Created 1994-1997 by:
Niels Roest (program)
Erich Scherer (graphics & manual)
19.9.1997 Version 1.01
(These can also be accessed in-game through the menu-entry 'About
Alterra', or better, read the README.1ST as you should :-)
('Lmb' and 'rmb' are abbreviations for left and right mouse buttons.)
Conquer all cities with your armies.
OVERVIEW MAP (left), DETAIL VIEW (right)
INFO AREA (down-left), BUTTONS (down-right).
* How to scroll the DETAIL VIEW
1) Click the rmb on the DETAIL VIEW (to center around the mouse);
2) Use the arrow buttons at the center of the screen;
3) Use the arrow keys on the keyboard;
4) Click on the OVERVIEW MAP.
* The BUTTONS, from left to right
1) 'center around army'
2) 'move army along path'
3) 'no (further) orders for army'
4) 'defend army'
5) 'create path for army'
6) 'delete path'
7) 'deselect army'
8) 'next army'
An army consists of up to eight units on the same square. The
contents of the selected army are shown in the INFO AREA. By
clicking on a unit in the INFO AREA, you can switch it between
'active' and 'inactive'. During movement, only the active units
move, the inactive units are left behind.
* How to select an army
1) Click on any of your armies with the rmb to select it;
2) Use the 'next army'-button (the right-most BUTTON);
3) If currently no army is selected: click on an army with the lmb
to select it.
* Movement and battles
Click on the destination square, or use the numeric keypad to move
the selected army. Armies can move until one or more units run out
of movement points.
* How to deselect an army
Click on the selected army with the lmb, or use the 'deselect
* The city sheet
Access this sheet by selecting the 'Cities'-entry in the 'View'-
menu, or by clicking on a city with shift + lmb. On this sheet, you
can manage your city's production.
C O M P L E T E M A N U A L
4. Starting the game
4.1. Player selection
4.2. Map selection
4.3. Game options
5.1. The mouse
5.3. Other parts of the screen
5.4. Keyboard commands
6.1. Selecting/ deselecting
6.2. Armies, groups and units
6.3. Movement: general
6.4. Mouse movement
6.5. Keyboard movement
6.6. Movement bonuses
7.1. The citysheet
7.2. The designsheet
8.1. Combat mechanics
8.2. Strength bonuses
8.4. Sea battles
9.1. The armyinfosheet
9.2. Special units
12.1. Hiring heroes
13.1. The 'game'-menu
13.2. The 'order'-menu
14. Map editor
15. Appendix: army units
Alterra is a strategic wargame in a medieval setting. The goal is to
conquer all cities. This classic game concept has been modified by
adding several elements from fantasy-/ roleplayinggames: for instance
the presence of fantastic army units like dragons and demons.
Contrary to many strategy games, much effort has been spent to keep the
game as easy as possible to play. It will therefore be sufficient for
most players to read the short instructions (see above). If these leave
too many questions unanswered for you, it is advisable to read chapter 5
(the game controls) as well. The rest of the manual provides very
detailed and specific information, and may be consulted as problems
Hardware requirements: an Atari ST/ STE with colour display and at least
1 MB of RAM. Alterra can be played from floppydisk or harddisk.
Alterra consists of the following files:
ALTERRA.PRG The actual game
ALTERRA.DAT The accompanying data file
EDITOR.PRG The map editor
MAPS folder This folder contains the available maps (extension .MAP)
PICS folder Three picture files
SAVEGAME folder Containing savegames named SAVEGAME.1 through .8
MANUAL.TXT This manual
README.1ST Some practical information
Simply copy the entire Alterra-folder to your harddrive to play from
Alterra is shareware!
It may be freely distributed, as long as all accompanying files, such
the manual files and editors (see below), are copied along with the
program; it may not be sold or otherwise used for commercial purposes
without our consent.
If you like and use Alterra, you are kindly requested (nay: summoned!)
to make a small payment to us as a token of your appreciation for the
endless effort we put into this project. This will stimulate us to
continue development on the game.
Send 5 Pounds Sterling, 10 US Dollars, 20 Deutsche Mark (or more!), or
anything comparable to:
Van de Sande-Bakhuyzenstraat 164
1223 EA Hilversum
If you live in the Netherlands, you can transfer Hfl. 20,- to bank
account 188.8.131.529, payable to Erich Scherer, Bussum, noting
If you wish to be kept informed on future versions and developments,
supply an Email-adress, or make a higher payment to cover for postage
Your first choice is between loading a saved game and beginning a new
If you wish to commence a new game, the following screen will allow you
to select the players. From this screen you can access a screen where
you are able to change the game options. If you leave this screen
unchanged, the game will be played with default options.
Also you can choose between two maps to play: FANTASY.MAP and MASU-
REN.MAP. The default map is FANTASY.MAP. Currently, there is no option
to select other (self-made) maps - if you wish to play other maps,
you'll have to rename them to one of the afore-mentioned names...
4.1. SELECTING PLAYERS
Alterra can be played by up to four players. At this point, computer
intelligence is not implemented yet, so the players can only be human. A
player is selected when the human face is shown on the button in
question. Setting the button to an icon of a computer face or an icon of
a broken computer will switch the player off.
By clicking on the appropriate spots, you can select a name for yourself
and your empire, as well as a flag.
Finally it is possible to allocate a number of extra cities to each
player at the beginning of the game. This makes it possible to give
inexperienced players an advantage over battlehardened players.
