It’s time to get your turn-based battle on. With Warlords, that is, the strategy game from Black Anvil based in a new yet comfortably familiar fantasy setting.
As you and your regiments attempt to retake Dunmar from orcs, brigands and other nasty interlopers, you’ll find your tactical skills tested in a variety of ways. To emerge triumphant, you’ll need the kind of assistance that only Gamezebo can provide.
Well, maybe not only Gamezebo. That sounds kind of arrogant. But we do indeed have the kind of Warlords Tips, Cheats and Strategies that will help you enjoy many more wins than losses on the battlefield. Your troops will appreciate that.
Getting Around and Dropping the Hammer (a.k.a Basics of Movement and Combat)
Even if you’ve never played a similar turn-based strategy game before, you shouldn’t have any issues picking up the battlefield basics in Warlords. During each turn, you’ll go before your enemy, so you never have to worry about initiative or anything like that.
Your regiments can act in any order you wish during your turn. Simply tap on one and you’ll see all the hexes it can reach this turn highlighted in green. Units have different movement speeds, and the distance they can travel is affected by terrain (which we’ll discuss in a bit), but you don’t need to worry about any of that in practice. Simply pick a green hex, tap on it — you’ll see a checkmark there when you do — then tap on it again to confirm.
If your unit is in range of an enemy, it can also attack. Melee regiments need to be adjacent to enemies to attack them, while ranged units can hit opponents that are multiple hexes away, depending on their type. Either way, you’ll see enemy units eligible to be attacked highlighted with a white border inside their hexes. To actually execute an attack, you just tap on an eligible enemy and it will instantly resolve.
As your regiments grow in power, they will also learn special abilities they can use, activated by buttons on the left side of the screen. Using an ability is also easy: Just tap the button and a text box will come up explaining its use. Enemies within range will again be denoted with a white hex, and you simply tap on the opposing unit to carry out the ability.
It perhaps goes without saying, but the AI will do these same steps when it is the enemy force’s turn — except a lot faster, since it knows exactly what it wants to do and how to do it. Don’t be intimidated.
Things That Make You Go Hmm … (in Battle)
At the most basic level, the effectiveness of your attacks is based on the offense value of your regiment compared to the relevant defense stat of your target. You’ll see the number of soldiers in the enemy unit, represented by the value beneath it on the map, decrease, and if it reaches zero, the unit is removed from the battlefield.
Without scaring you about having to do a lot of math — you don’t, because the game figures all of this stuff out — there are a number of factors to consider when trying to figure out who should attack who.
- Certain types of units receive bonuses against other types. Most notably, there is a rock-paper-scissors dynamic between guardians, pikes and mounted regiments that goes like this: guardians -> pikes -> mounted -> guardians. Ranged units also do bonus damage against specific unit types. If you forget during a battle, just look for the little crosshairs icon on enemy units.
- Terrain and elevation matter too. As Obi-Wan Kenobi once taught us, taking the high ground can be a big deal, and attacks against enemies lower than you do more damage, even for some ranged units like archers. Forests cause troops to take less damage.
Obviously, the AI is affected by these exact same factors, so you’ll want to keep them in mind both when choosing and positioning your forces at the beginning of battles (pretty foolish to bring three guardians to a fight if the enemy is mostly mounted) and when moving around the board. One general tip that can be a lifesaver is that if you can’t reach the enemy to attack right away, it makes sense to keep your regiments in forest tiles or as high up as possible to prevent the opposition from using advantageous terrain against you.
A few other terrain features are also worth pointing out. Swamp tiles stop you dead in your tracks, ending your movement for the turn no matter how many hexes you would normally have left. Water tiles can only be crossed at bridges, and units on bridges can only be attacked from either end, never from the sides (except by ranged regiments).
Cliffs prevent units from engaging in melee attacks against each other in both directions. Last but certainly not least, villages heal any unit in them at the beginning of its team’s turn, meaning enemies holed up there may require more force than usual to eradicate if you can’t get rid of them in one shot.
The Care and Feeding of Regiments
You actually don’t need to worry about feeding your troops, so you can forget that whole “army marches on its stomach” stuff. What you will want your regiments to do is get stronger, and you can improve them using several methods.
- Just bring them to more fights. Every battle, win or lose, earns the units in it XP, allowing them to rank up over time.
- Promote them to the next tier. You do this by collecting Shards, similar to the system used in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes or similar games. You’ll earn the occasional shard from clearing out certain regions of the map, plus you can buy them from the merchants in Dewport Harbor. You’re especially going to want to utilize the Smuggler Ship, which you get for free every 48 hours or can buy for 190 diamonds, and the Imperial Ship. That latter one is costly at 1800 diamonds, but it guarantees 10+ Shards of any Regiment, taking you a long way toward unlocking or promoting a unit.
- Improve their gear. Every unit has three gear slots, one each for a weapon, armor and banner. By tapping on the Forge icon on the main left-side menu, you can see all of the gear eligible to be improved at any given time. All it takes is coins and time to make gear better, so you definitely want to max all of it out as often as possible. New gear can be obtained in battle or from Dewport shipments.
The home base for all the information on your various Regiments is the Army screen, which you access via the helmet icon in the main navigation. You can then tap on any regiment under your command to view its stats, see how close it is to promotion and examine its gear.
Boss Battles, PvP and Other Good Stuff
Liberating Dunmar isn’t quite as straightforward as it may first appear. While you will quickly turn portions of the map green, other parts will stubbornly remain red, or even fall back into chaos after you’ve conquered them.
The first thing you’ll encounter is a boss battle at Grubak’s Camp. As a boss, he’s especially tough to defeat, and every time he’s beaten, he’ll come back even stronger. As many players have noted in the app stores, boss battles ramp up in difficulty in almost ludicrous fashion, but the rewards for beating them are pretty good.
War Harbor is the land of PvP. Well, pseudo-PvP, anyway. As awesome as it would be to battle other players in Warlords, you’ll have to settle for going up against their armies in this portion of the map. You’ll recognize these battles by the crossed swords icon above them; winning trophies in PvP will move you up the seasonal leaderboard to earn you extra rewards when the season ends.
A different kind of challenge awaits once you’ve unlocked Brigand Island, where Jerrika awaits with her legion of Brigands. It costs coins to start an assault there, and the idea is to clear out as many levels as possible within the time limit. You’ll also see wandering Brigands retake portions of the regular map you’ve already cleared, so you’ll be seeing these folks a lot.
Before you set out to show the world what a great Warlord you can be, here are a few final things to remember.
- Minimizing your losses in battle is always a good idea. Regiments that suffer heavy losses can’t be used again until a cooldown timer expires, though you can also spend diamonds or watch a video to reduce that time. Units that are completely eliminated can take some time to recover, so it’s worth moving heavily damaged regiments out of harm’s way whenever possible.
- There’s a difference between a victory and a crushing victory. Every battle will offer you a chance at the latter if you can defeat the enemy in a certain number of turns. Always go for the crushing victory if possible, because you’ll get extra rewards if you pull it off.
- Wondering how to unlock new areas of the map? Keep playing the normal battles and you’ll see opportunities to explore at regular intervals. Any region currently being explored will be marked with a spyglass, as well as the time needed for it to finish unlocking. Like most things in Warlords, you can choose to spend diamonds to instantly finish that timer if that’s what you want to do.