Inkulinati Early Access Preview – Time To Draw Your Weapons

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Yaza Games brings us an interesting take on Medieval warfare with Inkulinati. Pen and paper at the ready, or possibly quill and parchment would be better. Draw your armies and get ready for war, this is no Battleships, this is real blood and guts stuff. Time to see if Inkulinati is worth the paper it’s written on. Quill sharpened and inkwell filled, time to draw my weapon.

Might win this one, looks simple enough.


Inkulinati is like no other game that I have played, and in today’s market of repetitious releases it certainly got my intrigue awakened.  Multiplayer wasn’t available so I had to play the single-player side of the game. I figured it would work the same but I would die less. I was assigned the name Godfrey and my opponent the rather holy Hildegard. First up was the tutorial. This can make or break a game for me, so I was pleased when I understood exactly what was going on. The tutorial was very concise and guided me through each step I needed to take. I did, however, get a few tactical errors in and lost the first attempt. So how does it all work? Well, I best get to the nitty-gritty then.

How to play

You start with just a Tiny Inkulinati on your side of a great book. It’s their job to draw an army to defeat the opponents drawn army. Drawing soldiers uses up ink, with the costs varying depending on the power of the etching. Draw a spearman, swordsman or archer for 6 ink, a bard for 8 ink and so on. All my soldiers were dogs, and the opponent’s were rabbits. I did not really understand why until I got a little further in. Obviously the playing surface is only 2 dimensional, so you need to decide where to place your drawn soldier to start.

Moving around is fairly simple, each soldier has an amount they can move. The only restriction of movement is that you cannot go in an already occupied space. Each soldier gets to perform an action each turn, these include attacking, moving, pushing and some have special moves. When attacking you are presented with a tower of numbers and an arrow. The arrow moves up and down and you just click to stop it and see how much damage was dealt. Each soldier has their own strengths and weaknesses, for example, archers have range and cannot hit enemies next to them. Learn your soldiers and use them wisely. Once a soldier dies they leave behind an ink splat. End the turn on one of these and you get three bonus ink for the next turn. This is very important in getting a strong army built before the enemy. Once each soldier has had a turn the chapter of the battle ends and a new chapter begins.

Finish screen
Smashed it.

Is it fun?

Not only is Inkulinati fun, but it’s also quite challenging. Yaza Games have smashed the levels totally, as the playing field gets bigger, the challenge gets greater. Coordination and working your army as a unit becomes very important, and the different skill levels mean that once you have defeated an army, up your game and try again. Miss a few arrows and sword swipes on the lower levels and you can recover, but on the harder levels you are making it very hard for yourself.

To win you need to kill the opponent’s Tiny Inkulinati, you can do this by hitting them enough, or pushing them off the page. Don’t leave your Tiny Inkulinati near the edge of the page unless you want to invite trouble. After a certain number of chapters, the apocalypse will start, this is just the book catching fire and flames work their way from the edges making the playing field smaller and smaller. Get caught in the flames and it’s not going to end well.

The more soldier types you unlock, the more fun the game becomes, some special abilities are questionable, but just roll with it. When you see a deer farting at the enemy to paralyse it, then your life is complete. To put it loosely, some weird stuff that you never expected to see happens, and it’s just a bit of fun or tactical genius. You decide.

What’s coming?

Inkulinati has a campaign coming that will give the player far more control over their army. Defeat bigger and better enemies to become the Legendary Inkulinati Master. Simples.

This is what’s coming.


Inkulinati is a mash up of the Battle of Hastings and Watership Down. The graphics are basically the Bayeux Tapestry with animals. Everything looks as Medieval as it should be, the writing style is spot on, the drawing are spot on and the backgrounds do the job. Due to the style of the game, the graphics are authentic but were never really going to be mind-blowing. The attacks are in typical jerky 2 dimension style, so don’t expect smooth animated sequences, just blat and you’re done.

One thing that did bug me a little was the opening sequence. It was live-action so probably shouldn’t be in the graphics section, but I figured it was the best place for it. There is no atmosphere to it, I was hoping for some dramatic music and background ambience, but was left wanting. Given the style of the game, it was probably ok, but I wanted to have excitement pumped into me from the word go. I do feel like I might have just complained about a Ferrari because I don’t like horses.

The rabbits have got me. I’ll be back though.


Inkulinati takes you back with the visuals, and the music is also spot on. Imagine the scene where the King has just taken his new bride, the goblets are overflowing with wine and the wenches are getting more than their fair share of attention. Well, the minstrels are playing exactly what you have in your head. Halfway through the game, there was an anticipation for Brave Sir Robin to turn up, but I think he really did run away after the threat of broken knee caps. The sound effects during the battles add an element of fun as well, and they compliment the animations well. All in all the atmosphere is set perfectly and everything ties up perfectly.


Inkulinati is a good game, it ticks a lot of boxes that make games playable for a long time. The ability to have quick battles against other Inkulinati players will mean that the game will definitely be around for a while. I see it as a pickup and play for a little game, kill those few minutes before the kids get home, bedtime, the apocalypse hits etc… Better graphics and faster processors will not make Inkulinati obsolete as these are not factors that come into play for comparison’s sake. It’s a bit like Cluedo, the concept will still be fun for many years, and people will always want a quick game from time to time.

Choose your battleground wisely.


Inkulinati is a breath of fresh air in an overcrowded world of games. Not only have Yaza Games come up with a concept, but they have also executed it to perfection. They have created a fun, witty, pleasurable experience that will satisfy the needs of the casual gamer as well as the hardcore. I am struggling to find any aspect that does not work, so I will give up the struggle and accept that Inkulinati is one of the best turn-based strategy games that I have played recently. With everything that is in the pipeline, I hope that Yaza Games continue to evolve it and make it even more fun. This is a perfect example of what a good Kickstarter campaign can do.

Developer: Yaza Games
Publisher: Yaza Games
Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this preview.

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