4.2. SELECT MAP
At the moment, you only have a choice of two maps. To play any other
maps, rename the map in question to 'FANTASY.MAP' or 'MASUREN.MAP'
(making sure that you keep the original fantasy/masuren-map save).
On this sheet you can adapt the following aspects of the game to your
a) 'Preset empires'
When this option is on, the cities will be distributed among the
players exactly as they are on the original map.
b) 'Set empires'
If you do not wish to use the preset city distribution, you can
choose alternative distributions by setting the following options:
- either each player's first city is selected randomly, or the
preset first cities, as they are on the map, are used;
- each player receives one city, or half of all cities are
distributed among the players, or even all cities. In these cases,
each player will receive the same number of cities, unless you have
set on the playerselection-sheet that certain players receive
additional cities (see section 4.1);
- if players receive more than one city, you can set whether these
should be near eachother ('dense'), or distributed randomly across
the map ('scattered'), or a combination of this.
c) 'Neutral cities'
All cities that are not given to the players will be neutral
cities. They play no active role in the game, but will only defend
themselves. The strength of the defence is set here.
Weak neutral cities are occupied by one unit of a random humanoid
type; strong neutral cities have two units.
This option of course only has a function if not all cities have
been allocated to the players.
d) 'Production of specials'
Normally, special units like dragons cannot be produced. This
option though will give a few cities the possibility to produce
special units (see also section 9.2).
5. GAME CONTROLS
5.1. THE MOUSE
The game is almost entirely mouse-operated. The form of your mouse
cursor indicates the function of the left mouse button (lmb):
a) Pointing hand
The standard mouse cursor. It appears over menus, sheets, buttons,
b) Aiming sight (the selection cursor)
Can be used to select/ deselect armies. This cursor appears in the
detail view over your own armies, to indicate that you can now
select the army, or (if the army in question is already selected)
c) Walking legs/ ship/ wings (the movement cursors)
If an army is currently selected, these cursors indicate possible
destinations for movement: the legs appear over land, the ship over
water, and the wings if the army is a flying army. A click with the
lmb will let the computer calculate a path to the destination in
question; the army will immediately start to move along this path.
See chapter 6 on movement.
d) Sword (the battlecursor)
Same as the movement cursors, only will the sword only appear over
enemy armies and cities. The sword indicates that movement will
result in a battle: your army will fight the enemy army or city as
soon as it reaches it.
e) Arrow with dotted line (the 'create path'-cursor)
If you click with this cursor, the computer will calculate a path
to the given destination, but the army will not immediately move
along this path. You will get this cursor by holding down the
This cursor appears over your own cities. A click will access the
citysheet. If an army is currently selected, you will have to press
the shift-key to get this cursor (see also section 7.1).
The functions of the lmb in the detailview have now roughly been
outlined. Outside the detailview, the mousecontrols are self-explana-
tory. It may only be necessary to point out that the detailview can be
scrolled by moving the mouse over the overview map with lmb pressed.
The right mouse button (rmb) can only be used in the detail view. It
centers the detailview around the mouse position.
There is one exception to this rule: over a NOT-SELECTED army of your
own, the rmb doesn't center, but SELECTS this army; at the same time any
other army that might have been selected will be deselected. This
function allows it to switch very easily and quickly from one army to
another. Note: over a selected army, the rmb will have its old function
of centering the detail view.
Holding the SHIFT-key while clicking the lmb will allow you to access
several functions that can't (always) be reached by clicking just the
lmb. The following functions are concerned:
a) Accessing the citysheet
If no army is selected, the citysheet may be called upon by simply
clicking the lmb on the city; as soon as any army is selected, it
is necessary to hold the shift+lmb to execute this action.
b) Creating a path without letting the army execute it
Shift+lmb on any possible destination except cities and buildings
will create a path to that destination for the current army. Like
this, you can see whether you like the path before you allow the
army to execute it.
SUMMARY of the mousecontrols: rmb to center and select; lmb to move;
shift+lmb to create paths and to access sheets.
Functions of the buttons at the bottom-right corner of the screen, from
left to right:
Click here to center the detailview around the currently selected
b) 'Move army along path'
If the army has a path, you can instruct it to move along this path
as far as it can.
This button acts as counterpart of the 'create path'-function:
firstly you create a path using shift+lmb or the 'create path'-
button (see below), then you let the army execute the path with
The other possibility is that the army had a path left from the
previous turn which it was unable to complete then due to lack of
movement points. Then too this button is used to instruct the army
to move on.
c) 'No (further) orders'
If the army has movement points left (movement points are discussed
in the next chapter), but it is already where you want it to be, or
if you do not wish to give the army any further order for whichever
other reason, use this button. It will set the movement points of
the active group of the army to zero. As will be discussed in
section 6.2, armies can have active and inactive units. Most
orders, including this one, only apply to active units. The
inactive units of the army keep their movement points when you use
If the selected army is on land, and not in a city, this button wil
instruct the army to build a defensive encampment. This order uses
up all remaining movement points from the army for that turn. The
encampment will be ready at the beginning of the next turn; this
will be shown by a small tower on the position of the army. This
tower also means that any units on this position will receive a
battlebonus (see also section 8.2).
The encampment will remain upheld as long as there is at least one
unit present in it. Units may freely move to and from the
encampment, but if all units leave it, the tower dissappears.
If the selected army is not on land, but in a city or on the water,
the situation is somewhat different. No defencebonus is applicable
then. After all, an army on water can't build a tower, and an army
in a city already receives a defencebonus from the city.
As said before, an encampment is visible as a little tower;
for a boat, the defensive status is shown by hoisted sails.
