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Barren Realms Elite is a 25-player strategic war game originally by Mehul Patel. The setting is in the future -- nuclear destruction has spread throughout the planet, and now only a vast barren void exists. As a baron under a great king, you must expand your barony throughout the planet and become the ultimate baron.
One feature of the game was the ability for a bulletin board system to compete against other BBSs. Each BBS would function as its own distinct planet in a universe of planets, where the universe comprised all of the BBSs that agreed to host the game together. Messages and attacks would travel from planet to planet on a regular basis as the BBS systems called each other to transmit and receive data. The game was based on Solar Realms Elite (SRE), and is considered by many to be SRE's successor. The focus on inter-BBS play completely changed the game dynamics, and both BRE and SRE continued to be developed for several years. In modern times, Barren Realms Elite has managed to maintain a fair number of players, most of whom connect to BBSes via Telnet in order to play.
In the Local mode (A non-InterBBS game), each player rules over his or her own barren on a post-apocalyptic planet, competing to have the strongest barren. Each day, the player makes various leadership decisions, each of which can cause their population to increase or decrease. The players must be careful to sustain their own empires, preventing low popular support and military morale, as well as starvation, while they strive to expand their might militarily. Tactics and methods vary, but all players may wage war on other players as well as form alliances, truces, and treaties. By capturing or buying new regions, their barren can grow more food, make more gold, or produce more military units. Players are also able to select from a list of espionage missions which can demoralize the enemy's forces, attack the population directly, weaken their defenses or many more. Finally, there is also a list of diplomatic treaties which players can use to create alliances or trade routes.
The InterBBS mode offers many more tactics to players. In this mode, each BBS works together as a team, making alliances with other boards to try to gain supremacy over the entire league. Each team designates a Planetary Coordinator, who is basically the planet's official spokesperson, and usually is also the planet's leader. By working together with different common strategies and layouts, boards can gain various bonuses that are unavailable in the local mode.
- John Dailey Software now owns the rights to the various Solar Realms games and continues to release registration for all of them, including Barren Realms Elite.
- GameFAQs has strategy guides for BRE.