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FAQ: (1/2)

( Part1 - Part2 )
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Archive-name: games/bolo-faq/part1
Last-modified: 1995/5/26
Version: 1.9.6

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Part 1
Version 1.9.6 - May 26, 1995
Compiled and maintained by Cory L. Scott (aka Kimboho) 
This file is meant to be displayed in good ol' Monaco 9 point.
You are strongly encouraged to read this FAQ before posting to r.g.b.
If you have any questions or comments about this FAQ, please email

The FAQ is divided into two sections for space reasons. The first part 
is dedicated to the basics of Bolo and the USENET group devoted to it, 
and the second part deals with maps, brains, and strategy.

The FAQ will be posted twice a month.

Table of Contents


I. First off, what is Bolo?
II. How do you play Bolo?
III. What's the current version of Bolo?
IV. What's going to be in the new version of Bolo and when will it be 
V. What kind of stuff do I need to play Bolo? 
VI. Okay, now that you know about Bolo, where can you get it?


I. Internet Bolo sounds neat! How can I play, find a game, etc.?
II. What if I'm in Europe or Australia? How do I find a game?
III. I connect to the Internet via modem, and use telnet and FTP with 
good speed, but when I play Internet Bolo, it's just TOO slow. What's 
IV. Is there a Bolo player registry?
V. Issues of etiquette


I. How can I find out about games on an Appletalk net?
II. Can I play AppleTalk Bolo with ARA?


I. I've got a new idea for Bolo! Shouldn't I post it to r.g.b right 
II. What is alt.netgames.bolo? What the difference between the two 
III. Shareware Fees
IV. Hacks



I. Where are good FTP sites?
II. How about Web Sites?


I. Vital statistics
II. Interesting Things
III. Lag fun
IV. Maps
   A. Where can I find other maps or create my own?
   B. What are some of the guidelines I should follow for making maps?
   C. How do I post and download maps from r.g.b from or to my machine?
V. Brains
   A. Now what's this about Brains?
   B. Where can I get Brains?
   C. How do you write Brains?


I. Where are good strategy guides?
II. How about some hints?

First off, what is Bolo?
Let's let the author do the talking:
"Bolo is a 16 player graphical networked real-time multi-player tank 
battle game. It has elements of arcade-style shoot-em-up action, but for 
the serious players who play 12 hour games with 16 players working in 
teams in different networked computer clusters around an office or 
university campus, it becomes more of a strategy game. You have to play 
it to understand."     --- Stuart Cheshire

How do you play Bolo?
Bolo has a large amount of options and elements to its play. Once you 
get a copy of the program, you should read and print out the 
documentation, which is much more detailed than this explanation. 
Basically, you are a tank that travels around a map, which has trees, 
rubble, water, trees, deep water, walls, grass, swamps, and roads to 
deal with. Your tank has ammo (commonly called bullets or shells), 
mines, armor (also called shields), and the capacity to carry trees. The 
map is created by a player before hand.
The two most important elements on the map are pillboxes and bases. 
Pillboxes are originally neutral, meaning that they shoot at every tank 
that happens to get in its range. They shoot fast and with deadly 
accuracy. You can shoot the pillbox with your tank, and you can see how 
damaged it is by looking at it. Once the pillbox is subdued, you may run 
over it, which will pick it up. You may place the pillbox where you want 
to put it (where it is clear), if you've enough trees to build it back 
Trees are harvested by sending your man outside your tank to forest the 
trees. Your man (also called a builder) can also lay mines, build roads, 
and build walls. Once you have placed a pillbox, it will not shoot at 
you, but only your enemies. Therefore, pillboxes are often used to 
protect your bases.
Bases are used for refueling your tank. Like pillboxes, they start out 
neutral, meaning that anyone can run over them, and they will belong to 
that player. Bases cannot be moved. You can take over a base by shooting 
it. Therefore, Bolo becomes exciting when you have 3 or more people 
fighting for control of pillboxes and bases, traveling around the map, 
and shooting each other. You can also form alliances with other players 
for team play. Again, this FAQ doesn't exist to teach you the basics of 
how to play the game. That's what the documentation is for. 

What's the current version of Bolo?
The current version of Bolo is 0.99.6.

