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The first in the Warlords series. Basically, your mission is world domination. This may be played between up to 8 people all on the same machine. It is a medieval type strategy game that requires the player to control 80 cities in the realm of Illuria. In order to do so you must wipe out your 7 opponents.

Gold is accrued through the ownership of cities. The gold is then used to create armies. Heroes can sometimes "find" things or be rewarded by sages (there are only 2 and it's a first come first served basis). You can choose between various human and non-human peoples, as well as the ubiquitous evil Warlord. This is a very early version of what strategy games eventually became.

Groups +


Credits (DOS version)

20 People

Ideas (radical and clever)
Original Design
Amiga Programming
Artificial Intelligence Design and Programming
Ibm Development and Programming
Production Co-Ordinator and Additional Development
IBM Utilities
Computer Art
Sleeve Art
Game Testing



Average score: 76% (based on 18 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 4 reviews)

A Quintessential Bridge

The Good
Warlords I was a near perfect game. It was funny. It had massive variety in units and racial abilities (Elves moved better in the woods...). Different cities produced units, say cavalry, better than others, or cheaper than others. Leaders could explore ruins and if they survived, return with Dragons or obscene amounts of Gold. Units could be blessed at one of four different altars (Control of the Altar was therefore strategic. The Map was not random, but well planned. In its first dozen or so plays, we utterly forgot Empire ever existed.

The graphics folks used dithering in this game to greatly improve the realism level over earlier efforts by game designers. While I'm pretty sure this was a 16 color game, it appeared to use many more colors than 16.

This was the first game I'd played that required a mouse. I remember teaching my roommate how to double click.

One thing I loved was when the AI would explore someplace and get a stack of dragons, which it would then use to fly around the map razing cities. Once it lost a dragon, that stack would stay where it landed forever.

Oh yeah, you could stack units in this game, and the units affected each other's performance. So, start with a stack of Loran wolf riders, bless them four times prior to use, stack them with a hero and some demons, and you were ready to go after Lord Bane...or stack a hero on some griffens and you could fly. Wizards moved 50 (Shadowfax???). If you razed a city, you got some wild sounds from your PC's built in speaker--this was before the soundblaster card was expected to be on a PC. This game had a fabulous number of new ideas, many of which have yet to find their way to even today's turn based favorites.

The Bad
For all the good work, Warlords, just like Interstel's Empire, failed to constrain unit production. Each turn took longer than the preceeding. Cities became more and more difficult to take, and I do not remember any multiplayer games ever being finished, even after weeks of get togethers. Nonetheless, Warlords is better fantasy game than can be created with the scenario editor of Civilization III.

The Bottom Line
This is still worth playing. I found Warlords I better (and far more stable) than later Warlords releases, and preferred the original map to any that I played in Warlords II, which incidentally, did have a great scenario editor). I have only just recently discovered that Warlords has had versions since version II. Yes, I am interested!

DOS · by Simon Haller (16) · 2004

Beginning of Strategy games

The Good
The fact that I loved this game growing up. I have always liked strategy games that don't have 10,000,000 things you have to keep up with. Being able to find things that aid in your strength and other attributes are also a real plus.

The Bad
It's hard to keep up with where your armies are that you are moving.

The Bottom Line
This is an essential game to play if you are interested in classic strategy games. Plus, the wolfriders are just cool.

DOS · by Leshpar Dracendor (15) · 2005

And you were there!

The Good
The strategy and difficulty levels of this game were much like that of Civilization is today. I rather enjoyed gathering with 2 or 3 friends in an apartment for an all nighter to play a game. We, of course would add our own little refinements - like alliances to be betrayed later on and restrictions.

The Bad
Turns took forever, though and if we started at 6:00 by midnight there was usually no clear cut winner. By dawn we would frequently give up or save the game and then spend weeks trying to get us all together again to play it. Also let's face it sometimes the lower res graphics were a problem (Is that an elf or a giant?) At 3 AM it was hard to tell sometimes.

The Bottom Line
This is a very early Civilization or RISK type game. The graphics were low (what do you expect for a DOS game of that age). Each player built, searched and attacked according to a preset order. The computer rarely won against multiple human players. If you have an old system around I would recommend it. Otherwise go for one of the later versions. The gameplay improved and the graphics were much clearer

DOS · by zeta thompson (50) · 2002

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
iPhone remake Rola (8131) Feb 13th, 2013



  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1991 (Issue #88) – Wargame of the Year (together with Command H.Q.)

Related Games

Warlords: Battlecry
Released 2000 on Windows
Ancient Warlords
Released 2018 on Macintosh, Windows
Warlords Awakening
Released 2018 on Windows
Onimusha: Warlords
Released 2001 on PlayStation 2, Windows, 2018 on PlayStation 4...
Stronghold: Warlords
Released 2021 on Windows
Warlords II
Released 1993 on DOS, 1994 on Macintosh, Windows Mobile
Robot Warlords
Released 2000 on PlayStation 2, 2013 on PlayStation 3
Winged Warlords
Released 1983 on ZX Spectrum
Warlords: Classic
Released 2012 on iPad, iPhone

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 6845


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by zeta thompson.

Amiga added by Rebound Boy. Macintosh added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Patrick Bregger.

Game added July 2nd, 2002. Last modified August 17th, 2023.