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Online Game Manual About This Manual Introduction to SpiritWars Introduction to Spirits Playing Pieces Spirit Classes Class Relationships Spirit Attributes The Energy Phase Resurrection Population Events Population Event List Player Ratings
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How To Play


I: Setup
  New Player Registration
  Multiple Player Files
  Populating Your Kingdom
  Creating a Dungeon
  Connecting to the Server
  Get Player Info

II: Beginning the Game
  Sequence of Play
  Energy Phase
  Activation Phase
  Movement Phase
  Attack Phase
  Healing Phase
  Overpopulation Phase

III: Post-Game Events
  Winning the Game
  Victory Migration
  Activity Migration
  Player Ratings

I: Setup


The SpiritWars installation program is a single-file self-extracting install program. It will uncompress the files and install a playable version of SpiritWars on your hard drive.

The current version of the installation program automatically installs the game into a SpiritWars directory on your C drive. We realize that this is rather arbitrary, and we apologize for the inconvenience it may cause. The next major revision of the installation program will allow the user to select the destination directory for the game.

If you get a message from the server that you are using an "invalid version" or build of the game, please check the web site for an upgrade or patch file. There is no backward compatibility between versions of SpiritWars. All players must always be using the most current version of the game.

When you connect to the SpiritWars server, either at WON or at Kellogg Creek Software, your game program and the server will validate the build number of the version of the game program you are using. If that build number does not match the version currently recognized by the server you will receive a message explaining that you are not using the current version. You will not be able to connect to the server and compete until you download the current installation (or patch). Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may create but it is imperative that we make sure everyone is using the same version of the game program.

During the Alpha phase please understand that the game files may be updated very frequently. For the most part these will be small zip files that will replace various files and data tables in your existing installation. On occasion, however, we will be requiring that everyone remove the earlier installation and do a complete re-install.

New Player Registration:

The first time you run SpiritWars, following the title screen, you will be required to enter your name and player ID number. If you have not yet received these from Kellogg Creek Software please do not continue. Contact us and we’ll get you the required information.

Please enter these carefully. Enter your screen name exactly as it was provided. A misspelled name will result in the server denying you access.

Multiple Player Files:

The current version of SpiritWars allows the existence of multiple player files on the same machine.

If you have set up additional players on your system the game will provide a list of all existing players. Before continuing you must select which player file you wish to use for your current gaming session. It is currently necessary to restart the SpiritWars program in order to switch to another player.

Please be aware that this does not allow two players to play against each other using only one machine. It simply means that multiple members of the family can have player files, histories and kingdoms in compatible co-existence.

Populating Your Kingdom with Spirits:

When you first begin your kingdom in Etheria is unpopulated. The first time you connect to the SpiritWars server you will need to request an initial population. After you complete the full connection process (either using the "One Step Connection" or the four-step process) click on the "Populate Kingdom" option.

The game will tell you when this process has been completed and you can continue. At this time you will have 200 new spirits residing in your kingdom.

Before you can begin play you need to return to the main menu and select the "Edit Dungeon" option. This will allow you to create an initial dungeon definition.

Eventually this process will be automated when the server detects that the player’s kingdom has not yet been populated.

Creating a Dungeon:

While your kingdom begins with a population of 200 spirits, an individual SpiritWars game only uses a small subset of that population. Only the spirits currently residing in the dungeon of your castle may be used in a given game of SpiritWars.

A castle dungeon can hold a maximum of 120 spirits and must contain a minimum of 30. There are severe penalties for depleting your dungeon prior to the end of the game. (Currently the penalty is that you lose the game. This, however, is being modified in the next couple of weeks. As soon as we resolve the impact we’ll let you know.)

Accordingly, when you are populating the dungeon, you will want to consider the risks associated with depleting it. The more spirits you include in your dungeon, the more variety of playing options you might have available during a given game. On the other hand, the larger the dungeon population the less likely the odds of getting your best spirits in play during the game.

The optimum dungeon size is something that will probably be debated for months among players. It will depend partially on your strategy and philosophy of play. Initially it appears that a practical and effective dungeon population is probably between 30 and 40 spirits. Feel free, however, to experiment.

When defining your dungeon you must also select a primary and secondary color. This is a critical aspect of your dungeon definition. During the energy phase of each turn your castle generates three energy points: two of the primary color and one of the secondary color. Especially during the first two turns of the game, these energy points will play a key role in your opening game strategy and options.

You can, if you choose, use a single color of spirits in your dungeon and set both your primary and secondary colors to match the single color you wish to use. Following this course of action will guarantee you three energy points each turn of your selected color.

Connecting to the SpiritWars™ Server:

The Alpha 25 interface provides two ways of establishing your connection with the SpiritWars server. There is a "One Step Connection" button that will perform all of the required steps with a single mouse click. However, this may sometimes prove less reliable than the alternative "four step" process. Feel free to experiment with it and let us know if you experience any problems joining with another player and initiating a game after using the "One Step Connection" button. (It appears that some of the player/server messages are over-lapping and we may need to look more carefully at the timing of this series of sequential messages.)

