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<title>Manual for Ballerburg SDL</title>
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<meta name="author" content="Thomas Huth" />
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<meta name="date" content="2012-07-02" />
<h1>Manual for Ballerburg SDL</h1>
<h2>1. Objective of the game</h2>
Ballerburg is about two lords of castles pitted against each other, with
the goal of defeating the opponent through targeted cannon shots.
Players are able to obtain money from mining after buying shaft towers and
from their people by levying taxes, and with these funds players may
purchase e.g. new cannons and ammunition.
<h2>2. Game modes</h2>
There are different playing modes available in the game's settings menu,
which can be brought up by pressing the Escape key. Ordinarily, the game is
played between two human players. Another option is for one player to fight
the computer. The computer can be set to be the player on the left or right
hand side of the screen. It is also possible to let two computer-
controlled players battle each other. Since it is possible to change
playing modes mid-game, one can for example momentarily let the computer
shoot for one's own side, or, if you're battling a computer-controlled
player and the situation's dire, you might for instance momentarily switch
modes to human vs. human and weaken the opponent by making bad decisions
<h2>3. Player names and computer-controlled player</h2>
In the settings menu you can change the name of the human player. The name
for the computer-controlled player can be changed under the label 'AI strategy'.
Both settings can also safely be changed while a game is already running.
The first player is always on the left side of the screen, and the second
player is on the right side.
The name of the computer-controlled player also stand for a certain strategy.
The numbers next to 'AI strength' control the shooting accuracy of the computer
players. The highest value 4 here means that almost every shot will hit its
The AI strategies differentiate into the priorities of the targets, i.e. some
computer players shoot always at the cannons (if available), while some others
rather try to hit the money of the opponent.
<td>No special target, just tries to hit the castle somewhere.</td>
<td>First the money, then gunpowder/cannonballs, then the king</td>
<td>First the money, then cannons, then the king</td>
<td>Money, gunpowder, cannonballs, shaft towers, cannons, king:
Everything with the same probability</td>
<td>First cannons, then the king</td>
<td>First the shaft towers, then cannons, then the king</td>
<td>Aims only at the king</td>
Note that only Doofus, Fumbler, Geezer and Ruffian are able to buy shaft towers.
<h2>4. New game, choosing the castles</h2>
By clicking 'New game' in the settings menu, you can choose new castles for
both sides and then start the new game by clicking 'OK'.
Unless you've already extended the file with the castles, 'BALLER.DAT', you can
decide between 9 different standard castles here.
If both players are on the same skill level, you should of course select the
same castles here, because the different castles have quite different strengths.
If you choose smaller castles, the game normally won't last as long as with
the bigger castles.
Here are now the values of the 9 standard castles:
<th> Cannons </th><th> Money </th><th> Gunpowder </th>
<th> Cannonballs </th><th> People </th>
<tr> <td>2</td> <td>400</td> <td>180</td> <td>12</td> <td>200</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>5</td> <td>500</td> <td>180</td> <td>12</td> <td>270</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>5</td> <td>500</td> <td>150</td> <td>14</td> <td>270</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>6</td> <td>500</td> <td>190</td> <td>12</td> <td>300</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>3</td> <td>500</td> <td>120</td> <td>6 </td> <td>220</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>4</td> <td>500</td> <td>120</td> <td>10</td> <td>240</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>6</td> <td>800</td> <td>120</td> <td>12</td> <td>500</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>3</td> <td>500</td> <td>120</td> <td>9 </td> <td>500</td> </tr>
<tr> <td>1</td> <td>1000</td> <td>120</td> <td>12</td> <td>300</td> </tr>
<h2>5. The battlefield: The mountain and the castles</h2>
After you've started a new game, the castles and the mountain will be drawn on
the screen. Both, the position of the castles and the shape and height of the
mountain are random (within certain limits).
The castles consist of the following parts:
<li>the walls and the roofs</li>
<li>the throne room</li>
<li>the various cannons</li>
<li>the powder magazine (one barrel contains 30 units of powder)</li>
<li>the cannonball magazine</li>
<li>the treasure chamber (one bag contains 150 units of money)</li>
<li>the vane (only the vane of the active player is hoisted)</li>
The active wind information indicates the active player. If the player still
has a vane, a zoomed version of the vane will be shown in the box at the
bottom of the screen together with the strength and direction of the wind.
<h2>6. Course of the game</h2>
After starting the game, the players take their turns until one of them wins.
Within a turn, the player can do several things: After clicking on either the
powder magazine, the cannonballs magazine or the treasure chamber, the
properties of the player will be displayed along with the market where the
player can buy various things (more on this topic can be found in the next
chapter). By clicking on the throne room, the king will comment on your latest
The round can be completed in two ways: In case you don't have a
cannon anymore, or you don't have enough powder or cannonballs or just don't
like to shoot, you can simply click on 'Done' at the bottom of the screen.
In all other cases you should choose the cannon that you want to shoot with,
select the angle and powder and then click 'OK' to fire a cannonball.
More on shooting can be found in chapter 8.
<h2>7. Your properties and the market</h2>
When clicking on one of the three magazines, you get the properties and market
dialog which is described here now:
In the section titled with 'You have' your properties and the amount of your
people are listed. By clicking on the corresponding arrows, you can also
adjust the taxes here that you demand from your people.
