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Musings of the Welsh Wizzard

What happens when dilution of the hobby becomes homeopathic

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April 22, 2021

Classic Warlord – Unboxing and First Game

About 15 years ago I was introduced to a game called Warlord, which originally came out in the mid 70’s, it’s far to say i fell in love with the game and we played it a fair bit (including some large games that took all day)

as Warlord was out of print and really hard to find I was unable to play it again until one day I managed to pick up a copy of Apocalypse, which was a version of the rules produced by Games Workshop. Apocalypse was a simplified version of the older game, but it did scratch the itch for a while.

well as time passed I forgot about Warlord, until I recently found out that the old game was back in print and was being sold by it’s original creator Mike Hayes under the name Classic Warlord. I’m guessing you all know what happened next? yes I immediately brought the game and within a few day’s it arrived.

for those of you who haven’t heard of the game, its an area control game with players trying to build up empires in Europe and Asia. as the game progresses the players can build up a stockpile of Nukes, which can be used to assist in the empire building, it is a game of bluff, counter bluff, deception and diplomacy, so it’s right up my street.

Lets have a look at whats in the box shall we

well it arrives in a very nice gold coloured box with, info on some of the history on the base

inside you find bags of counters for each player, plus nuked area markers, a dice and plastic missile sections (red for Atomic bombs, white for Hydrogen Bombs)

then the rules, some FAQ and a very nice note from Mike Hayes (very nice touch)

and then the 8 map boards which make up the playing area

The game play can be really easily described

  • Players get army tokens for area they hold
  • armies can be used to grab more territory
  • players can attack each other to grab enemy territory
  • each successful attack gives a player a single stage atomic bomb, they can be stacked up to travel further
  • each time a player uses an atomic weapon they get a Hydrogen bomb stage, which is even more effective

if you want to see all the rules they are available to download here Don’t worry there is only 3 pages of rules so it won’t take log to read them

Yesterday, myself and 3 of my mates got together to try out the game on a 2 map section, which covered Britain and Northern Europe. the players were

  • the Archduke of Mattivania – Yellow
  • the Duke of Emmsland and chief of the Clan McEmms – Green
  • Yarl Ralph of the North lands – Orange
  • and me – the Baron Hobbson – Blue


the game started quietly with everyone claiming land and a minor border schuffle between myself and Yarl Ralph which gave me my first Nuke

meanwhile the Archduke was swallowing up large tracts of the Eastern Europe and moving towards Moscow (after grabbing Berlin early on)

the fighting in Britain continued until I had enough firepower to rid myself of that meddling Northerner, one quick nuclear explosion in the borders and I had sealed off my flank

cue evil laugh as I got my first Hydrogen bomb

Suddenly Nukes started appearing all over the place as the Duke of Emmsland and the ArchDuke of Mattivania started fighting over Germany

Soon after this the nukes started falling in Hess which severely hampered the Duke of Emmsland forces, they also killed off a few divisions of Mattivania’s finest but the Archduke  wasn’t concerned by this self sacrifice

Yarl Ralph was slowly building up his forces and was also engaged in a few minor fights in the low countries, but it seems he wasn’t happy about my self defence move earlier in the game which kicked him out of Britain, this lead to him exploding a bomb in Dogger which caused a major chain reaction and emptied the majority of Britain

this aggression from the mild mannered Yarl lead to Mattivania flexing it’s muscles which turned a large portion of Sweden into a wasteland

 Over on the Eastern front, Mattivania had taken Moscow and the Archduke decided to promote himself to Tsar

this brought him into contact with my forces grouped around St Petersburg, the results were fairly predictable

so with half of Europe freezing in a Nuclear winter and Tsar Matt the first in control of the remaining parts, we decided to call it a day.

all in all it was a fabulous game and it really reminded me why I enjoy it, the rules are simple but really deep and it’s a game that makes you think. and the first thought you have is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of idiots who enjoy using them

if you are interested in the game you can order direct from Mike Hayes here


2 Responses “Classic Warlord – Unboxing and First Game”

  1. Avatar
    May 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm


    thank you for your review. I decided to give the game a try and ordered my copy last night. It looks like it could work even with not wargamers.

    Greetings from Germany


    • MikeH
      May 13, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      I really hope you enjoy it Adrijan, let me know how your games go

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