Tactics games are going absolutely medieval this year, and Inkulinati (opens in a new tab) is no exception. Based on the silly handwritten doodles and sidenotes of medieval monks, Inkulinati takes these creatures and turns them into units in a turn-based strategy battle.
It now has proper store pages and a release window: winter of this year. It will arrive in Early Access on Steam and GOG, as well as an 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 scribbled beasts made of magical ink: “Donkeys playing trumpets with their buttocks, bishop cats defeating heretics with prayers, snails heavy but mortals that eat living units, and more.” say the developers. So, naturally, special powers include scribbling across new terrain, copy-pasting units to new locations, or simply smashing the page with your fist.
You will be able to customize the composition of your army and the powers you have by choosing who your character is. A knight can have simpler and tougher beasts. A nun might have the power of prayer to heal her troops and confuse the enemy. Battles are multi-tiered, so although they’re in a 2D arena, they can take place across multiple rows of the page.
Rachel Watts spoke to (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 on each other, trumpet-playing animals that get stuck in their bums , or a lady picking up penises from a tree (yes it is a real thing (opens in a new tab)). These 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 built around them.”
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Inkulinati also incorporates other things that story buffs will appreciate, such as your competition, fellow Inkulinati masters. This will include characters like Dante, from the Divine Comedy, and legendary composer-slash-doctor Saint Hildegard of Bingen. (Which narrates the trailer.)
Either way, hopefully we get to kick Geoffrey Chaucer’s ass in magic ink battles. I really would, because I owe him having to memorize the general prologue of The Canterbury Tales in high school. It turned out to be a good party trick in the long run, but it was a real pain at the time. (If you think it’s a bad party trick, you’re attending the wrong parties.)
You can find out 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.