For armies in castles there is no visible representation of
the defensive status.
For armies on land as well as armies on water or in castles,
the 'defend'-order will result in the army not reporting back
to you for new orders in forthcoming turns. As will be
explained with the 'next army'-button, normally every army
asks for new orders every turn. You can use the 'defend'-order
to put an army offside. This way you can for instance prevent
city garrisons from bothering you every turn. Should you at a
given time want to give new orders to a defended army, you
will have to select it 'manually'.
As said, an army will become undefended again as soon as it is
moved. Defending army in cities will become undefended as well
as soon as any unit is ADDED to the defended army. This will
come in handy if the city produces a new army: even if it is
placed in the defending city garrison, it will report to you
because the city garrison becomes undefended as the unit is
placed in it. This way you can always keep track of your
There is one categorie of armies the 'defend'-order does not
apply to: flying armies over water. It is not desirable that
flying armies should be put on guard over water for long
times. A flying army will therefore report back to you each
turn even if it has been given the 'defend'-order. A defence-
bonus is not applicable either; in this situation the
'defend'-button has only and exclusively the function of
setting all movement points of the army to zero.
A flying army over land can of course normally defend as any
e) 'Create path'
This button has the same function as pressing shift+lmb in the
detailview. Clicking on the detailview after clicking on this
button will create a path. To execute this path press the 'move
f) 'Delete path'
Deletes the path of the currently selected army.
g) 'Deselect army'
Deselects the currently selected army. Result: no army will be
selected. The info area (bottom-left of the screen) will now show
some general status information instead of the contents of the
h) 'Next army'
With this button you may cycle through all of your armies. This is
useful for instance if you do not wish to give orders to the
currently selected army just now. This button will take you to
other armies you can give orders to. The army you skipped will come
by again sooner or later if you use the 'next army'-button.
Optionally, the program will automatically go on from the current
army and select the next army as soon as no unit of the currently
selected army has any movement points (mp) left. You can turn this
option on and off through the menu-entry 'Settings'.
Neither with the 'next army'-button nor with the optional automatic
selection you can reach armies that are defended or that do not
have any mp left. After all, you don't really want to give defended
armies new orders (that's why you defended them); and it would't be
any use to give armies orders they can't execute for lack of mp.
Should you want to give such armies orders, you will have to select
them manually (by clicking on them).
Apart from the 'next army'-button, all of these buttons only work if an
army is selected. The 'next army'-button stops working if there are no
more undefended armies with mp.
5.3. OTHER PARTS OF THE SCREEN
a) The overview map
It is located on the left of the screen, and shows the entire map.
The white square indicates the part of the map visible in the
detail view. It can be moved holding the lmb on the map. Small
shields filled in with the player's colours represent the cities.
The colours on the map:
light green: plains
dark green: woods
blue: sea and rivers
red/ brown: roads
black dot: ruin
white dot: temple
b) The scrollbuttons
Positioned next to the map, they scroll the detail view.
c) The info area
Located on the bottom-left part of the screen. While no army is
selected, the following infomation is provided: number of cities
you currently own, your cash, your income and expenditure per turn.
If an army is selected, the display changes to show you the
contents of the army. The units are arranged from left to right
from strong to weak. Exception: since heroes are very important
units, they are always positioned completely to the left, regard-
less of their strength.
By clicking on a unit here it is switched between active and
inactive. See section 6.2 for more information on active and
Click on the question mark to access the armyinfosheet (see
The mp of each unit, as well as the netto number of mp the army as
a whole has, are visible below the units. Icons show any movement
bonuses the active group might have, or whether it can fly. See on
movement bonuses: section 6.6; on flying: section 6.9.
d) The menubar
The menu entries will be explained in chapter 13.
On the right, the menubar displays the turn number and the player
5.4. KEYBOARD COMMANDS
So far, only a few of the menu functions can be accessed through
the keyboard. The appropriate keys are listed in the menus next to
the corresponding functions.
The arrow keys can be used to scroll the map; the numeric keypad
can be used to move a selected army.
Many aspects of army movement have already been discussed above. This
chapter will concern itself with army selection and the definition of
the terms army, group and unit to begin with; a detailed description of
army movement will then follow.
6.1. SELECTING/ DESELECTING
Before an army can be moved or given any other command, it must be
The first method for selection is clicking on an army with the lmb.
Let's assume that an army (A) is selected. You wish to select another
army (B). Now, you CANNOT do this by clicking on army B with the lmb,
because this way you would only instruct army A to walk to the position
of army B.
Solution: EITHER you deselect army A first (by clicking on it with the
lmb or using the 'deselect'-button) and then select army B with the lmb;
OR, easier, you click immediately with the rmb on army B. As said
before, you can always select an army with the rmb.
The most common way for army selection is using the 'next army'-button
Deselection is achieved by pressing the 'deselect'-button or clicking on
6.2. ARMIES, GROUPS AND UNITS
The characteristics of the different types of units are listed in
A maximum of eight units can be present in the same square. All UNITS on
the same square are called an ARMY. The info area (bottom-left) shows
which units make up the selected army.
Each unit can be active or inactive; inactive units are grey in the info
area. Like this, the army is split into an active and an inactive
The detail view displays only the strongest unit of the active group of
each army. If there is a hero in the active group, the hero is shown
regardless of strength. A bar to the left and above the army indicates
the number of units the army contains.
Most orders you can give only apply to the active group. If you give a
movement order, only the active units move; if you order an attack, only
the active units attack. Practically the only order that applies to the
entire army is the 'defend'-order.