What's going to be in the new version of Bolo and when will it be out?
We have been blessed with a new version, but there have been many bugs
found in the new release. (It's a beta, anyway.) So, a new version 
should be out shortly with new bug fixes and a way to play back your
Bolo victories and defeats.

What kind of stuff do I need to play Bolo?
Bolo is only available for the Macintosh. Stuart Cheshire, the author, 
has made it very clear that he will not port Bolo to DOS or Windows 
machines. Therefore, dont ask whether or not there will be a port of 
Bolo for any other machine - it just isn't going to happen. However, some
people are trying to make their own versions for the PC and Windows. For
more information, check out:

Mac emulators for other platforms have had limited success, but none have 
been able to play network games. Bolo can be played on any Mac.
Its preferred memory size is 1,100 K, but you can cut that down by 
turning off the sound effects. A color monitor is not necessary, but 
often useful.
Unless you want to play by yourself, you need to be connected to some 
kind of network. You can play Bolo over an Appletalk network or over the 
Internet, if your machine is directly connected to the net and is 
running MacTCP, which is the standard way of how Macs talk over the 
If you're using a high-speed modem, you can play with your friend via 
Appletalk Remote Access (using an older version, 0.98). SLIP connections 
to the Internet are not recommended, since a direct Internet connection 
is so much faster, and Bolo works by forming a ring of networked Macs 
where one player sends the game packets to a neighbor, who sends packets 
to the next neighbor on the ring, and so on. Therefore, the rest of the 
players of the game will be waiting on your slow modem connection, which 
is commonly called lag. Also, note that Bolo is not a client-server 
system, which is a common misconception. Instead, Bolo creates a ring 
out of the Macs, using either DDP on AppleTalk or UDP over the Internet. 
When a new player joins, Bolo sends a packet to each machine in the game 
to figure out the delay between it and all Macs, then it adds itself 
into the ring in such a way as to minimize the total time around the 
ring. (Thanks to Peter Lewis for that final explanation.)

However, if you're totally isolated and/or have no friends, there is a 
small bit of hope. See the section on "Brains." 

Okay, now that you know about Bolo, where can you get it?
You can find the bolo package at the usual suspect FTP sites for Mac 
software, such as Don't ask if someone can mail 
it to you. It's easily available. You can gopher or anon FTP it at, depending on Stuart's whims and the availability of 
his machine. As well, you can get it at bolo archive sites such as,, or Some of 
these sites also carry older versions of Bolo.

Also, Aaron Bratcher has put together a nice "starter kit." The path
is FTP://


Internet Bolo sounds neat! How can I play, find a game, etc.?
As mentioned before, you need to have a Macintosh running Bolo 0.99.2, 
with a direct connection to the Internet with MacTCP installed. 
Therefore, if you can telnet, gopher, or check your mail directly with 
your Mac, you can play Internet Bolo. Just check UDP/IP in the first 
dialog box, type in the IP address of another Mac playing Bolo, and go! 
Don't use UDP/IP Multicast yet, since MacTCP doesn't support it.

Here's a summary of the various known ways of accessing the Internet 
1. A Mac with MacTCP installed connected via an ethernet card to a 
network that has a direct connection to the Internet. 
2. A Mac with MacTCP installed connected via a LocalTalk connection to a 
network that has a direct connection to the Internet. The router must be 
able to assign IP numbers.
3. A Mac with MacTCP installed connected via a SLIP/PPP connection to a 
machine on the Internet. This, due to modem speed, is very slow, and is 
not recommended, except if you're playing with one or two other SLIP 
players. TIA does not seem to work.
4. A Mac with MacTCP installed connected via Appletalk Remote Access to 
another Mac connected to the Internet. You have to set your 
configuration to either Ethertalk or LocalTalk in MacTCP, and have a 
router on the other end be able to assign IP numbers. This, also, is 
very slow and not recommended, unless you're playing with one or two 
other ARA/Internet players.

Remember, the proper port to use is 50000. 

To find an Internet game, there are various ways to do it. There is a 
BoloTracker, set up by Matt Slot, out there that gets and gives 
information about Internet games in progress. For example, if you start 
a new game, there's an option to select whether or not the BoloTracker 
will be notified. If it is, your IP address and other vital information, 
such as the map's name, number of pills and neutral pills, number of 
players, etc., will be sent to the Tracker. This information will be 
updated throughout the game and made available to folks who wish to 
examine it. If you want to see what games the BoloTracker has 
registered, just telnet to 50000...