The more tested and reliable connection process involves the four green command choices on the right-hand side of the screen. First select the "Connect to Server" button. When it has established a connection with the SpiritWars game server it will be disabled and the "Register" button will be activated. Once you have registered (established your player identity with the game server), the "Who Am I?" button is activated. This button registers your player name and identifies your assigned socket ID number. The final step of the process is the "Who Are They?" button. This queries the server and displays a list of other players available for competition. Note that the blue list box only shows other players who are not currently "joined" to another player (i.e. not already playing a game).

The "Who Are They?" function does not currently update the display automatically. If you wish to see if other available players have connected to the server you will need to periodically click this button again to get an updated display of available players.

Get Player Info:

This command button is currently disabled but will be turned on soon. It will allow you to highlight a player’s name in the display list and then click the information request button. The server will return that player’s won-loss record and his current player rating. This will allow you to review a potential opponent’s rating and player performance prior to joining a game with him.

II: Beginning the Game

Sequence of Play:

The SpiritWars™ server determines the playing order for the two players. For games played on WON, the playing order will be randomly selected. Games involving SpiritWars™ members, however, will use the player’s ratings to determine who gains the advantage of playing first.

If the two players have identical ratings the server will randomly select the playing order. In all other games the player with the lowest rating will have the advantage of playing first.

Since ratings are dynamically updated at the end of each completed game, player ratings and play order may change for two players playing two consecutive games.

The play sequence of SpiritWars does provide some significant advantages for the first player. This is most obvious during the attack phase when the first player can initiate attacks and plan a combat sequence that protects weaker pieces or focuses on damaging one of his opponent’s key pieces (or castle).

There is some advantage -- during the movement phase -- in playing second since this allows the second player to react to the movement activity of the first player.

Overall, the advantages of playing first are designed to help the lower rated player have a competitive edge against a higher rated player.

Energy Phase:

The first step in the turn sequence is the energy phase. During this phase of a player’s turn, all energy producing units (including the player’s castle) produce new energy resources. These are automatically added to the player’s energy pool and will be reflected in the energy status display at the top of the map interface.

Each energy-producing unit has an energy rating that determines the number of energy points it produces each turn. Most pieces generate one point per turn. Some enhanced pieces generate a greater number of points per turn. Be aware that any energy-producing piece that is positioned on the terrain type associated with its color (blue on water, green on forest, etc.) will have one point added to its energy production each turn.

If there is any room available in the courtyard of your castle, a new spirit will emerge from the castle dungeon, ready for activation and use in the game.

If any of the spirits you have in play require maintenance, it must be paid during the energy phase. You will be shown a list of all spirits with maintenance costs and you can choose whether or not to pay these maintenance fees. Whenever a required maintenance fee is not paid that spirit is immediately removed from the playing field.

Maintenance fees must always be paid with energy resources (or points) of the specific color associated with the spirit. (For example, a white spirit with a maintenance cost of two requires payment with two white energy points each turn. You can not use yellow energy to pay the maintenance costs of a non-yellow spirit.)

Your castle also has maintenance requirements. There is no associated energy cost involved in maintaining your castle. However, the presence of at least one spirit in your courtyard is required to avoid deterioration of the castle.

As long as at least one spirit is present in the courtyard at the end of the energy phase, the required maintenance will be performed.  If there is not a spirit present then the castle will suffer three damage points at the end of the energy phase.

This castle maintenance is an automatic function that will not concern most players. Considering the fact that at the beginning of each energy phase one new spirit is summoned from the dungeon to the courtyard and no spirits can be removed from the courtyard during the energy phase, there will almost always be one or more spirits present to perform these maintenance responsibilities.

The primary way that a player’s castle can suffer this kind of damage is if the player’s dungeon is depleted and there are no spirits available for summoning to the courtyard. If your dungeon has been depleted you must keep one last spirit in the courtyard in order to avoid these damages.

Very small dungeon populations have obvious playing advantages by increasing the chances of getting key spirits (and combinations of spirits) into play. This strategic advantage is offset by the increased risk of incurring maintenance damage to your castle depleted in a prolonged game.

Activation Phase:

During the activation phase, both players will have the opportunity to activate "physical" spirits. When activated, these physical spirits become playing pieces on the map.

There are three primary classes of physical spirits: energy, defenders and combat. Combat pieces are the most common. These are the warriors that move across the playing field and can attack your opponent’s castle.

Energy pieces, for the most part, can not move. They do, however, generate energy resources (or points) at the beginning of each turn that they remain in play.

Defenders are special combat pieces that can not move or initiate an attack against another piece. They do, however, have the special ability to intercept attacks against other pieces.