Example: you wish to split up an army consisting of several units.
Do this by making some units active and others inactive, then click
somewhere next to the army in the detail view. The active group
will now move, leaving the inactive group behind.
The next question is how to make units active/ inactive. This is done by
clicking on the units in question in the info area. Use the round button
with the bracket to make all units active ('group all'). The button
right next to it makes the active group inactive and vice versa
At least one unit must always be active. If all units could be
inactive, you could give orders that apply to no-one.
One army can be split into two; two armies can be merged into one as
well. This happens when you order one army to move to a square already
occupied by another army. Merging two armies is only possible if the
combined army contains no more than eight units. The army already
present on the square becomes the inactive group of the new combined
army, and the army that merges with it by moving on to it becomes the
active group of the new army.
6.3. MOVEMENT: GENERAL
There are two methods to move your army: with the numeric keypad, or
with the mouse. Before these methods will be discussed seperately, first
some general rules on movement.
Every unit has a number of movement points (mp) per turn. Each step
costs a number of these mp. As soon as there are not enough mp left for
the next step, the unit can't move anymore. The mp are refreshed at the
beginning of the next turn.
If several units move together as one army, the units with the fewest
mp determines how far the army can move: if one unit runs out of mp, the
entire army stops. If you wish the other units to move on, you will have
to leave the slower unit behind.
Note: if a hero is flying on the back of a flying unit over sea, it
would be unwise to leave it behind for any reason, as the hero
would drown as a consequence of such an action (unless there is a
ship present under the hero).
If a unit has any mp left at the end of a turn, it can 'carry' up
to two mp with it to the next turn.
Different types of landscape cost different amounts of mp to move over.
Each unit must pay the number of mp of the landscape square it is MOVING
TO (as opposed to paying the mp of landscape square it is COMING FROM).
It also makes a difference whether the movement is straight or diagonal.
The following lists landscape versus movement cost. For the number of mp
each unit has, see chapter 15.
mp-cost: straight diagonal
Plains 2 3
Hills 4 6
Woods 4 6
Swamp 4 6
Roads 1 2
City 1 1
Building 2 3
Water 2 3
Harbor 2 3
Flying units do not use this figure; flying armies pay 1 mp for each
square (straight and diagonal). On flying see section 6.9.
Certain movement is not possible:
a) Armies may not move over mountains, with the exception of flying
b) There are only limited possibilities for movement from land to
water and vice versa. Embarking and disembarking is only allowed in
harbors (represented by a boathouse) and cities. Refer to section
6.8. Rivers may be crossed at bridges as well.
c) Bridges are the only squares that may be occupied by sailing as
well as walking armies. Sailing and walking armies are not allowed
on bridges SIMULTANEOUSLY though. Consequently you may not move a
sailing army on to a bridge that is already occupied by a walking
army of your own (and vice versa).
d) You cannot merge armies if this results in the total number of
units being higher than eight. This limitation is not effective
though if an army MOVES THROUGH another army. Example: An army of
three units moves along a path of six squares. An army of eight
units is standing on the third square. Nevertheless the army of
three units can move on. Would the army of eight units have been
standing on the sixth square, the army of three units would have
stopped upon reaching the fifth square.
6.4. MOUSE MOVEMENT
You can move the selected army by clicking the lmb on the destination
square. The computer will then calculate a path to reach this destina-
tion. Nearly always this will be the ideal path. The following factors
determine the calculation:
a) The landscape. For instance the path will try to avoid obstructions
like hills or swamps.
b) Time lost by (dis)embarking. Often movement by sea is faster than
by land; not for short distances though, as comparatively much time
is lost embarking and disembarking.
c) Enemy armies and cities. These will be avoided. This means that a
short cut blocked by an enemy army will not be taken.
d) Movement bonuses. Some units (for instance scouts) make the army
they are stacked with move quicker through hills and/or woods. The
path routine accounts for this.
e) Flying. If the entire group of units is able to fly, the path will
take it linea recta to its destination, as obstructions other than
enemy cities and armies don't matter anymore.
The path will be shown as a line of circles and crosses. The circles
mark the squares that can be reached by the army the very same turn.
Crosses mean that insuffincient mp are available to reach those squares
As has already been pointed out in the previous section, if you
merge two armies, only the army you add keeps its path (if any).
A path can be up to 126 squares long. If you try to make longer
path, an error message will appear.
The mechanics of this movement method have already been detailed in the
previous chapter. Just for reminders: after clicking on the detination
the computer calculates a path, and immediately moves the army along
this path; clicking with the shift-button pressed will make the computer
calculate the path WITHOUT moving the army. You can then move the army
by pressing the 'move army'-button.
Although the path routine works very reliably, occasionally errors
may occur, resulting in constant error messages when you try to
create a path. This is usually augmented by moving the stack
through the keyboard, as explained hereafter.
6.5. KEYBOARD MOVEMENT
The second way to move armies: with the numeric keypad you can move the
active group one square at the time.
This method works without paths. This method only works for movement
that can be executed immediately. Thus a step for which unsufficient mp
are available is not possible. Embarking and disembarking is not
possible either, as this requires one turn.
6.6. MOVEMENT BONUSES
Certain army units have a 'natural familiarity' with certain types of
landscape. The presence of such units in an army therefore gives the
army in question a movement bonus for woods or hills. This bonus is
indicated in the info area by a tree or hill icon. The bonus enables the
army to move through woods or hills as fast as through plains.
