Game Publisher
Author Machine
Drogna (BBC Model B)

Available For:
BBC Model B

Tags: board game, competitive play
Publisher: Acornsoft
Author(s): Patrick Dowling
On-Screen Language: English
Genre: Two Player
Items: Drogna (Acornsoft, 5.25" Disc), Drogna (Acornsoft, Cassette)

Screenshots (6)


A game on cassette for the BBC Microcomputer Model B

The discovery of time-travel last century opened up the Galaxy to archaeologists searching for fragments of the year 1998, a year of such stupendous inactivity here on earth that is ceased altogether to exist. Swinging around a handy millisecond pulsar brought them to Arg in the late twentieth century, a remote curiously devious, who were engaged in an intergalactic television phone-in programme (seen here of course two centuries ago under the title 'Adventure Game' BBC TV).

With the promise of future discoveries, the Argons insisted on subjecting them to a series of childist tests and problems, among them this game of Drogna, at which we usually lost because the chief dragon kept changing the rules. This definitive version of the game is now published in case anyone is foolish enough to revisit Arg!

Acornsoft Drogna is fully compatible with either keyboard or joysticks.

Note: Acornsoft Drogna is unsuitable for black and white televisions.

The Playing Board

The board displayed on the screen contains rows of 'Drogna'. There are five different Drogna shapes - spot, crescent, triangle, square and pentagon, each of which can be in five different colours. At the top and bottom of the board are the players' home bases; blue's home base is at the top and red's is at the bottom. At each side are the vaults, each of which contains three diamonds.

How To Play

The aim of the game is for each player to score points by collecting diamonds from the two vaults and depositing them in his own home base. The first diamond collected from each vault is worth 100 points, the second 200 points and the third 600 points. Once a diamond has been removed from a vault it cannot be replaced and it retains its value until the end of the game.

A diamond can be classed as being in one of three different states - either swag, loot or dump. While a diamond is still in a vault or on a drogna it is referred to as loot and can be picked up by either player. After it has been picked up and is being carried around, it is referred to as swag and the player holding it has the value of it displayed in the box at his home base labelled swag. If a player manages to deposit a diamond at his home base the diamond is referred to as dump and again its value is displayed at his home base, this time in the box labelled dump.

The player who owns a dump does not gain the score for it until another swag is dropped on top of it. Until this happens the dump can be stolen by his opponent, although the player who placed the dump in his home base is not allowed to remove it again from there. The game ends when one of the players manages to score 900 points.

Each player's turn is made up of two spans. In each span a player may make as many mves as he desires, as long as they are legal. If a player moves anywhere containing loot then he automatically picks up a diamond and hence will convert that diamond into his swag. This will end the span he is in. He cannot move onto a drogna containing loot if he is already carrying swag.

A player cannot move onto a drogna occupied by his opponent unless his opponent is carrying swag and he is not. If this is the case the player will steal the swag and his opponent will retreat one space in the same direction as the attack, even if this takes him onto a non-valid drogna. It it takes him into a wall he will evaporate back to his home base. An attack by a player also ends the span.

A player may choose to end his span if he does not wish to make any further moves. At the end of the first span the ruling symbols of both players change and the turn continues. The symbols change at random, but a player will never be left on a non-valid drogna. At the end of the second span the turn ends and the other player starts his turn.

If a player makes a non-valid move he will return to the drogna he tried to move from and his turn will end. If, however, he was carrying swag at the time, this will be dropped onto the drogna he tried to move to and will therefore be converted back into loot.

As an example, consider a player carrying swag, who is on a blue circle and whose ruling symbol is a blue square. If he tries to move onto a non-valid drogna (a red crescent for example) he will move to this drogna, leave his swag there as loot and move back to the blue circle. His turn will then have ended.

The game always starts with the red player having a half-turn, i.e. just the second span of a turn. After that, each player has a full turn, and the current player is indicated by his man moving his head from side to side on the screen.

How To Move

Each player has a ruling symbol; red's is displayed in the bottom left-hand corner and blue's is diagonally opposite. A player can move in one of six possible directions, from one drogna to another adjacent to it. However, a move is only valid if the drogna mved to is either the same shape or the same colour as the player's ruling symbol.

As an example, consider a player whose current ruling symbol is a blue square and who is surrounded by a yellow square, a blue circle, a red square, a red crescent, a blue pentagon and a cyan triangle. He could move to either of the blue drogna, i.e. the blue circle or the blue pentagram, or to another square of any colour, i.e. the red or yellow square.

Game Controls

W - Up/Left, E - Up/Right A - Left, D - Right Z - Left/Down, X - Right/Down

If using joystick, the player will move in the direction that the joystick points: this is indicated, if it is within the playing area, by a pair of blinking eyes. The move is actually made by pressing the Fire button. To end a span, put the joystick in the central position and press Fire.

Playing Hints

Possession of the two 600-point diamonds is crucial and the game cannot be won without securing at least one of them. It therefore pays not to dump the lower valued ones in your home base too hastily - instead drop them close to your home base by making a non-valid move. Then they will be handy for when you want to drop one on top of a dump worth 600 points in order to secure those points.

Make attacks, if you can, in the first space of your turn so that during the second span you have a chance of getting away. Even better, contrive an attack so as to bump your opponent into a wall.

If you think you may be attacked, drop the swag you are holding behind you so that your opponent cannot steal it from you and has to go round you in order to pick it up.

Always look around for alternative routes - lengthy, devious ones are sometimes possible, and these may be advantageous, but can be difficult to spot.

If you need to move to a particular drogna, your chance of getting an appropriate ruling symbol is higher if you are occupying an adjacent one similar in colour or shape when the symbols change than if you are not.

Don't give up - right up to the last moment a lucky move or two can retrieve a nearly lost game.



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