There is another tracker at, but it doesn't track
.99.6 games.

There is also a program called Bolo Finder, by Peter Lewis, which will 
telnet to the BoloTracker itself and display the pertinent information. 
You can get it at, in the directory 
/mac/game/war/bolo/tracker. Once you launch the program, make sure that
the preferences (In the File Menu) dialog box contains the proper IP
address and port number.

You can also organize games and discuss strategy with folks on the IRC 
channel #bolo. For more information on IRC, look for the IRC FAQ on 

Now, before you go off "Bolo-Tracking" and start randomly joining games, 
THINK. If you're in France, and the game is Australia, and you join, 
you'll cause massive lag, destroying the game for everyone. Some 
suggested joining guidelines follow: 
* If there are more than 6 players in a game... stay out
* If there are more than 4 players and no bases free... stay out.
* If there are 2 or more people from outside the country... stay out.
* If you get the "Network Delay too long" error... stay out. Don't 
repeatedly try to join.
* Most importantly... if someone asks you to leave (esp. if there are no 
free bases), then it is common courtesy to leave.

Also, while you're joining, check the Network Info box. If you see a 
massive amount of "Recovering" or "Active/Passive Restart" or "Failed" 
and a total ring delay over 325, then quit, before you destroy the 
entire game. (Yes, we know it will hang your Mac for an indefinite 
matter of time. That will be hopefully fixed in the next release.)

Thus, if a lagger joins a game, often times a horrible event called
"netsplit" occurs, where some or all of the players will be removed from
the game, making it look like everyone left.

Remember, if someone asks you to leave - LEAVE. There are plenty of 
games out there.

What if I'm in Europe or Australia? How do I find a game?
European Bolo tracker host site address: (

Quoted from
Ultimately, all EuroBolo-ers will set the machine name in the 
"Bolotracker..." box in Bolo to They would also set the 
preferences in Peter Lewis' Bolo Finder program (or Matt Slot's next 
version of Bolo Tracker) to ray. Games in Europe would be registered on 
ray, while US games would still be registered on

Australian Bolo tracker host site address: 50000
Quoted from
For Australian players, as well as, there is a mailing
list which is used more than the tracker.  It is
Subscribe by sending mail with the line:
subscribe bolo <Your real name here>
in the body to:

I connect to the Internet via modem, and use telnet and FTP with good 
speed, but when I play Internet Bolo, it's just TOO slow. What's up?
Stuart Cheshire speaks: I don't know much about modems (as you probably 
know, I don't have a modem, I have Ethernet...) but I believe some of 
these modems try to be 'helpful' by compressing your data for you. To do 
this, they have to hold your data until they have enough to compress. 
Bolo doesn't really send enough data to be worth compressing, so the 
modem holds what it has for half a second while waiting to see how much 
more is coming. After half a second it realizes that no more is coming, 
and then sends it. This does not help net lag. Turn off all your modem's 
compression and error correction features, and Bolo will work much 

Is there a Bolo player registry?
A registry of bolo players, handles and email addresses is available. It 
is posted monthly to r.g.b, and is available via FTP at It will be updated weekly. Email with the above information to be added 
to the registry.

Also, there is a multimedia HTML (World Wide Web) registry. Check it
out using Mosaic. If you have any questions about WWW, check

Issues of etiquette
Besides the Internet etiquette mentioned above, there's some other 
things you should be aware of.

* If someone asks you to leave, leave. There's no excuse for destroying 
another group's game, due to lag or other reasons.

* If it's rather obvious you're losing and want to leave, at least 
concede the game to the other side. Don't just quit.

* Profanity via messaging is frowned upon. Don't harass other players 
for no good reason. The object of the game is to play to have FUN, not 
to prove you're master of the universe. If you want to assert your 
manliness, go kick sand in people's faces at the beach: Don't play Bolo.

* Don't cheat or hack Bolo to give yourself advantages over other 
players. If you suspect someone is cheating, a recommended procedure 
(From Dan Rudman,
1. Identify the party suspect of cheating. Identify the behavior which 
is hacked.
2. Message to selected players (with the hacked party UNselected) that 
you suspect said player of hack, and define the hacked behavior.
3. All other parties should acknowledge in the positive or negative 
whether or not they agree and can verify.
4. If most of the players verify back with you, then you may announce it 
to all and see what happens. Smart hackers will admit it and just drop 
out of the game. If for some reason they do not, please make a note of 
their player name and IP address and post it to the newsgroup. Be sure 
to include all the players names who verified. 


Can I play AppleTalk Bolo with ARA?
Not with the latest version. The author explains:
My understanding is this (but I don't have a modem, or ARA, to test it): 
ARA messes with network numbers when packets go through the 'gateway' 
machine, in some way that is not documented in the tech notes. When Bolo 
games pass network addresses to each other, as they have to, this 
automatic translation is not done (the ARA gateway has no way of knowing 
that four of the bytes in the middle of the data packet are actually a 
network address). Bolo 0.98 did not do any sweep of the ring to find the 
optimum place to insert, and consequently it was possible for it to 'get 
lucky' in some situations, and still work despite the ARA address 
translation (but I wouldn't guarantee it to stay up if the wrong person 
quit). Bolo 0.99 always does three sweeps of the ring ('pinging' each 
machine) to find the best place to join, and consequently it ALWAYS 
falls into ARA's trap.

How can I find out about games on an Appletalk net?
Use Distant Early Warning or Bolo Tracker (not to be confused with the 
Internet Bolo Tracker), both available at, in the 
directory/mac/game/war/bolo/tracker or at
Since version 0.99, Bolo does a sweep of the AppleTalk zones looking for
players. Simply go to the  AppleTalk dialog, and wait a few seconds. Zones
with players will be marked with little filled blobs next to the names, and
zones without players will be marked with little hollow blobs.


I've got a new idea for Bolo! Shouldn't I post it to r.g.b right away?
NO. Hold it right there, cowboy. In the Bolo package of documentation, 
there's a file by Stuart which discusses Bolo's future plans. Read that 
FIRST, before repeating the already-often-repeated. For example, his 
priorities for the next release include: 
* 1000 players across the Internet using IP Multicast.
* Security measures to stop people from cheating. 
* Sound to accompany incoming message. 
* Allow man to defuse mines that you can see.
As well, remember: one thing that's nice about Bolo is its simplicity. 
As Stuart wrote: One of the main goals in writing Bolo was to try to 
give it one of the properties that Chess, Othello, and other good board 
games have -- the "a moment to learn and a lifetime to master" 
characteristic that gives them lasting interest. The aim is that there 
are a few simple 'actions' that you can perform in the game, but that 
they are flexible enough to let you carry out your complex strategies. 
That's why there is only one kind of tank, one kind of armor, and one 
kind of bullet. For me to add another major feature, it must add at 
least as much interest to the game as any of the features that are 
already there.

What is alt.netgames.bolo? What the difference between the two groups?
alt.netgames.bolo is the old group that was used before 
was formed. Please only post to a.n.b is rather deserted 
now anyway.

Shareware fees
Listen up, folks. Bolo is shareware, which means if you use Bolo, you 
should pay the $25. Without your payments, Stuart can't put the amount 
of effort that he puts in now to support Bolo. To make sure your payment 
arrives, follow this procedure. Enclose a SASE with a note to yourself. 
And ask Stuart to sign the note and stuff it in the envelope and mail it 
back to you. If it arrives, you know he got the check. If it doesn't 
arrive, you don't know he didn't, but at least there's a chance you'll 
get some info out of it.

Hacks are basically modifications of the Bolo program that allow you to
do things you normally wouldn't and shouldn't be able to do with your
tank, such as being invisible, having each shot hit for multiple damage,
and being invulnerable to fire. Hacks, in almost all Bolo players'
opinions, are detrimental to the game. Do NOT ask for copies of hacks
on the

End of FAQ - Part 1
Maintained by Cory L. Scott,

This FAQ is published by Cory L. Scott, and may not be distributed for profit
in any form other than a USENET feed. It may not be altered or changed without
the author's permission.
Cory L. Scott            | "They're inhabitants of alt.tasteless. . .] where |  they march to a decidedly different drummer, and,
University of Chicago    |  when they're done marching, usually shoot him."
-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| - Dave Ratcliffe -|-|-|-|

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