The following units grant movement bonuses:
Scout woods and hills
Orcs woods and hills
Apart from flying, walking along roads is the fastest way to move your
Armies can easily move from land to sea. Simply click on a sea square as
the destination for the selected army, and the army will move to a
suitable harbor. As soon as the army has arrived at the harbor, it will
automatically build ships: the army will be displayed as a ship on dock.
This will use up all remaining mp for that army. At the beginning of the
next turn all active units of the army have embarked: they have been
moved to the adjacent seasquare, and are now shown as a ship in the
The same goes for disembarkment: the units lose their remaining mp when
they arrive on the last seasquare before the harbor; at the beginning of
the next turn the group is placed on the harbor.
Your own cities count as harbors, and may thus be used for embarking and
As has been noted before, flying units use 1 mp per step. The only
exception to this rule is (dis)embarking. If an army that contains
walking as well as flying units receives an embarkment order, ALL
units, non-flying and flying, use up their mp in the process, not
only the walking ones. The flying units actually do NOT embark
though, they remain flying. The same goes for disembarking. On
flying see the next section.
Sailing armies are represented as ships on the detail view. Each unit in
a sailing army has a boat of its own, so you may freely split up or
merge a sailing army just as an ordinary landarmy. Note that flying
units always fly, also when they are with sailing units.
Every square of flying costs 1 mp, straight or diagonal.
If all active units of the selected army can fly, a wing symbol appears
in the info area. The army can now, firstly, fly freely across
mountains, and, secondly, move from land to sea and vice versa anywhere
without delay. In short, flying armies are not bothered by obstacles in
The only non-flying unit that can fly along with a flying army is the
hero. Such a 'flying' hero uses only one mp per square as well.
Note: a hero can only fly if the entire army he is stacked with can
fly, it is not sufficient that together with the hero there are one
or more flying units in an otherwise walking or sailing army.
As has already been said, a hero cannot swim. So if a hero flies
along with a flying army, and is left behind above water, you will
lose him! This also occurs in the following situation: a hero is
sailing; a bat reaches him. At the moment the bat arrives at the
boat, the hero will mount the bat and abandon the boat. The boat
DISSAPPEARS. If you let the bat fly on without the hero now, he is
Conquering all cities is your goal, and at the same this is the only way
to achieve this goal, as the army units necessary to achieve this goal
can only be produced in cities. The cities are represented on the detail
view as castles of two times two squares in the colour of the respective
7.1. THE CITYSHEET
On the citysheet you manage the army production of a city. Furthermore
it shows you all relevant information on the city in question.
You open the citysheet by clicking on one of your own cities with the
castle-mousecursor. Alternatively you can select the opties 'cities'
from the 'view'-menu. You can only access citysheets of your own cities.
The citysheet contains an overview map on the left. Cities are shown as
small shields on this map. The city you are currently inspecting is
flickering. By clicking on the shield of one of your own cities you can
directly switch to the citysheet of this city.
The buttons 'previous' and 'next city' enable you to switch to other
citysheets as well. By clicking on these buttons you can circle through
all of your cities (similar to the 'next army'-button).
Information on the city itself is visible above the overview map, namely
the amount of gold pieces (gp) the city produces per turn, and the
defence bonus the city gives to its defenders. This bonus is +1 for a
city that has room for up to two army designs, and +2 for a city that
can hold up to three or four designs.
The other parts of the sheet have to do with army production.
To begin with, near the top of the sheet there are a few circles. These
circles should be seen as slots for different army designs. You know
already that a lot of different units exist in Alterra. To be able to
produce a unit, a city must have the appropriate design first. The
number of circles indicates how many different designs the city can
hold; circles filled with unit icons indicate that the designs for these
units are available in the city, and therefore that these units may be
produced in this city. Each city contains one randomly selected design
at the beginning of the game. Other designs may be bought on the
Designsheet (see next section).
It may be important to note that the presence of several designs in
a city does not mean that more than one unit can be produced
simultaneously. Each city can produce just one unit at a time. You
can set the production by clicking on the circle with the design of
your choice. This design will then appear in the circle on the
right of the 'design circles'.
Below the unit currently being produced a list of its characteristics is
given. Herein is contained: name, strength, amount of mp per turn, turns
to go till production is complete, and total time and money required to
build a unit of this type.
Finally, the sheet contains some buttons.
With the 'rename'-button you can rename the city (obviously). The
city name on the top of the sheet will change into a cursor. Type a
name and press return.
The 'raze'-button enables you to destroy your own city. Like this
you can prevent the city from falling into enemy hands if you are
certain that you cannot hold it.
With the 'buy design'-button you access the designsheet.
7.2. THE DESIGNSHEET
Here you can buy new designs for the city. The circles at the bottom of
the sheet hold the designs the city already has. A large square marks
the circle a newly bought design will be placed in. Check whether the
square is on the correct circle (preferably an empty circle), then click
on the design you wish to buy. Naturally you can only buy designs you
Holding the rmb on a unit design will display all characteristics
including special bonuses of that unit type.
Certain special units like wizards, devils, dragons etcetera do not
appear on this sheet. Designs for these units cannot be bought. In
principle, the only way to find such units is to search ruins (see
section 11.2). Furthermore at beginning of the game you can set
that some randomly selected cities can produce specials. On
specials, also refer to section 9.2.
If an army moves onto a square occupied by an enemy army or city, a
battle starts. The battlesheet appears for this purpose. Here, both army
are lined up opposite eachother. Only now you can see exactly of which
units the enemy army is composed. Tip: it may be useful to attack a
large enemy army with a scout or a similarly weak army, just to know how
strong this army is.
