Tactics games are going downright medieval this year, and Inkulinati (opens in a new tab) is not an exception. Based on the silly manuscript and marginal doodles of medieval monks, Inkulinati takes those critters and turns them into units in a turn-based strategy battle.
You now have proper store pages and a release window: winter this year. It’s coming to Early Access on Steam and GOG, as well as Xbox Game Preview on Game Pass. Inkulinati is developed by Yaza Games and published by Daedalic Entertainment.
The setting is that you are a medieval scribe fighting other Inkulinati masters with scrawled beasts made of magical ink: “Donkeys that blow trumpets with their butts, bishop cats that vanquish heretics with prayers, heavy but deadly snails that eat live units, and more.” developers say. So, naturally, special powers include scribbling on new terrain, cutting and pasting units to new places, or just tearing up the page with your fist.
You will be able to customize the composition of your army and the powers available to you by choosing who your character is. A knight could have simpler and tougher beasts. A nun could have the power of prayer to heal her troops and confuse the enemy’s. Fights are multi-tiered, so even though they’re in a 2D arena, they can take place across multiple lines on the page.
Rachel Watts spoke with (opens in a new tab) Inkulinati developers in 2019, when it was announced. At the time, Yaza Games lead designer Wojtek Janas talked about the absurd doodles made by medieval monks “in which dogs and rabbits wage war, animals blow trumpets that stick to their butts, or a lady pulling penises out of a treeyes that’s real (opens in a new tab)). Those crazy scenes, they’re called marginalia, and when our lead artist Dorota Halicka first showed them to us, we knew we had to make a game based on them.”
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Inkulinati also incorporates other things that history buffs will appreciate, like its competitors, the other Inkulinati Masters. That will include the likes of Dante, from the divine comedy, and the legendary composer-slash-doctor St. Hildegard of Bingen. (Who narrates the trailer).
Anyway, I hope we can kick Geoffrey Chaucer’s ass in wizarding ink battles. I really would, because I owe it to him for forcing me to memorize the general prologue to The Canterbury Tales in high school. It turned out to be a good party trick in the long run, but it was a real bummer at the time. (If you think this is a bad party trick, you’re attending the wrong parties.)
You can learn more about Inkulinati on the Yaza Games website and on Steam and GOG (opens in a new tab)where it will be released in the winter of 2022.