Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021
September 12, 2012 6:07 AM   Subscribe

Got a few hours to kill and want to spend a little time in gaming history? Don't have anything else to do until 2013? Check out Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021 (wiki) (previously), one of the earliest 4X games ever made, dating to 1987-88. The original version was DOS-based, but the creator, George Moromisato, released a Windows version in 2004 which has significant updates.

The premise of the game is fairly straightforward: you take on the role of the emperor/empress (the game permits you to select your gender, though it doesn't make much of a difference) of a fledgling interstellar empire. The goal is to conquer your section of the galaxy, which contains nineteen different planetary classes and three species of nebula, using seven ship-types and four kinds of planetary defenses with eight megastructures thrown in to keep things interesting.

Of the four types of raw materials, three--metals, chemicals, and supplies--are available in functionally unlimited quantities, while the fourth--"trillum"--used as fuel for your starships, is exceptionally limited. The game can be viewed as a sort of long-term efficiency engine, where players try to maximize their allocation of trillum. Too much spent on planetary defenses and logistical matters and you won't have enough to move your fleets. Too little, and someone else will come around and ruin your whole day. More details.

The original 1988 DOS version had one arguably crippling limitation: no more than 9999 of any given type of object could be present in one location. So a fleet with 9999 of the toughest kind of ship was almost impossible to overwhelm with larger numbers of weaker ships, because it was impossible to concentrate forces that way. Even worse, you could wind up losing vast quantities of precious trillum to the void if a planet produced more than 9999 units in a single turn: the excess was simply wasted. The 2004 re-release fixed that problem. Now, conquering undesirable worlds, stripping them of their trillum reserves, and casting them off is an entirely viable if not necessary strategy.

Moromisato is reportedly working on Anacreon 3.

Moromisato is also the creator of Transendence (wiki, game wiki), an Elite/Escape Velocity successor (previously) with a decent amount of Nethack thrown in for good measure which is now in version 1.01.
posted by valkyryn (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
But is it better than MOO?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:14 AM on September 12, 2012

Nothing has been or ever will be better than MOO.
posted by Apoch at 6:26 AM on September 12, 2012

Yeah, good ol' MOO.
posted by DU at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2012

is it better than MOO?

Well... mu.

It's a precursor to Master of Orion. MOO has, you know, graphics and stuff--the original version of Anacreon was entirely ASCII--and Anacreon can be viewed as a sort of prototype of MOO. Whereas MOO was published by MicroProse--which would put out the original Civilization just a few years later--Anacreon was basically a solo-project at an indie publisher.

Is it the apex of the 4X genre? No. But it may be the first significant example, and I'd argue that it's therefore interesting in its own right.
posted by valkyryn at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2012

I've heard good things about Transcendence, but, alas, it's Windows-only.
posted by Yesterday's camel at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2012

Yesterday's camel: "I've heard good things about Transcendence, but, alas, it's Windows-only."

Plays perfectly under wine on most Linux distros and OSX.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:44 AM on September 12, 2012

Thanks, Cat Pie Hurts. There goes my afternoon...
posted by Yesterday's camel at 7:46 AM on September 12, 2012

Also, not to derail, but this thread seems like a good place to declare my love for Stars!, perhaps the most micromanagey 4X game ever
posted by Yesterday's camel at 7:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would just like to mention Endless Space for anyone that enjoys 4x games. This one just came out and is pretty good.
posted by daHIFI at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2012

Look man, the less I'm reminded of the endless hours I threw into winning Escape Velocity in all of its various permutations the better, savvy?
posted by 1adam12 at 10:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Haha, I remember playing this game back in 2006. Shame that there hasn't been any updates in the last seven years, but then again excellent how it doesn't need any updates.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:34 AM on September 12, 2012

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