8.1. COMBAT MECHANICS
Each unit has a base strength. As will be discussed in the next section,
this base strength can be increased by numerous bonuses. BONUSES added
to BASE strength give the TOTAL strength of a unit.
During battles, the units are lined up according to increasing
TOTAL strength. Note that, contrary to this, in the info area units
are lined up according to decreasing BASE strength.
Exceptions to the fight order exist, again, because of heroes. As
these should be regarded as the most important units, they are
always positioned last in the battle order. An exception to this
exception is the case that the hero is flying with a flying army
above water. In this case a flying unit will be placed behind the
hero to prevent the hero from drowning by the death of his mount.
Should the hero however have a magic item that enables him to fly,
the flying unit will not be placed behind, since the hero doesn't
need that unit to fly then.
Because the presence of a catapult in your army negates the defence
bonus of enemy cities, catapults are also placed at the end of the
army during combat.
The battle is resolved by letting the leftmost units of each army fight
eachother. The procedure is as follows:
Both units roll a 24-sided die.
If the attacker's roll is higher than the defender's total strength
AND if furthermore the defender's roll is equal to or lower than
the attacker's total strength, the defender incurs one damage
If the defender's roll is higher than the attacker's total strength
AND if furthermore the attacker's roll is equal to or lower than
the defender's total strength, the attacker is damaged for one
If both rolls are higher than the opponent's total strength, or if
both rolls are lower than the opponent's total strength, nothing
This procedure is repeated until one of the two units has two
damage points; this unit is then beaten.
If the surviving unit received a damage point, it will still have
this damage point fighting the following enemy units, and can thus
be beaten more easily by these. If a damaged unit survives the
entire battle, it is then completely healed. Damage points count
only for one and the same confrontation between armies.
The battle continues until all units of one side have been eliminated.
A battle uses up all remaining mp of the attacking units involved.
8.2. COMBAT BONUSES
The following types of combat bonuses exist:
a) Individual land bonus
Some units fight better when they are in certain terrain. For
example dwarves receive a +1 bonus when fighting in hills. Chapter
15 lists these bonuses. Note: battles always take place on the
defenders square, so only the landbonuses of the defender's terrain
b) Army bonus
Some units are so impressive that other units within the same
armies fight better because of the presence of such units. An
elephant for example gives a +1 bonus to all other units he is
stacked with. The bonus is not applied to the type of unit it comes
from however. Furthermore each type of unit can give only one
Example: two elephants in an army don't grant a +2 bonus, just
a +1 bonus, and only to all other units, not to themselves.
d) Blessing bonus
All units can receive blessings at temples. Each blessing counts
for +1. Each unit can be blessed up to three times, but not twice
at the same temple. See also section 11.1.
d) Defence bonus
Armies in defensive positions (marked by a small tower) have a +1
bonus. Defensive positions may be built on land, except in cities.
Armies in cities receive a +1 bonus (if the city can hold up to two
designs) or a +2 bonus (if the city can hold up to three or four
e) Hero bonus
Like the army bonus (see above), the hero bonus counts towards all
other units that are in the same army as the hero. A hero with a
base strength of 5 or 6 will give a +1 bonus, a base strength of 7
or 8 will produce a +2 bonus, and a base strength of 9 grants a +3
bonus. As with the army bonus, the herobonus of one hero does not
count towards other heroes in the same army. A difference though is
that the hero bonuses of several heroes are added up towards other
Example: if an army contains a hero of strength 5 and a hero
of strength 7, all other units receive a +3 bonus (1+2), the
heroes themselves get no bonus though.
On heroes see chapter 12.
Information on an army's bonuses is available on the armyinfosheet
The MAXIMUM bonus allowed per unit is +5.
Certain bonuses can be cancelled by certain enemy units:
An attacking army containing a catapult negates the defence bonus
of enemy cities.
A devil cancels all individual land bonuses and army bonuses of the
enemy army. Exception: army bonuses donated by special units
(wizard, worm, undead, demon, element, devil, archon, dragon)
cannot be cancelled.
An archon cancels all hero bonuses and magic item bonuses of the
Of course the cancelled bonuses are directly applicable again, should
the cancelling catapult, devil or archon in question be killed during
Concluding: there are no units that can negate the bonuses of blessings,
special units or defensive positions.
Besieging an enemy city works the same as other battles. You should only
bear in mind that in a battle for a city ALL defending units will fight.
A city consists of four squares, it can therefore contain up to 32
If you succeed in conquering a city, you can then decide whether you
want to pillage the city. This means that all designs in the city will
be lost. For this you receive half of the amount it costs to buy the
designs in question. For designs of special units you receive 1000 gp
(for a devil, an archon or a dragon) or 750 gp (for other specials).
In view of the fact that in most cases at this moment you will not
know which designs are present in the city, this is a risky option.
You might lose very strong designs! It is therefore only advisable
to use this option if you are in need of money or if you are
convinced you will not be able to hold the city for very long.
An undefended city can naturally be occupied without battle.
8.4. SEA BATTLES
Units in ships have a base strength of 3, regardless of their actual
base strength. This works to the advantage of weak units, and to the
disadvantage of strong units.
Flying units are never in boats, so they always keep their own base
A hero within a sailing army always counts as a sailing unit, even
if there are flying units present in the army, so he will pay the
movement cost for sailing, not for flying. What's more, the hero
uses the ship's base strength of 3 as well, regardless of his
actual strength. The rule is that a hero can only fly if the entire
army (the active group, that is) he is stacked with can fly.
The base strength of 3 will be modified by bonuses.
