Quickstart:Select game type "SINGLE ISLAND". Select a player (it doesn't really matter who). Click "PLAY ISLAND". A number (initially '0') will appear; move the mouse over it and increase the number by clicking the right mouse button. This is to select how many men you want to play the island - the more men, the easier it is. In the full game, you have a fixed number of men to use across all the islands, but for this demo you can choose as many as you like. On the first epoch, try about 15-20 men to begin with, then adjust accordingly for future games if you want the game to be easier or harder. Later epochs will require more men. Move the mouse over the squares at the top (the island), and select one of them. Each square (or "sector") has different elements in it, which affects what things you can make, and how quickly; some sectors may be better than others. Click the left mouse to select, and start the game. Screen layout: In the top left corner is a map of the island. The currently displayed sector is highlighted with a grid. Small squares represent sectors which are occupied by either you or the computer players. Next to this are displayed the player shields. If any armies are in the current sector, then the number of men for each player wil be displayed next to the shield. Above the shields a picture of a arrow - clicking left or right button on this icon changes the speed of the game. In the main screen area is a depiction of the current sector. This may show buildings that are in the sector, along with armies. To the left, below the map is the main control panel. Firstly, the name of the island and the epoch for the current sector is displayed. For sectors which you control (i.e., have a tower in), an interface is below that, giving you control over things which are done in this sector. Most parts of the interface should have popup help text which explains what you can do by pressing which mouse buttons. In the main control panel to the left, click the lightbulb icon ("VIEW AND ALTER CURRENT DESIGN"). A new panel will appear, with three columns of icons. Select one on the right most column, e.g., the rock icon ("DESIGN A ROCK WEAPON"). Now some additional icons will appear just below the lightbulb, including an icon of a man, with the number "0" below him. Use the right mouse button to click on the man icon, and increase the number - this is the number of people designing the weapon you have selected. The clock will start counting down. When the design is complete, you will be told "Ergonomically terrific" or "The design is completed" at the bottom of the screen. Click the lightbulb at the top of the main control panel, to return to the main interface ("RETURN TO SECTOR CONTROL"). Then click the shield icon ("VIEW ARMY WEAPON STOCKS AND ASSEMBLE ARMY") to go to the army screen. The icon for the weapon you designed will be displayed, with "OK" beneath it to indicate that you can make the weapon. Click and hold down the left mouse button to add men armed with this weapon to your army. The total number in your army is displayed beneath the shield icon to the lower right. The mouse cursor should now have changed to a shield icon. Move the mouse over the map at the top left. Click on the map square containing the enemy tower. The army will be deployed, and the map will switch to the new sector. Your men will attack the buildings there, and eventually destroy them. The AI may deploy men to defend, depending on what weapons they have invented. To complete the island successfully, you must destroy all enemy towers and men.
Controls: The game is mostly controlled with the mouse, though additional keys are: P - [un]pause game; Q - quit and return to start screen.
Game Types: When you first load the game, you can choose between two game types:Single Island: You can choose to play on any island of any epoch you like. Use "NEXT ISLAND" and "NEXT EPOCH" to select the island and epoch. You always have a large pool of men, from which you can play with as many as you like. Essentially this game style treats each Island as an individual game, with no scorekeeping between islands. (This is the only form of gameplay available in versions 0.13 and earlier.) All Islands: Here you must start on the first epoch. Each time you win and island, it is removed from the list, and you do not play it again; only when every island in an epoch is completed do you advance to the next epoch. Within each epoch, you may choose the order in which to play the islands by selecting "NEXT ISLAND". You only have a limited amount of men, and receive an additional allocation each epoch. Be careful not to use them all up too soon! The options menu in the main screen also has options for saving and loading games.
There are ten epochs in total: 10000BC, 2000BC, 1AD, 900AD, 1400AD, 1850AD, 1914AD, 1944AD, 1980AD, 2100AD. For each island you start in a particular epoch, and can advance up to three epochs in the future (eg, if you start in 10000BC then you can advance until 900AD). Note that different sectors can be in different epochs - the epoch is a measure of the current level of technology, rather than how much time has passed.
Suspended Animation: When a sector reaches 2100AD (possible in Epoch 7 onwards), it is possible to place some of your men in suspended animation, to "save" them. This has no real effect when playing in "Single Island" mode, but in "All Islands" mode, it contributes to your final score if you complete the game (finish all the islands).