Dark Age II


When the Romans left Britains, they turned out the lights. This is what happened next.

Dark Age is a game of power and conflict in Dark Age Britain. The game system is simple and straightforward, with plenty of scope for skill and skullduggery, combining the finesse of Diplomacy and the fluidity of Risk. To win the game you must expand your population to become the dominant kingdom of Britain. Only warfare will provide the room for your population to grow, but only peace will allow you to secur eyour gains. Wars must be decisive, and your diplomatic efforts may be the key to victory.

Additional Information...
  • Dark Age II Map Uncoloured
  • Dark Age II Game 109 Map Coloured
  • Rulebook Frontpage

Sample Game Report

The sample game report is for the kingdom of West Wales in game 53. The player names have been changed and their contact information has been removed, but most of the rest is the same as the original. Just click on the link and the report should open with Acrobat Reader.

The game report may seem a bit intimidating at first sight. It is designed to pack a lot of information into a few pages. You'll need to read the rulebook and look at the game report together in order to work it out.

More About the Game

The Map is divided into land and sea areas. The land areas have all sorts of terrain in them, and the terrain type decides how much population can live in each area. It also has an effect on movement. In sea areas you can put ships, and the ships can carry armies. Land areas contain armies and population, and some contain cities.

Cities are like extra land areas inside other land areas. They can hold a lot of population, are strong defensively and can generate a lot of extra income.


Turn Commentary

This is a commentary on a typical turn, written by one of our more experienced players. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent (and the guilty). It aims to show you how a typical player deals with a turn.



The rulebook is provided as a PDF that you can download Online Rulebook.

Any questions you might have concerning the content please do contact us.

Waiting List

There are waiting list(s) for the games, with indicative starting dates. There are no restrictions other than you must play online (input your orders via the website and receive reports by emailed PDF).


Costs & Credits

How the Freemailer option works, and Online Membership Turn fees.


Frequently Asked Questions

I have maintenance costs of 21 BPs. The thing is, when I total up the "Sup" column in the "Areas Owned", it only amounts to 14. How is it my maintenance is 7 BPs more? How is it calculated ?
The rest will be for your reserve and/or household. If that's not covered in your rulebook it'll be a rules change in the message section.
Say both a city and its hinterland are unowned. If I attack the hinterland with an overwelming force, would (or could) the army retreat to the city?
No, although they have the same owner, it's not possible for that retreat have been ordered. Retreat locations are blank at the start of the game and no-one can order any for unowned areas, so unowned armies never retreat.
Submitting my turn online my blank actions were all filed up with TAX actions and it would let me leave them blank. Is this correct?
Yes, you can't leave actions blank on the online turnsheet. There's no reason to: TAX actions don't cost anything and they raise extra BPs. The blanks only fill up with tax actions when you press the "submit turn" button (or hit "enter" on the keyboard) and you can still change those actions to something else before you hit the "submit turn" again.
If you levy an army in a wetland or similar 'sticky' environment, can you then move the army during that turn or is it stuck due to appearing in a sticky area?
Yes, you can move it. The area isn't actually sticky until something moves into it (or any of the other sticky things happen). But once the area is sticky then everything in it becomes stuck (so if you levy one army and then reserve another in the same area, then both are stuck, not just the reserve).
Where an army of two comes up against a defence level of two in an assault; a third of two is 0.667, so no losses would occur. What would happen next?
Nothing. The attack fails as soon as the attacker is unable to inflict any losses. It's quite common when attacking into difficult terrain (where the defender get reduced losses).
What happens to an unowned area's reserve armies (i.e an army that has just been sabotaged and dispersed).
Unowned armies are eliminated when sabotaged (there's no reserve available to put them in).
I don't understand the income tables in the rulebook (11.2)
The Income table in 11.2 is out of date (it's not actually needed at all). It used to work like that, but trade income now pays treasury BPS instead of income - see 2.15 (3rd para).
In the rulebook (2.8) it states that unused BP`s at the end of the turn are spent in a certain sequence. Does one army still "levy" into your reserves and household troop? Even though the actions that allowed you do this yourself are no longer available?
Yes, and it's common to do that deliberately, leaving enough BPs left over at the end of the turn so they'll be spent on an extra army in your reserve and household. That frees up actions for other things - but you can only raise one of each, each turn.
Is it possible, to save actions within a turn, to levy armies directly into your household or your reserve as happens with leftover BPs?
No, there's no way to levy new armies direct into your household or reserve, except for the odd one you get using up your unspent BPs.

How to Join

There are two ways to join a game, either in a new game starting up or by taking over an existing kingdom in a game that's already running. If you're new to the game then a good idea is to take the second option first and get a feel for the game before trying a new startup.


How to Play for Free

If you play online, then you can play this game for free. We refer to players who play online for free as "freemailers". There are some restrictions.


About Us

Software Simulations International Ltd is Peter Calcraft and Danny McConnell (we're both based in the UK but Peter is from Adelaide). We've been running professional play by mail games since 1985.


About Play By Mail

Play-by-mail (PBM) games have been around for quite a long time. It's generally recognised that chess players were the first to play games through the post...


About Play By Email

All our games at Software Simulations and Ab Initio Games (and our associate companies) have been adapted to use email and the internet. Order can be submitted...


Run Your Own Game

Can you raise enough players (sixteen) to start a game of your own?

The cost of starting up your own game is quite modest.
You start it, we run it. You can even play in it.

Email us to ask for details.

New Game Newsletter

Other Games

This is one of a series of games that include Football, American Football, Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Rugby (League and Union), Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey and Formula One - as well as Historical, Science Fiction and Business games.

Titles include Gameplan, Gridiron Stats, Gameplan Baseball, Raceplan, Hooplan, Slamdunk, Play On, Rugby Stats, Rugby League Breakout, Run Chase, Soccer Stats, Soccer Strategy, Dark Age, Star Chase, Spaceplan, Speculate, European Empires, Australian Empires, Medieval Empires and World Empires.

Of the sports games you don't need to be told what might interest you, but of the player interaction games Medieval Empires and Star Chase are probably the simplest and easiest to get stuck into. For more information on these visit our website at www.pbmsports.com. For the latest news and waiting lists see www.sidetracks.co.uk.


Dark Age is a very fast moving game, and many people prefer their games to be more sedate, where you can plan ahead and build for the future. In Dark Age you can only plan the current turn. Beyond that you can have only the vaguest idea what the situation will be and what you might be able to do next.

Empires is a similar game, but a few differences ensure it's much calmer and slower. Empires ebb and flow, rather crashing and burning. Medieval Empires is the most straightforward. There are lots of small kingdoms (up to thirty) on a map of Europe.

In contrast European Empires is set during the Napoleonic Wars with a mixture of large and small countries and an additional module of rules for supply and supply lines. The more experienced players take charge of the major powers (they're normally restricted to paying customers) and the minor powers are played by freemailers.