well defended by enemy pieces. If you want to attack a hexagon which is well defended you can combine two of your men to produce a single, stronger man.
Jumping men and capitals with enough money to buy new things are highlighted in the Map window by flashing red dots.
At the beginning of every turn each of your territories earns 1 credit for each hexagon which is in it that does not have a tree on it. However, the territory has to pay wages to the men that are in it. The costs for different men are (the more expensive men are created by combining the cheaper ones):
Castles cost nothing to maintain.
You can use the territory's money to buy new men or castels. A new peasant costs 10 and a castle costs 15.
If a territory does not have enough money to pay its people it will go bankrupt and all its men will die, turning into gravestones. Next turn, a tree will grow on the grave.
You can see the financial state of one of your territories by clicking on its capital.
Trees grow on your hexagons at the beginning of your turn. You do not collect any money from hexagons which have trees on them. The two types of trees are:
Grow on empty hexagons which are surrounded by two or more pine trees.
Grow on hexagons on the coast which are next to another palm tree.
Each of your men can chop down a tree in their own territory or they can make one attack on any hexagon adjoining the territory that they are in, provided that it is not too well defended by an enemy man.
Men, capitals and castles defend the hexagon that they are standing on and all the hexagons immediately surrounding them in their same territory. Castles defend at the strength of a spearman, capitals with the strength of a peasant. If a capital is destroyed a new one will be formed but all of its money will be lost.
To make a successful attack, the attacking piece must be stronger than the enemy's defence (to make stronger men you must combine two of your existing men). For example:
A peasant could not take a hexagon which has an enemy peasant on it nor any of the hexagons that the enemy peasant is defending.
A spearman could kill the peasant or take any of the hexagons surrounding the peasant as spearmen are stronger than peasants.
It takes at least a knight to capture an enemy castle, or a hexagon defended by it.
If you capture a hexagon which links two of your territories together, the capital of the smaller territory will disappear and its money will be transferred to the larger territory's capital.
You can create stronger men by placing one of your men on top of another one in the same territory. The strength of the new man that you create will be the sum of the strengths of the two individual men.
The different men are:
Peasant strength 1
Spearman strength 2
Knight strength 3
Baron strength 4
If you put a peasant (strength 1) onto another of your peasants (strength 1) you will produce a spearman (strength 2):
If you put a peasant (strength 1) onto one of your spearman (strength 2) you will produce a knight (strength 3).
If you put a spearman (strength 2) onto another spearman (strength 2) you will produce a Baron (strength 4).
Be careful because stronger men cost more money to maintain and if your territory goes bankrupt then all its men will die.
If you click on one of your territories its finances will be displayed in a box to the right of the screen below the map. This box tells you how much the territory gained or lost this turn and how much money the territory has left.
Colours - You can select to use the current theme's default colour scheme for the players, or one of the preset colour schemes.
Themes - You can choose which "theme" you want to use. Each theme has its own graphics for the men, forts and trees and its own hexagon colour scheme. See the following section on creating your own custom themes for more information.
Sounds - Turns the sound effects on or off.
End Turn Warning - If this option is on then you will get a dialog box warning you that you still have men who can move or territories that have enough money to buy new men.
Tips - If this option is on then you will get helpful tips if you keep making illegal moves.
You can create your own custom themes by simply making a copy of the "Medieval.skn" file and the "Medieval" directory. Edit your new .skn file (it's just a text file so Notepad will do) so that the entries point to files in your newly created directory.
All the graphics are stored in a single .bmp file within the directory. The 4 different types of men each have four different frames of animation. You must also create a "mask" picture of your new graphics (the black and white pictures at the bottom of the .bmp). Basically you want to change every colour pixel in your new image to a black pixel in its corresponding mask image, and every white pixel in your new image to a white pixel in its mask. It's also a good idea to have an outline of an extra black pixel around the mask image to make it stand out better. Do not change the size or layout of the .bmp file!
You can create your own .wav files for sound effects. Just put them in your new directory and make sure that the entries in your .skn file point to them.
You can also modify the default hexagon colour scheme by setting the Red, Green and Blue colour values for each of colour1, colour2,... colour6.
See www.windowsgames.co.uk/slayThemes.html for new Themes which you can download for free.
- Try to link your territories together, as one large territory is much more powerful than two small ones.
- Don't let trees get out of control in your territories as you don't collect any money for a hexagon which has a tree on it.
- Be careful with combining men as the territory may not be able to afford the more expensive ones.
- Be careful not to over extend your lines. If your territory is cut in half, one half may not have enough money to afford all its men and will go bankrupt.
- Try to prevent enemy territories from growing too large by taking their hexagons and by cutting them in half.
History Of The Game
Atari ST basic version
I originally wrote "Slay" in STOS Basic on an Atari ST in 1989. It was called "Battle Hex" and had up to just four human players. All the main ideas of the game were there though, such as 4 different strengths of men, castles and money.
Atari ST Assembler version
The next version was written in 68000, again on the Atari ST, in 1990. The game was renamed "Empire" and included several new ideas. Each territory had a capital where its money was kept, (and if you captured a capital you gained all of that territory's hexagons) there were trees and mountains, and men jumped and flags waved to attract the player's attention. There was also the option for computer controlled opponents, although they weren't very intelligent (not easy to do in 68000!) The world was bigger than the screen size so a "World Map" was needed to view different areas. Also, each player had a time limit to make their moves (this was to give the computer players a chance as they were quite thick).
Windows 3.1 version
This version was written in 1994 using Borland C++. It was renamed as "Slay" as there were already games written for the PC called "Empire". The main improvements were that the computer player's intelligence is vastly better than the Atari version, there is a much better random island generator, a new "Rankings" window and the computer players offer to surrender when they feel that they have lost. There are no mountains, as I found that they didn't add anything to the game, only two frames of animation for moving sprites as opposed to 4 on the Atari, and the time limit was taken out as it was unnecessary.
Windows '95 version
Recompiled in Microsoft's Visual C in May 1996, but essentially the same game as the earlier Windows 3.1 version except that the computer players' intelligence has been further improved, there is an option for making the computer automatically move the rest of your pieces, the capital of the currently selected territory flashes to remind you which territory you are using, and there is a very useful 'undo' feature. Lots of little problems with the original windows version have also been tidied up.
Windows CE version
I converted the game to run on PocketPCs and Windows Handheld computers in 2001. There was a fairly major rule change in that capitals now protect the hexagons around them at the strength of a peasant, and you can now attack on the first turn. I also added "themes" so people could modify the graphics and sounds of the game.
Windows Network version
I learnt how to use Windows Sockets and modified Slay so it could be played over a Network or the Internet. Up to six people can play against each other at once.