Warlords II Deluxe is a great game. Its limited release as compared to Warlords I, Warlords II standard, and the modern Warlords III make it a real underdog.
Warlords II Deluxe (WL2D is not a sophisticated wargame, in fact it feels like a bit of a "hack" which has expanded beyond its wildest dreams, and perhaps its ace is the included scenario builder and designer. This allows your imagination to run wild with graphics, unit types and worlds to fight in, something many other games are less able to do, if at all. A "library manager" lets you ship scenario sets around easily (which in turn are made up of city sets, army sets and terrain sets). The sounds are OK, but nothing special; the middle age -style music is possibly a bit repetitive. The occasional digitised speech from your military advisor is cool.
The computer opponent is not too clever. He'll send his hero out early to search ruins to gather relics and gold, but leaves himself open to ambush all too easily. However, while a single opponent is just about competent, fighting against up to seven other sides makes the game rather trickier, especially if you beef their power up to "Warlord (enhanced)" and declare all out war on all of them before you start. The computer will attack poorly defended cities without mercy. Diplomacy is included, and is a little erratic at times, but it's a handy option. I imagine this comes into its own when you're up against a human opponent or two. A side, if doing badly, will offer surrender – if you refuse you must eradicate them completely. I've had some success with diplomacy, but as in the end you're out to kill and maim everyone, any agreements are likely to be temporary.
A fun element is the building up of heroes. Normal units can get bonuses with time, but heroes steadily gain experience and levels to raise what stats they have. They can collect relics (which only heroes can carry) which give combat and movement bonuses, or other nice effects like +4 gold per city per turn.
Ultimately, this game is great fun and addictive. Try the Tolkien scenarios, the Arthurian one, the Shogun one, etc. Two thumbs up!Reviewed by: Duglis