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4000 AD

Entry updated 20 December 2011. Tagged: Game.

Board Game (1972). Waddington's House of Games.

4000 A.D. is an early sf Board Game which shares much with later Wargames such as Starforce: Alpha Centauri (1974), notable both for its strategic depth and its use of a detailed science-fictional rationale. The game is set during a war in the eponymous year, between human colonies connected by a unique method of Faster Than Light travel which entirely determines the nature of the gameplay. Fleets of starships enter a Hyperspace "warp" which can be represented by an expanding sphere. During transit each fleet is distributed across the surface of the warp and has only a potential position, which is made actual when it leaves Hyperspace and appears at a definite location. In practice, this means that a fleet in Hyperspace can materialize at any point in space which it could have reached by travelling at its fixed Faster Than Light speed for as long as it was in the warp. Movement occurs between various solar systems displayed on a two-dimensional map, on which the third dimension is represented by the colour of the depicted stars; systems contain inhabited or resource rich worlds which can be used to construct additional spacecraft. Unusually, the gameplay is entirely deterministic. If two hostile fleets meet in a solar system, the smaller group is automatically annihilated without loss to the larger. The fact that each player's movements are largely hidden from their opponent creates extremely tense games full of threat and uncertainty; 4000 A.D. is a striking example of rich abstract gameplay generated from a simple set of rules. [NT]

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