If a ship attacks a city, or if a ship attacks an army on a harbor,
or if an army in a city or harbor attacks a ship, the attack cannot
be executed immediately, because embarking/ disembarking must be
resolved first. The battle will take place at the beginning of the
attacker's next turn; that is, if the army being attacked is still
on the same square then. Following this line of thought, it is
possible as well that a 'peaceful' (dis)embarking action will
result in a battle. This is the case when an enemy army occupies
the square, to which the (dis)embarking action is directed, before
the beginning of the next turn.
A boat attacking a city or harbor will act as an ordinary land army
in this battle, as disembarkment is complete then. Similarly, a
land army attacking a boat will act as a boat in the fight.
The most important points with regard to armies and units have already
been explained before: army movement in chapter 6, army production in
chapter 7, combat in chapter 8. This chapter can therefore be limited to
a few remarks.
9.1. THE ARMYINFOSHEET
The info area contains a round button with a question mark. With this
you access an infosheet on the selected army.
The armyinfosheet gives information about composition and strength of
Vertically the units of which the army is composed are listed;
horizontally relevant information is given for each unit. From left to
right this concerns:
Unit names. Heroes have personal names.
This is the base strength. Sailing units have a boat icon in this
column, meaning they use the ship's base strength of 3. Remember
that a sailing army will fight as a normal land army when attacking
a city. the normal base strength of the units will then be in
The next three columns list all bonuses except defence bonuses (+1
or +2 in cities, +1 in defensive positions) and individual land
- Blessing: the blessing bonus is +1, +2 or +3. This bonus cannot
- Army: for each active unit is noted which army bonus the unit
receives from the other active units. Except for the army bonus
given by special units, these bonuses can be negated by a devil.
- Hero: this column contains bonuses awarded by heroes present in
the army. These can be cancelled by an archon.
This is the sum of base strength and bonuses. The bonus columns are
not affected by the bonus maximum of +5, the total column does
account for this maximum. So the total figure is never more than 5
higher than the base strength, even if the bonus columns list
The total count does not contain defense bonuses and individual
land bonuses. Remember that these can only be added towards this
total figure as long as the total bonus doesn't exceed +5.
The results of negating units being present in the enemy army are
not presented either. Nevertheless the bonus columns have been
split up to allow you to see at a glance just which bonuses would
be cancelled by the presence of a devil or an archon in the enemy
e) Other bonus
This column shows which individual land bonuses units have. This is
displayed regardless of the type of landscape the army occupies
currently. To use this information you must therefore ask yourself
which type of terrain will be used for battle.
For heroes, this column shows their experience points (XP).
The bonuses are only shown within the ACTIVE group of the army. You can
survey how the strength of the units changes as you alter the
composition of the army, by clicking on units to make them active/
inactive. You can also use the 'swap' and 'group'-buttons at the bottom
of the sheet.
9.2. SPECIAL UNITS
Much has been said about specials already.
The units concerned are wizard, worm, undead, demon, elemental, devil,
archon and dragon. The characteristics are summed up in chapter 15.
All of these units give a +1 bonus to the other units in the army,
except for the dragon which grants a +2 bonus. These bonuses can't be
cancelled. A devil cancels individual land bonuses and army bonuses
(except those of specials) in the enemy army. An archon cancels hero
bonuses and magic item bonuses.
Special units can only be produced in some randomly selected cities.
Designs for special units can never be bought.
Each city generates a certain amount of gp per turn as income. Searching
ruins occasionally gets you some money.
The figure in the info area only indicates how much income your cities
produce per turn. Extraordinary income is not shown.
Each unit costs a certain amount of money to produce (see chapter 15).
This amount must be paid on the moment the production of the unit is
Each unit costs you maintenance. Maintenance costs per turn are half
of the amount it cost to produce the unit (rounded down).
Extraordinary expenditure consists of buying new designs on the design
sheet (apart from production costs); furthermore each hero you employ,
except the first hero, is hired for a comparatively large one-time
As with income the expences figure in the info area only shows regular
costs, that is maintenance costs.
Should your maintenance and production costs exceed your income, and
your treasure not be sufficient to compensate the deficit, your treasure
will go below zero. While you have debts, you will not be able to
produce new units.
Units can be blessed in temples. An army on a temple will be blessed if
you select the option 'search' from the 'order'-menu. A blessing counts
as a +1 combat bonus. Each unit can only be blessed once at the same
temple. Three blessings per unit is maximum.
Displayed as a circle of broken pillars or as a tower, ruins can be
searched only by heroes. Treasure or allies can be found here.
As treasures are guarded, there is a possibility that the hero will die
attempting to obtain the treasure. The possibility of this is reduced as
more units accompany the hero. Note though that if you search a ruin
with a full army of eight units, and you discover allies, these cannot
be added to the army - as a result, you will find nothing in the ruin!
12.1. HIRING HEROES
You receive your first hero at the beginning of the game. Each
subsequent turn there is a chance that another hero will offer to join
you. This costs quite a lot of money though, and you will only receive
the offer if you have sufficient funds.
Apart from the first hero, new heroes always bring with them at least
one special unit.
Heroes start of with a base strength of 5 and a movement rate of 14.
They become stronger and faster though as they gain experience levels.
Levels are gained through the accumulation of experience points (XP):
for each 10 XP, the hero gains a level.
Heroes gain experience through beating enemy armies, conquering enemy
cities, searching ruins and receiving blessings.
