a game by Creature Labs Ltd
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 1 review
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The experienced game designers at Australia's Strategic Studies Group have produced a new strategy game that's easy to learn, dynamic in play, and darn near as addictive as Empire.

The setting is a mythical world called Illuria. Eight nations are vying for domination of Illuria, and only a fragile truce has kept the peace. But now that truce has collapsed, and each of the eight warlords (controlled by the computer or up to eight players) has but one objective: to slaughter the other seven and emerge as the sole ruler.

The warlords are represented by heroes who can move swiftly through the land to uncover hidden artifacts and supernatural weapons. Their armies come in various types, including wolfriding cavalry and flying dragons. There are 80 cities to be conquered, some neutral and some controlled by the enemy, and each city can produce one of several types of reinforcements. There's an economic dimension, too. It costs a lot to maintain a large army, and if you don't have enough income from loot and taxes, you'll have to disband some units until the books balance again. Naval power also plays a role. Ships can carry infantry to strike deep inside the enemy's heartland.

Fortunately, you can adjust the belligerence of your computer opponents. On the easiest setting, your enemies tend to be cautious and predictable. On the most ferocious setting, you'd better be prepared to think fast and fight hard.

Although the combat graphics aren't very exciting (a box with flashing icons accompanied by a few sword-clanking noises from the speaker), the game permits some fairly sophisticated military tactics.

Warlords' point-and-click player interface is simple but effective. The graphics are crisp and colorful, including a lovely map of Illuria that shows how the strategic situation shifts from turn to turn. The excellent manual tells you everything you need to know to jump in and start conquering. And with eight different starting points to choose from, the game stays fresh for a long time.

Even on its least aggressive settings, Warlords is an action-packed and high-spirited game that's very hard to stop playing once you start.

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