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A DOS game, or maybe Windows 3.1 / early Win95, released somewhere in the early to mid 90s. It was a form of Go, Othello, or Reversi. Isometric graphics with sprites (in color), not a top-down board like old chess games, and no 3D models. You took turns against the computer; on your turn, you moved a creature/monster to a new tile. Empty tiles adjacent to it were filled with small versions of your creature, while allied creatures adjacent to the tile became bigger. Enemy creatures on adjacent tiles shrank or died, leaving an empty tile. The game ended when one side was wiped out, or nobody could make a move, and whoever had the most points won. Points were earned by controlling tiles, and by how big/advanced the creature on each tile was.

There were different factions, each with different creatures or monsters. I don't think there were any gameplay differences between factions, just graphics. One of the factions were snowmen; I don't remember what other factions there were.

I think I got it from a demo disk subscription my older cousins paid for, which sent floppy disks once a month with a smattering of demo and shareware games, or possibly from the demo CDs included with PCGamer Magazine. I remember other games that we got from them, including Cave Wars, Spiderweb Software's Exile 1 and Exile 2, and possibly Apogee games like Hocus Pocus or Mystic Towers. Possibly King Arthur's Kort as well. These subscriptions were all US based companies.

I've tried to find this game occasionally for years, asking for help in places like r/TipOfMyJoystick as well as crawling through websites doing research on my own, but never found it. What game is this?

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    Thoughts: going after Cave Wars only turns up a PCGamer demo CD. This was a CD included with the magazine, not a subscription for floppy disks. It's also a bit too late (1996) to have floppy disks be a major means of distribution. (The demo is 11MB) The Exile games are slightly too big for floppy disk distribution as well. But Apogee games are a bit too early to show up on CDs. There's an off chance it was a Softkey Big Blue floppy; that's too early for Exile or Cave Wars, but it is the right time for Apogee, and they did have exclusive games. Was this in the US? Jun 22, 2021 at 23:18
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    Also Computer Gaming World is about the right time for Cavewars and Exile, and had a demo CD with their magazine. Jun 22, 2021 at 23:36
  • @user3757614 Yes, in the US. I know we got PCGamer magazine with it's demo CDs for a couple of years; I hadn't considered that as a possible source for the game. I don't remember exactly when we got those, so it's possible. Never had Computer Gaming World. The floppy disk subscription didn't come with a magazine, and had more than one disk each month, meaning it wasn't limited to 1.38MB of files; that said, 11MB would be too much for it, so Cave Wars must surely have come from PCGamer and not the floppies
    – Taejang
    Jun 24, 2021 at 1:02
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    After looking at a bunch of PCGamer CDs, I don't think it came from that; not only did I not find a good match, PCGamer is too mainstream for something like this to remain hidden, and they tend towards action games. It is much more likely to come from the floppy disk subscription. Unfortunately, that doesn't help much. A floppy disk shareware service has a really low barrier to entry, and shareware is a large field. Even if I knew the name of the subscription, It would likely be something that the Internet wouldn't know about. Jun 24, 2021 at 3:21
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    Also, I ran through the relevant DOS and Windows 3.1 games on Mobygames, and the closest I could find was "The Ball Game". This is isometric and vaguely similar to Reversi, but is otherwise a poor match. An isometric view is extremely uncommon for board games of that era, so I'll note it, but it's unlikely to be it. Jun 24, 2021 at 3:24

1 Answer 1

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Is it Battle of the Elements?

Details that fit:

  • Reversi clone (but with 4 players)
  • Isometric
  • Pieces look like monsters (including a "snow" faction that look like snowmen)
  • Pieces grow/shrink when capturing other pieces
  • Shareware
  • 1996

The link above lets you play the game in a browser, if you like, and there's a gameplay video.

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  • Holy snot rockets Batman, you found it! Graphics are a little different than I remember, but that's it for sure. Even knowing the title, it is a bugger to get it to turn up in searches, and there are almost no records of it outside the site you linked. Well done sir, well done indeed.
    – Taejang
    Jun 25, 2021 at 13:47

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