Movement Phase:

When the movement phase begins, the pieces in play that can legally move this turn are highlighted in red. If you click on one of these pieces, the possible movement options will be displayed on the playing map with green highlights. To move the selected piece, simply click on one of the target designations.

For the most part, movement is an automatic process. The game will show you the legal movements available for the selected playing piece. Simply select from the highlighted map locations and your piece will be moved.

No piece can move into a "cursed" terrain hex. These are designated on the map by the skull icon. The other primary movement restriction is that only blue spirits can move into the deep water (ocean) map locations.

Some spirits have energy costs associated with movement. Review the attributes of your pieces prior to the movement phase when determining how you want to budget the use of limited energy resources during a turn. This is especially critical early in the game when you may not have many energy pieces in play.

The functionality of the interface during the movement phase best represents the design and functionality of the final game.

Attack Phase:

In the current build of the game, the "attack phase" interface is very awkward. Even though it is very non-intuitive it is functional. Your patience is appreciated. Pleased be forewarned that this temporary interface may remain in place for a few weeks. The introduction of spells and the completions of key game components that currently do not work are higher on the priority list than the revamping of the attack interface.

Currently, when you enter the attack phase, a list of all of your pieces with an available "attack opportunity" are shown in the center of the lower control panel. You will note that they are also highlighted on the map. If you select one of these pieces then any of your opponent’s pieces within the legal attack range of your selected piece will be highlighted.

If you click on one of these highlighted pieces then the "Execute Attack" button in the lower right corner will be activated. To initiate a combat event targeting this piece simply click on the attack button. If you wish to cancel this attack and select another piece or another target just click on the "Cancel Attack" button.

In the current version (Alpha 28) the attack messages are finally starting to make sense.  They will need more revision as we move along but at least now you know which two pieces were involved in the combat event and what the results were.

Healing Phase:

The healing phase is not yet activated. Look for this to be enabled in the next week or two.

Overpopulation Phase:

The last phase in the turn sequence is overpopulation. If the courtyard of your castle is full (containing eight spirits) you will be presented with an option to dismiss one spirit from the courtyard. The primary reason for doing this is to create an available space in the courtyard so that a new spirit may enter it from the dungeon during the energy phase of your next turn.

If you are happy, however, with the current spirit mix in the courtyard then you can continue without doing anything during this phase.

Currently this phase only appears if you have a full courtyard. As we begin introducing magical spirits and spells in the game this phase will always appear even if you don’t have the option to dismiss any spirits from an overpopulated courtyard.

If your castle has been damaged and you are on the verge of losing the game then this would provide you with one last opportunity to use a healing (or repair) spell to prevent losing the game at the end of the discard phase.

III: Post-Game Events

Winning the Game:

To defeat your opponent you must destroy his castle. Even if a castle’s defense is reduced to zero or less, play continues to the end of the current turn. This allows a player the opportunity to heal or repair his damaged castle prior to the end of the turn.

The castles currently have a defense rating of five. As we introduce magical spirits and spells the defense rating will be increased to ten.


As in any warfare, battles in Etheria will have fatalities. Whenever you lose an on-line battle in SpiritWars some of the Spirits contained in your dungeon will not survive.

At the end of each battle one or two of the spirits used in the loser’s dungeon will be declared fatalities. They will be destroyed, removed from the player’s kingdom population and from the universal population of Etheria. They will also automatically be removed from the dungeon definition.

Victory Migration:

The spirits that populate the realm of Etheria are attracted to the powerful and mighty. With each victory two or three new spirits will migrate to your kingdom.

At the end of each game that you win, a Victory Migration report will show you the new spirits who have migrated to your Kingdom. These new spirits are now included in your kingdom population but will not be used in a game until you add them to your defined dungeon.

There is a correlation between the quality of the opponent you defeat and the quality of the spirits who will be attracted to your kingdom. The greater the reputation (and rating) of your opponent, the greater the chances of receiving valuable or rare spirits in the migration following the battle.

Activity Migration:

General playing activity is the second way of expanding the spirit population of your kingdom. The spirits that populate the world of Etheria are very aggressive and warlike in nature. Not only are they attracted to mighty leaders who win battles, they are also attracted to the more aggressive and active leaders.

Every time you complete ten games against other on-line players you will attract a new group of five spirits to your kingdom. Like those spirits attracted during a Victory Migration, these new spirits are added automatically to your kingdom population but must be manually added to a dungeon definition before they can be used in an actual battle.

Player Ratings

All players begin play with a rating of 100. In every game both players risk 2.5% of their current rating. This point value, called the "points at risk," reflects the portion of the player’s rating that he will lose to the other player if he loses the game.

At the end of the game the losing player loses the designated number of "points at risk" which are transferred to the winning player.

SpiritWars™ is a registered trademark of Kellogg Creek Software.