David Lester's masterpiece and definitely THE game that finally brought Impressions into the spotlight, Lords of The Realms is a great medieval strategy game that strikes a great balance between combat and empire building. As veteran wargamer M. Evan Brooks observes, "...[the game] offers an interesting portrayal of thirteenth-century politics and military maneuvers. The "three 'c's" of medievalism are covered: castle construction, crop rotation, and combat. Think of it as a cross between Kingdoms of Germany and Castles II, but with more depth."
What makes the game very addictive is, first and foremost, the fact that it finally broke away from the notorious "spreadsheet syndrome" that most previous Impressions titles share. Although it still crunches a lot of numbers, and you will still keep track of many more statistics than you care to count, Lords of the Realm presents these statistics visually: you will see the graphical effects of all your orders (e.g. troops marching to their destinations), and seasonal changes (wheat stalks rock in the summer wind, and wilt at the onset of winter). The AI is quite competent, and there are many nice historical tidbits in the game, including the simple but effective diplomacy model, to entertain both die-hard and casual gamers. Similar to Kou Shibusawa's Nobunaga's Ambition, Lester's Lords of the Realm is not only a labor of love, but a highly personal game where the designer's genuine interest in his country's heritage is fully borne by the game's excellence. It's unfortunate that Lords of The Realm II is not as addictive as this strategy game (although it is also an excellent game in its own right). Highly recommended, especially to anyone who's interested in medieval history, and fans of Defender of The Crown who want more substance and accuracy in the game. Thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs