Key & Compass presents:
Dead Like Ants
by C.E.J. Pacian

Dead Like Ants is a TADS 3 interactive fiction game and is © 2009 by C.E.J. Pacian. The game was one of two entries to EnvComp. At the 2009 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist for the Best NPCs award.

You play as a young woman in red overalls, a red worker ant. Every spring, five dangerous creatures visit the tree and threaten the village, and every spring, the Queen sends one of her daughters to negotiate with them. This spring, the Queen wants you to be that daughter.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Version 6 of the game.


FungalBloom MirrorPool RottenBranch SplitBranch Forest ofBlossom TreeHollowVillage Queen'sChamber Graveyardof Shells BlossomGlade BejeweledBranch Path to theSpiralHouse CurvedParlour Branch Top,Beneath theRainbow Net HighestBranch Center of theRainbow Net in in s s w in out in w w out d out d out out w w s out in out s s in pull rope in u


Tree Hollow Village

You are an ant. Your mother, the queen, has sent for you.

> x me. x eyes. x antennae. i. x overalls.

> x cottages. x wood. x sisters. x herd. x honeydew. taste it.

> in.

Queen's Chamber

> x lamps. x phloem. x cots. x brothers.

> x queen. x dress. x wings. x throne.

> bow. queen, hello.

> ask about task. ask about creatures.

Your task is to negotitate with five creatures in the surrounding branches.

> ask about herself. ask about wings.

> ask about brothers. ask about sisters.

> bow. out. out.

Bejewelled Branch

> x sister. x bark. x sky. x jungle. x whorl.

> out.

Branch Tip, Beneath the Rainbow Net

> x net. x blossom. x figure. u.

Centre of the Rainbow Net

> x widow. x veil. x lips. x net.

> greet woman.

> ask about net. ask about queen. ask about tree.

> ask about her husband. ask about kissing.

> kiss widow. (+1.)


Queen's Chamber

Again, the Queen gives you your task.

> out. out. out. u.

Centre of the Rainbow Net

The widow is gone, but a bundle is now here.

> x bundle. d. in. s.

Forest of Blossom

> x branch. x blossom. u.

Highest Branch

> x horizon. x shapes. x trees. d.

Forest of Blossom

> out.

Blossom Glade

> x artist. x paintbrush. x palette. x dress. x cloak.

> x easel. x canvas. x knot. x amber.

> greet artist.

> ask about queen. ask about tree. ask about art.

> ask about cloak. ask about wings. ask about painting.

> sit on knot. z. z. stand.

> x painting. (You may gasp, gawp, or praise.)

> praise. (+1.)


Queen's Chamber

Yet again, the Queen gives you your task.

> out. out. s. s.

Rotten Branch

> x fungi. out.

Fungal Bloom

> x twig. x leaf. x baby. x mushroom.

> x knight. x mail. x helmet. x horns.

> greet baby. take leaf. greet knight. (These actions don't seem to help.)

> climb mushroom. take leaf. (+1.)


Queen's Chamber

For the fourth time, the Queen gives you your task.

> out. out. s. s. s.

Split Branch

> x branch. x mirror. out.

Mirror Pool

> x pool. x hat.

> x damsel. x wings. x dress. x shoes.

> greet damsel.

> ask about queen. ask about tree. ask about pool.

> ask about hat. ask about wings. ask about swimming.

> swim. (+1.)


Queen's Chamber

For the fifth time, the Queen gives you your task.

> out. out. w.

Graveyard of Shells

> x shells. out.

Path to the Spiral House

> x shell. x door. x rope. x plaque. (Cornu Aspersa Esq.)

> pull rope. (A gentleman invites you inside.)

Curved Parlour

There's lots of things in here:

> x chairs. x high-backed. x armchair. x rocking. x carpet.

> sit on armchair.

> x table. x jar. x phone. call 911. x sap.

> x bookcases. x photograph. x books.

Links are provided so you can browse the books easily:

> look at Property Investment for Dummies

> look at Protect Yourself: 101 Forms of Home Invasion

> look at Symbiosis: The Coward's Way

> look at Cooking Friends

> look at Life Without Arms

And of course, there's our host, who is not Aspersa.

> x aristocrat. greet him.

> ask about queen. ask about tree. ask about house.

> ask about arms. ask about help.

> open jar. (+1.)


Queen's Chamber (sitting on the throne)

For the epilogue, the viewpoint character is now the Queen.

> x me. x wings. x throne. x lamps. x walls.

> i. x dress.

> x cots. x sons.

> x painting. (+1.)

> stand. out.

*** THE END ***

> amusing

> afterword



Have you tried:

  1. Tasting all of the different characters?
  2. Tasting yourself?
  3. Singing, dancing, crying, jumping or screaming as the Queen or one of her daughters?
  4. Typing 'god save the queen'?
  5. Getting up while the artist paints you and/or trying to sneak a peak at the unfinished portrait?
  6. Sitting on the damsel's twig... while she's still sitting on it?
  7. Asking the aristocrat about Cornu Aspersa?
  8. Sitting on the aristocrat's carpet?
  9. Rocking in the aristocrat's rocking chair?
  10. Rocking elsewhere?
  11. Examining your surroundings while in conversation with the more talkative characters?
  12. And finally, have you tried typing 'xyzzy'?


Also mentioned:


You can play the game from start to finish without carrying anything, but you are wearing one of two outfits:


In several moves, you have scored your-score of a possible 6 points. This makes you ranking.

The rankings are:

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough is provided free of charge even though the work it's based on has fifteen or more locations. Please consider it a thank you for your support!

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