Warlords II. (war game) (Software Review ) (Evaluation)
by Graham Kinsey
While Warlords II may look at first like a role-playing game, don't be fooled by its medieval fantasy theme. Warlords II is a war game, along the lines of the classic Empire, but this time in a medieval setting.
You start with control of a single city, with the goal of expanding your empire until you control the entire world. Up to seven opponents (human or computer) stand in your way. To build your armies, each city you control may produce up to 4 of the 27 types of units in the game, from simple wizard fodder such as scouts and dwarfs to elite units like elephants and catapults. You can also purchase units that your cities may not be equipped to produce. Unlike all other units, heroes can only be purchased, never produced. Only heroes may take up quests and search ruins to obtain powerful magic items, gold, or special allies such as dragons and archons.
Combat between two army groups (each group may have up to 4 armies) is simple enough, but enemy cities may contain up to 32 armies, and only one army group may attack at a time. Army bonuses matter as much as or more than the army's base strength--heroes and elite units can help turn simple soldiers into fear-some killers of their own.
SSG claims advanced artificial intelligence on the part of the computer opponents, but it's the many game options (such as hidden maps, strong neutral cities, a diplomacy system, and computer personalities) that really make for interesting play. There's a random map option but, alas, no map editor. The random map option could benefit from more options, since very few prebuilt scenarios are provided. The time between game turns was about a minute on my 486SX. The game did lock up twice on me, but only after more than 50 hours of play.
Despite the limited number of scenarios, I can heartily recommend this game to any Empire fan or to any war gamer looking for a different kind of world to conquer.