Lords of the Realm is a turn-based strategy game in which, not very surprisingly, the objective is to conquer all the existing territories and become, as the name suggests, "Lord of the Realm." That being said, it might sound too simple, but after trying it, you will certainly find that task to be more challenging than it initially appears.
The action occurs in the medieval time – it starts precisely in the Spring of 1268 AD – and each turn of the game, representing one of the four seasons of the year, starts with the management of your affairs for the upcoming season. Each season has a primordial influence in the events that might occur in each county, like for example, drought in the summer.
For those that never have played it, let's say that this game combines two models of strategy and that both of them can be set at different difficult levels:
1st – Economics: exerting its influence in the management side, providing a more or less propitious ambient to hazard events.
2nd – Warfare: as the name suggests, will determine the motivation of your adversaries to oppose to you.
With those two strategy layers offered, you will soon realize that the economic model is explored in much more detail than the military model, as assigning people to their tasks and keeping them happy while taking care of food and goods production involves a wider range of options.
One of the coolest things is the possibility to design your own castles. Yes, that's right, you can build whatever you want, but remember, the bigger they are, more stone, wood, time and workforce will be need to build them.
Another innovation is the existence of three kinds of food. Depending on which kind of food is being produced, the map view show little sprites of wheat weaving with the wind or cattle and sheep ruminating in the fields.
As for the battles, there are two ways of dealing with them: you let the computer decide its course or you take charge. In the latter case, you will find out that battles are in real-time, which means you better not fall asleep when they start as even a big army can be crushed by a smaller one with use of proper tactic. Controlling your battles manually will result in lighter casualties in your army - in case you win - or heavier casualties in your opponent army - in case you lose. This means that there is a price involved in letting the computer do the job for you.
You can also lay a siege to a castle; when that happens a new range of choices will appear, as you can simply blockade it, or assume an aggressive stance and build catapults, ladders and other stuff in order to try to take it.
Controls are easy as you will only have to use the mouse to move the pointer around and click. Graphics are quite nice with plenty of details and animations. As for sound, although not being "the jewel of the game," it does its work.
At the beginning there are always 6 players, and, as with any decent turn-based game, it can be played in multi-player mode. Each player will start with one county and the main objective is to conquer all the other counties.
As for multi-player mode, unfortunately there are only two supported modes: direct modem connection, or by gathering in front of a single computer and exchanging places as the turns pass by. Some sort of a hot-seat mode, though that is not very common in the strategy genre. None of these ways seem to be adjustable enough for a game of this magnitude since the duration of each turn will eventually grow with your empire. Fortunately the game can be saved and continued later.
Although the economic model is great, when you play the game to a point where you control about half of the countries, you will find out that the task of micro-managing is very repetitive and the game can easily turn in to a boring experience for the speedy ones; this is the only major fault I found so that is why it won't get the maximum rating. Even so, if you like a mix out of strategy and management/simulation this is a game that it is worth to be tried out.
Dear Abandonia visitors: We are a small team that runs one of the largest DOS Games websites in the world. We have only 3 members of staff, but serve 450,000 users and have outgoing costs like any other top site for example: our servers, power, rent, programs, and staff. Abandonia is something special. It is a library of old games for you to download. It is like an old gaming arcade with all the old games in their original format. Abandonia is a place where you can find great old games and have fun four hours and years. To protect our independence, we are dependent of our friends using the site. We run on donations averaging around 6 USD (5 Euro). If everyone reading this gave the price of a cup of coffee, our fundraiser would be made easier. If Abandonia is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online for another year. Please help us forget fundraising and get back to Abandonia.