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The game was originally written for unix systems using the X Window System. Many military-type scenarios can be played out in this game. The board is very generic, consisting of repeated geometric shapes (hexagons, triangles, squares, or octagon with squares). Water obstructions can be included and randomly generated boards are often used. Each player is assigned a color. Each player gets a pre-set number of bases that generate "troops". Troops look like blobs of color, with strength indicated by the size of the blob in the location. Troops can be moved around the board to take over additional squares or opposing bases. Supply lines thin out, so the opposing force usually tries to cut off your supply lines. There are numerous options, including fog-of-war limits on visibility, dig and paratrooper options. Some recent versions include a single player AI option with two quite sophisticated AI engines. There is also possible to prepare a game with AI versus AI only.
This game does not run as client server. Instead, it opens windows on all the clients using the X window system, so it is really just a single application running multi-headed. However, there is a version 6.0 which has a developer version of network client-server code, currently rather unplayable.
The X-Battle project has been orphaned for several years, and although it is still in the Debian repository, it was last modified in 2008.
In 2011, the jXbattle project released a new version of the game, rewritten in Java with a client-server model.