For each level gained, the base strength will increase by 1, and the
movement rate will go up 2 mp. The hero bonus for other armies stacked
with the hero will also go up as the hero rises through levels: once the
hero reaches a base strength of 7, the hero bonus will be +2 rather than
+1; a hero with base strength 9 (the maximum) will even supply a +3
The hero's experience level is shown in the armyinfosheet, as well as
information on strength and hero bonus.
13.1. THE 'GAME'-MENU
a) 'About Alterra'
Some general information (version number etcetera), as well as the
Currently, there's just one setting to change here: you can set
whether you want the game to move automatically to the next army
when the current army is done, or not (in the latter case, you
would have to use the 'next army'-button for this).
c) 'Load game'
By loading a saved game you abandon the current game. You will be
presented a fileselect box. This box shows the savegames currently
present in the 'SAVEGAME'-folder in the directory you started the
game from. In the desktop these savegames are called SAVEGAME.1 to
8 (so there can be eight savegames in the folder). In this
fileselect box the savegames can bear any name, they are only
called SAVEGAME.1 to 8 in the desktop. The savegames are listed in
the order of their number in the fileselect box. Slots without a
savegame are marked '-empty-'.
To load a game, click on the appropriate slot, then click on
Other drives can be selected at the top of the box.
d) 'Save game'
Saving takes place at the end of the turn, so after every player
has finished his turn. You will be presented the same fileselect
box as with 'Load game'. After clicking on the slot you wish the
game to be saved in, you can enter any name. Then click on 'Save'.
The complete game situation will be saved, including the map. So to
play the game at a later time, it will not be necessary to have the
original map available.
e) 'New game'
This option ends the current game and brings you back to the player
selection screen for a new game.
Retire from the game. All your cities including armies in your
cities become neutral; armies outside cities are disbanded.
End the game and return to the desktop.
13.2. THE 'ORDER'-MENU
a) 'View cities'
See chapter 7.
With this, units can get blessings in temples, and heroes can
After a safety check you can disband the selected army with this
d) 'End turn'
Ends your turn and proceeds to the next player.
14. MAP EDITOR
The map editing program (EDITOR.PRG) allows you to create your own maps.
Select landscape elements from the bottom of the screen with the
lmb, then click in the detail view to place them.
Clicking the rmb in the detail view on a square selects the
landscape type of that square. This allows you to switch quickly
between landscape types already present in the detail view.
Scroll the detail view by clicking in the overview map, or by
clicking shift+lmb in the detail view.
With regard to the routines that place the landscape squares in the
For most landscape types, the program automatically places the
correct piece, for instance roads are drawn so that they automati-
cally connect, between water and sea the coastal pieces are placed
For some types this is not the case. For instance mountains have to
be created 'by hand': there are sixteen different mountain pieces,
and you must select and place the individual mountain pieces to
create graphically correct mountain ranges.
In all situations where there are different possible pieces for one
type of landscape, these different pieces will be shown on the
bottom-left side of the screen. Click on these to select them.
Distribution of cities:
In default play, the distribution of cities is as they are
distributed on the map. Be sure therefore to make a distribution of
neutral cities and player cities that you like. Note that for each
player you must allocate a capital city (through the appropriate
menu entry). This city is then used as the 'preset center' in the
game options sheet when customising the city distribution at the
beginning of the game.
15. APPENDIX: ARMY UNITS
Abbreviations: P = plains; R = roads; H = hills; W = woods; C = city.
i = individual bonus; a = army bonus.
NAME BASE MP BUILD- BUILD- DESIGN- BONUSES
STRENGTH COSTS TIME COSTS
Scout 1 16 2 1 10 Move H and W
Giant bat 1 12 7 1 150 Fly
Light infantry 2 12 3 1 50 -
Orc 2 12 5 1 100 Move H and W
Light cavalry 2 24 5 2 200 Combat +1(i) P and R
Catapult 2 16 10 3 400 (Note 1)
Heavy infantry 3 8 4 2 200 -
Elf 3 12 7 2 300 Move W; comb. +1(i) W
Dwarf 3 8 7 2 300 Move H; comb. +1(i) H
Pikeman 4 8 5 2 300 Combat +1(i) P and R
Haevy cavalry 4 20 8 3 400 Combat +2(i) P and R
Wolfrider 4 16 8 2 400 Combat +2(i) H
Giant 5 16 10 2 600 Move H
Minotaur 5 12 10 2 800 Combat +1(i) C
Giant spider 5 12 12 2 1100 Combat +2(i) C
Pegasus 5 16 12 3 1300 Fly; combat +1(a)
Griffin 6 16 15 3 1500 Fly; combat +2(i) C
Unicorn 7 16 15 4 1500 Combat +1(a)
Elephant 8 16 15 4 1500 Combat +1(a)
Ship 3 20 - 1 - -
Wizard 6 50 12 4 - Combat +1(a)
Worm 7 12 12 4 - Combat +1(a)
Undead 7 16 12 4 - Combat +1(a)
Demon 7 16 15 4 - Fly; combat +1(a)
Elemental 8 12 15 4 - Combat +1(a)
Devil 8 12 15 4 - Comb. +1(a); (note 2)
Archon 8 12 20 4 - Fly; comb.+1(a); (n.3)
Dragon 9 16 20 4 - Fly; comb. +2(l)
Hero 5-9 14-22 - - (note 4)
Note 1: a catapult negates enemy city defence bonuses.
Note 2: a devil negates enemy army bonuses and individual land
bonuses, except bonuses from special units.
Note 3: an archon negates enemy hero bonuses.
Note 4: a hero gives an army bonus of +1, +2 or +3, depending on his