Higher taxes mean more money per subject. But beware, when you raise the taxes,
some of your people might leave your kingdom. On the other side, lowering the
taxes might render your kingdom more attractive again, so that a certain
amount of people might immigrate again.
But like in real life, there are no exact values for the amount of immigrants,
emmigrants and the amount of money you earn, they fluctuate within certain
And be warned: If you raise the taxes too much, your income declines again
– which people are really interested in generating earnings if they
have to give everything away again?
The second part of the dialog is used for the market. Here you can buy certain
things and repair your castle. You can trigger one of the actions by clicking
on the price of the corresponding entry.
However, this is only possible if the entry is active. In case it is inactive,
you either do not have enough money or one of the following reasons occurred:
<li>You can have only one vane. If you already have one, the entry for a new
vane is disabled.</li>
<li>You can not have more cannons than you had at the beginning of the game.
In case you built additional walls at the places that are used for the
cannons, you even can not fill these places with cannons anymore.</li>
<li>You can own five shaft towers at maximum. Depending on the size of your
castle, this limit might even be smaller because you are only allowed
to built shaft towers on your side of the mountain – and a bigger
castle means a smaller mountain.</li>
Please also note that you can not buy more cannonballs and gunpowder than you
can store in your magazines. If you try to buy more, you still have to pay
the money, but you can not store the bought goods!
The treasure chamber behaves in a similar way: If it is completely filled,
all additional earned money will be discarded.
Buying a shaft tower is long-term capital investment.
For each shaft tower, you earn approximately between 40 and 70 money units each
Now a word about laying bricks: When you choose this menu entry, you get 20
bricks (the remeaining are shown at the bottom of the screen) which you have
to lay immediately. Please note that you can only extend the existing walls of
your castle, i.e. you can not lay the bricks somewhere up in the air.
Furthermore, don't even think of laying the bricks at your opponent's castle,
e.g. to block the other's cannons – of course this is forbidden, you
are only allowed to extend your own castle.
Please also note that the prices at the market vary each round.
Goods that are very cheap in one round might become expensive in the next one.
(I won't tell more about the price system here, so you can be surprised again
and again how expensive those shaft towers can be when you just thought that
you were ready to buy one...)
After clicking on one of the cannons, you have to adjust the cannon angle and
the amount of gunpowder. By clicking on the single arrows, you adjust the
values with single steps, and by clicking on the double arrows you adjust the
powder by three units and the angle by 10 degrees.
Powder can be selected from 5 units up to 20 units (unless you have less than
20 powder units in your magazine, then the maximum limit will be adjusted
Using 5 powder units or something similar is hardly of any use – unless
you would like to destroy your own shaft towers!?!
The angle can be adjusted in the range of 0 up to 180 degrees. Angles above
90 degrees (or even 80 degrees if you've got very strong opposing wind) are also
only useful for self-destructive players.
When you are satisfied with your settings (did you take the wind into account,
too?), then you should press 'OK' to fire your cannonball.
In most cases the cannonballs only hit the mountain or the walls of the
opponent's castle. The effect is not too exciting; the cannonball creates
a crater with a size proportional to the impact velocity.
In case you hit the castle, there is also the chance that you killed some of
the opponent's people.
Striking a cannon is more exciting; the cannon is destroyed with a big
explosion. The same applies to the vane.
If you hit the cannonball magazine or the treasure chamber, a certain amount
of the content will be destroyed. In case you hit the powder magazine, the
whole stock of powder will explode. And if you hit the king, you can
congratulate yourself – in this case you've won the game!
The fine art of shooting is to destroy the shaft towers. This is a very
difficult task. First, they are located right behind the mountain anyway, so
that you need a big angle and a lot of powder to hit them. But additionally
you often have to hit them multiple times until they explode.
Here's a little hint: If you hit the towers from the side instead from the
top, chances are higher that they will be destroyed.
<h2>10. Game options</h2>
In case two players are playing at the same level, there can be a dead-lock
situation where neither player manages to hit the opponent's king.
Especially when both players have a lot of people, shaft towers and lay a lot
of bricks, it can happen that they get almost unbeatable and these games
To avoid such neverending games, there are some options in the settings menu
which can be used to limit the duration of a party:
<li>You can prohibit the possibility to lay bricks.</li>
<li>You can set a maximum number of rounds (or play without limit).
Once the maximum number of rounds has been reached, the party is stopped
automatically. The player who is in the better situation will win the game.
The decision is made according to the total value of available cannons,
shaft towers, money, powder, cannonballs, vane and people.</li>
<li>You can choose whether the king is allowed to capitulate in hopeless
<h2>11. The end of the game</h2>
How can a game end? In the most likely case, one of the two kings gets hit
by a cannonball. There is also the possibility that one of the kings surrenders.
However, this is only the case if you do not have any cannons left, your
treasure room is almost empty and your amount of people is also very low –
so it is very unlikely that you can buy a new cannon in the near future.
Finally there is the possibility that you run out of people. But this case
only happens if you're imposing too high taxes for several rounds, so that all
your people emigrate.